Sunday, January 15, 2017

Inaugural Port-o-Potties

A big ceremonial event involves untold numbers of details that most of us never think about. Consider the upcoming presidential inauguration. In anticipation of the thousands of people who will crowd into the heart of Washington, port-o-potties have sprouted like dandelions on an untended lawn. They circle the museums and march down side streets. The most impressive group I've seen so far is the battalion lined up near the Canadian Embassy, ready for duty. Reports abound that tape is being used to obliterate the company name on the ones that might end up on camera during the parade. Let's all offer a word of gratitude to Don's Johns for filling a need when crowds gather, whether it is to applaud or to protest.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Every Color In the Rainbow

Is there an artist out there whose heart does not pitter patter a little faster at the sight of a big group of ANYTHING in a vast selection of colors? It probably starts with that first box of 64 crayons. As we try new media and new techniques, we experience that same thrill from a new tin of high quality colored pencils or that longed-for set of watercolors. Step inside a quilt shop and gaze down the length of the shelves: yellows, oranges, rusts, reds, burgundies, violets. Oh, the possibilities! Now, for me, my fixation is the Wonderfil thread display at Artistic Artifacts. So many colors, textures and weights, that it actually turns a corner in the shop. Let’s call it Threadlandia. I want to live there and stitch happily ever after. Check it out, along with all the other exotic and colorful things at

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Subway Therapy

Shortly after the presidential election, people began leaving Post-It notes on the walls near the exits of Manhattan's Union Square subway station. Soon the tiles were covered in a paper mosaic.The Post-Its came and went, like multicolored grass that is mown but continues to grow. Right from the start, participants understood the need to try and keep the comments positive and hopeful, to show others that there is goodness and optimism out there in the world. Now the notes have been taken down. Some will be preserved by the New York Historical Society. It is thrilling and, yes, hopeful, to know that little bits of paper can come together spontaneously in a communal art project.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Santa In the Window

This charming Santa Claus has been holding up his banner all season long in the window of Tinsel Trading, one of my favorite shops in New York City. He is somewhat elf-like, not as portly as the more traditional 20th century American Santa in the background. There is room for many versions of Santa. He is an idea, an embodiment of goodness, cheer and giving. Whether yours is skinny or chubby, jolly or dignified, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, Kris Kringle or Pere Noel, I hope he brings to you the very best of Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pink and Red Ornaments

My grandparents had ornaments like these. A few have survived to dangle from the branches of my own Christmas tree. They are back in style now, sought out by those who do not remember when Mid-Century Modern was not yet a "design style," but instead, simply the new living room furniture in your great-aunt’s house. Grouped in rows on the ground floor of New York's ABC Carpet & Home, they have a graphic impact. With such similar colors, the differences in shapes becomes more noticeable. But in the end it was the shadows cast on the wall that entranced me; distorted curves in shades of gray adding another pattern to the mix. Grandma would appreciate this but we wouldn't dare let her look at the price tags.. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winged Horses, Bergdorf Goodman

"Destination Extraordinary" is the theme for the 2016 holiday windows at Bergdorf's. Everything green is called into play to carry out the theme: leaves, trees, ponds, bugs, cacti. It's hard to pick a favorite but I'll go with the pair of winged horses holding aloft a tiara-clad dreamer in fabulous star-studded shoes. The painted background looks like a renaissance map of the grounds of a chateau. The worn antiqued texture of the horses contrasts with the pensive dreamer's disco-era garb and makeup. It makes you think. It makes you stop and stare. That's a successful window.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Really Great Wall of China

The main wall in a local bakery/coffee shop is a vintage china lover's dream. Don't ask me how all those plates are attached. Perhaps epoxy, as no hardware shows. It's a good example of how a large group of anything can make an impressive statement. Care has been taken to make all the plates relate as a unified group, overlapping them, while still leaving a little space for the wall to show through, here and there. The more time I spent looking at it, the more I noticed the differences in the sizes, colors and patterns of the plates. A tight mass of similar somethings accentuates the differences between all those somethings. It's a design lesson mounted on a wall.