Monday, March 2, 2015

Quotes: Tibor Kalman

"I am interested in imperfections, quirkiness, insanity, unpredictability. That's what we really pay attention to anyway. We don't talk about planes flying; we talk about planes crashing." –– Tibor Kalman (1949-1999) Hungarian-born American graphic designer. 

I just finished reading Debbie Millman's book of interviews How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer. Time and again designers would name Tibor Kalman as an influence, a luminary design rebel who died too young.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Attribution & Link love

Snow; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2013
This winter weather has offered perfect conditions for reading under a warm quilt, and this week I finished Debbie Millman's How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer, a book of interviews with the best in the field. Many had me laughing out loud. Debbie Millman wears a lot of hats as a designer, author, educator, and brand consultant. She is also the host of the radio show Design Matters, with 213 programs available for free via podcast. 

The other evening I listened to an Design Matters interview with Maria Popova from Brain Pickings and her concept of the Curator's Code to honour attribution caught my attention. I knew that it was only a matter of time that images from my blog would be taken and used with neither permission nor attribution. Lately it has been happening more and I've been surprised to see my images on Tumblr and other sites without a link to my blog or crediting me as the creator of the content. One Tumblr site in particular never honours attribution. As I looked through this site, I realized that although the (stolen) images are well curated, it's not interesting because I don't know where they came from. There's no connecting the dots and learning the deeper story. 

If you Pin or repost other people's images or words, remember to link back and give proper credit. Asking permission is always a good thing too. Better yet, try creating all your own content. From scratch. For two or three or five years. Make something yourself, from your own imagination. Not "inspired" from Pinterest or Tumblr or blogs. Go ahead and do this. Write two or three posts each and every week of the year, whether you are on vacation or not. Go ahead and make something original. I dare you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Studio Series: Zwieback & textiles

Studio wall and Zwieback © Karen Thiessen, 2015
The Zwieback drawings are further evidence of my Lent 2014 mark-making practice. I see these becoming a two colour silk screen print in the near future. I'd like to make Zwieback again. My husband thinks that this is a very good idea.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Quotes: D.T. Suzuki

"Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities." –– Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966), Japanese author whose books and lectures on Zen Buddhism had a profound influence on John Cage and many of his contemporaries.

* Recently I heard about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo and I'm itching to read this book when it is rereleased in paperback. Maybe an emptier space offers infinite possibilities. My studio seems to suggest the opposite.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Found Pattern

Snowy Door Mat; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2015
Recently we had a massive snowstorm and our front door mat became snow-encrusted. Normally the mat made of recycled tires (made and purchased in Nova Scotia) sits on a concrete grey background. Snow provided welcome contrast and allowed me to see the pattern with new eyes. A new flat pattern design may result from this inspiration....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lent 2015

Experimental stitching © Karen Thiessen, 2015
Today is the first day of Lent for 2015. As usual, I'm beginning a new Lenten practice for the next 46 or so days. Lent is considered to be 40 days long–– Sundays are celebration days. If you include Sundays, it adds up to 46 days. This year I'm recording at least three moments of appreciation per day and I've been "auditioning" this practice for a few weeks to see if I could do it consistently. I can. Earlier this month I "auditioned" changing my bedtime. I couldn't. There's no point in setting myself up for failure.

As for my Lent 2014 intuitive mark-making practice, I'm still doing it and it continues to develop. Today is day 351 of my aforementioned practice and above is some experimental stitching that I just finished. I used linen/cotton paper yarn from Habu Textiles and various DMC threads.

Textile artist Helen Terry gave a nice nod to my 2014 Lenten practice here. She has started a daily mark-making practice and I look forward to seeing how it evolves. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Quotes: Malka Marom re: Joni Mitchell

"She lives with a great respect for the mystery and with an openness inviting this mystery. This is her greatest strength because I think it requires tremendous strength to really believe in something you cannot put your finger on." –– Malka Marom (b. 1939), Toronto-based author and journalist (re: Joni Mitchell)

Source: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind (2003) documentary written and directed by Susan Lacy.