Category Archives: Visual Literacy

Instagrammar 7.


It went fast.


Paris! 1914!


Consider me ever-late to the party. You’ve probably seen these before because, thanks to the internet, there is no new thing- just a rehash of the old. I admit that I’m not often swayed by the “Frenchness” of things. Yes, your macarons are pretty and taste splendidly of delicate almonds! Yes, your soap is milled and smells splendidly of delicate almonds! You still use butter and you still smoke cigarettes. Hurrah, countrymen. Yet, the “…but it’s french!” argument doesn’t get too far with this old bear. However, I dare you to imagine a place of long-ago that, when photographed in autochrome, would look- nay! could look- any more magical and ethereal than fin de siècle (+14)  Paris, France and its immediate surrounds.

Leading off with that photograph is almost unfair. You cannot argue against it. Sure, you can still pay a visit to the Grand Palais and see a spectacular, memorable exhibition but these photographs are time travel; they fudge the line between past and present. What I’ve learned from studying and working with historical buildings and documents is that “ago” was not far and away. “Ago” is just a slight variation of “now”. Understanding and embracing that continuity is as close to a time machine as I can get.




(For more photographs, visit

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Instagrammar 4

The other day, while I was walking the dog, I struck upon a better title for this segment than “Instagrammar”. But I’ve since forgotten it. So, “Instagrammar” it is for now.


This edition, much like last edition, features dogs, jewelry, my studio, Dave, some unabashed showing of self, and Kelly’s cats. It also features Swan Point Cemetery- resting place of HP Lovecraft as it looked after the yearly brunch at Chez Pascal and a the world’s most beautiful weeping doll from this summer’s trip to the International Folk Art Museum. I deleted a lot of photos from my phone to clear out room on my memory card. In hindsight, this was a mistake. Sad face.

Unsolicited New Year’s Advice (with Infographic)(and Disclaimers)

Another year, another infographic. This year, instead of “Archival Resolutions”, it’s the Fixer’s Manifesto– a thing that you can be sure warms my heart (or what little, functioning parts of it remain.)


I had some larger designs to “get work done” but, the inevitable occurred and I am currently, quietly, fighting off some kind of winter-time illness. My nose has dried up but now my body feels tired and my jaw hurts from the one or more times when I sneezed too hard. Between work and home, I was the only one who wasn’t sick last week so… no surprises here. Sadly.

I’m feeling super-jazzed for With Care work and like I should be constantly in a blissful warp of motion. In reality, I am just doing a lot of thinking. That’s important too, right?

Right now, just for funsies, I’m trying to think of some tips and tricks that I discovered over the past year to pass onto you- in hopes of a better current year. But, the turn of the year fills me with the idea that troubles can be solved strictly through commerce and smart purchasing/stocking up (this year it’s: eye exam/sun glasses/bras). So, all of my ideas are revolving around items, which seems shallow, but, lemme tell you, I couldn’t live without my:

ONE! Technical wool socks (but hand knit wool socks would work too, I bet.) I’m not a sock wearer for as much of the year as I can justify it but, when I am, there has yet to be anything that matches the coziness, comfort, and longevity of my fancy-socks-for-jocks. Yes, they are pricey, but I can wear a pair for about a week straight without any terrible smells or uncomfortable stretching. Uh. Don’t tell anyone I said that.

TWO! I wear my socks everyday for a week so it was inevitable that I would get into perfume. Just kidding! I joke! I actually got into the idea of perfume when I  found out about all the weird and gross things that used to/still get put into it (Thanks, Worn Fashion Journal!)(Even though your new format is T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E.) So, yeah, gross stuff goes in, every person’s individual body makes these things smell different, and perfume, most surprisingly, DOESN’T have to make you smell like you’ve spent an hour in a middle school girls’ locker room. Then, someone tipped me off to scents by Captain Blankenship and I was like, “Okay. I can do this.” The fun thing is seeing how the scent reacts on different days or on different body parts. I have one perfume that I particularly like to spritz in my pits because the “spiciness” of that region balances out the sweetness of the vanilla in it and BOOM, suddenly, I’m the best smelling jerk in the room. Uh. Don’t tell anyone that I said that.

THREE! Continuing on the gross-trifecta, I also ceased washing my face this year. Not forever. Not always. I do still pop out that bar of Dr. Bronner’s when things get rough or sticky. But, morning, night, and sometimes in between, I’ve switched to giving myself a reviving swipe of unfiltered witch hazel. I have pretty dry skin that tends towards looking red and doesn’t hold moisture in very well. But this method has helped that 150%! I’m never going to have soft, poreless-vampire-style skin but, dang! witch hazel followed by some mid-level moisture thing ($16 range. SPF for the daytime. Something heavier at night.) is really being kind to me. So, you can tell folks that I told you about this one but, you may wish to experiment on your own particular person, first. Just in case.

So, happy new year, friends. I’m going to recuperate while watching “The Birds” and thinking about which boxes I should buy. I’m a damn queen of multitasking.

“I was on Familiar Terms with the Spirits.”

I have been kind of contrary about Halloween this year*. Normally, as many sane children and grown-children in North America do, I await the month of October with baited breath and full batteries, ready to charge head-first into the swell of the season. More orange. More candy. More spice. More whiskey.

But this year, I will gladly engage with things from the floor of my studio (newly cleaned and cleared.)

Also, since alchemy and the occult are making such a strong aesthetic play these past few years, Halloween can be, indeed, everyday… particularly if you spend all day on the internet. I’m certainly not against it but I am a little surprised to see this trend go by without a nod to a favorite (and hefty!) book in my collection: The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult. Published by the Yale Press, it is the catalog of an exhibit of the same name held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005. I wandered into it while there to write a paper on the concurrent Van Gogh show. This exhibit, though small, was much more interesting and, before I really could stop my head from spinning, I had shelled out nearly $70 on the hard-cover companion.

by William Mumler, 1870-79. 2 photographs of Boston medium Fanny Conant and 1 photograph of a spirit appearing next to a photograph of an absent client.

by Edouard Isidore Buguet, 1875. Clockwise from top left: “Spirit of Paganini”/ “Skull of Altotas and his representative”/ “Mediumnic attraction”/”Fuidic effect”

by Theodore Prinz, 1900. A ghost.

by Jacob von Narkiewicz-Jodko, 1896. “Effluvia from an electrified hand resting on a photographic plate.”

by Ted Serios, 1967 (?). Thoughtography.

by Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, 1912. The Medium Eva C. with apparition.

both photos by Albert von Schrenck-Notzig, 1913. The medium Stanislawa P. emitting and reabsorbing ectoplasm through mouth.

by Anonymous, 1938. Medium Colin Evans levitating in darkness. Taken with infred camera.

by The Society for Research on Rapport and Telekinesis, 1966-67. Levitation of a doll and small table, printed in 1979 from original negatives.


*Edit: 10/30/12 When I wrote this a few days ago, my nature was getting the best of me. As of today, after 36 hours of desperately checking the news, facebook, and instagram, I declare that there will be no Halloween for me this year. Hurricane/Storm/Whatever Sandy took an extreme toll to my hometown and its surrounding areas with very little of the extent of the devastation currently calculated. Entire areas that I love have been washed into the sea and, even though being would not have helped, I feel all the more helpless being far away and unaffected. Never keep your heart in a place made of old signs and industrial staples.

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I take back most of the shit I’ve talked on Instagram. It’s the only social network that I actually enjoy. And then, when I have enough, I get to barf up a spread of pictures just like these. Enjoy.
Today was bakery> shooting guns> running. So now I get to be lazy with the dog and watch Netflix.

Important Inventions of Our Times.

Portable, expanding bridge.


Bullet-proof glass.


Radio Hat.


Electric Heat Vest.

Amphibious Bicycle.


All photos are care of The Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands‘ Flickr stream. I’m doing a lot of photographic mining at the moment and, while these aren’t what I was looking for, I needed to show them off!

Okay, Summertime, You Can Be Over Now.

On August 1st, it happened: I became officially done with summer.

I must admit that I made it an admirable distance this year. Usually, I’m flush and fainting after the first time that the mercury climbs past 75F. I can’t believe that I made it two whole, full, round months without anything really resembling a true complaint about the heat. In a creepily adult manner, I just shut my mouth and dealt with it.

But now, I’m done dealing. I’m waiting with baited breath to surrender the sundresses, sequester the sandals, and cast out all color. I want fall and cool and ALL BLACK EVERYTHING.

I’m crushing on coldtimes so hard that I even made this Polyvore set- the only one I have ever, ever made- to help me pretend that we are in deep fall and I get to wear whatever the hell I want.

This fall, I want to wear my hairs tucked all up in a Greek fisherman’s cap and block out my face with some giant-ass hangover shades, even though I don’t really plan on being hung over. Sometimes, I want to go incognito. Sometimes, I want to dress like grandma and grandpa all at the same time.

Clark, you old salt!

I want to zip all of my insecurities up in my kinda-heinous, totally stinky, black, pleather jacket that I bought from Target last year when I was supposed to be working. I want to tuck my keys into a secure pocket and zip it closed before heading off on my bicycle, roads now cleared of fair weather cyclists. I want to find coins and whole dollars in the lining because those pockets aren’t really all that secure.

I want to wear cozy, black sweaters in cashmere and angora. Short in the waist with bracelet-length sleeves. Not quite as boxy as above and only an inch or two looser than Joan Collins’.

Don’t worry. I’ve invested in the anti-gravity bra to go with it.

And some sort of pant, slim and stretch-y-ish. Enough dresses and skirts for now, just give me something to cover my legs. I might try and break my sworn vow that dresses shalt never be worn as pants or I might just hit up the mom-pants section of Saver’s and try to find some not-too-offensive black capris. Colette Patterns has the best pattern for a classy pair of cigarette pants but I’m going to keep a toe to reality; I know that I would never get around to fitting and sewing them before the first snowfall. Shame.

I want a selection of shoes. Nice ones! Quality ones! I actually own the two black pairs pictured and their acquisition at deep discount makes their presence all the more sweet. I’m not a total “shoes!” girl but I have such a snobbish love of good basics. Like, I can’t dunk but I have good fundamentals. (Lies! I can’t play basketball at all!) More than a selection of shoes, I need a selection of lipsticks. When traveling, I am working to go as light as possible. However, there are two items that I will always pack a selection of: lipsticks and eyeglasses. Being able to put on your personality is an important thing.

In my mind, this ends at a junction. I want to be where Ann Margret:

Meets Hanoi Jane:

Step aside, summer. I don’t think that I’m asking for too much.

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