Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Today my newfound infatuation with the decorative block led me to drive through a neighborhood a few miles away, where I’d seen decorative block. I slowed down to take photos, wondering if the owners were inside, thinking that my camera and I looked suspicious. Of course, with my ponytail and red Mickey Mouse shirt, I probably looked unlikely as a spy but maybe that’s what real spies do—they try to look unthreatening! Upon returning home I raced to the computer and (with anticipation mounting) Googled “decorative cement block.” My heart raced with excitement at the images. Google is a treasure trove of info about these blocks, and it connected me to sites created by others who are as excited as I am about vintage architecture and design. I had a memory of seeing a Frank Lloyd Wright design as a child, and decided to research Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of cement block. Here is his quote:
“What about the concrete block? It was the cheapest (and ugliest) thing in the building world. It lived mostly in the architectural gutter as an imitation of rock-faced stone. Why not see what could be done with that gutter rat? Steel rods cast inside the joints of the blocks themselves and… why would it not be fit for a new phase of our modern architecture? It might be permanent, noble, beautiful."
As ideas and images of the blocks swirled through my head, I recalled the first two times I was aware of them. It was when I was a kid. I remember seeing decorative blocks used as a room divider in someone’s house. I’m not sure whose house it was, but there were some 1960s houses not far from where we lived. I must have been less than ten years old, but I remember it. I was intrigued by this divider—the materials were not what I associated with the inside of a house. It divided the space, but let in light. As a child I drew daily and as a teen discovered architecture, but at eight or ten years old I didn’t have the vocabulary yet to identify what I saw and liked. And yet 25 years later I remember this room divider. It made quite an impression.
My other memory about cement blocks involves my Aunt Betty. She is an artist and teacher and when I was about ten, she took me to an art exhibit where she had a piece of art. I remember the experience, and her telling me how I could apply to enter exhibits, too. For that particular show you had to be at least eighteen, which seemed light years off. But I remember that day! I recall the bright lights from the ceiling, the white walls, the art displayed, and all the people milling about. We must have gone to Hollyhock House that day, too, as it was in Barnsdall Park, where the exhibit was. At ten I’d never heard of Frank Lloyd Wright, but seeing Hollyhock House was my introduction to the legendary architect. (Thank you, Aunt Betty! I’ll always appreciate that you wanted to nurture my creative spark, showing me art beyond my own collection of crayons.).
The block is interesting to me in its geometry. When made into a wall it has vertical and horizontal lines but also has creative shapes within it. It is structural and functional but also decorative. I like that it is humble, too. Cement can hardly be called pretentious, but it still has such a cool look. I read today that decorative block was a staple in midcentury modern design, a style I like for its geometry and innovative use of space. A trip to Palm Springs to ogle the 1950s architecture is in the works. I drove by another house today, a mile from mine. Just a few days ago I'd noticed its wall of decorative cement block, which is painted a Notice Me shade of turquoise (bravo to them for appreciating their block, as well as color!). Why had I not noticed the house before? I started to really look for more block and discovered three more houses on the next street, houses I’d driven by hundreds of (or a thousand) times. How could I have missed it? Now I’m on a hunt for block. Some people might not understand my appreciation of this material, but if it’s a block party just for one, that’s ok by me!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Some matches seem to be made in Heaven. This happy couple met the day that each finished a contract in the Food Service department. Although it was their final day at work, once they met neither felt empty, instead filled with joy. They say that while their origins are different, they have a lot in common and feel like yin and yang, the perfect complement to each other.
They celebrated their union on Saturday, surrounded by many friends. The bride was resplendent in white and the groom cut a dashing figure in black. The bride's attendants were Rosemary and Ginger, long-time friends she had grown up with in The Cabinet, a neighborhood marked by diversity and flavor.
The couple is honeymooning in the Spice Islands and is excited to start their new life together. As Pepper said when he toasted his bride, "From now on, wherever you find one of us, you'll find the other."
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Usually I don't show a piece of my art until it's finished. I'm sure it has a lot to do with wanting to show something at its best. But I'm challenging myself to be less concerned with peoples' reactions/approval. Showing something in progress is a baby step.
I also wanted to see if I could post 2 photos in the same posting. I'm in the Fred Flintstone-era when it comes to technology. In case you haven't watched an episode of the Flintstones lately, at Fred's work there is a brachiosaurus who lifts things up on his head. Isn't that how you "upload?" Yeah, my reference point is not exactly cutting-edge. But ALL BY MYSELF I figured out how to upload more than one photo per post. Yippee! Progress, baby!