Monthly Archives: May 2010

Johannes Itten

It is taken for granted today that the design of everyday objects is an art form, but in 1919 this was a radical notion. The Bauhaus succeeded in breaking down hierarchal notions of art disciplines, and believed that there was no difference between the artist and the craftsmen.

Textbook by Johannes Itten "Die Farbe," 1944.

Johannes Itten, “Die Farbe” (The Color), 1944.

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Champagne Stemware

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” — Mark Twain

At 16, a late bloomer by some standards, two friends and I admitted we’d never really been drunk. Wanting a quick remedy, my friend had just the fix in his mother’s garage: “Her last boss gave her a case of some French Champagne when she left last year, I think it’s getting pretty old now anyway.” Drinking premier cru champagne from coffee mugs, we spent several hours perusing our favorite periodicals and commenting on the finer aspects of this new favorite beverage. The next morning, the pile of Playboys and empty ’85 Mumm Grand Cordon bottles attested to one simple truth: people should drink more Champagne.

Marilyn Monroe drinking a glass of champagne.

Marilyn Monroe holding a Coupe glass.

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Home Canning

In the days before ripe Chilean tomatoes in the snowiest of winters, year-round beets, and the never-ending zucchini season, if you had a hankering for a summer vegetable in the middle of January, you had to wait six months. That is until 1810, when canning was invented and along with it, the possibility of anticipating your winter desires two seasons ahead.

Family home canning, 1952. (Image by Nina Lee for LIFE magazine)

A young family arranges jars of canned fruit and vegetables on cellar shelves, 1952. (Image by Nina Lee for LIFE magazine)

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Reclaimed Wood

Lumberjacks cutting through a giant Redwood tree. (Image courtesy of Bacon Babble)

Lumberjacks standing at the base of a Redwood tree. (Image courtesy of Bacon Babble)

When early American colonists begun penetrating the thick interior of the North American frontier, they discovered that the vast, untouched forests extended much deeper than previously imagined. About 1 billion acres of heavily wooded land stretched from the Atlantic to well past the Mississippi River and promised settlers a wealth of useful raw timber.

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Drinking Water

“Everything comes from water! And everything is kept alive by water!” – J.W. von Goethe, Faust II, 1833

Workers packaging Poland Water bottles.

Workers at the Poland Water factory bottling water.

Water is an everyday part of our lives that we often take for granted, we wash and cook with it without a second thought. Yet, potable water – water that is safe to drink – is a source of regional conflict as several of the world’s most conflict-prone regions, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, are plagued by water shortages and drought – the UN estimates that 35 – 50 percent of urban dwellers in Africa and Asia struggle to access potable water.

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