Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Gem of a Map

I’m definitely a fan of turquoise jewelry, but I don’t usually pore over books on the subject. So I’m pretty sure it was the under-line, “The Gem of the Centuries” that got me to pick up this vintage title from 1975. What got me to actually buy the book and take it home, though, was the map inside, Turquoise Mines of the Southwest.

Specimens of various turquoise stones are placed on a painted map highlighting Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. You hardly need a caption to know that each stone’s pointer leads to its mine location. According to the caption, these are most of the major production locations, but there are many other mines and kinds of turquoise not represented. Page numbers link each specimen to jewelry pictured in the book using that variety of turquoise.

What I like about this map is that it doesn’t try to do too much. It shows only the relevant states and doesn’t feel compelled to label any geography. The mines are discussed throughout the book along with details of the different varieties of the stone. The restraint of maintaining a limited palette on the map is also key to its success.

Curious about what else the map’s illustrator, Gene Boyce Guest produced, I poked around a bit and found only a few pictures attributed to him her. Here are two pieces.

This postcard of Santa Fe's Palace
of the Governors, is from an
original painting by Guest.
1968 oil painting of a Santa Fe hillside.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Scenes From an Autumn Weekend

Each weekend I think it must be the last before winter sets in. Snapped these on a weekend visit to the country earlier this fall. Walks, shopping, yard sales, and mushrooms everywhere!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

To my Fine Feathered Friends …

I thought this was a good day to share this vintage collection of tail feathers I bought on eBay a while back.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


PHOTOGRAPHIE was an annual, special issue of the magazine Arts et Metiers Graphiques entirely dedicated to photography. There’s lots to read about AMG, the influential journal of all things print-related, at Modernism 101, where most of these images are from. There’s also a whole website about it at RIT.

What I particularly like about these photo annuals, aside from how beautiful they are, is that they feature no photography on the covers. The typography acts as master of ceremonies. It introduces the special guest and then gets out of the way.

Unfortunately, AMG founder Charles Peignot would definitely not approve of this post. He and his pals (like Le Corbusier, Jean Cocteau and A.M. Cassandre) formed Union des Artistes Modernes, a group "strongly against anything backward looking."











Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Calling All Calipers

Serifs or feet?

I have no explanation for how or why this has happened, but I’m crazy for calipers these days. Evocative of typography, anatomy, and instruments of torture, these specialized devices have an expressive nature. Some calipers are bowlegged, double-jointed or have well-developed quads. Others have exotic diacritical marks or could quite believably be monogrammed onto fingertip towels. And then there are the ones you know had to have been invented by a medieval dentist or Victorian gynecologist.

Feel free to free associate …

Photos are from eBay or other auction sites unless otherwise noted.

The largest of the above set from Designer Pages, is 55 inches.

The collections of "brackets" are from Lost Found Art,
via Accidental Mysteries.

The woodturner's double calipers, above, allows for two measurements to be taken without changing tools. From Woodworking Tools 1600-1900, by Peter C. Walsh.The triple calipers, below, are available on eBay.

These golden mean calipers are
hand crafted in New Zealand
by Nick Taylor.

Then there are those who refuse to leave
anything to the imagination.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

avaf, Gaga's Elves at Barneys

Announcements for Gaga's Workshop at Barneys New York.

I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of crowd control is being planned for the environs of Barneys New York over the holiday season. The store will outdo itself this year by devoting windows and THE ENTIRE FIFTH FLOOR to—move over, Santa--Gaga’s Workshop.

Gaga goodies: 25% of sales from workshop items like the
limited edition snow globe, claw-shaped stocking, and
the chocolate skull, will
benefit Lady Gaga’s
Born This Way Foundation.

To fan the flames of hype, Barneys will release
a new limited-edition product each day
until the opening of Gaga's Workshop
on November 21 at 11:59 p.m.

assume vivid astro focus (avaf), the over-the-top installation collective of Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide Pierson, will be transforming the 5,500 square-foot men’s store under the direction of Gaga collaborator, Nicola Formichetti. Avaf’s work has appeared at the Whitney Biennial, Deitchprojects, MoMA, etc.
Fashionista reports:
The workshop, which will be on the fifth floor, will house eight different stations including: a giant wig that will house fake nails and other beauty items; a Gaga-faced spider holding jewelry; a giant pop-up book for the books; and a sculptural candy shop (apparently her favorite childhood treats were malted milk balls, gumballls, and candy lipsticks.) Some of the Gaga candy offerings will include chocolate “poker face” chips and “disco stick” lollipops. (Um.)
The Gaga theme continues with the windows, which were inspired by various Gaga songs. One will feature that most festive of holiday decorations–hair–on every surface, obviously in honor of her song “Hair.”

And what kind of magic might we expect from these elves? Here are some past installations by avaf. You can see lots more on their site.

Mock-up of the Madison Ave. entrance.
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