This post is part of my NYC with Amber guide
The Earth Room | 141 Wooster Street | Manhattan
“I want to take you somewhere, but I’m not telling you what it is,” a gentleman said to me recently.
“I hate surprises.”
“You’ll like this one. Trust me, it’s more fun if you don’t know what it is first.”
He was right.
It’s a room – a big room – filled with dirt, and it made me really happy.
Admission is free. It’s open Wednesday – Sunday, 12-6 (except for the half hour of 3 – 3:30) in the winter months.
I keep trying to describe it, but you should just go see it. Either you are happy that it exists, or you won’t get it.
No photos were allowed, and I obeyed the rules, so I’ve stolen this photo from here.
In August 2004* I wrote in this blog post (among other thoughts that I felt were deep at age 22) “Lick everything.”
I’ve always wanted at least a teaspoon full of just about everyone I meet. It’s part of the reason why I’ve created a career of inserting myself into people’s lives and families. My job thrills me so much because hanging out with people I don’t know during intimate moments – getting married in a group of five friends, sitting in their living room posing for family photos, or literally taking their clothes off – is thrilling. Getting close to other people and peeling back their public facades is so fascinating.
When I found out about David Greg Harth’s project, I figured, correctly as it turns out, that he is one of my people. His project is called Every Person I Know And Every Person I Don’t Know; he invites friends and strangers to climb into a photo booth with him and takes a strip of shots. He’s amassed hundreds of photo strips throughout the years, and plans to do it “until forever”.
We met for beers Monday night at a bar in the East Village that had a photo booth. I told him about how I have always wanted to “lick everyone”, and how his project embodies that sentiment so completely.
Then we got in the photo booth together… and I licked him.
*Holy shit I’ve been blogging for a long time.
I’m struggling artistically so hard right now.
In life there are always a number of beanbags in the air, and part of my great mission to simplify is to make juggling them all a little bit easier for me. Very often I’ll think, “I am so fucking top of work right now!” and then realize that my dishes have stacked up and I am stirring my morning coffee with a dessert fork. Or my apartment is spotless, but I have half a dozen photo shoots to edit and deliver. Or I’m going out with friends or on dates regularly and having a great time but have forgotten to work out and gained weight from the eating and drinking.
Throughout this balance I’ve struggled with for the past year as I’m transitioning my life and settling loose ends, the one saving grace I’ve had is that my art was my art was my art. It never gave me trouble, improved steadily, and was always something I was really excited about. And now I’m unhappy with the way my photos are turning out, and it’s scaring me. They’re still GOOD; I know this, and I know all about that Ira Glass quote that I think will apply to me for a few more years still (sigh.), but it’s frustrating.
February is a photo a day challenge for me. Using my REAL camera, I’m going to produce one image at least that is non professional, every day, for the month of February, and I’ll be sharing them here among the regular posts, maybe a few days worth at a time.
It’s exciting! I haven’t taken a photo a day since February 2008 when I did a 30 Tiny Moments project. I’m hoping this will shake loose a cobweb in me and leave me feeling inspired.
Wish me luck! And happy February!
Modeling by Jill, who crashed at my house recently. Thanks, lady. I’m sorry that the air mattress deflated under you in the middle of the night.
At the beginning of this year I discovered gallery-wrap canvas prints; photos printed on a the kind of stretched canvas you would traditionally expect to see a painting on. They look impressive, and the best part is that you can jam a nail, or even a thumbtack, into the wall and plop your art on it. Done and done.
I have six photos in my apartment displayed like this; the most recent is the one pictured above from Easy Canvas Prints.
They invited me to make a canvas wrap, so I choose an image from my print shop that I really liked. Their website is easy to navigate, and, most importantly, I’m really happy with the sharpness and colors. As a professional photographer I’m very picky about print quality; these guys are worth trusting with your memories.
What are you doing to make your living space more beautiful these days?
CanvasPop takes your photos and turns them into custom canvas art. They’ll work with images of any resolution meaning you can even send them your iPhone snapshots, and they connect easily with Facebook, Flickr, and other social networking sites. There are a variety of filters to enhance your image if you want, too, and they’ll send you a digital proof to OK everything once you’re done. They also have a team assembled to talk you though it if you need help. Available in tons of sizes.
This is what I bought from the Renegade Craft Fair:
A small bundle of soap odd ends from Biggs & Featherbelle. They create huge rectangle logs of soap and then cut them into individual bars to sell. There is always an odd end left which they cut in half, bundle with other odd half ends, and sell for $1. Much better than going to waste. Brilliant! (first photo from their website, second photo by me)
A blondie from the Treats Truck. (I nomed it before I got a photo) They’ve named their truck Sugar. (photo from their website)
Some much-needed body lotion from Bunny Butt Apothecary. (photo from their website)
A mish-mash of “seconds” coasters from Sesame Letterpress that I might not let you use if you come over; they’re really pretty. (Listen to me and Breck from Sesame Letterpress having a great interview here).
(photo by me)
One pin for my purse from Miniature Rhino. It took mere hours of wearing it for someone to ask me if I gave blood. I’m going to have to make up a meaning for it so I don’t have to explain it doesn’t “symbolize anything, I just thought it… looked… cool” which makes me sound like a total poseur (sidenote: do people say “poseur” anymore?) Any suggestions?
(photo by me)
A stone magnet from by Cary. I saw it and liked it, but wasn’t going to spring for it (it was only $5, but still). Rob, in a fit of brilliance, sneaky-bought it by sending me to “check out that stuff over there” while he slid Cary his money. He gave it to me later at lunch, which was so sweet. When we went back on Sunday she beamed at us both and asked if I was surprised and happy (and did Rob have a brother?) Her website is coming soon, and I suggest you keep checking back. I really liked her coasters, too, which are slightly bigger versions of the magnet. (photo by me)
I’m back to selling photography! See my new store here!
I had a go at selling on Etsy a while back, but didn’t like it. On Etsy you pay a tiny fee per listing. That’s fine – it’s an amount I could cover with the coins dug out of my couch cushions – but it was annoying to pay given the lack of volume of business my store did every month.
I closed up shop and let it sit dormant. My best sellers were my copyright violating P*ep photos, anyway, and I couldn’t continue selling them.*
One of the beauties of SxSW is the people you meeting hanging out in the hallways, at the parties, in the bars, and at the dinners. I serendipitously wound up one night at a table full of people who were launching a start-up called “Store Envy” storenvy.com
It’s a similar concept to Etsy; the biggest difference for me is that they don’t have a fee per listing. Like Etsy, it’s free to launch a store, although it’s in private beta now. (They currently have Pro stores available that offer warehousing and shipping for a 15% fee) I requested a free beta store and got one, because they like me.
You can visit it by going to theambershow.storenvy.com Right now I’ve listed nine different 8×10 and 8×12 prints.
One thing I’m going to do in the near future is offer custom-cut mats. The problem with the way I (and a lot of people) shoot is that we compose our images in 2×3. That’s normally a 4×6″ photo, and if you blow it up again, 8×12″. Most frames, of course, come in 8×10″. There would be a HUGE market for anyone who starts making reasonably-priced frames for 8×12″ prints, as many of us are loathe to cut off those two inches for many of our favorite pictures when we blow them up.
Since no one has thought to make millions doing this yet, custom matting is the solution, but Hello! Expensive! So I’m going to start offering custom mats (bought in bulk), sized to fit both 11×14″ frames (a standard size frame you can find anywhere) and 11.75×15.75″ frames, the size of the most common RIBBA frame from IKEA, and frame of choice for cheap people everywhere.
Go check out my shop and pass it along to your friends, if you would. I’d appreciate it so much. If you have a suggestion for me, please share. Currently, 100% of the profits from the sale of every $10 print will be going directly to getting these little guys off the beach and into a good home. They are puppies born recently to a dog called Patches that some of my Puerto Rican dog rescue friends have noticed on the beach. We really don’t want them to languish in the filth they’re in, but there is currently zero dinero to help them with. Since I’ve gotten a handful of emails asking whether some of my prints were for sale over the past few months, this seemed like a good move all around.
*For you newer readers: I got a cease-and-desist letter from the maker of P*eps, telling me I couldn’t use their image for commercial purposes. If you’d like one, I still have a few of both “Godzilla vs. P*ep” and “4 P*eps” available, yours free with a $10+ donation to Manos Por Patas. Just forward your receipt to me with your address and I’ll send it along.
I got this email two weeks ago:
I have a question. Any thoughts on where I can get some cute prints for her room? Everything is light (you saw it), so I don’t want anything to crazy colored. You’re more up on the cool, fun, artsy stuff than me, so hook a sister up
I was all over it. I think I might have ignored the “nothing too crazy colored” part, but overall what I came up with is pretty good, and I’m pleased!
If you’re looking for art for small people, you should peruse my list, and if you are interested in even more things for small people, check out Poppytalk. They’re kicking off their own week of things for small people, starting with the custom birth announcement shown above, by Almost Sunday.
Birth announcements should all be as cute as this one, so that twenty-five years later you can hand your child’s spouse one that you’ve saved for years and years, and they can cry all over it and then frame it and hang it up. Also, now everyone who comes to our house knows that Rob was 7 pounds 8 ounces at birth. Probably half of that was his head.
“Do you want to see the nursery?!” she asked, grinning.
Did I ever!
It’s for a girl, but instead of being all PINK! it is blue and yellow and with green in the rug. Very refreshing, and so her. It’s not done yet, though: she needs art! I am put to the task of seeing out appropriate prints for the walls, and internet? This is so fun. We have come a long, long way from the pastel prints of Peter Rabbit and Noah’s Ark.
I’ve got a bookmark folder entitled “baby art” stuffed with goodies that I’ll be sharing on the Sideshow. If you all have some good ideas for nursery art, please share them!
Monsieur II, $30
Bag Girl Polka Dot, $25
It has so many cute things, and not just prints, either. I could write several blog posts on things I’ve come across in her shop, but I’ll let you explore yourself.
Thanks, Jessica, for letting me know about your fabulous store!