Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Graffiti - Street Art Goes Mainstream

Just like tattooing has done over the past decade, graffiti is going mainstream. It is still regarded as a rebellious act of vandalism of property whether it is a simplistic scrawl of letters and images or an elaborate wall painting. I hate it when I see it used by gangs to leave their mark, or on the no longer blank walls in a park. But I have to tell you, when it's done well, I LOVE it as an art form. It is expressive and bold, dramatic and colorful. And I don't know if you've noticed but graffiti is no longer limited to an inner city wall. Crate And Barrel, cb2, offers "Tag" dishes (bottom, left). Sephora's spring beauty catalog shows 'Beauty As Art' and features their makeup as art inspirations. From Pop Art to Impressionism, to (gulp!) gorgeous graffiti. Prada is running advertisements in March VOGUE that places their couture clad models in the midst of a graffiti artist's dream. On the television show, America's Next Top Model, the first challenge for the models was to pose in front of a wall of graffiti (top, left). It looks like a modern masterpiece. Maybe it is. While I still don't appreciate taggers defacing property, I can definitely appreciate the art form that graffiti is becoming.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bongo the parrot

Here is Bongo, the smart-alecky parrot I was telling you about. We sort of inherited him from my husband's uncle. At first I found him amusing . . . All the singing and talking, the mad swinging and manic laughing (it is a little frightening, to be honest) whenever we'd spritz him with water in the heat of the summer. Then he started calling "MOM" over and over and over. It was NOT amusing when I started having neighbors come over to ask if everything was OK with my kids. I would look blankly at the neighbor, not thinking it was Bongo they heard. You see, I was in the habit of tuning him out the way you do a train if you live near one of those. Anyway, after it would register what they were saying to me I would smile and nod and explain to them about Bongo. I would usher them out to the backyard where he lives in his cage in the summer and introduce them. Of course, he would just stare at them, swinging slowly, hypnotically, waiting until they left to break out into his casual discourse. My husband and I have talked about selling him, but then I feel sorry for Bongo. Who would put up with this behavior, I say? So we do. Day in and day out.

Peace, baby!

Peace. What a calm word. So hard to find peace when you have kids, a husband, two dogs and a smart-alecky parrot that keeps yelling "MOM" no matter how many times you answer him! Seriously! And it's hard to think peaceful thoughts when you are working hard and cannot seem to find your 'happy place' because you don't even have a window to look out of. Fortunately, peace is really trendy right now. It seems you can open any number of magazines and catalogs and see the symbol for peace. Check out Sundance Catalog, Junk Gypsies, Lucky Brand Jeans, even Target. There's jewelry, belt buckles, tees and purses with peace symbols on them. Some are tie-dyed, some made from metal, some are crystal appliques. And why not? Peace is cool! It's so 60's. It's so anti-war. It is now a fashion icon. Besides love, it is what the world needs now. Honestly does peace ever really go out of style?

Monday, March 3, 2008

I am finally able to blog about my CHA (Craft & Hobby Associations) trend experience - it sounds like I had to have therapy to do so, doesn't it? Not really, I just have been so busy creating back-to-back reports on three different trend ventures that I am finally getting around to blogging about it. I arrived in Anaheim on Saturday and walked the show on Sunday and Monday. I attended two trend seminars while I was there. One of them was on forecasting trends and I am pleased to say that my company, Duncan, is already doing everything the gurus are recommending. High five! Let me tell you about one of the ongoing trends I observed at the show (keep in mind this is a craft market, not Hollywood!): Wings - still popular, still trending up. Duncan has a large pair of silver metallic iron-on wings that are a best seller at JoAnn's. I saw wings in various forms - metallic, embroidered, iron-ons, screen printed, rub-ons, stencils - throughout the show. I spotted an embroidered set on the back of a dress that a woman from France was wearing. She was kind enough to let me take a picture. Wings are spiritual, celestial, ethereal. This trend ties in with the silhouette bird on a branch trend we have seen so much of. Owls are on trend but I only saw a few companies who are hip to the owl thing. Owls were the darlings of the indie market a year ago and are still strong. Trust me, it takes a bit of time for stuff on the fringe to go mainstream. My personal favorites at the show. . . I love Heidi Swapp's (scrapbook company) new chandelier crystal accessories. I want them! I also want the new LUCKY scissors from Fiskars new line, Ink by Steph. They are edgy, tattoo-inspired with skulls on the blades. A must-have for a rebel crafter who wears angel wings on her back!


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