rough & tumble

On November 25, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

Rough & Tumble is an independent company in Maine making artisan totes and handbags (they sell some other things, too). Their concept is ‘rugged & understated luxury’, and I think they do it well. The understated luxury part resonates deeply with me, and the branding is clear and focused. They work mainly with waxed canvas and leather, creating durable bags with clean architecture and classic style.

rough and tumble hobo pack

I can’t quite remember how I stumbled across them now. Instagram, I think. Simple, beautiful leather goods consistently catch my eye, and I determined that their perfectly slouchy hobo pack needed to come into my life one way or another.

I got the medium size of the hobo pack, which I’m wearing in the previous post, for scale. I’m so pleased with the quality and style of this bag. I often lament how hard it is to find a handbag that isn’t woefully encrusted with studs and logos and general frippery. Seeing a bag like this, so wonderfully clean, is like a breath of fresh air. This style comes in a number of other tempting colors, like the pale oat color I wanted very much. It was definitely the practical part of me that decided on black, encouraged by the fact that nearly every other bag I have is some shade of brown.

I love brown.

rough and tumble hobo buckle detail

This is a thin lambskin with saddle details. The buckles here serve a genuine purpose, which I applaud, and the leather is luxuriously supple and soft. I treated it with a stain protector and it’s had no problems in the rain or getting splashed with mud on the back of my bike. I need a bag that can survive my life. Seeing how well it handles weather, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose one of the lighter colors they offer.

The pricing seems fair and I’m all around impressed with this brand. Lately I’ve been browsing their small pieces section (I will always check the subcategory ‘small leather goods’, and I will pretty much always find something I like. Ex. this tassel thing from Cuyana). Surely I could find a use for one of these little cross body bags or pouches?

Surely.

x

of a feather

On August 1, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

First of all, everything is unified, everything is linked together, everything is explained by something else and in turn explains another thing. There is nothing separate, that is, nothing that can be named or described separately. In order to describe the first impressions, the first sensations, it is necessary to describe all at once. The new world with which one comes into contact has no sides, so that it is impossible to describe first one side and then the other. All of it is visible at every point.

                                                                                   — P.D. Ouspensky

feather clutch

I was smitten with this little feather-embellished clutch the moment I saw it. The soft cream leather, the abundance of glossy copper and teal turkey feathers. These are colors I never can resist, anyway. These are my colors. 

Picked up this little gem at NYX Studio in Cambridge, one half of the duo known as Observatory Boutique (a shared space with a talented florist).  This is a wonderful shop with a distinctive, personal-feeling collection of jewelry, antiques, and charmingly potted succulents. One delights in finding such indie spots, where you can speak directly with the designer and have that sensation of genuinely patronizing the business that is lost once a company reaches a certain size.

turkey feathers

It’s always refreshing to me to find a beautiful object. One needs the nourishment of beauty. One needn’t buy it, of course…but it’s not surprising that I would often want to possess beautiful discoveries. I have clearly been influenced by our materialistic, capitalist culture. Not that I buy every little thing I like, but I sense a desire to possess that is often, on reflection, immature-feeling, or hollow-feeling. I’ve been trying to discern subtler nuances in the urge to possess things, such that it is only best of the best that actually comes home, though I still have a ways to go, and sometimes realize that some lackluster item has gotten through the filters.

The ‘best’ things being, here, the most personally harmonious things. Those things which, if left behind, might haunt me.  In the ideal scenario there is a rightness to these things, a mine-ness. They seem, effortlessly, as if they are meant to be mine, without question or doubt or debate. As if they are a natural piece of the intricate machine of me. Not critical, exactly, but part of the whole just the same. Part of a translation, maybe. One small word or phrase contributing to the translation of me, and in some cases a brief encapsulation of me. Who am I? Well, this about sums it up.

On some level I think it really does.

great find: Loyal Supply Co.

On March 24, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I was returning from the Korean market in Union Square [too late to get donuts, sadly], preparing for a long Sunday wait for the bus back to Harvard, when I spied a door marked Loyal Supply Co., and next to it a window full of such miscellany as I cannot resist: small Farmhouse Pottery (which love, met their team recently at a design show and was so impressed) pieces, balsa wood airplanes, mysterious contraptions of leather and brass (keyrings? something cooler?), rustic soaps, beautiful scissors and rulers, fine pens and pencils and erasers and sharpeners, all spread out like jewels for the discerning craftsman.

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You know those shops you enter and think, what do I not want from this shop? Or, similarly, I must be a patron of this shop. Loyal Supply Co., for me, is one such place.

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Here is their description of themselves:

LOYAL SUPPLY CO. IS A DESIGN FIRM, RETAILER, AND DISTRIBUTOR OF HOME, OFFICE, AND STUDIO SUPPLIES. WE BELIEVE USEFUL, THOUGHTFULLY DESIGNED PRODUCTS MAKE LIFE MORE ENJOYABLE AND PRODUCTIVE. OUR SPACE, A MODERN TAKE ON A TRADITIONAL PEGBOARD WORKSHOP, DISPLAYS FINISHED PRODUCTS AMONG THE TOOLS THAT MAKE THEM. OUR HOPE IS TO INSPIRE AND ENABLE EVERYONE WHO WALKS THROUGH THE DOOR.

Well said, no?

Especially this: useful, thoughtfully designed products make life more enjoyable and productive. Just so.

It was not easy, as my personal stock of supplies is superb and I had already spent my monthly supply budget (and then some), but I was determined to walk away with something. I settled on this lovely pencil set from The Pencil Company.

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They had me at “one carpenter, one bridge, one white wax,  one no.2, one jumbo hex, and one jumbo round pencil”

Pencil names!

A bridge pencil I did not know! [For designing bridges? Does anyone know? Pencil aficionados?] Jumbo hex!

To think I’ve been missing out on such delights for so many years. I want a life the requires such pencils as these, with their warm, old-fashioned charm and modern, artisan-revolution aesthetic. Do you not?

It comes down to these details, in questions of style. The hair, the clothes, the bag, they are pieces in a larger—and, I hope, more grand—design. To live down to your bones, down to your pencils (and your plants, and the way you walk, the way you plan and execute, the way you turn your head), in your style. Not because you had to think about it, to decide on it (though you may have had to realize it) but precisely because you did not have to think about it. Not because it has been premeditated (though that can be the case, must this be then less authentic?) but because style is instinctive. Inevitable.

Yet, I believe, inevitable in a malleable sense, though perhaps what seems like malleability is only that peculiar kind of change which is not actually change, not most accurately change, but the sloughing off of extraneous possibilities to reveal an increasingly clear identity. And style born out of instinct (unquashed, not covered up or overcorrected) cannot help but be, at least in some sense of that slippery word, good.

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Stamped in gold foil! My spirit pencils. And white. Yes. White always and forever.

x

design: Woodblock Chocolate

On May 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Gorgeous packaging from Woodblock Chocolate, an artisan chocolate company based in Portland, Oregon.

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It is so civilized, to me, to indulge in a small, excellent piece of chocolate now and then.

acquisitions: eggcups

On February 6, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

I sense a tenderness in my distaste toward my winter flab.

I’ve been taking the stairs.

I want an eggcup.

In some cases I want my dishes to be plain and serviceable, no big designs or corrugated, elaborate rims on plates, that kind of thing. But I like there to be that variation that rises naturally out of gradual and whimsical acquisition (necessarily requiring time and patience), such that some pieces match one another but not all the rest, or don’t precisely match at all yet reflect a consistent underlying principle of acquisition. All this to say I want an eggcup with some rustic little handpainted something on it (some flowers or a stripe), in a German or Scandanavian style, and maybe ultimately a friendly jumble of stoneware and porcelain (one must have more than one eggcup, no? If one has any at all…). In this case I feel strongly that no single eggcup should match another.

[browsing….browsing…several weeks pass…et voilà]

Arabia of Finland eggcups

Arabia of Finland eggcups

Finland. My first eggcups are from Finland. I think it a very good beginning.

Likely I have spent too much on them but I am being good (5 days of goodness!), and may justify luxury gifts in this way (there is always a way). And what could be more luxurious than Finnish ceramics? There is something about these eggcups that expresses humble authority; the last word in eggcups. Could there be any doubt that they will suit all of my needs? There could not.

I felt compelled to get two, though I am only one. A proof of my excellent intention to someday share … it is inviting, this future of shared eggs. Could there be a better symbol of domestic harmony?

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I wonder what other objects are in this future. A waffle iron? Grapefruit spoons? I really do want some grapefruit spoons.