On May 21,2009, Matthew B. Crawford published an article in The New York Times Magazine titled, “The Case for Working With Your Hands.” Later that month, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work arrived on my desk at work.
Three paragraphs down in the New York Times piece, Crawford describes our situation:
“High-school shop-class programs were widely dismantled in the 1990s as educators prepared students to become “knowledge workers.” The imperative of the last 20 years to round up every warm body and send it to college, then to the cubicle, was tied to a vision of the future in which we somehow take leave of material reality and glide about in a pure information economy. This has not come to pass. To begin with, such work often feels more enervating than gliding. More fundamentally, now as ever, somebody has to actually do things: fix our cars, unclog our toilets, build our houses.”
Early civilizations like the Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans are known to have used this soft metal in jewelry and tableware.
It is a rich shade of gray that has remarkable depth and presence.
A commonly used material in the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts periods.
Molten and cast
Polished or tarnished
A lustrous silvery-grey with purple and umber highlights
And visit our Collection for a range of styles in our color Pewter.
”From a scientific point of view, it can be said he [Thoreau] documented for the first time how ecological succession works … The mechanism was animals and weather. Squirrels carry acorns so oak trees replace pine when the pines are cut down. And pine seeds blow over to replace the oak.” – Richard T. Forman
I started writing this piece about two weeks ago. I was talking about succession over trend with a colleague and she asked me to put down my thoughts about how that worked. And so I started…and as I was writing, the question of trend began to appear in the press and this story seems on one hand less important and on the other hand more important. I’ll let you be the judge. In any case, thank you for coming here. Thank you for reading:
There is a small stop at milepost 330.2 on the Natchez Trace Parkway called Rock Spring Nature Trail. I’ve been going to this spot on the Natchez Trace since I was a little girl. Perk, my maternal grandfather, used to take me (and all of the cousins) there en route to Colbert Ferry park on the “other side” of the Tennessee River from our home. From there, we would launch his small fishing boat and run the trotline of baited hooks for catfish (more on this boat and Perk’s trotline coming soon).
Rock Spring is a natural aquifer that merges with Colbert Creek where this nature trail now stands. The creek is a small, meandering stream of rare beauty (see the photo above)—named after George Colbert—who ran the Ferry that crossed the Tennessee River along the Trace before the days of a bridge.
I’ve been thinking a lot about trends recently. Honestly, I’ve been thinking about them a lot—for a very long time. Quite some time ago, I read a plaque in a National Park about ecological succession that changed the way I looked at trends forever (more on this next Tuesday).
You see, ecological (or biological) succession is the process by which a community (or a business) slowly evolves over time. The opposite of trend.
And then, on the cover of the newest T Magazine’s Spring Women’s Fashion 2015—which was issued this past Sunday—there is a title that reads, “& the Post-Trend World of Fashion.”
On page 96, Deborah Needleman’s Editor’s Letter is titled, “The End of Trend.” She writes, “We live in what appears to be a post-trend fashion world — with no clear guidelines for our sartorial choices and an endless array of options. New shows and collections seem to be springing up constantly throughout the year, consumed hungrily and instantaneously around the world on a variety of platforms before the editors have even filed out the doors. So inundated are we with images that we’d be bored to tears with any single trend by the time it hit stores.”
She continues: “The solution is to rely on our own instincts, which is something that many of the women featured in this issue — musicians, writers, artists, Bjork! — have in common: an ability to filter myriad influences to create an unmistakable personal voice.”
“…an ability to filter myriad influences to create an unmistakable personal voice.”
The choice of style over trend.
The choice of your own voice over the voice of an authority.
The voice of the individual.
And so my thoughts on succession and how a collection—a style—should grow slowly over time emerge again.
Roman Alonso, Steven Johanknecht, Pamela Shamshiri, and Ramin Shamshiri are Commune—an inter-disciplinary collective of artists that work in the design realm. Commune is a design firm, but they are also much more than that; they invent moods and spaces for residential clients and for public space, design graphics and branding concepts, and create products that are beautiful without being wasteful.
The Commune team is also known for creating unique spaces like the ACE Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, the ACE Hotel Downtown LA, the Standard, Farmshop, and showrooms for Heath Ceramics.
Red—the color of extremes.
Difficult for some to see; more difficult to paint.
It’s the color of blood, violence, and revolution—of danger, adventure, and the almost universal sign to stop.
Red is full of energy. It is exciting and awakening.
It denotes power and confidence.
It’s been called the color of temptation and desire.
In some cultures, it is the color of luck; in others districts, the color of lust and seduction.
This week, it is the color of love.
And, of course, the apple.
Apple Red—our newest collection color.
Take a bite.
P.S.: For a limited time, our A. Chanin Long Sleeve Cardigan is now available in our newest color Apple (just in time for Valentine’s Day) as well as Pewter. Eames: Beautiful Details is now available in Studio Books from The School of Making (more on the Eames and inspiration coming soon).
Paul Rand is considered by many to be one of the most significant visual communicators and commercial artists in history. His first book, Thoughts on Design, is one that invigorated the design world and has become a seminal text for design students and professionals. Rand’s simple, straightforward approach to design eventually helped him create some of the most iconic corporate logos, many of which are still in use today (think IBM, the American Broadcasting Company, Westinghouse, and the United Parcel Service).
Rand was just 33 years-of-age, with much of this notable work still ahead of him, when he published Thoughts on Design in 1947. The book is an idealistic, passionate call to arms for designers to integrate form and function. Rand summarizes this simply, saying that design should reflect “the integration of the beautiful and the useful,” and asserts that one’s work “is not good design if it is irrelevant.” Furthermore, he urges designers to create from their singular point of view: “The system that regards aesthetics as irrelevant, which separates the artist from his product… will, in the long run, diminish not only the product but the maker as well.”