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July Artist in Residence Lauren Underwood

Lauren Underwood grew up in Portland and Boring, OR at the same time. She witnessed the transition from city to country and country to city each week as she traveled between these two homes. She went to college in Bellingham, WA. At Fairhaven College she designed a degree titled: Facilitating Creative Learning through Community. One summer she spent two months traveling by bicycle from the NW corner of the United States to the SW. These landscapes became imprinted on her as she moved through them. She has always soaked up the world visually. Her recent work accesses shapes, colors, patterns, rhythms and structures gathered from her current and past surroundings. She is interested in allowing both the repetitive qualities of her environments, and her fixation with them to exist in her artwork. Lauren now lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is a barista at Lark Café, takes painting classes at the Art Students League and looks for new experiences. Laurundewood@gmail.com...

Getting Lost In A Good Book

There is nothing quite like getting lost in a good book where the characters and intricate story lines draw you in. Two Brazilian artists felt the same way, literally. Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo created an entire maze using 250,000 books to build the winding walls. Their inspiration comes from the author, Jorge Luis, where they used his fingerprint as a model for the maze. Currently the maze is set up in Southbank Centre in London, where people are free to wander in and out the many corridors of books. With that many books, I’m sure a few of your favorite titles are in the mix. Check out some more photos...

“Instrumental Change”

We love music here at Birch, and so we’re loving this innovative music technology post by Cassandra Daily! First up we’ve got the Barcode Band.  The trio behind this project created a series of barcodes that make specific instrumental sounds when scanned, then arranged the barcodes visually into instrument shapes.  If only they could find a way to implement this technology into everyday grocery shopping! Perhaps our favorite of the bunch, the DJ Cooker plays downloaded tracks while also acting as a spinning hot plate for pots and pans set on top of it.  Chefs-turned-DJs can use side controllers to “scratch” and mash-up tracks.  Amazing! A true invitation to multitask. Imogen Heap (of “Hide And Seek” fame) created The Listening Chair, a “pod-like seat equipped with a camera and microphone to capture the song-related insights of those who sit on it.”  Can we get one of these for our shop? Check out more details on all of the above...

Coffee Accessories!

Hey coffee lovers! Who would’ve ever thought coffee could be accompanied by some quality accessories? And we’re not talking about bedazzling your coffee cup (although that can be facinating.) The Coffree and Coffee Joulies are to coffee what a sweet pair of sunglasses and shiny new bracelet are to a new outfit. At Birch, we’re all about being eco-friendly and The Coffree takes coffee sustainability to another level. The concept of this new packaging revolves around the idea that the container should be multi-functional to serve your coffee needs. It comes pre-loaded with coffee grounds, the removable seal acts as a stirrer, and the tab is pulled to unfold the biodegradable packaging into cup form. All you need to do is add hot water and drink! The Coffee Joulies on the other hand, focuses on the temperature aspect of coffee brewing. This new accessory keeps coffee between 130 degrees and 140 degrees – the ideal temperature! And what’s more is that you’re coffee won’t get cold within 5 minutes after the brew. The Coffee Joulies absorbs thermal energy, slowly releases it, and keeps the perfect temperature for twice as long. Pretty cool right? Check it out...

Designing A Universal Language

Isotype (International System of TYpographic Picture Education) is a method of showing social, technological, biological and historical connections in pictorial form. Check out this interesting, very old, representation of this is Otto Neurath’s book International picture language from 1936. You can view the book via the Imaginary...

The Twentieth Century Time Machine

In the last 1920, engineer and scientist, Gordon Earl Adams, attempted to create a time machine in the basement of his house. The pictures below are evidence of his endeavors. What we want to know is did the machine work? There is no record. What happened to Gordon Earl Adams? Nobody seems to know. And the machine itself? Lost in the intervening...