Happy Holidays.

I'll be spending the next ten days or so on a little holiday—resting, reading, (hopefully) writing, and most certainly spending some quality time with the wooly creature pictured below. Very much looking forward to returning January 4th (after ringing in 2016 in Austin!) with new stories. In the meantime, wishing you all a warm and wonderful end to the year—and a happy start to the one ahead. Here's to new adventures, always.

Some reading for the break:
-The year in volcanic activity, YouTube, and cakes.
-Hand-knitted treasures made by New York City grandmothers.
-Loved putting together The 20-Something's Guide to Glassware.
-Philip Pullman on embracing the cold: "...if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn't feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It's worth being cold for that." (Thanks, Stephanie.)
-And lastly, favorite POVs from 2015: on rotations, happy surprises, and feeling human.

See you in a few days, and many thanks for reading. As always, sharing this space with you has added so much brightness to my year.

Photo by Max Wanger.

Isaac Nichols on Sight Unseen.

interviewed Brooklyn-based ceramicist Isaac Nichols for Sight Unseen earlier this fall, spending an unseasonably warm morning in his Greenpoint studio near McCarren Park. I was already a fan of his famous "boob pots", having seen them in shop windows around the city for months, but I hadn't known anything about his story prior to our meeting. As it turns out, ceramics are a relatively new endeavor for Isaac, who was once a fine arts student and began experimenting with clay amid frustrations with his formal training. Now, his pots have found an audience among creative spirits far and wide. They've even become part of a larger feminist discussion, garnering praise for their realistic shape.

Says Isaac, who likes to listen to Thoreau as he works, "I still have a hard time thinking, ‘Here I am, the boob potter.’ But I’ve been trying not to worry about whether this is the direction I’m supposed to be on. Because before I found success in this, I put a lot of emphasis on, ‘Oh, I don’t do this. I don’t do that.’ And I missed out on a lot of life."
Read the interview on Sight Unseen. Photos by Emily Johnston. More from Isaac, here.

Recommended Reading / 55.

Every Monday (or in this case, Tuesday), words to start the week.  

This week: a short film from Huck Magazine about former prisoner Chris Wilson. In and out of jail since the age of 16, Wilson found unexpected freedom in art. His tools of choice: paintbrushes made of plastic spoons and human hair; crushed Skittles mixed with water for color. He's now a working artist based in Brixton. "Money doesn't mean that much to me anymore," he says. "I don't ask much money for paintings. I've been asking 150 pounds. You meet people who want you to strategize and ask for six grand and all this, but I prefer a really simple world at the moment. Simple and honest."

Three more, just because: 
-Batman loves a label.
-Cranberry "candles" and mayo "pinecones"—say hello to holiday indulgence, 60s style.
-Artist Olafur Eliasson is lighting Stockholm with a man-made star powered by energy from last summer's sunlight. Read more, here.

Wishing you a wonderful Tuesday. More recommended reading, here.

New Work: Shinola x WorkOf.

For those in a giving mood (and with holiday decorating yet to be done), this beautiful selection of hand-crafted Christmas ornaments is up for auction on Paddle8. Commissioned in collaboration between Shinola and WorkOf—companies that share a commitment to supporting American design and manufacturing—each ornament was made by a different independent designer or maker nationwide. Many take cues from the makers' signature materials and techniques. All have stories behind them.

Among my favorites: Haptic Lab's sequined and pin-studded sphere; Hui Buy's suspended succulents; and Elyse Graham's blueberry-colored Cluster, made using balloons. I also love Daniel Moyer's ornament, pictured fourth below—the artist, perhaps missing summer, recreated the effect of a lightning bug using rounds of lavender resin that glow in the dark.

In honor of the auction, I was lucky enough to interview WorkOf founder Charlie Miner and Creative Director Isaac Friedman-Heiman for Shinola's The Journal.  Accompanying studio tours with Eric Trine and Ryden Rizzo—two designers who contributed ornaments to the auction—are up on the WorkOf site, too.

To shop the auction, visit Paddle8.  Proceeds benefit MOCAD, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (a place I was lucky enough to visit during my trip this summer).

Recommended Reading / 54.

Every Monday, words to start the week. 

This week, from Dazed: an interview with artist Audrey Wollen, whose Sad Girl Theory speaks to those who feel estranged from modern-day feminism. "The shade of feminism that's chosen for media attention is always the one most palatable to the powers that be—unthreatening, positive, communal," she says. "It demanded so much of me—self-love, great sex, economic success—that I just couldn't give." As an alternative, the artist presents sadness as something meaningful and empowering, an expression that acknowledges the full experience of contemporary womanhood:

I think Sad Girl Theory has a resonance now because feminism has made such a big 'comeback' in the media lately. I feel like girls are being set up: if we don’t feel overjoyed about being a girl, we are failing at our own empowerment, when the voices that are demanding that joy are the same ones participating in our subordination. Global misogyny isn’t the result of girls’ lack of self-care or self esteem. Sad Girl Theory is a permission slip: feminism doesn’t need to advocate for how awesome and fun being a girl is. Feminism needs to acknowledge that being a girl in the world right now is one of the hardest things there is – it is unimaginably painful – and that our pain doesn’t need to be discarded in the name of empowerment. It can be used as a material, a weight, a wedge, to jam that machinery and change those patterns.

Read the interview by Lucy Watson at Dazed. Photo via Audrey Wollen's Instagram.

A few more, just because: 
-A bonsai tree sees the world.
-Meet architect Moon Hoon, who finds creative inspiration in "cars, planes, warships, Japanese animation, Leonardo Da Vinci's notebooks, and watching movies backwards."
-A day in the life of Roald Dahl: breakfast in bed, gin at lunch, chocolate after every meal.
-From Ernest Hemingway: "Live the full life of mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual."

Wishing you a happy Monday. More recommended reading, here.

POV: Meditations.

The day I left Berlin, I cleaned the apartment I'd been staying in, one room at a time. I stripped the bed. Sponged down the kitchen counters. Cleaned strands of dark hair from the bathroom's white tile floors. On the way out, I stood on tiptoe to close the windows against the rain. Then, airport-bound and bags in tow, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror by the door. Right away and with surprise, I thought, oh, it's you.

Fiction Landscapes.

In love with these "Fiction Landscapes" by J.Frede, who discovers new worlds in the thoughtful arrangement of flea market photographs. Each piece holds its own mystery, and, as the artist points out, spans a wide range of time periods and places. He writes: How many people have stopped at that rest stop and taken nearly the same photo of the plain hillside? All locking their own associations into the view: first road trip with a new love, last road trip to see grandma, one of many road trips alone.

Read more at J.Frede's website, here.

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