We were scrolling through The Selby when we spotted these round magnet knife holders in a house in Connecticut. They are a nice sculptural change from the usual foot-long-or-so bar knife holder – the knives look like they’re floating. We hunted them down online here…
We got a lot of feedback via email and comments about whether video and/or images were coming through in the Daily Email. It has helped enormously, and though the problem isn’t yet totally solved, we know where were heading…
Thank you so much for your help!
We find something incredibly compelling about Marjin Van der Poll‘s Do hit chair: hammering a chair out of a metal cube with all one’s strength, testing it out, and then pounding and hammering and testing over and over until it takes shape. The cube is smashed full force with a hammer, until it becomes… something else, a solution.
“Do hit… is an interpretation of a chair by Italian designer Enzo Mari, the ‘sof-sof chair’. Its complex looking frame to me seemed a result of good craftsmanship but as it turned out it was one of the first examples of spot welding in the furniture industry. This contradiction between craftsmanship and mass production became the concept for the chair. Do hit started as a small copper model which I beat into a tiny chair with the pointed part of a hobby hammer. The cube would be easy to produce industrially and would be moulded into a chair using a hammer. Repetition of the beating only strengthened the concept…
The Do hit can either be shaped by its owner or by me. I have shaped many Do hits and look for an expressive object with large folds which I then polish to make them stand out. Each Do hit therefore is different as I can only create the global shape of seat and backrest and have to react to the detailed form taken on by the metal as it is being shaped. This is a great challenge every time.”
Of course, we followed the trail back to Enzo’s Mari inspiring chair, designed in 1971 read more…
Ever since an alarming number of readers reported NOT getting a video in their July 23rd Daily Email, we’ve been working to fix the glitch. When we found the clip of Martin Van der Poll’s Do hit chair, we thought it would be the perfect test to see if things have resolved. We’re asking subscribers to PLEASE let us know two things: if the image of the open book and the Do hit chair video have comes through in your morning Daily Email.
One of the reasons we’re hot to try Boccalone‘s prosciutto on our next trip to San Francisco – aside from the fact that Jake Godby features it as an ice cream flavor at Humphry Slocombe – is the manifesto we found buried deep in Boccalone’s website. We love manifestos because we know the people who write them to be generally crazed and passionate about whatever their manifesto is about. The Boccalone people clearly are, because they’re addressing essences and serious life principles when they write about salumi (Italian for cured meat), like
Fine salumi teach us to live a patient life in pursuit of flavor, rather than a relentless hunt for ever-increasing quantity – to seek better, not more. This approach is not only good for the individual, it’s better for the world.
Were with them!
We saw some fresh figs in the market the other day and were reminded of the simplest of dishes: prosciutto – ham that’s been carefully dry-cured for 8 to 24 months – and lush, gently-perfumed fruit like figs, melons, peaches, apricots or plumcots in summer…comice pears, fresh or roasted, in fall. We love this classic combo for breakfast, midnight supper, lone-lazy-dog supper, light lunch, and of course, appetizer.
There is a secret to a marriage of only two or three ingredients like this: that they be at their best. The fruit should be truly ripe and fragrant. The prosciutto should be of fine quality and sliced to order – NOT pre-sliced who-knows-when? and sealed in plastic packages which seem to suffocate its flavors and cause its creamy texture to turn rubbery. This means planning ahead a bit in order to have an ingredient so delicious and complete it requires hardly any effort at to serve or eat. Once you understand how prosciutto works, you can make it work for you. Here’s what you need to know… read more…
Quite a few readers wrote us to say that Monday morning’s video did not go through to their Daily Email. Although the information means we have a problem on our hands, we THANK ALL OF YOU who wrote with this essential feedback. We’re working on fixing it.
Now we’d love to know if there is anybody whose daily emails might be coming through without pictures, and for how long? (a possible subset of this problem). We welcome your emails to email@example.com.
(We LOVE technology but when it goes wrong, it really goes wrong…)
Although the title of this video is Jessica’s ‘Daily Affirmation’, we see it as a video of a little kid counting blessings. Not only does she list the stuff she has, she really LOVES it. Her fierce, slightly-playing-to-the-camera soliloquy is quite a celebration of the GREAT ordinary.
We find that counting blessings, though seemingly New-Agey, works: the practice changes your view from NOT (“enough”…”able”…”worthy”..) to appreciating the A LOT that’s there already, that has the potential to be used in different ways, to support what we want to do…
Don’t take our word for it. There are many studies that affirm this idea including one published in Journal of Personal Psychology and Social Psychology called Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life:
“The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined… The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.”
How do you count blessings? Just look around and name what’s in your life that you’re glad to have. Like Jessica does…HOUSE…HAIRCUT…COUSINS…
You can do it anywhere, anytime, in secret or out loud…it’s a good subway practice when you’ve got nothing to read…
Google recently took over the service that sends out ‘the improvised life’s Daily Emails and a kind reader has notified us of a post coming through without a picture and with very messed-up type. PLEASE do alert us of any odd occurrence with your Daily Email. Just forward the email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org; then we can take a look and figure out what’s going on.
We really appreciate your help!
Maria Robledo sent us this snapshot of a gift a houseguest left for her, with very rough-and-tumble improvised wrapping with built-in card. …Wonder what book they gave her, wrapped so straightforwardly and oddly-festively, with clear love.
This wondrous chair was posted on Atelier a while back, unattributed. (We searched its roots using TinEye, but didn’t come up with anything). This strangely elegant little sculpture of a chair made us imagine going to the lumber yard – even an art supply store would have this wood – and getting out a hammer and nails to follow the path of this design; it is so beautifully clear and forthright.
(If anyone knows who made this chair, please send us an email…)
After 10 pm, I am driven by a sweet-tooth so fierce, I never keep actual sweets like ice cream or cookies on hand; I’m afraid of what would happen. Then I find myself foraging through the cupboard, looking for something that will satisfy my craving. When I stumbled on the milk chocolate disks I usually use for dessert-making, I had a vision: peanut butter cups…chunky organic peanut butter sandwiched between really good chocolate…instant and brilliant to my mind.
I tried out the idea with both Valhrona chocolate and Guittard (which has a more overtly peanut-butter-cup shape) in a side-by-side tasting to discover how much better Valhrona really is: more deeply flavored, creamier, stunningly good. Then I swapped out the peanut butter for read more…
The photo shows one of her half-done billboard paintings on the kitchen table, in a living space that is clearly in action, work and living woven together. Even though Zittel could try discipline herself to work in her studio – a shipping container fifty feet from the house – she doesn’t. She works where it feels best, and things happens organically…
“When I was twenty and studying art in undergrad, I house sat for my parents one summer and built my entire senior show in their kitchen. I remember the feeling or horror one day when cutting out a shape with the jigsaw and accidentally making a slice into the tabletop that my mother had hand stained when I was an infant. Three decades later and I’m still making most of my work in the kitchen…”
We wonder how many BIG THINGS in the world were figured out at the kitchen table?
(In the background, you can also see the cardboard shelving we were so taken with…stuff beginning to be stored in it.)
Related post: Andrea Zittel: Investigative Living
We are so happy to have discovered Serendipity Rising, architect Daniel Hale’s blog that is mostly about the evolution of his home in Napa Valley, which seems to be a sort of laboratory for his ideas. The guy loves soft metals like zinc and lead which he cuts and hammers in unusual ways; he transforms salvaged woods and ‘finds’ by applying modern lines and layers of techniques into an eclectic take, like this incredible flight of stairs: “I layered black over brown and ran a strip of lead sheeting up the middle”. What he does to his own house is freer than the “client” work we’ve seen, as he follows his ideas for his own pleasure. “Tickle” is a recent post – a sort of poem-story (edited here) – about his violent and fearless transformation of an old piano, which had been left in the winery he turned into his studio: read more…