Quality plants

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A few years ago Tom and I picked up plants for the studio.

I have a weekly reminder to tend to them, which I acknowledge every other week… or so.

Surprisingly? These are the first plants I have not destroyed. (Knock on wood.)

Part of this is because they are forgiving varieties. The other part, I’m sure, is because they came from good stock. The ficus tree and snake plants (not pictured) are from a place called Fern up the street. Their small garage showroom is filled with beauty.

The big fern? That was my mom’s. She gave it to me to take inside three winters ago. I’m sure it was from Rahn’s greenhouse.

The moral of the story here is: All the plants I’ve ever bought at IKEA or Lowes or the grocery store die quickly. Find a good local source.

Bonus link: Introverted but willing to discuss plants tee.

Here to make friends, again

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Tom and I have been pretty quiet on the Wire & Twine front. When we started the company 13 odd years ago with Wendy, we realized after some time that we’re all designers. When it came to marketing and scaling, we languished.

Other things began to fill up the days… the creative co-working space in Northside… design consulting… kids… other side projects…. and throw in some life in-between.

Lots of life in-between.

But we’d just done a weeklong workshop with design students at Miami University and it combined many of the things we love: music, working together, fun design, photography and screen-printing. We had a blast (and we hope the students did too.)

So we started to think about what 2020 might hold. We’d like to do more of these workshops with different groups. We’d like to get on the press more and enjoy the physicality of making.

But first? We needed to reply to some emails…

Many folks had written in over the years about Here to Make Friends. We’re positive this has everything to do with the t-shirt being in Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist.

Austin Kleon Steal Like an Artist page 100

So we made the design bigger and better and got it back on the press. For 2020? We’re dedicated to making new things and opening up the doors, because it’s really better together, and fun to share.

Two side notes:

  1. Every book by Austin is incredibly good for anyone that has ever been curious about creativity, the process of making, or staying motivated in any endeavor. Read them all!
  2. Austin also has one of my favorite weekly email newsletters that always inspires. Highly recommended.



Urban Walls: Allegro

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tucked between buildings and across from a parking garage is this mural called Allegro by Barron Krody. It’s among my favorite pieces of public art in Cincinnati and one of the last remaining of the nine original “Urban Walls” murals—a project launched by gallerist Carl Solway and his assistant, Jack Boulton in the 70’s.

I thought I’d shared a photo of it online before.

Technically, I have… The second website I ever made was based on a brochure by Liz Schuerer: A Guide to Public Art in Cincinnati. That links takes you to an archive of the site made in May of 1997. At 22 years old? It’s a bit… low res. Here’s the detail page about Allegro.

Students from the Art Academy of Cincinnati made a video about this mural in 2011.

Here’s an article from the (now defunct) Cincinnati Post about the site in their Cyberspace section no less! (Mom clipped the article and sealed it in contact paper.)

The artist, Barron Krody is still making wonderful art.

The Moma has a poster lithograph from the launch of the mural in their permanent collection.

There are a limited number of other lithographs floating around out there. I’m keeping my eyes peeled!

Bonus link: Image search for Supergraphics

Intellectual Property

Went downtown to learn all about intellectual property, trademarks, copyright and whatnot. I think this is the third time I’ve had these discussions and each time I feel like I learn a little more.

Man, I wish I took a class on all this in school. It’s all so very nuanced.

Unrelated, that Kroger building isn’t going to look any better with their new logo, but gosh we’ve got some fine architectural density all around.

Bank Santa

Monday, December 2, 2019

A break in the clouds

Sunday, December 1, 2019

This first day of December started off heavy—stormy even.

I’ve recently watched the new Mister Rogers movie and a line from it keeps bubbling up in conversation. “If it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.” Meaning—if we lean into the toughest of challenges with communication—we can likely find a way forward or through.

A few hours later, there was a break in the clouds. I’d be giving Grace a lift to Music Hall. She’s in town for the 10th anniversary of Crafty Supermarket and staying at the Depot.

I marveled at all the dramatic clouds on the way back from downtown.

Once home, I felt a bit cloudy myself (who am I kidding, I was a little cloudy from the get go) and decided to tackle the home desk which had become a dumping ground over the year, with piles of paper, stacks of boxes and the tiniest layer of dust.

I started making orderly stacks and unearthed pieces to a personal project that was the foundation of a gift to friends—a pattern of felt letters spelling the word RALLY.

And just like that, I decided to heed the definition.

My desk isn’t entirely oraganized, but my tub is spotless, bedroom clean and I filled 6 boxes of things to donate.

Rally indeed.

Time for Edie

Thursday, August 22, 2019

August 22, 2019 (3 months ago)

This snapshot of Edie happened the week before I’d go to South Africa and return to a mountain of work. Solid and good work. Enough to make me realize, it’s time to grow.

Not sure I want to run a design studio again, but I think it’s more like I want to be a part of a creative studio. A company with a flat structure, individuals with complimentary skills and one very important component; unfettered communication. That’s the core. The rest can contract and expand to fit a particular need of a project.

My personal goal? I want to recapture just a little slice of time. But the reality is, it’s more fun together.

Also? I think it would make my cat happy.*

* I realize that all it takes to make my cat happy is wet food.

Folding things together

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

After Kroger acquired Home Chef, I kind of fell out of favor with their meal kit approach. (Previously, I was enamored.) Better design and branding, but the fun and interesting recipes turned more into meatloaf and noodles.

I get Plated meal kits now, and super dig ’em. That’s not what this post is about really.

Plated included this fun little promo (above) along with a few sheets of origami paper in the August box. I sent this snapshot to some folks I used to work with at IDIO Technology Studios—our web design company in the late 90’s/early 00’s.

We had made a similar promotion for Halloween, sending out custom paper with CD-ROMs (!) that contained an interactive tutorial of the same origami project—often called a paper balloon. Our electronic version was a step by step guide you could click through with sounds and animation. We gave ourselves the challenge of making an interface with no words.

Here are a few screenshots:

I found the original (Macromedia Director) files and tried to revive the whole shebang, but alas, there have been way too many platform and software leaps to bring it back to life.

Which is a bit frustrating, that something you made simply doesn’t exist anymore.

Mental note: Document things thoroughly.

Other mental note: Many Technologies becomes obsolete.