Gillian Welch’s CD Cover Artwork

The new Gillian Welch CD, The Harrow & The Harvest arrived in our mailbox last week. We haven’t had a chance to sit down and listen to the whole thing straight through, but judging from what I’ve heard so far, it’s in the same league as her last album, Soul Journey, which is so simple, it’s masterful.

Anyway, the insert for the CD cover is made from a single piece of stiff fabric similar to a coffee mug coaster. The cover drawing is pressed into the fabric. It’s a miniature work of art that reminds me what it was like to listen to an album on vinyl and admire the artwork that went into the overall package. Anyone remember those days?
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Crazy Inspired Guy Replicates “The Muppet Show” Sets

It breaks down like this. Some years ago, a toy company began releasing Muppet Show character figures that were more accurately replicated than anything that had been produced before. The company had a full line up of characters scheduled to be produced along with a replica of the Muppet Theatre that included the backstage area. But the company went bankrupt and that was the end of it… until a guy named Lance Cardinal decided to make a replica of it himself. And it looks like he may have created his own character figures that never had the chance to be produced by the bankrupt company. Check it out:

The full story and more photos at Cardinal Designs.

Mary Pratt “Jelly Shelf” Print

When will Mary Pratt‘s “Jelly Shelf” painting be released as a high quality print?

We already have one of her prints framed and mounted on a wall in our dining room area, and we love it. But we’ve been hoping to see the jars painting (as we’ve always called it) available as a print since we first saw it in person at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in 2005 (see my Rodin and Mary Pratt post). Seeing the painting on a 52 cent stamp is nice, but it might be the worst thing that could have been done to a painting that needs to be viewed in its full size to really get it. I wrote this after I saw it in Nova Scotia:

It looks like a photograph, but up close you can see the actual brush strokes. The effect of slowly walking back from the painting as it reveals itself is so dramatic, I don’t know what to tell you except that you have to see it to believe it…

I’ve written this post in the hopes that whoever owns the painting will realize that there is a market for a high quality print of it. I know I’d pay good money for it.

The Best of “Outfront”


The CBC Radio program Outfront was one the best uses of radio on the planet.

Outfront is [or was] radio stories about real life. It’s all about your ideas, your experiences, your perspectives, your story. It’s fifteen minutes of storytelling, experimental audio and new ways of making radio. Stories told from Canadian perspectives about the Canadian experience. You won’t hear traditional storytelling, and you won’t hear reporters or hosts. Outfront explores new ways of presenting stories which break the radio mold.

The producers would give ordinary people a microphone and a tape recorder, provide some basic instructions on how to record and tell their stories, and then leave them to it. The results were often compelling and — well, it was one of the best uses of radio on the planet. But then Stephen Harper became prime minister of Canada and funding for the arts and for cultural institutions like the CBC got cut.

Since then, the producers of Outfront have posted 50 of their favourite episodes available as free MP3 downloads. Get them while you can. Outfront was great radio.

Clockmaking Seems Great

I wonder how much training it takes to become a clockmaker. Maybe it’s an idealized vocation, like being a baker sweating over hot ovens all day, a vocation that isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or maybe it’s as calm, cool and peaceful as it seems in this video.

(Via a Facebook posting by a Whole Wheat Radio listener.)