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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Grafter: Frederique Morrel

Hi Everyone, welcome back to my Grafters series. If you missed the two previous posts I featured Shannon South of reMade USA and Carolina Fontoura Alzaga. Today I would like to introduce you to Frederique Morrel.

I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of taxidermy. It just seems a bit gross and gory. But that was before I discovered Frederique Morrel˙s marvelous work. Her sense of humor gets me initially, and then the upcycling element or "decycling," as she puts it, grabs my attention next. I so enjoy her work. It makes me giggle and stand in awe. She's truly an original!

Vintage tapestries are gathered by family and friends to fit fiberglass taxidermy molds that have been injected with expanding foam. Realistic details such as teeth, tongue, hooves and ears are finished with resin or latex and then airbrushed. Real antlers, discovered by her "horny" husband, are fixed to the head and then the entire mold is covered with the vintage tapestries.

The special ingredients and materials she uses tell stories of simple and ideal happiness. These enchanting heirlooms have elevated taxidermy to a new level and I would love to have one of her works in any part of my home! Hope you are as taken with her as I am!

This is Frederique Morrel.  She began this quest after being troubled by the fact that her grandmother's needlework was discarded when she passed away. Ever since, she has been obsessed with the idea of making them come back to life, obsessed with the redemption of her grandmother's ardent work.

And this is Aaron Levin.  He is the guardian of the Frederique Morrel brand. He is often on the lookout for rare tapestries.  And together this power couple has taken on the task of re-enchanting the world. And, in my opinion, the stories told through these marvelous works of art have more than accomplished that goal.

Every piece is one-of-a-kind.

Meet Tony and Eva.

Images courtesy Frederique Morrel.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Want It Wednesdays: Out of the Blue

Photos courtesy Etsy, Quench Metalworks, Brooklyn Retro and Gardenhouse

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eco Art Youth Recycling Contest

Unfortunately, I just learned of this a few moments ago and the entry deadline is today but, I had to let you know about a great event shared with me by a reader after reading today's Grafter post. Eco Art Youth Recycling Contest, to quote the reader that shared this with me," This is where young grafters are at work!"

According to their web page the Rodeo Austin's Eco Art Youth Recycling Contest gives students the chance to revitalize recycled items to create a work of art, a functional piece or anything else that showcases innovation through re-used materials.

Here are a few of the contest details:

•  Eligibility: Open to any Texas student 5-18 years of age. No school or organization affiliation required.
•  Individual Divisions: 5-8 years of age, 9-13 & 14-18
•  Team Divisions: 14-18 years of age, minimum of 2 or maximum of 6 students per team
•  Entry fee: $10 per entry
•  Entry deadline: February 15, 2011

The entries will be displayed March 24th from 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM. I'll have to get back with everyone about the location.

 Photos courtesy Rodeo Austin and Rodeo Austin's Eco Art Youth Recycling Contest

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Grafter: Carolina Fontoura Alzaga

If you missed my first post on my new Grafter series featuring those folks that have a talent for making something out of nothing, no biggy, you can go back and read it laterLast week I featured Shannon South of reMade USA and today I would like to introduce you to Carolina Fontoura Alzaga a  multidisciplinary artist with a penchant for re-purposing castoff materials.

Carolina Fontoura Alzaga upcycled lighting designs are a step above the rest. At first glance I thought that maybe one of the components looked a little bit like a bicycle rim and then slowly I started to realize that the beads were not beads but bike chains! Inspired by Victorian chandeliers, DIY culture and bikes, the bike chain chandeliers designed and made by Carolina start out as anything but artistic but end up exquisite works of art.

She combines the elegance of a Victorian age with discarded bike parts resulting in a stellar example of grafter art, as well as upcycling done right.

If you are a Grafter or know of someone who is please get in touch with links and photos of your creations.

Photos courtesy Carolina Fontoura Alzaga and Re-Nest.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Image courtesy Wikimedia

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Friday, February 11, 2011

My Little Happy Place: Would you ever?

Many thanks to Alison over at My Little Happy Place!

Simply Brilliant: Local Natives and la Blogoteque

One of the best things I've ever heard said about music is this; Music is what feelings sound like. Before you get all "wow she's profound" about me - it's a quote, I'm just borrowing it. But isn't it true? Music produces such pleasure for me and my family that it would be difficult to live fully without it around our house. My "indie" children, Olivia and Noah, are both marvelous singers and my niece Morgan, plays the piano with élan. Noah strums the strings off his guitar and visitors to our home are subject to impromptu "jam sessions" on a regular basis.

Recently, my daughter introduced me to a marvelous band called Local Natives an "indie rock" band based in Los Angeles. Their debut album, Gorilla Manor, was first released in the UK in November 2009, and later released in the U.S. in February of 2010. According to Wikipedia, their sound has been described as "afropop-influenced guitars with hyperactive drumming and hooky three-part harmonies." Clash Music has also described their style as psych-folk, or modern worldly folk. All I know is that I like 'em and I hope you do, too.

So, here's the video Olivia shared with me - it's a magical video from la Blogoteque filmed in Paris and posted on their video series called Take Away Show. La Blogoteque describes these shows as a weekly film session with an artist or a group who has been invited to play in the city, a bar, the street, a park, an apartment, with the passage of incidents, hesitations or those moments of madness. The videos are free of mounting cosmetics, with a gross capturing the moment, filming music as it comes, without preparation and without tricks. This video was directed by Nathaniel Le Scouarnec. Members of the band are Taylor Rice, Kelcey Ayer, Ryan Hahn, Andy Hamm, and Matt Frazier.

Watch the Take Away Show Here.

Local Natives will be preforming in Austin on Mar 11th at Stubb's Barbeque. Off to get tickets!

Images, film and sound courtesy of Nat Le Scouarnec, Sound by JB Aubonnet and François Clos, Mix by JB Aubonnet, Production Management by Hedwige Hénain and was produced by Chryde for la Blogotheque. The song title is Who Knows Who Cares and is off of their Gorilla Manor album.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Want It Wednesdays: Caught Me Red-handed

Photos courtesy Shrimpton Couture, Etsy, Joe Vintage and The Vintage Supply Company.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Grafter: Shannon South

In the English language we have a several descriptive expressions to suggest a talent for making something out of nothing; you know, those people who can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and turn convention on its ear.  In Italian the phrase is creare qualcosa dal nulla.

In the urban dictionary these folks are referred to as grafters and are defined as follows: A Grafter is a person who sets his stall out and proceeds to market and trade with whatever currency is available . . . a creative person who is capable of turning a blank canvas into a masterpiece . . .  a free enterprise, a freelance entrepreneur, a freedom fighter who lives to work.  A Grafter controls his own destiny. 

The honorable profession of grafting is a way of life. To be a grafter you need to be self-motivated, a go-getter.  Well, as luck (and a lot of snooping around on the web) would have it, I have found a lot of these go-getters and decided to start a weekly post called Grafter to showcase these marvelously talented people and their work.  Today I would like to introduce you to Shannon South the artisan and brainchild behind reMade USA.

reMade USA is a design company founded by Shannon, that upcycles used materials to make one-of-a-kind accessories. She says her mission is to create beautiful, long-lasting, well-made products that positively impact the environment, our users and our makers. All products are hand-crafted in her studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.

This is her marvelous Doily Pendant Lamp

"Every bag we make at reMade USA is made by hand," says South.  And she not kidding - You've got to check out this extremely edited-down photo journal that tracks the steps taken to make this amazing bag below.  The amount of work that went into making this bag exhausts me just to look at!

You can become a fan on Shannon's Facebook and check out tweets on her Twitter, too!

If you are a Grafter or know of someone who is please get in touch with links and photos of your creations.

Photos courtesy Shannon South, reMade USA and Inhabitat.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm a Good Fork

I looked in the mirror the other morning - after wiping a clear spot in all the caked-on tooth paste splatters and the reflection I saw looked like Chris Farley with a hemorrhoid.  That is to say - I don't look my best first thing in the morning.  But who does? Right?  But here's the thing, I don't improve as the day goes on - I just kinda ripen, if you know what I'm sayin'.

So, this year I've pledged to improve a lot of things, my health, my mind, my body . . . well, you get the idea.  Anyway, one of the things that I've decided to do is learn Italian.  I think it is a beautiful language and it's been on my "To-do list" since my sophomore year in college.  I mean since there are so many Italians in Texas and I thought it would be nice to be able to converse with them . . . . . huh? . . . . Exactly! 

To give you a rough idea of the pace at which I tackle my "To-do lists," I'd like to share a little snippet of my daily activities.  The other day I found a letter that I had written to a dear friend concerning my daughter that I'd forgotten to mail.  I figured it just needed a little updating to send, so I steamed it open and after "Olivia is . . ." I whited-out "teething" and wrote in "driving."  I think, perhaps, this particular instance speaks volumes in describing my whole being.  Just to be clear, I'm what comes after the snail when referring to pace.

So, what was I saying?  Oh yes . . . . Italian . . .

I bring up the Italian for two reasons;  (No. 1) Yum!  and here I refer to the men and the food . . . . Am I right?!  and (No. 2)  I'm, as they say in Italian, una buona forchetta - which means that I'm a good eater or rather, quite literally translates to - I'm a good fork.  Please pay particular attention to the "r" in the translation - because without it I sound a little slutty.  And to be honest, I have been a bit of a food floozy lately and in 2010 my diet would have probably fallen on the slovenly side of things more than anything else.  I'm not suggesting that I'm a glutton, but in my family gravy is considered a beverage.

So, it's back to gym with me.  But this time I'm taking the whole family and we are gonna get healthy and in shape and all that junk.  Things have been going really well so far.  As a matter of fact, I've already been to the gym three times this week and yesterday I was named "Miss Varicose Vein" for my region.  Last year I shared stories of Naked Nana and others, but this year my gym stories will probably revolve more around the frightening fact that while I was asleep and away from the gym I went out of style. 

So, I think I will close this post the same way I closed last year's rant on exercise and getting in shape.  Though none of this has anything whatsoever to do with the "vintage" or the "inspirational" premise of this blog, my reasoning behind sharing this is to tell you that there are muscles in my body that have not been flexed since the last Bush administration . . . and now they HURT!! . . . and I feel VINTAGE!

Image courtesy CafePress

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

My House Is Staring At Me

There's something you should know about me, I have a shortage of personal restraint.  I can turn away from the computer, a book, or some task that I need to finish and see it.  Paint me, my bathroom walls so clearly pleads.  Pull me up, my nappy-seen-better-days carpet begs me.  My entire house, inside and out, can stare at me so intently sometimes, like it's on the verge of speech.  I haven't yet learned how to arrange my thoughts in that reasonable way other folks do.  Thoughtful arrangements like;  maybe you should finish the last project before you begin a new one.  Or, perhaps, you should evaluate your abilities before taking on a major renovation single-handedly. 

I have over the past year, begun and not yet finished a stair redo and a master bath renovation without having the slightest idea when I might finish them.  So, the only logical thing in my mind is to start another project . . . . . and for those of you who know my battles with Do-it-yourself Deficit Disorder, I enthusiastically invite you to STICK A SOCK IN IT! and play along.

My new project is my garage, also known as the dumping ground and my storage unit.  The mere thought of my over-stuffed garage makes my hands tremble and my mouth go dry from sensory over-load.  But no more, because I've begun AND finished the cleaning out process and am moving on to the patching, painting, and transforming part of the job.  So, I'd like to share a few photos to give you an idea of what I started with, where I'm goin' and measures I've taken to get organized.

See you soon with the finished project . . . . and for those readers who are skeptical . . . again, I enthusiastically invite you to STICK A SOCK IN IT! and have a little faith that I'll actually finish this one!

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