Haroshi – Skateboard Sculptor

Japanese artist, Haroshi, has made a name for himself by taking a medium that he knows well and manipulating it into pieces that we can all relate to.  Now, I realize I gave it away in the title, but seriously, can you even believe that the sculptures below are all made from skateboard decks?

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Haroshi’s in depth knowledge of not only the different types of skateboards, but the different models from each maker, has allowed him to identify countless used boards upon spotting them and he is instantly able to gather like ones together to create stacks of colorful boards.  He then painstakingly shaves them or mosaics them into smooth, vibrant sculptures; an inspiring transformation, indeed.

earth-01 pigeon-02-02More of Haroshi’s work can be found on his website (where all photos on this post were sourced): haroshi.com


Shannon Rankin, Artist

I’m not exactly sure what draws me most to Shannon Rankin’s beautiful artwork.  Is it the pattern that draws me in, the meticulous attention to detail that inspires me, or is it the tiny details on each piece of map she uses in her work that makes me come closer.  Whatever it is, I find her work intoxicating.

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Born in California, Shannon now lives and creates in Portland, Maine.  And while she has been using maps as a medium in her work, she has been working with them exclusively for over four years.  Shannon sometimes allows the medium itself to give her pieces direction; at times creating works that both deconstruct and reassemble the material and it’s innate meaning.

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Shannon manipulates a variety of vintage charts and maps to create her pieces; meticulously cutting out strips, dots or sections.
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This piece is complete made of carefully extracted highway markings that when removed from their original confines, truly represent the artery status we tend to give them.3fJsKV7KOhIq18UH

More of Shannon’s work can be found on her website: artistshannonrankin.com and she is currently exhibiting at the June Fitzpatrick Gallery in Portland, ME through the end of this month.

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When we bought our home, my then-future-Mother-in-Law gifted us a collection of Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big House books.  One of the main principles the author uses in helping homeowners achieve spaces that fit their lifestyles is the concept of lowered ceilings and small, nook-like spaces.  The use of such spaces helps to bring larger scale rooms down to a more personal perspective.  In my opinion, considering the vast space of the outdoors, nothing could possibly exemplify this theory more than the pergola.  A deck can be a wonderful extension of the home; add a pergola, and it isn’t just an extension, it is a space that embraces you even while you are outside.

Just take a look at these transformed patio spaces and try to imagine them without the pergolas…not nearly as magical, am I right?



While there seems to be no shortage of inspiring pictures of platform pergolas, I wondered if there was any protocol for a pergola perched a bit higher, like these two-step-up decks:

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Thankfully, I found this lovely example; when combined with the multi-level patio space, the pergola (below two pictures) seems right at place, even though it is higher up than most traditional applications.

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And while I’m not 100% sold on this second floor pergola, it still adds a comforting appeal to the deck space.

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Of course, if a second story pergola isn’t your cup of tea, there is always this strikingly simple sail cloth option.

sail cloth(source)

What say you to the 2nd floor pergola: yay or nay?


Martin Wattenberg – Visual Representations


I’m not exactly aware of how I first came across Martin Wattenberg’s Wind Map.  All I know is that it has led me over the past months down a delightful rabbit hole of exploration and visual pay offs.  Using a stream of near-term forecast data from the National Digital Forecast Database, the wind map visually represents the flow of air across the Continental United States at any time of day.  Created in collaboration with Fernanda Viégas, the visual motion is constantly changing and can range from calm to chaotic at any particular moment. I highly encourage you to go check out the map in action.


As I started to learn more about Martin Wattenberg, an artist and designer with a focus on representing cultural data in strikingly effective visual ways, it dawned on me that I was not a stranger to his work. Anyone who has ever looked up a name on the popular baby-name site, Name Voyager, has seen his work in action.  As each letter of the name is entered, the data map shifts to visually represent the popularity of any names over the past century that still meet the data field.  It is fascinating to watch the trends change as the data gets more precise.





Another striking piece was inspired the movement of color in life.  Based on a Flickr stream of photos of the Boston Common, their algorithmic software ”calculated the relative proportions of different colors seen in photos taken in each month of the year, and plotted them on a wheel.”1 This was then used in an infographic in the March 2009 issue of Boston Magazine.
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Of course, his work doesn’t just stick to data.  The pieces below are from a collection called the Art of Reproduction, where different artwork was sourced from various sites on the web and fragments were taken from each one and then pieced back together to recreate the artwork in a more textural way.  A reminder that nothing on our screens is as great as the originals created to see in person.

Martin’s beautiful work is all available on his website and he even offers prints of various days in weather history for sale.  Below: Hurricaned Sandy, September 2012.
sandy.oct.30:: windmap and name voyager images from: Bewitched.com  Flickr Flow and Reproduction images from hint.fm::


Small Loo Storage


Pretty much every single time I ever see an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters I am instantly frustrated by whatever newbie couple is looking for a house and hopelessly disappointed by the diminutive size of the bathroom space.  Usually, it’s about three times the size of our one and only full bathroom.  No really, I’m not bitter. Thankfully, for us bathroom space challenged, there are some really cute storage options to consider before you head out and get one of those over-the-toilet shelving systems.

Not to say that the space over the toilet isn’t valuable – as evidenced by this pretty little basket display for extra rolls of toilet paper and toiletries and such from Carmel over at Our Fifth House…




…or these shallow, two-tone painted drawers.
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I especially like this innovative use of small, open shelves.  When kept free of too much visual clutter, they actually add to the serenity of the place while also adding a perfect place to store towels.1750901


The minimalist approach above is just one option – an entire wall of cube storage allows for coordinated boxes to stow away all of your bathroom essentials.




And for the truly space challenged, the back of the door is always a great place to look for some free space.



Lastly, I had to include this clever towel rack.  How many of us have a pedestal sink and no place to hang a hand towel?

pedestal sink(source)

Do you suffer from small bathroom syndrome?  See anything inspiring?