Improvised Life » books + zines (mindset) http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 12 Aug 2014 08:50:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Random Find: Klee’s Tree House via Little Free Library http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/22/random-find-klees-tree-house-via-little-free-library/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/22/random-find-klees-tree-house-via-little-free-library/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:47:19 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44358

Paul Klee/Pasadena Art Museum

Recently, when a Little Free Library was set up in the park across the way, we discovered an unexpected pleasure of these little  public leave-a-book-take-a-book libraries. In a public setting, when you least expect it, in the most random way possible, a book opens in your hands, as Paul Klee (Art for Children Series) did recently. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/22/random-find-klees-tree-house-via-little-free-library/feed/ 0
How to Think in Haiku (and a Haiku about Grasses) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/21/think-haiku/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/21/think-haiku/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 08:41:12 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44333

Sally Schneider

At the very end of May, we planted grasses in the planter on the Laboratory’s patio. Since then, they’ve grown like wild fire, along with the Morning Glory vine we plunked into their soil to further screen us from our neighbors. We love watching the grasses move in the breeze; they seem to constantly change and catch the light in new ways.  The other day, we read a haiku by Issa that revealed a quality that we hadn’t been conscious of:  (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/21/think-haiku/feed/ 0
Apartment Reno Encompasses Old and New http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/10/apartment-reno-encompasses-old-new/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/10/apartment-reno-encompasses-old-new/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 17:00:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43976

karinmatz.se

Recently we wrote about a slick renovation that sadly covered over a beautiful aged wall that would have made a wonderful addition. Since then, we found an interesting mix of marriage of old and new details by architect Karin Matz in a cost-conscious renovation of a Stockholm space that had been used as furniture storage for 30 years.

Matz literally split the space into two zones: one polished and finished, the other rough and old.

Since a big constraint was cost, the polished/finished space largely employed IKEA kitchen shelving units and plywood. Floors and walls were painted white to reflect light and make it look (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/10/apartment-reno-encompasses-old-new/feed/ 0 Trees and Plants Breaking Through the Floor…Wabi-Sabi? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/26/trees-plants-breaking-floor/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/26/trees-plants-breaking-floor/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:03:30 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42453

Schaeffer Residence/Joe Fletcher

We found this image in Ranch Houses: Living the California Dream. It’s from Park McDonald’s renovation of the Schaeffer Residence, designed in 1948 by John Lautner, a highly influential architects of the 20th century. We love the trees that appear to be unexpectedly cracking through the deck, a lovely bit of wabi-sabi, that “breaks” the perfect design. Perhaps it’s our recent reading of Leonard Koren’s classic, Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers that makes us view the trees through this lens. This little book has been greatly influencing our thinking. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/26/trees-plants-breaking-floor/feed/ 0
Steinberg, Shrigley and Shonda Rhimes on the Creative Process http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/saul-steinberg-looks-inside-creatives-head/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/saul-steinberg-looks-inside-creatives-head/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 08:46:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43247

Saul Steinberg/The New Yorker

Saul Steinberg drew his imaginings of what goes on in a person’s daydreams, and David Shrigley made a list* of the kinds of things that can come from that: (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/saul-steinberg-looks-inside-creatives-head/feed/ 0
Mister Rogers for Adults: Life Has No Laugh Track http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/18/mister-rogers-adults-life-laugh-track/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/18/mister-rogers-adults-life-laugh-track/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 08:33:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43264

(Video link here.) We didn’t “get” Mister Rogers until we were introduced to Paul Zelevansky, an artist, writer and teacher who created the YouTube series “Mister Rogers for Adults”, provocative 60-second shorts made up of video clips from Rogers’ shows and interviews. Zelevansky challenges the assumptions that Mister Rogers was a sweet, milquetoast cornball. In Zelavansky’s view, Rogers’ approach, philosophy and strategic use of television was — and remains — radical in nature. (His words about love threw Joan Rivers for a loop.) (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/18/mister-rogers-adults-life-laugh-track/feed/ 0
Daybooks with Custom Covers to Mark Where You Are or Are Going http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/16/marella-consolini-daybooks-custom-covers-mark-going/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/16/marella-consolini-daybooks-custom-covers-mark-going/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 08:41:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42870

Marella Consolini

Marella Consolini, former Chief Operating Officer of the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, is one of the many very interesting Improvised Life readers we’ve come to know and be amazed by. Somehow years ago, an email exchange started and continued until we feel like she is an old friend, who we happen to have never met in person.

In a recent email, Marella sent images of the day books she embellishes yearly with images; the current one, above, features Yves Klein’s famous leap to mark a year of questions, transitions and new challenges: (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/16/marella-consolini-daybooks-custom-covers-mark-going/feed/ 0
How Poetry Comes to Me (Gary Snyder) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/09/poetry-comes-gary-snyder/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/09/poetry-comes-gary-snyder/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 23:00:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42890

Gary Snyder

When inspiration comes: you have to go to meet it…

 

From one of our favorite, endlessly-yielding books: The Gary Snyder Reader: Prose, Poetry, and Translations. Open it anywhere to find a nugget.

 

 

 

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/09/poetry-comes-gary-snyder/feed/ 0
Calvin Trillin Imagines a Walk-In Bathtub as a Sling-in Tub http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/02/calvin-trillin-imagines-walk-bathtub-sling-tub/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/02/calvin-trillin-imagines-walk-bathtub-sling-tub/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 23:00:33 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42425

Jean Jullien

We read Overflow Calvin Trillin’s one pager in the May 5th New Yorker on the subway and laughed out loud. We laughed again when we re-read it a month later to find this excerpt. Trillin’s piece describes a man desperately emailing a walk-in bathtub company — and other spammers — to STOP sending him offers. His IMAGINING just what a walk-in tub is is hilarious:  (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/02/calvin-trillin-imagines-walk-bathtub-sling-tub/feed/ 0
‘Things Come Apart’ will Teach You How Things Work http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/22/todd-mcclellans-disassembly-will-teach-think/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/22/todd-mcclellans-disassembly-will-teach-think/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 23:14:07 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=40282

(Video link HERE.) Photographer Todd McLellan’s Things Come Apart is an expansion of his original Disassembly Series, and the focus of a book by that name. His images of deconstructed items that have, are, or will be in our everyday lives have a curious effect: They demystify their seeming complexity and afford a big leap in understanding how they work. He gives two very differing views of ordinary objects such as a fire extinguisher or a lawnmower that evoke very different emotional responses. 

(more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/22/todd-mcclellans-disassembly-will-teach-think/feed/ 0
37 Signals on the Value of Constraints http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/20/thinking-inside-box-value-constraints/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/20/thinking-inside-box-value-constraints/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 23:00:27 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=41358

S. Gross for The New Yorker

This New Yorker cartoon celebrates the benefits of constraints and limitations (even ordinary ones): those things that define a problem, that you have to work with in order to find a solution. We learned to LOVE them because they’ve usually led to our most creative explorations, as well as ordinary but useful solutions. We found some fine advice about constraints at 37 Signals’ (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/20/thinking-inside-box-value-constraints/feed/ 1
Beautiful, Mysterious Slat Paintings + On Kawara http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/13/beautiful-mysterious-slat-paintings-kawara/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/13/beautiful-mysterious-slat-paintings-kawara/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 22:00:23 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=41332

Candida Höfer

We stumbled on this compelling interior at aqqindex and were smitten by the slats of colored wood displayed on the wall, someone’s-we’don’t-know-whose artwork. Research hasn’t yielded the answer, but did tell us that the image is really about the small blue painting propped on the right of the mantle. (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/13/beautiful-mysterious-slat-paintings-kawara/feed/ 0
A Post-It with a Powerful Message for Mother’s + Grandmother’s Day http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/11/post-powerful-message-mothers-day/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/11/post-powerful-message-mothers-day/#comments Sun, 11 May 2014 08:08:15 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=41186

I’ve always struggled with Mother’s Day. Too pink, too saccharine, too much forced happiness when the reality so often cloaks a good deal of ambivalence, sadness, and hidden anger. That all changed when I opened our Little Free Library on the front fence yesterday and discovered Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Marjane Satrapi’s extraordinary graphic memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In bold black and white images she tells her story of her life from age six to fourteen during the tumultuous years that saw the overthrow of the Shah, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the horrors and destruction of families and culture during the war with Iraq. Her story, told through a child’s eyes, is packed with (more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/11/post-powerful-message-mothers-day/feed/ 0
Open House for Butterflies’ Zen-ish Wisdom http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/07/open-house-butterflies-charming-life-philosophy/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/07/open-house-butterflies-charming-life-philosophy/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 08:58:47 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=41014

Ruth Krauss as illustrated by Maurice Sendak

One of our favorite books as kids remains A Hole Is to Dig, A Dictionary of First Definitions, a brilliant wise collaboration by the great Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak. We only recently discovered Open House for Butterflies originally published in 1960. It is indeed a treasure full of charmingly philosophical, zen-ish, in-the-moment wisdom, perfect for kids AND grownups (And a curiously great house gift). 

(more…)

]]>
http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/05/07/open-house-butterflies-charming-life-philosophy/feed/ 0