A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: ceramic vessels with Dimetapp-like drips (above), lamps in geometric stone, and a color chain reaction on Instagram that was the highlight of our week.
Having graduated from fashion school in Dusseldorf, Reality Studio founder Svenja Specht still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life, so she decided to study product design. (Her thesis project was a designy tampon dispenser, which she presented to the class in the university bathroom.) In the midst of those studies — during which she also interned for Jean-Marie Massaud in Paris — she took classes in photography and graphic design, the latter of which she practiced for four years at ad agencies in Beijing after finishing school for good. “I wanted to see and learn as much as possible,” she says of that time. But having had all of those experiences, she recalls, it was New Year’s Eve of 2000-2001 when “it came to me suddenly, just like that, that I needed to go back to fashion somehow.” And so she packed up, moved to Berlin, got a job as a trend forecaster, and three years later launched a clothing line that was every bit as eclectic as her own background, if not moreso.
Jenny Pennywood is the alter ego of fine artist Jen Garrido, and the moniker under which she produces her line of printed textiles. Working out of her San Francisco studio, Garrido creates printed linens on which the gestural quality of her brushstrokes becomes a pattern repeat in dashes and dots, lines and shapes. She makes paintings on paper first, inspired by formal issues of line, movement, shape and color, and then scans them, composing the final rhythmic patterns digitally. Her recent, and very successful, foray into over-dyeing with plant-based dyes all started when Garrido crashed her studio neighbors’ indigo vat one day — and loved the results. There is something undeniably good about the combination of bright painterly pattern with the soft, washed-out subtleties of natural dyes; brick-red dashes and moons are layered with madder root and stacked indigo triangles with oak galls. The resulting pieces have proved to be very popular, and Garrido now works with the talented Sierra Reading to oversee the natural dying part of the process. Check out all the Jenny Pennywood textiles here (plus some bonus, favorite prints on paper!) and then hop on over to More & Co to see and shop their cute top made exclusively from Jenny Pennywood yardage.
Last summer, we ran one of our favorite stories to date: a glimpse inside an 1980s-era Scandinavian design book that Seattle designers Ladies & Gentlemen Studio had unearthed while cleaning house. We’d intended to keep going with the column — ostensibly a place where people could show off the strange, beautiful, and mostly out-of-print volumes that populated their libraries — but somehow it fizzled out. We’d been talking this summer about resurrecting it, when at the same time we found out that Joanna Williams, the LA-based owner of the Kneeland textile studio and online marketplace was opening a third branch of her multi-faceted business: a research library, where clients could comb through the curated images Williams has amassed over the years or search through books or magazines focused on graphics, textiles, decorating, and more. We’d found our first subject.
L.A. artist Ben Sanders was already making paintings, drawings, illustrations, and sculptures when he co-founded a collaborative art direction and photography studio, Those People, not too long ago. As if all those mediums weren’t enough, though, the 25-year-old Art Center College of Design graduate recently started making objects, too, in the form of ceramic pots that he finds and uses as 3-D canvases, for paintings of wildly colorful air-brushed faces compiled from playful ’80s-style shapes.
A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: experimental materials made from chalk and coal (above), a new Book/Shop annex in New York, and our first-ever radio show interview, with Design Sponge’s Grace Bonney.
Chad Kouri took his first freelance design gig at the tender age of just 15, but like most creatives, Kouri had trouble at first striking a balance between paying the bills and pursuing his passions. “I moved to Chicago after high school to study design, but knew I didn’t have enough money to finish a four-year program. So I took as many classes as I could and then jumped out to work for a marketing firm, which was not at all fulfilling. I was basically designing junk mail for five years. After hours, I’d work on editorial illustrations or custom typography, but I quickly realized I didn’t enjoy being on a computer 16 hours a day. I started doing collage as a way to break away from screen time. I used to reference a lot of old ads and typography from the ’50s and ’60s, and I wanted to work larger but the pieces could only be as big as a magazine page. That’s how I transitioned to using flat shape and color, and that’s pretty much where I’m at in this experiment of an art career that I have.”
Okay, so we’ve always had a thing for grids and geometrics in the Sight Unseen Shop, it’s true. But when we thought about which new pieces to release in advance of a *huge* shop update we’re currently prepping for the fall — one that will be full of painterly ceramics, color-washed concrete, and cool, polished metals — the playfully patterned items you see here just seemed especially right for summer. They’re by three designers working in three very different materials — Dana Haim in ceramics, Assembly in PVC, and RillRill in marble — and they all share the most Sight Unseen-y characteristic of all: being handmade in small batches by folks whose creativity knows no bounds. What better excuse for a summer splurge?