Sunday, January 31, 2016

Night Bell

A night bell is a relic of another time, something you read about in a James Herriot story. I saw this one, along with its sister, the day bell, on the door of a doctor's office in Winchcombe, England.  Is the night bell still used, in these days of cell phones, emails and text messages? I admired the lettering  and  the patination of both doorbells and noticed the white button on the night bell. So many trembling hands had reached out in dim light to press that bell, worried, panicky, praying that the doctor would respond quickly. What stories that bell could tell if it could do more than just ring. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Emergency Chocolate

The arrival of the snowstorm that has engulfed the Eastern United States was not a surprise. We all had plenty of time to stock up on whatever might be considered essential. Bread, milk and toilet paper are at the top of most people's lists. What else would you grab if you expected to be snowed in for a few days? A couple of weeks ago, while checking out at the local grocery store, I saw this cart. For a moment, I drifted off into a reverie about someone with a serious chocolate addiction. Let's be honest. If others weren't standing in line behind you, scrutinizing the contents of your cart, doesn't this look a great way to wait out a blizzard?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Washi Tape

Once an exotic product found only in Japanese shops, most craft stores now carry washi tape. I harbor mixed feelings about my own small stash. I like that it is made from natural fibers and that it comes in so many colors, prints and widths. But its low-tack character leaves me adding glue to the tape and its translucency sometimes stumps me when it comes to an overlapping design. One of my friends reorganized her washi tape collection last week. All those piles of circles reminded me of colorful little tires. That got me thinking about how those circles would produce miles of straight lines. There is some kind of design irony in that.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Treasure Chest

At a flea market in Florida, I happened upon a tiny booth crammed with jewelry. An elderly lady smiled and welcomed me into her carefully coordinated world of design maximalism. Rhinestone pins covered the padded walls and massive piles of necklaces, arranged by color, threatened to slide off the tables. It was like a picture from a children's book; a treasure chest opened on the bottom of the ocean or Ali Baba's cave. Although the proprietor was in frail health, it was obvious that she took joy in both the collecting and selling, and in simply sharing the delight to be found in a string of sparkly beads.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Renwick's New Look

Washington, DC's Renwick Gallery reopened recently after a top-to-bottom renovation. The first exhibit, titled "Wonder," is a big hit. A different installation inhabits each gallery. Janet Echelman"s "1.8" floats across the ceiling of the Grand Salon, suggesting the motion of a tsunami. She has used nets and colored light to elicit the feeling of mass without volume. Children and adults plop themselves down on the carpet and stare up, as if they were outside looking at the stars. There is a sense of calm as the play of light on netting brightens then dims, then gradually brightens again. Go see it yourself, if you can, and definitely plan on lying on the floor.