Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Look at the Female Leg

As a woman, I am definitely more conscious of how I dress than the men around me (at least to my knowledge) and I hope I am somewhat in tune with the message that my outfit sends out into the world. But then again, this happened. In the summer (remember summer?) I found an awesome almost-floor-length sleeveless blue jean dress, complete with buttons all the way down the front. Now, in the summer, it looked great by itself, maybe paired with a belt to cinch the waist. That's all well and good, but Canadian winters are harsh and that ship ain't gonna sail in early January. So I decided to wear a long-sleeved shirt underneath, paired with some grey tights. As soon as I walked down the stairs from my room, my sister laughed and asked if I was becoming Amish.

I guess a floor length dress is only acceptable if you have nothing else on underneath. I was getting a lot of stares at school that day as well, or perhaps I only felt that I was because of the comment my sister made. Either way, I believe the perceptions other people get when they look at what we wear definitely play a part in how they see us as people.

And then I saw this article in the Toronto Star a little while ago. Seems like I am not alone in this theory. Rosea Lake, a university student in Vancouver, is happy to see the viral speed of her shared photo from a school project.

Of course I would help to spread the photo from my humble little blog.

What an interesting way to display the way we see others based on how they dress. The image is being showed to students across Canada in lectures and classrooms, and I think the more women who see this, the better. I see so many young girls on Facebook who have an obvious problem with self-image and confidence, and they need to be reminded that it's what's on the inside that counts. Remember that old addage? It still works today. Even if you're twelve and have an iPhone 5.

I can only wonder if she bent over in some contortionist fashion to write the words, or had someone else do it with their face in her bum. Don't shoot me, it's only a thought!

The whole thing reminds me of the Slut Walk that happened in Toronto last April. While women are objectified all too often (and undeniably more often than men), we can all do something about it, and show those who may be too sheepish to fight back that it's worth it to raise your voice for something you think is important. I am definitely one to speak out when I think something is wrong, and while I am often told lovingly by my friends to shut up, you should speak out against things you don't think are right as well. How else will we get rid of things that should never have happened in the first place? *cough Rob Ford cough*

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Genius of Willy Chyr

A word of advice: don't bring up the merits of advertising to a group of designers. As the stuck-up bunch we are, many of my cohorts would say that the art of advertising is not really an art at all, and has little to do with anything except suckling money out of hard-working people for the gain of big-wigs and capitalism in general.

Well, that may well be true. But I have found a piece of advertising that I believe to be personally ground-breaking and refreshingly honest about what it means to be a woman. And shockingly (or maybe not so), this piece was created by a man. I won't leave you in suspense any longer.

Please do click to see it enlarged.

Instead of that stupid blue liqiud that someone decided would forever represent the female menstruation cycle in all its horror, we have a truthful rendition staring us in the face. Not only that, but it is represented in a fun, interesting, and extremely visually pleasing way. Don't you find yourself following the lines, trying to find a straight shot through the maze? Maybe I'm interrupting your search. I'll give you a minute to find it.

The creator is Willy Chyr, an artist/designer based in Chicago. On his website,
Willy Chyr is an artist working at the intersection of art and science. His work spans a variety of media, including web, print, and installation. Drawing inspiration from both cultural artifacts and scientific knowledge, he creates platforms and systems that replicate processes found in nature.
The rabbit hole goes deeper, readers. According to the page for the ad on his website, Chyr states that he actually created the advert for his personal portfolio. It grabbed the attention of the right people at the firm where he worked, Leo Burnett, and soon it was an actual ad being run for Always. Chyr left the firm in the midst of all of this kerfuffle, and was completely unaware of the fate of his design until he saw it in a magazine while shopping at Target. It went on to win three awards: the 2011 Chicago Silver ADDY Award, the 2011 D&AD - Shortlist , and the 2011 New York Festivals - Finalist Certificate. Big news for a small red dot.

 Let's go back to his self-description. At the intersection of art and science, you say? There is much more to this Chyr than his feminine hygiene obsession. He also makes wonderful fantastical balloon art!  Shown below is a commission for the atrium of the Lawrence Arts Center in Kansas. He has aptly named it "Sunflower".


There you have it. Advertising can be thoughtful and really make you revalue how you see the world. Visit his website here.

The man behind the balloons.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rise of the Archer

Sometimes, fonts get made. Understandable. Sometimes, those fonts catch the popularity train. Still fine. But once in a while, a font sinks its teeth into popular culture and doesn't let go, no matter how many pliers you break trying to get it to let go.

You may have already guessed the font, or you may not have noticed, but you definitely will now. I am talking about Archer, a font created by Hoefler & Frere-Jones Type Foundry in 2008. I'm probably a little late on the bandwagon here, but it has started to infiltrate my personal life and I feel that now is as good a time as any to shout about it at the top of my lungs.

Picture this. You wake up one morning. Pretty normal so far. You drift blearily into the bathroom and splash water on your face. Grope around for those contacts so you can see clearly. What's the first thing that hits your line of vision? ARCHER!

Well, that's not so bad. You shrug it off. Time to cleanse that skin! Reach for the facial wash, and OH NO it's Archer. Infiltrating your bathroom routine twice already.

Trying not to think about the Archer that may or may not have just seeped into your skin, never to be seen again, you head into the kitchen for breakfast. Find one of the few clean bowls left, fire up the kettle, it's oatmeal time. BUT WAIT. It's Archer again. Looks persistent.

You've been worrying so much about this growing problem that you don't come back to your senses until lunchtime. Well, at least there can't be anything type-related in a sandwich, can there? THINK AGAIN. The bread's got it too.

So you opt for a fast food lunch instead. Better to get away from the house completely. Harvey's seems like a nice, reliable choice, right? NOPE.

I've probably driven my point into the ground, but there must be another font we can be using. Martha Stewart must be rolling in her grave! she even dead? If she's alive, how is she letting this go on! Let's write her an angry letter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Craft Explosion!

It seems that in the past couple of years, DIY has become a crazily popular pastime. In case anyone doesn't know, DIY stands for do-it-yourself. While it may seem kind of brash for a sub-culture (memories of mom yelling that no, she won't make me a sandwich, and why don't I "do it yourself!").

I have been DIY-ing for a long time, as it would seem. Ever since the Mastermind Toys opened up near my house, and I was able to pick out any toy I wanted, I knew I would be a crafter. Did I choose the cool new Barbie with super soft hair? Nope. Did I reach for the new race car with realistic flame decals? Heaven for bid! Nope, it was a little box of seed beads and a jewellery making book 'for kids'. That was quite the advanced book for me at the lil' age of eight, and still continues to be now.

Since my first weaving loom made from a kleenex box, I have spiraled into a whirl of craft projects, ranging from jewellery to repurposed clothing to home improvement. I am definitely nowhere close in skill to some of the crafting blogs I have seen pop into existence in the past while, but I enjoy it and continue to use the things I make long after the hot glue gun has cooled.

I love to search for inspiration, and some of the ways I look for fresh new crafts are as follows:

Love Aesthetics
Some of the most outlandish crafts made by loveable (if slightly alien-looking) Ivania Carpio of the Netherlands. I found out about her blog through Nasty Gal and love everything she makes. Even if I don't think I could pull it off. Don't be scared, you don't have to dye your hair white to make some of the things, not the least of which is this cool repurposed VHS case purse.
So suave.

While their clothing seems expensive beyond reach of the loan-ridden student, the blog uses cheap materials and tools to create some really cute things. So you can pretend you're wearing Free People clothing even though you repurposed that t-shirt from Walmart. I won't tell anyone, don't worry. I really want to make this for my garden (when the weather gets warmer).
A tiny little hanging plant.

This blog is fabulous because each post offers both an inspirational collage of a specific current fashion trend, and a cool related DIY. Most of the projects can be made with cheap materials, such as the plastic knife earrings found below, and are well thought out due to the not-so-subtle branding of one material in each project. Luckily, you don't have to buy the brand-name stuff; the dollar store works just as well.
Still useable as cutlery in a pinch!

Josie Davis is the queen of country DIY. From mason jar iced coffee mugs to repurposed plaid shirts to handmade stationary, she always has something fresh. And her photography is so pretty, it makes you feel like you're right there in the country with her. Check out this easy window decoration with only string and coloured paper.
Brings the beauty of Fall inside.

If you have any good crafting blogs, let me know! I am always ready for new projects. Crafting brings the new and the beautiful to otherwise old and possibly gross/broken/stained things. Breathe new life into your old things instead of buying new. It's cheaper, more fun, and you can make it exactly how you want it. You'll be so much happier for it.