Improvised Life » paths + processes http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:00:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Art Retreats as Career-Shift Catalyst http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:52:42 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44494

A classmate inspecting a freshly-poured silver casting in Penland's metals studio

A vacation for my soul,” “summer camp for adults,” “paradise,” “the one time a year I get to make anything“—these are all common phrases heard at summer arts workshops around the country. For many without home studios or careers in the arts, these short-term art retreats (way up in the mountains or shrouded by woods and river) are the only entry point into a totally immersive environment of making and ideation.

This July, I returned from a short summer session at Penland School of Crafts where I was taking a silver casting and ring fabrication class with world-class jewelers Tim Lazure and Jen Townsend, and I decided to (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/feed/ 0 ‘Deconstructed Piano': a Film About Transformation http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/deconstructed-piano-film-transformation/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/deconstructed-piano-film-transformation/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:14:39 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45510

(Video link HERE.) In this assault by two robots wielding heat guns, a piano’s wood is gradually burned on and on to the point of collapse.

The film is said to “consider ‘Deconstructed Piano’ considers the gradual destruction of instrumental music through digital sound generators.

To us it is a film about change, erosi0n, aging, living, transformation… that contains both sadness and stunning beauty.

via The Dish

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Contest: Solve the Vibrating Bed Mystery http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/19/bed-shock-absorbers/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/19/bed-shock-absorbers/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:00:25 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45046

Holton Rower

A few months ago, after a mysterious vibration coming through the floor started shaking our bed, and us, awake at night, we wrote about the improvised bed legs I’d made using yoga blocks and special thick rubber we’d researched. It worked for a while, but we are still plagued by the mysterious vibration that is keeping us sleep-deprived. (From surfing the internet we realize that THOUSANDS of people suffer from this problem). We have read endless technical papers on the vagueries of how sound and vibration travel. We’ve lost count of our attempts at damping the vibration, including the sculptural “bed shocks, above, my friend Holton Rower devised.

So we’re issuing a challenge to Improvised Life’s clever readers: help us devise a solution to keep the bed from being shaken by the vibration coming through the floor. The winner will receive a lifetime subscription to Improvised Life. Here’s what we’ve tried already (call us crazy but we can’t sleep): (more…)

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Air Baths and Other Ways to Enhance Creativity http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:15:17 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45477

At Improvised life,  we’re always interested in ways to become more creative and productive. So when we came across Mason Currey’s latest book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work we were excited. Currey describes personal quirks and daily rituals developed by many of the world’s great artists, musicians and film makers.

From the bizarre right through to the strikingly simple – the book reminds us that we all work in individual and often improvised ways: (more…)

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“Triumph” Writ Large in the Street http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/16/triumph-writ-large-street/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/16/triumph-writ-large-street/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:00:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45194

Sally Schneider

We find that as we practice LOOKING on our walks around the city, we really do cultivate SEEING. It happens automatically when we slow down a bit. Look UP! we often write, encouraging a shift of perspective. The other day, we unexpectedly looked DOWN, to find, etched in one of those massive steel plates maintenance crews use to cover road work, this powerful sign.

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Our FIX for the Flawed Cos Backpack http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/annals-bad-design-fix-flawed-cos-backpack/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/10/annals-bad-design-fix-flawed-cos-backpack/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45163

Sally Schneider

In July, we posted a compelling backpack we’d bought from the stylish COS site only to discover that its design was profoundly flawed. If you put all but the lightest items in it, its magnetic closure instantly popped open, inviting strangers to dip their hand into the bag and steal our wallet (image below).  In that post, we experimented with a possible fix by using binder clips. Since the approach seemed workable, during our recent break we hacked the straps and sewed on sliding holders. We’re proud to say our fix WORKED: a lesson in trying ideas out, and flexing our own untrained design muscles to make things better or at the very least learn a few things.  (more…)

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Why Walking Helps Us Think + Create http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/09/walking-helps-us-think-create/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/09/walking-helps-us-think-create/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:32:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45240

Richard Tuvey

In this week's New Yorker, Ferris Jabr describes research that shows why walking goes beyond being a great physical exercise, but a catalyst for creative thinking as well. We go for a walk daily in the park we look out on. Every time, we discover something new AND find our mind shifting, ideas sparking, problems beginning to yield. Nature reminds us of possibilities...]]>
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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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Re-entry…What We Learned On Our Summer Stay-cation http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/02/back-retreat/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/02/back-retreat/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:01:28 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45095

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Monday evening of Labor Day, we could positively FEEL the shift of air and energy as the entire country grabbed every last BIT before the official end of summer. In the park we look out on, there was SERIOUS barbecue action, music, dancing, LIFE going on. We spent the day hanging on the terrace reflecting on our three-week stay-cation that turned out way different than we had imagined. (more…)

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Anthony Giglio Kills at the Moth! http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/anthony-giglio-kills-moth/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/anthony-giglio-kills-moth/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:00:01 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44608

Anthony Giglio is journalist, sommelier, and author of Food & Wine Wine GuidesCocktails in New York and Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide. He is wine blogger for Details and Improvised Life’s deviser of brilliant, simple strategies for celebrations both grand and low-key.

Of late, Anthony revealed yet another side of himself: a superb storyteller whose personal stories move and transform. He brought down the house at The Moth when he performed “Listen Here, Fancy Pants!” live in May of 2012. Due some non-public-radio-friendly language (we disagree), it has taken two years for it to be made public and accessible online. (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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May the Mistakes I Make Light the Way http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/may-mistakes-make-light-way/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/may-mistakes-make-light-way/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:02:31 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43920

hedviggen.tumblr.com

We were really struck by this sign we found on Hedviggen. Burning bridges is a pretty intense thing to do, and it made us think hard about that idea, of being able NEVER to go back because of a bridge we’ve burned.

We do believe that in just about any action, there are always possibilities for redemption, (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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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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