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When designing our clothing we are, more often than not, inspired by women at work.

For our Spring and Summer Look Book we put our clothes on Rachel Budde, the queen witch powerhouse behind Fat and the Moon, a range of handcrafted, herbal body care products made in small batches from organic ingredients. The brilliant Oakland based photographer, Terri Lowenthal, captured the moments.

Rachel guided us through San Francisco. In the morning we gathered plants, she taught us their benefits and at the end of the day she used these plants to prepare an infusion.

 Rachel wears the Capra Dress in 'Hatu' in our shop.  

 

We went to Buena Vista Park, a mist covered hill nestled in the center of San Francisco. The steep hike to the top (575 ft. above sea level!) rewards with a panoramic cityscape. It’s San Francisco’s oldest park which is evident in the cobble stone steps that connect the winding trails through live oak groves and eucalyptus trees. The park is home to birds, squirrels, some little snakes and the occasional gopher. An ideal place for atmospheric wanderings!

 

Rachel forages wearing Volta Pants in 'Tamboro' and the Nezette Top in ‘Ivory'.

 

 

Rachel shared her knowledge of the plants we had found: Mallow can soothe the digestive system or heal skin troubles when applied topically, Eucalyptus can ease respiratory ailments and Nasturtium encourages hair growth.

 

Rachel wears the Nata Dress in 'Tamboro' as she familiarizes us with our plant findings. 

 

 

In the evening, Rachel used some of the young Eucalyptus leaves we had found that morning to create an oil infusion. 

 

Rachel wears the silk Short Shorts in ‘Hatu’ and a Taurus top in ‘Drake’ while she prepares a potion for us.

 

Below is Rachel’s recipe for a passive oil infusion of Eucalyptus:

First, harvest some young Eucalyptus leaves. Lucky for us, they like to grow at the base of the big mama trees well within our reach.

Chop the leaves up with scissors or a sharp knife. Fill a mason jar about ¾ of the way full with leaves.

Choose your oil. We favor olive, sunflower or almond oil. Pour oil over the leaves until you fill the jar. Put the cap on, but don’t close it too tightly - we want the water from the leaves to be able to evaporate.

Store in a warm place for one month. This requires patience! 

Once you and it are both ready - strain the leaves and keep the oil! Use it as an invigorating after bath oil or rub it on your chest when you need to breathe easy.

 Rachel bathes in the 'Tamboro' Short Shorts

The day ended as all good days should: with a witchy flower bath. While we recommend taking it all off for your own bath, it might be the most environmentally friendly way to do your laundry!

 

 

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Robbie Simon’s show Feeling Physical opens on November 21st 2014 at Gravel & Gold and will run through Friday, December 19th.

The show will include paintings of India Ink on craft paper, collage, as well as a variety of garments hand customized and illustrated with fabric marker, bleach and India Ink. Also produced exclusively for the show will be two small books of black and white photography as well as a third Risograph book of drawings, printed by Colpa Press . A Screen printed poster composed from two of the paintings will also be available for sale .

Robbie’s spent the last decade mostly playing in and working for bands, designing promotional fliers, posters and videos, photographing bands and designing the occasional stage show. This is his first art show and as long time admirers of the guy, we are more than stoked to host him during this pivotal moment. Below is a collection of some of the work he’s done for bands and a conversation I had with him about it what it’s like to shift from designer to artist.

Tomra: Most of your graphic design work has been for music promotion (album covers, show posters, music videos). How has this kind of work become such a large part of your output?

Robbie: Music was my first real outlet for design and creating. I was always in bands and everyone I knew was as well, which easily afforded me an opportunity to insert my work and invaluably provided a reason to create, something I certainly needed. Everyone’s gotta have a friendly place to start and explore and make a lot (!) of bad work before they can figure out where they’re headed. Fortunately for me (less so for them) my own bands and those of close friends were my dartboard ! I’ve never strategically kept myself resigned to the music world but it’s still such a big part of my life and it’s where all my best opportunities to work still come from. I love it , though ! I feel comfortable in the music world, a scarcely attended Wednesday night bar show is much more my zone than an art opening where everyone looks like a walking tumblr page. Although, there’s way more free beer at those things…
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Tomra: What has inspired you to transition from graphic design into fine art?

Robbie:  It’s something I’ve been gravitating towards for a while but also just wanted to see if I could pull it off. At this point the majority of my design work is based entirely on imagery or drawings I create which would in a lose definition simply make it art with advertisements on it. But the creative process gets much more interesting when you take that advertisement and therefore purpose for its existence away. Design is very easy at a base level as it’s built in with purpose for existing. Even if the imagery is terrible or lazy, if the message is conveyed in a design, it’s a success. Art doesn’t have that luxury which is something I’ve taken as a big challenge in this process. Asking myself often, “does this need to exists?” and often feeling the answer is “No” but then eventually leaning towards a “Maybe????” Also for the record, this perspective is neglecting the value of art for arts sake. Nothing in this world needs a purpose if it makes someone happy, but I’m figuring if I’m hanging this stuff on a wall, in someone’s lovely establishment and expecting friendly faces to come look at it, I better not be framing boogers.

 

 

Tomra:  You’re from Southern California but spent a lot of years in San Francisco. You recently moved back down, to Los Angeles. How have you developed artistically throughout that transition and resettlement?

Robbie: I developed dramatically and hugely for the better, to be blunt . The epic cultural change that’s occurring in SF doesn’t need to be explained to anyone at this point and that was certainly a part in my leaving, but It’d be a lie to say it was all of my motivation. I was in a pretty deep rut personally. The clock was ticking on my 20’s and I had essentially retired for a few years content to wallow in unemployment, pissing away savings on froyo and tall cans. If I ever saw the amount of money I spent at the liquor store below my apartment, I’d barf. But shout out to Slater on 16th and Guerrero ! Hope, he’s doing ok. So the move was a huge refresh on life in general and I was able to shake off my malaise to feel creative and invigorated again. My home in LA is essentially a giant art studio where I can work on ten different messy things at any time of day. The freedom and space I have here is now essential to my progress and my process.
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Tomra: What inspires your work other than music?

Robbie: More than anything else these days I’m inspired by people who apply creativity and expression to all aspects of their life. I don’t want a trade, I want outlets ! Just a dedicated lifestyle of making things and trying things and putting you’re own stamp on something . I see these sort of efforts as giving life to the world around them. I have a day job working for an Artist and Designer named Geoff McFetridge, he’s really good at this sort of thing. He bounces between projects and mediums, hi-brow and low-brow, all with an ease, grace and confidence that I aspire to achieve .
But to name a few visual artists I’m eternally inspired by and often “borrowing” from would the likes of Alexander Calder, Matisse, Miro, Keith Haring, Paul Jenkins, Barney Bubbles, Wallace Berman…
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Tomra: That makes sense – your medium varies constantly – you’re always exploring.  In this show you have collage, paintings, books, and clothing. What other mediums are you interested in pursuing? What’s your dream project?

Robbie: “Exploring” is really exciting word to hear in regards to my own work. I wish I felt that way internally ! Part of it is that I’m way more excited about trying something new vs. refining a singular concept or mastering a craft. It’s a good and bad trait, I think. Good part being I don’t see any real difference between approaching a painting or drawing on a pair of shoes or photographing a band. They all come from the same creative place and vision.  I see the mechanics of producing something as entirely separate from the vision it’ll take to make it interesting. The mechanics are learned or you just make them up as you go and never let them stop you from trying something if you feel compelled. I’ve also always been attracted to the raw qualities in art or music that come from someone who has vastly more conviction than they do ability.

Lots and lots of new things I’d like to try next ! Bizarrely, I’ve painted on just about everything accept canvas… I think it might be time to try that. I also have a large collection of trash that I keep stashed away that I’d like to paint on and have a show of just that weird stuff. Like, just white house paint on trash. I think it’d be great! But doing murals would be really fun and I’ve always wanted to make Mobiles. I’m a total Calder fanboy and I even have a lot of sketches for mobile concepts that I’d love to see if I could pull off. I’m booked up doing a lot more non-animated music videos in the near future, so we’ll see how my directing and cinematography skills develop.

 

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Robbie Simon is a graphic designer by trade as well as a painter, crafter, and animator by hobby/side gig/distraction. A resident of Los Angeles working full time for Geoff McFetridge at Champion Graphics.
@brojazz on the gram
 

The post Robbie Simon – Feeling Physical appeared first on Gravel & Gold.

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI portrait by Juliana HarkkiPortrait of Vuokko by Juliana Harkki.

HER WORK
for Marimekko is what is best known by most. In 1953, the year she joined the company, she designed the stripe “Piccolo.” The print is comprised of one or two passes of stripes that can overlap to form a third color. This approach takes brilliant advantage of large-scale silkscreen printing, which she helped Marimekko to develop (and we now do, too). Smart minimalism and flexibility of design have been at the center of her work since.

Vuokko’s stripes were an immediate sensation. In 1956, Marimekko introduced the iconic Jokapoika (“Everyboy”) shirt as their first garment for men. Over the years, Vuokko has designed more than 300 colorways for “Piccolo” to be used for the shirts, from her original Mediterranean-inspired palette to black on white and everything in between. 

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI jokapoika
Armi Ratia wearing Jokapoika

On the right here is Armi Ratia, the founder of Marimekko, in the late 1960s, out playing the model in one of the zillions of Jokapoika striped shirts she made. She, like many ladies, had no trouble borrowing from the men’s department. Though “Piccolo” was also used for garments intended for women, such as the Kivijalkamekko dress, designed by Vuokko and shown here with Ilmari Tapiovaara’s egg sculpture in 1957.

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI egg

Bouffanted visitors to scorched mediterranean locales who still always pack an umbrella, grumpy teenagers also expecting rain, kiddos–everybody!–got a great striped something.

Vuokko umbrella

Vuokko raincoat and kiddo

Here is Vuokko completing an installation of Marimekko goods at a gallery in Stockholm, in heels, in 1958. Bang story!

Vuokko in shop

Vuokko designed other patterns and shapes for Marimekko as well, including–I was surprised to learn–Iloinen takki, that dress with patch pockets that Marimekko first made in 1960 and still makes and adult women still wear. Vuokko intended the wee pockets to hold surprise gifts for the wearer’s beau, and that’s about the extent of adult sexiness I can imagine associated with this garment.

VUOKKO Iloinen takkiHowever, her signature spare, geometric style were evident from the beginning, as you can see in her split color wool blouse of 1956 and her Ritsa apron with “Raituli” stripes of 1959. And now, these are  questionably sexy body obsfucating garments I can stand behind, absolutely.

Vuokko dress 1

Vuokko sweater

In 1964, Vuokko left Marimekko to found her own company, Vuokko Oy, which she ran until 1988 and still runs a version of today. Left to her own devices, the body obliteration + spare geometry were turned up to full force and the vibe got super hot!

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI striped dress

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI circle dress

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI toga

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI group

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI dots

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI records

HER HOME
and office/studio in Helsinki was designed from top to bottom in 1970 by her late husband Antii Nurmesniemi (who also designed, for example, the Wärtsilä coffee pot for Arabia). It is open except for the bedroom with big views of the sea. Four mezzanines, including the swimming pool level which I have not seen a picture of but would love to see a picture of, stacks of Vuokko’s floor pillows and a heated floor = heavenplace.

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI at home

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI home 3

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI home 5

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI home 2

HER DEAL
(those glasses)

VUOKKO NURMESNIEMI portraitPortrait with plants by Anna Huovinen.

RESOURCES
-We stock the Marimekko book at the shop, and it includes a bunch of images and information about Vuokko and Marimekko overall. It is, hands-down, the book we consult most when trying to forge through a new design.

-Apartamento ran a wonderful profile of Vuokko in Issue #07, featuring an interview with her and shots from her home, including the first two I posted in the series, and “I got rid of most of the seams and pleats. The Japanese say ‘Vuokko set women free.’ See, my design always starts from the fabric. I want to give the patterns a lot of solid surface, which often affects the shape of the final dress, loosening it up” and other gems. Track it down!

-Ebay.

 

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