30 September 2008

F.O.J. : The Swallow's Nest.

A decorative cut-out Swallow made from an old map

have had the pleasure of spending time at "The Nest". The Nest is a gathering spot for a group of warm and welcoming friends who connect each Sunday to spend time together. To R., my favorite "Swallow", here is how to build a Swallow's Nest Box and decorate with cut out Swallows from old maps. I am very excited to have earned my F.O.J., (Friend of James), sticker and look forward to returning to The Nest.

Diagram of a Swallow's Nest Box

B or front is 6.75" Wide by 7.5" Tall
main entrance hole is centered 5 1/2" above the floor (floor nails on underneath the front board to create the landing ledge)
C or front roof is 6.75" (including the angle cut) X 8.25"
D or main roof is 8.25" X 12.25"
E or back door is 6.75" wide by 5" tall bottom board is 6.75" wide by 15" long
Sides you would need to lay out once you get your other parts cut out.

A Swallow's Nest Box

A cluster of Swallow Cut-Outs from old maps

29 September 2008

Toile: The Louisiana Purchase.

I am actually a fan of Toile. In limited quantities.

In the October 2008 issue of House Beautiful magazine, interior designer Hal Williamson uses a toile fabric in a Most Excellent way.

The toile which is called "Louisiana Purchase" depicts architectural and historical images from the Louisiana purchase. In the New Orleans Dining room Hal Williamson designed, (above and below), each of the Louis XV chairs are upholstered in different iconic imagery from the fabric.

While the Louisiana Purchase Toile does not look overly exciting in the photos below, the application and execution of the Toile in Mr. Williamson's design is quite outstanding.

For more photographs and information regarding this project, please click here. The fabric may be purchased by clicking here.

26 September 2008

Fire Feature.

hese are amongst the Most Excellent Fire and Water features I have ever seen. When placed in the right environment any of these works would look absolutely astonishing and outstanding.

Colombo Construction Corp is a full service design and fabrication firm specializing in site specific works. These include fire and water features, wind sculptures, memorials, markers, earthworks, spaces for meditation and ritual celebration, garden and landscape design.

Click here to see more beautiful creations from Colombo Construction Corp.

24 September 2008

Inspiration. The State Capitol. Pennsylvania.

Dome of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy.

No. This is not the same building. In fact, they are not even in close proximity to one another nor do they serve a similar purpose.

Upon a recent visit to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Most Excellent architecture of the state's Capitol building. Since its construction in 1906, the Capitol has remained a "palace of art" as envisioned by its creator, architect Joseph M. Huston.

The state Capitol was architecturally inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and many consider it the pinnacle of the Commonwealth as the finest state capitol building in the United States. The brilliantly restored rotunda and Senate and House of Representatives Chambers are particularly exquisite spaces adorned with marble, murals, gold leaf and stained glass.

In Huston's original concept of the Capitol, he strove to unite architecture, sculpture and painting into an interpretation of Pennsylvania's rich southeast.

Dome of the State Capitol of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, PA.

Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy.

The State of Pennsylvania's Capitol Building in Harrisburg.

Saint Peter's Basilica.

23 September 2008

Equanimity. Chris Levine.

. is fascinated with the British Monarchy and England's history. I find Britain's Royal Family quite intriguing and am particularly taken with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her personality and her presence in the world. The work of Light Artist Chris Levine is brilliant and Most Excellent.

Chris Levine was commissioned by the Island of Jersey to commemorate 800 years of allegiance to the crown. His portrait of The Queen, titled Equanimity, has become an historic artwork. Shot during two sittings at Buckingham Palace, a body of material was recorded, much of which has not been seen.

The original work, an over-sized transmission type hologram lit in blue LED, was shown at Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London and Scone palace in Scotland and has received worldwide coverage in the media.

"Lightness of Being", Chris' new work on show at last years Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, is part of the Equanimity body of work that comprises, literally, thousands of images and 3D data sets of Her Majesty the Queen.

"We think Chris's work exemplifies the 21st century and the links between Jersey and the Crown. It is a tribute to Chris that he has created such a fascinating piece of contemporary art."
Jon Carter, Jersey Heritage Trust

" If a single image in the Summer Exhibition stands for the show as a whole, it is Chris Levine's Lightness of Being. In 2004, Levine made a holo-gramic portrait of the Queen. One of the test shots for the work showed HM flinching at the flash, and Levine has reproduced this, possibly treasonously, as a giclee print. Never mind Annigoni or Freud: Lightness of Being is the greatest portrait yet of Elizabeth II,"
Independent on Sunday

Chris Levine is a resident of the United Kingdom. He studied graphic design at Chelsea School of Art and Central St. Martins.

Light is a force of life, and with respect to this in the creative process, Chris’ work has a spiritual context and an edge of pertinence - imagery that seems to invite further question beyond the immediate reaction.

His distinctive visual language and seemingly effortless control over his technological media has differentiated his work from the main stream. His images have resonant power that is both highly original and super modern. As organic and alive as they are focused and precise, the visual results are always compelling and have a sense of distilled purity.

taken from ChrisLevine.com

On display at Buckingham Palace, London

22 September 2008

Justin Couch Design.

Inventive. Imaginative. Irreverent. Definitely Most Excellent.

The work of industrial designer, Justin Couch is seen here. Above and below is his "negative" line of furniture. This collection presents classic furniture designs in a new, unexpected form. It appears as though the old furniture has been subtracted from the clean, simple volume of the actual piece. The shield back and Chippendale chair, shown above, is created from black and white formica, respectively.

Justin Couch's Wilhelm coffee and Alexander dining tables exhibit classical furniture styling with the clean, sleek aesthetics of a modern contemporary look. The dining table is perfect for four and the coffee table would look fabulous in front of any modern couch. Both are lacquered baltic birch and the dining table features walnut veneer. (below)


This coffee table, (below), is a coffee table in the form of the geographical borders of the District of Columbia, emphasizing the incompleteness of the form while using that same incompleteness to provide function and utility. Shown below in white and black formica and walnut ply.

The District Table

19 September 2008

Laura Kirar for McGuire.

While I am not a huge fan of wicker and rattan furniture, I must admit that McGuire furniture does it quite well. In fact, their team of star interior designers have created some of the most beautiful indoor and outdoor collections that use a variety of materials that include rattan, wood, bronze and a host of other materials. I am especially fond of the work designer Laura Kirar has done for McGuire. Here are just a few snapshots of furnishings from the collection. It is definitely worth a look if this type of furniture is for you.

Working with a straightforward mix of rattan, wood and antique bronze, Laura Kirar has created a transitional collection for McGuire that exudes a harmonious balance of texture and proportion. Inspired by mid-century aesthetics, her design vision combines a deep appreciation for materials and craftsmanship, a rare passion for history, and thoughtful, contemporary executions. The Laura Kirar Collection exhibits the timelessness, handcraftsmanship and detail that imbue all of Kirar's designs, while the individual silhouettes make a decidedly bold, contemporary statement using McGuire's signature materials. By referencing the past they achieve a contemporary look and fit comfortably within McGuire's long history of timeless design and classic materials.

Multidisciplinary designer Laura Kirar completed her degree in sculpture and interior architecture at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She then began to work with high profile designers such as Ralph Lauren on furniture, lighting and tabletop items. In 1999, she founded the New York City design firm, Tru Design. Under her creative direction, the company has completed high-end residential and commercial interiors throughout the east coast. Kirar successfully connects talented designers, accomplished artists, and knowledgeable craftsmen with her design philosophy and innovative objectives.

In regard to her collection for McGuire she says, "I strive to maintain an elegant balance, effectively mixing modernist sensibility with classic details and proportions. With McGuire, my desire to design only with substantial materials and superior craftsmanship was easily achieved. Our collaboration has produced not only a beautiful collection but design with integrity."

Designer Laura Kirar