June 12, 2011

Rugadoro Handmade Carnival Masks

While exploring the streets of Venice two weeks ago, I came across the most fantastic of mask shops: Rugadoro. All the masks in this shop were handmade with a patchwork of colorful fabrics. When I visited, the artist was in working on a mask. She uses a craft past to adhere the scraps to a basic mask mold. The shapes range anywhere from traditional human faces to those of animals (rabbit and pig below).

I was completely captivated by the beauty and originality of these designs. I already regret not claiming one as my own, but with prices of 50-80+ euro perhaps it is best that I wait until I'm no longer working with a student budget! (Photo Credits: Image 3 below by Brian J. McMorrow.)

June 10, 2011


In Aix-en-Provence, France I came across a fabulous bakery. The identity design was clean and refined but still had the personality one desires in a French bakery. The interior was inviting and filled with charming things to eat. I ordered a pistachio macaron (pistachio being a flavor of the region) and the memory of it still lingers in my mind. Definitely try this shop out. Don't worry though! You won't have to dust off your passport for this bakery, Paul is established in Europe, the Middle East and Asia as well as the United States. Find one near you online.

June 9, 2011

Acqua Alta Bookshop

A friend and I recently traveled to Venice. This is the kind of town that you want to explore on foot (or ideally by gondola). While wandering through the streets we found the Acqua Alta Bookshop. There was a sign as you entered that claimed this was, "the most beautiful bookshop in the world" and the shop completely lived up to that claim. Gondolas and boats were filled with books and every other nook was stuffed with volumes on art, Venice and any other topic you can imagine. (Photo credit for image above.)

On the floor a path is marked. Following the yellow footprints leads you to the shop's view of a canal.

The next time you are in Venice you must check out this shop... but it might be best if you just happen upon it. Happy travels!

April 19, 2011

Charleston on Design

I spent Saturday in Charleston with these lovely ladies. We wandered the cobblestone streets admiring historic architectural design and poked around Charleston's garden's. I recommend a harbor tour for a quick overview with plenty of city history tossed in. Below are a few highlights of the beauty of this southern jewel city. Clockwise from top left: Charleston harbor/Maritime center, Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge, Hyman's seafood, St. Michael's church

April 11, 2011

The Sketchbook Project Tour :: Atlanta

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

This weekend I spent a short time at the Granite Room in Atlanta to see the Sketchbook Project. My adorable friend Christin participated in this unique show and I wanted to "check out" her book... literally. (See sneak peeks from her book at her blog, Wishful Thinking.) My sister and I arrived to see plenty of show-goers flipping through sketchbooks. I signed up for my library card and requested Christin's book from the stacks. It was a lovely experience and I wish I had a few more minutes to explore additional books from other artists. The Sketchbook Project is on tour for a while longer and is headed to Washington, DC next. I recommend stopping by!

 The Granite Room

 Signing up for my library card!
 The stacks—plenty of colorful spines
 A peek at Christin's book

 Cute library card—aka souvenir
 Me and my sis

April 7, 2011

Support Teachers (& Local Art!)

I recently picked up this piece at the faculty exhibition of the university I attend. It is always inspirational and humbling to see the personal work of those who teach me. I sometimes get accustomed to attending their classes and forget the talent that should make me sit up and listen while taking down every word from their lips. I am grateful for all I learned from them and am thrilled to have pieces by my professors'.
(The piece above: Firefly by Jon Andrews)

March 14, 2011

Babar's Dream :: the concocted universe

I've been reading Edward R. Tufte's Visual Explanations this evening in search of useful tidbits on William Playfair (the inventor of the pie, bar and line graphs). The topic is as interesting as I could expect a history paper topic to be. Just as my head began to nod I flipped the page to the colorful image you see above: Babar's Dream by Jean de Brunhoff (1933). Tufte uses the watercolor to illustrate, "concocted universes, showing all at once what never has been together...an impossibly wonderful scene". This image of Babar launches me back to my childhood. I grew up with King Babar and distinctly remember accidentally finding a wind-up doll of the peaceful elephant hidden in a cupboard. It was intended to be a Christmas gift for me and I felt like such a bad girl for discovering him early. The books, stuffed elephants and even the Babar perfume...I was completely in love. (Did I mention that as a child I hoped to become an elephant doctor?) Did you grow up with Babar?

I would like to recommend Tufte's work on the basis of his sound, useful instruction to designers on the topic of information graphics, but I especially enjoyed running across the, "graceful winged elephants who chase Misfortune away...and bring back Happiness". I know they brought me a little Happiness tonight!

March 10, 2011

Starbucks Petites

Went with the coworkers today to try out Starbucks' new petite treats. I chose this precious pink cake pop to accompany my chai. Not only was it a delicious 3 o'clock pick-me-up, but it was just about the cutest thing I've seen all week. Watch out for those 170 calories though—a bit of a splurge for what amounts to two bites. Worth it? Um, yeah.
(Photo credit: Starbucks.com)