// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mad Skills: Janel's Handmade Bags and Purses

Christmas 2007, my wife Janel received her first sewing machine. She's often considered getting one, but for any number of reasons we never pulled the trigger. Since that time, she's been working diligently in her free time to learn how to use it. She plans to take classes, but thought she would fool around a bit to get some basics nailed down first.

Well, she did way more than nail down the basics. In fact, for nearly every weekend she's had free time since Christmas, and on some weekday nights, she's began making purses and over-the-shoulder bags of all shapes, styles, colors, and sizes. From the look of things, you would think she's been sewing all her life. In fact a few weeks back, a group of dear friends organized a purse party for her and she somewhat timidly boxed all her new creations up, hoping they would be well received. Well received they were, and she sold almost every one! Almost 40 bags in total! The purpose of the party was to raise funds for our El Salvador adoption fund.

Take a look at her purses in our Flickr set, or the Pictobrowser gallery I made (above) for this post. To see them bigger, go directly to the Flickr set I just mentioned, or click on the word "Link" in PictoBrowser and it will take you to the Flickr page I have set up. These are literally the first thing she has ever sewn. I am super proud of her. For one, she is really talented. I think her ability to sew so well was as big a surprise to her as it was me. Secondly, she had her mind set on learning how to sew so she could make enough bags to sell. Since selling them all since, she has made another 12 more bags for people who have seen them and asked for their own.

I can't wait to tell our children someday about how driven she was to make these bags. She did it with these children in mind. Children we don't yet know, but one's God has planned for our family. Janel is an amazing wife, and she encourages me by how faithful she is, and how much she already loves her children. The one's we have not yet met.

These bags are a tangible example of Janel's loving nature and her desire to glorify God. I am so proud to be her husband and so looking forward to helping her raise the children God places in our care.

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REPOST: How To Be Interesting

REPOST: I posted this in November 2006. I came across it and thought I would share it again. Some people have appreciated these reposts. Others perhaps not. But as I said when I began BarryBlog, this is a place to help me remember things I find of interest. And since I forgot this, I imagine you may have too. The reality is you've probably never seen it, as in November 2006 I had my dad, and two other people stopping by.

So here goes, again:

- - - - - - -

As I ponder my career to date, the people who’ve impressed me the most are also those who I found to be the most interesting. So is there any formula for being interesting? Probably not. However in this article by Russell Davies, there are a few things which might help.

Be interested • Interesting people are good at sharing • Take at least one picture everyday. Post it to flickr • Start a blog. Write at least one sentence every week • Keep a scrapbook • Every week, read a magazine you’ve never read before • Once a month interview someone for 20 minutes, work out how to make them interesting. Podcast it. • Collect something • Once a week sit in a coffee-shop or cafe for an hour and listen to other people’s conversations. Take notes. Blog about it. (Carefully) • Every month write 50 words about one piece of visual art, one piece of writing, one piece of music and one piece of film or TV. Do other art forms if you can. Blog about it • Make something • Read.

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ProjectPlaylist Beware: Music Gone Haywire

For some bizarre reason which is not showing up on helps, forums or blogs, I'm experiencing problems with all of the playlists I have posted for your enjoyment recently. I clicked on a couple of the standalone player links in my posts and they either pop up with bad code, or worse yet, pop up with other people's playlists. In a couple instances I had a bunch of Eminem crap pop up. Sweet.

So, please be warned in the event this also happens to you. I have spent significant effort creating these playlists, and have tried to keep them tight and clean, and would hope you might still be able to enjoy this special BarryBlog feature. But since I'm all about accoutability and gurading your heart and all, I thought you might want to know.

So for now use your judgement on whether to go there or not. I will be on top of the answer, so no need to email me if you find errors.

Thanks, and hope you've enjoyed them in the past. When they are working, the posts that include them are
Late March here, Zero 7 here, Feb. 08 here, and bt here.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Life Verse Design: Scripture Art

Former colleague, fellow graphic designer, and friend "J" just contacted me to tell me she's just opened her new ETSY store—Life Verse Design. It's wonderful, and serves as a great gift resource for weddings, births, new home, baptism, confirmation, graduation, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Pastor Appreciation Day, birthdays, and other events. Her store is worship. It's meant to glorify God, and will encourage and grow you. Her work as a graphic designer is stellar, and you'll love how she has incorporated her gifts into actual works of art. Highly recommended.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Trip Print Press: Amazing Flickr Favorite

TripPrintPress of Canada is jaw-dropping amazing. The work coming off their Ludlow letterpresses is second to none. I discovered them through learning they picked one of my images to be in their Trip Print's Flickr Favorites. They chose this picture from this set. Their favorites are among the most interesting collection I have seen from any Flickr users. You will enjoy their photos immensely.

Here is a list of the printing arsenal they call on to print all that yummy letterpress goodness.


Composing room:
* Ludlow Typograph M, hot metal linecaster. 6 pt. mold. 100 fonts of matrices.
* Cost Cutting composing room saw.

* Rouse 120 pica slug trimmer.

* Wood type, 50 fonts

* Hand set type, 40 fonts


* ATF Little Giant #6, cylinder letterpress. 12" x 18"

* Vandercook #4, cylinder letterpress, hand fed. 14" x 20"

* Vandercook 320 G, cylinder letterpress, hand fed. 19.5" x 27"


* Challenge Guillotine, paper cutter. 23"

* Hand shear. 24"

* Round corner. 1/2" & 1/4" radius.

* Potdevin, sheet coater, cold gluer. 15"

* High temperature hot glue gun.

* Kwik Print, foil stamping press. 4" x 1" chase.

* Acme side & saddle stapler.

Go there NOW.

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Steve Jobs on Paul Rand

Paul Rand and Steve Jobs worked together in 1993 on the NEXT logo for Jobs new company. This is an interview with Steve Jobs about the process and about working with Paul Rand.

( via swissmiss )

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Monday, March 24, 2008

The Hunt: Eco-Friendly and Vintage Furniture

Apartment Therapy recently featured a great post on eco-friendly furniture. Now Sarah follows up, listing all the environmentally conscious wood furniture that's been featured on AT in the past. What a great resource. She lists sustainably harvested, recycled, and second-hand wood in her line up, and in so doing, highlights Jubilee Furniture as a place to find "second hand solid wood."

For me, "vintage used" Mid-Century Modern (and older) has always been a favorite choice for hunting, researching, collecting and usually just admiring. There's something about "the hunt" for this stuff that makes it rewarding and worth repeating. The late thought leader Rob Roy Kelly does a nice job of shedding light on collecting, as he describes in detail what it means to him. For non-hunters and non-collectors, this article might explain where your collector friends are coming from.

I appreciate Sarah's article. It reminds me of how cool it is to reuse stuff. Especially when doing so achieves refreshing, unintended and inspired results. And for me, like Rob Roy Kelly, finding and researching these articles is often more enjoyable than buying. Many times I just take a picture so I can research it later without having to buy. That's fun too.

As background for those of you who have not heard of Jubilee Furniture in Carol Stream, the word got out several weeks ago through the generous help of a few bloggers I contacted for help, and by the images I took of the items there. I hoped my blog friends and contacts would share the news about Jubilee, and boy did they. Apartment Therapy, Nicole at Making it Lovely, Jess at Howaboutorange, ToKissTheCook, and others– they all got the ball rolling big time. Since then many have ventured out to Carol Stream for themselves, and some continue to blog about their experiences. I even saw some recent chatter on Domino Magazine's website. Some found deal of a lifetime, while others came up empty. And some really gave Jubilee high praise calling it "
This trip may have been our best thrift store experience ever." I'm continually surprised every week by what's been donated from the week before. I have begun to see some of the same new faces there every weekend, which is cool.

Now that Jubilee is on the map so to speak, they have a need for more furniture donations. There's something satisfying about reusing and helping the environment, and an even better feeling knowing donation of furniture to Jubilee will help people who are shy on cash for whatever reason, and by knowing their profits go to the greater good. So if you or anyone you know is looking to donate something, call Jubilee and see if they can help. Dave and Susan can be contacted at

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Another Great Rob Roy Kelly Quote

Absolutely love the late Rob Roy Kelly's thinking. And this quote is no exception. How many times does marketing sound like this? Or the designer all dressed up in black who struggles to use the largest words he or she knows or who contantly says things like "exploit visionary functionalities" or "revolutionize global technologies" or this. Yikes.

I've been told I am rather quotable many times. In fact somewhere there's a list of quotes people have written down from things I've said over the last several years around the office. Yet somehow I'm sure my observations are not as profound as Mr. Kelly. Funny, no doubt, but not profound. Now wait a second, some probably are. I guess I'll have to die before people notice what I have to say.

Last week I thought that may be closer to that reality. I almost dragged myself to the emergency room when I thought I was having an asthma attack—something I have never experienced, nor was experiencing the other day. But suffice it to say bronchitis really kicked my butt. I am so glad I'm not so crazy sick anymore.

( via Rob Roy Kelly Obsessions, This and That )

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Project Playlist: Late March Music to Design To

Click the Standalone Player link (above) for this week's BarryBlog Music To Design To. I know I will. If you like any of the tunes, follow the links to buy them, hit up iTunes or your favorite music store. Keep in mind, this player may not work for you if your browser prefs are set to block pop up windows, as some are.

Let me know if you want to hear something special and I'll include it in my next installment. Also let me know if any uncool lyrics pop up. I'm trying to guard my heart more than ever, and my understanding is these songs are clean. My desire's not to listen to any dicey lyrics, so drop me a comment if you notice any.

Thanks and enjoy the tunage. I'm a bit partial to Weird Al's White and Nerdy. Mowin' season's just around the corner. Gotta get my black socks ironed.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thought Leader Rob Roy Kelly: On Collecting

I don’t know if collecting springs from some sublimated form of man’s primeval instincts to hunt, but it certainly can be just as intense. I am never happier than when hot on the trail. Whenever I find a good piece after years of looking, and especially if the dealer does not recognize it's true value and it is underpriced, I could easily throw back my head, raise my arms and bay at the moon. Success in the hunt is a most rewarding feeling.

The pleasures of collecting for me have always been more than acquisition of items. It has been the travel; meeting other collectors or dealers who often are interesting people and the thrill of finding something new or unexpected. I experience as much satisfaction discovering information as I do finding items for the collection. I have researched almost everything I collected and knowing how, when, and where appropriate, who made it to be extremely important. Equally satisfying is writing about the subject and attempting to communicate with others about what is most interesting for me.

I live with my collections using them for decoration in both my working and living space. I enjoy looking, comparing, studying and thinking or speculating about each item. The kitchenware collection has been most rewarding in this respect. The materials, ingenuity and craftsmanship are all worthy of respect.

There is often an innate sense for shape, form, color or use of materials demonstrated by the makers that induce true admiration for their sensibilities and workmanship.

For me, maturity of a collector is shown by placing the most prized items into inauspicious corners where knowledgeable visitors can discover the treasures for themselves.

Previous BarryBlog coverage of Rob Roy Kelly.

( via Rob Roy Kelly Obsessions )

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Friday, March 21, 2008

A Good Friday: Not Because of What I've Done.

I hope this post finds you well on Good Friday, or whenever it is you're reading this.

Spending more time at the newly discovered Ron's Reflections blog has taught me about quenching the Spirit and about the ministry of Casting Crowns. What a cool video testimony from the band. It's refreshing to see how they see themselves first as ministry, then secondly as a band. Ron's blog has also helped me learn more about myself. And more confirmation that it's Christ's work, not my own; that not because of what I've done, but because of who He is.

Some of the Casting Crown's lyrics from the YouTube video above:

Who am I that the Lord of all the earth… would care to know my name? Would care to feel my hurt?” “Who am I that the one who calmed the seas… would call out through the rain and calm the storm in me?” “Not because of what I’ve done… but because of who you are… Not because of who I am… but because of what you’ve done…”

“I am a flower quickly fading, Here today and gone tomorrow. A wave tossed in the ocean, A vapor in the wind. Still you hear me when I’m calling, Lord you catch me when I’m falling, And you told me who I am. I am yours. I am yours.
( Thank you Ron )

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Product Designer Dieter Rams: A Flickr Pool

Unbelievable. A Dieter Rams Flickr group! If you're a regular reader of BarryBlog, you have heard of him when I pointed out similarities between his and Apple's Jonathan Ive's work in my Seperated At Birth post.

Weird thing is the "Less But Better" quote is one I've been using for the last year and a half. Okay, did I get this from him, or did I come up with it on my own? Who knows. Dieter's a household name, not I.

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Light of the World: Thank God It's Friday

Thank God it's Friday. An understatement. I'm thankful for Jesus' Passion, Crucifixion, and Death on the cross. After a long and reflective week being sick and homebound, Good Friday feels especially Good. I suppose this also rings true in a larger sense. The same Light of God stands ready to transform people's dim souls as they make the powerful decision to except Christ into their heart, and as they no longer deny Truth.

Read Ron Ethridge's special accounting of the true meaning of Good Friday here, and a wonderful reflection he made previously on the Light of the world.

I pray for Good in your Friday. And everyday.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Microsoft Vista—The Wow Starts Now! (Now?)

When you're made of money, why not pull out all the stops? Especially when it really, really matters. You know, like when you are introducing a key new product for the first time in over four years. This video documents another watershed Microsoft moment.

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Science. Nature. Nothing is Superfluous.

Wellcome Image Award 2008 features a selection of images captured during groundbreaking scientific research.

Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous. — Leonardo da Vinci
I included this quote from Davinci because it's interesting to compare art from a mere man with the work of God.

( via miosite )

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Reflection on Energy.

For several days I've experienced the kind of sick that makes it hard to lift your arms. That after 2 nights straight of coughing makes it burn to drink water. That turns sweating and chills on and off like a light switch. The kind of sick that is bronchitis.

During this time I've been virtually silent. No conversations. No Television. Virtually no speaking at all. And stillness due to pain. (Admittedly some time online when sleeping was tough). All in all a time to heal and restore. This absence from everywhere, everything and everyone has offered me insight into how special energy is. In a tangible way. And it's made me appreciative of where it comes from.

I have completely taken my energy source for granted. I awake full of energy, and have it kicked up a notch after the first sip of morning coffee. It's not something I think about all that much. And it's not something I run short of very often. But this time I am virtually without. What a contrast to my typical self. I give praise for a body that is normally energized. And for times when I can energize others. I've always been grateful for that.

I take this moment to share my thanks for the energy that is God.

In the middle of the night during a typical cough-fest, I watched this heartfelt re-account given by a Neuroanatomist (brain scientist) of her experience having had a stroke, told recently at the TED conference. Taking nothing away from Jill Bolte Taylor (her talk was spectacular on the surface), I couldn't help but think how so many scientists work their entire career trying to define and describe things within our limited source and scope of understanding. We are limited by time and space. God is not. The TED talk is mesmerizing and emotional, but empty when God is absent from the conversation. Just look to God. That's where it originates.

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//BarryBlog// : Medicated and Missing

Several days of quiet, as BarryBlog will be medicated and missing. Chills one minute, sweating and 102 fever the next. Chalk one up for Bronchitis, and if the test comes in Tuesday...Influenza. This after being out a few days a few weeks ago with stomach flu.

So dig into the archives for January 2008, February 2008, or March 2008. Or listen to some Zero 7 in a pop up window. Or take a check at my friend Dean's new blog. If you're the praying type, drop one my way. I have coughed so much in the last three days it actually hurts to drink water. Nice.

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Depression Press: the Cure for Depression

Blacksmith, Newsboy, Shoe-shiner, Letter-smasher, and fellow Rural Illinois designer and letterpress printer extroirdinare Kent Henderson of Depression Press knocks 'em out of the park in so many ways. While I generally avoid politics on BarryBlog, I cannot help but to share his Pop-politics Flickr set. His Print-Shop set is equally awesome. As is his typecase set. But perhaps the most impressive images are the ones of his workshop. Every designer's dream. A barn out back. Loaded with lead. Ready to roll. Bravo Kent. I hope to own one of his letterpress posters soon. After the adoption.

(I can hear my friends laugh now. There will be no money after the adoption. Yeah I know.)

Almost forgot. Check out his creative direction website here, and his print shop here.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

COMPFIGHT: Searching Flickr™ Quickr

Several times in the past I've posted on web tools and Flickr related tag tools that utilize the Flickr API, that allow you to interface with the Flickr community of photos quicker and more intuitively. Enter COMPFIGHT. Another such tool, but this one is especially special.

As Ryan states on his developer page, he and Brian's approach allows a direct click to high resolution images, bypasses four flickr™ interfaces.
I am super impressed with COMPFIGHT. It just makes sense, and it has filters such as safe search, seek original, Creative Commons, and a roll over option for pixel dimensions. I have always found Flickr to be a chore. I am a Flickr Pro user, and love it completely, but always hoped they would redesign at some point to address their clunky interface. COMPFIGHT is a step in the right direction. Compfight isn't affiliated with flickr™, but as their page states, "it makes good use of the flickr™ API."

Thanks Ryan and Bryan.

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crgslst: the Superheros of Interface Design

crgslst allows you to search for items faster using craiglist's existing rss feeds to pull data from multiple cities. It is a huge timesaver, and it makes me wonder why the boys at Craigslist haven't atleast tried to make their interface more useful over the years. The superheros behind crgslst do not allow you to poll aggregate city searches to avoid burdening craigslist, which is the reason the previously wonderful listpic was shut down, if I have my story straight here.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jen's Distracted.

Previously I shared how Ben Workman is Desperate. Now I must tell you that Jen's distracted. And like Ben's predicament, it sounds like you can learn something about yourself from her distraction. I know I did. Jen shares...

He delights in mercy and overflows with grace. He likes to give us good things–deserving or not. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. When we were yet without strength…Christ died for the ungodly. Death as a gift. The gift that brings life. I love the paradoxes of truth.

( via finding jen's view )

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709 Finds. More Liquidation items.

More items which will be on the chopping block as soon as I finish photography and pricing. Especially interesting as I recently read this and this.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Architect Zaha Hadid: Eli Broad Art Museum

Hardly believed my ears when I heard mega famous architect Zaha Hadid was going to design a USA venue, and when I heard it was going to replace the building where I taught design for a semester on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing Michigan, I had to do a double take. But it's true. Hadid will be designing the $40 million Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

A “major work of lasting intellect and beauty at far less than the price of a good Picasso. So you got a bargain.” — Architectural critic and competition organizer Joseph Giovannini

Read the story that the entire architectural world is talking about here from Lansing City Pulse.

Architectural Record Coverage here. NYTimes Coverage Here. Media Bistro Coverage here.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Takagi Masakatsu: Sound of Light

I thank Tina at swissmiss for introducing me to this great video from Takagi Masakatsu called Sound of Light. She credits Christina for the same. I recommend checking out swissmiss. Tina was one of the original inspirations for my own blog back in 2006, and her's is still one of my favorites. She got me hooked on recording the things I find of interest, in the interest you too may find it, well, interesting. I think this video is.

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New Flickr Set: Mid-Century Modern Objects

This is a set of images I took to continue to improve as a photographer and also as we prepare to open our etsy store and eBay some items to raise money in continued preparation for our adoption. If you want to see any of the images larger, click the "link" button in the pictobrowser interface. Some of the portrait/vertical shots get lost behind the pictobrowser interface.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

50 ways to become a better designer

R_E_P_O_S_T: United Kingdom design magazine Computer Arts approached 17 leading designers for their wisdom concerning every stage of the design process, from ideas and planning, through to best practice and software skills, and finally putting the finishing touches on their work. They also asked each to reveal their worst experiences, and how they turned them to their advantage. Read all 50 here.

( via Churchmarketingthatsucks )

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KANNER Architects: Mid-Century "Next."

KannerArchitects are amazing in that I see a distinctively mid-century design influence woven throughout their design thinking and approach, yet through their entire body of work I see a glimpse into the future. To me, KANNER's work represents "What's Next" in architecture.

Situated in Santa Monica (by my former Ph.D and longtime fav and new airconditioned Clive and Fellow Michael), they draw on the "climate, innovation and diversity" of their Southern Californian surroundings. They "take into consideration the seasons and how light changes during the passage of the day" as a significant part of their design thinking. As a result, Kanner's work is decidedly modern, timeless and warm. Their work is conscious of and respectful towards site, budget, conservation and an inventive use of materials.

I've found all their work to be full of wit and personality. An appropriate extension of it's surroundings for sure, but serving important roles of adding, inspiring and energizing those who interact with these spaces.

If I could hire anyone to communicate through architecture what I consider interesting and inspirational, I would choose KANNER hands down. Though they design their share of big budget projects, I'm most impressed by what they've done with their more modest ones, like the United Oil and Gas Station (which if the site wasn't all designed all in Flash, I would link to on the KANNER site).

They have a full service graphic design team too. Man, would that be a dream job!
Big shout out to Kanner. I'm a fan.

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Design Journal Archives (1965-74)

R_E_P_O_S_T: Absolute jackpot, incorporating two of my many favorite things...mid-century modern style and graphic design.

Design Online is a digital library of Canada's Design Journal for the years 1965 to 1974. You can browse the journals, or enter keywords.


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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Knoll International: Charles Pollack Chairs (2)

The same day I came across all 8 of these Herman Miller Time Life Chairs, I also found two of these Knoll International Executive Arm Chairs designed by Charles Pollock. One might assume I am made of money, but au contraire. Although the Knoll price list (3.3 mb PDF) shows these retailing new between $2,000-2,900.

During the last month or so I have been using one of these in my home office, and you know what? The Knoll Pollack chair is really comfortable. Time permitting, I may attempt the extra research on designer Charles Pollack as I have Warren Snodgrass in the past, to find out what went into the thinking and the design of this wonderful chair. I already discovered Pollack worked with George Nelson's office and went to Pratt. If I find out more, I'll share that here.

Worth note is the very 70's Retro upholstery. It has really grown on me when you consider my penchant for a late 50's, mostly 60's interior, decorative art and furniture look. I am sure the current 70's collectors will enjoy the look.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

More Herman Miller Eames Yumminess

Introducing my newest thrift furniture finds – two fixed height Herman Miller Eames Aluminum Group Soft Pad Management Chairs (pictured above), plus it's big brother, the Soft Pad with swivel and adjustable height (not pictured). I picked them up this weekend. The big brother is my new home office chair, the two fixed height chairs will be on eBay soon. I also bought a Herman Miller Eames Aluminum Group Soft Pad Lounge Chair at a garage sale last year for $10. My crib is starting to look a bit like a Herman Miller showroom. Here's to hoping some day I'll find a classic bent ply lounge chair and ottoman at a garage sale!

All three of these new chairs from this weekend have just 4 legs–the most vintage and desirable configuration that thanks to OSHA in 1990, all changed to 5 leg versions. 4 leg versions are no longer made. Aside from my original Eames Time Life chairs, which will also be on eBay soon, these chairs are second to none. And don't forget my work chair.

I often wonder what the dot-com Aeron chair is like. Though not vintage or classic looking enough for me (like the Aluminum group), I understand it too is an awesome chair.

If you like Herman Miller stuff, I recommend a group I belong to. Check out the Flickr Herman Miller group, moderated by shawnwall. His the ranch series is amazing. You might also enjoy the Eames Flickr group. If you're into Mid-Century Modern interiors, you'll enjoy Stewf's group, Mid-Century Modern Interiors. Stewf owns and operates the great midcenturymodern.com
. Stewf did a nice write up on me a month back or so.

Those links should burn a few hours away. Enjoy.

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Mid-Century Modern Interior and Objects

Spin through the photos above. They were taken for a variety of reasons. For one, I am using my Canon Digital Rebel 300D more and more, and this was more practice. Secondly, much of these shots are for use as I go to sell this stuff. Not all, but some. And last, these photos are just plain fun to look at, and a big portion of BarryBlog readers respond to posts I have about such things. Plus, and perhaps the most important reason to me, and the reason I started BarryBlog in the first place, is because I'm enthusiastic about craftsmanship, charm, and innovations of the past, and so I share these mostly vintage treasures so you can appreciate them as well.

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