Oliver Jeffers and His Dipped Painting Project

Maybe you’ve heard of Oliver Jeffers or own one of his beautifully-illustrated children’s books. (We have this and this.) I’m a big fan–and apparently so is my girl crush!  I recently saw that he’s started a rather interesting painting project:

Essentially, the guy’s been spending loads of time painting really incredible portraits and as a series of performance pieces, he’ll be dipping them into vats of enamel paint, covering most of the work he’s spent hours upon hours to create. The people in the paintings were interviewed by Jeffers about their experiences with loss and how their memories affect their identity. He’s transcribed their stories onto paper, with each sheet sitting beneath the painting to catch all the drippings, thus hiding the written interviews as well.

From the NY Times:

“Jeffers created portraits from his memories of those interviews, which were hidden from the public until the moment of their dipping, after which witnesses were interviewed about what they saw (some immediately after; others will be interviewed in the coming months). ‘The only evidence of this painting will be people who witness it, like history,’ he said. Eventually, all the works and their materials — including the drop cloths, inscribed with Jeffers’ memories of the interviews, over which the paintings dried — will be displayed in an installation.”

So fascinating.

It’s like a game of memory that challenges you to participate in art and really pay attention to details. It’s got me thinking, as a storyteller, what do I need to share with others that I want them to know? And what do I need to ask others in my life so that their story can live on, be seen and felt and heard and passed along?

Really compelling, right? Are you following any incredible artists on Instagram?  

All photos via Oliver Jeffers.

 

P.S. Check out his website for cool free illustrations for coloring, crafting, and puzzles. Also, more awesome art.

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What I’m Reading: Tiny, Beautiful Things

Have you ever read Dear Sugar articles? I love them. A lot of women do. Which is probably why women love gifting this book to other women.  I picked up a copy for myself and also gifted one to my boss for her birthday. I’m not sure it’s a totally boss appropriate gift, unless your boss really gets you and is okay with really sensitive issues and cursing. So it’s not quite a great option for the white elephant exchange at your holiday party unless you’re fine with everyone knowing you’ve got waaaay too many feeeeelings.  (hey, don’t we all? exactly.)

I was super excited to hear last week that Dear Sugar is back in a new way. Cheryl Strayed (you may know her as the author of the bestseller Wild, which is now a movie made uber popular by starlet Reese Witherspoon) announced that she collaborated with the original Sugar (think advice column meets hippie aunt who always made you feel really proud of yourself like the human incarnate of Mother Earth and Goddess Divine slash a voice of reason with a little sass mixed in for good measure), Steve Almond, on a podcast called Dear Sugar Radio. They’ll answer letters, discuss problems and inspire and comfort you in ways you didn’t know you needed. Here’s a snippet and you can check out the details on how to write in and listen to the pilot episode on WBUR 90.9 FM.

Here are some of my favorite Dear Sugar passages:

“The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.”

“Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.”

“I can’t tell you what to do. No one can. But as the mother of two children, I can tell you what most moms will: that mothering is absurdly hard and profoundly sweet. Like the best thing you ever did. Like if you think you want to have a baby, you probably should. I say this in spite of the fact that children are giant endless suck machines. They don’t give a whit if you need to sleep or eat or pee or get your work done or go out to a party naked and oiled up in a homemade Alice B. Toklas mask. They take everything. They will bring you the furthest edge of your personality and abso-fucking-lutely to your knees.  They will also give you everything back. Not just all they take, but many of the things you lost before they came along as well.”

“When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.”

“You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.”

 

Gah, there’s so many good ones. Have you read Tiny, Beautiful Things or the Dear Sugar columns? Any favorites? 

DIY or Buy: Cozy Kindling Mini Tree

I know it’s still November and Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet, but if you’re gonna start DIYing the Christmas decor, then you have to get started now so it’ll be ready to put up the weekend after Thanksgiving, right?  Right.

I love love love the look of this little tree for an entryway or desk, or even kitchen table! but at $88, it’s a little pricey for a stack of twigs and colored thread. How about an easy DIY?! I think it’d be fairly simple to wrap the twigs with cotton (sort of like batting cushion for the thread), wrap with colored thread, yarn, twine – whatever you choose!), and then stack and glue the sticks on top of each other. You may need to use supports to get them highly stacked. Or just really strong glue. I wonder if it’d be easy to drill a small hole through the sticks and use a dowel? Worth a try, right?

diy or buy cozy kindling mini tree via Anthropologie

I have some left over eucalyptus branches from Declan’s Lumberjack Lunch that are pretty big (too big to stack like this) but they’d be really cute and festive wrapped in fun colors laying in our unused fireplace!  I just may give it a go.

2015 Calendars

Calendars seem like a big commitment purchase for me. You’re stuck with it all year, you know? Last year I did good in picking this gorgeous one, which doubles to create 8×10 size prints once you’re done with the calendar part, which I think is so genius. If I’m being honest, I didn’t even hang it up as a calendar, I really just loved the art! I can’t wait to hang some of them.

If you’re looking for a great hostess gift, holiday present (so thoughtful for coworkers!) or you’re just ready to think about a new year, here are some of my favorite 2015 designs:

 

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Free People Moon Calendar 

 

Rifle Paper Co honey bee wall calendar 2015

Honey Bee via Rifle Paper Co.

rifle paper co Les Fleurs calendar

Les Fleurs by Rifle Paper Co. via Artsy Modern

 

_woodcalendar_ artifact uprising custom photo calendar

Make a custom photo calendar with Artifact Uprising. When the month is done, cut off the calendar and keep the prints to post or frame!

craft a day calendar

Inspire creativity with this Craft-A-Day Calendar from Paper Source.

imagined desk calendar

The Imagined Desks of Historic Women – I love this!

where's waldo wall calendar

If you need a little fun in your life, try the Where’s Waldo Wall Calendar via Barnes & Noble.
(probably a no-brainer for kids but I think it’d be a huge hit at the office too! just don’t be surprised if coworkers linger in your office while they look!)

the year in stitches calendar

This one would make an awesome gift for knitters! Get it from Schoolhouse Electric.

stir and shake calendar via redcruiser

Count down to happy hour with the Stir & Shake calendar‘s beautiful cocktail ingredients.
Gift idea: use the illustrations to accompany recipes for each libation and include with a box of bar-themed gifts like a shaker, stirrer, glasses, and a bottle of liquor and liqueurs.
Throw in fresh fruit or herbs for good measure!

imaginary travels calendar

For the adventurous dreamer, Imaginary Travels. These would be so great framed in a kid’s room!

Calendars that do double-duty when the month is done are so clever. I think most are set up so that you could pretty easily cut off the calendar portion and frame or post the photo/illustration like I did last year. Here are some other favorites I’ve found with a little something extra to offer:

idlewild co rooftop cities calendar

From the same artist as my beloved gem calendar, this gorgeous cities by rooftop calendar. I need it just so I can frame the Barcelona one! (BFOTBM: remember that time we LIVED in Spain?!)

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Houseplant Postcard Calendar – just cut off the calendar and send a happy note to a friend or use as a gift tag with to accompany small houseplant.

stendig wall calendar via schoolhouse electric

The Stendig is a bold, black and white classic that you can tear-away each month and use as gift wrap.

Which one is your favorite?

SJP + Hallmark

Did you know that Sarah Jessica Parker has a card collection at Hallmark? Does anyone aside from me actually go to the Hallmark store?  There happens to be one right by my office so I usually opt to go there instead of the post office since it offers much more diversion than just stamps. (But, oh, how I do love stamps!)  Apparently I’m late to the SJP card party because a) the collection launched in January and b) most all of the cards were sold out.  The ones that were left looked lovely, though…very vintage and romantic.

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Unfortunately you can’t buy them online so you’ll have to be grandma-chic like me and take a field trip to a Hallmark store.  If you want to avoid the crowds in there (kidding, kidding), Papyrus is my usual card go-to and they’re having a sale through today.

When was the last time you sent someone a card?

Sweet Stuff: Stamps

I love checking the mailbox when I get home from work.  After confirming no spiders have made their homes near the mailbox handle, I find such a delight in discovering a hand-addressed envelope amid the stack of bills and junk.  Isn’t that the best?!  And is it just me or has the U.S. Postal Service really upped their game in the stamp department?  Harry Potter stamps…are you kidding me?!  You know I’m already stocked up to the max.  I hope they sell those bad boys FOREVER.  And I just came across these beauties and wish they would’ve been around for BFOTBM’s vintage circus baby shower a few years ago.

usps vintage circus stamps

I would’ve ordered this set or Johnny Cash ones for Mumbles’s birthday invitations and these would make a clever little stocking stuffer for someone like my dad who doesn’t know how to use email.  And, really, who couldn’t use some stamps to keep in their wallet or desk drawer? If you need a gift for someone, how about stopping by the local post office to see if they’ve got any good ones and you can slip a pack of stamps in with a pack of pretty stationery, a nice pen (this one is my favorite) and even a custom return address stamp and ink pad. Wouldn’t that make such a thoughtful gift?!  I’d love it, that’s for sure.