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De Medici Ming Fine Paper: Seattle


I discovered de Medici Ming Fine Paper today strolling around in my free time after a meeting here in Seattle. What an absolute gem of a shop. I was mesmerized by the fantastic selection of cards, journals, handmade papers, letterpress work and gifts. Perhaps one of the most quirky paper boutiques I’ve seen in a very long time. I left with a bag full of goodies.

They don’t sell online, but if you call them directly the owner will speak with you and help you out with an order– but you really have to pop by in person to get the full feeling. Calls will work for refills afterwards.

de Medici Ming Fine Paper opened in 1983 on First Avenue and University Street. Inspired by Marie Papier in Paris, the store was originally dedicated to the art of letter writing. It quickly grew into providing papers from around the world in all forms for all sorts of projects.

The name comes from two of the cultures who historically have had the most to do with development of paper: The Chinese who invented it, and the Italians who made an “everyday” style of it. The de Medici Family and the Ming Dynasty governed their respective cultures from the 1200′s-1600′s, and, still today in Seattle, in this Renaissance paper bouquet.

de Medici Ming Fine Paper
1222 A 1st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

Exact Change @ OKOK

Our arty pal (and Spear Collective member) Grant Barnhart has another opening around the bend, this time in his Seattle hometown. “Exact Change,” Grants latest body of work, was built on inspiration from the work of American artist Robert Rauschenberg. The series of paintings, again created in Grant’s classic mediums of oil and graphite, reflects the removal of self, and mocks and acknowledges the sexual perversity inherent in organized violence. While the conceptual drive behind “Exact Change” is easily discernible, the first thing one might notice in the recent paintings is the evolution of Grant’s personal style — bright colors have replaced bits of his muted palate; new shapes and forms have taken some of the room that his familiar animals used to fill; and, above all, his aptitude for story-telling has fully developed into a point of great personal strength. “Exact Change” will run through the first of January, with an opening reception at OKOK this Saturday, November 10th, from 6-10 o’clock.

Justine Ashbee

Seattleite Justine Ashbee should be the celebrity spokesperson for Sharpie. A 2004 RISD graduate, Justine has been creating her intricate and lively work with the never-fail pens for much of her career — one that has been propelling her out of her home state and into California, New Mexico, and New York galleries for the past several years. The best reason for this is probably the lifelike quality of her work, with each piece seeming to breathe of its own accord, forming depths more often found in painstaking oil portraiture, as opposed to the workings of a $3 pen. Justine’s work, aside from its beauty, also enthralls the viewer by means of its organic quality. Each piece starts as simple curve, and continues to grow through an organic flow, unencumbered by the marks or traces that frequently guide other artists from start to finish. Sharpies, as we all know, are very permanent pens, so the fact that Justine works through this method just about floors me. No word on any upcoming gallery openings, but if any of our Seattle readers have seen her work in person, please drop us a line and tell us about it!

Velocity: Amazing for Cheap

My older sister is leaving Seattle. This is a tragedy for three reasons; 1) As far as places to visit go, Seattle is far superior to Sand Point, Idaho; 2) After she is gone, my reasons to go to Seattle will have dwindled to 33% of what they used to be (my darling emo cousin just ran away, potentially to Canada, though no one knows for sure. Actually, if anyone happens to see a very blond, very tiny, very intellectually superior sixteen year-old galloping about unattended, please mention her whereabouts/condition in the comment section); and 3) I foresee difficulty in convincing my only remaining Seattle relative, a rather soft-spoken pastor, to shop in my absence at Velocity, the incredible art and design store that is now holding an amazingly delicious moving sale. Because they are relocating to South Lake Union, everything at the current Belltown location is going for a nice 10-70% off. That includes art and furniture by some of our favorite new and old designers like Angela Adams, Area, Dwell, Molo, Blik, Offi, Thomas Paul, Jason Miller, Jefdesigns, George Nelson, Ray and Charles Eames, Jean Prouve, Sori Yanagi, Isamu Noguchi, Verner Panton, Architectural Pottery, and, yeah…holy crap, right?

The sale is running through August 18th, but I recommend running on over as fast as your feet will carry you; you know those Seattle-ites and their design obsessions…

TypeCon2007: Letter Space

This is a sick aspect of my personality, but I will absolutely judge you based on your font usage. If I happen to peek over at your computer and you have so much as a widget displaying crappy typeography, I’m sorry, but we probably won’t work out. If Josh had decided to use Times New Roman on this little blog, I would not write for it — or would have at least pulled hard for some sort of compromise in our pre-nup. I know, it’s immature, ignorant, and maybe I should add this to the growing list of things I need therapy for, but if some part of you related to anything I just said, then I think you’ll be as excited as I am about TypeCon2007, the conference on typeography that will be taking place in Seattle this coming August. Early registration recently opened online, where you can also find an almost-complete list of speakers and workshops (both of which look dee-licious). This year’s conference will run from the 1st to the 5th at the Crowne Plaza (a hotel with a perfect downtown location), and promises to offer participants scores of typographic stimulation. I’m going to try hard to make it, so if you plan on going (and are comfortable with the rather heavy relationship I’m already in with Futura), drop me a line!

Kimberly Baker

I was recently gifted with a beautiful necklace from Kimberly Baker, an up-and-coming Seattle jeweler known for her “tough and tender” designs. Now that I’ve slobbered over it, slept with it, and taken it with me to very intimate and romantic locations (yes, we are in Las Vegas, together, right now), I think I’m ready to spread the love about this gifted and glistening artist. Equally graceful and rebellious, Kimberly’s line of punk and rock-inspired ornaments are blessed with a dual personality that makes them easy to wear casually or formally. Some, like my Kiera necklace, are delicate enough to easily wear with anything, while other pieces, like the Gwendolen (pictured), are so awesomely distinct that the rest of your outfit may as well just disappear once it charms up your neckline. One of my favorite things about Kimberly Baker is the pricing she has adopted; you can expect to pay about the same price for her designs as you would for the mid to lower-end Tiffany (ew, I know, sorry to bring that up) items, a price that is all the more enjoyable once you add in the “I don’t see anyone else in this room wearing my necklace” factor. You can find some of her pieces at stores like Bettina Duncan (at Fred Segal in L.A.) and Cog (in Brooklyn), but I think it may be best to just buy direct from Kimberly’s own website, where you can peep her current and past collections.

SEOmoz Web 2.0 Awards

Yesterday, Seattle’s internet consulting team SEOmoz announced their Web 2.0 Award winners for the year. During the decsion process, the SEOmoz team took a hard look at hundreds of Web 2.0 sites and picked the crème de la crème in 41 categories. From that point, they chose 25 Web 2.0 experts to vote on the winners. After the experts voted, SEOmoz went even further to interview 15 of the top sites’ creators to give us all a little insight into the details of the creation process for a top Web 2.0 website. I’m definitely adding this list of award winners to my compilation of helpful 2.0 resources. Already, I’m seeing some sites I hadn’t heard of that I want to explore.

Say Hi To Your Mom

Although the Seattle indie rock band Say Hi To Your Mom is not necessarily new news, and don’t have a new album on the near horizon (at least that I know about), I just got their 2006 album “Impeccable Blahs,” and I’m really liking what I’m hearing. I won’t go so far as to say, as they sarcastically do, that they sound like “the moment just before orgasm,” but I will give them a hearty recommendation to those of you who haven’t heard them yet. The band is comprised of Eric, Chris, and Jeff (the super serious guys you see above), although many refer to Eric as “the guy” because he started the project by himself – and with the help of “super advanced recording technology” – back in 2002. I’m going to warn you – and hopefully this will come as a relief – this isn’t exactly mainstream music; but if you enjoy heavily electro influenced indie rock, you should definitely give them a listen. You can stream all of the songs off of “Impeccable Blahs” here.

Blackbird: Seattle

Blackbird is not only a great menswear boutique to visit, but it also understands that many fashion buffs aren’t able to make the trip to Seattle to see the store for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, you should do your best to be there in person, but if that’s simply not an option, Blackbird meets us halfway with a constantly updated blog, showcasing some of their most coveted inventory, drastically discounted sale items, notable local events, and other tidbits of interesting info. And what’s more, they’ll ship “anywhere the law will let them” so you can get your paws on the goods. Browsing their blog archives, it was nice to see some great close-up shots of some difficult-to-find items (I want I want gimme gimme gear), including these Friend or Foe Jazz T’s that just seem to be flying off the shelves everywhere– I believe Mr. Spear referred to them as “the perfect t-shirt” actually.

Sha Ra Ku Mono Knives

Komin Yamada, the Japanese designer behind the uber light and high performing GLOBAL line of cooking knives, is also responsible for Myodo & Co.’s gorgeous and extremely exclusive line called Sha Ra Ku Mono. Where GLOBAL has developed a healthy state-side following among food aficionados, Sha Ra Ku Mono is the new kid on the block– in fact, it’s so exclusive that, supposedly, the only U.S. retailer selling it is Seattle Cutlery, near the Pike Place Market. These knives feel like no other in your hand– perfectly balanced, amazingly light, and visually stunning to boot. If you’re interested, you can order directly from Seattle Cutlery. They’ve recently discounted the price on the Sha Ra Ku Mono line, so although you’re still going to take a big hit to the wallet, it won’t be as painful. For those of you who really care about your cutlery, these knives are the way to go for sure. I had a chance to see them up close over the weekend, and was completely blown away. More after the jump…


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