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July 12, 2020

Sunday night at the movies: "His Girl Friday" (1940) starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell

A classic comedy directed by Howard Hawks.

[via Open Culture]

July 12, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Change Artist Johnny Swing


I first featured him in boj in 2005.

You could look it up.

Now he's big, so much so that the New York Times is featuring his work.

From the recent article:

Johnny Swing makes furniture from coins with each design requiring thousands of nickels, quarters, half-dollars or dollar coins

Mr. Swing, 59, works a short drive down the mountain from his home in a 5,500-square-foot studio he designed himself, with high ceilings, soaring windows, and dedicated spaces for carving, modeling, and welding.

A small team assists him in creating his sculptures of twisted steel cable and repurposed metal objects, his architectonic lighting fixtures, and — the thing everyone knows Johnny Swing for — his sofas, chairs, and benches made from shimmering coins.

Typically, he makes only a handful of coin pieces a year, as each design requires thousands of nickels, quarters, half-dollars, or dollar coins, all meticulously joined with upward of 60,000 welds, depending on the size of the piece and the coin used.

The metalworking alone can stretch to 300 hours or more, sometimes spread out over months.

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Lately, Mr. Swing has been focused on his most challenging body of coin furniture yet.

Planned as the centerpiece of his debut solo show with the Tribeca design gallery R & Company —his first in New York City in eight years — the new designs are being produced in two versions, one made with nickels and one with dollar coins. (Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the show was moved from May tentatively to the fall.)

The works will be sold as complete sets and separately, with individual pieces starting around $20,000.

Mr. Swing's choice of coins as a medium invites a variety of interpretations.

Is the work a wry critique of capitalism?

A wink at the investment value of art and luxury furnishings?

A commentary on our obsession with money?

Studies that have shown that simply touching currency can elevate people’s emotional states, and a Swing sofa or chair invites sitters to immerse themselves in cold, hard — though surprisingly comfortable — cash.


But Swing is no ideologue.

He views coins as an intriguingly malleable, multivalent material and as "beautiful little sculptures in their own right."

Having always repurposed found and castoff materials, he likes that coins possess past lives, trading hands countless times and traveling unknowable distances.

Mr. Swing started designing coin furniture shortly before leaving New York for Vermont.

His first piece, crafted with pennies, was based on Harry Bertoia’s iconic Diamond chair.

"I liked the fact that pennies were discarded — no one even bent down to pick them up anymore," he said. "And I felt like I was borrowing, the same way rap musicians take some old funk or jazz line."

But it was not until Mr. Swing began developing his own forms several years later that the coin furniture started to find an audience.

Early designs included the Nickel couch (top), featuring a gently rounded back that curves into an elegantly bulbous armrest on one end, and the barrel-back Half Dollar chair, whose gracefully spreading sides give the piece its other name, the Butterfly chair (below).


Over the years, the pieces expanded in scale, culminating in the 11-foot-long Murmuration, an asymmetrical curl of nickels with a low seat at one end and a flat circular bench at the other.

It looks a bit like a wide-handled soup spoon with a playfully twisted bowl.

To create his free-form shapes, Mr. Swing starts by carving blocks of Styrofoam with a sanding disk.

He coats the forms in fiberglass and epoxy resin, giving them a smooth, hard surface.

At that point, "I sit in the work a lot and if I don't like the way something feels, I go back in and just cut that whole section out and redo it," he said.

The final pieces are used to make concrete molds that the coins are pressed into as they are welded together.

As someone once remarked, "Quantity has its own quality."

July 12, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Elevator Doors at Amazon Japan


Brad Stone's 2013 biography of Jeff Bezos is superb.

FunFact: when I emailed him (jeff@amazon.com) some years ago, though I didn't hear back from him directly I did in fact get a very nice reply from a woman who appears to have spoken with him about my email and passed on his comments.

I like being one degree of separation away from this unique, über-inventive man.

July 12, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bolts whose heads change color when tightened properly

I love this.

From Core77:

I love torque wrenches, because they let me ensure that dangerous parts like lawnmower blades are properly tightened.

But what if you didn't need the torque wrench (which are pretty damned pricey) at all?

A company called Stress Indicators Inc. has invented SmartBolts, which feature a red dot in the head when loose. Once the bolt is tightened to the proper torque, it turns black.

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The technology is a boon to maintenance folks, manufacturers, and heavy equipment operators, as they can tell, at a glance, whether a bolt is starting to work loose.

"The constant movement of the welding robot was causing the bolts to lose tension," writes an anonymous heavy equipment manufacturer, in a testimonial on the SmartBolts website. "So we decided to retrofit our robots with SmartBolts; now the maintenance technician can look over during welding and visually check that the bolts are secure. This has had a positive impact on improving our overall safety and manufacturing efficiency."

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"We initially had some concern about using these more expensive bolts," writes Yajie Wang, and Advanced Process Engineer at Cooper Standard Automotive, "but after several tests and trials showing their value in added safety, as well as less downtime and visual inspections — it was an easy decision to replace all our mold clamping bolts with SmartBolts. And the appreciation our operators have expressed is priceless!"

As for how it works, the company (unsurprisingly) explains it in broad strokes only.


Apply within.

July 12, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nankei Banko Yaki Crackle Tea Cup

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From the website:

This versatile vessel adds joy to the simple act of drinking.

It sports a unique "crackle" finish that is expertly applied to the surface by a difference in contraction between the base material and the glaze.

As you use it, pigments will continue to be deposited in the grooves making it more beautiful with age.

Made in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, Japan by Nankei Seizoen, a small Banko Yaki producer that has been operating since 1913.

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About Banko Yaki

Based in the Mie Prefecture, the art of Banko Yaki is a traditional ceramic technique that is entrenched within Japanese culture.

Dating back to the 18th century, Banko Yaki ceramics offer unique heat resistance and a beautiful but practical composition in muted, earthy colors. 

These pieces continue to honor an ancient art in a modern world by reshaping the past to fit the needs of the future.

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Features and Details:

• MaterialStoneware

• Dimensions: 2.99"W x 2.95"H

• Volume: 8.11 fl oz (240ml)

• Care: Because the glaze contains cracks, please treat with extra care. Use neutral detergent for cleaning and avoid abrasive sponges. Thoroughly rinse, drain, and dry between uses.

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July 12, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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