music for monday: bobby mcferrin improvises with richard bono

In 2003, Bobby McFerrin and Richard Bona did this ten-minute improvisation at the Montreal Jazz Festival. McFerrin is known for using his fluid voice and body as instrument, making many levels of sound and beat simultaneously. Bona is a Cameroon-born guitarist and musician. At the beginning, you can see and hear the two musicians feeling…

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self-publishing your own… point of view

Andrew Sullivan of theatlantic.com is the huge-traffic blogger of The Daily Dish; its often fierce content ranges from politics, to heart-breaking illicit tweets from Iran’s recent election protests, to grim pictures of torture. For a couple of years now he’s broken up the intensity of his writing and opinion with an ongoing post category called…

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ps: kitchen cabinets (cheap + unique)

Andrea Raisfeld whose location rental website is full of inspiring photos, alerted us to the kitchen of “one of my cleverest homeowners, Harley Swedler, an architect, interior designer, designer, blogger…” It follows the train of thinking started in Pascal Anson on (Cheap) Kitchen Cabinets – making unique configurations of base cabinets and then figuring out…

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the benefits of wandering (+ multi-use notecards)

Constance Old sent this account of her unexpected walkabout through Philadelphia, when she followed one thing after another, after another, after another…to discover a neighborhood full of food and cool people doing their thing. It reminded us how hunger and curiosity can cause the road to open up in the most unexpected way. And how…

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ashcraft’s music: d-i-y recordings of sun + planets

A good deal of our inspiration comes from seeing how other people improvise to get where they need to go, build what they need, figure out solutions. We also benefit mightily from things that remind us that there is a huge, endlessly creative universe out there, and that we are a part of it. Tom…

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‘objectified’ will change how you view the things around you

Pamela Hovland, who teaches design at Yale, emailed us about Objectified, a documentary by Gary Hustwit (who made Helvetica, a riveting film about a font). It’s about what REALLY goes into designing the things we take for granted around us, from toothbrushes to chairs to cars, and the ways design – both good and bad –  impacts…

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More Pascal Anson: Re-Imagined Silverware and Cutlery

Here’s another Pascal Anson innovation: disparate forks, knives and spoons, all painted the same way, are transformed into new collections of “silverware”. Such a simple design principle makes a cool unified set. Here’s what Design Museum had to say about Pascal’s “Reunification Project”: “One of the new generation of British product designers for whom narrative is…

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pascal anson’s surprising d-i-y paint project

Pascal Anson is the ultimate ALT-Martha Stewart, a true challenge to keeping everything within-the-lines and predictable. He’s made some videos which we plan to run periodically to remind ourselves that a guy on tv (well  almost; we wish he were on tv)  can inspire EXPLOSIVE!, original thinking about d-i-y and home improvement. Pascal’s view of…

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couturier de cardboard: matthew sporzynski

Matthew Sporzynski whose impromptu gift I blogged about a few days ago, is an artist whose medium is paper. His business card reads: “Couturier de Cardboard”. Although Matthew’s work is published regularly in Real Simple, and he has made his unique creations for Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, and the Special Events department of The Museum of Modern…

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design as resourcefulness and self-reliance

We were hoping that Constance Old would guest curate for ‘the improvised life’…here is her first (great) post: “Emily Campbell works as Director of Design for a British think tank called “RSA” (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) which is committed to research and projects devoted to social progress. (http://www.thersa.org/home) She…

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lemon squeezer repair in honor of platform 21

When my trusty lemon squeezer broke, I toyed with the idea of buying a new one, but found that design collaborative Platform 21’s Repair Manifesto (blogged last summer) had lodged itself in my consciousness. “REPAIRING IS A CREATIVE CHALLENGE“…and  “TO REPAIR IS TO DISCOVER” subtly resonated. There’s a way to fix this, I thought, as I wandered…

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