Beautiful LA Lifestyle

LA OF THOSE SPARKLING BEACHES, EPIC MOUNTAINS, 300 DAYS OF SUNSHINE. LA OF WORK LIFE BALANCE (A REAL THING). LA OF STILL SEMI AFFORDABLE HOUSING. A PHOTOGRAPHER FRIEND AND HIS WIFE WHO WENT LEFT EARLIER THIS YEAR TRADED A DODGY GROUND FLOOR ONE BEDROOM IN BROOKLYN FOR A THREE BEDROOM HOUSE IN HIGHLAND PARK. THEIR RENT? LESS.

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“Does it ever stop feeling like a vacation here?” I ask an old friend from New York. He has moved to Los Angeles, and I am visiting. We are sitting in front of the blob of buildings at Sunset Junction in Silverlake. The red paint glows in the sunlight. To our right is coffee temple Intelligentsia, where creative types queue seemingly all day long for a caffeine fix, or set up shop at a grouping of shaded outside tables, laptops clicking. Most people wear sunglasses, most are attractive. To our left, a shop specializes in succulents.

What began with a few souls quietly packing their cars in the night has grown into a full blown westward demonstration. People are leaving New York for LA. And really, why wouldn’t they? LA of those sparkling beaches, epic mountains, 300 days of sunshine. LA of work life balance (a real thing). LA of still semi affordable housing. A photographer friend and his wife who went West earlier this year traded a dodgy ground floor one bedroom in Brooklyn for a three bedroom house in Highland Park. Their rent? Less.

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What happened to the strikes that out of towners used to hold against this place? Of plasticity, of vapidity, of a lack of museums, and mediocre at best celebrity chef piloted restaurants. Those have changed, or are in the process of being obliterated altogether. The revitalization of Downtown LA (DTLA if you speak in acronyms) with its booming Grand Central market, scores of hip hotels, eateries, stores, lofts, and apartments has helped shepherd a young creative class to a city sorely lacking one. There are clothing designers cutting denim at Downtown factories, graphic designers tweaking websites in light filled Culver City studios, and the musicians – everyone young and influential in the music industry is camped out here. Artists, too. The average age of guests who line up to get into buzzy, contemporary mecca The Broad? Just 32.

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At the opposite end of the LA spectrum, the unflappable and bubbled Hollywood neighborhoods have been altered forever. Beverly Hills, with its Ferrari dealerships and 500 USD dinners, has been left to rot in the hands of the blue hairs. And a recent spin through West Hollywood on a Monday evening found every venue but the venerable Chateau Marmont stone dead. While just around the corner, on West Sunset, the dining room at millennial friendly Thai street food spot Night + Market was packed. (I ate my Pad Thai at the counter.)
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“I can’t wrap my head around LA,” my New York fashion friend has said when I’ve brought it up. “Everyone’s eyes are glassed over and they’re telling you: ‘It’s so amazing here!’ Major Kool-Aid vibes.”  Admittedly, I’ve loved LA for some time now. In 2009 I visited a friend who had a whitewashed bungalow set back from Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice. We sat swapping stories over kale in the backyard of Gjelina, rode our cruiser bikes to the post office to get her mail, and fell asleep in hammocks watching the waves. Everything we did seemed vastly superior to my New York life, which at the time, included twice a day AA meetings and sharing a glorified dormitory on the Upper East Side with not one, but three roommates. “I can’t believe this is your life,” I told her, probably too many times.
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It took me seven years, but I finally started sending emails one fall day, harassing the friends who had found their way out to California, asking for a place to crash for the winter months. There was my friend the antique rug dealer over in Eagle Rock, the adventure journalist in Echo Park, the comedian in Santa Monica. The first bite I got back was from the asset manager in Manhattan Beach. “My wife and I have a spare bedroom,” he said on the phone one afternoon. “It’s yours as long as you need it.”

When I pulled into the driveway on a January night, a few days after New Year, I couldn’t believe my luck. Their little house was a block from the crashing water. The spare bedroom was slightly damp in that pleasant way that rooms by the beach are. In the mornings, little slices of sunlight bounced off the stucco ceiling and landed on my face, my forearms. The absence of city noise was alarming at first, but became blissful soon enough. The flinching anxiety took a week or two to melt off. I hiked through the hills. I jogged through town. I wrote. A lot. I lived.

And the asset manager seemed to be living, too. In New York, he’d worn suits, his skin tinted a yellowy grey color. Now he was brown, wore rumpled polo shirts, arrived home by three or four o’clock each afternoon, usually with a heaping bag of fish tacos for dinner. We walked his drooling golden retriever along the beach under the fading orange sun. “We just love it here,” he said, his eyes glowing.

In the LA evenings, I drove and drove. To a house party in Mar Vista. To a bonfire in Glendale. The jaded, that’s too far mentality of any permanent Angelino hadn’t affected me yet, so I drove. During rush hours, and in the middle of the night. To Palm Springs to spend a weekend writing by the pool. To Joshua Tree to watch the sun come up. By the time February rolled around and I was due back in New York, I had a completed manuscript, one I hoped would become a novel. I also had a quandary: Could this place be for me?

Every morning in that guest bedroom, I woke up to three extra hours of emails fired off from the East Coast. Potentially coronary inducing to my New York temperament, right? Not here. No, I’m convinced those several thousand miles did something to shield me from the urgency. Those frantic pleas for revisions and the do or die deadlines seemed like less of a squeeze from out here, like more of a suggestion.

Now, I have no doubt a certain breed of West Coaster would argue, wave their arms in objection. “LA is fast living, man,” they might say. And yeah, relativity is everything – for some, maybe the pace here is less than relaxed. Maybe if you come from Sacramento, or Sausalito. Or maybe the lack of seasons will sterilize you beyond recognition and maybe your eyes will glow, Spicoli-like forever with the vaguely distant tint of a Malibu resident, whose only decision each morning is this: Surf or smoothie? Maybe, just maybe, the 405 will drive you batty.

But I never told you what my old friend said, that morning outside the coffee shop in Silverlake. The friend who had moved to Los Angeles from New York, the friend who said he couldn’t wait to go back East to visit, to flinch, to feel frantic again. He smiled and shook his head when I asked the question: “Does it ever stop feeling like a vacation here?” He said, “No.”

First published in Cereal Magazine
By Sean Hotchkiss
PHOTOS: Rick Poon

Beautiful Residential Home Design #3

“The buildings recall the agricultural forms of the local built environment, but as is our nature in our designs, we sought to take that context and evolve it to a more emphatic modern language. We sought to design something that was exquisitely proportioned in a quiet, agricultural way.” –Tom Kundig

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This artist retreat, designed by Olson Kundig of Seattle, is located on 18 acres of rural agricultural property in Trout Lake, Washington just steps from White Salmon River. Both owners are artists who incorporate the natural landscape into their work – he is a painter and photographer, and she is a textile artist and designer. A key directive in the design of their new home was that it connect them to the surrounding landscape and maximize opportunities for indoor/outdoor living. It was also important for them to have studio space that was separate from the house, but related in form and materiality. All four buildings recall the forms of vernacular agricultural structures, and incorporate tough and low-maintenance building materials with minimal finishes such as concrete, plywood and steel. Wood siding on the main house was milled locally and weathered by the owners themselves. Corrugated metal roofing was also rusted by the owners.

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trout-lake-or-olson-kundig (11)The retreat contains four distinct buildings arranged in two groupings. The first grouping contains the main house, a woodworking shop, and a carport all contained under a single roof in a T-shape. A covered courtyard connects the three spaces in the middle of the “T”. A separate, free-standing artist studio is located just northeast of the main house, with a covered patio that connects to a guest room. Here, the owners work on their own projects, and occasionally host retreats and community-based arts workshops. In all four buildings, large bi-folding doors and sliding barn doors open up the spaces completely to the outdoors, allowing for the movement of large artworks and equipment, as well as an intimate connection with the environment.

trout-lake-or-olson-kundig (9)trout-lake-or-olson-kundig (8)The main house is minimal in form, consisting of a single double height volume with an open plan living, dining and kitchen area separated from a library by a double-sided fireplace. A set of hidden steel stairs nestled into the concrete fireplace lead to a loft above the library. The home’s single bedroom is located above the bathroom and mudroom and is accessed via a set of open stairs in the entry foyer. Two sets of 30-foot-long bi-fold doors in the main living space allow the home to open completely on both sides, maximizing the home’s sweeping views of the nearby river and Mount Adams.

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Site plan

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Photography Jeremy Bitterman
Location: Trout Lake, Washington
Home is 6,594 sf

Beautiful Residential Home Design #2

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Originally occupied by a small cottage in disrepair, this new modern home in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, designed by SHED Architecture, is an economical, efficient, low-maintenance, and modern version of a traditional home – one with primary living spaces on the main floor and three bedrooms above.

The kitchen to occupies a central and commanding position in the house with easy access to the backyard patio. Large floor-to-ceiling sliding doors flank the east and west ends of the house, exposing an open-plan kitchen, dining and living space ideal for entertaining. The kitchen’s minimal palette of bamboo, fir, cork, and concrete allow the natural materials to take center stage without overpowering the functional details including a custom stainless steel pot rack. In order to achieve the desired aesthetic and budget-level, the designers selected cabinets from Ikea and created custom bamboo cabinet fronts and fir wraps with recessed pulls. The bamboo material was selected for and sets the tone for the rest of the house.

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The house sits on a well-traveled arterial along a bus line and is flanked by two multi-unit buildings: to the south a rental house that extends the length of the property line with several windows along that façade; to the north, a triplex with a south-facing entry court encroaches upon the original plot by means of an easement. By limiting windows along the sides of the house and focusing the glazing towards the east and west, the home establishes a strong connection to its front and rear yards while protecting its occupants privacy from the heavily used side-yards of the neighbors. A walled and elevated terrace extending from the sunken living room claims the front yard as usable space and shields the fully glazed living spaces from passersby. Corrugated metal siding and concrete site walls were used where privacy was desired, while wood windows, doors, and siding were used at the sheltered open ends where people interact directly with the building’s exterior.

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The home was also designed with the environment in mind. A low-maintenance high performance enclosure was achieved by using an effective combination of advanced framing (required 30% less lumber), triple-pane windows protected by aluminum plate ‘visors,’ and metal siding. Natural light, open spaces and simple materials come together to create a private sanctuary for the homeowners to cook, entertain and recharge.

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Designed by SHED Architecture + Design 

Beautiful Residential Home Design #1

Sensational, stylish, and startlingly unique—these homes are a cut above. There’s no doubt that one of my favorite places to uncover architectural treasures is on Dwell.com. It’s one of my go to places to admire the riveting spaces and simply admire innovative design. The stunning home below represents 1 of 10 projects that are the best in 2018. From a minimalist modern abode in the South of France to a jaw-dropping artist retreat that embodies indoor/outdoor connection, scroll down to see the first in a series of the best of the best.

Haiku Maui – Haiku, Haiku-Pauwela, Hawaii
Guggenheim Architecture + Design Studio 
Maui cottage

Inspired by the Scandinavian barn vernacular, this Upcountry Maui cottage and barn for Cloth and Goods’ Melissa Newirth and Crossing the Threshold’s David Johnson provides a peaceful minimalist retreat and respite for family gatherings. The 1,000 sf. long and low main cottage is sited to capture both mountain and sea vistas while the adjacent barn is designed to hold large family gatherings and act as a seasonal residence. Impeccably minimalist yet richly textured, highly efficient and livable environment with access to a variety of outdoor living zones.

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Guggenheim Architecture + Design Studio is a multidisciplinary creative atelier that integrates architecture, interior environments and brand direction. Studio is licensed to practice Architecture in the States of Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii

Beautiful Vintage Fashion

Over 83,500 Vintage Sewing Patterns Are Now Available Online. McCall’s, Butterick, Simplicity. If you were into sewing, or simply spent time as a child rummaging through patterns at the fabric store, these names will bring on a wave of nostalgia. And now, thanks to a fantastic online collection of vintage sewing patterns, it’s time to dust off your sewing machine.

The Vintage Patterns Wiki offers more than 83,500 patterns that are at least 25 years old, which makes for a fascinating look back at fashion history. As a collaborative effort, the database is constantly being updated and organized, with any newly uploaded patterns dating prior to 1992. Just click on the cover and browse the list of pattern vendors who have the look.

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Whether you just want to ogle the fashion illustrations or get your hands dirty and make a new look, it’s worth browsing the well-organized site. Arranged by decade, garment type, designer, and more, you might just be inspired to whip up a dashiki for your next costume party or try out a Mad Men chic outfit at the office with a skirt suit from the 1960s.

High fashion names like Dior and Givenchy, as well as looks modeled off costumes from movie stars like Audrey Hepburn remind us how pervasive patterns and creating fashions from scratch once were. And with a whole new era of young women going retro, it might be worth giving up vintage shops in favor of creating new pieces based on these vintage patterns. The database is a resource for those interested in fashion design and its history. It features historical, visual guides with sample images of vintage sewing patterns. They can be used by enthusiasts and professional designers to see garment varieties, silhouettes, styles, and colors of different eras. The site’s images also point you in the right direction, if you’re looking to accurately recreate a vintage look.

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It’s also possible to peruse by garment type. You’ll find everything from lingerie to raincoats, wedding dresses to maternity wear, all with vintage flair.

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Beautiful Photography by Lewis Hine

Child Labor Exposed: The Legacy of Photographer Lewis Hine

A camera was an improbable weapon against the growing evil of child labor in the early years of the 20th century. Then, children as young as five years old were working long hours in dirty, dangerous canneries and mills in New England.

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Lewis Wickes Hine, a former schoolteacher, cleverly faked his way into places where he wasn’t welcome and took photos of scenes that weren’t meant to be seen. He traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, exposing himself to great danger.  His exertions were ultimately rewarded with a law banning child labor in 1938. He was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on Sept. 26, 1874, and came late to photography.

Lewis Hine was educated as a sociologist at the University of Chicago, during the years when John Dewey and Thorstein Veblen were on its faculty. He continued his education at New York and Columbia Universities, and taught at the School of Ethical Culture. (Among his students there was Paul Strand, whom Hine introduced to photography.) Hine was past thirty when he seriously took up photography; by instinct and by training he conceived of the medium as a means of studying and describing the social conditions around him. As a 30-year-old prep school teacher at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City when he got a bright idea: He would bring his students to Ellis Island to photograph the thousands of immigrants who arrived every day. Over five years he took more than 200 plates; but more importantly, he realized he could use photography to try to end child labor.

CHILD LABOR COMMITTEE – In 1908, Hine got a job for the National Child Labor Committee, reformers who fought the growing practice of child labor. Between 1880 and 1900, the number of children between 5 and 10 working for wages had increased by 50 percent. One in six small children were then mining coal, running spinning machines, selling newspapers on the street or otherwise gainfully employed. They were robbed of an education and a childhood, trapped in a downward spiral of poverty.

Newsies – telegraph messengers and young mill workers were exposed to vice and abused by their employers, their customers and even their parents.

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Hartford newsboy Tony Casale, 11, in 1909. He had been selling newspapers for four years, and sometimes until 10 p.m. His boss said his father bit him on the arm for not selling more papers. Said Tony, “Drunken men say bad words to us.”

Graflax – Over the years, Hine photographed children working in gritty industrial settings that inspired a wave of moral outrage. With a new camera called the Graflex he took photos of child labor throughout New England. Hine was one of the masters of the splendid new camera. For the first fifty-odd years of photography, the photographer had to compose and focus his picture upside-down on a ground glass in the back of his camera, then insert the holder that held the sensitive plate. Once the plate was in the camera, the photographer was shooting blind, unable to change either his framing or his focusing. With the Graflex on the other hand, he saw his picture just as the camera would record it until the very instant that he pushed the trigger. This meant that he could frame his subject boldly, to the very edges of the plate; he could change his angle of view at the last moment; he could focus selectively on the most important plane of his subject, allowing the nearer and farther planes to be recorded out of focus. His picture is characteristic of the new kind of graphic economy and forcefulness that Hine helped discover for photography.

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Addie Card, a 10-year-old spinner in the North Pownal, Vermont Cotton Mill, 1910. Hine described her as ‘Anaemic little spinner.’ Her image appeared on a postage stamp and in a Reebok ad, and she inspired the novel ‘Counting on Grace.’

Hine traveled far beyond the giant textile mills of Lowell and Lawrence, Mass. He went to silk and paper mills in Holyoke, Mass., textile and upholstering plants in Manchester, New Hampshire, a cotton mill in North Pownall, Vermont, and cotton mills in Scituate, Rhode Island.

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Phoebe Thomas, an 8-year-old Syrian girl, at 6 a.m. She was on her way to work cutting sardines at the Seacoast Canning Co., in Eastport, Maine. Later that day she nearly cut her thumb off.

He went to the canneries in Eastport, Maine, where he saw children as young as seven cutting fish with butcher knives.  Accidents happened — a lot. “The salt water gets into the cuts and they ache,” said one boy.

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Employers didn’t want their practices exposed. Photo historian Daile Kaplan described how Hine operated: Nattily dressed in a suit, tie, and hat, Hine the gentleman actor and mimic assumed a variety of personas — including Bible salesman, postcard salesman, and industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery — to gain entrance to the workplace. Hine might tell a plant manager he was an industrial photographer taking pictures of machines. At the last minute he would ask if a child laborer could stand near the machine to show its size. He also interviewed mill owners, parents and local officials, pioneering tactics still used by 60 Minutes.

hine-cigarmakersThe Factory: Young cigar makers in Engelhardt & Co. Three boys under 14. Labor leaders in busy times employed many small boys and girls. Youngsters all smoke. Tampa, Florida.

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Three boys, 13 and 14 years old, picking shade-grown tobacco on Hackett Farm. The “first picking” necessitates a sitting posture. Buckland, Connecticut.

Hine confronted public officials with evidence and asked for a response. He asked the children about their lives. He told one heartbreaking story about a child laborer who worked in a cannery, so young and beaten down she couldn’t tell him her name.

Russell Freedman, in his book, Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor, wrote,  “At times, he was in real danger, risking physical attack when factory managers realized what he was up to…he put his life on the line in order to record a truthful picture of working children in early twentieth-century America.”

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Miners: A young driver in the Brown Mine. Works 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Brown, West Virginia.

Years of political battles followed, until finally in 1938 Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law prohibits any interstate commerce of goods produced by children under the age of 16. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on June 25, 1938.

By then, the public had lost interest in Lewis Hine’s work. He died two years later, broke, in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. His son offered to donate his photographs to the Museum of Modern Art, but MOMA rebuffed him. Today, Hine’s photographs of child labor belong to collections at the Library of Congress and the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y.

The National Child Labor Committee Collection at the Library of Congress consists of more than 5,100 photographic prints and 355 glass negatives.

And today there is a Lewis Hine award for people who have done outstanding work in helping young people.

 

Beautiful Color Theory: Revisiting Emily Vanderpoel

Revisiting Emily Vanderpoel’s Color Theory Book 117 Years After Its First Release
In addition to being a watercolorist, Emily Noyes Vanderpoel was also the author of Color Problems, widely overlooked, yet staggering turn-of-the-century book on color theory.
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Though her name is virtually unknown today, Emily Noyes Vanderpoel enjoyed a modest reputation as a watercolorist at the turn of the 20th century. She painted seascapes, country landscapes and the occasional industrial scene — perfectly competent works, but ultimately quite conventional. Nothing about them hints at the fact that Vanderpoel was also the author of a widely overlooked, yet staggering book on color theory, its pages bursting with a series of vibrant illustrations that seem to anticipate an abstract aesthetic decades before it emerged in full force.

Color Problems: A Practical Manual for the Lay Student of Color, which Vanderpoel first published in 1901, sought to teach an audience of non-artists how to combine colors in ways pleasing to the eye. The 400-page book elegantly summarizes the ideas of eminent color theorists, before unleashing Vanderpoel’s wildly original approach to color analysis: 10 x 10 grids that break down the color proportions of real objects, most of which came from the author’s personal collection of antiques. Vanderpoel lovingly transforms a mummy case, a teacup, a Japanese silk brocade and dozens of other knick-knacks into series of geometric patterns. Her grids emerge as artworks reminiscent of Homage to the Square, the iconic abstract series that Bauhaus pioneer Josef Albers began creating in the 1950s.

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In spite of its stunning prescience, Color Problems has been largely forgotten in the 117 years since it was first released. Two Brooklyn-based publishing companies now hope to salvage the book from obscurity. On November 9, The Circadian Press and Sacred Bones Records will reissue Color Problems in both softcover and a hardcover facsimile, their efforts supported by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

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Vanderpoel was immersed in New York’s creative scene. She never received a formal art degree, but studied under the painters William Sartain and Robert Swain Gifford, who taught at Cooper Union and the Arts Students League. Vanderpoel exhibited her artworks through the New York Watercolor Club, which frequently staged group shows, and her paintings occasionally cropped up in grander venues. In 1893, she won a bronze medal at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition for a painting of an industrial rail yard. Some years later, her painting “Ypres,” (no date) a memorial to World War I that is now lost, was displayed at the National Art Museum in Washington, DC (which was subsequently incorporated into the Smithsonian). In the late 1920s, the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted an offsite exhibition of nine of her watercolors at the Connecticut Agricultural College.

At some point amidst this flurry of productivity, Vanderpoel began writing and illustrating Color Problems. No records of her process survive to the present day, but she likely worked on the book for several years, says Alan Bruton, a professor at the University of Houston’s College of Architecture and Design who has researched Vanderpoel’s life and work.

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Color Problems is a guide for both hobbyists and people who work in the practical arts: florists, decorators, designers, lithographers, salespeople who want to attractively display their wares. The book is not specifically catered to women, but Vanderpoel certainly had female readers on her mind. She writes that understanding the intricacies of color theory can be of value to milliners and dressmakers — occupations often held by women during the Victorian era — along with housewives who dabbled in home decor.

As she doles out advice for achieving aesthetic harmony at home and at work, Vanderpoel reveals herself to be well versed in color theories that proliferated throughout the 19th century, due in part to scientific advances that led to the development of new pigments. She frequently refers to major names in the field, among them Michel-Eugène Chevreul, whose ground-breaking 1839 book explored how adjacent colors influence one another; James Clerk Maxwell, who used spinning color discs to show how people perceive mixtures of color; and Ogden Rood, who, among his other contributions, suggested that colors differ from one another due to variations in purity, hue, and luminosity.

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Even more striking are Vanderpoel’s 54 grids, or “Color Analyses, ” in which she reinterprets various objects as geometric designs made up of 100 squares. Vanderpoel’s analysis of a Celtic ornament, for instance, is rendered as 50 green squares, 18 red ones, 17 yellow, seven black, and eight white, all fitted together with Tetris-like precision. She wasn’t the first theorist to organize colors into grids, but rendering pixel-like representations of real objects to capture the optical effect of color — that was something new.

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