What moves you?

I am inspired, uplifted and humbled by art, but when I first saw The Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre, I was totally caught off-guard and brought to tears. I cannot to this day explain why I cried, but clearly there was an emotional connection that spoke to something within me. I was moved, greatly.

There are the tangibles in art and design by which we critique, and then there are the intangibles in art and design by which we feel.  When we choose a piece for our home, whether consciously or unconsciously, the selection process goes beyond decor and color scheme, to how it makes you feel. We want to feel something in our surroundings–comfort, peace, energy–all of which of course, depends on the individual.

I want to feel peaceful in my home–which is really a challenge with that 5-year-old I keep mentioning. I choose things that move me to calm. One example is a painting that hangs in my living room.  Its beauty brings me great pleasure and tranquility, and to that I am grateful, (again, the said 5-year-old).  Of course that's just one item, but you get the idea.

Now of course I'm curious as to what moves you? Be it in your home, museum or anywhere.  The Winged Victory is estimated to have been created somewhere around 190 BC and it has been enligthening mortals since then. What speaks to the light in you?

Photo (1): artchive.com, Photo (2):commons.wikimedia.org

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My egg cup runneth over

I recently rediscovered the soft boiled egg and with it my old friend the quaint egg cup. It brings back childhood memories of my Mom making me hot tea and a soft boiled egg.  I would gingerly dunk my buttered toast into the egg, soak up the warm yolk and gleefully slurp it up. But the real treat was the china chicken egg cup. A little chipped on the beak, a few chips of paint off here and there–but I loved it, loved it. I don't know why such a small thing like an egg cup can bring so much comfort and joy, but I'm glad it does.

Possibly that is why there are as many different egg cup designs as there are stars. Perhaps design doesn't have to be big and loud to capture attention, and appreciation.  Sometimes it just has to be able to make you smile and feel good.

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Jens Jensen’s Genius

2010 celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of visionary Prairie School landscape architect and pioneer conservationist Jens Jensen. His vision was to bring back the prairies of Illinois and preserve their native beauty, as illustrated in the Prairie River in Humboldt Park, one of parks he created for Chicago's West Park system.

His designs, like the fern house found at Chicago's Garfield Park's Conservatory, brings to life his commitment to the soil and civilization, as he said,"To shut out nature from man's whole life is so shut out the inspiration of noble and humanitarian things."

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Toy design brings joy to everyone

My son was given a collection of toys called “Somewhere City” which was designed by Goran Lelas and featured at MoMA. These delightful critters change parts amongst themselves so you can create other cute critters of your own imagination.

Presently the Somewhere toys sit in my office–I like to call it borrowed–where I appreciate their simplicity, ingenuity and humor, all of which make me smile.

This had me thinking about the deliberate design of some of the other toys and baby gear he's had while growing up. Such thoughtful design offers form, function and fun in ways that make our everyday lives a little more easier, enjoyable and special. For instance the sweet and chewable Sophie teething toy.  She somehow makes baby slobber a lot more tolerable.  Maybe it's because she's made from 100% natural rubber from the sap of the Hevea tree, or maybe because she is French, as Sophie was born from the imagination of a Monsieur Rampeau who created her in 1961.

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Tiny House

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. To front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not…" – Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau, one of America's greatest Transcendental writers and the father of Environmentalism, lived deliberately in his tiny, 10’ x 15’ self-built cabin next to Walden pond where he began his experiment in “simple living.”

Today “simple living” has manifested into the Tiny House Movement, where people are downsizing the space they live in, and thereby simplifying their lifestyles with beautiful results.

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