1 DEBORAH ATKINSON'S SNOWCATCHER CROCHETED SNOWFLAKE PATTERN DIRECTORY Often the most compelling personal websites exist on account of the author's pure love for the given content. Such is the case with Atkinson's remarkable archive of crocheted snowflakes, which contains hundreds of pieces, each cleverly titled. Her collection also happens to reflect some of my favorite interests: winter, labor-intensive handwork, and gift art (A Snowflake for Lisa, A Snowflake for Susan, etc.). There is even a snowflake titled Columbine Mine Snowflake--or, really, A Snowflake for Bunny.
2 BRIGID MASON, SALIDADES (OUR CHAIR IS THE SAME), 2009 In this careful, multilayered painting, two chairs appear interwoven at the seat. Graying and otherwise isolated, empty though as if weighted by secrets, they feel bound by trauma. In Mason's work, the chair is a recurring symbol, a special sign drawn from her personal language of images. Like a wilted bouquet of flowers, the chairs in Saudades (Portuguese for "a state of deep, melancholic longing") seem almost frozen in death. Mason's barely saturated palette is the only perceptible sign of life.
3 JELLYNEO'S NEOPETS ITEM DATABASE Neopets are adoptable virtual animals that populate the online universe of Neopia. This user-created resource for cataloguing and searching the thousands of Neopet items in circulation provides the skeleton of an alternate community I belonged to as a young girl. It contains pages for "black roses" and "ghostkerchiefs," among other materials that have appeared in my work, as well as parts dedicated to my favorite Neopian villainess, the Shadow Usul. Jellyneo's database continues to be a source of inspiration for me and allows me to maintain a comfortable level of involvement with a website that for years was my reality.
4 JERRY SPINELLI, WRINGER (HARPERCOLLINS, 1997) [his novel portrays the special kind of empathy I had for animals during my child-hood--a time when I did not second-guess my ability to converse with them, telepathically or otherwise, and did not doubt their sensitivity. In Wringer, Spinelli explores the nature of relationships we form with nonhuman creatures when we see the environment as an extension of ourselves--when we see our face in all things and understand the ways in which our ties to animal "friends" mutate or wither as we age.
5 FILIP OLSZEWSKI'S MIDI FILES With a sizable track list of MIDI compositions all executed with an incomparable level of perfectionism, this humble web page is a hidden gem. The digital covers, which include obscure tracks by David Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti and Czechoslovakian band Modus, are dark and woeful. Olszewski pays homage to MIDI composers of a pre-Internet past but with his own distinctly contemporary voice.
6 TARJEI VESAAS, THE ICE PALACE (OWEN, 1965) When I was ten years old, I moved to New York from Texas, leaving behind my best girlfriend of three years. This marked a set of idyllic shared experiences and feelings, which I understood as unique and irreproducible. Norwegian poet and novelist Vesaas's Ice Palace acknowledges the entire life span of loss (individual and communal), making for a devastating, relatable corning-of-age story, notable to me for its slow pacing as well as its piercing description of sisterly adoration and first love.
7 ROSALIA ZELMA, PUGALO (THE SCARECROW, 1990) In this stunning animated short, a lonely scarecrow finds fleeting love in the paws of a white hare. Sadly, the long-eared beauty's affections hop elsewhere, in search of a suitor with deeper patchwork pockets ... filled with carrots.
8 MOKUBA NEW YORK Supplying the highest-quality trimmings, from tie-dyed velvet ribbons to multiple rows of heart-achingly perfect laces, Mokuba is a magical place. Its retail store, located in New York's garment district, features stock that changes seasonally, including a variety of sparkling designs made with threads of "real sterling silver."
9 CARSON MCCULLERS, THE HEART ISA LONELY HUNTER (HOUGHTON MIFFLIN, 1940) McCullers's novel features several protagonists, but I am particularly drawn to the character of Biff Brannon--a quiet yet conflicted man defined as much by his incessant observation of the regulars and drifters who come into his cafe as by his general fogginess. He is riddled with mental lapses, which the author implies are driven by pedophiliac desires. Brannon, however, resists acknowledging these unacceptable leanings; resolution requires embracing the truth, however painful. This sense of honesty at all costs resonates with my own practice.
10 DALLIE MIESSNER AND WALTER PFEIFER, THE PRECIOUS MOMENTS STORY, COLLECTORS' EDITION (1986) First circulated in 1975, Sam Butcher's illustrations of teardrop-eyed children gained popularity in the years that followed and soon became the basis of an international empire. This "collectors' edition" story chronicles the beginnings of the Precious Moments journey, with full-page color photographs of the early porcelain figurines that Butcher based on his family and friends. Featuring a chapter dedicated to porcelain production in the Philippines and sprinklings of arcane trivia, this book is as strange as it is covetable.
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2014|
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