buckwheatn'grits

"been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down…"

Month: April, 2014

Things to Click…

The year of reading women

Anyone with an interest in beer and brewing will enjoy the brief summary of data from The Atlantic on “The State of American Beer,” charting which kinds of beer sales are up, which are down, and what people in the U.S. are actually drinking. The most interesting things seem to be happening with craft beer (on the rise in America), especially for Lagunitas Brewing Company, maker of delicious beers.

This brief blog in response to the James-Franco-suggestively-texting-a-17-year-old controversy published on  The Style Con is a sharp and intelligent look at “Humbert culture,” or America’s fascination with the sexuality of young women. Writer Beth Lalonde ultimately suggests the fetish, and our forgiveness of it, is symptomatic of a larger cultural issue. A good read for anyone interested in rape culture, sexuality studies, and how women are portrayed in film and on TV.

MOVOTO published an interactive map of America’s listening preferences by area. You can scroll over the map to hear the sounds of a region and learn more about what genres are popular where in the U.S. Interestingly, bluegrass and folk music is prevalent where you would least expect it (urban areas), for hard rockers, move West, and the Mid-West will listen to (and enjoy) just about anything.

I stumbled across this killer list of 21 contemporary female authors everyone should read and can’t wait to be settled in my new home so I can pick some of them up. The list was compiled by Joanna Walsh in an ongoing Twitter feed encouraging readers to read more works by women.

 

The Relatives Release: Former Friends

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The Relatives are releasing a new EP this week, one that has been a year and a half in the making. Titled Former Friends, the project consists of six songs co-written by Katie Vogel and Ian Davis. The recordings themselves, though, are part of a much larger collaborative effort, featuring the talents of many other musicians, including drummer Ian Chang, bassist Spencer Zahn, pianist and vocalist Ross Edwards, and additional strings, brass, and back-up vocals by many others. Also of note is the gorgeous cover art done by David Foarde. The official release is Friday, May 2nd and will be accompanied by a party and house show in Ditmas Park with sets by Isaac Gillespie of The Due Diligence and Wyndham Baird. In the meantime, you can listen to their single from the EP, “Love Me,” available now for download and streaming on Bandcamp. The rest of the EP drops Friday! And trust me, I know I’m biased, but I’ve heard the full spunky, alt-folk janglings of Former Friends and it is definitely some of the group’s best work!

Society 6: now printing rugs!

Society 6 is a monster of a print site, selling poster prints, phone cases, throw pillows, t-shirts, tote bags, and even shower curtains. They started as a somewhat small collective that enabled artists to submit their work for printing in either t-shirt or poster format. Choices were slim. But the site has exploded in the last couple of years as a place for affordable art, expanding into territory well beyond your typical screen-printed shirt.

But did you know they are also selling rugs now!? True story. I know, my jaw dropped too when I saw it.

I send you off with caution, though. The site isn’t curated at all, meaning: 1) it can be a hodgepodge–any search yields a mix of garbage and gold, and 2) there is bound to be at least something for everyone. Below are some of my favorites from the prints now offered in rug form, but check out Society 6’s website for more choices from literally hundreds of print artists. If you like one of the rugs below, just click on the photo to link to it.

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Been Listening…

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Chad VanGaalen’s new album Shrink Dust comes out May 29th. However, it’s available for early streaming on Pitchfork and I’ve been listening to it all morning! Self-produced at his home studio in Calgary, Canada, the album is full of VanGaalen’s signature experimental-goodness. Combining beautiful sound with his typically grotesque imagery (as Alex Hudson aptly describes it), the album delivers what fans have come to expect from VanGaalen, while still moving into new territory. VanGaalen has added a new country-twang pedal steel to his instrumental repertoire, plays around with heavily overlaid dissonance, and embraces his home-studio production techniques in a winning way on this–his third–album.

Primitive Reserve

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Primitive Reserve is dedicated to re-purposing salvaged wood and other materials into practical pieces for the home. Rochelle Chavez is the designer behind the line, and, though she focuses primarily on wood, she has also experimented with stone, leather, and metal. Working out of Los Angeles, California, Rochelle sources all of her materials locally and makes everything by hand. Most prominently available on her site are beautifully sanded and shaped cutting boards, wooden spoons, and other kitchen items. However, she makes incredible wall installations, furniture, and other practical items as well. Ultimately, she embraces the flexibility of her self-employment, making what she wants when she wants it. With this philosophy writ large in her bio, it is clear that it is in the making, in the use of her hands, that Rochelle has found her calling. And it’s not just a commercially propelled desire; every corner of her own home is touched by this urge to create and build. Aesthetically her work is practical and efficient, embracing the natural characteristics of her found  materials. You can read more about her on her website, check out her online store, follow her Instagram, or take a look inside her gorgeous home for some handmade inspiration.

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Wall installation in Rochelle Chavez’s home. Photo from Designsponge.

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Wood collage installation in Rochelle Chavez’s home. Photo from Designsponge.

Gypsya

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Gypsya started as an artists’ collective with a small Etsy shop selling hand stitched Kantha quilts. The group and the shop has quickly grown, and now offers handmade and vintage pillows, scarves, jewelery, Kantha quilts, and (my favorite) woven rugs. Their work is colorful and cozy, with worn materials and comfortably graphic patterns. Featured all over the internet on design blogs and in house tours, you’ve probably seen their work before. But their quilts and rugs are so stunning and fun that I’ve been wanting to do a feature on them for a while. You can shop their Etsy store, follow them on Facebook, or see more of their work at their newly launched website.

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Been Listening…

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Merrill Garbus, performing under the name tUnE-yArDs, has been a perennial favorite since her explosive alt. pop albums appeared on the music scene in 2009 and 2011. Kris and I had the joy of seeing her perform in Charlottesville, Virginia a few years ago, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a more energetic show. Her new album Nikki Nack comes out May 6th and I have barely been enduring the wait. Luckily, the album is featured on this week’s NPR’s “First Listen” series, and it lives up to all expectations: simply jaw-dropping pop fare. As always, Garbus hems here between off-kilter chaos and catchy organizing beats rimmed in energetic drum patterns and repetitive loops. Her sound is eclectic, energizing, experimental, and hypnotic. As NPR notes in their write-up, Garbus manages to affirm pop music at the same time that she expresses sincere doubts as to the form’s ability to be artistic and, well, good. Wavering between the cynic and the joyful, Garbus skillfully navigates her captive audience in this phonic exploration. Summarizing his review of the new album, Tom Moon writes, “There’s genius in this ongoing struggle between the orderly and the unknown: Even when it’s hard to tell where she’s going, you follow Garbus, curiosity fully activated. Because more often than not, the haywire swerves lead to the music equivalent of a breathtaking vista — that elusive pop ecstasy that defies description.” In other words, listen up! tUnE-yArDs is here to stay! Listen to the full album on NPR’s First Listen, or pre-order the album on tUnE-yArDs’ site.

 

Saturday Snapshot

Almost done with my most recent wall hanging. Wrapping feathers is time consuming, but I love it.

Durham, NC

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Apologies for the blogging hiatus, but a speedy trip down to Durham last weekend, a job offer, and a change in our moving date by a whole six weeks has made for a stressful, busy, no-time-for-blogging kind of week. Yup, that’s right, we are moving May, 23rd! We couldn’t be more scared/excited/thrilled/anxious/happy/sad. Ultimately, though, we are ready to embrace this new adventure. So here it is, photos from our new home, Bull City, Dirty Durham, Calf Town, what have you…

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Our new house.

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Rose’s meat market and sweet shop.

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Vintage letters from old signs stored in an old warehouse selling vintage furniture, rugs, and decor.

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Dream rug. Handwoven.

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Cocoa Cinnamon. A cafe set up in an old gas station. Brilliantly good.

Ten & Co.

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Ten & Co. is a shoe line designed by Tory Noll, who, on a trip to Morocco, fortuitously stumbled into a small shoe shop in Marrakech. Here, she had a simple oxford custom made out of a scrap of woven rug fabric. Since then, the line has expanded past this one pair of oxfords to include booties, flats, and sandals. Each pair of shoes is cut from unique, hand-woven Moroccan rugs and leathers, lined with canvas, and given a slight, foam cushion heel. Though not made for serious wear and tear (no mud walking is recommended, for example), these shoes are bright, colorful, unique, and comfortable. With fabric gleaned from auctions, flea markets, and independent artisans working in the Atlas Mountains, each shoe is handcrafted in small batches by a cobbler in Marrakech, thus bearing the idiosyncrasies of the many hands that have touched each piece. However, I think the most brilliant innovation of Noll’s design is the combination of the classic, preppy, menswear shape of the oxford with the bright, experimental, artisanal fabrics of African tradition. Each pair is beautiful, funky, fun, and quirky, with the natural, easy-wear style the Oxford is best known for. Though all this brilliance does come with a hefty price tag, you can at least feast your eyes on the line’s gorgeous lookbook, or read more about Noll’s shoes on Ten & Co.’s website.

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