Thursday, May 28, 2009

Graham Fracha is Good People

Years ago, my wife and I stumbled upon the paintings of Graham Fracha at Herkimer Coffee, a few blocks from where we lived in Seattle. We fell in love with his colorful, minimalist, playful renderings of groups of houses on Paul Klee-ish abstract landscapes. Alas, we were broke and could not afford to buy one. However, they definitely made an impression. So, I was happy to see that my friend Miles, who owns Ampersand Vintage, was having a showing of Graham's work, once again, a few blocks from my house. So, I went, appreciated Graham's paintings, met Graham, and proceeded to talk with him for the better part of an hour about all sorts of things. So, not only does he make great artwork, he's the rare artist who is a) not at all crazy, and b) an extremely pleasant person. Graham's work is showing at Ampersand all this month, so go check it out if you can.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My favorite thing...this week.

So last weekend I went up to Seattle to deliver a wedding present to my best friend in the form of a newly reupholstered couch. While I was there, of course I did some shopping. Out of all the stuff I bought, my favorite thing turned out to be this fantastic vintage tripod, which I'm going to have made into a lamp. The top camera-holder gadget (to use a technical term) pops right out, so the conversion will be a cinch. I love its simple, modernist lines, and the slightly industrial yet somehow luxe feel of it. Best of all is the use of mixed metals - copper, chrome and brass. I stood in the dealer's booth for at least 5 minutes debating on whether I should buy it (it was a little spendy), then decided that it was in fact the coolest thing I'd seen in months, and that I couldn't NOT buy it.

To think that everyday utilitarian things used to be made with such care, with such fine materials, with such an eye for aesthetics. Makes one a little nostalgic.

Friday, May 15, 2009

An Awesome Vintage Shelving Unit (for lack of a better term)

Good god, has it really been almost 10 days since I've posted? I don't have much of an excuse except for the fact that I've been mildly obsessed with buying a new bike - which I did a few days ago (although today I decided that I might need to return it, so it might be a little while before you see me again if I have to resume the search!). However, I did find the time yesterday to pick up this absolutely fantastic vintage shelving unit. I have no idea what it is. It reminds me of Paul McCobb's wrought iron and maple Planner Group pieces, but the construction of the metal stands is all wrong for that. It also vaguely reminds me of the Dutch Tomado shelving units, but I've never seen those with wood shelves (they're always colored metal). The way the legs meet the floor also reminds me of the legs of a Harry Bertoia bench, only upside down. So...really, who knows. It is elegantly simple in its construction - the three metal towers are held together by the X-braces in the back, and the shelves just slide right in. The half-shelf allows for the placement of taller items, and overall it's just a fantastically versatile piece.

It was purchased in San Francisco some 20-odd years ago by the gentleman from whom I bought it (who, it should be noted, had one of the most impeccably decorated homes I've seen in a LONG time - a nice view condo in the Pearl, decked out with Gilbert Rohde dining chairs around a marble Saarinen tulip table, a beautiful Danish rosewood wall unit, a Mies Van der Rohe daybed, and a fantastic mixed media collage by an artist whose name I'm forgetting at the moment (last name Chase), among other goodies). He didn't know much about it either, only that he was sad to see it go - he was only selling it because almost all the wall space in the condo was being used by the aforementioned ginormous rosewood wall unit! As sad as he was to part with it, I'm glad to have it, and look forward to finding it a new home!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Return of the JL Moller #78 Chairs

So I got the JL Moller chairs (see below for original post) back from Mario, the Upholsterer this week. The good news: they look fantastic. The bad news: the leather hide that I hoped would cover all 7 Moller chairs and 5 other smaller dining chair seats only covered 6 of the Moller chairs. Minor miscalculation. I guess I should be happy that he was able to do 6 chairs and not just 5! True to form, a designer came in on Monday and ogled the chairs, only to say "they're really beautiful...but I wish you had done them in white!" You can't win.