Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From Our Library: The Golden State

Here at the Study Center our library is a truly amazing resource for those interested in all things craft. This includes a complete collection of books from the California Design Exhibitions that ran from the mid 1960’s to the mid 1970’s. These books have some of the most beautiful and inspiring photography of craft and design I have ever seen. Not only are the objects themselves wonderful, but they were photographed in California’s natural beauty:

Fountain by David Cressey, 13 feet high
Photo taken from CA Design 9 page 29
Catalogue Photographer Richard Gross 
Catalogue Designer Robert Ellis

Gold toned tapestries designed by Robert Webb
Red toned tapestry woven by M.E. Cranston-Bennett
Photo taken from CA Design 9 page 45
Catalogue Photographer Richard Gross 
Catalogue Designer Robert Ellis

Elaine Katzer's stonewall mural "Sea Chanty", 24 feet long
Photo taken from CA Design 76, page 99

These books are especially relevant to us here at the Study Center, since we are currently planning an exhibition on craft in California from the 1960’s to 1980’s, which will go up in fall 2011. 

Craft with Us! - Valentine's Day Project

On February 12th Susie and Heidi Bauer, the ladies of Rock Scissor Paper, are going to be at the Study Center leading a Valentine’s Day card making workshop. In December we had a blast creating unique handmade ornaments and decorations out of things headed to the recycling bin. 

Display of the beautiful things we created that day, and our edible treats we enjoyed while crafting!

The Valentine's card workshop is free, materials are provided and sweet treats will be served. Reserve your space asap by email or calling 310-659-9022. Last minute Saturday RSVPs, call: 323-95-0610. It is sure to be an inspiring afternoon well spent, so come craft with us! 

An example of the cards we will be making on Saturday

Free to All
Drop in hours from 12-5pm

From Our Library: Upcycling

Beer Can Chairs by Douglas Deed Associates
Photo Taken From California Design 8, page 46.
Catalogue Photographer Richard Gross

These 1962 beer can chairs by Douglas Deeds Associates totally fit the bill of proto-upcycling. Upcycling is the process of taking waste materials or useless products and creating new, higher-valued products. While the term “upcycling” has become popular over the last couple of years, the word seems to have been floating around since the early 1990’s, and its spirit can definitely be seen through the history of craft. For example, check out this beautiful quilt from Gee’s Bend:

Photo Taken from the Wikipedia page on Gee’s Bend, Alabama

In 1962 Douglas Deeds said this about his chairs:

This design is a utilization of material which our society normally thinks of as waste. It may be that the designer will be called on more and more to use such materials in helping underprivileged areas of the world use waste.

The philosophy of Deeds’ words can be seen in the work of so many designers today, and finding links to the past gives me hope that current trends like upcycling are more design evolution then passing trend. Here are some current examples of innovative and beautiful upcycling:

Light fixture made from vintage Tupperware
by Boot N’Gus
Photo originally found on

Light fixture by French designer Garbage
Photo originally found on

Table made from shipping pallets by Jen Turner Photo by Greg Scheidmann
Photo originally found on
You can learn more about the project, including DIY steps by clicking here: