The Scoop on a $5 garage sale chair worth thousands

couple bought $5 garage sale chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames

A $5 garage sale chair had a full description of its identity on the bottom. But it took its owners to the verge of discarding it to realize the treasure they had purchased. A very famous design couple, pictured at left, were the designers. (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress). In addition, a world famous furniture company produced it.

Unknowingly, a $5 garage sale chair was used casually, left in the garage gathering dust and almost given away to Goodwill. Fortunately, the owners of this priceless designer chair discovered what they had. But it took the purchasers over a year to discover the priceless treasure they had bought for $5. They discovered it by accident. They turned the chair over. There was a metal plate with the names of both the manufacturer and the designers.

It turned out to be a Herman Miller original production Charles and Ray Eames design prototype from 1946 as the metal plate indicates. It was made by the Herman Miller Company in Zeeland, Western Michigan over 60 years ago.

The $5 garage sale chair identification
The $5 garage sale chair bottom with identification

These furnishings are also well documented in publications like Design in America, The Cranbrook Vision: 1925 -1950. The book accompanied the exhibit that traveled from Detroit, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and then to several stops in Europe. According to a Herman Miller spokesperson, in this news video, the original Charles and Ray Eames chair, in the same style as the $5 garage sale chair, went immediately into the Museum of Modern Art Collection in 1946.

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NYC’s Mercedes House Designed by TEN Arquitectos of NYC and Mexico

pictures of the new luxury condo in NYC with its green stairway to the sky

NYC’s Mercedes House is a new luxury condo designed by TEN Arquitectos. Amongst its many other opulent amenities, it has “. . . a green stairway to the sky”.

Quotes from and photos from TEN Arquitectos.

This Inhabitat article by Molly Cotter describes it best, “Environmentally conscious luxury condos are popping up all over Manhattan lately, and Mercedes House is no exception. This incredible 1.3 million square foot compound features just about everything, including over 800 residential units, dozens of commercial and storage spaces, horse stables for the NYPD, and of course, a state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz dealership. With a sparkling LED-lit lobby by Leeser Architects and so many rooftop gardens even Central Park would be envious, the Mercedes House is a green oasis on Manhattan’s riverside edge.”

Another article by Molly Cotter of Inhabitat goes on to describe the lobby by Leeser Architects.

NYC’s Mercedes House, located on the West Side of NYC, stands as proud and grand as any other luxury condo that money can buy. That is, money to design it, money to build it and money to own (a piece of) it.

NYC's Mercedes House
A map of the neighborhood and location of NYC’s Mercedes House
Here are some details about the neighborhood and location of NYC’s Mercedes House.

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Ford Motor Company Creativity

Ford Motor Company creativity was influenced by all that J May experienced.

Ford Motor Company Creativity continues to flow thanks to one man. His name is J Mays. He is their VP of Global Design & Chief Creative Officer. In an interview with Inhabitat, J talked “about his career, electric cars, and the future of automotive.”

Ford Motor Company creativity was alive and well while J Mays designed for Audi
The 2004 Audi TT Roadster. Photo credit © Robert C. Bowden

He also spoke about the creative inspiration architecture has been in his life. Most of his favorite architects have died. They included Mies Van Der Rohe and Pierre Koenig. But he did get to meet one of his favorites before he died. That was Phillip Johnson. J had designed the Audi TT. Mr. Johnson had an Audi TT. Johnson wanted to meet J.

So J went to Mies Van Der Rohe’s Seagram Building where Johnson had his office. Mays not only got to meet Johnson but also got to be in one of the most famous office buildings in the world.

Ford Motor Company creativity has quite a legacy in J Mays. He designed for Audi. He became Chief Creative Director at Ford. His love of architecture led to a meeting with a great architect in a world famous building. These are all superlatives in the design field.

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Star Wars® Brands

A picture of Barn Bococks, illustrator of the 'Star Wars' brands as part of three tigers

What are Star Wars® brands? A New Zealand based illustrator, Barn Bocock, came up with this novel idea. He used his imagination and his knowledge of the ‘Star Wars’ series to create ‘Star Wars’ brands.

Bocock took the names of characters and alliances from ‘Star Wars’. He picked famous product visual icons and matched them. He made some very clever matches. The results are lots of fun. With a lot of imagination and a good dose of wit, illustrator, Barn Bocock came up with, the ‘Star Wars’ brands.

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A controversial tea kettle

Will Michael Graves design a controversial tea kettle for JCPenney?

A controversial tea kettle is the feature of today’s blog post. According to an article posted on this household item is causing a “social media uproar”.

the image of a controversial teakettle
Does this tea kettle remind you of Hitler? Photo from The Telegraph

JCPenney insists it is a snowman. They have already been having financial difficulties. This tea kettle controversy may be bringing them lots of attention. But it is probably not the kind they want or need. If they had only come out with a kitchen accessories line like Target did. It was designed by world famous architect, Michael Graves. He also designed another line of household accessories for Target.

the famous Michael Graves 'Whistling Bird' tea kettle manufactured by Alessi and sold at Target
The famous Whistling Bird tea kettle designed by Michael Graves that sold at Target. Photo from Michael Graves Photo Collection

But in March of 2012, Target announced that their thirteen year partnership with the Michael Graves Design Group was coming to an end.

Guess who their new partnership is with? It is JCPenney (see video below). So why is all the buzz about a controversial tea kettle rather than this potential publicity gem? Perhaps, it is because more people know who Hitler was than who Michael Graves is.

Here’s an insightful article from It describes Michael Graves decision to leave Target and to join JCPenny. It also mentions his relationship with Ron Johnson, JCPenney CEO.

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Typography 101

Typography 101 is designed to briefly answer the question, ‘What are type fonts and typography?’ For too many people who write using a computer, type is just something to use to fill a space with words. Type has meaning. It has beauty. It has history. Typography 101 will provide some insights into the three of these.

Typography 101 includes the drawing of a typeface by hand
Perpetua Italic being drawn by hand at the Type Drawing office in the 1950s from #FontSunday

Typefaces, or font names have all kinds of origins. Some have been named after people, places, times, events and things. Typography 101 can only touch on this topic that is hundreds of years old. Here is a link to Typography 101. It provides some history to the mystery of typography.

Before the computer, before typesetting and before typewriters, type was made by hand. Even the type used for typewriters was initially created by hand. Here is a terrific post, with animated video, that gives some good insights into the history of type.

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Is An MFA the New MBA? Find Out on Alison*s Blog Today

The food truck idea shows that an MFA may be the new MBA

Is an MFA the new MBA? Is it the advanced degree that will guarantee gainful employment? An article in Fast Company is posing this question. Many companies are finding this to be true.

Artists seem to possess the kinds of qualities that the job market demands. As things continue to change, these skills will be even more in demand.

According to the Fast Company article, “critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to work with others are skills they both learned in school and use on a regular basis in their current work. Arts graduates are plucky and understand how to use their creative skills in a variety of settings.” They are not referring to artistic settings.

An article in Inc. Magazine, Why My Art Degree Paid Off, agrees that art graduates have special talents. The same kinds of talents that make them good business people. In addition, artists “start their own businesses to rave reviews.”

Is an MFA the new MBA? A good case is made in both articles. This has been my own experience, too. The recent devastation from Hurricane Sandy has necessitated creativity and flexibility. The skills that artist gain from art school and that are instinctual as well.

In A whole New Mind, author Daniel Pink refers to the fact that creativity would become the most desired asset. He feels that the people who have balanced the right brain with their left brain will rule the world. Time will tell which MA becomes more coveted, the MBA or the MFA. What are your thoughts on this subject?

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Label Reading 101

Label Reading 101

Label Reading 101 should be a required course for anyone considering buying packaged food.

The amounts of sugars, salt and chemicals are enough to make anyone sick. As a matter of fact, they do. Packaged food often equals processed food. Many sophisticated consumers know that processed food also equals unhealthy food.

An article in cautions consumers about reading labels no matter what promises and temptations the front of a packaged food offers. This article includes ingredients photos of about a half dozen typical foods.
Label Reading 101 and a magnifying glass are both required here.

It is both shocking and unnecessary to add most of the ingredients. In fact, a study was done on two types of macaroni and cheese dinners. One is sold in the US; the other in the UK. They had the same ingredients and even tasted the same. The exception was that the US version also had food coloring. Two moms in the US protested the addition of this needless and not nutritious chemical. They actually petitioned Kraft to remove the dye. Read about it here.

Food additives are big business in the US. Packaged and processed foods are the mainstay of many diets. It is easy to see why we have a nation of so many sick people.

A major food issue currently has to do with GMO foods. GMO stands for genetically modified food. US companies are not required to label food as such. The consequences have been fascinating. Other countries refuse to buy food stuffs from us. An app is now available that lets you know if a product you want to buy is genetically modified. You can read more about that in this article.

Good luck food shopping. Don’t forget the lessons from Label Reading 101. Especially make sure to read the fine print on the ingredients part of the label.

Enjoy this and other stories, at right, on Alison*s Art Online Magazines, features of Alison*s Blog.

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My Introduction to Instagram

a clay model of the Instagram logo

Instagram was on the top of my list of new platforms to learn. So with my usual resolve, I made a start and got the general idea of how to use it. I loved taking pictures and having them immediately telegrammed around the globe. I liked being able to look at them on my iPhone and desktop. I was awed at having them show up magically on RebelMouse. But I did not enjoy some of the images I was receiving.

It seems that I was not the only one. I recently found an article, 10 Things You Need To Stop Putting On Instagram. So I guess I am not alone in my feelings about Instagram.

There is nothing earth shattering on the list. So if you are curious, you can scan the original article. In fact, the list includes some kind of dumb things that are far less interesting than what I found boring.

This brings up some questions, What is the point of Instagram? What can it do that other visual platforms can not do? What makes it so special that facebook would spend a fortune to buy it?

What came to my mind first is the novelty of it. It is man’s 21st century visual answer to the telegram. Here I am right now doing or viewing such and such. It can be very powerful. As mentioned earlier, it can be tedious.

I like the powerful part. It makes a statement. It can be amazing, beautiful or horrific. And it is immediately transmitted. I get it. I like it. I love to use it. I want everyone else to create Instagram images that wow me. Otherwise, forget it.

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American Indigenous Architecture

Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall in LA

American indigenous architecture has changed our landscape as well as gone through a dramatic transformation, itself, in the mere handful of centuries that the US has been a country.

Although from one family, American Architecture, their styles over time bore no resemblance to each other. They seemed unrelated although they all bear the same classification, indigenous architecture.

A PBS Special is the focus of Malls and Ranch Homes? PBS’s Surprising 10 Buildings That Changed America. The article that appeared in Wired is by Nathan Hurst.
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10 Examples of American Architecture
Ten Buildings That Changed America, A PBS Special

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With the exception of the Capitol of Virginia built in Richmond, VA and designed by Thomas Jefferson, each of the other nine buildings represented shows a unique and dramatic shift in style, structure, materials and sense of aesthetics. It is an amazing study.

Enjoy this and other stories, at right, on Alison*s Art Online Magazines, curated features of Alison*s Blog.

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