Monthly Archives: September 2011

Dubstep Delivers

Street dancing has come so far from the old school pop-and-lock it’s not even on the same campus anymore.

Take this video. It’s a five-minute-plus work of art; minutely choreographed and performed with a degree of physical control and grace that is just uncanny. It’s shaped to its own internal aesthetic logic and makes a satisfying whole.

I invite you to consider the hours of practice that went into realizing this piece. I, for one, am humbled, and consider myself lucky to live in an age where this young man can relatively easily make his work available to millions.

[via Kottke]

A Year Ago: Grate

Decorate grate, Bethesda Row.Mmmmm, rust…
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Glass Class

Fused dichroic glass pendants and jewels.

So I took another class at Glen Echo.

This one wasn’t as fun as the beadmaking class, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, nothing beats the immediate gratification of the handmade bead. You’re messing with glass and fire and the next thing you know—boom!—you’ve got a bead. You have to wait for it to cool down, but that’s a matter of minutes.

Fused glass, not so much.

First you cut and glue. Then it gets fired. And it takes a good long time to cool down. Furthermore, what you put in the kiln is quite different from what comes out the next day. And unless you have tons of experience, you have no real idea what it’s going to look like, so it feels like a crapshoot.

The teacher for this recent class was nowhere near as good either. We learned on the second day that it was her first time teaching it. Another more experienced teacher showed up to help out on day two, and that made for an improvement.

There was a mighty lack of context: little explanation of materials or process, and no hand-outs about sources for supplies. It was totally project-oriented, which is fine. I guess I should look elsewhere (maybe the “First-time Fusers” class) for more of an overview.

And finally, my biggest problem with the class is that it produced items that—for the most part—are not really to my taste. I don’t go much for big showy jewelry, and the dichroic (color-changing) glass isn’t really my cup of tea. I guess the earrings and the little itty-bitty pendants are things I might wear.

Maybe I can give some of them away as gifts?

A Year Ago: Water and Metal

Glass water bottles in a metal pan.
I’m finding that I have a special affinity for color images that are almost monochrome (among many others)…
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Layered reflections in glass.

Layered eflections in glass (b&w)

Digital makes it easy to have it both ways. Which do you prefer?

A Year Ago: Care for a Pear?

Scarf design.

Pears are coming into season again, in time for the holidays…
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Close-up of butterfly with color palette.

You could take your eyedropper tool and pick a pixel just about anywhere on the surface of this butterfly’s wings and find a beautiful color. It was a drag stopping with just six; many of the darker tones are incredibly lovely as well.

The underlying color scheme is monochromatic brown, and then there’s this dusting of graduated glitter on top. It looks to me as if someone took a rainbow-ink airbrush and swept it horizontally across the back of this butterfly from wing to wing a couple of times. Note how the stripes of iridescent color pass over the bump of the insect’s body.

All that intricate design on a creature no more than inch and a half wide. Who says you need a large canvas to make an aesthetic statement?

A Year Ago: The Best Vacation

The Optimist & The Skeptic

Children on the playground.

I get a huge kick out of the unfiltered expressions on children’s faces, when they are not performing for the benefit of others (usually adults). The young boy on the left is clearly striving to live up to his Batman t-shirt. The girl at right is just as obviously not buying whatever the other girl is selling.

A Year Ago: Pastel

Lavender ice cream! Want! | Click to view larger.The alley where this photograph was taken runs east-west…
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Boyz Doing Stuntz

Parcour + bikes + skateboard. It’s hard to imagine a U.S. cultural institution of equivalent stature to the Barbican giving kids the run of the place like this.

A Year Ago: Beauty FAIL

Sundial.If not now, when?…
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Old-Fashioned Landscape

Brookside Gardens, MD

I wonder what the aesthetic status of an image like this would be if the first photographs had been in color. Or if somehow—like rural portions of the world that have skipped directly from drums to cellphones—the development of photography had been direct-to-digital.

No patina of nostalgia would cling to this form of presentation. It wouldn’t tickle the “looks like an old-timey wet-plate collodion image” nerves of the brain. Would a monochrome image like this one, which is all about texture and a timeless landscape, simply be considered wildly uninteresting? (Maybe it is anyway? :D )

I get a kick out of being able to make a photograph look as if it might have been taken by Lewis Carroll from the banks of the Cherwell.

A Year Ago: Beauty FAIL

Smokehouse, Point Lookout State Park, VAI needed to get out of Dodge, clear my head, see something different, go…
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Wilting flower.

Some of the colors are still vibrant. A few of the petals remain soft and pliant. But the peak of perfection is past, and we are left with the withering, the drying, the veins and wilt of oncoming winter.

Fading beauty is beauty nonetheless. Sometimes I think I should start a blog called Lacrimae Rerum.

A Year Ago: Disrespect

Vandalized gravestones at Holy Rood Cemetery, Georgetown, Washington DCWe interrupt our regular programming to bring you a dose of rantage…
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Ceiling decoration, Thai Pavilion, Rockville, MD

If this looks to you like a macro shot of a modern piece of jewelry, all I can say is “GMTA.” It isn’t, though, it’s another photo from the Thai restaurant, a detail of a ceiling decoration.

A Year Ago: Electioneers

Old sportscar buried under detritus.I was wandering the back-alleys of Georgetown…
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Artificial Nature

Interior decoration at Thai Pavillion, Rockville, MD

A subset of this area’s Thai restaurants have highly-designed interiors (there must be a favored decorator amongst the restauranteurs). While I generally feel that it’s overdone, I have to admire some of the individual touches, frequently involving unusual contemporary uses of metal. This spray of artificial cattails is a nice example.

A Year Ago: Electioneers

Campaign workers at a polling place, DC primary.This photograph is from last week’s primary election here in DC…
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