design squish blog

One of my my favorite drawings by Carson Ellis, artist from Portland, Oregon.

January 06, 2009


design squish blog

I like finding pine cones in the forest. It is fun to observe them, study them,  bring them home - put the on shelves and tables or use them as Christmas tree decorations.  These ceramic pine cones by Coe&Waito are a real masterpiece. “Each porcelain pine cone is meticulously hand sculpted capturing the intricate beauty of natural specimens” Ceramics pine cones available are black pine cone, white sprice cone, red pine cone and white pine cone.



Manny Howard wrote a story which I read in New York Times called My Empire of Dirt in which he describes how he attepted to live off the land of his own backyard in the city of New York for one month. 
He made a plan of where and what kind of vegetables and greens he will plant and what kind of animals he will grow in his 800 square feet backyard:

A cucumbers, cantaloupes, peppers, heirloom tomatoes.
B Rabbit feed, chicken feed, six rabbit hutches, a slaughter station, a refrigerator, and four egg-laying coops.
C 1.Tomatoes, beets, celery, yellow squash, purple eggplant, a fig tree. 2 Collard greens, cucumbers, and callaloo. 3 Cabbage, eggplant, rhubarb, leeks, garlic, onions, fennel, rosemary, thyme, and mint. 4 Corn, broad beans, basil, bok choy, and parsley.
D A duck coop, a duck pond, and two wayward rabbit hutches.
E A high-rise high-capacity chicken coop.
F The potato crop: a raised bed technically known as a “drill.”


Whatever came out of this project you can read here:  My Empire of Dirt.  I am going to ruin it for you: it did not end well.  To live off the land one needs a much bigger backyard, maybe not in the city and maybe more the size of a real farm. Also, one needs to know well how to take care of plants well.  I think to grow additional food for your meal, like tomatoes, strawberries,peas or chives is good in the city, but not a whole meal. Chicken are also possible to grow in the city but for such clustered city like New York, maybe quails since they are smaller?


January 01, 2009


albert durer drawing, botanic illustration

Ancolie (Aquilegia vulgaris L.)
Albercht Durer

36cm X 29 cm,1503-1533

durer piece of turf

The Great Piece of Turf
Albrecht Durer
41 x 32 cm


December 23, 2008


tree art

tree sculpture

This is a sculpture by Johannes Vanderbeek who lives and works in New York and
is represented by Zach Fueuer Gallery. (images taken from Zack Fueuer Gallery).  I believe this tree’s leaves are made out of metal and wax.  Looks very natural from far away but leaves are shiny and have small portions of unnatural blue pigment when looked at closely. 



design squish blog

design squish blog

Brie Harrison is a printed textile designer living and working in London.  I love her patterns inspired by nature, traveling and children’s books.



Recently I found an old book by Konstantin Paustovsky called Stories and Tales About Forests.  The stories are short, meaningful and sincere;  filled with long descriptions of the morning dew in the forest, first snow or pine trees scent.  The stories have this utopian idealism, kindness, sensitivity and and unity with the world which can be found in some soviet movies, ideas and literature.  I wish I could translate some stories into English but the only one I found is in Russian.  It is called A Farewell to Summer and it is about going to sleep, waking up and finding all the world covered in snow out of the window. 

design squish blog
To read a full text version of A Farewell to Summer in Russian:


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design squish blog, tree picture

photograph of trees in the forest covered with snowflakes

Taken by Adrien Casey in Massachusetts, near where he lives.

December 20, 2008


rabbits in the snow

This photograph is by Andrea Galvani.  Andrea Galvani was born in Verona, Italy in 1973. He lives and works in Milan and New York.
It looks like the rabbits were relocated to the North Pole or are trying survive Ice Age.  I think this photograph can be about global warming and mass extinction. 

December 19, 2008


design squish blog

Above: Monk Parakeets in the Snow

Brooklyn parrots are wild Monk Parakeets (or Quaker Parrots) native to the temperate to subtropical areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries.  The Monk Parakeet is globally very common as a pet.
There are many theories about why these parrots live in Brooklyn - from sinking ships, overturned trucks;  Hurricane Gloria in the mid-1980s.  The theory with the greatest credence among ornithologists is that a shipment of parrots destined for sale at New York area pet shops was accidentally released at Kennedy Airport in the late 1960’s . Anyway, there are lots of Quaker Parrots living in Brooklyn and for some strange reason they love it here. Maybe because the pizza crumbs are so good.  Or the art scene.  Actually, the reason these tropical parrots can survive cold winters in New York City is because they build giant commune nests in which about 10 - 15 parrots can fit in and warm each other during these winter months. 
There is a blog dedicated to Brooklyn Parrots: illustrating parrot life. You can even take a free Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari in Brooklyn College.
Steve, the founder of Brooklyn Parrots website and blog, believes that Brooklyn parrots are not an evil “invasive species” but a welcome replacement for the Carolina Parakeet, hunted to extinction almost a century ago.  ” The last wild specimen of Carolina Parakeet was killed in Okeechobee County in Florida in 1904, and the last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo on February 21, 1918” -wiki. I agree with him Steve .
design squish blog
* Above: extinct Carolina Parakeet

December 17, 2008


cornell library of ornithology bird nest illustration
macaluay library

Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell Library of Ornithology is surrounded by Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary that is teaming with birds and plants.  More than four miles of trails wind through a variety of habitats used by birds and other wildlife. The library itself has one of the world’s largest repository of wildlife sound recordings, contains over 160,000 individual recordings representing more than 50% of the world’s bird species. When you walk into the library you see giant books of beautiful old life-size illustrations of birds, photographs of birds and long aisles on books about birds.  Cornell Library of Ornithology is an amazing place to visit.

December 14, 2008


I love short stories by russian author Sergei Kozlov.  This story is called Good Elephant (I am sorry about translation. It was translated through Babelfish). On snow covered cold February,  Hedgehog has been trying to heat the furnace for days and nevertheless he could not get up in the morning -  it was that cold in the house. “Is this a punishment? “- muttered hedgehog, putting paws into the felt boots and getting up from the bed. - Another week and I will burn all the firewood I have and freeze! ” Hedgehog shuffled burned wood, moved aside shutter and started new fire. Hedgehog started thinking about his disastrous position. “Forest is completely covered with snow”- he thought - “All the small trees are under the snow and I cannot cut down a big tree. “It would be nice if Bear came over.  He has a sharp saw and special sleds to carry firewood.  Donkey and Bear would come and say:“Hedgehog, probably you have no more firewood? Let’s go collect more! ” Hedgehog thought:  I would make them tea.. But now… Bear is probably asleep and does not even think about me… ” Hedgehog became so sad, that he tossed up two additional firewood and began to look at the flame without thinking. Furnace was burning, the house became very warm, and hedgehog no longer believed that firewood can end and that he might freeze. ” Hedgehog started dreaming: “Firewood will end and I will begin to freeze.  The elephant in the zoo will find out about this and he will come running into the forest, find my house, insert his trunk into the chimney and instantly it will become warmer from his breath. I will say: ” Thanks, elephant for giving me your heat.  Now go warm up my friend Bear - he probably also has no more firewood… Elephant will run away from the zoo each night and breathe into my chimney, and my friend Bear’s too, so we would not freeze”.  While Hedgehog was dreaming of this, the frost, wind and cold grew harsher. Hedgehog’s firewood soon entirely ended. For the last time he warmed up the house very well, piled up all the blankets on his bed, put on a wool coat and felt boots. Then, he climbed under his blanket mountain and began to wait. First it was hot, and then, when furnace cooled, it became very cold. With each hour it became increasingly colder. ” I w-w-wiish elephant would come here f-f-f-aster-r-r ! - whispered Hedgehog, rolled as a bagel under his blankets. Frozen Hedgehog could not even whisper anymore because of cold but the elephant still did not come… - Elephant-t-t! - called Hedgehog. - I am f-f—freezing… ar-r-rive, p-p-p-lease, elephant! Hedgehog called elephant three days and two nights. But on third night he became warmer. So warm that he even took off his wool coat and felt boots. This is because the cold finally started leaving. To Hedgehog, it seemed as though an enormous elephant has been walking between pine trees and breathing into his chimney.

designsquishblog, design squish blog, hedgehog

December 11, 2008


angel of progress

I love this drawing by JEANA SOHN.  It reminds me of Walter Benjamin’s Angel of Progress. “A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing in from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such a violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”


December 10, 2008


wild horse

This photograph is from Tema Stauffer‘s American Stills.  Tema Stauffer is a photographer based in Brooklyn.  Tema teaches at The School of the International Center of Photography.  I wish horses run around like this all the time. Lots and lots of beautiful white horses. Everywhere.

December 08, 2008


design squish blog, brooklyn botanic garden gallery

design squish blog, scientific illustration

New show at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden by The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society, country’s most accomplished botanical artists. So absolutely beautiful!

December 05, 2008


design squish blog, surfers, seals, tiny peopledesign squish blog, village landscape, civilization v.s nature

One of my favorite online galleries, Humble Arts Foundation featured photographs of Angie Smith.  I instantly fell in love with her artwork.  Angie’s photographs remind me of Chinese ink landscape paintings where a person is the size of a small ant lost in between giant mountains, fields and forest. In these photographs, civilization, humans, society is in the conflict with nature, elements and gravity. 

December 03, 2008


walton ford

walton ford

Walton Ford’s paintings are “as much a tutorial in flora and fauna as it is as a scathing indictment of the wrongs committed by nineteenth-century industrialists or, locating the work in the present, contemporary American consumer society” 

December 01, 2008


algae fuel cells

Algae fuel is a biofuel from algae. Algae can produce more oil in an area the size of a two-car garage than a football field of soybeans.  Algal fuel does not impact fresh water resources, and can use wastewater or even saltwater.  With increasing oil prices, competing demands between foods and other biofuel sources and the food crisis, there is much interest in farming algae.  (Bill Gates already invested, how about you ? ) The United States Department of Energy states that if algae fuel replaced all the petroleum fuel in the United States, it would require 15,000 square miles (40,000 square kilometers), which is a few thousand square miles larger than Maryland, or 1.3 Belgiums. This is less than 1/7th the area of corn harvested in the United States in 2000.

November 21, 2008


american persimmonplant american persimmon

  The Persimmon originated in China and is cultivated in different parts of the world.  It turns out that the American Persimmon variety s native to the eastern United States.  Apparently it grows from New England to Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The tree has been cultivated for its fruit and wood since prehistoric times by Native Americans, although American Persimmon is still fairly common wild in some areas. Although, in many regions the species is becoming scarce these days.  NatureServe lists Diospyros virginiana (American Persimmon) as Critically-Imperiled in Connecticut and Iowa, and Imperiled in New York. Officially the species is listed as Threatened in New Jersey and of Special Concern in Connecticut.
See distribution map.
I suggest planting a persimmon tree. 

November 20, 2008


charley harper, bird in the snow

Isn’t it amazing how everybody can send greeting cards through internet nowadays?  This artwork is by CHARLEY HARPER.  Happy fall and winter season!

- Ana

November 19, 2008


moss as home plantimage

This is a large terranium that has slow growing moss and tiny ceramic mushrooms in it. The mushrooms are crafted by Mudpuppy. These mushrooms are adorable!
  Terranium requires very little care, just leave it in a room with bright indirect sunlight. Water every 2-3 weeks and whatever you do don’t over water! This little jar will take care of itself. - MadebyMavis  I never thought of growing moss as an inside plant but now that I think of it is a great idea. I love moss.  It is nice to find large flat beds of moss on the forest floor and take a nap on.  I heard you can put moss in the freezer and nothing will happen to it - you can replant it whenever you want.

November 18, 2008


beautiful forest

Forest is so nice…


October 17, 2008


sustainable art

nature illustration

Diana Sudyka’s watercolors are amazing.  A lot of her drawings and watercolors are of birds and animals. She makes high quality, limited edition archival inkjet prints of her works on sustainable, archival, bamboo paper. 

September 10, 2008


design squish blog

I like this drawing of New York trees by Katie Holten.  Just in case to let you know, there are not a lot of trees in New York City, so these are probably from New York state. Katie Holten was born in Dublin and curreltly lives and works in New York. Katie makes drawings, installations, sculptures and public art projects which are focused on the relationship between the individual and her environment.

July 15, 2008


kako ueda, design squish blog

Kako Ueda is one of my favorite artists that composes extremely detailed and intricate artwork by cutting paper.  Craft of composing images by cutting paper exists in many cultures, especially Japan, where Kako Ueda is from.  Kako is interested in organic beings such as animals, plants, people, insects and how they are modified by culture.  In Kako Ueda’s cutouts I see outlines of flowers and organic shapes that belong to cultures and subcultures of different time periods - tattoos, deers, skulls, as well as Art Deco flower patterns, flowers executed in Victorian style. 

kako ueda, design squish blog

December 04, 2007


Saved by the Sun is an educational film/program that probes how innovative technologies, new business models, increasing financial incentives, and a growing grassroots commitment to solving the climate crisis are driving a renaissance in solar energy around the world. The film is about an hour long and is divided into six chapters.  For ex, chapter four is about Germany’s renewable energy through financial incentives.
Watch Saved by the Sun here:  Saved by the Sun
Watch chapter four of the film by clicking the image below:

design squish blog

December 01, 2007


oak drawing

weeping willow drawing

tree drawing

Tim Knowles makes drawings by making trees do all the drawing….Drawings are produced by attaching drawing implements to the tips of tree branches so
the wind’s effects on the tree get recorded on paper.  It is amazing how each drawing is different.  Each tree reveals its different qualities and characteristics through the drawing.  Willow’s drawing is soft and with a lot of spider-web looking lines. Pine’s drawing has sharp angles and points.  It is interesting how “willow drawing” means not only somebody’s drawing of a willow but a drawing done by a willow. Hahahahaa….


June 17, 2007


caravay, design squish blog

caravay, design squish blog

Caraway is a biennial plant native to western Asia, Europe and Northern Africa. Caravay grows on meadows, field edges, dry valleys, floodland meadows as well as weed around house dwellings. Seed-resembling fruits are usually used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread. Although rye flour is naturally more dense than wheat flour, there is a theory that seeded rye bread is even more dense because the limonene from the caraway fruits has yeast-killing properties.  Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, curry and other foods.

caravay, design squish blog

April 12, 2006

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