Craft

Christopher Calderhead, Jerry Kelly
Celebrating Hand Lettering
Surely the alphabet is one of the major accomplishments of mankind, and the artistic expression of this utilitarian creation can eailsy rise to the level of fine art,


Steven Heller
State of the Union Rats
“Scabby,” as it is appropriately nick-named, is the labor movement’s most effective protest icon and guaranteed to grab the attention of even the most blasé passersby.



Adam Harrison Levy
The Wood Stacker
All his work, from cutting the wood during the summer, to stacking it in early fall, through to burning it in the winter freed him from a dependency on oil. His heat is local.


John Foster
Made for Walking
The intricate art of the cowboy boot



Debbie Millman
Robin Petravic + Catherine Bailey
Debbie talks with Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey about running Heath Ceramics.


John Foster
Flower Power
The Hibiscus Scrapbook


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Viktoria Modesta by Nadav Kander
Changing perceptions of impairment


Laura Tarrish
Hunter | Gatherer: Text as Textile
Evidence of fabric embellished with needle and thread has been found as far back as the Cro-Magnon days (30,000 B.C.). The artists featured here, writing with stitchery, challenge our expectations of what is commonly considered a domestic art.


John Foster
Exploring Art Environments
SPACES is a nonprofit 501c3 public benefit organization incorporated in 1978 for the purposes of identifying, documenting and advocating for the preservation of large-scale art environments.



Observed
More Botany
Avery Thatcher is one of the emerging designers from the oft-lauded creative class in Portland, Oregon.


Alex Knowlton
Miami Nice
Alex Knowlton reviews this year's ADC Festival of Art + Craft in Advertising and Design in Miami Beach.


John Thackara
Keep Your Stuff Alive
What would fashion be like if it was more than a an act of consumption with no meaning beyond the point of sale? What kind of system would improve the quality of our fashion experience without increasing the quantity we consume?


John Foster
The Essence of a Teapot
While the traditional teapot should be at the very least functional — that is, have the ability to hold and pour a liquid, I recently viewed an exhibition that turns all that on end with the “idea of a teapot.”


Alexandra Lange
Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories
A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.


Bonnie Siegler
Dear Bonnie: Cheated in Chicago
This week Dear Bonnie — our truth-telling advice column from Bonnie Siegler — advises independent artist "Cheated in Chicago" on the best course of action when her work is being used by a large brand without her permission.


John Foster
The Renewed Art of Embroidered Photographs
Few creative things today are truly new — it's the work that builds on, pushes forward and continues to invent that gets noticed.


Alexandra Lange
Playing With Design: Fredun Shapur
Add Fredun Shapur to the pantheon of modern designers making winning and sculptural objects for children.


Alexandra Lange
Year of the Women
A year-end wrap-up of my favorite stories. The common theme? Women and the making of design.



Observed
Feeding Young Brains
AIGA Portland and The Right Brain Inititative have partnered on a new project to encourage kids to think creaively.


Alexandra Lange
Where We Work
A Kickstarter for co-working space Makeshift Society points to the light, space and tools creative freelancers need to be productive.


John Foster
Giraffe Houses of the Ozarks
Giraffe houses are generally thought to have first appeared around 1910, but their acceptance grew during the 1930s.


John Foster
The Open Eye: The Home Collection of Ray Yoshida
Accidental Mysteries for September 29, 2013 focuses on the vast home collection of Chicago artist and teacher Ray Yoshida.


Alexandra Lange
Learning New Tricks
Harvard doesn't have any design courses, but I've found new friends in "material culture." What it's like for a critic to go back to school.


John Foster
The Collection de l’Art Brut
It was Jean Dubuffet who coined the term Art Brut to describe art that was raw, pure and untainted by rules or schooling. This was art that emerged from the minds of madness — or genius.


Alexandra Lange
How To Unforget
The straightforward logic of “A Handbook of California Design” makes it the first step in unforgetting two generations of makers.


Alexandra Lange
Every Little Thing
Cranbrook: A campus where the designers have thought of everything.


Alexandra Lange
Dream Weaver
On a retrospective of the work of midcentury sculptor Ruth Asawa at Christie's, her first solo show in New York in 50 years.


Alexandra Lange
Anxiety, Culture and Commerce
Is the museum store a distraction or an enticement?



Observed
The Craft of Design
American Craft's special 2013 design issue is available online or as an iPad app.


Rob Walker
Bill for a Bowl
Considering dollar value as one of many things a bowl might contain.


John Foster
Dreams of the Sonora Aero Club
The mysterious, double-sided, collaged watercolor drawings that comprise the journals of Charles August Albert Dellschau.


Alexandra Lange
After the Museum: The Tumblr
To create metamuseum.tumblr.com, a multi-museum, multi-curator Tumblr @MADMuseum, I saw it as a kind of curatorial game: Show Me What You’ve Got.


Michael Bierut
Chromatophobia
Michael Bierut on his chromatophobia.



Debbie Millman
Jen Bilik
Jen Bilik on being a certified entrepreneurial badass: she's the founder of the company Knock Knock.





Alexandra Lange
Why Bernadette Fox Is Scary
The heroine of Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an award-winning female architect. Don’t envy her life.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Manly Palmer Hall's 1928 encyclopedic work — The Secret Teachings of All Ages — earned him worldwide acclaim led to a lifetime of lectures, awards and recognition. 


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Peter Vogel's mysterious aging techniques are highly guarded, and for good reason.: as works of art, his handmade signs are nothing short of spectacular. 



Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Gifts for Kids
Gifts for children found on Etsy.com



Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Guide to Personalizable Gifts
Personalized gifts found on Etsy.com.



Betsy Vardell
Betsy on Etsy: Ornaments and Decorations Gift Guide
Ornaments and decorations found on Etsy.


Alexandra Lange
Reintroducing the Tilletts
If you are interested in textile design, mid-century style, or creative partnerships, I would urge you to go visit “The World of D.D. and Leslie Tillett” at the Museum of the City of New York.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Rarity? Quality? What makes a great piece of redware?


Alexandra Lange
3rd Annual Holiday Card Review
Holiday card designs for 2012 reveal the social media preoccupations of their buyers, whether it is Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or old-fashioned (perhaps Downton Abbey-inspired?) stationery.


Alexandra Lange
Dot Supreme
On the enduring power of the simplest shape, from corporations to children’s books.


Michael Bierut
Style: An Inventory
Style: An Inventory by Michael Bierut



Observed
Unbored
Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun from Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen features 350 pages of projects, games, and information for kids aged 8-13, and their parents.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is art without artists.



Observed
Art Without Artists
Accidental Mysteries John Foster co-curated
Art Without Artists at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is clothing.



William Drenttel, and OBlog
Design + Craft: The Brazilian Path
Adélia Borges, a Brazilian curator has now published a remarkable book on the intersection of design and craft, artisanal objects and social innovation.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is paper folding art.


Rob Walker
The Theater of Making
What videos depicting the story of stuff-being-made are really about.



Observed
Make a Mixel this Weekend
This weekend the folks at Mixel, an amazing collaborative collage app for the iPad, want to spread the word about how easy (and fun) it is.



Observed
Two Foto Animator
A real life steampunk animated gif.



Debbie Millman
Randy J. Hunt
Etsy creative director Randy J. Hunt discusses working for Milton Glaser, his record label and the challenges of managing a brand as diverse as Etsy.


John Thackara
It’s Not Just The Bags
Design + Craft: The Brazilian Path by Adelia Borges explores the complex relationship between designers from the Northern hemishphere and indigenous artists in the Southern hemisphere, specifically craft communities in Brazil.


Alexandra Lange
Want to Buy A Valentine?
You can buy a valentine handmade by someone else. You can send your beloved a vintage card using an app. But where's the romance in that?



David Stairs
Demythologizing Design: Another View of "Design with the Other 90%: CITIES"
David Stairs reviews "Design with other 90%:Cities"


Alexandra Lange
When Modernists Get Crafty
The Museum of Arts and Design's Crafting Modernism makes a good case for bringing back macrame.


Alexandra Lange
A Stitch in Time
Sewing for your daughter, circa 1965.


Michael Bierut
Seven Things Designers Can Learn from Stand Up Comics
Stand up comedy, a high-risk creative enterprise, has interesting lessons for designers.


Alexandra Lange
In T: High Fiber
"Knoll Textiles, 1945-2010" opens new territory in midcentury design – upholstery – and shows us more than a few new female designers.




James Biber
Pictures of Pictures
James Biber gives us a close new look at familiar paintings.



Julie Lasky
Bushpunk and the Future of Africa
Why Maker Faire Africa is a model for economic development


Alexandra Lange
Shopping D/R at Etsy
Want to recreate D/R this Christmas? Etsy provides the goods.



Nancy Levinson
Pillow Culture
Beyond sleep: the exhibition Pillow Culture looks at the pillow as designed object and technological artifact.



Laura Tarrish
Laura Tarrish’s Collection of Miniature Chairs
Laura Tarrish shares her collection of miniature chairs.


Alexandra Lange
On Design Observer: Girard + Folk Art
Alexander Girard fascinates me as an architect who refused to play the skyscraper game, focusing his considerable talents on restaurants, textiles, exhibitions and murals.



Alexandra Lange
Masdar: So Many Questions
I was not planning to post anything about 
Sukkah City. It all just looked like an architecture studio: so much effort, such worked-over results, and an inability to see the forest for the trees.



Debbie Millman
Stephen Doyle
In this podcast interview with Debbie Millman, Stephen Doyle discusses working for Tibor Kalman, renting his soul to the devil and working with his hands.



Dana Thomas
132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE
The latest material (and sustainability) adventure from the great Japanese fashion designer.



Alexandra Lange
Dumbing Down DIY
DIY Anni Albers Strainer and Paper Clips Jewelry Kit is dumbing down the DIY movement.



Alexandra Lange
Crafting A City
Two of my favorite things came together this weekend: Dutch design and Governors Island.



Alexandra Lange
Fashion Plates
Do little girls still play with paper dolls?



Rob Walker
For Kicks
A look at one facet of the sneaker phenomenon — that is, the way that fashion and brand loyalty can come together in what might be considered the folk art of a consumer culture.



Rob Walker
Hyperreality Hobbying
“Reborning'” is the name that has emerged for a curious process of altering and enhancing a baby doll to look and even to feel as much like a human baby as possible.



Observed | June 27

City Lab announces what sounds like a serious redesign, yet fails to mention the re-designer. Ouch. [MB]

What is lost when we forget how to draw by hand? [MB]

Former Yale School of Art Dean, photographic pioneer and MacArthur recipient Richard Benson has died at 74. Tod Papageorge’s appreciation is here. A New Yorker profile on Benson appeared in 1990. Subscribers can download it in its entirety on their site. [JH]

The ultimate jargon-free design contract. [MB]


Observed | June 26

Over six billion emojis are sent on a daily basis: how pictographs convey emotion. Read more: [JH]

“Because after all of this, I’m still left wondering what design actually is.” One review of the Cannes Lions awards. [JH]

Posters for change: deadline extended to June 30. [JH]


Observed | June 23

Not sure I agree, but an article in the Financial Times suggests design thinking is an essential part of every business student’s education. [JH]

When signage fails. [JH]

Is design a respite from chaos? [JH]


Observed | June 22

Former Exploratorium Art Director Diane Burk is taking a design sabbatical: follow her amazing travels here. [JH]

Typographic perfection? Patrick King’s witty (and well-kerned) t-shirt collection is just what your summer wardrobe needs. [JH]

Typographic nightmare? Spoiler alert: it’s not Comic Sans! [JH]


Observed | June 21

This year’s Serpentine Pavillion, designed by the extraordinary Frances Kere. [MB]

How Comic Sans became the world’s most notorious font. (Thanks to Karen Day.) [MB]

Fold your way through Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous buildings. [BV]

A 257-Year-Old coloring book was discovered in St. Louis. [BV]


Observed | June 20

Accidental Wes Anderson locations, a very colorful and surreal subreddit. [BV]

Robots in art class. [MPL]

The internet is for circles. [MB]

Subtle ways to signal wealth: not designer bags anymore. [MPL]

A sociology of the smartphone. [MB]


Observed | June 19

Rob Walker‘s insightful (and beautifully written) assessment of the importance of the logo. [JH]

“In the visual clamor of a bookstore, the important thing is to be different.” From 2005, John Updike on book cover design. [MB]

IKEA’s posters help you cook dinner. (But what about a soup?) [MPL]

Great assessment by Rick Poynor of the enduring relevance of Emigre magazine. [MB]

Animations that reveal the differences between subway maps and their actual geography. [MB]


Observed | June 16

Anti-Tiger mother strategy (helps) lead to brilliant creative student accepted everywhere! [JH]

Was the design of One World Trade Center a rip-off? [JH]


Observed | June 15

Our very own Jessica Helfand want to start conversations—meaningful ones—with you. Listen! [JH]



Jobs | June 27