Category Archives: Design

Creative Juice #38

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Creative Juice #38

Nine articles, mostly art-related.

Guest Post: Super (Mechanical) Models

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Thanks to Donna from My OBT for this fabulous guest post.

My OBT

u 0 Ugears

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G is for Garbage: The Story of the Landfill Harmonic

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G is for Garbage: The Story of the Landfill Harmonic

You may have heard of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, Paraguay. This YouTube video, posted in 2012, has been viewed almost seven million times:

Cateura is the site of a huge garbage dump. The 2500 families who live there make a living by scavenging the dump for materials they can sell.

All of their need come from discards. Even their homes are built from garbage.

Favio Chavez, an environmental engineer employed by the dump, observed thousands of children who lived their lives surrounded by garbage. And drugs.

Wanting to provide a ray of hope, Chavez volunteered to teach kids to play musical instruments. He started with a number of donated instruments, which quickly ran out.

Chavez justly gets credit for his vision. He must be an accomplished musician, but I was unable to find any information about his background. For sure, he is an excellent and inspiring teacher, as evidenced by the accomplishments of his students.

And the children! Their dedication to practice shows in the way their performances shine.

A documentary about the orchestra, called Landfill Harmonic, came out in 2016:

In my opinion, the unrecognized angel of the orchestra is Nicola Gomez. A carpenter by trade, “Don Cola” Gomez is who Chavez turned to when he needed more instruments for his students. Could he fashion some violins from materials from the landfill?

Gomez had never seen or heard a violin before. But somehow, he made one out of baking sheets, pallet wood, a fork, and old wires. And then he made some more. Soon, he branched out to other kinds of instruments. Trumpets made from drainage pipes. Drums with x-ray film heads.

Amazingly, despite the humble materials he used to build the instruments, they sound remarkably good. It’s not easy to hand-make instruments that will play in tune with other instruments. Especially without specialized training. The man is an acoustical genius.

60 Minutes produced this segment about the Recycled Orchestra:

I recently visited the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, and some of the Cateura instruments are on display there (click on the small pictures to enlarge and read captions):

Guest Post: Off the Wall

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Guest Post: Off the Wall

Thanks to Donna from MyOBT for this gorgeous guest post.
We’re planning a remodel. Do I dare try this?

My OBT

San Bartolo Medallion Stencil by RoyalDesignStencils San Bartolo Medallion Stencil by RoyalDesignStencils

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Let There Be Light

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Let There Be Light

When I was in college, mood lighting consisted of a candle stuck in the mouth of a wine bottle. (Preferably a chianti bottle, the kind with straw tied around it, and covered in the the drips of many different colored melted candles. Check Pinterest if you can’t picture it, but you have to have a Pinterest account to be able to see this link.)

By the time I got married, one of the classiest gifts you could possibly give someone was a silver candelabra like this one:Silver

Whole aisles in supermarkets and department stores were devoted to tapered candle displays, featuring every imaginable length and color. Today, nary a taper is to be found, except in specialty stores. Today’s candles are pillars, votives, and tea lights.

I visited one of my favorite art sites, Etsy, to see what sort of candelabras are available, and most of them are described as vintage. (For purchasing information about the examples pictured, click on the links below the photographs. Click on small images to enlarge them.)

Left: Antique; Right: Art Nouveau

I love these two Mid-Century Modern ones. Left: Articulated; Right: 1960s

Left: Black filigree; Right: Black Dansk

Left: Wall branch; Right: Driftwood

Left: Wavy brass; Right: Brass trio

Left: Cherub twins; Right: Cherub double holder

Left: Chrome; Right: Glass

Flower

This one reminds me of Capodimonte ceramic flowers, so popular in the 70s and 80s.

Left: Weightlifter frog; Right: Tulips

Himalaya salt

My first impression was that these look like glazed donuts, but they’re actually made of Himalaya salt.

Left: Mercury glass; Right: Steel

Mexican

Beautiful Mexican tree of life.

Roccoco

Scary Rococo candelabra. Seeing this flashed me back to a super-baroque double vase my mother had. I haven’t thought about it in decades.

Left: Ornate; Right: Twisty

Left: White with onyx; Left: Wooden

Trees

Light in the forest. Look at the lovely shadow pictures it throws.

What about you–do you have any pretty (or ugly, or unusual) candleholders at home? Which is your favorite? Share with us in the comments below.

 

Guest Post: 4 Reasons To Keep An Idea Journal by Nicole Bianchi

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Many thanks to Nicole Bianchi for her permission to post this excerpt:

Leonardo da Vinci. Marie Curie.

Leonardo

Leonardo da Vinci

Thomas Edison. Beatrix Potter.

What do all four of these people have in common?

Not only were they highly motivated and creative individuals, but they also all kept an idea journal.

An idea journal is quite different from a diary. You use an idea journal not to record all of the things that happened to you throughout the day, but to jot down daily goals, achievements, opinions, observations, or bits of inspiration. If you’re working on a project, you can fill the idea journal with updates on your progress, thoughts on how to improve the project, and anything else that motivates you.

A writer’s idea journal might be filled with ideas for stories or articles or blog posts (no need to fear writer’s block when you have an idea journal). An artist’s might contain sketches or inspirations for drawings. Ultimately, the idea journal exists as a private place to plant your ideas and watch them grow.

Here are four reasons why you should keep an idea journal.

  1. An Idea Journal Helps You Remember & Develop Ideas

design_for_a_flying_machine

Leo’s design for a flying machine

Among Leonardo da Vinci’s many achievements, he was a brilliant artist, mathematician, engineer, scientist, and inventor.

In his notebooks, he filled pages and pages with sketches, scientific diagrams, ideas for new inventions, and reflections on art.

Because da Vinci was left-handed, he found it easier to write from right to left. That means his notes can only be read in a mirror. To make his writings even more private, he often employed a kind of shorthand and didn’t worry about perfect penmanship or proper punctuation.

What he did care about was carefully recording his lab notes and his many ideas for new inventions: everything from a flying machine to a submarine prototype.

Da Vinci’s notebooks ensured that he never forgot any of his ideas.

If you write down every great idea that comes into your head right away like da Vinci did, you will not have to worry about forgetting an idea ever again.

Further, the action of writing down an idea forces you to think more deeply about it.

The idea journal helps you clarify your thoughts and express them more clearly.

Note from Andrea: Does reading this excerpt make you want read the other three reasons to keep an idea journal? Read the full article.

Creative Juice #27

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Creative Juice #27

Fifteen inspiring articles to uplift you:

Creative Juice #24

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Creative Juice #24

Fourteen inspiring articles to send you to your creative work station.

Creative Juice #21

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Creative Juice #21

It’s hard to be creative with the holidays looming, right? Here are a dozen articles to get you in the mood:

A Christmas Roundup

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A Christmas Roundup

Some of my favorite internet offerings for the season:

  • When I was a girl, I loved to watch Magoo’s Christmas Carol, an annual television special retelling the Dickens classic through a popular cartoon character of the time. I learned the songs by heart, and I’d sing along. Sadly, I haven’t seen it telecast in decades, but here’s a clip:
  • My current favorite Christmas movie is Elf, especially this scene:
  • During my childhood, Bing Crosby’s Christmas album continuously played on our record player. Here’s one of the songs:
  • Do you sew? Do you need ideas for a couple of last-minute gifts? Some of these patterns are free.
  • Also, some free ornament patterns to sew.
  • Read Christmas essays. Perhaps you’ll want to submit one yourself.
  • Are you simply drained? Are you looking for a fun way to celebrate that doesn’t require hours of preparation?
  • Some over-the-top decorating ideas.
  • Print out these unique gift tags.
  • Immortalize your pets on your Christmas tree.
  • Christmas bucket list.
  • I haven’t made these Christmas pretzels, so I can’t guarantee they’re as good as they look.
  • I didn’t make these Krispie Treat Christmas Balls. Let me know how they turn out.
  • Holiday ideas for people who’d rather see pictures than read directions.
  • Do you have way more Christmas ornaments than will fit on your tree? Here’s what you can do with them.
  • What? You don’t have your Christmas cards yet? Here are a bunch you can make with your kids.
  • And for pure silliness, you can’t beat the Muppets: