Giant Lemming / Pudlo, 1961.
This looks a little bat-like, right? Well, to the Inuit artist, Pudlo, it’s an Arctic lemming’s head. It reminded me of the figures of human skeletons (calacas) or skulls (calaveras) that are ubiquitous on the Day of the Dead. Calacas are often decked out in colorful, ornate dresses or zoot suits and grouped together in celebration. Musicians playing, rowdy fans dancing… these treats for the eyes depict the soul’s happy afterlife.
Back to lemmings, those prairie dogs of the tundra. Tunnels protect them from predators, and their winter-white fur helps them escape the keen eyes of the snowy owl, whose coat also turns with the season. These critters do not hibernate; fortunately, strong front claws help them dig through the ice and snow for grasses foraged before Old Man Winter sets in.
In Mexico, the Day of the Angels (el día de los angelitos) or Day of the Innocents (el día de los inocentes) is one to honor the souls of those who died young. The tree stone to little Gracie’s right symbolizes a life cut short. To her left at her feet are fern fronds, which symbolize humility, solitude and sincerity. Note the buttoned boots. A gem of a memorial.
I’ve wanted to visit Oconee Hill Cemetery for a coon’s age. The last time I tried a few years ago, the sexton was ugly (bless his heart) and wouldn’t even let me in. Yes, they had vandalism issues in the past, but that was back in the seventies. I think word got out about his unfriendliness, as well as the rumor that the burial grounds were full. It seems they’ve come ‘round to customer service, probably due more than anything to the fact that there are lots left. Today looks to be as good as any to take an old-fashioned, Victorian stroll.
The Enchanted Owl, 1960.
Here’s my tribute to the pioneering Inuit artist, Kenojuak Ashevak. She was world-renowned for bringing attention to her people’s culture and mythology through her illuminating interpretations of Far North and Arctic animals…particularly birds. We lost the legend herself earlier this year at the ripe old age of 85, but not before her signature style brought happiness to many an avid collector of her drawings and sketches. Membership into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and her art being chosen to grace three Canadian stamps and a 25¢ Canadian circulation coin were career highlights.
In her owls and loons, head and tail feathers dance and shimmer like rays of the sun, as she said, “driving away the darkness.” Ravens and wolves, often entwined with one another, form a web of scavenging, opportunistic bodies that are intensified by color-blocked splashes of plumage or all-over fur. Crowded on the paper — croaking, gurgling, cawing and howling — you can almost hear them they are so loud.
Animals and humans transformed, communing with the beyond. Shaman knows the way.
All-weather, all-natural, all-terrain comfort.
Given my weakness for colder weather and passion for the polar and high-latitude regions, I’m happy to report that this base, layering and outerwear line is as high-performing as the name. Close-fitting, stylish, warm, itch-free and with quality zippers. These are the pieces you’ll wear ‘til the sheep come home. Baaaaaaa!
Even if you never break a sweat or step off the sidewalk, this is wool like you’ve never seen, felt or smelled. The “Think, don’t stink.” tagline is a layering of its own kind… a meaningful, catchy and memorable phrase that adds energy and fun to the brand.
Leave it to the Kiwis to take us back to the sustainable farm and the four-legged beginnings of what’s on our own two now. Per their unique “baacodes,” I traced my light-grey top to a single ranch, Kennethmont. My dark grey top’s fibers come from four of 120 sheep stations: Lindis Peaks, Glenmore, Otematata and Waitangi. Thanks, Icebreaker, for “new-schooling” wool.
Last summer I flew Canadian North, which is 100% Aboriginally-owned, from Inuvik to Norman Wells, then to Yellowknife and on to Edmonton. Really enjoyable. The aircraft interiors looked a bit worse for wear, but each boarding, deplaning and in-flight experience was what flying used to and probably never will be again most anywhere else. Genuine, courteous and attentive attendants, decent and more than enough food, on-time departures and arrivals, fee-less checked luggage that arrived when I did and respectful fellow passengers. From the counter folks to the ramp and baggage people (sometimes one in the same person), they were efficient, approachable and looked like they enjoyed their jobs. Humans. Not rude, insensitive, barking corporate bots with attitude. We’re talkin’ serious customer service.
Which brings me to the airline’s tagline: “Seriously northern.” Some 50% redundant, given their name, but the first half is a winner and with so much potential. The polar bear and midnight sun logo were spot-on geographically but seemed inconsistently illustrated (even dated) alongside the more simply drawn yet delightful in-flight branding. What I most liked, design-wise, were the hand towel packaging and the coffee cup (for another post). On the wipe: “Seriously clean.” — the native drummer dressed in traditional skins and snowy owl (ookpik) culturally reflecting the Northwest Territories’ First Nations who live near the Arctic Circle. A great start, if not messaging teasers. I’d love to see the brand really come alive through many more elements on board, at the gate, in uniform and online.
Kahlú-a #1: “MUY, not “MOO-ey.”
Don’t know why this Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur adds a stress mark on “muy” in its “drive responsibly” blurb in the left margin. Unlike tu/tú, mi/mí or aun/aún (among others), there is not another word in Spanish with which to confuse it, and thus no need for an accent to differentiate the two. In fact, the stressed “u” here leads to a two-syllable word that rhymes with…uh-oh…“gooey.”
Also, while the brand name is correctly accented below the “DELICIOSO” ribbon (I know, hard to see here), the words “fábrica” and “café” are not. When a Spanish word is capitalized, Spanish speakers often do not use written accents where they would normally be required. However, since KAHLÚA is all caps, I would expect to see FÁBRICA and CAFÉ. Bad Spanish or Spanglish, at least it’s not affecting deliciousness.
Come what may….
I stumbled upon this place in the town over. A shame they did not hit the mark with the logo. Kumquats are so beautiful; they are pretty on and off the tree. Citrusy goodness, too…skin and all!
No matter what might be happening, get to Watkinsville soon for a simple (but not simple-tasting) home-cooked breakfast or lunch while you take in the local art on the wall.
“Contemporary” was an unexpected word-find in conjunction with a natural sweetener. Then, I learned that Taikoo® is an iconic Hong Kong brand that’s been around since 1881. In fact, it’s the oldest brand from Swire Pacific, whose parent company is U.K.-headquartered and hugely-diversified John Swire & Sons, Ltd. These days the sweet white or golden (raw) crystals are imported, but a refinery operated under the same name for some eight decades.
Picked up at a local coffee chain in Shanghai, these “sachets” sport, cups-down, one of the most sophisticated designs I’ve ever seen on a sugar packet. The Chinese characters and rust+white/grey+white color combos give it the visual edge. But wait: 太 (Tai) = “great” and古 (koo) = ancient. What lofty distinction…and verbally caloric! Premium, indeed.
Cannabis on ice.
At first, I was not sure of the name of this drink. Was the “Swiss maple leaf” a stand-in for a letter? Coice? Caice? O was it merely separating two words? The fact that I bought this in Canada added to the initial confusion. “C” for Canadian? The name was simpler than I thought – C-Ice — but still a little clunky: “C” + “ice” looks shorter than it really sounds. And, I don’t see any value in the reversed second “c.”
Interesting, the verbal and visual plugs for Switzerland. The cube did conjure up ice-capped mountains. (Just looking at the block of ice cooled me down.) However, there is no real logo here, despite the potential for a great one. In a design update, I suggest combining the Swiss flag with the cannabis leaf (given they are both square-ish) for a cannabis leaf-shaped flag…a much more effective message encapsulated within a compact, mobile-friendly footprint with the power to be smokin’ hot, unlike the name.
The taste? Approximating cold yerba mate…refreshingly bitter. Lastly, I couldn’t resist the orange packaging…none other than a Lamican® from Finland. Sturdy, with good print quality and nice in the hand.