Category Archives: Craft

Swedish Design

Other than Ikea, I really wasn’t familiar with the unique qualities of Swedish design when I steered a course that way researching domestic design. The biggest discovery of the last few years, (read: “news to me”) is that other countries not only sponsored design, but actively promoted it to improve their countries and national identities. […]

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Happy Day on Happy Mountain

I had to steal this image from Urban Rancher’s blog. It’s a drawing of a cabin that became a reality, one of thousands of “tiny houses” that have been all the rage for the last decade or two. I note that this man’s plans include having a separate tool shed nearby (already built in 2010). […]

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Motion Tabled.

It’s easy to get pissed at Adolf Loos, especially when he passionately argues that tattooed people are either savages or criminals. The difficulty in researching him, for me, is trying to figure out some context for his polemic declarations. In the introduction to the 1982 collection  Spoken into the Void: Collected Essays 1897-1900, Aldo Rossi suggests […]

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Swedish Modern

I was looking for furniture designed by Carl Malmsten, or any sort of book about him, when I stumbled on Swedish Arts and Crafts: Swedish Modern —A Movement Towards Sanity In Design, a public relations effort published by the Royal Swedish Commision on the occasion of the New York World’s Fair, 1939. The Swedish manor culture, which […]

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The ornamented snake

I dreamed this past night that a strange young man urged me to enter a house where he would show me that he could charm snakes. He went ahead. Naturally, I followed him. In there, I actually saw him standing in the center of the room, and in front of him, raised almost as tall […]

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A Democratic Axe

One of the best books I’ve read in recent memory was William Coperthwaite’s A Handmade Life. In trying to figure out what made sense for me, his particular brand of “enlightened selfishness” resonated. A key component in Coperthwaite is accessibility. In a sidebar I keep revisiting, Coperthwaite laments the accessibility of the small broad axe. I […]

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The Democratic Kitchen

Julia Child’s kitchen presents an interesting case in domestic design. There is a clearly delineated philosophy behind it. In itself, that’s not rare; however, to have it reflect so directly the philosophy of  a practitioner and influential teacher is not as easy to come by. It’s a workspace, and a democratic one at that. It’s […]

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Julia’s Kitchen

Until the last year or so, I was completely unfamiliar with Julia Child. My only real exposure to cooking shows was Martin Yan —”If Yan can cook, so can you!” I managed to make a fairly decent lo mein twenty or thirty years ago from that. Modern cooking programs do very little for me. The whole […]

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No Sense of Crime

The Papuan tattoos his skin, his boat, his paddles, in short everything he lays his hands on. He is not a criminal.The modern man who tattoos himself is either a criminal or a degenerate.  There are prisons in which eighty per cent of the inmates show tattoos. The tattooed who are not in prison are […]

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Life, death and habitation

  Even in death, there’s a social impulse that insists that we must inhabit something. While a moka pot is an unusual choice for an urn, it’s somehow fitting. The choice of a utilitarian object to me is far less precious than say, a jewel encrusted sarcophagus. Each choice, in its own way, is precious though. […]

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