While roaming the aisles at the recent Outdoor Retailer Winter Market I had the pleasure of meeting artist Marina DeBris and Carolynn Box, the Environmental Coordinator for The 5 Gyres Institute. The two had teamed up to bring attention to the tons of waste dumped into the world’s oceans, mostly by maritime industries such as cruise ships, commercial fishing, oil platforms and the shipping trade.

They were bedecked in tangles of ocean debris that Marina found on the beaches near her California home. The trash beautifully entwined in their hair and around their necks made an effective visual statement and prompted me to stop and chat with them.

I learned that a gyre is a spiral oceanic surface current driven primarily by the global wind system and constrained by the continents. Plastic pollution gathers in the world’s five sub-tropical gyres.

Box explained that The 5 Gyres Institute’s mission is to conduct research and to communicate about the global impact of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and to employ strategies to eliminate the accumulation of plastic pollution in the 5 subtropical gyres.

DeBris collects ocean trash and converts it into art. She encourages the viewer to question the use of single use items and to consider ways to reduce waste so it doesn’t end up in our oceans or landfills. To see more of her work visit her site Washed Up - Pollution Reborn as Art. I encourage you to click through her portfolio!

I was inspired to take the Plastic Promise and encourage you to do the same.

I was just learning to use a new camera when I took this picture of DeBris (L) and Box – pretty awful! But I hope it gives a sense of Marina’s DeBris’ humorous artistic flair.

You might also like  “Re-cycle Runway”.

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I’ve been distracted by the bountiful snow I’ve been chasing from east to west and back again over the past few weeks, hence my laxness in blogging.  I promise to share some of my (in)sights from that adventure soon.

Today, my valentine (who shares my passion for winter and skiing) and I will be going on a ski tour, over the meadows and through the woods style, chocolates tucked into our pockets.

This sweet print found here. More of my valentines here.

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Winter Road Trip

With the Outdoor Retailer trade show successfully behind me it’s time to hit the open road for a bit of big mountain skiing.

As much as I’d love to be touring in a ’54 beetle with the top down I’ll be relying on an all wheel drive vehicle with studded Hakkspellitas. I’ll be sniffing for powder in the Wasatch, Tetons and Rockies before I head back to my beloved Green Mountains and get on with designing Fall/Winter 2014/15 product. It never hurts to do a little skiing to get the creative juices flowing!

Cover of the ADAC January 1954 (Issue 1, Volume 7) as a teaser for an article “Winterland Allgaeu, between road and slopes”

Via: Huimat

For more vintage VW inspiration click here.

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Black symbolizes rebellion, magic, mourning and evil, while purity, kindness and neutrality are evoked by the color white.

The marriage of black and white is a powerful combination perhaps because the two are so starkly opposite. Many photographers, artists and designers are drawn to the yin and yang of black with white, myself included.

A few of my currently favorite images combining black and white…

Carmen Kass by Sølve Sundsbø

© stormyafternoon

via Madame Barry

via Alex Mody Photography

via Flickr

Art Forms in Nature | Ernst Haekel

via theSteward

vintage Ponds ad

© Anton Jankovoy


© Lynn Dennison 

© helt enkelt

via Imprint 

More Color Inspiration here.


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A friend with a shared passion for skiing recently discovered a January 1948 Ski issue of Town & Country magazine in perfect condition in her grandmother’s attic. This delicious edition shares many of the same attributes of today’s magazine, large format pages, beautiful fashion photography, advertisements for luxury fashion, jewelry and destinations, and articles focused on the rich and famous.

The issue is rich with articles about skiing. A many-paged article by Elizabeth Woolsey, a former national ski champion, is devoted to the U.S. Women’s Ski Team  a.k.a. “The Belles of St. Moritz” and their chances for winning Olympic fame in St. Moritz later that winter.

The most exclusive North American ski areas are listed with information about vertical drop, number of trails and lifts, ticket prices etc.

An article devoted on how to get in shape for skiing suggests classes at the New School of Exercise in New York City. Tips on how to avoid injury, which salons offer the best beneficial massages, and how to prevent chapping ones hands and face.

The issue is packed with advertising – including apparel and hard goods brands and ski lodges and even a two-page spread of a painting depicting skiers arcing through untracked snow promoting Chrysler motors. The ads allow us a peak at how glamorous and exciting the sport was sixty odd years ago.

A fashion and gear guide highlights the newest innovations and there is a lovely spread of illustrated après ski styles. I will be sharing this nostalgic skiing gold mine in the weeks to come. Below is a little taste of what’s to follow. I thought it particularly appropriate timing to post these as the the skiwear and ski equipment brands will all be unveiling the latest and greatest for next winter at the  Outdoor Retailer, the SnowSports Industries America and ISPO trade shows within the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll see you there!

An ad for Marjorie Benedikter’s ski fashions in the January 1948 issue of Town & Country

“Designed for action, the well-tailored three-piece suit on the left is of water-repellent Forstman wool gabardine in gray, by Irving of Montreal. An added accessory is a smart belt and belt-bag made of pony. Bally Boots. At Saks Fifth Avenue Ski Shop. Marjorie Benedikter, an accomplished skier herself, designs with an eye for the practical. Right: her becoming parka of white Byrd cloth may be worn in or out, and has a convenient drawstring around the face. Navy wool gabardine pants are essentially functional with front fullness achieved by trouser pleats. Dayton Co., Minneapolis; Frederick & Nelson, Seattle”

Saks Fifth Avenue had it’s own ski shop in 1948.

For more vintage ski inspiration click here.

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Si Leong Chan, a London College of Fashion student,  has created a series of  unusual menswear jackets surrounding the theme of “Hug Me”.

In Chan’s words, the collection “makes use of hand movement especially the hug to express the (dis)connection between people to people. “Hands” are the key point of the collection and a very figurative object to express this abstract idea.”

I particularly like this jacket’s group hug humor. Its intricate construction is worth admiring too. To see more of Chan’s Final Major Project for Fall 2012  including beautiful concept sketches and the fashion show click here.

Photography: HILL&AUBREY Model:Tom Nelson

To see more fashion inspiration click here.


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After the Second World War a group of relocated Latvian writers founded a literary magazine called Jaunā Gaita in their new home – Canada.  Jaunā Gaita translated means “the new course” and is still published today.

Traditional Latvian arts are often graphically incorporated into the distinctly modern magazine cover designs. I am particularly drawn to the covers below perhaps because they allude to textiles. Their bold graphics and colors are appealing and timeless.

The covers are a mine of design inspiration and I can foresee dipping into the Jaunā Gaita archive again for future blog posts. For more textile inspiration click here.












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Thank you all for reading, following and commenting on my blog! Wishing one and all a creative, healthy and snowy new year!

Unfortunately I don’t know the original source of this wonderful image. More vintage VW inspiration here.

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Pantone®, “the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries”, has announced that their color number 17-5641 Emerald has been chosen as the 2013 Color of the Year.

Taking a leap straight across the color wheel from 2012’s Tangerine Tango, Pantone explains the selection for this year, “Tangerine Tango, a spirited, reddish orange, provided the energy boost we needed to recharge and move forward. Emerald, a vivid, verdant green, enhances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight, as well as promoting balance and harmony.”

In my opinion, Pantone’s revelation of the Color of the Year selection is a bit of looking in the rear view mirror rather than into a crystal ball. Fashion designers start their color intelligence often more than a year in advance of when the final product appears in stores and are often influenced by what they see at the runway shows. They then translate their impressions of these colors and designs into fashion for the masses. Store buyers see these trends up to six months prior to the merchandise appearing on their doorsteps. Consumers are the last to see it.

Pantone® is able to examine data from their customer’s orders for which colors ranges are being adopted as well as combing the globe for color trends. Pantone’s Color of the Year selection is spot on, but is not much use to designers as by now we’re on to choosing colors for 2014.

For more color inspiration click here.



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Today is a powder day. My world is cloaked and muffled in swirling snow.  Sekka Kamisaka’s woodcut, Momoyogusa (Flowers of a Hundred Generations), captures the mood and hues surrounding me, and is perfectly complimented by haiku by Joso.

Image via NYPL Digital Gallery


Snow whispering down all day long,

earth has vanished

leaving only sky





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Dutch apparel designer Maartje Hoogland has come up with a cycling themed collection she calls “Valsplat”. (I can’t figure out how it translates into English so if anyone does, would you share it here?)

Hoogland’s collection was inspired by the colors of the rainbow jersey, features found on cycling jerseys and the “whole circus” surrounding bike racing.

Her knit dresses are really great, but I feel her cut and sew pieces need a bit more polish and attention to fit. Overall I love the way she’s translated the World Championship rainbow stripes into non-cycling fashion. For more about Maartje Hoogland click here.

More cycling inspired fashion here and here.

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It’s always fun for me to see product that I’ve designed come to market. It usually takes over a year from when the product is conceived to when the consumer is able to purchase it. Often I’ve forgotten completely about the work I’ve done until I see it when I walk into a shop or flip through a catalog, as I did with the recent Sundance Catalog which showcases some of my knit designs. These mitten and hats are hand knit, crocheted and embroidered by Nepali women in the Kathmandu valley.

To see more from my on-line portfolio click here.


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Ten years ago I was obsessed with staying at a Swedish ice hotel. The closest I came was having a shot of Aquavit in an ice cube glass at Quebec City’s ice hotel bar, running my mittened hand over the deerskin blankets that covered the beds and freezing my toes off gawking at the amazing and abundant ice sculptures.

My obsession has shifted to craving a stay in one of the lofty tree houses at the Treehotel in Harads, Sweden in a forest high above the Lule River valley.

Treehotel was inspired by the film ”The Tree Lover” by Jonas Selberg Augustsen. It’s a tale of three men from the city who want to go back to their roots by building a tree house together. “The Tree Lover” is a philosophic story about the significance of trees for us human beings.

Each architect-designed “treeroom”  is unique and was built with minimal environmental impact using eco-friendly materials and energy solutions.

The stunningly, almost invisible “Mirrorcube” is hidden among the trees and camouflaged by reflective glass that reflects its surroundings.

To prevent birds from flying into the mirrored walls, they are clad with infrared film. The color is invisible to humans, but visible to the birds.


“The Blue Cone”, which actually is red, is based on simplicity and accessibility, both in terms of material and design. Its traditional wooden structure, with three foundations in the ground, gives the sense of height, lightness and stability.


“The Bird’s Nest” is my favorite. Its exterior is nothing but a gigantic twiggy bird’s nest that disappears into its surroundings. The sleek interior defies Its rustic shell.


Cast in durable composite material that is both strong and light, “The UFO” is the complete opposite of The Bird’s Nest with its space age sleek shape and porthole windows.


To access “The Cabin”, a cube-like capsule, one must traverse a horizontal bridge among the trees. There’s a splendid view from its rooftop deck.

The Scandinavian-modern interiors are ingeniously compact and cozy looking and do not give the impression of being too cramped. They even have bathrooms. Treehotel’s website has more photos and nice floor plans for each “treeroom”.


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Last week I posed a question on my facebook page, “If you had to describe December in terms of COLOR, what colors would you choose?”

I would have answered the question by thinking about the colors I see in the outdoor world and responded the way many people did with “deep blue”, “slate grey” and “white”.  Others answered “silver”, “taupe and white”, “ivory” and “green”, influenced perhaps by colors prevalent in holiday fashions this season.

Using the comments I received, I rummaged around in my iPhoto collection and put together two distinctly different color palettes to represent December. For those who missed the facebook question, I’d be interested in hearing what colors you associate with December. Thanks everyone for playing!

For more color palettes click here.


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There’s a park-like cemetery near my childhood home, with meandering paths, shady groves, ponds and bridges, and hillocks guarded by grand monuments. It’s one of my favorite places.

I’ve always loved a particular  life-sized marble angel there with her beautiful hands and wings, wistful gaze and pretty locket. I still do, even after seeing the likes of Michelangelo’s astounding masterpieces.

I have to admire those mostly immigrant, mostly Italian, hard-working sculptors who brought such beauty and grace to Vermont villages over a century ago.

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