Every now and then I have some amazing opportunities offered to me and my upcoming week is no exception. Thanks to the fine folks of Jameson whiskey I’m wandering about Ireland for the next few days spending time meeting local artisans, trying my hands at leather crafting and glass blowing, and of course drinking fine whiskey. I’ll be sharing a few posts about the experience on here though my Instagram will probably be updated the most.
I’ll also be spending a few days in London this weekend so I’m thinking it could be great to do a TFIB Bar Meet-Up somewhere in the city. More information to come!
Mount Gay, the world’s oldest existing rum house from the island of Barbados, has created four video portraits of Original Spirits who share Mount Gay’s values of heritage, craftsmanship and hands-on artistry — demonstrating that they still have a place in our lives. They include Pete Raho, owner of Gowanus Furniture Co; Brock Willsey, owner of fashion boutique Vividbraille; photographer Ernesto Roman; and James Tucker, Co-founder of the celebrated letterpress studio – The Aesthetic Union.
As co-founder of the celebrated letterpress studio, The Aesthetic Union, James Tucker utilizes a number of mechanical presses, including a 1910 Chandler & Price, and a 1984 Heidelberg Windmill. Tucker’s interest in machinery began while working on his grandfather’s Christmas tree farm. “He showed me how if you take care of these things they will work, they will work better than the new things” says Tucker. “We cut down all our Christmas trees by hand; we wrapped them up for people. It’s that hand that’s in things. It’s even more important now than it was when I was a kid. The more we get away from it, the more we want it as people. I think that’s so important with old things; that everything is done by hand.”
The key values of Tucker’s practice include the preservation of time-honored techniques, an understanding of materials, and the production of hand crafted products. “With Mount Gay, I really like how their every barrel is mixed by hand, how the wood is selected, how they’re in the same location since 1703. They seem to be preservers of some kind of old way like I am, I really respect that.”
To watch all four videos featuring these “Original Spirts”, visit theoriginalspirits.com.
Almost 20% of the total area of the Netherlands is water, with many parts of the county reclaimed from the sea through an extensive system of dykes that date back as far as medieval times. For this reason, the Dutch have always had a fairly special relationship with water. You can see this in so many aspects of what they do, from amazing bridges to beautiful public ponds, their unique appreciation for lakes, rivers and the sea has always lead to interesting work.
I recently came across this wonderful recreational island home by 2by4 Architects and quickly feel for its simplistic charms. Completed in 2011, the home offers an ideal rural getaway that boasts large glass walls and a slide-away wall that opens up directly onto the water. It looks like the perfect place for an outdoor retreat.
Found on a man-made island on the Dutch lake of Loosdrechtse Plas, the home is designed to be completely customized depending on the owners needs. On warm days the northern facade opens towards the water, turning the wooden floor of the living room into a jetty. On winter days the home looks just as good, offering a freestanding fire to snuggle up to as you look out over the countryside.
While only 100 meters in size, the home still looks quite spacious and comfortable with a shower, toilet, kitchen, closets, storage and other functions are all integrated into a double wall. It all looks perfect!
Hat tip to Dwell for the discovery. You can see more images of the home on 2by4 Architects’ website.
It’s pretty astonishing that, as of a few hours ago, the European Space Agency was able to land a robot on the surface of a comet. A mission 10 years in the making, the team’s Rosetta spacecraft successfully placed the Philae lander on to the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which is moving at 34,400 miles per hour (that’s 45x the speed of sound). The New York Times has an incredible gallery of images (like the one above) which shows the approach of the satellite to 67P which have been blowing my mind.
I also think it’s pretty funny that the comet is shaped like a duck, sorta.
London is getting a new museum and to call it eccentric may just be an understatement. Opening this month The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities is no doubt unlike anything you’ve seen before. “I’m so bored of contemporary museums and their desperate attempt to classify and make sense of everything,” Wynd told The Guardian recently. “The world is one big, glorious mess and we should celebrate that.”
Wynd has been building his collection for the last decade and his new Museum is not his only big release this year. He recently teamed up with the publishers at Prestel to release Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders; a book that celebrates his collection and the collections of many more dilettantes, bohemians and artists.
Photographed by Oskar Proctor, these images capture the curiosities and horrors found in the collections of many other eccentrics. From shrunken heads and narwhal tusks to old erotica to occult paintings, the series of images are fascinating and unique.
The book also includes advice on how to start a collection of your own, covering everything from attending auction houses, to finding the right private dealers, flea markets and fairs. If pickled genitals, old skeletons or taxidermy animals are your thing then this book is certainty for you.
You can see a few more images taken by Oskar Proctor on his website. The book, Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders, can be ordered here and Wynd’s museum will open hopefully open in Hackney later this month.
Have you ever thought about packing it all in and moving to the countryside? If you live in a city I’m sure that at some point in life you’ve considered leaving the fumes and smog behind and heading out in-search of fresh air and clean living. Who hasn’t reminisced about some green and fertile countryside from a half-remembered youth? Wouldn’t it be nice to return there?
This is certainly a thought that the Spanish photographer Juan Aballe has had. A few years ago he noticed that many of his close friends were moving to the countryside and so Aballe found himself confronted by the thought – what would life be like if he packed it all in and headed out to the country.
What followed was a series of photographs titled Country Fictions. Taken between 2011 and 2013, they were shot in a number scarcely populated areas on the Iberian Peninsula. But did Aballe find the rural utopia he had imagined? Not exactly. Aballe is a photographer who is more than aware of the dreams that can be captured behind a lens. Its title not withstanding, it’s hard to tell that these photographs are in fact a fiction. They’re a vision of Aballe’s imagined utopia. Like all photography, they show a fiction played out as a fact.
“In what could be called a collection of daydreams, Country Fictions reflects on the photographic language itself and how we are influenced by previous representations and preconceived ideas about rural utopias” says Aballe. “The illusion of escaping from contemporary society, the naivety and the hopes built around nature come together with the strangeness and the nostalgic look at a life that is not mine.”
It’s a great collection of images. You can view the full set on Juan Aballe’s website.
Animals inspire love and awe in all of us, but drawing them can be a challenge. With this free illustrated primer from Craftsy, you’ll discover an array of easy-to-use techniques for sketching animals.
Explore detailed, photo-filled tutorials to create proportional outlines, render accurate features and depict textural fur and feathers. You’ll soon be drawing a range of creatures so lifelike, they look as though they could leap off the page.
Download the free guide, “Learn How to Draw Animals” by artist Antonella Avogadro, at Craftsy.com.
The pour over coffee has a kind of mythic quality to it. While it’s not the most labor intensive process it’s still time consuming, meaning a lot of people don’t have the patience to make it themselves or wait for a barista to do their magic. Enter the Poursteady, a machine that seemingly does all the work for you.
Poursteady is an automated pour-over coffee machine that brings unprecedented speed, precision, and reliability to high-end commercial coffee retailers–and better coffee to discerning customers. Combining precision motion-control, elegant design, and beautiful fabrication–our system makes up to five cups of pour-over coffee simultaneously with a single barista at the helm.
I imagine purists will balk at such a blasphemous invention but I think the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the coffee. You can see in the video below how the machine mimics the swirling motion of the pour over, seemingly giving the same care as a human. Certainly interesting seeing robotics entering the coffee industry in such a unique manner.