Pattern recognition

Enchanting Embroidery

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A Japanese woman recently photographed nearly 500 Temari spheres her 88-year-old grandmother embroidered over the last 20+ years. Originally crafted in China, the intricately embroidered folk art made its way to Japan in the 7th century. The thread of old kimonos is commonly used to construct the colorful spheres, which are often made by parents and grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day. Inside the balls, a child might find a bell or a note written to them by a relative.

Images via NanaAkua

Happy Holidays

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From all of us at Wert&Co., wishing you and your family a festive and peaceful holiday season.

Image via Signs for Homes

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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Next up in our Bookshelf’s holiday series, are books for graphic design enthusiasts. Beginning with the fundamentals, pick up Paul Rand’s Design, Form, and Chaos and learn the trade from a graphic design icon. Musing on his craft, Rand explains how to develop process, intuition, and an aesthetic sense demonstrating the core of great design– the synthesis of beauty and utility. Another essential design text, Bruno Manari’s Design as Art, communicates a zen-like mindset and passion for merging art and life. His advice to “subtract instead of add” resonates as much today as it did forty years ago. And for eye candy, Marian Bantjes’s new monograph Marian Bantjes Pretty Pictures is an explosion of graphic work from the last decade. Bantjes’s visuals have been aptly described as “maximalist” calling to mind the Art Nouveau dreamscapes of Alfons Mucha.

Looking for more gift ideas? Designers & Books have put together a stellar book list for their Holiday Gift Guide.

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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This holiday season the Wert&Co. team is planning on catching up on its reading. Our blog will count down to the New Year with bookshelf posts that revolve around the themes that are occupying our minds this December.

We are kicking off the series by highlighting a few stimulating and beautiful books on data visualization. First, Edward Tufte’s classic Envisioning Information presents delightfully illustrated diagrams, interfaces, maps, and charts that span a multitude of topics. Offering guidance on how to visually represent perplexing material, the colorful and award-winning book is a must-have for designers, educators, architects, and artists. David McCandless’ stunning books Information is Beautiful and The Visual Miscellaneum have been revised and reimagined. The author’s use of minimal text places his gorgeous graphics at the fore. Interpreting information on postmodernism to horoscopes to health findings, his books enrapture the reader with every turn of the page. Perhaps the most exciting monograph on visual storytelling of recent, The Best American Infographics 2013 edited by Gareth Cook with a foreword by David Byrne, chronicles the most influential visualizations of the year. The book speaks to our era of information overload, presenting a glimpse of imaginative and lively infographics that allow us to engage with and digest data in brand-new ways.

[Image via Designboom by Felix Lochner]

Bookshelf: What We’re Reading

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A few magazines to curl up with this autumn. Fall 2013 issue of Uppercase Magazine explores all things office-related. From alphabets made with office supplies to an examination of the cubicle, this month’s issue is devoted to creativity in the work place. For those passionate about craft and beauty, Hole & Corner Issue 2, available for pre-order, is dedicated to talented individuals who inspire. Frame #95 embraces the digital age with a visit to an “open source” space in Japan before turning their attention to a new wave of mobile architecture.

(Image by Caroga via Anagrama)

Innovative Objects

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Technology is increasingly changing the way artists and designers fabricate objects. Experimental Chilean design studio, Great Things to People, have developed the Catenary Pottery Printer (CPP) an apparatus that creates artful porcelain objects from a catenary mould made of fabric. Combining traditional materials and artisanal methods with parametric design, the studio seamlessly combines innovation and craft. Mad Museum’s current show Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital explores similar advanced methods of production and 3D printing. The exhibit seeks to expose the evolving role of digital design in our daily lives and presents a broad range of inventive objects including jewelry, lighting, sculpture, gowns, and prosthetics all created with advanced technology.

Creativity Unpacked

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PBS has a great new little web series on some of the most interesting topics happening around art today. The short, 5-10 minute videos are nice introductions to areas you may already know – Product Design; Etsy; and Type – and others you may not – Light Painting; or Generative Art. This short video on “How to Be Creative” is a fantastic glimpse into the processes of creativity – told from the POV of: an author, a cognitive scientist, a computer scientist, and filmmaker Kirby Ferguson. An enlightening way to spend 8 minutes.

Mix and Match

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Japanese designer Nendo recently unveiled a collaboration with Gen-emon, a 260 y.o. ceramics company in Arita, Japan. For the Ume-play and Karakusa-play collections, Nendo re-configured two traditional Japanese patterns – a small, plum blossom pattern, and a foliage scrollwork – re-working the sizes and shapes, and their repeats into new adaptations. The results are a beautiful set of pottery that evoke tradition, with a modern twist.

Pocket Seat

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British designers Raw Edges gave themselves the challenge of creating a chair from a single loop of material, resulting in the Kenny chair. Inspired by pattern-making methods and origami, the designers wanted to devise a “3D volumetric shape” from flat material. The seat rests on a basic wooden frame, forming a pocket-like shape for seating from a Kvadrat warp and weft material.

Newly Stitched

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A new exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum highlights the work of three contemporary artists working with the concept of the quilt in new ways. Sabrina Gschwandtner stitches together strips of 16mm film with polyamide to construct her quilts (detail shown above). Stephen Sollins re-constructs antique quilts from non-traditional materials like tyvek and paper envelopes, while Luke Hynes creates quilts of pop culture iconography. All address the traditional form in new, enlightening ways. On view through January 5.

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