Monday, December 17, 2012

Please Proceed to the Highlighted Route

I just got back from a visit to Motivational Systems to check out the progress for the Way Finding monument signs.  For those of you who don't know about this project you can visit the past blog post here: 

Panels were being treated with chemicals to achieve a rusted patina finish.  Bob Charette of Motivational Systems was there to meet me.  He was thankful he took advantage of last weeks rain.  He placed the steel pieces outside for a good rain pelting.  Mother nature helped achieve a beautiful finish evenly on the already chemically coated steel. Yes, you have to have the chemical on first, then the rain helps.  I can see that Bob is in that zone of creation when any slight deviation can keep you up at night.

The 3-sided monument sign was erected and waiting for me in the fabrication shop. Bob said my eyes got huge when I saw it for the first time this morning. It was larger than I thought it would be.  It is going to be so perfect when it is installed hopefully this week.  I know it will demand attention.  

Please proceed to the highlighted route.

Historic Main Street Buckeye, Arizona

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Legend of the Lost Forts

Pincushion Cacti, Lara Serbin, Iphone, Apple

It's getting cold in Estrella Mountain, Goodyear, Arizona.  There are a couple of red berries left on the pincushion cacti and the native trees are dusty sage green among brownish black mountain.  It is a good time to head for the hills.  I was in my studio of creativity doing my thing when Hannah, Eva and Lily asked me to go on a hike with them. It was late afternoon and the shadows were extreme.  They wanted to take me to their desert forts so we packed water bottles, laced up hiking boots and filled Ziplocs with tons of cheesy crackers. 

Fort II, Lara Serbin, Iphone, Apple

There were three forts on the agenda.  The first was close to home so it was a bit lame.  The four of us were all touching shoulders standing on this gravel slippery slope under a a bramble of a Palo Verde and Eva pronounces, "This is the fort!"  Out of my peripheral vision I saw a striped tail.  Tiger and Penny the cats had followed us.  Penny is easy to spot being solid jet black.  Tiger on the other hand looks like a miniature mountain lion with eyeliner that is always perfect. Pretty much all Tiger does is sneak up on things.  There was nowhere to sit so we moved on. I let them lead me.

The second fort was a switching station of one main artery wash and smaller ones bleeding off.  There were different stages of Palo Verde hanging over us some dead and gray but mostly daiquiri green.  It was a cool stone room with a web of green above.  It was pretty genius but too close to the road.  It had armored rock sides with an easy slope to lean back on.  Just as I was getting comfortable, we were departing.

Decaying saguaro, Lara Serbin, Iphone, Apple

The third fort was over the ridge and had been abandoned for some time.   There were artifacts at this one.  A tiny plastic hand sanitizer bottle, a broken wooden foot stool with a heart cut out, and a wooden swing hanging from a tree.  Penny found the Powder Room immediately.  Tiger copied Penny.  It was obvious where the play stove top was with a carefully placed row of crescent shaped rock pile.  I hiked up further to see the sun glow off the ribs of a decaying saguaro.  

We wanted one last adventure before the sun went down so we hiked to the summit above.  Lily was lead as usual and proceeded to fly up the mountain. 

On the shadow side of the Estrella Mountains, Lara Serbin, Iphone, Apple

At this point I made the mistake of looking down and the parent switch was flipped to ON.  I rallied the troops and commanded them to take baby steps.  Really, it was me who needed to chill.  As we trekked down the boulders for safer ground, Lily proclaimed she had to GO.  I said just go behind that big vertical boulder, "It is the perfect place!"

Lily hiked carefully over the rugged boulders commanding us to not watch, "Don't even look over here!"  We were patiently waiting when Tiger stealthily hopped gracefully over the pathless slope to the high vertical perch that was shielding Lily completely from view.  Tiger sat on the apex with her paws perfect and close together and her tail switching in curiosity. She lowered her owl like eyes at Lily doing her business and asked, "So, what are you doing?"

Lily popped up and wanted to be annoyed but couldn't pull it off. We all laughed on top of a monster pile of rock.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

That's Totally Cool and Hot

Color fascinates me.  When I play with color I feel like it is one of my core purposes for living.  I feel especially cool and hot when I wear turquoise and red together.  

Words for AQUA BLUE.

Words for RED.

Mix Aqua and Red on this porch door and see what kind of charm it adds to the old wood floor.  It also helps that the air smells of fresh roasted coffee and they sell chia seeds in bulk.  Who knew?

Standing on a granite boulder today.

My eyes do a dance when I see Heat Miser and Snow Miser

It's the cool mixed with hot concept that makes this color combination so interesting for the eye.  OH GREAT...Why did I do it! Now I have that everlasting tune in my head!  I just bought these Ozonesocks in Old Town Glendale yesterday.  Oh, now you want the mary janes.

The red against the blue sky is striking.  Try to imagine an olive green blimp.  It would have a totally different effect. You would think we were being invaded or something?!

PREMIEREVISION featured in View Textile Magazine Issue 84

The red hair bends towards orange so we are dealing with complimentary colors. The blue eyes look bluer against her cool skin tone and Raggedy Ann hair.  Pretty.

Plateau, Land and Peoples of the Colorado Plateau, Summer 2000, page 37, Rio Grande 1950. 

John Wayne gets it done. Don't forget it!

Saturated Space is a new find for those of you who like color.

Would you wear this dress?  That's what I thought!

Plateau Journal, Land and Peoples of the Colorado Plateau, Summer 1997. Eugene Sekaquaptewa in his cornfield. Photo by Stephen Trimble. Special gift by Richard Shepherd.

Eugene totally has it going on! Does he know this? Go tell him.  Maybe Eugene likes red because he lives in a village on a Hopi mesa of northeast Arizona.  He wants a good crop of corn.  Those people living closer to the equator are more drawn to warm and/or bright colors. Color Symbolism & Trends, Leatrice Eiseman, page 128. 

He probably feels refreshed in that aqua camp shirt. As water is so necessary and precious to the preservation of life, humans are inexorably drawn to the lustrous surfaces because they are connected in "ancient memory" to bodies of shimmering water.  Color combination with luster is an irresistible lure.  Color Symbolism & Trends, Leatrice Eiseman, page 129.

But then Dad always said that blue stars were hotter than red stars.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Way Finding Signage for Buckeye

Today I am selecting font colors for Way Finding Signs for the Historic District in Buckeye, Arizona.  This project was first called to the attention of the Buckeye Main Street Coalition in February of this year.   Finally, they are being constructed by Motivational Systems Inc., a local signage company.

I want to make sure the font is more on the lighter side of things so it really reads against the dark rusted metal background.  We initially decided to go with the colors that make up the Town of Buckeye logo of pink, purple, blue and yellow.  It really works.

We selected materials such as contrasting rust stained steel in keeping with the look and feel of Buckeye.  The frames will be constructed with a rusted pipe steel and the panels will be made of a treated steel corrugated panel.  If you drive along MC85 you will see a patchwork of weathered building materials.  It is important to show there is progress with new construction but also a nod to the Buckeye heritage of using what you have on hand. 

Above is one of the many sun burnt weathered relics you will find along MC85 headed west.  

This is the former Eastman Cotton Gin that will continue to inspire future designs.  The best results come from up-cycled materials mixed with new when it comes to revitalization for Main Street Buckeye.

We incorporated aspects that we liked from the current welcome signage. The font is a standard for Down Town Buckeye.

Here is the final design that is being built. There will be 12 new monument and freestanding signs by the first of 2013 to help you navigate your way to Historic Buckeye.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pinky Promise

It was a dark and stormy night. I was beat and ready for bed as I roll tucked out of Lily's bunk and  she firmly commands me, "Mommy, I must have a toga for school tomorrow."  It was more firm than changing out batteries in her remote kind of tone.  She wanted to be ready for her third grade Greek party.  I sat back down on her bed and thought, "I have never made a toga!".  How hard could it be, I could just wrap her in a sheet.  Lily had jumped out of her bed and was putting on tights and her white tennis dress to be ready.  I was thinking of the gold leaf crown that seems very Greek. *did they really wear those?*  I didn't have silk green leaves or gold spray paint.  My mind was searching all my craft bin membrane for ideas. 

As my child was winding up with excitement and hope for a toga I remembered that I had gold metallic duck tape and pipe cleaners.  As I left her I looked at her and said, "I can't believe I am doing this." She quietly smiled as I was measuring her head with my sewing tape measure as she was trying to go to sleep. *her head is the same size as mine?*

I searched through the craft bins and pulled out wood clothes pins but that would be a pain to wrap with gold tape and too heavy.  I spotted the bag of egg carton cut ups that I almost threw away.  I took out my X-acto blade and just started cutting.  Did you ever realize how soft and easy it is to cut an egg crate? You should seriously try it with a fresh blade.

 I was done with the crown in 30 minutes!  I love when ideas come together easily using things on hand.  My little client was beaming in the morning!

I ended up making one for myself while Lily was at school and I had an order for another after I made an appearance at lunch.  This little girl in Lily's class asked so nicely that I couldn't say no.  She asked Lily if she could pinky promise that I would make her one.

Thanks to Ellie Marder I also had this 1960's killer necklace for the Toga Party - no I am not photo-shopping the diffuser out. I have sweet potatoes to go make. You are thinking how Greek my house looks...

So after I wore my crown all day *even to Costco* I bought every color of duck tape. Think of the possibilities...neon orange and turquoise crowns!  Lady Ga Ga will be calling!

Shoogey Doogey liked the pipe cleaners. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Makes You Creative

Yes, that is a paper clip box.  

Starting this model was not easy at all.  It took about three weeks to work myself up to breaking out the cardboard and coming up with 3 solid options.  If you know me by now, you know I hate 3 options too.  I can find every excuse not to start.

But deep down I know once I start I will feel so accomplished.
It's like laying a ultimatum on yourself, "If you don't start working on this cardboard gluing model project I will play One Direction on a loop!"  Work is life.  Work can be creative.  

All you need is a timer set to 15 minutes.  When I started this model I was stalling by throwing out socks that don't match.  At some point I set the timer for 15 minutes.  I tell myself that I have to work steady super focused for 15 minutes and when the timer dings I can do whatever I want for another 15 minutes. I continue this cycle until I reach the point when I want to keep working on my model.  When the timer is beeping and I want to throw a large stone at it so I can keep working I know I have arrived. 

Atget Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale Mission du Patriomoine Photographique Musee Carnavelet

In 15 minutes I found this shed roof on 21 Rue Mazarine, 1911 in the Quartier de la Monnaie. Not bad aye?  When you know you only have 15 minutes of intense focus, guess focus.  It is crazy how that works!  So I jumped on that idea and built a whole concept for a storefront from that little slice in a book.  

When my desk top gets like this... I really don't need a timer.  When you look at the clock and an hour has passed and it seemed like 10 minutes, you are in the creative zone. Easy.

Random cats are attracted to my desk when I am in the creative zone.

The metal shed canopy with the jagged edge is so Historic Buckeye.  I think this is going to work.


So c...c..come on!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Grain of Cardboard Can Work to Your Advantage

1. Drink strong tea out of a Tinkerbell mug.

Cutting cardboard with sharp blades started for me when I was about 9.  I have a past surrounded by tiny cardboard pieces and pools of glue.  I can remember cutting and gluing buildings out of boxes with no plan or specifications.  Seeing a big box still makes my heart sing! 

2. Spread the glue evenly with a brush.

I found this blue rigid insulation by Dow.  It was not easy getting this particular blue shade or trying to fit it in my car. The 8 foot long sheet was covered in a film of dirt after waiting centuries in some warehouse along McDowell Avenue in Phoenix.  It cuts really well if you have a hot wire cutter or a box cutter with a pack of sharp blades. You need to invest in X-acto when building a smart looking model.  

2. Use tape to secure the pattern before cutting.

It was a lengthy process of laminating chip board to the rigid insulation.  Some of it bowed out even though I pressed it with my heavy collection of books.

3. Press the laminated pieces under your most expensive books at least for 24 hours.

If you have a outdoor table with steel slats on the top it is a perfect place to laminate.  The slats will allow air to dry the pieces on both sides.  Even in this dry desert climate I saw some moisture STILL after 7 hours of drying with the laminations between a travertine floor and books on top.  Are you still reading this?

4. Model materials can be cut from any cardboard box lying around.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes.  There are countless things that went wrong with this model but I have to keep going. You can always rip it off and do it over, it's just cardboard.  Think of how the grain of the cardboard can work to your advantage.  If you are cutting out window mullions, cut against the grain so your vertical mullions don't collapse.  Two inch mullions at 1/2" scale is tricky to cut out.  My finger muscles are mad at me right now.  You know there are tons of muscles in your hand that are tensed when making a model?

5. Make sure you have plenty of sharp blades and change them out as soon as the tip cuts dull.

That blue thing I cut free form on the wire cutter.  I am super proud of it. It is supposed to be this huge cotton flower to be used as signage for signage.  Wire cutters are terrible for trying to cut straight lines in the rigid insulation. I ended up using my steel straight edge and the box cutter for straight lines.

6. If it is something small, go ahead and use a hot glue gun.

Hot glue guns are not recommended for laminating large pieces of board together for the simple reason that the glue dries in seconds. No time to spread it out with a toothbrush.  Hot glue gun is wonderful when you want something small to stick without fussing over the details. The storefront signage was glued with hot glue gun.  If only it was that easy in full scale!

7. Use only neutral colored building materials.

Paper bag brown, white, gray, white and sky blue are perfect for building models for architectural concepts.  The last thing you want your client to ask is "Is that the color you were thinking for the building?"  In the initial stages of design you want the client to stay conceptual with you.  I think my all time favorite is cardboard since it is so readily available.  You will be hard pressed to find light blue board in the last hour before your meeting.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meet and Greet

Left to right: Chris Wass, Ron Noble, Tony Youngker, Brian McAchran, Jay Broadbent and Cheryl Sedig has the really nice job.  I really was there but holding the Iphone.

Jack a 9 year old neighbor of mine just knocked yesterday to see if my girls wanted to go ride bikes.  This is another sign for amazing things that keep coming my way.   My street has been very quiet since some families moved out and houses have been vacant.  Seeing his inquiring big blue eyes filled me with hope of how I used to ride my bike with my friends at that age until the sun went down.  I got on my pink Muran mountain bike and Jack and I headed out to find my girls.  I rode standing on my pedals with my black Babolat tennis shoes and my t-shirt that says "Estrella Elementary Rocks" feeling full of myself.  My girls had already taken their bikes out of the garage and were somewhere between the rise and fall of the our mountain neighborhood.  Kids were outside riding bikes!  Somebody pinch me now!

Just an hour before Jack came to my door I was involved in a high energy, life-giving type of meet and greet at Cafe 25:35 in Downtown Buckeye.   

The Main Street Coalition which I have been a part of for the last 2 years were meeting with a group of big thinkers that have developed massively exciting plans for Historic Buckeye.  This is just evidence of what I had been talking about weeks ago during the presentation of the Design Initiatives for Down Town Buckeye.  I had finished the talk by saying that we want to attract the best of the best so we can play out bigger ideas on a grand scale.  Well here is evidence of this desire filling in.

I am still taking it all in right now.  It is like someone read my mind, made it 100 times better and did all the work.  It is really an exciting time to be living on this mountain and being an architect.  To think that Buckeye Main Street will be involved with what I saw just a glimpse of yesterday is exciting!   I am in the right place at the right time.  I am ready.

Thank you to Tony Youngker owner of Cafe 25:35  for providing great food and drinks yesterday.  If you can, stop by this up-cycled 1950's brick building on Buckeye Main Street for a BLT.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Keep Cover Tight Disconnect Circuit Before Opening

Chime with a deep gong sound.  Made from a tank and bus signage.  Pure Buckeye ingenuity.

It is easy to feel good when I am here at Jackrabbit Nursery in Buckeye, Arizona.  There is a smallish black cat that doesn't have a name and a peacock that wanders around spying on customers.  This was a basic kind of day.  No meetings and no real agenda.  Basic like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and making chicken soup from scratch.

I hope these roosters didn't hear the part about chicken soup.    When they did take a break from eating, they would throw back their head and hack up a "cack ah cawww" without any care in the world.  They  didn't give a rip. 

Simple structures sitting under shade trees are the gems in Buckeye.  The owners of the Jackrabbit Nursery didn't care that my children were scampering around their farm without my supervision at all times.  We were free to explore.  There were horses to pet, a pot belly pig sitting in the shade and lots of cacti for sale. You can see pig on the left above.  

No nursery in Buckeye is complete without some old gas pumps sitting around.  Keep cover tight disconnect circuit before opening.  The colors on this photo could make for a nice color palette someday.

Action photo of me carrying my keys. The fun really started when I put my keys in my bag and just watched the roosters.  It is fun to take a photos of different vantage points. 

Look at the layers in this photo.  The rusted post and beam framing the sky.  The building in the background framing the Estrella Mountains.  The cacti were being watered and my kids were petting horses with covers over their eyes.

A splash of turquoise on the sun bleached wood shed.  

This is the weird part.  When I got back to my studio I felt like I had been to the Jackrabbit at this exact time last year.  Today is my daughter Eva's birthday.  I found myself leafing through my chase bank notes from last year in October.  Sure enough, I had taken my girls to this same place last October 24th in 2011 on Eva's birthday and bought one plant.  It is like the admission to wander around the place and pet everything. The black cat was a kitten and the owner had just found her.  I am pretty sure that I made chicken soup that day too.