Archive for February, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

in the atelier…with Lynn Mackenzie

In the ate­lier today is artist Lynn Macken­zie, another Twit­ter con­nec­tion. What first popped into my head when I saw her work is the word "soul­ful". I see yearn­ing and reach­ing out, striv­ing for con­nec­tion. The col­ors are deep and lush, warm and envelop­ing. And if eyes are the win­dow to the soul, don't you feel you can see right into the soul of these figures?

In her own words, here is Lynn Mackenzie:

Lynn Mackenzie artist aspects of mind

"Aspects of Mind"

1)   What path led you to your life as an artist?

All my life I wanted to be an artist, but it wasn’t always easy.  At art school I strug­gled to try to please all the tutors and really lost my direc­tion for a while.  After art school I didn’t paint for many years as I felt I had lost the abil­ity and con­fi­dence, then a few years ago, my doc­tor sug­gested I give up the stress­ful job I was in at the time and go back to art –I have never looked back! It is some­thing I have to do, if I don’t cre­ate I begin to feel lost.

2)   Please describe three sources of inspi­ra­tion for your art.

My sur­round­ings – I live in a stun­ningly beau­ti­ful area of Scot­land which is immersed in myths and leg­end but am also now becom­ing more fas­ci­nated with other cul­tures as well.  Peo­ple and invis­i­ble con­nec­tions between each other and the world as a whole entity – what makes us con­nect with some but not oth­ers, what trig­gers belief in a cer­tain faith, human­ity in gen­eral.  Words – a phrase, a poem, a sin­gle word said in a cer­tain way can trig­ger a work.

Lynn Mackenzie artist facell

"Facell"

3)   What was the last item you brought home from a trip? Where did you go, and why that item?

A paint­ing painted by an Indian artist I had met through social net­work­ing, Shinod Akkara­param­bil– I attended an inter­na­tional art sym­po­sium in Elabuga, Rus­sia, which he also attended and we arranged to swop an art­work there.  The 10 days  spent there cre­at­ing and talk­ing with 33 other artists was an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence which has inspired to me to travel more to expe­ri­ence and explore other cul­tures and meet artists from other countries.

4)   Please fill in the blank: If I was not an artist, I’d be a:

Writer.

5)   What advice do you have for peo­ple who are afraid to buy art?

Don’t be afraid, if you love it, buy it and enjoy it – it was painted with love and pas­sion and should make the viewer feel the same.

Lynn Mackenzie artist watching Pandora

"Watch­ing Pandora"

I hope you enjoyed learn­ing more about Lynn and her art. You can fol­low her on Twit­ter @lynnbmackartist or see more at:

www.lbm-art.moonfruit.com

www.lynnbennettmackenzieart.co

www.lynnbmack.blogspot.com

lynnbmack67@yahoo.co.uk

I hope you are enjoy­ing the artist pro­files on my blog. I believe art is key to per­son­al­iz­ing any home or office space. I encour­age you to choose art that makes you feel — and sup­port artists both near and far.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

furniture friday: fornasetti milano

Spot­ted this (no pun intended) on 1stdibs because the descrip­tion "cab­i­net by Piero For­nasetti" caught my eye. And while it per­haps should not be attrib­uted to Piero (who was four years deceased when this was made in 1992), it's still a stun­ning cre­ation from the House of For­nasetti Milano.

Take a walk on the wild side:

fornasetti cabinet from 1stdibs

For­nasetti cab­i­net 1992 from 1stdibs

fornasetti cabinet

For­nasetti cab­i­net — walk on the wild side

fornasetti cabinet

closeup of For­nasetti cabinet

What do you think? Over the top or dra­matic focal point in the right room? Oh, if it helps your deci­sion mak­ing process, for the same money, you could buy this cab­i­net or a Honda Accord.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

something lovely…spotted at nodus

Whether green is your favorite color or an expres­sion of your lifestyle, here is a rug that reflects both. By designer Matali Cras­set for Ital­ian firm Nodus, it fea­tures an amaz­ing root sys­tem! This lim­ited edi­tion, hand-knotted cre­ation is def­i­nitely not your grandmother's rug!

roots by nodus (via trendir)

Über-cool, right?

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

tuesday musings: SHED and the meaning of sustainable design

Sat­ur­day morn­ing at Yale Uni­ver­sity School of Art (New Haven CT), I attended SHED, spon­sored by AIGA CT and Mohawk Paper.  Billed as “an open dis­cus­sion about cul­ture, hap­pi­ness, con­sumerism, design and the future of our planet”, I was intrigued. One of the pil­lars of the inte­rior design indus­try must surely be con­sumerism, so maybe I could learn a few tricks to rec­on­cile the drive for new inte­ri­ors with the bur­den this puts upon the planet.

Living priciples SHED Connecticut

The panel of “four amaz­ing social good thinkers and doers” included: Mod­er­a­tor Julie Lasky, Edi­tor of Change Observer; Eric Ben­son, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Graphic Design at the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois and Founder of Re-Nourish; Neil Brown, Asso­ciate Cre­ative Direc­tor at Bar­num Design and founder of Salt­Space; Aaris Sherin, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Graphic Design at St. John's Uni­ver­sity and author of Sus­tain­Able. Each offered their view­points on the sus­tain­able design work they are cur­rently engaged in – read more on their respec­tive websites.

Lee Moody from Mohawk introduces SHED Connecticut speakers

Lee Moody from Mohawk intro­duces SHED Con­necti­cut speakers

Design panel at SHED Connecticut

L to R: Julie Lasky, Eric Ben­son, Neil Brown, Aaris Sherin at SHED Connecticut

While much of the dis­cus­sion focused on graphic design, there was crossover to other seg­ments of the design indus­try. Eric Ben­son dis­cussed the idea of “emo­tional sus­tain­abil­ity” and the need to engage empa­thy in order for peo­ple to care about this (or any) issue.  Neil Brown expounded on the need to edu­cate oth­ers about sus­tain­abil­ity and empower them to design change. His point – peo­ple will be the instru­ments of change, not tech­nol­ogy nor gov­ern­ments, but indi­vid­u­als within small com­mu­nity units. From my view­point as an inte­rior designer, this dove­tails with what I and other col­leagues say: our job is to edu­cate clients about sus­tain­able choices and one by one, ini­ti­ate change.

designer treasures at SHED Connecticut

design­ers brought trea­sures to SHED Con­necti­cut for a swap

Aaris Sherin posed the ques­tion: how can you as a designer make the world a bet­ter place? As Neil pointed out, design is a think­ing process for solv­ing prob­lems. Design­ers can and should con­nect what we are doing in our com­mu­ni­ties, using our skill sets, to fos­ter solu­tions for the com­mu­nity as a whole. Inte­rior design­ers like myself pro­vide com­mu­nity sup­port through local char­ity show house events like Designer Spaces & Mar­ket Places and Junior League of Hartford's Dec­o­ra­tor Show Houses — rais­ing funds for non-profit orga­ni­za­tions by doing what we do best. Graphic design­ers can sup­port com­mu­nity through ini­tia­tives like Design is Love.  Apply your skills in any way that feels best, but make an effort to engage in your com­mu­nity – sus­tain­able design is also about sus­tain­ing people.

Most applic­a­ble to inte­rior design­ers, Ms. Sherin spoke about the “tyranny of things” and how so many peo­ple labor under the bur­den of their “stuff”. The exam­ple cited was a $200 teapot, pur­chased for the long term. Many agreed this was a won­der­ful con­cept, to pur­chase the best qual­ity and keep it for life. But how to rec­on­cile that ideal with the masses of peo­ple who can never afford that $200 teapot? Should they spend $10 on the Wal­mart teapot to be dis­posed of in a year? Never buy a teapot at all? For the pro­duc­ers of the $200 teapot – how do they sus­tain their busi­ness if they only sell one teapot to a con­sumer, ever? Should the $10 teapot man­u­fac­turer be dri­ven out of busi­ness – what hap­pens to their employ­ees? So many lay­ers of peo­ple affected by every aspect of the sus­tain­abil­ity dis­cus­sion. How will con­tin­ual con­sump­tion work going forward?

Eric Ben­son offered this thought, so applic­a­ble to inte­rior design: anthro­po­mor­phize the objects’ char­ac­ter­is­tics to cre­ate an endur­ing impor­tant rela­tion­ship where “dis­pos­able” becomes an unfash­ion­able and ulti­mately unthink­able con­cept. Wow, right? Think about the objects you live with – do you love them? Do they nur­ture you and your fam­ily? Do they func­tion in a way that sus­tains you? If not, then SHED them. There is surely some­one who will trea­sure that which you no longer do. Pass it on, pay it for­ward, freecy­cle – call it what you will, just do it.

my SHED Connecticut treasure

my SHED Con­necti­cut trea­sure finds a new home with Danielle Garrick

Ulti­mately, sus­tain­abil­ity is about mind­ful­ness. The busy­ness of our lives dis­tracts us from the deci­sions we make every day with every pur­chase. Make a con­sid­ered deci­sion to replace some­thing, don’t let it be auto­matic. It’s okay to want some­thing new or more func­tional or sim­ply more beau­ti­ful, only con­sider where it comes from and where the piece being replaced is going. You don’t have to raise chick­ens on your high-rise bal­cony to live sus­tain­ably (unless you want to, of course). All you have to do is think.

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