Categories
Art and Design House

Read Modern Americana

Read Modern Americana

Do-it-yourself décor inspired by iconic patterns, classic fabrics, sentimental items, and the Americana style.Designer Max Humphrey celebrates the elements of modern Americana and shows how they can drive personal decorating styles in traditional country settings, contemporary urban lofts, and everything in between. Humphrey gives readers confidence to create their own stylish digs with unique flair using things they collect, buy, inherit, or dumpster-dive for.

Photos and personal anecdotes highlight collectibles and DIY-ables from Max’s design and styling portfolio—such as bandana wallpaper, botanical prints, bunk beds, clocks, old maps, gingham and plaid everything, Pendleton blankets, camp vibes, and vintage signs. The book features casual and thrifted as well as custom and high-end furnishings and includes design elements from a range of Humphrey’s interior design projects from East to West coasts.

This was focused on the pictures, which are what I came for 😉 Brief introductory paragraphs and short captions offered the perfect amount of text to call my attention to the highlighted item in the photo spread. The page design was attractive and varied to complement the style of the photo or design element — my one quibble is that I found it a little confusing when the title for a double-page spread was on the right-hand page instead of the left.

I liked the way this was organized, by material type or design element (e.g. fabrics, collections, tile). It covered a lot of ground so there were only two to four pictures for each specific example (e.g. denim, canvas, within fabrics). That seemed fine since elements were also scattered throughout the designs pictured throughout the rest of the book, so you could see those elements in use in more examples.

The designs broadly felt very complementary, clearly designed and styled by the same person. Just a couple examples that felt slightly more on the modern side than the americana side, but that seems fair given the title 😉

Categories
Art and Design House

Read Absolutely Beautiful Things

Read Absolutely Beautiful Things – A Bright and Colourful Life

Not especially to my taste though I appreciate a maximalist perspective in a world where minimalism reigns. I finished more for the book design — I liked the full spreads with a pullquote accompanying a full page photo.

I had to lol at her lament that she develops tons of custom concepts and her clients refused when they saw the prices — I mean, I want a beautiful, cozy home but I also can’t afford to spend a fortune and the slightly less cute option from Target is nearly as good most of the time. It seems like half the time I splurge on something it’s a mistake. Also, the hill she dies on is custom lampshades and cushions? 🤣 Stuff like this reminds me that I am not rich, actually 🤑

Categories
Writing

Idea-first or word-first writers

Replied to What are some tips for advanced writers? How do you push your writing into by Venkatesh Rao (Quora)

You could divide the world of advanced writers into a 2×2, based on whether they are prioritizing developing their thinking or their writing, and whether they are focusing on fiction or non-fiction.

Prioritizing thinking or wordcraft is an intriguing way to divide writers. (I usually find what Venkatesh Rao has to say interesting, though I often disagree with him.)

This mind garden is thinking-focused, often an unrevised braindump (sorry anyone reading 😅). I revise as I write, the writing process being largely a thinking process for me as well, with most of my edits to reflect changes in my thinking as I draft. I try to cut out my pet issues, which are usually asides tangential to, and distracting from, my main path of thought (of course, always after I’ve spent ten minutes writing a rant 😉) — although in casual writing like blogging I do like a more stream of consciousness, conversational style.

In my fiction, too, I’m an idea-focused writer. One of my friends writes lyrical prose that casts  mood beautifully — a writing style that serves her well for short stories. I don’t care enough about wordcraft to put in the work to develop gorgeous prose — and fortunately my workman prose is suitable for the commercial genres I write in, romance and science fiction. (I wonder if my indifference to finely crafted prose contributes to my distaste for literature 🤔 Other readers derive a lot of value from beautiful writing, but I’m honed in on the action and skim-read on fast forward to get to the good stuff, so the prose doesn’t really register for me unless it beats me over the head like Raymond Chandler 🤷‍♀️)

What matters to me in both my fiction and nonfiction writing is clarity — a mark I miss more than I’d like in first drafts 😉 In fiction I tend to write in a reverse order from what makes sense to the reader, so revision involves a lot of moving sentences around. In non-fiction, I tend towards overlong, overcomplicated sentences. Em dashes, semicolons, parentheticals, give em to me 😉

Learning to recognize your personal writing patterns and tendencies is a key aspect of getting better at revision; when I worked as a writing tutor we listened for patterns we could point out to a writer, so they could focus on spotting and revising those in future works.

How much, and how quickly, does practicing revision improve your first draft writing? In fiction writing I can focus on improving one aspect of my drafting at a time. Gradually, my initial versions need less attention. I’ve focused this way on dialogue and visual / sensory description (my fiction suffers from white room syndrome 😂) — but also know to put extra emphasis on checking for these in planning and revision. Part of becoming a better writer is adapting your process to suit your style and weaknesses — the quality of your first drafts is less important than the finished work, as long as you’re actually revising 😉

Categories
Art and Design House

Read Living with Pattern

Read Living with Pattern

If you focus on pattern, from texture and color to furniture and textiles, everything else will fall into place.

Pattern is the strongest element in any room. In Living with Pattern, Rebecca Atwood demystifies how to use that element, a design concept that often confounds and confuses, demonstrating how to seamlessly mix and layer prints throughout a house. She covers pattern usage you probably already have, such as on your duvet cover or in the living room rug, and she also reveals the unexpected places you might not have thought to add it: bathroom tiles, an arrangement of book spines in a reading nook, or windowpane gridding in your entryway. In this stunning book, beautiful photography showcases distinct uses of pattern in homes all over the country to inspire you to realize that an injection of pattern can enliven any space, helping to make it uniquely yours.

Not to my taste visually, and the opening chapters were pretty vague and generic if you know anything about color theory. The type was also unhelpfully small for my bad eyes.

Notes

  • Use large scale pattern for focal points to draw the eye
  • Use small scale pattern to recede or hide
  • Larger spaces can handle larger patterns
  • Pattern 40-60% of a room: three patterns at 60/30/10 or five patterns at 40/30/20/5/5 (one large hero pattern)
  • Foundation patterns = stripes, dots, geos, “no print”
  • Vary finishes and scales
  • Scale = physical size of pattern
  • Proportion = how much of a pattern is used
  • Texture is a monochromatic pattern

Projects

Spread from book with instructions and sample of India ink monotone prints

Overdying old napkins or shibori dying them

Categories
Art and Design

Read Black Africa Impressions Vol. 2

Read Black Africa (Belvedere Designbook, Vol 2) (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish Edition)

Design team: Wolfgang Hageney, Diana Lelli, Luce Delhove, Antonello Martino, Luigi Deleo, Francesca Schiavon, Anna Maria Troiani, Etsuko Kakui

Asked my library for recs on graphic design beyond Western tradition and this 40 year old book was the only offering on African design 🤦‍♀️

After I flipped through the pattern pages, I saw the note that the designs were created by an Italian team (with one African team member based on the names) 🤦‍♀️ So I wish I hadn’t bothered borrowing this!

Classic typography

Categories
Art and Design

Syrian Design Archive

Bookmarked Syrian Print Archive • Instagram (instagram.com)

Design & Typography found in Syrian Prints.

More in the non-Western design front.

Very cool project, though it makes me sad this is all only on social media so they don’t really own it and it’s not searchable. #ownyourdata

Highlighted examples pulled from It’s Nice That.

Palestinian Literature Series, New Culture House, 1989-1991, Cover design Mouneer Alshaarani

Getting some Secession vibes from that calligraphy. I usually worry that green and red is going to be Christmas-y but don’t feel that at all here.

International Fair of Damascus Posters, 1980, Design: Abdulkader Arnaout

This is rad and love the color palette. If you told me this was designed now I wouldn’t bat an eye. But can also see the 1980 in it 😉

Categories
Art and Design

Abstract Aerial Landscapes

Liked Andre Ermolaev by Andre Ermolaev (500px)

Aerial photography

Categories
Art and Design

Geometric Stream Symphony

Water striders, Charley Harper, 1960

Love the shapes and shadows, and how a complex drawing can be created from such simple forms.

Reminds me a bit of these snow patterns.