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Rocky Gets Yarnbombed in Philadelphia

This week, an iconic figure in Philadelphia wore something decidedly different than his usual, stoic tough guy demeanor would suggest. Local “yarnbomber,” meaning one who uses yarn as a type of graffiti, Jesse Hemmons, sneaked a cozy pink sweater onto the statue of Rocky Balboa which sits in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On the sweater reads, “Go See The Art.” WHYY spoke to Hemmons after her yarn attack, learning that she did it after seeing much longer lines in front of the statue than at the museum immediately next door. Pre-Rocky tag, Hemmons has seemingly established herself to be the go-to yarnbomber in Philadelphia, judging by the projects available to view on her site. In particular, we really enjoyed her recent train car seat efforts. Back to Rocky, here’s a great quote from her conversation with WHYY:

“When we were finished installing, there was this group of men–probably mid-20s early 30s–they looked like they had really been excited about getting their picture with the Rocky statue,” said Hemmons. “Then they see a pink sweater. They were very disappointed. They kind of took their picture with not much enthusiasm, which I thought was funny.”

Adobe’s Online Museum Debuts John Maeda Exhibition: ‘Atoms + Bits = the neue Craft (ABC)’

In the blink of a disembodied Tony Oursler eyeball, the Adobe Museum of Digital Media has mounted its second exhibition. Through the end of the year, visitors to the sleek site can watch John Maeda, embattled president of the Rhode Island School of Design, deliver an illustrated lecture on his version of the ABCs: atoms, bits, and craft—specifically the physical-meets-virtual mashup that he calls “neue craft.” Maeda begins his discussion of the potential for art and design to catch up with technology by tracing his own path from creating early computer graphics and discovering MacPaint. “That began this era where the computer began to feel more like our world, more like the physical world,” says Maeda, conscious that a sizable chunk of his audience may own an iPad 2 but never heard of an Apple II. “The virtual world, at the time, was very clunky.” Highlighting the technological jumps enabled by Adobe PostScript (cue the Bézier splines!) and Photoshop, the ubiquity of Flash, and the growing awareness of art and design, he asks viewers to consider the origins of innovation before tackling the intersection of craft and computers. At RISD, of course, craft has always been king. “Our students are so steeped in the art of making, bending, gnawing, sawing, changing, forming,” says Maeda. “Today, because of digital tools, we’ve lost that sense of reality. However, craft is alive in the space I live in today.”

Designer Behind Academy Awards Envelopes Announced

It seems at once as both the most trivial and most important part of the entire Academy Awards, so while your eyes might not be entirely honed on the envelope as a winner is announce, you’ll undoubtedly be eager to have it opened (if just to see if Banksy does in fact take the stage in a monkey mask). Because the Oscar envelope holds such importance, and because the Academy needs to release more information about itself so the public doesn’t lose interest a week before the show, the organization has released information on the design of the folded paper. This year, designer Marc Friedland, of the firm Creative Intelligence has been hired to design them, creating perhaps the most high-profile, finest-to-touch envelopes of the year. They sound much fancier than what our mortgage notices get sent in every month and rightly so. After all, Gweneth Paltrow rarely touches them (or at least we hope). Here are the details:

Friedland’s custom-designed envelope will be handcrafted from a high-gloss, iridescent metallic gold paper stock, with a red-lacquered lining featuring the Oscar statuette hand-stamped in satin gold leaf.

…The winner’s name will be printed in charcoal ink and mounted onto a matching, red lacquer hand-wrapped frame. The back of the card will be printed with the award category.

…After final tabulation of the ballots, Brad Oltmanns and Rick Rosas, the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partners, will insert the appropriate announcement cards and fasten the envelope with a red double-faced satin ribbon and a red-lacquered and gold-embossed seal featuring the PwC logo.

A small handful of photos of the envelopes can be found here. We’d say that you should feel free to print them out and hand them to your cat as you pretend that you’re James Franco or Anne Hathaway, but that’s really something you should run past the Academy first (and your cat).

Paper Fashion Show Returns to Denver, Seeks Designers

Newspaper Dress.jpgProject Runway fans will fondly recall the sixth season challenge that had the designer-contestants crafting dresses out of newsprint because, as Tim Gunn reminded them, “Fashion is news.” The episode also involved some on-deadline duplicity from one contestant, which led Gunn to proclaim, post-judging, “I am incredulous at that utterly preposterous spewing of fiction that Johnny [Sakalis] did on the runway.” Zing! But we digress. The Art Directors Club of Denver (ADCD) is once again bringing Project Runway-style creative feats to the masses with the seventh installment of its annual Paper Fashion Show.

“The ADCD Paper Fashion Show is like an event at the Art Olympics,” says Lonnie Hanzon, the first-place winner of last year’s show and a “wizard in residence” at the Museum of Outdoor Arts in nearby Englewood, Colorado. “It is the best place in Denver to showcase wildly creative work within very specific parameters.” This year’s participants will craft their fashions out of paper donated by Xpedx. On March 24, the looks will take to the runway and be assessed by a panel of judges that will award prizes to the top designs. The most crowd-pleasing look will take home the “audience favorite” honor. Part of the proceeds and auctioned fashion designs from the event will benefit Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, which provides after-school arts programs for at-risk youth. Designers, art directors, professionals in marketing and communications, and plain old fashion enthusiasts can register to participate in the Paper Fashion Show by February 18. In the meantime, get inspired by this footage from the 2010 event:

KFC Encourages World to Dress as Colonel Sanders for Halloween

It’s October 27. Do you know where your Halloween costume is? We suggest standing out from the Snooki-fied masses and so many makeshift Lady Gagas by donning a crisp white suit, string tie, and goatee whilst hugging a red-striped bucket to your chest (handy for storing candy). Smile, you’re a finger lickin’ good corporate icon! KFC has embarked on an extra tasty crispy campaign to encourage chicken lovers to dress up as Colonel Harland Sanders this Halloween. It’s all part of the company’s year-long celebration of its distinctively garbed founder. Don’t think of it free advertising for an $11 billion global corporation—think of it as your small contribution to our great fast food nation! “Colonel Sanders in his iconic white suit is one of the most enduring images of American history,” says John Cywinski, KFC’s chief marketing and food innovation officer. “As we mark the 120th anniversary of the Colonel’s birth, we’re calling on KFC fans to help celebrate this American icon by donning ‘his suit’ this Halloween.” Depending on your build and disposition, however, you may be mistaken for Boss Hog, Tom Wolfe, or Tommy Tune. One lucky would-be Colonel will win a lifetime supply of KFC sandwiches and “the chance to be outfitted in a more official Colonel’s suit for next year’s Halloween celebration” (are they implying that the winning suit will be somehow less than official?). Costumes will be judged on “creativity, likeness to Colonel Sanders, and relevancy to the brand.”

Frog Design’s Jonas Damon Transforms iPad into Retro TV

damon ipod.jpg

Everything old is new again—or rather everything new is old again. Behold Jonas Damon‘s old school take on an iPad charging dock. The cheeky hutch embraces the covetable Apple device in the wooden form of a circa-1970′s or -1980′s television, complete with cathode ray tube housing. Damon, a creative director at frog design, crafted the distinctively shaped dock for his personal use out of a fruit crate and the desire to inject some personality into the sleek tech item of the moment. “I sought to enrich the iPad with something I have an emotional connection to—the home appliances of my upbringing,” he told frog design’s Intrapreneur blog. “This lo-fidelity design language is very appealing in contrast to the gloss-black slick design trends that are currently the norm.” And if you can’t tolerate a term like “craft,” with its associations of frenzied scrapbookers and decoupage junkies, think of its as “folk industrial design”? “Every day we are seeing ordinary people adapting products like the iPad to suit their particular needs, lifestyles, and desires,” said Damon. “The lack of personality of the iPad has enabled people to create their own enclosures.”

Marmol Radziner Transforms Leftover Metal into Jewelry

(Photo: Marmol Radziner)

Baubles, bangles, and…surplus bronze? That’s the material of choice for M+R Jewelry, a new line of accessories created by Marmol Radziner. The Los Angeles-based architecture and construction firm has transformed leftover bits of bronze from its past building and furniture projects into sturdy unisex bracelets, cuffs, and rings. Handcrafted by Marmol Radziner’s metalsmiths in Vernon, California, the pieces are versatile enough to add a sustainable swoop to the everyday or the Rick Owens runway. “The collection is a way of experimenting with our ideas, using different scales and materials to see if our concepts hold,” says Marmol Radziner Principal Ron Radziner, who also describes the jewelry as “reminiscent of our architecture, whose beauty lies partly in the expression of the materials and proportions.” The M+R Jewelry collection, priced from $80 to $250, is now available at Arp in Los Angeles.

With Spoonflower, Custom Fabric Is Just a Click Away

fabric.jpgWant to recreate your grandmother’s flowery tablecloth or put your own spin on a classic Alexander Girard print? Head to Spoonflower, a website that allows users to print their own designs on fabric. Launched last year out of an old sock mill in Mebane, North Carolina, the site has rapidly attracted a crafty fan base of 15,000 users. The process is simple: upload a file (JPG, TIF, or PNG), select from multiple placement options, and check out. Prices range from $5.00 for an 8″ x 8″ swatch to $32.00 per yard of upholstery-weight cotton sateen, and designs are printed (using eco-friendly, non-toxic pigment inks) within five business days. Textile design veterans and amateurs alike can enter the Fabric of the Week contest, which is voted on by Spoonflower users. Winning designs are offered for sale as limited-edition fabrics at Spoonflower’s Etsy shop.

Project Blue: Barneys and Elle Auction Redesigned, Recycled Denim for Charity

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In a charity project that might well have been called “Forever in Blue Jeans” if Neil Diamond hadn’t already taken cultural custody of the phrase, Barneys and Elle have teamed up on a charity auction of redesigned, recycled denim to benefit Oceana, the international advocacy group dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans. Project Blue was born when Julie Gilhart, Barneys’ sustainably savvy fashion director and senior vice president, helped to implement a program collecting and repurposing customers’ used denim. Eight fashion designers were invited to create unique pieces out of the old jeans (just like that Project Runway episode!), and the resulting garments are now up for bid on eBay through Sunday, May 10.

From our wildly talented friends Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte comes a ballerina-style dress (pictured above, at far right) that manages to make denim delicate, frayed edges and all. Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier also went with a dress (above, second from right), a sleekly tailored number with a Thierry Mugler-on-the-farm vibe that Maier describes as “a dress for the future with a beautiful history.” Check out the work of the other participating designers—Derek Lam, Ann Demeulemeester, Alexander Wang, Rogan, Versace, and Stella McCartneyon eBay or in Elle‘s May “Blue Issue,” which features a portfolio of all eight “recycled chic” looks styled by Joanne Blades and photographed by Michael Armstrong.

Andrew Wagner Named Editor-in-Chief of ReadyMade

Andrew Wagner.JPGAndrew Wagner, who most recently led the triumphant relaunch of American Craft with creative director Jeanette Abbink, is ready for a new challenge. The Dwell founding editor has been named editor-in-chief of ReadyMade, the bimonthly magazine “for people who like to make stuff, who see the flicker of invention in everyday objects—the perfectly round yolk in the mundane egg.” Wagner will assume his role at the Meredith title, which is based in Des Moines, on May 4.

ReadyMade came to life in the Bay Area just a little after the launching of Dwell, so I’ve always watched it and been a big fan,” Wagner tells us. “I’ve known [ReadyMade founders] Grace Hawthorne and Shoshana Berger and have always been thoroughly impressed with the work they’ve done…so this presented an opportunity to continue the good things they’ve been doing with the magazine and to expand on it.” Among his key priorities will be broadening the magazine’s online presence, which currently includes a project archive, a few “web exclusives,” a couple of sporadically updated blogs, and a photo gallery to which readers can upload images of their latest creations, like this fetching wallet made from an 8-track tape. “ReadyMade is perfectly suited to a fantastically harmonious interplay between print and online,” notes Wagner. “We’re just starting to figure all that out but in the next few months expect to see pick up major steam.”

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