Clothes Drying Rack 2006. With this, I had to go to the hardware store to buy the dowels. Ideally the things I build for Frances are made of the many pieces of scrap wood I keep in our garage. This was not actually a big hit — it ended up a bit too tall for her, but now it’s making a comeback as she gets taller.

Geoff McFetridge in Apartamento #04

The fourth and most recent issue of Apartamento, one of our very favorite publications, includes a special kids’ supplement called Kinder, curated by Andy Beach, one of our very favorite bloggers. Apartamento bills itself as “an everyday life interiors magazine,” and Kinder follows suit: There’s an acid-trip of a coloring book illustrated by Andy Rementer; the Memphis-esque results of a furniture-building workshop for kids; and a story about a collection of objects that Los Angeles graphic designer Geoff McFetridge made for his daughter Frances, which is excerpted here in its entirety. The words are by McFetridge himself, and the photographs were taken by Ye Rin Mok.

“There’s nothing I like better than to build things for my 6-year-old daughter Frances. As an artist and designer, I spend much of my time making things, or helping other people make things. In making these things for her, I feel like I’m putting these skills to good use.

“Mindlessly swinging a hammer and cutting wood is always fun and, unlike a wobbly homemade bookshelf, with these things it really is the thought that counts. I built her a tree house out of the cherry tree in her grandparents’ backyard, but I didn’t want to hammer any nails into the tree. If I had planned it out, the measuring and complexity of the cuts would have taken a long time… days. Instead, I made it up as I went along. It was improvisation; a tree house, built as the tree grows. It looks like a hobo shanty, which actually makes it look more fun, not less fun. And fun is the goal of all these things.

“Frances loves most of the things I have built for her. Which, of course, is the reward; watching your daughter enjoy something that you made. But there’s also something deeper that comes out of the experience. The sensation I get when making these things feels the same as when something I am doing in my studio is going RIGHT. Simple, improvised, handmade, mindless things made in the spirit of fun for someone I love… The things I make for my daughter are maybe just a pure form of the things I try to make in general.”

“Things I Make For My Daughter” is excerpted from Apartamento magazine’s Autumn/Winter 2009-10 issue, with minor modifications to fit Sight Unseen’s format. Click here to subscribe to Apartamento magazine.

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