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Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

Some Pig


Garth Williams’ illustrations for “Charlotte’s Web” are as much a part of the book as the words, bringing the animals to life with personality and gentle humor. Williams’ daughter Fiona was the model for Fern. His family put up 42 of his drawings for “Charlotte’s Web” for auction in October. The results exceeded estimates. The familiar cover drawing of Fern holding Wilbur under the web-draped title sold for $155,350 and the illustration of the web “Terrific” went for $95,600.

Posted in craft,nostalgia

Corn Maze Construction


How do you make a corn maze? With a tractor or with weed killer.  For the design you can hire Brett Herbst who has designed over 1,800 mazes since 1996. Some maze creators use GPS when they’re cutting the paths, but Herbst’s company says their methods are more accurate.

Posted in craft,plants

A Giraffe with Keys


Tanja Maduzia’s mother sent her to an auction to bid on sconces for their antique store. Tanja returned, $15,000 later, with an unusual piano and no sconces.  The piano, a “giraffe” model from 1865, was built in Kentucky and has the upright curved lines of a wide harp. The Maduzias spent $10,ooo to restore it over the years and now, with the store closing and Tanja needing to pay off emergency room bills, it will go on sale for about $30,000.  Appraisal value is $50,000.

Posted in craft,culture

Birds of America


There are only 119 known copies of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” and one of them is coming up for auction (Sotheby’s PDF brochure). You have until December to pull together the estimated $6.2-$9.2 million to get a chance at owning this significant volume which contains hand-colored, life sized illustrations of about 500 birds. A copy auctioned in 2000 still holds the record for highest price paid for a book at $8,802,500. The University of Pittsburgh has digitized their copy  and placed it online with a handy search feature.  Audubon worked with engraver Robert Havell, Jr to create the illustrations; Wikipedia states that he engraved all but the first 10 plates.

Still Repairing Typewriters


Usually my typewriter repairman posts are about a shop closing up, but this one is not!  The Yale Daily News reports that Mr. Manson H. Whitlock is still going strong at age 93, servicing typewriters at his New Haven shop. The N.Y. Times wrote of his “longevity, lore and collection of irony” last year, noting that he has outlived some of the newspapers that chronicled his “dying field.”  He’s aware that some people are willing to pay over $400 to buy a typewriter “on the computer” (the same typewriter he may sell in his shop for only $25) but he doesn’t own a computer himself.  An earlier Yale Daily article notes that one of Whitlock’s former assistants now repairs computers, leading me to wonder when we’ll be profiling the dying breed of computer repair shop owners.

Tiny Mandates Functional


Steve Sauer lives in an 182 square foot condo in Seattle.  In that tiny space (11-feet-3-inches wide, by 16-feet-2-inches deep, by 10-feet-4-inches tall) he has fit in “two beds, a full kitchen with a dishwasher, bathroom with a shower, a soaking tub set into the floor just inside the front door. On three living levels. There’s also closet space, a dining table and storage for two bikes.”  Sauer works in airplane interior engineering for Boeing but he says that boats have the most innovations for tiny spaces.

Posted in craft

MFA Framer


Officially, Andrew Haines is Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts‘ associate conservator, furniture and frame conservation. He’s the house framer. Before a painting goes on display, Haines will decide if the frame needs repair or replacement. A frame may be swapped from a similar sized painting in the museum’s collection or purchased from a frame dealer. In some cases Haines will make the frame himself.  He has catalogued 4,300 of the 6,000 frames in the museum so far. He’s an artist himself, painting landscapes of houses and buildings.

Posted in craft,culture

Gorilla Glass


It’s a sheet glass with its own primate marketing blitz. Corning’s Gorilla Glass, invented in 1964 as Chemcor, fulfilled its goal of being a glass as strong as steel. Here’s the explanation from Dr. Donnell Walton, senior applications engineer at Corning of how chemical tempering strengthens the glass:

When you chemically temper a glass, you immerse it in a salt bath and you stuff larger ions in all the surfaces and put them all under compression. What’s unique about Gorilla Glass is that because of its inherent composition, it can allow those larger ions to penetrate the surface more deeply to increase the compression tolerance and tolerate deeper scratches. The compression pushes a flaw back. It’s harder to break from a deeper scratch.

Chemcor languished as cheaper alternatives appeared for its targeted appplications of car windshields and sunglasses. Then LCDs became popular and Corning is now a top supplier of glass for laptops and flatscreen TVs. Someone remembered Chemcor and it was dusted off, tweaked, given a new name and publicity campaign. Gorilla Glass “has been designed into more than 100 models by 19 major brands.” Only a few of them allow Corning to talk about it. Apple’s not on that list  (those who have cracked their iPhones may be wondering) but Motorola’s Droid is.  With this recent little PR buzz (it has its own Facebook page), Corning is poising Gorilla Glass for the touchscreen revolution and beyond. Star Trek IV fans have already taken note of its “aluminum-composite composition” in relation to Scotty’s “transparent aluminum” whale tank (though the U.S. military want to claim that reference with their aluminum oxynitride transparent armor). Now if  our gadgets can also be sealed off from laundry, rain, and bathroom incidents, we klutzes will be all set.

Written by ltao

August 9th, 2010 at 1:17 am

Posted in craft

That’ll buy a lot of shepherd’s pie


The First Baptist Church in Brattleboro, Vermont made the newswire rounds late last year for putting its treasured Tiffany window up for sale to the highest bidder. Short of funds, the church opted to let go of its  Louis Comfort Tiffany signed stained-glass image of St. John the Divine in order to help keep its homeless shelter open.  In June this year, colored panes replaced the window which sold for $85,000 to a collector who is starting a stained glass museum in Illinois.  The closest offer to that was from a group, including Michael Eisner, who offered $47,500 to keep the window in the church.

Written by ltao

August 3rd, 2010 at 1:10 am

Posted in craft

Luke Jerram


Luke Jerram‘s beautiful glass sculptures of infectious diseases are on display in New York’s Heller Gallery through the end of July.  Here’s one from the Swine Flu series.

Jerram has brought his ideas to fruition in several mediums and environments. He designed a talking engagement ring to propose to his partner.  It has his 20 second long proposal etched into the silver surface.

Written by ltao

June 24th, 2010 at 1:06 am

Posted in craft