Thinking with vintage style

I'm not going ANYWHERE except to work and to the studio for yet another couple of weeks...Still, I have to admit that I am thinking ahead with anticipation for my holiday travels. No, I'm not going anywhere particularly sexy this time (unless Baltimore really turns you on). For me, travel is not always about the destination; it's about the experience, the people...and, of course, having the right luggage!

Super cool handpainted vintage luggage by GetReadySetGo

With that, I was happy to trip over Get Ready Set GO, a cool vintage luggage shop (with a handcrafted spin) out of Florida. The train cases, hard-shelled suitcases, briefcases and other vintage luggage pieces satisfy that vintage loving vibe. To sweeten the experience, each piece receives its own hand-altered treatment in the form of handprinted or handpainted artwork, embellishments, and even personalization.

I'm ready to pack one up and fly away!

Artist-Friendly Gift Idea: Custom Chucks

I've been keeping an eye out for community-sustaining, artist-friendly gift ideas and this one landed in my inbox just in time. Thanks Ken!

Customized sneakers by Karen Aqua

Cambridge-based artist and animator Karen Aqua combines customization with commerce this holiday season. As pictured above, Karen will customize your sneakers with her energetic and petroglyph inspired drawings; your pair of choice for $65 a pop. Can't tell your left from your right? The artist will sign each foot, so you can wear them or save them as a footwear/art investment.

Karen is known internationally for her animation work, which explores themes of ritual, journey, transformation, and the human spirit. Much of her work reflects an interest in symbols, mythology, and prehistoric and tribal cultures, and includes elements of rhythm, dance, and music. Many of us in the U.S. have enjoyed her animated shorts on Sesame Street, with funky music scored by husband and musician, Ken Field. I once cut out a million paper monkeys for get your sneaks on and shake it!

To avoid sizing issues, Karen asks that you supply the sneakers. That gives you the option to get creative with styles and colors...although the blank slate of the classic Chuck Taylor really can't be beat. The first 5 orders received by Thanksgiving will have their finished sneakers in time for winter gift-giving. Contact Karen via the link for inquiries.

Pushing the Envelope: Fun With Hot Glass

Here's a high-energy video to start off the day (via Core77 via YouTube). Rhode Island native and RISD alum (BFA industrial design / MFA glass) C. Matthew Szosz gets his elemental energy out inflating fused sheets of window glass into sculptural glass "envelopes". Hot glass is explosive - the stillness of the final form is belied by the frenetic urgency of the process. Love it.

If you are in New York, these works are on display at Urban Glass in Brooklyn through this Friday, November 14th, as part of the Wheaton Fellows group show "The Space Between". Images of the finished "inflatables" are available on the Urban Glass website.

C. Matthew Szosz, "#37", 2006, glass

Image: C. Matthew Szosz, "#37", fused and inflated window glass

Dye, Pleat, Stitch and Flaunt

I’m already uncharacteristically pumped for this year’s holiday season, which is completely at odds with what the doomsaying news outlets are prosthelytizing. One of the reasons for my early and enthusiastic push is that I will be creating most of our holiday gifts with my own two paws (with the balance representing items and works by artists & indie designers whose work I truly admire). If you are on my list, don’t you already feel special?

It’s no secret that I’m a huge proponent of Buy Handmade (or, make it yourself), which is where the following UK-based artist fits in. I fell in love with tinctory’s unique textile jewelry on Etsy last winter, and gifted her beautiful autumn leaf necklace to a very picky Italian lady who loved it!

Fall necklace by tinctory -

2008 has seen an increased creative intensity in tinctory’s jewelry line, with the addition of smocked silk necklaces, like the example pictured below. I don’t normally feature jewelry on Studio Debris, but this work is unique to my interests in that it incorporates hand-dyed or recycled textiles, with intensive pleating and stitching handwork. Using painstaking shibori and smocking techniques, Eva has invented some amazing sculptural forms that stand as works of art on their own.

"apples and ashes" smocked silk necklace by tinctory on Etsy -

In addition to the joy of receiving a truly unique piece of jewelry all the way from Birmingham, Eva from tinctory packages each piece in an elegant, handmade gift box. Mine arrived from the U.K. in no time. If you are interested in shibori or the other techniques used in tinctory jewelry, check out Eva’s flickr site for some interesting photos of works in progress.

Seen and Felt

I need to stop listening to National Public Radio in the morning, it's giving me indigestion. The economic outlook has many of us wanting to crawl under a large, light-dampening blanket with a "wake me when it's over" sign pinned to the top. Speaking of blankets...

Large Scale Felt Banners by Wendy Mueller at RI Convention Center

I have long admired these huge felt banners by Wendy Mueller, commissioned for the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. They are so gnarly and the skins of an imaginary, prehistoric beast.

Large Scale Felt Banners by Wendy Mueller at RI Convention Center

Large Scale Felt Banners by Wendy Mueller at RI Convention Center

I see these as totems to the "percent for art" public art programs. Will funded public art go the way of the dinosaurs?

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