January 31, 2011

Welcome to the (Pretty!) Machine.

brave new cash register
I saw the future of cool commerce and its name is the ipad.... and Square.  Every once in a while I happen upon something so brilliant and intriguing I stare with wide eyed wonder - as if I'm seven all over again, looking up at the John Hancock building from it's sidewalk base.  Recently, I experienced this all too rare childlike fascination when paying at my new favorite, sleek coffee shop - Coffee Lab - at 922 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL.   

This is a pic of Coffee Lab's cash register -  an ipad with an attached device called Square.  Square is a card swipe technology that can be used with ipads, iphones, and andriod phones, turning them into little credit card terminals. The Square hardware and app are free. You just set up an account and you're in business. Processing fees are less than conventional plans, and you don't need a merchant services agreement. Yes - wow, wow, and WOW - my thoughts exactly! I now have a square for my phone.

Most importantly, it looks beautiful - much like the Jetsons world I'd imagined "the future" to be when I was seven. 
I'm still waiting for spunky round hover-cars, and responsible apron-clad robot maids... but, I've got a little cube and a phone that takes pictures... and credit cards! 

January 20, 2011

Profile: Joy DuPuis' Raw Vision

Joy making art, wearing the Hand in bronze
Joy DuPuis, the daughter of Protestant Missionaries, grew up in the international expat community of Vienna, Austria.  She vividly remembers traveling to communist Romania as a ten year old - on a mission. She was told not to talk to the border police about what they do, not to discuss anything in the hotel, car, or in public. She understood they were always being followed and taped.  Yes - Joy learned very young that a big life of meaning happens through giving - through sharing goodness, practical skills, and hard earned knowledge.
Fast-forward to now! Evasnton, Illinois  - the business is RawRah!  Joy's teaching others how to create the most unbelievable, nutrient dense, live/raw/organic, beyond delicious, meals in a passionate, accessible way.  A trained homeopath, she knows the healing power of seriously good food. In this photo Joy's wearing the bronze Hand as she nonchalantly instructs and fills the plates with, quite possibly, the very best thing you may eat - ever.

For a schedule of group classes you can email Joy at  joydupuis@mac.com.

Joy's blog: http://myfood4thoughttoday.blogspot.com/

January 16, 2011

Model Feature: Jessica

Jessica wearing Double Hammered Discs, Beauty.Kindness.Compassion & Hand
Just yesterday,  I was describing my close friend (and model) Jessica to another friend.  While doing this, I realized how all my models are strong, somewhat fearless, individuals who crafted their lives in brave, compelling ways. They inspire me. That I got all of them together one hot June afternoon, on time, and ready to shoot, still amazes me.  Over the next few months I'll feature each of them, and my very incredible photographer - Pixie Spindel.
For now - it's Jessica!

We first met in a vegetarian restaurant at the self serve counter. She had a toddler boy on her hip and was having an animated conversation with an old friend she'd just bumped into. As he was telling her good news, she swung her dark brown hair to the other side, readjusted her son, smiled big with her blue eyes twinkling, and exclaimed "Mazel Tov!!!".  Well, from then on, I was in serious girl-love with my soon to be friend - my "Mazel Tov!" queen - Jessica.

Right out of college, with a degree in theater, she founded, directed, and managed a theater company whose audience was children - in hospitals.  Quickly her unusual troupe won donations and recognition. As a young single Mom she completely retrained herself. Quietly, and with great discipline, she gathered and practiced the skills necessary to succeed in law school. With a grounded sense of idealism, tenacity and passion she entered law school and graduated in the top 10% of her class.  I watched in awe as she was raising a school age son, reading hundreds of pages a night, writing hundreds of pages, taking grueling exams, rarely sleeping, and still looking lovely, composed, and energized.  She passed the Bar last summer and is applying for jobs while continuing her Masters in Law - specializing in international trade.  Her goal - to one day feed the world through fair agricultural trade laws.

For graduation I gave her the long necklace she's wearing in the pic - Beauty, Kindness, Compassion with the Hand. It's her. 

An honor to know you, Jess. MAZEL TOV!

January 08, 2011

The Definition of LOVE

Kyan and Daliah
One warm, sunny day, three summers ago, I had the gift of meeting Daliah Medhi on Halsted Street. I was selling my work at the HUGE Boys Town extravaganza know as Halsted Street Market Days, for the extraordinary design boutique - ID.  Daliah found me in the early morning calm - before the party started.  Before the immaculately cut, shirtless waiter boys nextdoor at mini bar started strutting their stuff to the ever present club beat, before the throngs of people crowd the street curb to curb. She wandered over, looked at my work, and asked if I could create a piece that would define her love and her family. WOW. A tall order. An honor and a challenge.

She had a particular phrase in mind from the Book of Ruth, "Where you go, I will go".  She explained it's the only time in the bible where a woman makes a commitment to another woman - Ruth (newly widowed) commits to Naomi (her mother-inlaw) that she will not leave her. As she told me the whole story we both teared up. Oh Yeah - we're crying over bible stories while the shirtless boys in dangerously low board shorts were setting up Bloody Mary service. Two gals crying as Donna Summer remixes reached acceptable club levels.

Beautiful. Done. Where you go, I will go.

Kyan was an infant when I met Daliah. Our lives have changed a lot since then. I owe much of the newest collection to Daliah and Kyan - the love and commitment pieces.

Here is a picture of Daliah, and her breathtakingly cherubic Kyan, when they stopped by the studio this week -  he's now two!  Daliah has a new piece - "Light before darkness, darkness before light".

I'm forever grateful to them, the definition of love.

January 07, 2011

Kristy Cammeron - Lincoln Square Style Phenom, in her MarLa studio

Kristy Cammeron wearing her toggle necklace
Kristy Cammeron manages Belly Bum, a gorgeous concept boutique for moms/babys/kids in Lincoln Square. She called me one frenzied pre-Xmas morning in serious want/need of a toggle necklace. Understanding the urgency, (jewelry emergencies are real) the MarLa-mobile swung by the very next day.  As soon as I saw Kristy I had a "wow" moment!  OOOOH! It's her! The incredibly cool, stylish, intriguing, hipster chick I've seen in the 'hood before!  She saw the necklace on the owner - Ellen Sternweiler - after Ellen bought it from me at Chicago Printmakers Collaborative (incredible place which I'll blog about soon!). Unfortunately I missed seeing Ellen at my drive-by-drop-off or she'd be in the pic too.
AND... Yes - Kristy is as real, fun, funny and terrific as I imagined her.  A  most happy, satisfying ending to a very cold, busy day.

January 01, 2011

Rethinking Hardware - Cyclus

Electrical plug and receptacle used for securing messenger bag flap
While browsing the goodies at Base, on Lincoln Road in South Beach, we were electrified (zzzzzzaaaap!) by the re-purposing of this simple hardware store staple! It may take a few more seconds to open and close than an ordinary magnetic clasp BUT so much much more interesting. Isn't it worth it?
Cyclus makes super cool messenger bags and purses made from rubber

Here is the entire bag.  Latex is indeed pretty.