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April 16, 2020

M is for Mayhem

Sometimes, all we need is an anthropomorphized ‘A’ to make us laugh. Cue designer Jose Arias’ fuzzy alphabet. Created as part of an online challenge, these Monster Inc.- like letters bring mischief and a touch of malice to some very familiar forms. (Z knows what’s going ON!)

Holy Water

It has been said that water is the ultimate medium for humans. Unencumbered by gravity, we are free to move, to dance, to twirl – we are simply being. In honor of our rather static states these days, I offer two homages to the holy power of water. One, a stirring essay from the opinion pages of the New York Times, in which the author speaks of the act of launching herself into water in order to lose herself again and again – a poem of transformation sorely missed during this time of isolation.
The second is a beautiful dance piece performed in a single fluid arc on the bottom of a deep swimming pool. Haunting and lyrical, it will mesmerize and soothe the anxiety that is pulsing, and barely dormant, beneath our own fragile surfaces. Watch and breath.

Controlled Chaos

Carving out moments of control amidst chaos has become a daily exercise. This exquisite collection of vases from Stockholm’s Studio EO seems to reflect back visual refractions of those feelings. According to the artist/owner Erik Olovsson, marrying handblown glass cylinders with fragments of discarded marble from Italian quarries is “an exercise in improvisation.” Each chunk of stone dictates its ultimate partnering with a colored column of glass. The clean lines emerging from the brute force of marble chunks is an apt metaphor for what we might create for ourselves in the days to come.


Shopping – real shopping – may be on hold, but the allure of a well-made jacket and the sinuous lines of a custom dress always seduces. This pause may be the perfect time to elevate your taste level and take a tour of some incredible fashion exhibits housed in the top museums around the world. From vintage Balenciaga to cutting edge St. Laurent, window shop your way through heritage couture, and get inspired for your next catwalk to Whole Foods.

Smells like Human Spirit

Sorry, Kurt. But have we as a species become noseblind? Sissal Tolaas certainly seems to think so. A smell researcher based in Berlin, Tolaas works at capturing endangered smells, like the Douglas fir, as well as distilling scents like blood and metal for the fashion show crowd. Smell, she insists, holds the key to memory and experience. She fears we are in danger of losing that ability, as our world has become one committed to eliminating smells and replacing them with cloying clouds of fragrance. Her view is that we now experience far too much via sight and sound, and that we’ve lost an essential component of our humanity as a result. “We breathe 24,000 times a day,” she says. “Every breath tells us something about the world, yet we have, essentially, forgotten how to smell.” Read on for more of her fascinating work on the human need to stop, and to smell.

Say Cheese!

The internet is currently flooded with stunning shots of homemade sourdough loaves, and literal rafts of banana bread. Great job, guys! But once again, it’s Disney for the win. Although their parks remain closed, the people who practically invented nostalgia have been quietly releasing the recipes for some of the most popular park noshes. Last week, churros, and this week – Woody’s fave grilled cheese. Now isn’t that better? #comfortfoodonlock

Can You Hear Me Now?

Did you know that wolves whisper? Bernie Krause made his name manipulating sound for some of the greatest rock legends of our time – think Jim Morrison and George Harrison. In the late 70’s, a client asked him to record nature sounds for a new album. Bernie wasn’t so sure about that. In his words, “I grew up in Detroit – real Detroit. We didn’t even own a goldfish.” After a week in the woods, hearing and capturing sounds he didn’t even know existed, he felt a shift and a change in himself, and an awareness of the world beyond anything he had ever imagined. In this episode of Invisibilia, we learn about the evolutionary orchestra of animal sounds, and how – by being quiet – we might awaken a part of our selves that has been long dormant. A beautiful listen.

Get a Life

Right now, life seems fairly well defined by the interior spaces we call home. But we all can dream, right? Artist Isabell Kiefhaber is the genius behind a jewelry line custom made for quarantining. Each piece encapsulates unique miniature worlds, allowing us to briefly visit freeze frames from the past and future, while still Zooming on our sofas. Charming, nostalgic and joyful, it’s a unique way to wear your heart on your sleeve. (Oh – and dibs on the ring with the ponies!)


@almahaser photographer, paper enthusiast and puzzle queen creates her own artworks, and transforms it into puzzles. Surely, an artist of our times.
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