Recommended: ‘Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings’

I wrote a little bit about this new book in December, but it deserves a lot more ink as it has been a near-constant companion since I received it.

“Irish Country Furniture and Furnishings 1700-2000” (Cork University Press) by Claudia Kinmonth is a complete update to her 1993 book with a similar title. That 1993 book became difficult to find at a sensible price, and so this new version is most welcome.

If you have any interest in traditional crafts, furniture or utensils, you will love this book. It is filled with hundreds of full-color photos of beds, spoons, stools, chairs, settles and dressers. But it is not merely a picture book. Kinmonth’s sharp text puts the pieces in context using historical records, poems, historical illustrations, paintings and vintage photos of Irish interiors.

So much of this wonderful historical stuff has disappeared in Ireland. Old pieces were discarded for modern steel and linoleum. Many of the traditional cottages have disappeared. And the people who made them left Ireland in waves (many of them settling here in the United States). This Irish history is an important part of America’s history, as so many of us have Irish blood.

Last year, Lucy and I toured Ireland for a week and spent most of our time exploring museums and places that specialized in the decorative arts. So there are some familiar pieces in this book. But Kinmonth has uncovered many new finds. Things you’ll never see on the Internet.

That trip filled my sketchbook with drawings of vernacular pieces, everything from settles that convert to a bed to Sugan chairs to mealbins. This book supplied even more gorgeous examples for inspiration. 

Highly recommended.

Also important to note: as a physical object the book is nice. The interior is printed on a quality, bright, coated paper. The signatures are sewn for durability. And the cloth-covered boards are wrapped with a dust jacket. It is absolutely worth the retail price.

— Christopher Schwarz

Countless Paper Seeds Comprise the Fluctuating Landscapes in Ilhwa Kim’s Sculptural Works

“Space Sample 36” (2020), 164 x 132 x 15 centimeters. All images © Ilhwa Kim, shared with permission

In Ilhwa Kim’s sculptural landscapes, innumerable paper seeds form precise rows, indented pockets of densely packed folds, and multi-color valleys that wind through the feet-wide works. The South Korean artist arranges individual units of the rolled material in a staggered manner, meaning that the color, shadow, and texture of the final pieces shift with each viewing. “I am probably a sculptor of senses. I have been very curious how my senses are being organized when I perceive a thing or a location. The order, priority, and the way of being assembled together surprise me. How the senses reunited keeps evolving from initial contact to temporary goodbye,” she says, noting that change and perception play a central role in her practice.

Each composition begins with blank, white paper that Kim dyes and rolls into tight tubes that can be sliced only with heavy machinery. She forgoes gluing any of the seeds prior until the entire piece is complete. “This working process gives big freedom to make meaningful changes even when very close to the final stage,” the artist shares. “That is how a child plays, as well.” The comprehensive process transforms the original material into durable units that resemble the organic lifeform and ultimately grow into larger sculptures.

Based in Seoul, Kim has a solo show slated for September 2021 at HOFA Gallery in London, and you can see a larger collection of her works, including shots of pieces-in-progress, on Instagram. (via Cross Connect Magazine)

 

Detail of “Space Station Sample” (2016), 192 x 334 x 12 centimeters

“Space Station Sample” (2016), 192 x 334 x 12 centimeters

Detail of “Space Sample 36” (2020), 164 x 132 x 15 centimeters

“Seed Universe 108” (2019), 184 x 152 x 15 centimeters. Image via HOFA

“White Portrait” (2019), 184 x 152 x 15 centimeters

“Space Sample 30” (2019), 119 x 186 x 15 centimeters

“Seed School 3” (2019), 114 x 234 x 13 centimeters

Left: “Seed School 7” (2020), 114  x 234 x 13 centimeters. Right: “Seed universe 83” (2018), 184 x 132 x 15 centimeters

Detail of “Space Station 5” (2019), 192 x 224 x 15 centimeters

“Space Sample 45” (2020), 184 x 152 15 centimeters

UK Festivals Reading And Leeds Are Full Speed Ahead For August

Maybe this is a case of widespread wishful thinking on behalf of the music industry, but it seems like some outdoor music festivals might actually be happening this summer. The pandemic essentially wiped out the 2020 festival calendar, and several events slated for the first half of 2021 have already been called off — including the UK mega-fest Glastonbury, which organizers were hoping would return in June. Some of the American springtime staples have gone virtual (SXSW) or postponed indefinitely (Coachella). But given the pace of vaccination in the West, promoters seem to believe they’ll be able to throw large-scale outdoor events by August. Events like Outside Lands, Governors Ball, and Bonnaroo have not yet wavered on their scheduled dates around the start of the school year. There are signs that Pitchfork Music Festival is aiming for a September event. Montreal’s Osheaga is even supposed to launch on the last day of July. And now the UK sister festivals Reading and Leeds have confirmed their plans to return this August.

Julien Baker – “Heatwave”

Alysse Gafkjen

In a couple of days, Julien Baker will release her third album Little Oblivions. It rules. It’s the best. Baker went for a full-band sound on this album — drums, bass, keyboards — even though she played most of the instruments herself. That’s a departure for her, but she’s still singing about stark, desperate personal moments. We’ve already posted the early singles “Faith Healer,” “Hardline,” and “Favor,” the latter of which features backup vocals from her boygenius bandmates Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. Today, Baker has shared one last song before the album drops.

Real Estate – “Half A Human”

Real Estate have announced a new EP, Half A Human, which will be released next month. It’s made up of tracks they worked on during last year’s full-length The Main Thing but didn’t finish for one reason or another. During the pandemic, the band completed the songs remotely. Today, they’re sharing the EP’s title track, which they’ve played live a bunch.

The Endless Life Cycle of Japanese City Pop

Boosted by the YouTube recommendations algorithm, and now TikTok memes, an American-influenced strain of vintage Japanese music has become a perennial cult hit online. The trend says more about Western perceptions of the East than the other way around.

Watch BTS Cover Coldplay’s “Fix You” On MTV Unplugged

It’s been about three decades since MTV Unplugged had its cultural heyday, but the franchise apparently still has enough juice around the world that the massively popular South Korean boy band BTS have taken part. BTS recently got together in Seoul to record their own edition of MTV’s long-running franchise. The BTS episode of Unplugged, which aired yesterday, mostly featured soft and tender (though not acoustic) performances of the group’s hits like “Telepathy” and “Dynamite.” But during their episode, BTS also tried out their own version of Coldplay’s 2005 power ballad “Fix You.”

What was your favorite BlizzConline “oh my Yogg” moment?

I’ll go first: Diablo 4’s Rogue. Thanks for reading! Wait, I’ve just been informed that you actually want to read something. What insanity is this? Don’t you know we just had a BlizzCon, people? Yes, it was BlizzConline from the comfort of our homes; still, I need to sleep for the next however many days until the...

Sailor Manyo Yomogi Fountain Pen Ink Review

Sailor Manyo Yomogi Fountain Pen Ink Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Based solely on my collection of inks and what I normally have inked up in my pens, you could assume that I lean very unfairly toward the blue realm of ink colors. While it's true that I have way more blue inks than any other combined, I didn't try to amass this many on purpose. I'm just fascinated by the different shades of blue and how they play with green, purple, black, and red, and there just seems to be so many interesting inks that I need to try. The latest ink in my blue collection is Sailor's Manyo Yomogi.

The Sailor Manyo ink series is a collection of eight dye-based inks that represent popular flowers that are frequently mentioned in the Japanese Man'yōshū — an ancient collection of poems. Yomogi is a dark blue with a lot of green in the mix, as well as a gorgeous red/purple sheen in some areas. It's been a pleasure using this ink for the past couple of weeks, and it's still surprising me with the amount of character it can expose through shading and sheen alone.

Sailor Manyo Yomogi Fountain Pen Ink

Comparing it directly to other inks in Sailor's lineup, this is like a darker version of Yama-dori — one of my favorite dark teal inks to date. While this is an obviously blue ink, there's also a fair amount of dark green that transforms this from blue to teal depending on the width and heaviness of the stroke. it's fascinating to write with this ink and see how the colors change across the page. The shading is subtle, but it does just enough to vacillate between these colors sporadically and create something magical.

While shading is always a favorite characteristic of mine, Yomogi has another trick up its sleeve — some amazing red and purple sheen. You can only see the sheen in certain light and particularly where the ink pools up. When it happens, it's spectacular. I really enjoy seeing these red/purple hues pop off the page in certain light.

Sailor Manyo Yomogi

One thing this ink does not excel at, however, is dry time. It normally takes between 20 and 30 seconds for strokes to dry with this ink, which is a little on the long side for my preferences. I definitely have to remember to keep notebooks open a little longer than normal before closing them, and I can't imagine how problematic this ink would be for left-handed writers. While it's gorgeous, it certainly takes its time when drying. This is something worth considering before purchasing this ink.

And that's another thing — this ink isn't exactly cheap. For a 50ml bottle, you'll spend $24. Is this too much? I don't think so. The delight I derive from using this ink is well worth the price of admission, but you can find many other high-quality inks for a lower price if that's a major concern. In terms of Japanese fountain pen inks, this price is right on target, especially with recent price increases to keep up with inflation. 50ml will last quite a while, so it's a good investment in your own joy if this is an ink color that makes you happy. I've really enjoyed using it over the past couple of weeks, especially with all the cold weather that's hit the states over the last week.

You can find Yomogi at JetPens, along with many other Sailor Manyo inks.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Sailor Manyo Yomogi Swab

Lochby Field Journal

This is a thing of beauty!

As some of you might know, I'm a writer. You might also have spotted in my ramblings that I prefer to holiday in wide open spaces with a combination of walking and writing... more writing when my photographer husband is waiting for the right kind of clouds for his pictures (there's almost a book title in there...). Whenever we're out walking, I have a notebook with me, usually an A5 or thereabouts (B5 being a tad too large, even though at my desk a B5 is my preferred option). These notebooks get tossed in my rucksack and have to hold their own. If only there were some sturdy, lightweight cover I could put them in... one that wouldn't add much weight to the bag but which would keep all sorts of bits and bobs together, including the notebook, a pen and various other random odds and ends...

Enter the Lochby Field Journal!

The case is made of a waxed canvas so will keep things dry. There are oodles of pockets for keeping things tidy and it can be used either as a Traveler's Notebook style cover (as there are vertical elastics on which to put slim notebooks), or, since there is a vertical slip pocket in the back cover, you can tuck the back of a notebook in and use it as a more conventional case. Or (if your notebooks are slim) a bit of both!  And it only weighs 205g! There are plenty of other bells and whistles too. Let me take you on a more detailed tour.

Front:

There is a small Lochby label at the top of the cover and an aluminium hook that slips into a webbing loop. I found this a little stiff and tricky at first, but after a few open/close cycles I'm finding it fine now. The waxed cover will show scuffs, though if you were overly concerned about them you could buff them out. I think they add to the look. I'll probably re-wax it if is gets too scuffed.

Back:

The back has a velcro-fastened slip-pocket on the outside. If I'm being brutally honest, I probably won't use this, but I know many people will find it useful. There's the start of the webbing of the closure. I thought this would make it bumpy to lean on and write, but as long as the aluminium hook part is out of the way, it's fine and doesn't interfere at all, even with soft-cover notebooks.

Inside:

This is where all the magic is, at least as far as I'm concerned!

(My photo is making the brown canvas look blue. Rest assured, it's brown with an orange fabric, not blue and yellow. Blame it on Scottish sunshine.)

On the left, there is a vertical slip pocket that runs the full height of the cover. In front of that are 4 more pockets: a larger mesh pocket that closes with velcro and 3 others. The lowest 2 are fairly shallow (~5.5 cm) but the one just below the mesh pocket is ~12.5 cm deep - plenty of space to slip pens and pencils in. The mesh pocket is ~9.5 cm deep (it runs to approximately where the top of the pocket below is).

In the centre of the cover are 4 elastics for carrying notebooks Traveler's Journal-style. There are also 2 ribbon markers.

In the back cover is a full-height slip pocket that can easily accommodate the cover of an A5 notebook. There is also an elastic pen-loop that's designed for chunkier pens than a biro/pencil. Slim pens and pencils can always go in one of the inside pockets.

Spine:

Along the spine of the cover is a handle made of the same webbing as the loop.

Included with the Field Journal is a Lochby dot-grid notebook, made with 72 pages of white 68 gsm Tomoe River paper (making both sides more usable, as there is less show-through than with the 52 gsm Tomoe River paper). Refills are available in plain, lined and dot-grid. The notebooks have stitched binding, making them able to lie flat.

Overall:

This is a well-designed and beautifully executed cover. It's lightweight, but with plenty of pockets and features, and will give robust protection to notebooks while being easy on the eye and without adding masses of mass to your bag. I love it!

Lochby Field Journal - brown

Lochby Field Journal - black

Lochby Field Journal Refill - plain

Lochby Field Journal Refill - lined

Lochby Field Journal Refill - dot-grid

Frequently Asked Questions by Middle-Aged White Pundits About When it’s Appropriate to Use a Particular Racial Slur

Q: When is it appropriate for me, a middle-aged white guy who hosts a podcast, or writes op-eds, or posts as a prominent blogger with a healthy Twitter following, to use the n-word.

A: Never.

Q: What if I’m singing along to Kendrick Lamar alone in my car? What about then?

A: Is the Kendrick Lamar on before or after the Wilco Spotify playlist?

Q: I want to be clear that I, personally, have no desire to use the n-word either in print or out loud, but are you considering the “use-mention distinction,” meaning that there is a difference between someone using the word as a slur, and repeating its use by someone else in a different context?

A: Are you saying that if you employ a substitute, people are likely to be confused as to what word was used in the original mention, like they might think if you use “n-word” the original person said “noodle,” or “nobody” or “nabob”?

Q: Well, no, the original word would still be pretty clear.

A: So why would it be important to use the intact slur then?

Q: Well, there’s a certain pedagogical value to using the word. If you use a euphemism, you are lessening the ugliness of the term. Doesn’t doing so whitewash (so to speak) the terrible reality of a time when it was used with impunity?

A: Yeah… nah.

Q: Nah?

A: Nah. It may seem like a reasonable distinction, but it also begins to look like an excuse to protect the “right” of some people to use the slur through a kind of loophole. Is its use necessary to communicate meaning? No, it isn’t necessary. Does using the word shock the conscience in a way that’s productive? No, not really. I mean, you do you, though. If this is a battle you want to keep having over and over, go for it. The rest of us would like to move on to more substantive debates.

Q: What could be more substantive than issues of free speech?

A: No one says you can’t say it, just that the rest of us are going to think you’re a racist dick if you contrive ways to say it without facing criticism. Speak away, but also, be prepared for lots of people to think you’re a dick and that if you insist on being a dick this way, people might get tired of working with you.

Q: What if I’m recounting a time when I memorized a hilarious Eddie Murphy routine from his “Raw” special and repeated it during lunch to great acclaim at my all-white middle school? Shouldn’t I be able to share a story about what a precocious and edgy little dude I was under the use-mention distinction?

A: Absolutely, but also be prepared for people to think that you’re a racist dick who hasn’t learned anything since he was thirteen-years-old.

Q: I voted for Obama twice! Trump is a scourge. He’s a racist! See, I said it! But shouldn’t we be worried about performative anti-racism, like banning the n-word, or seeing its mention as a de facto racist act, possibly worthy of termination? Doesn’t this undermine substantive accusations of racism?

A: No. Carving out exceptions for racist behavior is actually racism.

Q: But I swear, I’m anti-racist! I just want to make sure that if I want, I can still act out that famous Saturday Night Live sketch with Chevy Chase and Richard Pryor, where Chase uses a steadily escalating series of slurs until he reaches the n-word. That sketch is really funny!

A: Is it? In 2021? Or is it that you get a certain little zing of excitement in being able to say the word?

Q: What do you mean?

A: I mean, it’s just curious that of all the things you could choose to spend your time on, arguing about how it should be okay to use a racist slur without sanction under the use-mention distinction just seems, I don’t know, kind of silly and fucked up, right? Like, don’t you have anything better to do?

Q: But I’m just trying to make sure there isn’t a hysterical overreaction that prevents us from having difficult conversations.

A: Like when it’s okay to say the n-word?

Q: Exactly!

A: Who is being hysterical here, now? The conversation doesn’t seem like it’s all that difficult. So stop saying it.

Q: Why do you think people like me are so drawn to this debate?

A: It’s about power. Some Black folks have entered your sphere and they’re saying reasonable things like, “I’m tired of having to shrug and roll my eyes when dudes spend an inordinate amount of time defending their right to use a racial slur,” and you think that this is somehow a threat to your standing at the top of the thought leader heap. Rather than give people the respect of knowing their own minds and desires and adjust accordingly, you lash out like you’re the aggrieved party.

Q: Wow, that’s fucked up.

A: You said it, not me.

🤞 More