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Quote of Note | OK Go’s Tim Nordwind on 2013

“I want this year to be the year of the DIY gadget maker. People who have really good ideas should be able to find a way to fund them through Kickstarter and other sites. OK Go’s style is very DIY. We make our own videos; we make our own records. In the beginning, our videos were made for next to nothing, but we were able to put them out there and anyone with a computer and access to the Internet could watch them. I like that style of making–just having a good idea and letting people decide whether they like or not.”

-Tim Nordwind, bassist for OK Go and Pyramids, in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal

OK Go’s most recent video, “Needing/Getting”:

DIY Fashion Week with Apliiq! Seven Questions for Fabric-Loving Founder Ethan Lipsitz

Textile messaging. Creative clothing from Apliiq, founded by Ethan Lipsitz (pictured below).

New York Fashion Week is once again upon us, and with it, the haute Halloween of Fashion’s Night Out (look for us at Bergdorf Goodman, contemplatively fondling the Chado Ralph Rucci garments). No matter where you stand on the sartorial continuum of Carhartt to Carolina Herrera, you can spice up your wardrobe with Apliiq. The Los Angeles-based company collects rare, deadstock, and recognizable textiles and applies them to everyday garments (think crying-out-for-customization American Apparel tees). With an ever-changing assortment of limited-edition products and a vast fabric library, the Apliiq website offers a dizzying array of possible color and texture combinations for the DIY-minded. “The name derives from the French word ‘appliqué,’ which means ‘apply,’ and we literally apply fabric, cut into different geometric shapes, onto clothing,” explains founder Ethan Lipsitz. “It’s all online and made to order within a week in downtown LA.” Lipsitz, who graduated from the University Pennsylvania with a degree in urban studies and did a post-grad stint with design studio Dickson Rothschild, paused in his fabric scouting to answer our seven questions.

What led you to start Apliiq?
I have always enjoyed being creative with what I wear. In high school I started hand-stitching my mother’s fabrics onto my hoodies to add a little personal flavor. In college I stitched a Karate Kid headband onto the hood of a hoody and it became a coveted item amongst my friends. Needless to say, I started making Karate Kid hoodies for all my classmates. I quickly discovered the local fabric district in Philly and began playing more with lining hoods and stitching the fabrics onto hoodies in creative ways. By my senior year I had learned how to use a sewing machine and was customizing hoodies with my fabric collection for friends and shops around Philly. From the get go it was always about letting them customize and relaying that feeling of wearing something that’s uniquely theirs. With help from friends I built a website and kept the company going as a hobby business while living in Sydney and working in architecture and urban design. In 2008 I decided I wanted to be my own boss and see if this hobby could be something more, I moved back to the States, set up shop in Los Angeles, and gave myself a year to get Apliiq off the ground. We’ve been running ever since.

What makes a good/successful Apliiq fabric?
Sometimes we can tell when a fabric is going to be a hit, and other times it’s a mystery what takes off. We try to vary the library, but I definitely skew towards bold, simple prints that clearly convey a story or message. Right now animal prints, native, southwestern, and African fabrics are seeing a surge in popularity. It’s often a combination of pattern and motif as well as a particular model and example garment we show that contributes to a fabric’s success.

What are some of your favorite recent additions to the Apliiq fabric library?
I’ve got a bunch of new faves. We have this beautiful vintage soft striped woven fabric that has a linen texture called right stripe that we have only a few yards of. We also just picked up some amazing African fabrics of which Oduele may be my favorite. I spotted it across the shop, and we took it down from the window display—got the last four yards! I’m freaking out on ikats. A friend from Indonesia sent us one a few months ago, and we’ve recently come across an amazing stockpile of Indian ikats that are really fresh. I love how the weave of these fabrics are so engrained in the aesthetic. Lastly, we recently discovered a crazy vintage abstract print online that totally reminds me of Kandinsky, thus named after the man himself.
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F+W Media Gets Crafty with Acquisition of Interweave

The parent company of Print and HOW magazines is stocking up on arts and crafts titles. F+W Media has acquired Interweave (Aspire Media) from private equity firms Frontenac Company, Catalyst Investors, Clay Hall, and several members of the Interweave management team. Terms of the deal, announced today by F+W, were not disclosed. The acquisition will add to the F+W stable of “enthusiast”-geared offerings magazines such as Quilting Arts, Beadwork, American Artist, and a dozen more consumer art and craft magazines, along with some 350 craft books, 33 websites, and 11 consumer events. Immediate plans for the company include boosting digital content, including the ebook and digital pattern business, and expanding the live and online education and event business.

Tom Sachs to Receive Aspen Award for Art

Fresh from his triumphant mission to Mars, Tom Sachs has been named this year’s recipient of the Aspen Award for Art. Previous honorees include artists Roni Horn, Marilyn Minter, Fred Tomaselli, and Ed Ruscha. Sachs will pick up his honor next week during ArtCrush, a three-day benefit gala for the Aspen Art Museum (its new Shigeru Ban-designed building is slated to open in 2014) that kicks off on Wednesday with a wine-soaked soiree and culiminates in a Friday bash at the museum, where we hear that Sachs has “a special intervention” in store for gala-goers inside the tent. After a seated dinner, Oliver Barker of Sotheby’s will take the floor for a live auction of artworks by the likes of William Eggleston, Tom Friedman, and Amelie von Wulffen, who has a solo exhibition opening today at the museum (where she is this year’s Jane and Marc Nathanson Distinguished Artist in Residence). The real pocket-emptier, however, will be Sachs’s own “Poche Vide” (pictured). Completed this year, the mixed media work contains all of the tools for a modern mogul—something of an Aspen specialty—there are speakers, amplifiers, oodles of dials, a kitchen knife, and a necktie, just in case. It’s the perfect accent piece for your chic chalet-cum-rustic ski cabin.

Magazines Get Crafty with Print: Flaunt Dresses in Denim as Wallpaper* Goes Handmade

Flaunt’s all-denim July/August issue and three of the 30 covers commissioned by Wallpaper* for its upcoming handmade issue, by (from left) Quentin Jones, Peter Miles, and mcgarrybowen.

Step away from your iPad. Two summer magazines are best appreciated in their glorious print versions. First up is Flaunt‘s denim issue, which hits newsstands this month. Covered in the rugged fabric (and an Ellen von Unwerth photo of Claudia Schiffer) thanks to sponsor Guess, the magazine is chock full of jeans-themed goodies, from Agave Denim’s Pacific Coast roadtrip postcards and a graffiti-inducing stencil from Kill City to a pull-out booklet of AG Adriano Goldschmied creative director Sam Wu’s favorite L.A. haunts and an iron-on transfer from Genetic Denim. Advertorial? Indeed, but for every Rising Sun kerchief and sheet of Hudson Jeans wrapping paper, there’s a still-life spread on rivets and a rumination on the 1959 exploitation film Blue Denim.

Meanwhile, over in London, Wallpaper* has been busy preparing its August issue, a tribute to the handmade. Subscribers were recently given the opportunity to customize their copy by choosing from one of a whopping 30 covers (below) featuring work commissioned by illustrators and graphic designers including Anthony Burrill, Rob Ryan, and James Joyce. Jonathan Ellery whipped up a duct-tape homage to the magazine’s signature asterisk, while ad agency mcgarrybowen interpreted “handmade” ultra-literally and created one from fingernail clippings (on a chalkboard, of course). Inside the issue, readers will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the third annual Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition, held in Milan in April during Salone del Mobile.
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Armory Week: Peter Liversidge’s ‘Wooden Mail Objects’ at Sean Kelly

Among the buzziest booths at this year’s Armory Show is that of Sean Kelly, which features work by the likes of Marina Abramović, James Casebere, Alec Soth, and Kehinde Wiley. The New York gallery is also spotlighting three recent additions to its stable of artists: Idris Khan, Nathan Mabry, and Peter Liversidge (on Tuesday, Sean Kelly announced its representation of Terence Koh). Just around the corner from Khan’s mini-museum of clouds trapped in lucite is “Wooden Mail Objects” (2011), a shelf of rulers, protractors, and chalkboard erasers that London-based Liversidge mailed to Kelly, sans envelopes, over the course of three months. Beside the stamp-covered objects is the artist’s deadpan installation proposal, written on his trusty manual typewriter. Liversidge is also represented by what he describes as a text piece: a hand-held embosser placed on a white podium. It, too, is accompanied by a framed noticed. “Whoever reads this proposal is invited to take a one-dollar note from their pocket, wallet, or purse. In their other hand they should take up the embosser and place the note within it’s [sic] jaws,” he explains. “Then apply pressure and emboss the note with the text piece concealed within.” Pull out your dollar to reveal the imprint of a single word: free. No word as to how much this work sold for.

Inside David Stark’s Pop-Up Wood Shop

(Photos: UnBeige and Courtesy David Stark Design)

David Stark has applied his artist’s eye and bricoleur’s ingenuity to the retail scene with Wood Shop, a temporary takeover of fellow RISD alum Nina Freudenberger‘s Haus Interior in New York. As you may recall from our recent interview with the event designer, his “surprise ambush” has filled the cozy homegoods emporium with limited-edition goodies inspired by a woodworker’s studio, from hand-crocheted saw pillows and rugged Carhartt-brown canvas placemats to a tool box worth of delicate gold pendants and hand-turned poplar vases that suggest a collaboration between Giorgio Morandi and Bob Vila. The woodstravaganza lasts through Monday, February 27.

The idea for Wood Shop stemmed from a previous project for which Stark and his team created an entire house out of SmartPly, which provided a cheeky backdrop for showcasing the client company’s new collection of homegoods. “Some of the things that we made for that were so fun that we thought, wow, these could be great products,” said Stark the other day, as he guided us through Wood Shop and ended up in front of a delicious-looking dessert, made entirely of SmartPly. “The cake really came out of that kind of thing. I have a weird sense of humor, so if I walked into a store, that would be the first thing I would be drawn toward.”

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Tradition, Modernity, Marionettes: Alber Elbaz’s Christmas Tree for Claridge’s

John Galliano is a tough act to follow, but Lanvin creative director Alber Elbaz has proven himself up to the task of creating a showstopper of a Christmas tree for Claridge’s. His secret weapons? The “infusion of tradition and modernity” that he has made a signature of the fashion house, along with madcap marionettes (dressed in Lanvin-designed Claridge’s uniforms, bien sûr). The colorful tree, which will remain on view through January 2 in the London hotel’s art deco lobby, is topped by a figure of Elbaz, his trademark floppy bow tie and glasses accessorized for the season with fairy wings and a wand. For those can’t make it across the pond, there’s this whimsical—and mildly creepy—short film to get you in the Christmas spirit. You’ll come away craving both goatskin ballerina flats and scones. Pass the Marco Polo jelly and Cornish clotted cream.

Sea Change: Ocean Trash Transformed into Fishy Sculptures for Bay Area Exhibit

“Giant Fish” and “Giant Sea Turtle,” sculptures created by artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi and a team of volunteers from washed-up ocean debris.

At first glance, the giant fish that will soon greet visitors to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, looks like a whimsical nod to the nonprofit veterinary hospital and research center’s aquatic patient population. In fact, 16-foot-long Henry (as he is known to friends) is a colorful jumble of plastic bits, aluminum cans, dish soap bottles, lids, buoys, toys, and toothbrushes that washed up on nearby beaches. He is the creation of Oregon-based artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi and her team of volunteers, who transformed the 7,000 pounds of ocean trash they collected into sculptures of marine life threatened by the detritus.

Henry and 14 more of Pozzi’s artworks—including a giant squid and a reef of scavenged styrofoam—will go on view Saturday in “Washed Ashore: Plastics, Sea Life, and Art,” a free exhibition that runs through October 15 at the Marine Mammal Center. According to executive director Jeff Boehm, as many as 10% of the hospital’s admissions (think elephant seals, harbor seals, and California sea lions) are due to human interactions, including those related to entanglements in trash. “As the beaches around the world wash up more stuff from the land and less from the sea I believe we must examine our relationship to rivers and oceans,” notes Pozzi, who grew up wading in the Pacific ocean and digging in the muck of Puget Sound. “I attempt to scoop up part of what might be below the blue waters and place it in front of us. In some ways it may be an escape, but at the same time a confrontation.”

R.I.P. ReadyMade: Meredith Folds DIY Magazine

In a move that is sure to spawn oodles of funky, handcrafted memorials, ReadyMade magazine has folded. Publisher Meredith yesterday announced that it would shutter the ten-year-old DIY bible and cut its 75 staffers in what CEO Steve Lacy chalked up to a “periodic realignment of resources” that would free up cash for “key strategic growth initiatives, including digital platform expansion.” Meanwhile, ReadyMade editors took to Twitter and the web to relay the sad news and bid farewell to their loyal readership of Readymakers. “As much as it breaks all our hearts it’s a decision we understand and are taking in stride,” noted a post on the magazine’s Editors’ Notes blog. “The ReadyMade community will continue [to] push DIY into the mainstream by building websites, writing blogs, taking photos, and most importantly, forming coherent opinions that are ours and only ours, and letting those be known. ReadyMade’s can-do spirit even in the most dire of circumstances has always been its life-blood and we know it will continue to be the driving force of ReadyMakers in the future. And this will keep us all going.”