Improvised Life » ideas from artists http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 09 Sep 2014 22:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Formula for a DIY Donald Judd-esque Sofa http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/08/formula-donald-judd-esque-sofa/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/08/formula-donald-judd-esque-sofa/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45005

Farrah Sit/Rebecca Atwood

Artist Donald Judd's austere, organic, ultra-simple furniture has been inspiration for lots of knockoff's and diy's and straight-out ripoffs. His iconic sofa, below, inspired the $6,000 Maple sofa, above, a collaboration of Brooklyn-based industrial designer Farrah Sit and textile designer Rebecca Atwood. Sit and Atwood have made improvments on Judd's design, from a practical comfort point-of-view. The sofa is definitely DIY-able.]]>
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Gratitude Where You Don’t Expect It http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/08/gratitude-dont-expect/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/08/gratitude-dont-expect/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 08:06:31 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45106

Joanna Pan/Flickr

Leaving Manhattan on the commuter train the other evening, we were surpised to see a billboard towering above the South Bronx amidst the bleak industrial landscape. It says simply “GRATTITUDE.”

This teeny video —best viewed with chirpy music OFF — captures the expected and somehow remarkable experience. (Video link HERE.): (more…)

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Reorganization as Soul Cleanse http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/workspace-reorganization-soul-cleanse/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/04/workspace-reorganization-soul-cleanse/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 08:54:33 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45132

A 48-hour disappearance into the depths of my studio was finally interrupted late yesterday by a well-meaning friend. He peered in to find me on hands and knees wiping out the lowest shelves with damp paper towels.

“Jeez. Still at it?”

I swiveled and growled like a rabid dog, sweat pouring down, hair plastered, eyes raccooned by melted mascara. “I can’t stop now. This is important. This is soulwork” He faded without a word.

Panting, disheveled, covered in cobwebs, I sat back on my heels. WTF? Why did this reorganization seem like a matter of life and death? Taking a swig of ice water, I collapsed on the floor. Presently, it came to me why it was––and is––such a big deal. (more…)

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Trees with Ladders: Tree Climbing for Adults http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/03/climb-tree-adults/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/03/climb-tree-adults/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 22:20:11 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45184

E. Sanders

Every day we go to the park across the way and enjoy the huge, hundreds-years-old trees. We WISH we could climb them, as we did as a kid, and wondered, in our minds eye, WHY NOT just put a ladder up to one to give our creaky adult selves a boost up. Then we stumbled on images of L’Arbre aux Echelles — The Tree with Ladders — an installation by French artist François Méchain.]]>
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Ornithology Wall Mural: Proseck’s Practice of Seeing http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/ornithology-wall-mural/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/05/ornithology-wall-mural/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:00:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44289

(Video link HERE.)  There is something enchantingly low-tech and intimate about artist James Proseck‘s painstaking process of making this wonderful, public wall mural: painting bird silhouettes a la Field Guide series of nature books. His technique is very interesting and could easily be applied to the walls of any interior or exterior space – bedroom, dining room, patio, pool house, you name it.

We’ve excerpted a saliant chunk of the rather long, slow video. It shows not only Proseck’s technique but delves into his view of what it means to “see” nature, a practice that can be cultivated. (more…)

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The Time is Now…Stefan Sagmeister on Happiness http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 22:43:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44777

Stefan Sagmeister

When uber-designer Stefan Sagmeister was asked “If you were to give advice on happiness—and I acknowledge that this is a tough question—is there one thing you’d suggest?”

Write down 3 things that worked for you each evening, things you might be thankful for. I started an ical calendar that contains this and I just spend 5 minutes each night doing it. This is an exercise from Marty Seligman, the founder of positive psychology. It works.

We notice he didn’t say “Write down three things that made you happy” but rather “Write down 3 things that worked for you“: a bit different. “What worked (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/time-now/feed/ 0 Making Music with…Rain http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/31/making-music-rain/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/31/making-music-rain/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 08:38:42 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44295


(Video link HERE.) Recently we stumbled on this video of music made with rain drops. Rain as percussion instrument: MUSIC. It’s pretty swell, and very carefully thought out, with its haute technology and count of rain drops.

We love Fast Forward’s Rain Music for it’s utter in-the-moment directness and accessibility. (Video link HERE.) (more…)

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Maira Kalman on Daydreaming, Eccentricity, and Not Knowing What is Going On http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/maira-kalman-daydreaming-eccentricity-knowing-going/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/maira-kalman-daydreaming-eccentricity-knowing-going/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:10:07 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44690

(Vido link HERE.) Portraits in Creativity is a series of short-form videos by renown creative director Gael Towey about the bravery and processes of artists and artisans. Who could better start off the series than the great, wise, observant Maira Kalman?  Kalman’s drawing and writing gets to the essence of not knowing what is going on” and celebrates it. Which is why we love her.

The video is like a walk around New York City with the Kalman. It is rich with illuminating observations (more…)

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House Tour with Life Lessons: Tom Fallon’s Shelter Island Cottage http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/tom-fallons-shelter-island-cottage/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/tom-fallons-shelter-island-cottage/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:48:16 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44611

Jason Penney

When our friend Tom Fallon’s Shelter Island cottage was featured in Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, we realized just how many lessons about home design and LIFE we learned from him over the years. Here they are, with pictures by Jason Penney.]]>
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Learning to Fly at Home (Yves Lecoq) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/28/learning-fly-home-yves-lecoq/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/28/learning-fly-home-yves-lecoq/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:49:06 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44124

Yves Lecoq

Somewhere in our massive virtual rambles, we came across the images of Yves Lecoq, one of the best photographic fantasists we’ve seen. His images seem absolutely real.

One of his ongoing themes is humans rigging ways to fly. That, of course, would be us. (more…)

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Exploration: Maria Robledo’s Frame Series http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/exploration-maria-robledos-frame-photographs/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/24/exploration-maria-robledos-frame-photographs/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:30:30 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43957

Maria Robledo

In May, we gave photographer Maria Robledo an antique silver picture frame that had no glass or mat; you could see right through it. Hand-wrought, it had a built-in stand of two crossing silver poles. To our surprise, Maria started using it as-is to frame cut flowers from her garden. Over the past weeks, she’s sent us a number of photographs of what has become quite organically her “Frame Series”. Gradually, the images have evolved to get increasingly daring, culminating in this remarkable one of a plastic bag. (more…)

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Kid’s Drawings Made Real http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/23/kids-drawing-made-real/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/23/kids-drawing-made-real/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:00:21 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44387

Telmo Pieper

Dutch artist Telmo Pieper saved his drawings from childhood. Many years later, he used modern-day digital painting skills to make prototypes. The resulting works comprise his Kiddie Arts Series, an amazing example of a kid’s vision made REAL. (And what an idea THAT is!)

We TOTALLY covet the car and think his beetle is pretty awesome.  (more…)

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Designers’ Wish List Dreams Become Prototyped Reality http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/17/tinypost-designers-wish-list-dreams-become-prototyped-reality/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/17/tinypost-designers-wish-list-dreams-become-prototyped-reality/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:05:53 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44071

Paul Smith

For many of us, there’s often a disconnect between our ideas and doodles and seeing a project through to its completion. While generating wish list items that exist only in our wildest dreams is a satisfying exercise on its own, a handful of artists and designers were lucky enough to bridge that gap and have outside craftsmen bring their concepts to life.

As part of Terence Conran’s umbrella project which asked “What have you always wanted in your home, but never been able to find?”, (more…)

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When Normal Equals Perfect http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/17/perfection-everyday-normal-gratitude-practice/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/17/perfection-everyday-normal-gratitude-practice/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 08:51:13 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44223

Maria Robledo

Most Improvised Life readers know that Sally has been occupied lately with the serious illness of a close friend – namely, myself. Now recuperating, we’ve realized something about perfection: in the case of us human beings, it does not mean being super-human or doing everything exactly right. It simply means being normal. When you’ve been visited by the Death Eaters, nothing is more perfect than a cup of tea.

This revelation was amplified in an e-mail correspondence with our friend Tom Ashcraft of Heliotown, a remarkable artist/science researcher who has been featured numerous times on Improvised Life. (more…)

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