Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Morning at the Felter's Market

Peak farmer's market season has almost passed, but there's one market that never goes out of season.

I discovered the Felter's Market at the Eastown Bizarre Bazaar back in June. Featuring felt food goods, as soft, safe, washable toys for children ages 3+, their products are adorable, creative and they never go bad!
I love this imaginative alternative to plastic toys. But what really sets this concept and booth apart for me, (other than the clever name) is the attention to display and packaging details. Wooden quart baskets, wire bins, gingham table spreads, beautiful tags and stickers— all these things come together to create a lovely little scene. 
And just the other day I stumbled upon an in-store display at Pinky's Place on Alpine. The Felter's Market had built a full-on food stand within the antique mall. Once again, the product presentation really carries through and sells the brand concept. 
And in case your mother didn't teach you to eat your fruits and veggies, The Felter's Market has meals for the diner goer as well. The pieces are separate so you're little chef can build their own meals! (and all at affordable prices!)
The owners, Josh and Sam, started The Felter's Market in Grand Rapids but have recently moved to Canada. Their Etsy shop is on hiatus while they settle in, but you can see what other brilliant things they're cooking up on Instagram!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Political Mystery Solved

Election 2016 is less than two months away, and there's some important questions that have yet to be answered.

But FastCo has answered a really important one for use today...
What Pantone color is Donald Trump?

Donald's skin tone is just as questionable as his political policies, but at least the experts are here to help with that first quandary. 

The Pantone gurus say Donald has an orange to brown gradient range including Burnt Orange, Desert Sun, Golden Orange, Autumn Blaze, Orange Rust, and Burnt Ochre.If you blend together all his hues, we're looking at Pantone 16-1449: Gold Flame.

The color Gold Flame suggests "sturdiness, strength, and endurance, in addition to vibrancy and gregariousness." Color theorists may argue that Donald is orange because it matches his personality... it's a brash color that's extroverted and fickle. Paired with his flamboyant golden hair, we're looking at fiery, animated, temperament.

Interested in seeing what The Donald would look like with a more natural skin tone? Buzzfeed's on it, and... it still doesn't quite look human....

Read more about the process of identifying the gold flame on FastCo.
(and don't forget to Vote November 8th).

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dressed with a Hint of Salt

ArtPrize 8 starts up in Grand Rapids next month, and honestly, I'm finding that each year is really just more of the same... large sculpture, even larger paintings, enormous recycled "piles" and even more enormous crowds. Which is why I'd love to see something like the "Salt Bride" show up in GR.

For this project, Israeli artist Sigalit Landau submerged a black gown in the salt-rich waters of the Dead Sea for two months. 
The artist checked in on the dress at various times to document the gradual crystallization process. After two months, the "Salt Bride" emerged, a glittering, magical masterpiece. 

The dress will be on display at London's Marlborough Contemporary for one more week. Which means, we'll have just missed it when we land in London in a couple weeks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Pokémon Shock

So, after having a half dozen people explain (and one demonstrate) exactly what this Pokémon Go business is, I think I finally understand. And while it's a neat use of technology and augmented reality, I just don't see myself getting hooked. But what do I know, I'm not a gamer*.
What I am hooked on, is the news surrounding this app. Car accidents? Robberies? Dead bodies?

This isn't the first time Pokémon has caused injury to its fans. Back in 1997, at the height of Pokémon popularity, an episode aired in Japan that sent nearly 700 children to the hospital.

The episode was call "Electric Soldier Porygon", and towards the end of the episode, Pikachu uses lightning to blow up some missiles. Animators illustrated this using a rapid strobing technique which flashed red-to-blue to make the explosion look virtual.

The flashing colors had immediate effects – children passed out, or experienced blurred vision. Some even suffered from seizures and temporary blindness. Most of the 685 children that were taken by to hospitals recovered quickly, but a few were diagnosed with epilepsy, triggered by the lighting effect.
"Pokémon Shock" was the result of a strobe lighting. 1 in 4000 people suffered from photosensitive seizures. And since over 4 million kids were watching the episode, the effects were vast. 

After this incident, Pokémon went off the air for 4 months to evaluate their animation techniques. The episode never aired in the US. 

Nintendo stock took a major hit. Unlike this week, when Pokémon Go has their stock rocketing up this week. (And small business are even turning the Pokémon Go fad into creative marketing opportunities.)

Want to see the "Pokémon Shock" clip? Do so at your own risk!

*Also, I've never seen an episode of Pokémon, so I'm still not entirely sure what a Pikachu is....

Friday, July 8, 2016

Burning Art

Danny Shervin from Jackson Hole, Wyoming is lighting the art scene on fire. Literally. 
He calls it Painting with Gunpowder, and basically designs pictures with gunpowder, and then lights it on fire. When the powder burns away you're left with a beautiful etched effect.

It's a process he stumbled upon while a student at the University of Montana. He "paints" primarily wildlife subjects, which he meticulously lays in powder before setting the scene ablaze. Check it out:

I'm curious as to what the paintings sounds like while it's burning. Does it Crackle? Does it Pop? (is it reminiscent to eating a bowl of Rice Krispies??) 

Since I know all you pyros out there are having post-July4th withdrawal, here's another one. 
You can see (and purchase) more of Shervin's work on his website,

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Good, Clean, Animal Fun

I love good clean fun. I also love animals. 
Recently at the LA Zoo, visitors were treated some little known facts about some of the zoo's animals. 
The elaborate prank was staged by comedian Jeff Wysaski (who goes by "Obvious Plant"). The comedian's has also been known to leave his own title recommendations at bookstores.
I love this kind of humor— no one was hurt, and a good laugh was had. And let's be honest, this probably got more social hits and buzz than any marketing or PR stunt coordinated by the zoo is likely too. That's the thing with marketing, sometimes you can't plan it, but if you're fortunate to capture some attention – embrace it!

I put this one down as a clever prank, worth a good chuckle, no reason to get upset. The signage looks pretty legit- though next time I think I'd shy away from using scotch tape!

Do you also love animal facts? Check out Sad Animals Facts on Instagram. These (true) doodles will intrigue and devastate you. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Little Gert, Big Deal

Three local historians spoke at the Grand Rapids Public Library as part of an Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council event last month—profiling the Berkey & Gay factory girls and the first woman on the Kent County Commission, Grace Ames Van Hoesen. 

The third speaker, Drew Damron, a local librarian, historian and cartoonist, spoke about Gertrude Van Houten, one of the first female cartoonists in the nation–and the first to cartoon for a local audience. 

I had never heard of "Gert", but I figured I would be able to Google her when I got home and find a whole history and archive of her work. But, wow, the only information available seems to be as it relates to Drew Damron and June's speaker event. Looks like Damron may have a market for some very niche Grand Rapids history.* 

Here's what I learned about Gert. Gertrude Van Houten started work at The Grand Rapids Press in 1917 and quickly became a local celebrity. Her work often appeared on the front page of the paper and touched on a broad range of local, societal, and political topics. 

In the corner of every cartoon, Gert added "Little Gert", who often added a punchline or quip to the frame. The mark became well known locally and the character was later used to endorse retail products.  

Grand Rapids Press – 10/31/1918

During World War I, Gert was sent to Washington DC to draw on location and to keep Grand Rapids informed of wartime developments. After returning to Grand Rapids, she worked at The Chronicle, owned by George Walsh, and later began a career in advertising and fashion illustration. 

The Interpreter - 1970s

Gert's other local claim to acclaim, is designing (not sculpting) the John Ball statue at the John Ball Zoo entrance. For this design, she was paid $20 (in the 1920s... about $250 today).

Eventually, Gert left Michigan, living in New York and California for a time before returning to Grand Rapids in 1970 at the age of 80 and once again, working for George Walsh at The Interpreter.

I hope Damron continues to explore Gert's life and someday offers Grand Rapids a more extensive retrospective. Without his curiosity, this amazing career may have been lost to the archives.

*Damron does currently have a booklet on Gert available for purchase.