Brick and blue: a studio palette

The studio has been in some state of remodel/redesign since I moved in. No surprise there. Recently I've been working on pulling up the carpet (lots of carpet glue; slow work) and painting the floor, and generally making the space feel lighter and more finished. Hemming and hawing over colors...

For a while, sections have been a pretty strong yellow. "Butternut Squash." The thought was that, since it's a basement space with very little natural light, it needed some pretty intense color therapy to not be a depressing cave. But it turns out, it's just too overwhelming. Oppressively yellow.

Once again I start collecting paint chips. I have a whole ziploc baggie somewhere with probably a full pound of little cut out samples, but I have to start fresh for each project. This time around, the focus was mainly on blue... with a few samples of persimmon, coral (a color that's been on my mind for a while now).

The floor is going an almondy, warm white. Something bright, but not stark, with a satin finish. With only about a sixth of the floor (if that much) painted so far, it's already brighter, feels more like a legitimate space. But in need of color.

My attention has lingered frequently on the remnants of the old chimney that comes down through the middle of my space. My dad says remove it; it would open up the space so much more. And that's true, but there's something about it that I love. Between that and the dark, exposed beams, it becomes my own little (underground) New York warehouse art loft. (I've been looking for ways to restore it that don't involve caustic chemicals... have yet to find anything satisfactory.)

So, from there, I've come to a potential palette of antique brick and some sort of pale, warm or dusty blue. Not too primary, not too teal... something nuanced. Then, to Flickr for some inspiration in that vein:

Brick'n' Blue

seafoam brick


Red Bricks and Blue

bricks, seafoam green and windows

Shipping Container Pipe Dream

Raw and gravity-defying
I've really been digging shipping container construction lately. I like the aesthetic, industrial and sort of a la Brooklyn / Williamsburg artist warehouse lofts when it was still all rough, before the developers got ahold of it.

Actually made of shipping pallets and trailer homes, respectively.
I really like the aesthetic of the buildings by Infiniski, a company operating out of Spain and Chile. Their whole focus is on the re-use of materials... containers, pallets, etc. I love the way they maintain the aesthetic influence of the original material. Probably my favorite is their "Forest House" on their site (which is all flash, so I can't pull the image). Go look at it!

I also like Lot-Ek's CHK (Container Home Kit). Scalable and flexible, with lofts and catwalks to boot.

Lot-Ek's Puma Building. The front is very similar to their CHK design.

And I really love what Canadian Designer Kieth Dewey has done with his Zigloo home. He really maintained the industrial elements, even using chain link in the interior and salvaging stairs from another industrial building. Plus, he has an extensive photo gallery of various phases of building.
The Zigloo's front steps

Despite the quantity of imagery available, there seems to be very little in the way of how-to information. Shed and Shelter has a pretty good list of companies who actually do things related to shipping container (or ISBU: Intermodal Steel Building Units) construction, rather than individuals or small groups who have done one-time projects or experiments. I just found out Google Sketchup has a whole section on container housing. I'll probably be browsing that a lot...

But of course, lack of information hasn't kept me from designing my own dream studio made out of containers. Nowhere to put it yet, but hush, reality. Dream a little dream with me...

Fall has... Fell. Felled? Fallen?

I recently printed up a small run of birthday invitations for a friend's daughter -- my first custom design for a child. Expectedly, it's quite different doing a youth design compared to doing a wedding, but what surprised me more was how different it was to do a design for a specific kid, rather than just for "kids." Normally I think of kid-oriented design to be too saccharine, too bright, or overly Swedish-inspired for my taste (I get my fill of swedishness working for the big blue-and-yellow box) but this design came out a little edgy, I think. Or maybe a little 80s. I couldn't help but fall back into memories of Paula Abdul songs and that unforgettable skate rink smell (ancient chewing gum ground into little black spots on the carpet + icee machines + preteen hormones) at the mention of a roller skating party.

In other news, I have a new silkscreen print in the Family show at Launch Pad. Like much of my work, it came about spontaneously and left me to figure out what it was about on my own. I'm still not sure I have a good answer for that, but in order to title it I interpreted it in relation to the Family show. In Latin. It's called Excisum Meus Fratres, Puer Sola Ego Sum, meaning (I think), "My Siblings Having Been Lost, I Am An Only Child," which makes reference to the fallopian pregnancies that preceded and followed my birth, rendering me, irreversibly, an only child.

And last but not least, I've had two pieces accepted into a recent graduate show at Portland State. More details to come...

Size does matter.

Sometimes I get annoyed at things labeled 'handmade' that really aren't. Computer printed cards and "limited edition prints" are my personal pet peaves. But it seems that for many mediums, there's simply a lack of understanding. How can you really grasp difference between a screenprinted card, a letterpressed card, and a digitally printed card, or a handbound book versus a commercially bound one, if you don't even have a vague understanding of the mechanical processes involved?

So it was really refreshing to see some shots from the Ink & Spindle studio showing their printing process. (Their site has a few images; their flickr has many more)
Fantastic work, a studio to die for, and ethical working methods. I think I'm in love.