Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ODD BITS: Origami, space expanders, and William Morris

"The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in 
all the details of daily life." 
                                                        (Wm. Morris, 1834-1896)

Eva Zeisel salt and pepper shakers

With downsizing and avoidance of hoarding being keywords of the day, one could do no better than to live by the words of art philosopher and textile designer William Morris's well-known exhortation "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." I love to find or make items for my home that adhere to this principle, and doing so really does help to keep the acquisition of stuff under control.

Below are some examples of useful, beautiful, and fun items that bring happiness to the home.

 How clever is this? The common Chinese food takeout box
unfolds into a perfectly proportioned plate.

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While we're exploring the folding arts,
which can be made with paper and a glue stick. 

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The Storyline Shelf, designed by Frederik Roijé, is an ingenious solution 
for storing your books in a modern way. Sound finds a physical identity 
in this beautifully crafted bookshelf. The word that inspired this 
unusual piece was “bliss.”


The classic cardboard egg carton has been around for over a century (it was invented in 1911), mainly because it does an excellent job of transporting the product and keeping the eggs from getting broken. It has actually won several first place awards in international design competitions. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be streamlined a bit, as a Hungarian graphic design student Otilia Andrea Erdély, who reconfigured the egg carton, shows with her smart redesign: a spare, stackable container made from a single piece of cardboard. It cleanly flips open while maintaining a compact footprint.

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I must once again pay a brief homage to British poet, philosopher, textile designer and socialist reformer William Morris. He is the originator of the aforementioned line "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." (I know that I repeat myself here, but I try to live by this quote.) Morris is a revered artist, whose influence is still felt throughout all aspects of fin-de-siecle and modern design.

 Morris wallpaper design

Rose trellis leading up to Morris' famed Red House 

"All artists love and honor William Morris." 
... Frank Lloyd Wright

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This posting is dedicated to our thoughful nephew Theo,
who sent us this gorgeous traditionally-shaped yet
fully modernist menorah last Chanukah. It lifted my spirits
every day during a recent hospital stay. 


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