Wednesday, July 2, 2008

greenland is ice :: home :: new bike

on the flight home, my plane was basically following the sun--i could hardly sleep with all the amazing views.

this is my new bike all put together. haven't thought of a name yet. any ideas?
i feel like an official copenhagener with only three gears. yes, only three gears.
being home is great except i have been slaving on my thesis and that is hard work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


i fly home tomorrow, so this is a farewell post.
thanks for all the comments and responses. it's been so fun to keep in touch this way.
i will probably start a new blog for everyday stuff and continue to share the things i make and see. or maybe i will keep this one and just continue on with it. not sure.

but i do want to say thanks to all the copenhageners who showed me around, introduced me to people, lent me things, were generally funny, fun and darling. you are all, always welcome in Seattle.

Friday, June 13, 2008

a mown lawn

Mowing is a crucial part of good parks and landscapes. If it's done well, it looks fantastic, much like the photos shown. If done badly it is equivalent of a bad hair day, or rather, a bad hair month. These pictures are from Kastellet, a fortified fortress in Copenhagen right on the harbor. I frequently take walks here as you will see in my next installment of "walks". ha ha! I don't know why I find that funny but it might be due, in part, to the fact that I presented my research to the Center yesterday and was doing a lot of long days to write and then prepare my slideshow. It all went very well and I was so pleased to share what I have done. It has been quite some time since I have really talked to anyone about my work and I was sorely in need of some reflection. I had fun with the slideshow, as usual, and will surely use parts of it when I present in the fall at the UW. You're all invited!

Jennifer and Ryan arrive tomorrow, then Owen comes on Monday. I can hardly wait. It will be such a treat to have my pals here. I am sure the posts will dwindle a bit at that point (sorry Nancy) though I will do my best. But, before you know it, I will be asking you to take me out for a beer back home. So if you start to miss me, have no fear, it's only two weeks!

commuter views

Every day on my commute I am amazed at how great the bike-riders look here. There is such a great diversity of types of bikes, types of riders, bags, helmets, hairstyles, you name it. Sometimes I take sneaky shots of people who are extra cute and this is my collection of spy-rider-portraits. I especially like the older lady with the striped shorts. Her outfit is stylish and screams vacation! And the guy with the cleaning supplies. Love to see a man with a scrub brush on his bike. Oh, and notice the yellow box on the bottom indicating this gal's sleek, biker-business-briefcase. It gingerly rests upon her rack with nothing to secure it. The Danish commute is so civilized, you don't have to fasten anything down and prepare for treacherous urban conditions.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

new bike

i came to copenhagen with no intention of buying a bicycle because i have a great bike that does the job at home. but, on my commute there is a store where beautiful custom bikes are sold and after many days of passing it, i thought i would go in for a peek. i don't think it's practical to have a dutch style bike with a swoopy skirt bar in seattle because they are not great on hills so i expected to like the bikes, but not fall in love. you always get what you don't expect and now i am soon to be the owner of a lovely 3-speed, navy blue, chain-guarded 2007 bike made by fancy bike-maker rasmus of Cykelmageren. It's not custom, but they build their standard frames in Denmark, get painted in Denmark and I'll be bundling my babe and taking it on the plane only partially assembled. it turns out that prize money i won for the JA! postcard is just enough to cover the bike after I get my VAT back. just imagine! happy early graduation to me! can't wait to show it off. if you go to the website, i got the frame that is boxy, but has a skirt bar (w/ brown brooks saddle).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

d-snap dedication

As I was riding my bike this weekend I hit a bump and my precious d-snap camera went flying out my bike basket into the air to land in the bike lane where traffic was rolling and I actually ran over it with my tire. I was appalled. I screeched to a halt (my breaks have taken a turn for the operatic worst--yet are still operational), I parked Rally and I ran into the bike lane to retrieve the my tiny pixel-preserving friend. I wasn't surprised to find that the mini-tanker worked just fine and has ever since. That thing is so steady, I couldn't have a better camera. Tyler is the one who discovered them so he deserves some credit, too. Yea! D-snap rocks. I mined my photos while taking a break yesterday and found that I actually have quite a few portraits of the darling thing and that is what you see above(the one with my face is thee dsnap rope around my neck). I wanted to put a dsnap in the center with flames or a halo, but that piece of artistry is not required to get ready for my thesis presentation to the Research Center tomorrow. So, I cut it off at simple montage(sound of flower wilting).

Monday, June 9, 2008

soccer / football madness

I haven't noticed the soccer craziness in Copenhagen, though in the last two days I have received two emails from Germany on this topic. They were so colorful and funny, I thought I would share a quote from each. I hope this isn't a breach of email trust...

Owen says:
"Inre. EuroCup soccer/gambling madness: DON'T bet ANY money on Germany, in spite of any past allegiances you may have. They will play convincingly into the quarterfinals, then crushed (again) like cheap grapes by spaghetti-eating Italians. I'm just glad England didn't even make it in, their fans are the absolute WORST."

Josh says:
"All of Germany is in the grip of Football fever the euro cup is going on and team Kraut is pretty damn good. I sat down for some grub at an outside table across the street form where an ever increasing group of folks brought chairs to watch the game on a screen set up outside. eventually blocking off about 2/3rds of the road."

photo of Dresden by Joshua Powers (on

midnight, that's kind of early to go out.

It's true. Copenhagen is a REALLY late-night city. Riding my bike home at what seemed like the ungodly hour of 3:30am this Saturday to find the streets full of people and some bars too full to get seats made me finally accept that if you only visit Denmark for a short period, you might as well stay on Seattle time. The New York Times (ok, I am a little obsessed with reading the paper on-line. btw, did anyone read that great article in the June 1 mag about the Pakistani activist lawyer, Ahsan? Really good.) featured a short article about Copenhagen bodegas a few weeks ago and the journalist weas right on. They are sort of like the plaza--the place where all types meet. That one is the Bo-Bi Bar, darling little trap that is so small it is still legal to smoke in there. (Photo: Jakob Dall for The New York Times)

a little off topic

but still worth telling.
check out this great interactive article in the nytimes about stadium food. i especially enjoyed the warning about the chicago white sox, but i think the georgia dog would be my top culinary choice. no mention of the seattle dog outside of Safeco--what's up with that? c'mon, who doesn't like a dog decorated with a slab of cream cheese and hot chili to counteract an ice cold rainier from the triangle bar? it's culture, for crying out loud.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

early father's day // late mother's day

The reason for me getting interested in landscape architecture is probably because of my parents. My mom is an incredible sewer, very sensitive to color, quality, texture and fit. She is a gardener and truly appreciates good composition. If I have any of those qualities, they probably came from her. My dad also has a keen, analytical eye and has, for as long as i can remember, been an armchair architect drawing house plans, taking us to homes in construction to look at the floor plans while especially enjoying the art of residential architecture. I have come to appreciate those things, too, and hope to call myself a landscape architect very soon.

One of my Dad's favorite architects is Royal Barry Wills. Royal Wills never became well known enough to be on a first name basis in the world; his often humble, yet successful work exemplifies the ethic that fame is no reason to become an architect. Subtlety and comfort are at the core of his design philosophy, two ideals my dad finds appealing in architecture.

As an aficionado of fabrics, my mother has favorite designers, too, but in sewing, and especially quilting, limiting yourself to one designer would be silly because the real magic comes about as a result of a good combination diverse fabrics. It can be an endless task to bring multiple colors, patterns, and forms together to create a cohesive composition. Choices of fabric may seem numerous until you start putting one next to another to find out if they get along or not. Often, you may start with ten orange-based samples thinking you are all set, only to find out the hues or patterns don't fit together and you end up with just two instead of ten.

I say all of this because I visited the home of a Danish designer, Finn Juhl, and it struck me that it is equal parts Mom and Dad, and ever since I have been thinking about how much the they have influenced me. Mother's Day came and went, and though I called my mom, I didn't send a card (sorry mom!). Father's Day is only a week away and today is the day I would send a card via mail. But, he will be out of town on the 15th, so, I am going to forgo the card and make a post about Finn Juhl's house and dedicate it to my parents. I feel so modern.
Ordrup, the suburb of Copenhagen where the house lies, is a lovely bike ride from the city center that starts on the main road by my apartment, runs through the edge of the truly dense area, drops out onto a coastal bike path before turning inland through shady wooded roads. The entrance to the land is inconspicuous though there is a sign with Finn Juhl's picture marking the road. As I rode in, I thought I was entering a little forest as the road narrowed and eventually brought me to a courtyard where the where two extremely different yet cohesive buildings sit. The first one I noticed was a very estate-y structure that houses the Ordrupgaard art collection and rotating exhbitions.

The other building is an addition designed by Zaha Hadid and the "New Architecture in Copenhagen" has it just right when it says, "The experience of space is a key feature of the new annex, which both harmonizes and contrasts with the fine old house(Ordrupgaard Museum)..." And harmony would be an understatement when talking about how the building interacts with the landscape. It rises out of a hillock covered in messy crasses like a capsule of shaped, black coal to rest in the tree-ringed meadow that characterizes the whole site. The wild grasses sway in rhythm with their own reflections in the glazing, the trees have a double too, crystal clear, but darkened by the shadow cast by the black scarf of concrete that holds the structure together. Materially the addition is so different from it's surroundings and maybe it's the contrast that makes it so perfectly appropriate--it looks like it has always been there.

Once inside I discovered that I was cleverly coordinated in color choices that allied well with Mr. Juhl's. I asked some other visitors to take my picture in Juhl's Pelican chair.

The annex featured a retrospective of Juhl's furniture. As an architect, Juhl was most interested in creating a Gesamtkunstwerk wherein he designed everything in the home from the building to carpets, to cutlery to collanders. I can identify with that desire. Can you imagine getting to design every last detail? That would be a task where I would certainly be channeling both parental influences. Wow, I think I would start with the dish-ware. Ok, enough fantasizing and back to the real life fantasy of a room full of chairs designed by Finn Juhl. If it had been allowed to take pictures, I would have surely filled my 1-gig card to the limit, this room was so juicy and full of amazingly hand-crafted wood frames dressed in leather and wool cushions of colors that crayola has long forgotten.

After getting scolded for one photo, I resorted to drawing. On the right is a picture of Juhl lounging blithely, enjoying his hand-work, no doubt. On the left is a drawing of desk chair I:4. It was designed for the NY Museum of Modern Art's International Furniture Competiton of 1948. I chose to draw this one because written on the schematic was a description of the chair, "very light, stack easily and can be put together by an ordinarily-witted person," that made me laugh out loud. Danes hold a lot for common sense and people seem to have a bit of it here. But, I guess when going abroad, Juhl thought he better think more liberally about his audience and state the obvious.

I wish I could show pictures of the inside of his house, but again, no pics aloud. However, I do have this now and then comparison--the "then" is from poster featuring a picture of the house from many years ago. The house is extremely simple, L-shaped and designed to bring in light, but keep out the cold. Wherever possible Juhl maximized natural light in subtle ways using small windows, glazed dividers between rooms and a generously livable floor plan that emphasizes views into the garden. The second current photo on the comparison is a section of one side of the house. I included it because I am just a sucker for sections of house-shaped houses.

The entrance to the house deserves a bit of attention, too, though it does very little to draw attention to itself. That is, on first glance. The blue and yellow are signature Juhl colors that add a playful character to the otherwise simple white-wash exterior. The overhang is low, very much appropriate to the scale of the house and the other houses in the area. I never get sick of humble entries that betray the contents of the house--simple, elegant, functional, unpretentious.

So, back to Mom and Dad. Mom, I think you would really enjoy Juhl's creative, thoughtful choices of color and his attention to subtle details. Dad, I think you would enjoy the sheer livability of the modest, comfortable, yet elegant home. And I think you would both appreciate the incredible composition that all of the wonderful parts come together to make, only when combined as they are.

So, that was one LONG mother's day / father's day post. There is a website for this place but I warn you, it takes forever to load. It's definitely worth looking at, though. And I think I am ready to declare that my favorite Danish icon is not, in fact, the hot dog, but rather FJ45.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Friday, June 6, 2008

walks are back!

Thesis is going well, but I can't help identifying with George in this picture. This one came from the my local library's cast-off books pile.

Yes, by popular demand, walks are back. This is the one that I didn't post before I left to galavant around, so it is kind of old. But, mark my words, walks are back as I have returned to sewing a crooked thread in multi-color all over copenhagen.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Skagen: then and now

I learned about Skagen when I first got here and have wanted to visit ever since. It is the Northernmost tip of Denmark--a little sandy bar that fades into the line where two seas meet. Unfortunately, I won't be able to go there this trip, but I found these antique postcards at the flea market over the weekend and the final image is a modern day comparison--a shot of my office mate and fearless city guide, Jesper. It appears that not much has changed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dyr Have

As promised, pictures from Dear Garden. I'll talk more about the history of this place later. I did talk a little bit about it in an earlier post
and have learned some new things since then. When I am not feeling the thesis noose around my neck, I'll be able to tell you more without gasping. These are two of MANY pictures I took there. I also plan on going back for another round and am actually crossing my fingers for an overcast day. Saying that is probably like rubbing salt in the damp, cloudy wounds of all the Seattlites b/c I know it has been miserable there. The first is a landscape, and the second is one of a series I am doing about wood piles in Scandinavia. They're amazing. I really like wood piles. I think I am going to spend some time in Woodinville this summer doing a Northwest wood piles photo series. Ok, off to edit and edit again!! Oh and I have some wood theories about Scandinavia in general and I will tell you more about those after I visit the Finn Juhl museum this weekend for some information gathering.

Monday, June 2, 2008

good news // bad news

i'll start with the bad news since i can't stop thinking about it. this weekend i was at a barbeque in the park and left my camera with all the bags and thought there were enough people and was sort of careless, i guess, and now it's gone. i lost it. my film camera. actually, tyler's film camera. sorry tyler. sorry me. sorry everyone. i still have my digital and i do have two disposable cameras and the polaroid and of course, i still have my hands to draw pictures, for crying out loud, but what i really want to do is cry out loud because it's just terrible! i moped yesterday and i think i am going to get it out of my system and there will be just that much more room in my basket now for other things like a puppy or a huge piece of cake. i did check ebay, though, and it seems that film cameras are going out of style so they are easy to replace.

and now, for the good news. i scanned a ton of negatives today and i have soooo many amazing pictures to share with you. the new, june banner on the blog is me flying a flag of sadness for the camera of yesterweek but also a little teaser for all the black and white, scratched and dirty negative goodness to come. it turns out that i am not the MOST precise photographer, nor am i an excellent developing technician so, the pictures just look so darn antique i feel like have created a huge stack of old postcards. i'm tickled. that one is from the Klampenborg Beach Park designed by famous Dane, Arne Jacobsen.

ok. i checked out a bit over the weekend because i was too bummed to post anything, but that won't get me anywhere, so here is a double dose.i took a night walk last week, started out when it was dusk and everything looks so romantic. i went to go check out this one building, which i saw, but as the light dimmed and night came on, i was so taken with the blues and blacks of the sky and buildings and all the yellows of the street lights, i really took a summer rainstorm of photos. the top one is four night blues compared. and the next, well, that's just for fun.

no, it's not a nursery, or a school or anything you might suspect when you see a set of doors painted in bright, bold colors wrapping around geometric cut-out windows you find on those little boxes that kids practice putting blocks in. it's just too much. though that night light is good for some things, it's not good for avoiding flash-glare on darling shiny doors.

unintentionally i have sort of begun to grow a rat's tail. i know i am a little late on that trend but i kind of like it.

my new favorite food is liverwurst or paté or whatever you want to call it. this one is my brand. and it's surprisingly cheap. i think this container was maybe 2.50. i eat it on rye bread with cucumbers or sometimes bell peppers. so good.

Friday, May 30, 2008

oslo ++++

this is an epic post, so get comfortable.
Jesper, my trusty officemate and friend, helped me find a community center where i could develop my own film for a very low price. and last night i did a marathon and developed 8 rolls! so, i have the negatives that i can scan and share with you. i am still working out a scanner that really gets the negs well, but this post has some scans that i tried to make presentable enough for you, my savvy readers.

first, meet Lasse! This is Ane, Kristin and Årild's dog. I stayed with them in Blaker and they were amazing hosts. I will post pics of them when i can scan the negatives better. all the people shots are too light.

That is most definitely Lasse hording my shoe. I took it as a sign of affection, though he wouldn't let that thing go. I was scheming a plan to lure him away with a piece of Jarlsberg cheese(his current favorite--such a mature, Scandinavian palate), when Årild came into the house and there is really no better distraction than his Papa.

The first night that I actually stayed in Oslo, I didn't have any plans, but I had seen a poster in a bar window for music that was free and something about caught my eye, so I decided I would have a beer there after I had rested from my day of walking around. When I got there, the band was sweet--playing good covers--and then they had a break. I had brought a book on the off chance I would find myself alone and so I began to read. Not long after someone asked my what I was reading and before I knew it I was meeting a whole table of Norwegians who were sweet and fun and great conversation. I mentioned that I thought the hotdog stands were cool and one guy told that, that day's paper had a magazine insert with Norwegian hot dog stands as the cover story. On my way home I picked up a copy and it was true! 8 pages of glossy hotdog glory! It was incredible. I have scanned a few to show you, though, I haven't really dedicated myself to trying to read the text. but, i am not alone. in fact, i may have really struck a chord with this hot dog stuff.

And, though a Danish dog is not perfect by any stretch, I do have to say I rate it higher than the Norwegian dogs, which are mostly steamed, not grilled. Big difference.

One last thing. My colleague at the Center is writing her PhD and one of her subjects is a town not far from Copenhagen. Her main text is a book from the 50's that has all these cute drawings/pics of the town and one has the cutest hot dog stand in it. The three pics above are the drawing, a close up of the hotdog sign(i highlighted the text in yellow) and a picture of the new stand that is there now, present day. Cool. So, as I suspected, the Danes have been doing this hot dog stand gig for quite some time now. Maybe I can find an even earlier example.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

chateau de suzette

this is killin' me with it's amazingness. in response to my post "for mom (WMW)" ryan embellised my montage with a title. that deserves a fantastisk! thanks ryan.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

oslo + trivia

i finally submitted a draft of my thesis. i am taking today off because i have worked so many hours since i returned and then it is back to 9-5, using my freetime to make things, daydream, take walks and explore copenhagen. today i am starting to post about beautiful oslo, our partner to the north. on my first day exploring, i did the museum circuit and regret not buying books for the Sverre Fehn exhibit at the National Museum for Art, Architecture, and Design, which by the way if FREE to ALL, ALL THE TIME.

a page from Sverre Fehn's many sketchbooks which put my sketchbooks to shame but also opened my eyes to so much more that i could do. his drawings are anything but perfect, but extremely accurate. full of feeling and life. i was very impressed. and i don't think i really know how to talk about his architecture so i will leave it to you do discover. why didn't i buy that book!? i thought it was too heavy. darn.

Løwaas and Wagle

can anyone identify this?

can anyone identify this?
Then i crossed the street to the Museum of Contemporary Art
which is also FREE to ALL and there was an exhibit with a huge collection of WOVEN arts! Løwaas and Wagle weave fabric, paper, panty-hose, you name it and the results are incredible. I was really struck by there work. Do, go to the link and scroll through the 10 or so images on the front page and see more. it is so worth it. it really inspired me to take those woven postcards to the next level! The collection there was very impressive and full of things that i would pick if i could afford them. i think we must have similar taste! i was making notes in my little pocket notebook about the names of the art/artists above but some of the pages are missing and i need your help. does anyone recognize these? maybe there is a prize in it for whoever guesses, so if you answer, leave your address.

ok. it's my day off! i am going to go mess around and do NO work!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

slave to the keyboard

I think must be the longest work bender I have ever done. And ptuiii! I have had it. I know she'll(the thesis) be comin' around the mountain when she comes, but boy I would like to hit fastforward and watch that horse's legs do triple-time all the way to the graduate school to hand this sucker in. I allowed myself a beer last night--the only one I have had since I returned from traveling and I nearly lost it. I was near euphoric. But then I had to reign it in because I am nowhere near done. Tomorrow I send off a draft to my advisors (Hi Thaisa and Nancy!) who have kindly allowed me to extend my deadline a few days and then I can go back to doing 9-5. That will be a relief.

Enough ranting. Here's a rave. I got cherries in this bag in Berlin and I thought it was very sweet. Obst means fruit in German. Check out that cute drawing.

This is a demolition site of a housing block in Leipzig (Grünau).

And I swear, Norway posts are coming soon!