Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Funny Valentine

I stumbled upon this website, that makes little dolls they call "Momiji." They were created by a group of friends in Warwickshire, England. These adorable Kokeshi inspired dolls come with a little message inside.

For those who don't know what a Kokeshi Doll is, they were first produced by wood artisans in Northern Japan as tourist souveniers for people visiting the hot springs. Their name Kokeshi, is believed to mean "small wooden dolls": wooden ( ki, ko) small ( ko) dolls (芥子 keshi).

I chose to feature them, because I think they're a great gift for a holiday so focused on love and kindness. According to their website: "Momiji is inspired by friendship and little kindnesses. It's about filling life with memories and messages." These wonderful, ever changing collections of friendship dolls are hand painted and make for a really fun little unique gift.

I know, many say that Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday...that it's just another consumer frenzy that stores can bank off of people feeling obligated to "buy stuff" for their loved ones, because if they don't they think that means they don't care. Well, I can agree with this stigma. I can sympathize. If you only take the time to show loved ones you care once a year, something is really wrong. And certainly if you only feel the need to get gifts out of societal pressure, that's even more wrong...

But I also have had a revelation in my life. A man who has made me look at life in a whole other light. My fiance. So now, I get it. I get what the day is about...Now- more than ever before. When you find a love like this, it is something that begs to be celebrated. Every day, not just once a year. But, in a world that is increasingly fast paced and based off of "instant" gratification, I think setting aside a day where you can make it all about you and the one you love without guilt or distraction is actually pretty special.

In addition, this past year was a tough one for me. I lost a best friend and it definitely changed a thing or two inside me. I always try to appreciate everything in my life. My family, my friends and all the wonderful things I have been blessed with...but losing someone so close to my heart definitely sparked something that is difficult to put into words. It was also a grim reminder that life is fragile and that it is not permanent. It was motivation to make my life the most that it can be. No regrets.

So, don't wait for Valentine's Day to tell the ones you love that you love and appreciate them! But I do think it's a great time to take a look at the love we have for others and make sure it is known. It doesn't have to be anything grand. To me, it's the little things in life that really mean the most. We can never know where or when life for us will end. So let's bring a new meaning to Valentine's Day. Let's remember what this day is all about. LOVE. Not material things. LOVE. BUT...who doesn't love fun stuff? Do something creative for the one you love...a treasure hunt, a photo montage professing your love for that person...make it personal.

I know, it's ironic that I have posted some material things. I'm aware of that. These things are certainly not necessary to make your Valentine's complete. Like so many things, it's not what you do necessarily that gets recognized, but the intention behind it. Bake some cupcakes or some sweet treat for that sweetheart of yours. Or if you don't have a sweetie to treat, share them with friends, bring something in for co-workers. Bring intention to your day, And don't forget, a smile goes a long way!

Check out these adorable Valentine's designed by Stephanie Fizer, available in her Etsy store.

These Valentines are such a fun spin on the typical store bought Valentine, so fun and fresh and full of personality!

Above, the Kokeshi inspiration of mine shows up again. I love the concept behind Kokeshi...messages of love and friendship and the spreading of love!

Thank you, friends and family for all of your love and support...without you all my life would be meaningless!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Motor City Renaissance

Buick 1956 Roadmaster by Art Fitzpatrick

I found myself inspired on the most unlikely of subjects today. I grew up in the Motor City, so cars by default are a fact of life. I can't say I love cars, but I probably know more about them than your average girl, solely by association to my beloved Motor City. You can't go long around here before meeting someone who works, has worked or has family working for one of the "Big Three." I, myself, am employed making 3D Generated images of cars...with the software knowledge and creativity that I have, I expected to graduate and end up along side those at Pixar or Dreamworks animating fuzzy little critters bound across the screen. Instead, I "fake" but very convincing what is called "renders" of cars on a daily basis. Our images end up on the car company's website and even the most trained eye would have a hard time telling what's a photograph and what's CG.

Buick 1957 Century by Art Fitzpatrick

I have to say, that even though I may not be the biggest fan of cars...and I am certainly far from Gear Head status, I can appreciate older cars. What is it about them, you might ask? So many things are in the details, there's a boldness to them. From the tail fins to the elaborate hood ornaments...and my personal favorite...ones with white wall tires...just so many great little details are put into those old autos. And if you take a look around now a days...there's this feeling that we've gone awry somewhere with car design.

So...that being said....I got a typical forward from my GM employed father...for a "Original Car Brochures" website. So I show a colleague of mine and he sends me to this artist's site: Art Fitzpatrick

Upon viewing...I had a sort of artistic epiphany. Here I am, waiting for my computer to output a "render" of this car. My business card says "3D Artist" and I have to admit...the "artist" part of the job seems like a stretch 99% of the time. Especially when you see the work of such a talented fellow as Art Fitzpatrick.

Cadillac Sixty Special by Art Fitzpatrick

So I guess the idea that occurred to me is, Cars- just as Music- have gone Analog to Digital. Not simply in the way that they are advertised. Where back in Art Fitzpatrick's day, cars were the present where cars are calculated in computer just like visual effects in'd swear they are real by the looks of them. But in faking this reality, we lose something. I'm not just talking integrity of artistic skills...but something beyond that. What is lost is comparable to the clean sound of digital versus the static buzz of the needle passing over a vinyl record. Don't get me wrong. I still very much appreciate the digital realm and all it has done for the world. If it weren't for that, shoot, I couldn't be rambling about this right now. I just found it interesting. The difference. And I'm predicting, a shift...a renaissance of sorts, back to the roots of design and creation. Just as it's nostalgic to walk into a record store, it will one day be nostalgic to live as we do now.