Skateboards Made Girly

Founded by Beck Hickey in 2003 and headquartered in New York City, Beck(y)Bags is a collection of handcrafted, one-of-a-kind bags and accessories constructed with recycled skateboards and high-end fabrics.

Obviously, used decks are vital to her business, so for every used board she receives Beck donates $3 to a variety of non-profit organizations dedicated to building and maintaining public skateparks across the country.

"The grittiness of used, beat up boards combined with something really posh like silk speaks well to my overall aesthetic," Beck says, "and the beautiful contradiction that results, fuels my creativity."

As a teenager I had a 'thing' for scruffy skaters. Apparently some residual weakness for all things grungy has seeped into my taste in accesories because I think these bags are fabulous!

The fact Beck doesn't try to hide the scars that each board has acquired throughout it's life is admirable in itself, but to combine it with a lucious silk chamois lining...now that's smart.

"The Next Big Thing"

Renowned Visual Artist Jeremy Fish and Indie Rap sensation Aesop Rock team up on "The Next Best Thing," a limited edition storybook and 7" record about the creative process. The record coincides with each page of the tale, like the children's books of yore, but this one is definitely not for kids!

"The Next Best Thing"
is a collaborative effort that represents the different approach artists take to meet the same creative end.

For 25 bones, you can be the proud owner of a hip-hop sodden narrative that will transport you to a surreal land of indecision, ideas, accomplishment, bunnies and skulls as you travel with Jeremy Fish's character only to realize that you will always be a slave to "the next best thing."

Mahar Drygoodness

Robert Mahar of Mahar Drygoods emailed me to introduce his new site which features vintage and artisan crafted goods for kids.

All of the items you’ll find at Mahar Drygoods are created in the homes and studios of artists, designers and crafters who are thrilled to be sharing their talents with you and the little people in your life.

Based on a 1930s children’s book cover design, the site features illustrations by Rhode Island artist Jen Corace (who I posted about a few months ago and whose gorgeous prints are still available at Art Star) and like all of their products is well-designed with a nostalgic bent and a nod to modernity.

Is it weird that I, technically an adult, want to buy a majority of the products featured on this adorable Web site for myself? Well, if it is I don't care because I have been drooling over this stuff since Robert emailed me yesterday.

Anyone who has children in their life (or an adult who thinks growing up is overrated) should check out Mahar Drygoods immediately! Each product is finely crafted with love, skill and style...just waiting to expand someone's immagination.


Excuse Me, Where is Al's Hostel?

le cool publishing is a Spanish-based publisher of highly selective editorial products. It began in February 2003 with le cool magazine Barcelona, a free, funky and multilingual weekly email agenda that recommends bars, restaurants and unusual experiences.

Birthed from that free weekly email guide to Barcelona, this new edition features about 30 more pages than the original with many redesigned sections and a tomato red hardback cover.

Cool Hunting directed me to this gem of a travel guide. It doesn't seem that le cool is a guide for the touristy tourist, but rather the explorer who truly wants to experience a foreign culture like a local.

In-the-know residents share their tips on where to eat; the guy who started local chocolate-chain Xocoa describes his ideal day in the city; and the man who runs an association for Barcelona's fashion designers gives up where he buys his own threads. And if that isn't enough inside scoop for you, the little red book also includes everything from walking guides linking the essential shops, a pricelist for illegal narcotics, where to find a good sex club and the city's best hotels get a mention too. There are also lovely illustrated maps courtesy of local designers Vasava.

According to le cool publishing, content is never traded for money. The recommendations are always included because they are believed to be worth the reader’s time.

Now there are five cities in the le cool family, each with their own local editorial teams: Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Amsterdam and London. However, other cities will follow soon so give them a hollar if your megalopolis deserves some le cool attention.


Rah Crawford Vs. Shane Grammer

Rah Crawford is a sensational Philadelphia painter offering us more than your everyday fine artist by combining graphic images with words, numbers, and phrases to produce what he calls "Neoteric Pop-Iconic Clairvoyant" - a medium that challenges us to see his work, not just look at it.

[Rah Crawford's "Adam's Wife"]

Shane Grammer is a California-based creative laborer who strives to help people realize the value of art in the realm of business and more importantly in the world at large through urban themed environments, stage sets, murals, and illustrations.

[Shane Grammer's "The Bride"]

There is no questioning the talent of Rah Crawford and
Shane Grammer. They are both insanely talented artists. I just can't help but wonder if they have seen eachother's work.

Rah and I met almost a year ago through a local art magazine I edited called SINK. I thought he had some of the most orginal visions put on to canvas that I had seen in a long ass time. Then, a few weeks ago, I saw Grammer's "The Bride" and my mental portfolio automatically flipped to Rah's "Adam's Wife". Wow! The use of graffiti stenciled block letters, similar color families, and overall theme of honoring beautiful women in such a masculine and gritty way is uncanny.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love Rah and his work. Now I just have another artist to catalogue under "maleurbanpopculturegrittygraffitilikeartmaker" on my list of favorites.


You Can Do It And We Can Help

Right Brain Terrain, headquartered in Orlando produces Alternative Motivational Posters ("AMP") to replace those tragic wall coverings that continue to be hung in classrooms, dentist offices, and cubicles across the country.

Come on, you know what I'm talking about...the stock image of a generic mountain range with the word "Courage" centered in 25 pt. Courier New...yuck!

[FYI: the black border is a web-only effect]

What a great idea!

At $14.95 a pop, these quasi-motivational prints will infuse any home or business with a sense of modern style while gently reminding you to get your ass in gear.


Pearls, Birthdays, Weddings

My Aunt began a life-long project when I was an infant. She set out to make a pearl necklace for my wedding day, adding one pearl to the strand every year on my birthday until it was complete. She gave me this wonderful gift on my 21st birthday, two years ago today.

Pearls have come a long way since my teribble two's and the days of Jan Vermeer van Delft. Today's pearls are casual and often edgy, definitely not meant just for wedding collars. Below are some divine, yet modern ways to wear your combination of calcium carbonate and conchiolin.

This post is an amalgam of my thoughts. Yes, today is my birthday and the pearl is the official birthstone of June. Yes, the aforementioned pearl necklace is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. But, the third part of the equation is weddings.

Weddings have steadily been on my mind since the New Year's engagement of my very best friend. In my hallucinatory world she has hired me as her wedding planner and every spare minute I have is spent trying to find ideas to make her and her finaces wedding the most phenomenal day of of their lives.

So...in my deranged mind, birthdays plus weddings equal pearls!


Adorn Yourself In Awareness*

Architects nearly orgasm over LEED certified buildings, Chris Martin has blazed his hand with the Fair Trade symbol, and vegans are spreading like the plague so it was only a matter of time before a socially concious woman brought responsible clothing to the streets of Philadelphia.

Romy Scheroder, originally from Trinidad, opened Satya Boutique on 9th & Bainbridge Streets as a way to combat the material waste and shoddy craftsmanship of the local retail industry.

[photo credit: Michael T. Regan, City Paper]

After reading Gwen Tuxbury's story, 'Green Clothier', in the City Paper this morning I was awoken to the fact that we really are a wasteful nation and that a iced grande nonfat peppermint mocha really is magical.

Seriously though, the fact that someone has stepped up to the plate to admit that we are an unabashedly irresponsible group of people is one thing, but opening a store to rectify this character flaw is extraordinary.

Scheroder and her team of enchanted designers morph tractor-trailor tires into belts, car tires into soles for men's boots, Grandma's muumuu into a trendy purse, and soy prodcuts into a low-cut dress.

Please spread the word about Philadelphia's only boutique dedicated to sustainable, organic, fair trade and recycled apparel and accessories. Stop in Satya Boutique, Tuesday-Saturday 11a.m.-7p.m., to purchase some unique goods and perhaps more importantly to thank Romy Scheroder for making our city a better place to live.


Bringing Street Art Indoors

Graffiti scrawled across an architectural treasure does not make many people happy, but when Connecticut based graffiti artist Sket One does his thing, he forces advertising gurus from coast to coast to crack toothy grins.

Sket One's latest foray into the toy world transforms five recognizable household names into to charming, mutant creatures.

Philadelphia has long been hailed a writing mecca, with forerunners like Cornbread and Kool Earl defining modern graffiti's role in the world. But New Haven's visual design enthusiast, Sket One, is pushing the limits by combining traditional graffiti elements with trusted marketing strategies and melted plastics.

Blazing the trail for other genre-blurring artists, Sket One has successfully designed for Universal Records, EMI, Graffiti TV, Kid Robot, Sedgwick & Cedar, and Monkey Skateboards.