Thursday, May 31, 2012

NEW YORK STORIES/ Green and Blue Color Trend

Photography: Kat Teutsch
Photography: Kat Teutsch

Photography: Kat Teutsch
Photography: Kat Teutsch
Photography: Kat Teutsch

Photography: Kat Teutsch

Last Monday on Memorial Day, Photographer Kat Teutsch and I got together to work on a shoot we had long spoken about doing, not so much the subject matter to begin with but more that we wanted to create a story together. I met Kat at the opening of Prop Workshop, A great new Prop house in New York some months ago and we had been in contact since. Kat has a very playful light but graphic approach to her work and we both thought we would be a good fit. Over the months I began to loosely form an idea and I began to collect and gather props that seemed to fit.  

I have for a long time wanted to a series of color based stories, Funny enough inspired by fictional characters, eccentric hybrids of personalities I know or admire from a distance in New York. The story you see here is a Blue/ Green Trend based story in essence but to give it a narrative or a thread to hang by while creating the images I had put into words a story that morning of the shoot and had written it down, It went like this:  

Edna Indigo Greenleaf, born July 12th, 1923
Edna, born somewhere in the Mid West, In the 1960’s she moved to Manhattan, NY, moving to the West Village. Her heritage is vague but she does have some Scandinavian and Greek Heritage. A Professional but single, Her profession is also a little unknown, she is the spinster who lives next door, You know she has been in the building a long long time, but she keeps to herself. Her rent is stabilized. She may have worked in Academia.

Enter into her world and you know she is a travelled woman of whom has a love of Photography and Botanicals, She lives surrounded by treasures of the world, Artifacts from China and other exotic destinations travelled to in her youth when the East was still a mystical place. She loves to paint and while away the hours, A bit of a bower bird with eclectic tastes, She is also the older woman you see in the street with the bright blue bloomer pants and exotic beads, A woman of another era but who also likes to think she keeps up with the times, The New York Times, that is!

Sub consciously Edna is a hybrid of my current next door neighbor, Jazz singer Blossom Dearie who lived in the West Village and a lady I saw on the street years ago on the Upper East side who owned a parrot she kept on her shoulder. It may seem a bit odd to create such characters, but it really helped get into a spirit and mood for the shoot, It’s almost like creating a set for a character in a film. I also liked the idea of throwing out the window the old wives tail "Blue and green should need be seen" which is why exactly I chose those colors to work with. 

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy knowing about the process and enjoy the images from the shoot We had a lot of fun creating them, We plan to create more shoots based on color and colorful characters in the future, stay tuned!   

Thanks to Prop Workshop for the wonderful backgrounds that I rented off them plus a handful of props, Most props seen here I actually own or collected especially for the shoot. Some may recognize it was shot in my apartment, as most self produced shoots are ; )

Saturday, May 26, 2012

ICFF Report/ 2012

Outdoor Tables, Photography: Marcus Hay
Outdoor Furniture by Fermob, Photography: Marcus Hay

Memoro Display Modules by PeteKL, Part of the Pratt Institute Design Students exhibit with Herman Miller
Photography: Marcus Hay

Wallpaper inspired by all the Queens of the World, Photography: Marcus Hay

New Broom Chairs by Philippe Stark for Emeco, Largely made from recycled materials, Photography: Marcus Hay 
Left: Springy Stools, Left: Arne Jacobsen chairs used for the talks to sit the audience, Photography: Marcus Hay
Left: Birdhouses by Council, Right: AreaWare, Photography: Marcus Hay
Paper Music for a blue room, by Molo, Photography: Marcus Hay
Paper Music for a blue room, by Molo, Photography: Marcus Hay
Left: Tesoro Bamboo Silk rug by Ingo Elizalde, Similar Wall Treatment, Photography: Marcus Hay
Left: Wooden silhouettes, Right: Japanese inspired figurines by MC&Co, Photography: Marcus Hay
Left: Jonathan Adler outdoor planters, Right:Metal and wooden chair, Photography: Marcus Hay
Left: Pillows by Blu Dot, Left: Scamp Tables by Blu Dot, Photography: Marcus Hay
Left: Table linens by Season One, Finland, Scrapwood Wallpaper by Dutch Designer Piet Hein Eek
Photography: Marcus Hay
Left: An interesting wall treatment, Right: Softy Stones by Kaisa Sipovaara, From The University of Lapland, Finland
Photography by Marcus Hay
New Norwegian Design:Plain And Simple at InsideNorway These were cute cards given out at the stand

Last weekend I trotted off once again to ICFF, It’s really just a few blocks for me to The Javitz Center where it is held each year so really if I am in town I have no excuse not to go! Last year I was away on a job in Chicago and sadly missed it but this year I am glad to say I got to enjoy it once again, It’s a magical experience, seeing so much energy & Idea’s in one enormous room…It’s breathtakingly overwhelming.

I really enjoyed seeing in still slightly economically depressed times a light heart and spirit, It’s almost like this year, a child’s heart was at play…there was COLOR everywhere! It was joyous to see!

There were many highlights for me, One was Molo from Canada’s exhibit, they always please every year! It was an oasis away from the bustle of the fair was the indigo colored paper tower that from any vantage point stood out like The Empire State building in the sea of other exhibitors. The exhibit was entitled “Paper music for a blue room”. Experimental sound components were integrated into a 12′ tall room constructed from indigo blue soft blocks, turning the paper blocks themselves into speakers. A piece of music composed by sound artist Ethan Rose especially for the installation resonated within the room resulting in a highly sensory experience. Many people stayed for longer than expected as it was so surprisingly inviting and chilled.  

One standout student design for me being a lover of collectables was the Modular Memoro blocks allow for countless configurations of tablescapes which create a stage for the stories of the objects you collect and treasure by Peter KL for The Pratt Institutes collaboration with Herman Miller. 

There was also a great deal of presence of Finnish Design since Helsinki was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012 by the International Council Of Societies of Industrial Design, Many Students and start up companies from Finland were there and I really loved the freshness and spirit of design represented. 

Print seemed to represented largely by Tribal, almost Aztec Designs, Ingo Elizalde was doing some amazing rugs from his studio in Manhattan inspired by his native Philippines.  

I took in so much that day, I am still reeling from the visual overload, I apologize if I don't have references for everything, Some items were hard to identify after the fact, but hopefully this gives you a snippet of what I saw thru my eyes and boy was there a lot to see! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Good Housekeeping/ Budget Meals

Photography: Con Poulos

Photography: Con Poulos

Photography: Con Poulos

Photography: Con Poulos

For the June issue out on the news stands now, We shot the current food story for Good Housekeeping. The theme was Budget Meals (A common theme it seems these days ; ) It was shot with a regular Co-Contributor Photographer Con Poulos. The colors for the story were pre determined somewhat by the team at the magazine, They were to be Yellow, Orange and Blue/ Green. The article is in a Summer issue, so the photography and styling was to feel summery, light and inviting. I wove in some stripes and a slight Ethnic feel with prints on napkins and backgrounds. It's always so refreshing to embrace a summer story after such a long Winter in NYC.

One of my favorite Editors I have the pleasure to work with each time I contribute to Good Housekeeping is Susan Westmoreland, The magazines Food Director, Susan is is responsible for planning and producing the food features, She also appears in monthly television pieces for Good Housekeeping Reports, a syndicated news service featuring tests and consumer news from the Good Housekeeping Institute, She is a very busy woman but always gracious, generous and at ease. 

Food has always been a part of Westmoreland's life, before entering the publishing profession 25 years ago; she was a chef in Long Island, Massachusetts, and Greece. She remains an active member of the food community and has served on the Board of Directors of Les Dames d'Escoffier and the New York Women's Culinary Alliance. Her knowledge of Food is inspiring and it's so great to work with someone who really loves what they do and it shows on every shoot we do together.

The food was styled by the amazing Anne Disrude. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Quistgaard, Dansk and his love of Teak

An early photo of Jens, His Dansk designed logo burnt into the bottom of a bowl
Some more silo's of his desk, stool, grinder, ice bucket, cheese board, salad bowl and servers and a tray

His Iconic desk and stool

Some examples of his flatware

The iconic Congo Icebucket, Left: An early advertisement from the 1950's

Another example of an ice bucket and trash paper bin

His very collectable salt and paper mills

Some of Jen's designs in Teak including buffet, salad bowl, trays and side folding table

Jens Quistgaard (1919-2008) has been mentioned many times here before on my blog, His work was so prolific it is hard to just contain it all to one post. Jens was a master of Danish Design but also had a huge presence here in the USA, where he helped form the company Dansk International Designs in the 1950’s. Naturally talented as a child even, carving toys from scrap wood, Quistgaard went on to work as an apprentice at Georg Jensen before starting Dansk after he met American entrepreneur Ted Nierenberg after Ted saw some of Jen’s designs in Denmark.

On my blog I have concentrated heavily on his amazing enamel designs, this post is all about his Teak products, which he is probably, is best known for probably after his pots.

Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma. Teak is a large, deciduous tree that is dominant in mixed hardwood forests. It has small, fragrant white flowers and papery leaves that are often hairy on the lower surface. Teak's high oil content, strong tensile strength and tight grain makes it a great material to work with.

Jen’s applied it to many silhouettes; His most famous in Teak is probably his Congo Ice Bucket inspired by a Viking ship, which have become very collectable. He also worked with may designs for trays and salad bowls, Quistgaard’s salad bowls infact were often made from separate staves of teak arranged in a circle, much as barrels are built. This used less wood than turning the bowls on a lathe and gave them striking radial lines in the process. He also designed in the material very sought after Dansk salt and pepper mills that have become iconic in their designs. Stainless steel was combined with teak to create elegant flatware that was an affordable alternative to sterling silver. His furniture designs in Teak are just so elegant and understated.
His designs have been put into the collections of and displayed at museums included the Louvre in Paris and at both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. By 1982, he had created more than 2,000 different designs of dinnerware, glassware and items for the home. Quistgaard's legacy runs deep within the design world. In a historical context, he is now known as Denmark's first industrial designer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life in Japan/ Kirsty Munro

Left: Kirsty enjoying a meal, Right: Autumn powdered sugar sweets, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Nagare Hina, Nests that are supposed to carry your bad luck downstream, Iwatsuki, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Kitakata Ramen from Fukushima, with Harajuku eggs, Made at home, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Left: Shocking Pink Flowers, Tatebayashi, Gunma, Right: Packaging for White Day, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Left: Radio Flyer Tricycles around Iwatsuki, Right: Still life at home, Kitchen window, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Left: Koinobori, Right: Japanese parasol, Kamakura, Photography: Kirsty Munro 
Left: Bicycle in front of posters, Tokyo, Right: Pinkness, around Daikanyama, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Dodge Van, Tokyo streets, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Left: Turnip Chrysanthemums, Ready to make Kabu Kiku, Left: Ladies Welcome at Black Tie Bar, Utsunomiya
Photography: Kirsty Munro 
Left: Local art at Utsunomiya, Middle: Signage with bear in Shibuya, Right: Sweet Treats at Aoya Cafe in Nakameguro, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Left: A rest house amongst the Azaleas, Tatebayashi, Gunma, Right: The new Tokyo Plaza in Harajuku
Photography: Kirsty Munro
Asakusa, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Left: Morning Walk, Tokyo, Middle: Sukura Bonsai, Right: Owl in Kinkakuji, Kyoto, Photography: Kirsty Munro
Left: Buddha shaped Wasanbon powdered sugar sweets, Left: Panda's outside store, Utsunomiya.
Photography: Kirsty Munro
I first met Kirsty Munro many years ago when I started University in Australia studying Design at The University Of Technology. She was studying Industrial Design, I was studying Fashion. I don't recall exactly when we starting hanging out but it was a long time ago! I remember collaborating with her on projects at Uni, We were both studying Photography so we would help each other out with being each other’s subject. The funnest part of our friendship was probably when we both found ourselves some year’s later working at Vogue Australia. She was a Writer/Editor, I in the Art Department. We also ended up living across the road from one another during this time, she lived above the corner store, I lived in a studio apartment the size of a broom cupboard in an ugly 1970's block, both in Sydney's Elizabeth Bay.

As it turns out life took me to New York and for Kirsty, It was Japan! A world away from each other, I continue my love affair with Japan living through her. Thankfully it's made easier as she know has a fab blog All about Japanese Food & Packaging. Check it out!

Kirsty takes amazing shots of her life in Japan, I wanted to share some of these with you.

I asked Kirsty some questions:

Q: Where do you live in Japan, What neighbor hood?
A: When I first moved here, I lived in the downtown area of Eastern Tokyo, which I loved. The people are really down-to-earth and chatty. I felt welcome, straight away! Last year I moved up North to the suburbs. It’s a bit quieter and I walk by fields of cabbages and radishes every morning.

Q: What made you decide to live in Japan, When did you first visit?
A: I’ve loved Japanese art and design since I was a kid. Then, when I studied at university, I fell in love with the work of Noguchi – that natural, Zen aesthetic, using natural materials. I finally visited after university and I was knocked out by the color and the energy of Tokyo.

Q: Have you always had an affinity for Japanese life? What do you love about it most?
A: I’ve always felt comfortable here, I love the way ancient traditions are just incorporated into modern life; the food is amazing, of course; cuteness is highly appreciated and there’s a cute character or mascot for everything! People tend to be open to new things and not too judgmental; finally, I love the random beauty everywhere – an ikebana display at the train station, or a perfectly wrapped snack.

Q: You started your blog on Japanese food and packaging, do you cook a lot?
A: I do cook a lot. My husband is Japanese and very traditional when it comes to food! I tend to cook simple things salt-grilled fish or oyakodon – chicken cooked in a slightly sweet dashi broth with egg. I found out that Japanese housewives cheat and buy a lot of pre-prepared stuff, so I love shopping for new pickles and side dishes. Food changes so much with the seasons, so now I’m cooking lots of bamboo shoots dressed with soy and bonito flakes, clams in miso soup and as the weather gets warmer, I’ll start making more cold noodle dishes.

Q: If you also eat out a lot, Can you recommend any great places in particular you often haunt?
A: Because I cook pretty simple stuff at home, when I go out, it’s for dishes that are difficult to make at home. In summer, I love the unagi (grilled eel) at Izuei near Ueno Park, which opened in 1730. Walking around the back streets of Kanda is like stepping back into the Edo era. Kanda Yabusoba is a relaxed soba restaurant set in a lovely garden. The best places here are unpretentious, with a focus on great food. When I go drinking with friends, it’s fun to go to one of the tachinomiya – standing bars, under the train tracks at Ueno or Yurakucho. It’s noisy, cheap and crowded, and you make a lot of new friends!

Q: Your photos of everyday life and food (of course) in Japan are so inspiring, do you have any tips on how to take a good picture, what is your approach?
A: It sounds obvious, but just looking is important. It’s easy to miss the little details that make a scene memorable. As a kid I noticed a lot of interesting things, so I try to get down low and get a child’s perspective sometimes. And I’m always darting up the oldest, narrowest streets.

Q: Japanese life in 5 words, how would you describe it?
A: Waah, that’s tough! Um… delicious, detailed, down-to-earth, delightful, difficult. I don’t know why I chose all “d” words!

One day soon I hope I can visit her and meet her husband Shinobu, It’s been 9 years since I was in Japan, I have to say it’s one of my favorite places in the world, As a Stylist and Creative person it breathes magic for me like no other place, every corner you turn you find new inspiration. 

Thanks so much Kirsty for sharing your pictures and life there. 

BTW: Kirsty also has two other blogs!! (..How does she do it?) hirouenheroine (The wedding process in Japan) and 12 seasons of japan about the seasons.