I am a big fan of making a home your own. It has been such a joy seeing our little space in the big city come together with various things, old and new. I love plants and natural light--this apartment has fulfilled many desires and continues to be a place of solitude and of gathering friends together. Looking forward to many more months in this home.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
A Japanese company has brought its charm to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The store is comprised of various plants, handmade interior goods, and a fine selection of vintage items. Those working in the shop delightfully answer questions and offer useful tips on taking care of plants in a New York City apartment. A diamond in the rough--this shop is tiny, though worth your time.
Currently Listening: "St. Augustine" by Band Of Horses (Though Jason is playing it at the moment).
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Though the semester is over, the hustle and bustle continues. I have been wrapping, shopping and packing to prepare to head to Georgia for Christmas. Such a sweet season of anticipating time with family and looking forward to memories we will create. I have loved decorating our little home this year and (as with every other year) I don't want the season to end. Such joy. Such gratefulness--if we choose it. I hope everyone is anticipating a day with loved ones and the hopes of a good new year.
Currently Listening: "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
We all look at maps to find out where we’re headed—today, they’re just digital maps on phones with high-definition technology. In a place like New York City, even the simplistic grid pattern becomes overwhelming at times. Looking at the grid on a piece of paper is a waste of time when a pulsing blue dot can lead someone straight to a coffee shop a few blocks away. Have we lost the charm of a map? Have we lost the importance of memory?
Barbara Macfarlane painted Midtown Rust in 2014 with a map in mind. The work is temporarily housed in The Children’s Museum of the Arts in the West Village of Manhattan. The piece is one of two in this series (the other being Pink Midtown, also made in 2014). The piece is simple: a thirty-two-block chunk right out of the grid in midtown. The blocks are not detailed, just swipes of mostly grey paint with a block here and there, colored by varying shades of a deep orangey-red. The piece is striking in simplicity and precision even though the blocks do not perfectly emulate the clean-cut rectangles that section off the streets of New York. This is one of Macfarlane’s characteristic techniques: she completes the broad strokes and bold lines of each piece entirely in one sitting. Typically the art resembles an urban area or a bird’s eye view of a river that runs through a city as in Paris, France.
Most artists begin their painting with a sketch to map out the piece. Macfarlane started this project by making her own paper. This process involves taking various scraps of paper, soaking them, and beating the mixture. Then adding starch and draining the water forms a new piece of paper by laying the pulp out flat and letting it dry. The foundation of the painting was then laid for the rest of the work to develop. Next, Macfarlane strung together her haphazardly handwritten street labels to resemble the grid.
A map with few details offers little help to a wanderer, but opens up the opportunity for a journey. While sitting in front of the painting, I was transported to each of the locations noted. Maybe the section of Midtown takes on a specific meaning for me since I lived there for a time, but I could place at least a few details on most of the streets. I knew where the Herald Towers stood tall over 34th Street, so small in the shadow of the Empire State Building on the opposite corner of the block. Walk just North on Sixth Avenue and you will pass storefronts teeming with costume jewelry and kitschy “New York” souvenirs. Eventually you reach Bryant Park around 40th Street. If you’re lucky it will be close to Christmas and the Ice Skating rink will serenade you with holiday music and shops ready to sell a cup of fresh hot chocolate.
Not one of those details shows up on the handcrafted paper or in the dollops of slate grey or rust. They sit like placeholders with little importance other than the fact that the streets come from one of the most popular cities in the world. Though the map is accurate and complete, the piece offers the viewer an open space to walk around. Maybe someone could discover something on a street that they have never seen before. Someone might even try to make a map from memory. Midtown Rust invites the reader to walk down Broadway from 52nd Street to 20th Street just to see what you will find.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
The Christmas season, as for most people, is my favorite time of year. So many wonderful memories of decorating and singing carols come flooding back to me as I trim the tree or look up cookie recipes. There are many things to enjoy in this season. One of my favorite things is picking out the perfect (chubby) Christmas tree and unwrapping all of the ornaments I had forgotten about throughout the year. I have learned to cherish time spent with friends and family during the holidays.
Jason had the itch to make some hot chocolate this afternoon, so off he went to start up the stove and add milk and Hershey's cocoa powder for a warm wintry treat. There are still many tasks for me to finish this semester (and the impending Christmas shopping to be done), but taking a slow afternoon to enjoy having a home and some coco was the perfect choice. I hope that with all of the hustle and bustle of the season people remember to take time to sit and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
Currently Listening: Charlie Brown Christmas Album
Friday, November 27, 2015
Thankfulness is a wonderful posture of the heart. It is customary at most Thanksgiving gatherings that the question, "what are you thankful for?" comes up. There are typical answers: friends, family, spouses, etc. But I was struck this year by how valuable those responses truly are. Living nearly one thousand miles away from the rest of my family, it is understandable that I would miss them. I will be honest though--that emotion is not my gut response. Conceptually, yes, I wish I could be closer to join in on birthdays and monthly gatherings, but the past few weeks have been starkly different.
I have not been in my momma's home in almost a year and a half. The holidays stir up all kinds of emotion and it feels like this year I have hit a peak. Maybe the stash of strong feelings are no longer kept at bay. Maybe I have had a few extra moments to think about missing family (though I am not sure that is the case because our schedule is typically pretty packed). Maybe I am just maturing and finding that family really is so precious and important. I get to spend six days at home over the Christmas holiday and even writing down those words puts a smile on my face yet draws me to tears.
I am so thankful for my family. I am thankful for the fifteen of us who are incredibly different, yet bonded by blood and vows to spend the rest of our lives together. We are a typical bunch, with some difficult interactions, yet I look forward to each minute I will spend in their presence this holiday.
Currently Listening: Christmas music