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Fall fruits and vegetables at roadside stand near Greenfield, Massachusetts, ca. 1939 (via)

Out of nowhere the smell was there. I’m close to the river that connects three countries and stopped a fourth in its tracks. Yet what I smell is fruit, not water, mingling with that unmistakable sweetly odour of a curated room.

Object number 1004046

La Nature e l’Arte del Numero

Fibonacci had observed that an endless numerical sequence, with each number arrived at by summing the two preceding numbers, appeared to correspond to the number of petals on a flower, the number of seeds in a fruit, and the number of offspring produced by a pair of rabbits.

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc.

I’m waiting for the multiplication to stop so I may go back to that room on the riverbank.

clip

Office supplies clipped to a drying frame hold up a retired washcloth with clothing pegs.
Photography: Barbara Hovens

While reading that great source of ideas Core77, I came across an article about an incredibly simple and versatile item.

Italian manufacturer IPAC has come up with something simply called Le Clippe. Based on IPAC‘s signature product — the good old stainless steel clothes pin — it comes in 60 different variations. All of them clip with all sorts of different tasks in mind. The possibilities are dazzling.

I love the idea and the beautiful utilitarian design, and see something that could easily be adapted from already existing clips, be it aforementioned stainless steel clothes pins, or hair sectioning clips, office or artist supplies, or maybe even paperclips or bobby pins.

Two foldback clips and pin board tacks not only fasten a poster to wall without causing any damage to the print, but also hold a more topical note.
Photography: Barbara Hovens

These could work for all sorts of situations, and may even help people who are limited in their physical or mental capacity and/or those for whom readily available products do not cater their specific needs.

wear

A spread from (un)FASHION. The photo on the left shows a wristwatch with a picture of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. On the right the arm of a man holding a bunch of sticks, possibly arrows. The arm appears to be coated in clay. Around the wrist a repurposed mackerel tin.
Via: Tibor Kalman, (un)Fashion photography, and the design of everyday life

Most of my books are still in storage. Sometimes out of the blue, I am reminded of one of them.

Maira and Tibor Kalman‘s (un)FASHION (2000) explores the weight of what we wear in improvised dress and space. Images facing each other, in wordless dialogue. The word contiguity comes to mind.

Consumer culture is contradiction in terms.

—Tibor Kalman

Recently I read an article about fast fashion in which women working in a clothing factory in India commented that people in the West must be oblivious of how to wash their garments. Why else would they need so many brand new clothes all of the time?

The wonderful thing about memory is that memory is always wrong. The factory workers may have never said that. The book may or may not be wordless. All photos were taken by the Kalman’s on their travels. Is that true? I’ll know when I can go leave the city and open those boxes.

read

Photography: Barbara Hovens

Slowly going through the motions of making my bathroom a pleasant stay. I made this for the bath reader in my house.

A variation with longer string could work for magazines if you would sling the periodical through the loop.

Photography: Barbara Hovens

A book will be the only object with text in the bathroom, but not visible from the shower, as I found that a text-free space clears the mind and creates room to come up with unexpected ideas and solutions.

Thanks to Nomita from your DIY family for the reminder and simple instructions.

mise

Sol LeWitt (via Art Miami magazine)

Like so many I am spending more time at home than usual. Small things, broken things, things I barely remember owning me, things that haven not found their home yet have started to stick out.

In an attempt to corral these things and structure these thoughts I ended up at How to Organize the Kitchen the French Way. Almost like an afterthought it mentions mise en place, a carefully applied methodology used by professional chef cooks that centers work, tools, hands, and mind.

[…] one’s approach to an environment becomes a feature of the environment itself.

Interestingly it has found its way far beyond the chef’s kitchen. In Mise en place: setting the stage for thought and action (2014), Weisberg et al apply the thought process behind mise to psychology and education, and observe that a certain rigidity opens up to unleashing your playfulness and a positive self-image. A fascinating read which can be explored through one of the footnotes of this Wikipedia article.

But, let’s get back into the kitchen for a brief moment.

Listen to author and cook Michael Ruhlman interviewing chef Michael Pardus – about the significance of mise in the kitchen – and journalist Dan Charnas – about applying mise to your daily work – you may realise that mise is something that has been part of your life all this time.

I remember

art class in high school. We were taught how to draw a straight line, and all failed. Then our teacher revealed to not focus on the line, but on where the hand – and head – needs to be.

Focus on the task, not the weight. That to me, is mise en place.

form

Joseph Kosuth: One and Three Chairs (1965)

While stuck at home with a cold I found Sally Schneider’s superb writings at Improvised Life. Finding those made me realise that I had lost something.

You see, she writes about improvisation. When you encounter something that needs a quick solution, your senses are focussed on the negative space between what is required and what is lacking. Great design is therefor always utilitarian.

Before you overthink

now

close your eyes and remember a chair.

What was lost – I found when I opened my eyes – was seeing the problem as the solution.

I had to hang something from a tiled wall. A protruding object on a smooth surface. Stores are closed due to illness. I read something. I used to think like a sculptor.

In a box, shoved away in the corner of my home office, I found one kilogram of polymer clay. It took a moment for my hands to recognise what was needed. “Surgeons had to reconnect tendons, nerves, and veins”, my dictionary informs me.

24 hours per centimeter is required to dry completely. That is about a week to reconnect more tendons, nerves, and veins. To study the negative space. And to escape mine.

Photography: Barbara Hovens

meer

1 meer (zelfstandig naamwoord) 1 (water) lake

2 meer (telwoord) 2 (verder) more, further: wie waren er nog meer? who else was there?; wat kan ik nog meer doen? what else can I do?

This was a blog about going plastic-free. This is the time to dive deeper into the lake. Take a deep breath.