Thursday, March 25, 2010

Victorian Women Naturalists, enshrined in wallpaper

Shall we continue on the theme of Victorian women scientists for a moment?

Allison sent me to the wallpaper collection by Grow House Grow based on Victorian women naturalists:

And while discoveries by men such as Darwin and Newton have made them household names, there are countless others whose scholarly work has been lost, forgotten or even usurped by other intellectuals. Our Spring 2010 wallpaper line highlights three such individuals, all of whom are women, whose phenomenal academic stories have fallen between the cracks of history.

As female scientists in the nineteenth century, these women faced an oxymoronic distinction that their male counterparts eluded. Sexist barriers discouraged most young girls from the pursuit of an intellectual calling, yet our subjects persevered by challenging the status quo and developing their own route to recognized scholastic excellence. Each woman was largely self taught, and relied almost entirely on an innate passion for her respective field--something that makes their achievements all the more remarkable. Our bonnet is off to these unsung scientific heroines!

Ms. Treat, whose love of carnivorous botanicals influenced Darwin's work, has a luscious wall of Pitcher Plants and mischievous Venus Flytraps (and perhaps an ant or two).

Ms. Ward, who developed her passion for microscopy by magnifying and drawing bugs, blends late-Georgian silhouettes with a curious menagerie of over-sized insects.

Mme. Jeanne, a French dressmaker-cum-Sicilian naturalist (and who invented the world's first aquarium), has her love of the sea reflected in an elegant, ascending mollusk scallop.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

As a woman computer scientist and a steampunk aficionado, Ada Lovelace is near and dear to my heart. In honor of Ada Lovelace day, an oldie but goodie: Mr. von Slatt's Copper Plated Ada Lovelace tin.

If you'd like to learn more about Ada, I recommend Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: A Selection from the Letters of Lord Byron's Daughter and Her Description of the First Computer.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Welcome to Maynard's, a restaurant in an old train depot in Tucson, Arizona.

I asked designer Rory McCarthy to share the idea behind the space:

The idea was to create a timeless mood, refer to the historic use of the building and the freight trains rolling by just out the windows. Try to avoid clich├ęs but not shoot for achingly hip, as we were unclear who the customers might be. But go for substance. Which of course, Steampunk celebrates. Here, as at the Edison in LA, the location demanded acknowledging the Industrial Revolution.

The big design concept was to juxtapose the highly decorative ceiling ( homasote panels silkscreened to look like overscaled, encaustic tiles, the kind that might have been used on the original floor back at the turn of the 2othC.), against the machine shop surfaces and palette below.

The bar foot rail is an actual 1800's train track...

The bar is *to die for* -- I love all the rivets. And the lines -- the curves bring just a touch of art deco to the design, and the fact that it's on feet takes a bit of the "monolithic piece of iron" feel out of it, while still harking to the old iron horses that used to steam through.

What are the wall dividers by the tables made of?
Both the screen divider and bar face, panels, rivets, etc., are painted, composite wood products……

You can see more images at Rory's website. Many thanks to Rory for designing such a fun place, and for sharing it with us!


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