Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

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In March, one of my favorite blogs, A Lovely Being blogged about Macon & Lesquoy‘s Travel sketchbooks from a trip to NYC. I created sketchbooks like this from my travels in Copenhagen and I keep meaning to get back in the habit. I have a fresh pack of Moleskines that are just begging for this treatment. So until I get back in the habit, enjoy these from Macon & Lesquoy!

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Jonathan Adler!



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Click image above to flip through entire book!

If you follow the link above, you can literally flip through one of my two inspiration sketchbooks I created during my 7 weeks in Copenhagen. During our study tour of Sweden and Finland we were instructed to collect everything: scarps of paper, brochures, posters, postcards, anything. Everyday we had drawing assignments to help us get used to sketching and drawing inspiration. As someone that doesn’t consider themselves a strong drawer, this was quite a challenging exercise. So many times I take pictures or collect them online so I can “remember” something I liked. While it’s good practice to document as many sources of inspiration one can find, something magical happens when you take time to draw it. Taking the extra time to figure something out and draw the lines and angles cements it in your mind much more vividly than a picture can. We take pictures in a secon, and we quickly forget about them. With drawing you are investigating and thinking about what you see, and transfering it from life onto the page. Milton Glaser talked a lot about this during this summer course. He also talks about it a lot in his book, Drawing is Thinking. In The Accidental Masterpiece, Michael Kimmelman talks about this too. He says,

“Cameras made the task of keeping a record of people and things simpler and more widely available, and in the process reduced the care and intensity with which people need to look at the things they wanted to remember well, beacuse pressing a button required less conectration and effort than coposing a percise and comely drawing.”

But this isn’t a post about drawing per say. It’s more a post about process and the documentation of mine during my trip. One of the greatest hallmarks of Scandinavian Design is process. We were told this again and again. We were encouraged to experiment, make, sketch, paint and take pictures. Many of our experiments were trail and error but together culminated in our final textile designs. In this course, the process was more important than the final product. This is in stalk contrast to design education in the US. I can say this honestly because there’s many times I’ve done a project in a night or two days, totally disregarding process. While this helps me and other designers get by, we’re not really learning anything. We often resort to ideas we already had and that process gets exhausting. We’re left with uninspired work and no new ideas. That’s why process is so important. After this trip I feel more full with ideas for design projects than ever before. A lot of this I credit to the first mentioned sketchbooks!

I loved the shades of greens and brown I saw on buildings in Helsinki, Finland. The organ pipes appear many times in my sketchbook – I think they’d make a great pattern so that’s something I hope to work with later on.

A study of black & white.

This is a free giveaway we were given at Valilla Interior. I loved the colors and graphic patterns of their textiles. Instead of keeping this brochure in a folder I decided to bite the bullet, cut it up and glue it into my book. Now all my inspiration is together and in context with similar inspiration.

Illums Bolighus is a BEAUTIFUL store in Denmark and Sweden. It’s part design store, part kitchen, bath, home, and clothing department store. Basically they have everything you need to make your home beautiful. They also have beautiful ads like this one above. In love with the shades of grays here.

I ripped this down from the street in Copenhagen. Love the ripped edges too – gives it some character. Don’t be afraid to leave edges unfinished and rough, you can use it to create interest in your sketchbook or design work later on.

In this page I ripped up a Marrimeko ad to try and create something new. The opposite page is one of the early circles exercises I drew in the process of creating my final print.

Here’s an example of printed things I found during my trip. I saved everything and glued them into this book. Now its all in one place anytime I need to look at it. To see the entire sketchbook, go here!

Now when I look back at this book, I can isolate type treatments, color combinations, textures, techniques, and general inspiration for new projects. I tried to think of each spread as a compositions by mixed unrelated materials together creating new juxtapositions. Now I can’t take all the credit for collecting and documenting design in this style. All the credit goes to one of our instructors, Helle Vibeke Jensen. We visited her studio early in our trip and that day had a profound effect on everyone in the program. Helle Vibeke has been keeping sketchbooks in this manner for YEARS. Her studio is a library of cataloged inspiration from all over the world. Each time she goes on a trip, she buys a new Moleskine and begins collecting scraps and drawing. Here’s some photos from our studio visit.

Above: Her studio. Loved these blue chairs. Makes me dream for my own studio one day.

One of her many supply and inspiration drawers. So much fun stuff to play with.

Helle Vibeke’s library, full of her sketchbooks and books she’s illustrated and designed. To see more of her work, check out her website here.

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Above is my final digital textile print !!! It’s all lead up to this 130x130cm piece of fabric. At this point (above) in the printing process it was drying before the washes started. While digital printing seems quicker because everything is printed from a super fancy fabric plotter, you still have to do ALL the washes. Also steaming and washing a huge piece of dark fabric is also tricky … and heavy when wet. But after a few hours of work, my piece is printed, steamed, washed, boiled, washed, dried, and ready to hang! I’ll give you a guys a peak into the process for the creation of my print.

As for inspiration for my print I kept noticing/sketching circle patterns. I noticed them again and again on our study tour. Circles were in the piles of wood, on the manhole covers, street signs, and were strong elements in one of my favorite monuments in Finland. During the study tour our primary task was to create a sketchbook documenting our inspiration. I collected and drew anything I found or saw that was interesting. Here are a few of my favorite pages, many of which you’ll see inspired my print.

Above: The yellow and oranges here were used in my final print.

I have an entire Moleskine filled from the study trip. Normally when I go on trips or look for inspiration I just take photos. I think to myself, “I have a photo, that’s enough, I can go back to it later.” But how many times do we actually go back to those photos? Not very often in my case. Drawing the actual thing, or printing the photo out and writing notes about it in a book crystallizes the memory so much more vividly. I took found pieces of design I liked, booklets, posters from the street, and combined these with drawings, color swatches and notes to create a visual diary full of inspiration. Now anytime I want to look for an idea from the trip, it’s all in one place, and having a physical object is so much nicer than photos on the computer.

So I knew I wanted to create a pattern with circles, and I’d been greatly inspired by all the Scandinavian design I’d been experiencing over the last few weeks. In the beginning a lot of my designs were very retro looking, which I liked. But this direction got away from my original idea creating a pattern that dealt with circles, in wood specifically. The rings of a tree make really beautiful patterns in wood – so why not a print ?!? So I began to move back to that direction and I came up with this final design (below).

Above: The final print and color way, dark blue background with accents of white, yellow, and light blue.

Above: Light background color way. I liked this too but thought the dark background had more depth and contrast.

Above: For some reason this reminds me of candy – like candy canes.


The textile prints from a fancy digital textile printer ..

Fabric is loaded like a roll of paper then printed on.


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My new 6-week home and routine is finally starting to settle in. It’s officially been a week since I landed in Copenhagen from New York City. I spent most of the week in class, but my good pal Nefeli and I got bikes and rode ALLLLLL around the city on Saturday. It was such a beautifully perfect day. This week is also the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, so there are free concerts all around the city and in the public squares. After biking, we took a break with coffee and dessert (above) and people watched. That night we went to a friends house, a Danish native, and had a traditional Danish meal, three courses even! Last night there was a bad rainstorm, which some here are calling the worst in 30 years. A lot of basements and roads were flooded and we didn’t have power most of the day. We were supposed to go to a specific museum to sketch patterns and look at colors, but it was closed due to water damage. Instead we went to the Danish Museum of Art & Design, which I wanted to see more anyway. This weekend we leave for our study tour in Sweden and Finland! I’m really excited, as I’ve never been to any of those countries. Nefeli said that street fashion in Stockholm is amazing so I can’t wait to see that. People dress so well here in CPH despite riding bikes. Williamsburg hipsters don’t even compare, it’s like the people here ride off the posts of The Sartorialist right into the city streets. So more classes this weekend and hopefully more bike excursions into the city. I want to go on some photo expeditions so stay tuned. I’m also having dinner with a Danish host family on Wednesday after class so that should be interesting.

Part of the fort protecting the original part of Copenhagen, we found this on our first bike ride.

Beautiful building next to the fort.

I’m in LOVE with this building, I think it could be my dream home, complete with a giant crown on top!

Our Raleigh bikes, we named them Stella (mine) and Mia (Nefeli’s).

The Danish Design exhibit at the museum.

One of my favorite posters, so many great ones like this, and beautiful modern furniture.


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I have no idea what this sign means, but it’s right outside the dorm I’m staying in for the next six weeks. Cute right? Maybe it has something to do with children because part of the building is a kindergarden. Today was my first day of class, and we spent the entire day drawing leaves, then making patterns within them, and doing interesting things with lines and shadows. It’s hard drawing after not doing so in YEARS. I hope after this trip drawing is something I pick back up as I think it’s a good skill to hold onto, and something that must be practiced. Still trying to get used to the lay of the land here, how the money works, and the prices of things. Its hella expensive eating out at any restaurant, and there aren’t a ton of options food-wise, at least not options I’m used to finding in NYC. I think the food is actually more expensive than NYC. The main options I’ve found food-wise are discount grocery stores, or expensive ones. Not much in the middle. I bought peaches at the cheap place, and they went bad in less than two days … I guess you get what you pay for. Pray for me, if I run out of money, I’ll just be eating cereal for a month!

Leaves I started drawing in class (above).

Below are some photos of my new home I share with Josh:

My view! There’s a series of lakes right outside my window

My room, I get a desk and window with a great view, I like sitting on the table and looking out the window.

My pink caterpillar-looking bed covered with flowers and butterflies, which was randomly assigned to me ..

We have a sink in our room, pretty nice I’d say, cuts down on trips down the hall.

My Closet! Way bigger than at home in NYC.


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Hey everyone, I landed safe and sound in Copenhagen yesterday with my buddy Josh, also from Pratt. For the next six weeks we’re enrolled in the DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad) Textile and Furniture Design Program. I’m super excited as pattern and textile design has been a growing interest of mine for the last few months. Last summer my friend Stephanie did the same program and loved it, so I thought it would be a perfect way to finish my time at Pratt. You can read about her study abroad adventure here.

For our first two days in Copenhagen, Josh and I have been walking all around the city. I have about two days of photos I thought I’d share. Tomorrow we move into our on campus housing, so I’m looking forward to staying somewhere longer than a few nights. I hope to find a bike to rent so I can explore more quickly. I also need to look into buying my own food, b/c eating out is sooooo expensive. I bought a coke and a burger, $45 USD. Tomorrow I meet everyone in the program, so more updates coming soon. Side note, when I was at 7-11 (they are everywhere here), the guy thought I was Danish, I finally found my native land, I look like the natives! Except …  the tall blondes here are still tanner than I am!

Here are some pictures from the first two days.

Bikes everywhere! Lots of city squares like this.

Walked around the canal, lots of boats and outdoor restaurants around. People can also drink outside, good spot to do it!

Cute building!

I think this is the aquarium? Nice brick pattern

Lots of wheat pasting around the city, reminds me of NYC. Some of the music festival posters are really nice.

Name that typeface on the wall!!

Another cool music festival poster.

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Last week I attended the 63rd Annual UN DPI/NGO conference in Melbourne, Australia. This year’s theme was Advance Global Health: Achieve the MDGs. The MDGs are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include reducing extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development. I know a lot about the 5th goal, improving Maternal Health, and in my opinion, it stands as the most important, but I shall not go into my rant.

The conference took place over 3 days at the Melbourne Convention Centre, a BEAUTIFUL building in Melbourne’s South Warf. I took many photos (below) of the space because I loved it so much. Everyday the conference would start with a round table discussion with important NGO (non-government organizations aka non-profits) leaders, and they would discuss issues around achieving the MDGs, and issues particular to their NGO and region. Some of these talks were more successful than others, a few ended up being pretty boring to be honest, and were not inspiring. The audience question portion was usually interesting as people would pretend to have questions and either a) provide a lengthy speech about their NGO or b) criticize the UN and their lack of efforts. It was nice to see the Conference opening the floor up to suggestion and question though.

Throughout the day there would be workshops, lunch breaks, and afternoons teas, where we could network. I gave out TONS of Art Center brochures, and directed lots of people to the Pratt booth. I kept wondering how to frame my purpose for attending the conference. I’m not in an NGO, I’m not in public health, never been to a developing nation, etc … so I ended up making the case for collaboration. NGOs have amazing content and do amazing work. Partnering with designers and artists can take their work to another level and space. Entire new audiences can be created, and since our job is to communicate effectively, working together would help NGOs better do that.

A lot of people loved both projects, and had never thought about reaching out the design community. Many were excited about the opportunity to work with students, and get their messages out there. I joked with a friend that I felt like an ambassador of design, but in reality, that’s pretty much what I did. Most of the free time at the conference was set up for networking, and I did a hell of a lot of that. My favorite part of the Conference were the Youth Breakfasts, each morning at 7am (i had to wake up at 6am EVERY day of the trip) where we met our peers, and enjoyed FREE breakfast while talking about our work, and how youth can get more involved. I’m so thankful to my friend Kelly and her team putting those together.

Now onto the photos … I’ll do another post later reflecting on outcomes of the conference, once I present this stuff to Pratt, and get their feedback.

Screen shot from the Melbourne Convention Centre’s website … cool place (minus not having working wireless internet).


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Here is some information on Designmatters and The Art Center College of Design, the NGO sending me on the trip to Australia. I will be installing their “United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Safe Motherhood Initiative” exhibition at the Conference. I really love the graphics from this project, and can’t wait to show you guys what it looks like when it’s all set up. The videos are pretty great too on their website. Here is some info on the project:

“In continuing partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Designmatters facilitated a Summer 2007 studio to develop an integrated multi-media awareness campaign in support of the 2007 Safe Motherhood Initiative. This campaign was developed in a trans-disciplinary studio consisting of students from Art Center’s Advertising, Graphic Design, and Graduate Media Design departments, led by faculty members Elena Salij, Advertising; Louis Danzinger, Graphic Design; and Helen Sanematsu, Graphic Design.

Inspired by UNFPA messages such as “No woman should die giving life,” and “Every minute of every day, another woman dies in childbirth,” students designed provocative yet sensitive awareness campaigns consisting of public service announcements (PSAs), print ads, and give-away items. Closely guided by UNFPA lead project staff, the goal of this campaign was to raise awareness, educate, and call to action a wide cross-section of audiences, many of whom are unaware of the global problem of maternal mortality, as well as appeal to political leaders and decision-makers to provide aid and make policy changes.”


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Sorry the lack of updates this past month, but after summer school ended, I thought it was important to have a little decompression time. That lasted about a week, as I’ve been up to several new projects, the biggest being my trip to Australia. Why Australia you might ask? During my Design Advocacy class this summer, we worked on projects about Maternal Health. The final product was an exhibition called “DESIGN STRATEGIES for NGO’s” a series of 6 case studies/design solutions addressing Maternal Health. It will be on display at the 63rd Annual United Nations DPI/NGO Conference in Meblourne, Australia. I’m planning to expand on my solution further in thesis this year.

Through this class, I was introduced to someone at Fordham University that is working on another exhibition at the Conference. Her group is creating a “student village” of booths, each one addressing one of the eight MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). I was asked to help design an identity for all the booths, and create content for the Maternal Health booth. It ended up being a pretty large undertaking, designing here in the US, coordinating printing in Australia, and preparing all the Pratt projects to be shown.

After doing all this work, Pratt decided to send one student to Australia, and I was lucky enough to be it! At the Conference I will be installing the Pratt exhibition, while serving as their official representative. Additionally, I’m representing the Art Center of College and Design and hanging their show as well. After all these weeks of work, I’m so happy to be given this amazing opportunity. As many of you know, I’ve never traveled abroad, so this will truly be an adventure. I can’t wait to take you along …

Below are some of the projects I helped put together


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Last weekend I went to the NYC’s famous MERMAID PARADE at Coney Island. I’d seen pictures online, and it was fun to experience this event in person. We all camped out on the Coney Island Boardwalk, and we watched the parade stroll by for about an hour or two. After, Jessica and I went to Nathan’s Hotdogs, at their giant location near Luna Park. We literally waited over an hour in line for corn dogs and cheese fries. I will say, my bacon cheese fries were the most AMAZING fries in history. Like everything in NYC, it was way over the top. It was great to experience, but only something I can do once a year. Here are a few photos I stole from my friend Jessica’s facebook.


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