28 February 2011

yard makeover ideas

With the past few weekends feeling like Spring, I am starting to get excited about getting some outside projects going. I am thankful to have such a large yard, so there is plenty of room for some nice beds, trees, even a garden; and still give the dogs plenty of room to run. I already have a few ideas of what I want to do—basic things like extend the beds in the front and lay down some mulch, pull up some bushes, replant more, trim back others. But, there is one area in the back that I really want to make into a shady sitting area for the dogs and myself. Haven't quite figured out how yet, but have been scanning through images that I have pulled for inspiration. All the healthy green grass, and sunny skies are a stark contrast to this dreary rain we are having here in Nashville today!

All images can be found here.

23 February 2011

to read or not to read

While I am not necessarily the most dedicated reader out there, I enjoy it, and have a real love for books. There is something so intriguing about the act of finding a book and making that decision to take it home. I don’t have a huge library, but what I do have, I feel, is a perfect representation of who I am. I believe most people’s collection of books are, and always enjoy observing others’ shelves when I am in their home. I have hauled my modest group around with me for years and can’t imagine my rooms without them. Being a designer I am drawn to the book covers. Unless I already know it is something I want to read, I absolutely judge a book by its cover. I lean this way with wine labels too. If I see one that stands out to me, I tend to pick it up. I also love to peruse the rows of books to look at all of the illustrations and fonts being used. It is a great source of inspiration. And then there is the smell. I love the smell of a new book—all crisp and freshly printed. I also love the smell of an old book, especially from a library or an antique store.

With all of this being said, I bought myself a Kindle recently. And to be honest, I could not love it more!

This is such a surprise to me because it is the opposite of all of the above, but a few months ago I downloaded the Kindle app for my phone and found myself reading a lot. A LOT. I am the kind of reader who usually has a few books going at once, but the problem is I tend to not finish any of them. Having the majority of those books in one place that is as portable as it is, seems to be the key factor that is making the difference for me right now. So I decided that I would jump on this change and not question it too much, because at the end of the day I am reading more. I am still not sure how I will manage to grow my collection, but I expect that I will. I see this as an opportunity to walk into more used books stores to find those that are keepers, and make more room on my Kindle!

08 February 2011

garden & gun

Immediately following college graduation I applied for a job to be the designer for a magazine called The Oxford American. I had known this magazine since it had been in the early stages of production out of Oxford, MS and respected it so much; so it was nothing for me to want to move to Conway, Arkansas to work with it. The only problem was, as I mentioned before, I had just graduated from college. I had no clue how to design a magazine from front to back, and I got the impression that there were no other designers working there. A few years later I DID actually design a magazine front to back. A fashion magazine for Nashville. That lasted one issue only because the owner squandered all of the money and apparently took off to Toronto! Through that experience though, I realized a few things: (a) I would have been totally screwed if I had somehow talked my way into the OA job because I would have not been able to design on that level at that time (b) what a difference a few years can make because I actually put an entire magazine together in less than a month, and (c) as I had always thought, I really want to work for a magazine one day. Well, I recently came across one that made me remember this. It is called Garden & Gun; and don't let the name fool you!!

It is, and I quote from their website, "A Southern lifestyle magazine that's all about the magic of the new South—sporting culture, food, music, art, literature, people, and ideas". It is sleek, well written, well designed, cool, and unpretentious. All things most folks don't usually associate with the South, except for maybe unpretentious. I can only speak for the more recent issues, as they are the only ones I have seen, but here is a recap of what those have contained: articles on Sea Turtle rescue after the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, urban farming, duck hunting in Mississippi, Justin Townes Earle, longtime friends who now distill their own whiskey, and some photographs by this artist titled "Lost Boys". There are articles on food and products that are created in the South. The first issue of 2011 is a Music Issue and not only do they feature The Avett Brothers, but they also focus on Steve Martin and his bluegrass music. There are beautiful films on their website to accompany many of the articles, as well as a few of blogs to follow.

I appreciate what this magazine is doing for the South. It is highlighting what I think a lot of us know is happening down here. And it is doing it with beautifully written articles, inspiring photography, and an honest approach to what it features. I love the South, and am proud to be from here. I get how some of the stereotypes are absolutely true and I wish that weren't the case. But, I don't feel the need to think that what is happening here is less than desirable, that there are all of these other places that are so much better. Of course, I love to travel, and see new places, and experience other cultures; but it is good to come home. The voice this magazine has is absolutely the "new South". It is hip, and educated, and real, and interesting.

01 February 2011

my love for william eggleston

I was introduced to William Eggleston's work during college. I immediately fell for it. I understand it. It makes sense to me. More so than a really beautiful black and white photograph of a landscape—not that there is anything wrong with that! Maybe it just has more to do with the fact that his subject matter is primarily shot in the South, a lot of it being in and around Mississippi and the Delta. It is subject matter that is familiar.

Anyway, the Frist is currently featuring an exhibit on him, so recently I went. What a treat to see his work up close. There is an image that I have looked at many times, but only after standing inches away from it did I notice an airplane in the upper left corner. This made me smile. I love his work because of this. Everyday images, but if you look closely there are so many layers to it. For the longest time, the only art book I had was a book of his photography called 2 1/4. I have spent a lot of time looking through this book and every time I turn a page I am always left wondering why he captured that image. What was it about each particular moment that caught his attention? I love that it is never explained either. We are spoon-fed all of these messages and symbols and meanings, it is refreshing to have to look a little closer.

His color palette is the other thing that RESONATES with me. A pale blue sky against a bright red car, a tree covered in vines that are the most beautiful shades of green, a lady in a navy dress sitting on a bright yellow wall, a white man dressed in a black suit next to a black man dressed in a white jacket. If I were only looking for color inspiration, I would find a new palette in every image. But I am looking for more reasons than that. The content of his photography is intriguing and confusing. It sometimes feels too private. Other times, is light. But never boring.

I am happy to have this exhibit in town for a while longer. I expect to visit a few times. I am also happy to have purchased my third "real" art book because of it.

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