Archive for the ‘Everyday Design’ Category

Everyday Design: Chicken Photograpy by Tamara Staples


Our brains have been thinking a lot about chickens. You can say we are a bit obsessed. For the past year we’ve been debating on when, how, and where. Finally, this spring we are excited to announce that we are getting chickens! I don’t think they will ever be as beautiful as the ones pictured in this pretty chicken project by Tamara Staples. I’m sure our new chicken adventures will leave us with much more respect for the award winning chicken sub-culture than we ever expected!

Who knew?!

Tamara Staples, a commercial photographer, started her career as a prop stylist for print and television. Her daytime job is obviously much more “urban” (checkout her still life photos!) but she has managed to find time to pursue more personal projects as well. As a little girl she found her love for chickens while visiting her Uncle Ron, a chicken breeder in Athens, GA. It took her nearly four years of traveling to award shows in the Midwest before she could publish her first photography book in 2001; The Fairest Fowl: Portraits of Championship Chickens.

Now with the release of her second chicken book, The Magnificent Chicken, Tamara has done it again and nearly left us all awe-struck over these awkward and yet beautiful creatures.

Tamera recalls her first visit at a poultry show 20 years ago;

“I remember stepping inside and being blown away by the birds,” Staples recounted. “They were gorgeous! And the show itself—the people, the smell, the sounds, the camaraderie of the shows and the beauty of the birds—who knew there were so many varieties of chickens beyond what you think about when they’re on your dinner plate?” - Tamara Staples | Slate

“Poultry shows exist all over this country. They are amazing organizations. There, you will find generations of families involved in the upkeep and competition of the birds, working together in a city folk’s dream of the country. When you look at these photographs, you may see a beautiful bird, you may see a proud chicken, and you may even be able to marvel at the colors or patterns that make each bird unique. What I wish you could see is the passionate 12-year-old boy, getting up before school, before daylight, no matter the weather, and making sure his birds made it through the cold night as he waters and feeds them. And now imagine his grandfather, who’s been raising and showing his birds since he was a child, carefully holding a newborn chick, imparting years of wisdom to his grandson. Imagine the family at the poultry show, as the ribbons are distributed and whether victory or defeat, all lifelong lessons.” - Tamara Staples | Chronicle Books Blog

“These chickens are works of art. They’ve been breed to a perfection by serious, passionate and life long breeders. They are the outcome of their great, great grand chickens, carefully raised to be the competitive bird you see here.” - Tamara Staples | Chronicle Books Blog

In 2003 she was featured on NPR’s hit series “This American Life”. Take a listen for a behind the scenes look at the fine art of chicken portraiture.

Every once in a while we come along a project that sorta stops us in our tracks. Our Everyday Design Series is a place to highlight creatives who create art and design out of things we normally take for granted. Sometimes the greatest ideas are found when we actually slow down and take the time to reminisce on the things we truly love.

For Tamara Staples that was chickens. :)

What are the random and unique things about your world that inspire you?

From the Farm

Purchase The Magnificent Chicken at Chronicle Books Online. A fun gift idea for Father’s Day or a coffee table book for that urban farmer enthusiast. :)

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Related Posts

Everyday Design: Indoor Clouds


Spring is one of our favorite seasons here in Oklahoma and that is mainly because it’s storm season! You always recognize the visitors from the “locals” because they typically run to the nearest shelter as soon as their is any sign of tornado activity while everyone else is setting out lawn chairs.

When you’re in the country you get the best seat in the house. Watching storms roll in from afar and seeing how the clouds take shape and move across the sky is a surreal and powerful moment. We just love how artist Berndnaunt Smilde has captured that moment in an indoor setting and encourages us to look at each cloud as truly unique piece of art.

“These stunning photos of indoor clouds might look like digital creations, but they’re actually of real scenes… The clouds are generated using a smoke machine, but Smilde must carefully monitor a room’s humidity and atmosphere in order to get the smoke to hang so elegantly, and with such life-like form. Backlighting is used to bring out shadows from within the cloud, to give it that look of a looming and ominous rain cloud.”Mother Nature Network

The cloud instillation is so majestic and angelic like. It really makes you long for that next BIG storm! We’re looking forward to more opportunities to cloud watch and storm chase as this spring has already brought us lots of wonderful rain (which means the blackberry’s are growing great!).

Do you hide from storms or like to watch them? What is your favorite storm watching moment?

From the Farm

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Everyday Design: Wooden Ties


These boys look like a lot of trouble + a lot of fun! Meet the guys behind Wood Thumb. Located in San Francisco their start-up company uses recycled wood to make wooden ties. A unique spin on the term “business casual” each piece is handmade and a modern spin on the old neck strangler.

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Everday Design: Handmade Balloons


Since our wedding Cale and I have had a “thing” for balloons. We love their free spirits and the whimsical feel that they can bring to any occasion. At our wedding reception we had giant 4 ft x 4 ft round white balloons at each of the tables and they created the perfect canopy for our outdoor wedding. Since then we can’t help but be a little bit obsessed with balloons and simply fell in love with our latest Everyday Design artist group who created and documented their handmade balloons in their “Balloon Factory”.

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Everyday Design: Map Quilts


We love hearing success stories of those who go after that thing inside of them. That thing that drives them to be artistic. We have a sincere love and appreciation for innovation and functional design and we have been truly drooling over Emily Fischer’s work at the Haptic Lab.

Get ready to curl up to some wonderful white space…

“Soft-Maps are quilted maps of cities and neighborhoods that represent someone’s unique place in the world, and are tactile keepsakes meant to last generations.” – Heptic Lab Website

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Everday Design: Paper Taxidermy of Sorts


“Anna-Wili Highfield is a Sydney based artist currently making sculptures of animals from paper and from copper pipe.” – Anna-Wili Highfield Website

“Very reminiscent of taxidermy but with a lighter feel, she delicately crafts each piece by using archival cotton paper that is then painted, torn, and sewn into these incredible pieces.” – Strictly Paper

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Everyday Design: Pencil Top Carvings


“A PENCIL is just an instrument, an effective tool for scratching measurements onto wood, updating checkbooks and filling in bubbles in tests. Unless it’s in the hands of Dalton Ghetti. The 45-year-old Bridgeport resident has been carving sculptures into pencil lead, without the aid of a magnifying glass, for 25 years.”   -New York Times

“Many artists have used pencils to create beautiful pieces of work – but only one creates stunning masterpieces on the tip of one. Microscopic artist Dalton Ghetti spends up to two-and-a half years painstakingly crafting each handmade piece on the graphite of a pencil. “  – Dalton Ghetti Facebook

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Everyday Design: Bamboo Architecture


It’s not often you see bamboo in Oklahoma, but bamboo is quickly becoming one of the most widely used naturally replenishing resources we have in this world. So why wouldn’t it be a major part of great art installations. Meet the Starns, a couple of amazing artists that have made a name for themselves with bamboo.

“Doug and Mike Starn were born in New Jersey in 1961. Identical twins, they work collaboratively with photography and continue defying categorization, effectively combining traditionally separate disciplines such as sculpture, photography, painting, video, and installation.”

-Starn Studio

Working even now the Starns have just finished an exhibition of Big Bambú in Venice, Italy. Here are some images of that work, and a link or two to other works of theirs… Enjoy!

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Everyday Design: Human Hair


I’ve had my brain on the need for a hair cut so when I ran across Adrienne Antonson I couldn’t think of a better artist for our latest Everyday Design post. Not only is she witty and cute but she lives on an alpaca farm with her husband AND she just launched a clothing line that uses all local materials and labor from local craftsmen. Can you say WOW!!

Adrienne Antonson was born in 1982, in Gainesville, FL. Her mother collected hair in a small velvet box, which had a lasting impact on her as an artist.

“Human hair fuels my desire to give old things new life; with it, I have found a material that is beautiful and historic, stimulating and self-sufficient.”

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Everyday Design: Colored Pencil Sculptures


When I was a child my favorite medium was colored pencils. I don’t know why I jumped past crayons at a young age and then went back to markers in college, but from 8-16 years, it was all colored pencils. This months ‘everyday design‘ post is all about color, and colored pencils. One of those wonderful little tools we creatives love to use. But here it is in a completely new form…

Meet Jennifer Maestre a girl with a love of pencils and texture, a national following and an Etsy Shop

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High class design in overalls. It's the simple life of a farm through the eyes of a couple of crazy designers. We call ourselves Green Couch Design and we are Bringing Design Home.

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