The DIY Spirit

created at: 03/15/2011

Photo is a reproduction of Anni Albers’ original washers necklace taken from the DIY Anni Albers Washer Necklace Kit available here from San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design.

For me, the DIY spirit boils down to crafting something meaningful out of accessible materials and reconfiguring everyday objects for a different (and perhaps inspiring) use.  Here’s two objects of art that typify this spirit:

Artist Anni Albers‘s washers necklace (pictured above) offers an uber-stylish example of the will to create a meaningful item while making do amidst widespread scarcity.  Continue Reading

Shape Spectacular: The Evolution of the Donut

created at: 03/11/2011

Black Lace/Veiled Square Bangle, 2008, by artist David Watkins.  Photo courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum.  See more David Watkins below.

The donut shape is the unsung hero of human ingenuity.  Look at archaelogical evidence of early wheels, for example – they were basically donuts.  The driving force behind technological innovation?  Perhaps.  A delightfully simple core element of design?  For sure.

Here’s a look at how artists and inventors have leveraged the shape towards donut-y awesomeness:

More than 5,000 years ago in ancient China, donut-shaped Jade discs known as bi were buried with the socially-important dead – under and along the length of the body.  Continue Reading

12 Incredible Mosaics from Around the World & Web

Mosaics, I love you. Let me count the ways.

  • You are ancient.  The oldest evidence shown in the archaelogical record indicates that mosaics date back to 3,000 BC in Mesopotamia.
  • You are seemingly universal.  So many cultures and so many artistic traditions have adopted you as their own medium of expression.  Each work is imbued with a unique look specific to the time and place of the maker.
  • You are complex assemblages of small things.  The whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. 
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5 Amazing Japanese-Inspired DIY Projects

The Japanese aesthetic has been hugely influential in Western art since the time of Van Gogh.  And, you guessed it, this aesthetic continues to be a powerful force in the mainstream DIY and craft culture, even beyond the ubiquity of gorgeous Japanese washi tape and origami.  From traditional techniques aimed at solving quotidian challenges to those pushing the limits of modern craftmanship and art, Japan offers incredible inspiration for DIYers and design lovers.

The DIY geniuses at Honestly…WTF tried their hands at shibori, a textile dying technique, with fantastic results.  Continue Reading

How To: DIY Frames for Panorama Pics

created at: 02/28/2011

I have far too many would-be-awesome-if-they-were-pieced-together panorama photos.  I’ve done a few great treks and when I’m standing in front of an amazing vista, I can’t help myself – despite knowing that these have always ended up hidden away, not put together, and unappreciated.  They’re difficult to frame and not terribly attractive due to the odd shape of the final product.

After some contemplation and planning, I framed these panoramic wonderments to look streamlined and orderly using cotton twill tape, which has such a beautiful grosgrain ribbon look yet is incredibly cheap.  Continue Reading