On the #1 thing i'm looking forward to at Comi-con (is it silly if i day trip to SD just for these?) ~ Rocket World's Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo ~ super armed yet oh so adorable creatures in the tiniest form yet! As blindbox zipper pulls and parachuters! The Zipper Pull Series will be about 1" tall, and including the original three I.W.G. members, there will also be human skulls, for a total of 17 colorways, two of which will be mystery chase figures! The Airborne Series of parachuters will be about 1.5" tall with high quality parachutes, and a total 15 colorways between the three characters, including TWO mystery chase figures! Anyhow, these are just a peek at what is to come at sdcc this year! More pictures on the next page, as well as pics of the making of...
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I was just introduced to Prairie Vodka this morning via email, and although i have yet to try this supposed organic goodness, i'm absolutely smitten with the photography, website, and branding! It's gorgeous! So they really run with the Prairie meets the City theme ~ and have these breathtaking images of a woman on her NY patio with the city behind and the wolves at her side... and then the gentleman in his plush red chair at the fireplace with his bison... and then the subtle details and styling of the logo and site... *swoon*... and then you must see the actual bottle design as well, so sleek and simple. Even the transitions... to have the wolf walk up, and breathe on the screen till it gets foggy and fades into the next page... little silly, but an interesting approach! Is it any wonder that Prairie recently received a gold medal at the 2008 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirit Awards, as well as "Best Overall Design" and "Best Package of Show"? See more screenshots and imagery on the next page... and read more on Prairie Vodka at their site.
P.S. i'm so distracted by the prettiness of the visuals, that i'm saving discussing the organic and kosher aspects of it and the unique partnership between Phillips Distilling Company and a co-op of over 900 Minnesota farmers who are stakeholders in the brand - for a product review to come!
How beautiful are these "hand-foiled plant labels" that design*sponge received from The Modern Gardener? They are the most darling popsicle sticks i've ever seen! Handmade by London artist, Kim Jenkins, they come in 10 packs for 5 pounds a pack.
We can't go Whaleless! The Strychnin Gallery London will be opening the international group show, Whaleless, on July 11th! It contains a fun selection of pieces all reminding us how much we love whales, and that we need to help save them ~ a portion of the sales will be donated to Greenpeace. I've rounded up some of my favorites from the show on the next page for you to preview!
SPORE! SPORN [nsfw]! And all the madness that has flown around the internets over the launch of the Spore Creature Creator. Since the Spore folks asked us to make a creature for the Spore Vote site - no, i'm no Sporelebrity, just a mere More Spore if i ever get my creatures sorted out and sent in to them. On a side note, how funny are their Sporelebrities? You have the webby kids from Digg, Arrington, iJustine, Scoble, Veronica Belmont - and then tv actors like the OC guy, Alias guy, Sabrina the teenage witch, old saved by the bell guy... and stan lee and emeril... Yes yes, i know they have names, but just surveying the group made me laugh this lazy Saturday.
SO, back to the Spore Creatures ~ dan started challenging me to make "cute" ones that weren't what nightmares were made of... and then creatures with "fewest vertebrae possible" (turns out that is 2)... and other silly tasks, so in trying out the high res picture taking and video capturing... check out a few of my silly creatures (and vid!) on the next page... i've also added the video of the f*ck slug, which is a great example of Spore Typography!
Oooooh on things to look forward to, the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City will be showing Carlos Ramos' "Natural History Museum Part I" with the opening on June 28th! It's his first solo show! I've been looking forward to this show for a while, and Boing Boing posted a link to the preview ~ so i had to share after gushing over them for a bit...
For those who don't know - he's a Burbank native with a character animation degree from California Institute of the Arts, and has worked with Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Walt Disney Studios... he was even an art director for one of my favorite cartoons EVER - Dexter's Laboratory! Also worked on Chalkzone, Time Squad, and more... for the ultimate inspiration - check out his sketchbook on his site... on the next page are some of my favorites i'm looking forward to seeing at the show!
Catherine Ledner is known for her incredible animal portraiture that gorgeously paired with beautiful wallpapers and color palettes... in fact she's even been featured twice on .org - her site as #4667 and her NYTimes Slideshow with images from her book "Animal House" as #7345. Now, i'm excited to announce that she's created a new site Catherine's Animals where you can order limited edition prints of these animal portraits!
Each image is available in 4 sizes - 100 of 11"x14" at $250, 20 of 16"x20" at $500, 20 of 20"x24" at $750, and 10 of 32"x40" at $1700. See more of my favorites on the next page!
So. Cute. Adfunture has teamed up with quite the lineup: DITA Eyewear, Staple Design, Suitman, Revelator, Black Cross, GUE and Puma, to create this 100 piece limited edition series of YOKA SC Edition. The 10-inch tall vinyl figure will be put up for sale on June 12th, 2008. $100usd each, and only 100 pieces will be available. All sales will be donated to Red Cross Society of China. It's absolutely beautiful, and a gorgeous gesture on all of their parts to help with the tragedy in China... i particularly like the puma branding on his feet. More images on the next page...
Polyface Farm ~ it was one of the few pit stops we've made here in Virginia while visiting family... and WOW. While i will openly admit, i know little about sustainable agriculture and farms - dan has been raving about this place and their philosophies and systems ever since he read "Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan (where the author actually lived on the farm for 2 weeks to fully understand their incredible process!)
"At Polyface, we want every animal to eat as much salad (green material) as its full genetic potential will allow"
Knowing i can't do the full story justice, consider this post a launching board to poke those of you who are remotely interested to find out more... but here's my quick version. First thing to grab me driving up was definitely the logo ~ such a cute entrance sign! With the fish in the chicken in the cow in the tree! Poly-face certainly makes a lot of sense with its multifaceted farming. Essentially the beauty of this farm is its earth/life centered approach, which thrives on a fantastic sense of balance achieved through understanding what these animals and plants need to thrive year round ~ instead of optimizing for speed or fattening things up, they've managed to create a sustainable farm in harmony. Most of their species are in a rotation - to keep the cows from overgrazing and consuming their own waste, to give the chickens a chance to pick through and find all the best grubs as well as feed, to turn pigs into "Pigaerators" (tasty corn ferments encourage them to aerate all fertilizer for the farm naturally), water that is collected in their various ponds and wells from winter runoff keep them self-reliant, and so much more i can't even begin to explain. And from a design perspective, i was fascinated reading about the ways they utilize mobile electric fences and Eggmobiles to facilitate this whole process!
Bottom line? The eggs, sausage, and bacon i tasted were truly incredibly tasty and worth the drive (if you go out there, def get the apple juice too, we thought the jug was HUGE, but it disappeared in about a day - who knew even the toddlers would love it so much?)... the family running the farm was intelligent, kind, and passionate about every aspect of their process, and eager to share their wisdom. If you make it to these parts, you definitely want to roadtrip over and try some of the goods - since they are only available there, and in select restaurants nearby! So, continue your journey, read more about Polyface Farm here!
i was out wandering far out in the fields visiting some chickens and their adorable, huge guard dog ~ and got caught in a thunderstorm, which left me completely drenched in a little green sundress ~ so not as many pictures as i would have liked to show you on the next page - but i was a bit preoccupied with the wetness and protecting the camera! Still - some fun ones! (and big thanks to Robert Frysinger for contributing some of his pics as well.)
Have you noticed that when i go on "vacation" and attempt to take a break, it doesn't exactly mean a complete break from posting (versus other sites)? Rather, it's more like you get dragged along on the break with me ~ and get to see "vacation" content of sorts? Well i hope you don't mind, but here's one more to amuse you!
So i've been in Virginia the last few days ~ Earlysville/Charlottesville to be precise ~ and its been interesting, i never thought i'd find vermont so designy and inspiring ~ but Virginia, not so much. It has however been an incredible place to run into TONS of critters of all shapes and sizes ~ from gaggles and gaggles of canadian goslings/geese, deers - eating and running through the forest, a huge Northern Black Racer - Coluber constrictor (it was getting attacked by mocking birds in the driveway when we got back!), an awesome little toad, turtles (big and little! attacking a half fish), tons of fish, a heron, caught some frogs eggs, put some reservoir bryozoans in the fish tank, chipmunks, squirrels, bunnies, blue tailed skinks, beaver dams (but no beavers...), chickens, cows, and other livestock... and much more as we went on a canoe trip on the reservoir, little hikes and walks, and just finding things in the yard!
I think i'm also getting sick possibly, and/or ready to get back to socal (its been about 3 weeks away now i think)... so i wanted to do more posts for you tonight, but really just having a hard time staying awake and upright at the moment. So next best thing? I thought perhaps you'd like a little photo series on the next page to get a feel for what Virginia has been like for me, and how pretty and nature filled the trip has been! Enjoy! Theoretically i'll be driving up to Washington DC and hopping a plane to LA on the 3rd...
As if you don't already think i'm strange enough ~ that NY trip for design week, which branched off into a roadtrip up to play in the woods in vermont... has been extended a few more days, and from vermont, we kind of decided to spontaneously drive down to Earlysville, Virginia... which is where i'm now posting from! If there's one thing i've learned/realized during this little random adventure, it's that for me, inspiring design details pop up nearly everywhere everyday in my life, and whether that's at ICFF or while driving for 10+ hours straight down New England... design is omnipresent, and what really keeps me going.
On that note, my silly exciting find of the day yesterday was after about 8-9 hours of straight driving, stuck in INSANE traffic in NY that was moving at about 20 mph for over 2 hours, and i found myself staring at large semis and their various mud flaps and signage and the typography on them... and then i saw it. Mudflaps with FLYING MOOSE! Forget unicorns and pegasuses... flying moose! I forced dan to try and take a pic of it with his iphone (which i will have to bother him later to get it off)... the one we saw was like the one in the bottom left, it seemed friendlier than what appears to be the newer version on their site now.
So continuing on the Jackalope theme of north american mythological creatures... we sat in traffic discussing the idea of flying moose, and then reading up on the background of the Manac Trucking/Trailer Manufacturer which had this awesome creature as their logo. Turns out that this magnificent creature comes from a native american legend! Very cute tale, read it on the next page, and also see a picture i found of the statue of the Manac flying moose logo!
Super cute prints just showed up in my inbox... and since we seem to be quite the bunch of animal lovers/biologists, i couldn't resist sharing these Three Potato Four's "Bird Survey" prints by Matt Cipov and "Gnatcatcher with Nest + Eggs" large print. See more images on the next page as usual...
NOTCOT Note: I finally got to meet up with Anna and Sean of Sub-Studio when i was in NY, and they are even more fun than i could have imagined! Definitely NOTCOT people, and i'm so excited to have her as a contributor! (I'm not so used to the meeting people on the internets, still a bit odd to me for some reason?)... anyhow! Here's a fun new post from Anna!
Jean did a round-up recently of bird feeders and I wanted to add some great bird houses to the mix. I love the Nidusa birdhouse by Art. Lebedev - the faceted shape is beautiful! If I had some outdoor space, I would definitely hang one of those up to attract some little birdie friends. A few more feeders are after the jump!
Jackalope spotting! I was wandering into town (St. Johnsbury, VT) on Memorial Day, and thanks to a local town parade, i detoured across the river, around the town, across the tracks, and back again - to get to the one open diner to get some breakfast... upon doing so, i ran across Caplan's Army Store - where i couldn't resist popping in to see what they had (and i picked up a black machete, work shirt, socks - i was packed with mostly heels and dresses for NYC city life on this trip...) And low and behold, i found the CUTEST jackalope i've yet to lay eyes on ~ while it does suck that these cute little creatures died to make this... at least the poor little guy is memorialized forever?
For those who don't know about the legendary Jackalopes... crazy jack rabbits with antlers - rumors are that it is "a hybrid of the pygmy-deer and a species of "killer-rabbit""... basically it is the american version of a chimera or griffin... and thanks to taxidermy, photo manipulation, and photoshop - MANY variations of this critter can be found across the country... (read up on your Jackalope lore) I've seen quite a few as a kid, but they tended to lean towards the large and ferocious style... THIS however was the CUTEST woodland creature infant version of a Jackalope! See more pictures of the street, store, and wall mount of this little guy on the next page!
Finally, an alternative to paint chips and paint swatches to help you decide what paint to go with... at the Hardcore: New Finnish Design Exhibition in the Meatpacking District (i think this was the best exhibition i saw this trip), i was introduced to the work of Finnish group, Pentagon Design, and their great "Touching" Exhibition concept for presenting paint textures for Tikkurila Paints. It was hard not to go straight over to the large farm animals in various colors/glosses/etc... and impossible not to play with the magnets on the magnetically painted horse!
From the Pentagon Design press release: "Who can resist the urge to touch these near-life-size domestic animals, reined into modeling the diverse selection of Tikkurila paint coatings? Horses, pigs, cows, and calves have been given makeovers with surfaces to match their natures. You can feel the character of the coatings in your fingertips as you pet and stroke the nostalgic mammalian models. Beneath the feeling lie hard facts: the various options for covering a resin surface not only look different, they feel different. There's magnetic paint, textured coating, tinted light putty and chalkboard paint, oil putty, alkyd paint. There are pearl and silver glazes, done in a lace pattern. This urban petting zoo for the design world is amazingly illustrative, both tactilely and visually."
More images on the next page! (From both the Hardcore exhibition as well as their press images.)
There is nothing like a yellow box with a ball on a string hanging off of it and the hint of a secret door... it might as well have screamed "PULL ME". So we did. And i couldn't stop laughing when out popped a porcelain cuckoo bird offering me a condom in its beak. So i let go, then pulled it again. Perhaps i'm still a 5 year old, but it was amusing! Susanne Hangaard's Cucoon ~ silly play on words, craziest, yet most adorable condom dispenser i've seen.
Now just imagine being right in the moment, and as your partner goes to reach for a condom, instead they pull a string and out *pops* a porcelain cuckoo? Would it kill the mood? Help you fall faster for the playful design geek? Personally, i'm not sure how i'd react... other than a fit of giggles. My only complaint, why can't it refill itself? Teach the bird to get its own condoms... its a bit high maintenance to have to refill it one by one... also, it could make for a fun business card dispenser (if only it could refill itself!). More pics on the next page!
Finally! The Vitamin I.V. Plant Pot ~ self watering via I.V. bag... is available for purchase! It sure seems to be larger than i initially imagined, and is priced at 160 pounds. It's available in classic white and limited edition black and included with the lightweight fiberglass plant pot is a height adjustable metal rod, a refillable I.V. bag and a flow regulator that allows you to set watering rates to suit your plant. See close ups on the next page...
On more sneak previews of ICFF launches, how adorable is Hanno the Gorilla? "From the deepest jungles comes Hanno the Gorilla! Like Hanno the Navigator, the Greek voyager who discovered gorillas 2,500 years ago, your Hanno is brave, strong, and curious. Hanno's powerful hardwood frame can hold many poses. His elastic-band muscles and durable wood limbs make him almost impervious to breakage. Hanno cannot fly and is vaguely afraid of heights. Hanno is made from sustainably harvested new-growth beech wood." He is the brainchild of David Weeks, and will be available from Areaware's new AREAWARE jr. (their new children's division) starting in Sept 08. Check out a close up of this guy on the next page!
Random spontaneous research of the morning - staring out the window at the finches that keep hopping along the sill and pecking at the window right in front of me, i started day dreaming about bird feeder designs, and as a result started hunting down unique bird feeders on NOTCOT.org - which naturally lead me to scouring the ends of the internet to see what else was out there. Here are 14 of the coolest things i found that don't meet your standard/gawdy options... also i'm kind of wondering whether a bird feeder could be a fun next project for NOTConcept?
p.s. like all roundups, click the images to find out more!
On interesting PR emails i received today, this one was pretty funny... i have no idea whether this was a contrived spot, it does seem plausible it could have been an accident, but none the less it has that Blair Witch/Cloverfield panicked "attack of the crabs!" feeling to it... and it's a fun friday video (embedded on the next page for your viewing pleasure!)... So what do you think? And does it work? Behind the scenes footage of Discovery Channel shows are definitely fascinating... this one of the Crab accident is from the Discovery Channel show, Deadliest Catch.
As i'm sure you know by now, yesterday i disappeared to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on my spontaneous roadtrip up california. Normally i'd think on a weds/thurs this should be a breeze, avoiding the crowds, etc... but no. I seem to have overlooked that it is spring break week for most kids, and it was INSANE! None the less, we had a good time oooooohing and aaaaaaahing and remembering why i really need to take more random excursions and maybe get to some scuba diving all over the world again... (hey, i'm sure i can find inspiring things to post down there too!). Additionally Dan took over my Canon 40d and showed me how its really done (as you may have noticed, i'm more a shoot fast, photoshop later kind of girl, whereas he's more of a technical, play with settings, take your time kind of guy...) - so here's a post *mostly* of his incredible pics of the inspiring jellies (and some fish, and some crazy splashing, and a bit more).
But before we jump into the pics ~ anyone in the bay area (or california and neighboring states that can just pop over here) ~ you creatives HAVE to come check out the Jellies: Living Art exhibit... they put the jellyfish tanks in these overly ornate frames, and have them in the context of the works of calder, pollock, chihuly, and more. Its really fascinating - not to mention absolutely mesmerizing - i shot some video i'll add on when i have time... but for now... To the pics below!
Rumor has it i've been a bit of a workaholic the last few months, and lacking at indulging my inherent wanderlust... so today was supposed to be a quick drive up to SF from LA with dan, but one thing led to another and it became a spontaneous roadtrip/adventure - leading to everything from lunch in a danish town (solvang) - trying danish pancake balls (aebleskiver) - feeding ostriches and emus - a giant tree stump turned treehouse/pirateship on the side of the road in a tile/bricklaying yard - 1797 Mission San Miguel Arcangel - driving by Hearst Castle - seeing beaches filled with elephant seals - cruising up the coast through state parks on cliff hanging roads to big sur - stopping off to admire the view constantly - buying 99 cent chips for $1.79 (cliff view markup?) - seeing otters playing so far below they looked like tiny dots - sunset in Big Sur - martinis and dinner watching the sun fully disappear - and now i'm in Monterey Bay in a luscious king sized bed overlooking Cannery Row and the ocean as i try to get this post up as my photo excuse as to why the posting and editing was a bit quiet today.
Tomorrow ~ Monterey Bay Aquarium and then back to regularly scheduled working... but for now, catch up on the roadtrip in pics first (as well as a full map of where i've been and where i'm headed)?
Are elephants the new steadycams? Or the new paparazzi? (elephrazzi?) Are spy cam technologies finally being put to good use to capture incredible new nature footage? Does a tree trunk rendition of R2D2 really slip under a tigers radar as it rolls around the jungle floor?
Apparently YES! A three-part BBC One series: Tiger - Spy in the Jungle, which is narrated by Sir David Attenborough is the latest creation of John Downer who has been recording footage over a period of 3 years in the Pench National Park in India... using some ingenious "trunk-cams", which allowed the team to follow four newborn tiger cubs through adulthood. Although i've captured a bunch of screenshots after the jump (you never know when videos might disappear off the web and we have nothing to look back on!)... you MUST check out the videos over on the BBC page. For our lucky UK readers - the first programme of Tiger- Spy in the Jungle will be shown on BBC One on Sunday 30 March at 2000 GMT
While at CA Boom V, the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery had a booth with a mesmerizing series of Butterfly Installations by Paul Villinski. Apparently he is quite the recontextualist of found objects... transforming found gloves into dresses and comforters, wheelchairs and radio flyers into planes, and my favorite - beer cans into butterflies which when installed appear to be flying and fluttering with every breeze. Villinski's site describes this collection: "These pieces explore themes of transformation and recovery through the metamorphosis of crushed beer cans from the streets of New York into flocks of realistically crafted butterflies." See close ups of the CA Boom installation and others after the jump!
Inspiration comes not only in all shapes and sizes, but from literally anywhere... and all of us at NOTCOT have a particular fascination with the inspiration from nature (ok some more than others, since Justine picks nature over design with her phd studies!)... So when we heard about the new deep sea species found in Antarctica, and then found these high res images and video of them, we swooned. And realized we HAD to post them. Here's what we found out from the Australian Antarctic Division: "The return of the last of three Antarctic marine science research vessels marks the culmination of one of Australia's most ambitious International Polar Year projects, a census of life in the icy Southern Ocean known as the Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census (CEAMARC). Australia's Aurora Australis and collaborating vessels L'Astrolabe (France) and Umitaka Maru (Japan) have returned from the Southern Ocean, their decks overflowing with a vast array of ocean life including a number of previously unknown species collected from the cold waters near the East Antarctic land mass." Some of the shapes and curves of these are just incredible... don't those tunicates look like glassy hearts? Lots of imagery after the jump!