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Things that Inspire

War Heroes

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  I got to see something awesome this weekend, and lucky for you I took a bunch of photos!

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that both of my grandfathers served in WWII.  My grandpa on my mom’s side was part of a B-17 bomber crew who flew many missions during the war.  There are only thirteen B-17 Flying Fortresses that are still airworthy, and it just so happened that this past weekend one of them made a visit to the Jefferson City airport, which is only about a half hour away.  So, my mom and I hopped in the car and headed down to see the plane, and hopefully get a little bit better of a taste of what my grandpa did and what his experiences were like during the war.

Wow!  It was really awesome to see this plane up close and personal!  I’ve heard lots of stories of what it was like to fly on a B-17 crew, but to be able to actually get inside and crawl around, and see the tight spaces that the crewmen worked in was really amazing.  See that sphere shaped thing on the underside of the plane?  That’s the ball turret, and one of the gunners sat inside.  There is a trap door in the floor of the plane, and the guy would shimmy down in there and operate the gun on the bottom of the aircraft.  The sphere rotates so that he could aim the gun in all directions.  I’m guessing they chose the smallest, least claustrophobic guy for that job.  Can you imagine?!  We were told that sometimes it would get stuck and the guy would have to stay inside until the plane landed.  There’s sure not a lot of clearance there…

The rear interior section.

One of my grandpa’s jobs to operate the radio, so I’m sure he spent some time in this chair.

Here’s a view inside the cockpit.  Now, I’m no aircraft expert but I can imagine that the planes in today’s military fleet are quite a bit more technologically advanced.

Here’s where the bombardier sat – in the nose of the plane, which is actually a big window.  The bombardier is the guy who lined up the bomb sight, pulled the trigger and yelled “Bombs Away!”  The B-17s were equipped with the famous Norden Bombsight, which was extremely accurate at bombing from high altitudes, and it was one of the most closely guarded secretes of the US military during WWII.

From what I’ve heard, my grandpa’s crew flew a bunch of successful missions, but also had some really close calls.  There were times that their plane got hit and they basically limped back to the base.  They were never really sure they were going to make it until their tires touched down on firm ground.  Scary.

I’m kind of fascinated with all the stories of bravery that I’ve heard about from this time in our country’s history.  There’s a pretty good movie, called Memphis Belle, that tells the story of one B-17 crew and their final mission.  It’s Hollywood’s interpretation of the story, but it gives a pretty good depiction of how thing were.

But, if you want to hear a REALLY good story read Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.  It tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner turned WWII soldier.  Zamperini was a crewman on a B-24 crew during the war, and I won’t spoil any of it, but I can tell you that his story is full of bravery, the will to survive, and HUGE amounts of forgiveness.  What a man!  Unbelievable.  Read it, you won’t be disappointed.  In fact, I’m officially putting it on the 1canoe2 required reading list.  Karen and Beth…go get your hands on a copy and start reading.

:: Carrie ::

The Little House

I’ve talked before about where we get ideas for new designs, and what inspires us, but sometimes it sneaks up and surprises me.  This is a new card that we just designed and finished printing, and obviously you can see that it has a lot of similarities to the cover of “The Little House.”  The funny thing is, I wasn’t really even thinking about this book cover at all when I did the drawing.  It wasn’t until the card was all done that I actually realized how similar it is to the image on the cover of the book.  When I put the two side by side I couldn’t stop looking at them.  It’s like this image was just sitting in my subconscious and found it’s way out.

“The Little House” is a children’s book from the 1940’s, and yes I own this copy, and yes I do love the story and the illustrations.  I used this book a bunch in my classroom when I was still teaching.

It’s a story about a little house in the country.  Slowly over time, other houses and buildings are build up around it until the little house is smack dab in the middle of a big city.  The little house is so sad and depressed until the great-great-granddaughter of the man who built the little house finds it and moves it back to the country where it belongs.  It’s pretty great – a classic.

:: Carrie ::


Things that Inspire :: Books

People often ask us where we get our ideas, and how we come up with new designs.  Inspiration comes from many different sources, so there are a lot of answers to that question.  As artists and designers we like to continually feed our senses in a variety of ways so that when it comes time to create something new we have all of those images and experiences to pull from.  One of those things that feeds our senses are visually interesting books.  We love pretty books, and we’ve rounded up quite a collection.  It’s time to share.

One that has been inspiring me lately…

orla kiely

The bold and colorful patterns of Orla Kiely.  I’m sure you’ve seen her prints before.  She’s a designer of everything from clothing to homegoods.

:: Carrie ::

Highlights from the Weekend…

The 2012 True/False Film Fest, one of our town’s biggest events of the year, is in the books.  And it was GREAT!  More than 40 documentaries were shown over the course of the weekend, and they say that more than 30,000 people attended this year.  Wowzers!  Yes, there were some amazing films shown (more about those in a bit), but there was more to the fest than just the films.  Here are some highlights…

If you walked down Ninth Street this weekend you might have seen Kyle Durrie and her Moveable Type Truck.   A fellow letterpress printer!  Kyle is in the middle of an ongoing, cross-country adventure in her delivery truck turned letterpress studio.  She set out from her home in Portland, OR a year ago to literally bring letterpress to the masses.  She’s been traveling around the country for the past year visiting schools, festivals, and galleries sharing the history and process of letterpress printing.  Kyle contacted us a while back to let us know that she would be at True/False, so it was really great to meet her and see her truck in person!  Natalie thought it was the coolest, and she did a little printmaking with Kyle…

The organizers of True/False set out to make attending the event a great experience all around, and that includes opening acts.  There were probably around thirty different music groups whose job it was to entertain the crowds waiting for films to start.  There were some really great ones, but my hands-down favorite was a group out of Brooklyn called Pearl and the Beard.  I wish I’d gotten out my camera and filmed them, they were so much fun!  I didn’t, but here is a video of them playing in the NY Subway system…

And, word on the street was that James Franco was in attendance this weekend!  I didn’t spot him, but I heard some people talking excitedly about their brush with celebrity.

So which were the best films?  Well, obviously I didn’t get to see them all.  I’ve heard from friends about a few that were really good, ones that I’ll try to catch later.  But of the ones that I did get to see, these were my three favorite…

The Imposter,  directed by Bart Layton

Apparently the trailer for this one hasn’t been officially released.  It’s the story of a 13 year old boy from Texas who goes missing, and then re-appears four years later in Spain.  That’s all I’ll say, I don’t want to ruin it, but I can tell you  that it has so many twists and turns and you’ll think you have it all figured out, but trust me, you don’t.

Bully, directed by Lee Hirsch

Wow, this one was heavy, a heart-breaker.  It makes the bullying epidemic in American schools intensely personal, and shows how for some kids survival is a daily battle.  It was unsettling to watch but I think one that everyone should see.  Here’s the trailer…

Undefeated, directed by  Daniel Lindsay & T.J. Martin

This is the film I was most excited about seeing, and it didn’t disappoint!  Last week Undefeated won the Oscar for best documentary, and it was well deserved.  It follows a football team from a north Memphis high school through a season of ups and downs, and their volunteer coach who shows what it truly means to love and care for a group of kids who at times can make that task almost impossible.  Yes, it is a football movie, but it is so much more than that.  It’s a powerful and inspiring story that you should watch with a tissue in hand.  Seriously, there weren’t many dry eyes in the 1,700 seat auditorium where it was shown.

The best part of seeing films in a setting like this is that afterward the director, and sometimes the subjects, spend time talking about the movie and answering questions. I can tell you that everyone had goosebumps when Bully came to a close and up walked two of the kids in the film who were victims of bullying. They got a standing ovation from the entire auditorium. So cool.

Way to go True/False team! Such a great event! Multiple times over the course of the weekend I just had to look around and say to the people that I was with, “We live in such an awesome town!” Can’t wait to see what next year has in store, and hopefully 1canoe2 can play a small part again!

Beat 2012

If there is one thing I’m looking forward to this summer it is the 2012 Olympics.  I. Love. The. Olympics.  How can you not?  The stories of overcoming obstacles, the national pride, and all those obscure and quirky sports that get time in the once-every-four-years spotlight.  It’s just the best.  I always find myself thinking “How can I get to the Olympics?  Surely there is some obscure skill out there that I could become world class at.”  Archery?  Badminton?  Shooting?

So what will the Olympics sound like this year?  Check this out.  Mark Ronson spent months with Olympic sports men and women from across the board, sound-recording their every hop, skip and jump.  He collected enough sound to use as ingredients for some exciting, Olympic tunes.  Here is the trailer for  Beat 2012  â€“ a film documenting his journey.

It’s time to work on my Badminton serve.

:: Carrie ::

Linotype: The Film

We love old technology as much as we love new technology, but we’re kind of biased. Sometimes I just have to stop and marvel at the fact that we can take photos and send messages with a phone no bigger than a deck of cards that we hold in our hand, but at the same time we are using a 100 year old printing press to create cards for sending messages to our friends through the mail! Oh how things have changed!

The Linotype (pronounced “line-o-type”) completely transformed the communication of information similarly to how the internet is now changing communication again. Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype type casting machine. Called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, it revolutionized printing and society. The film tells the surprisingly emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world.

Looks like a great film!

:: Carrie ::

A Chance Encounter

Here’s your vocabulary word for the day:  Murmuration

Sound it out.  Mur-mur-ation.

Good!  Do you know what it means?  A murmuration is a flock of starlings.  You’ve probably seen it before, when a huge group of starlings fly in a big mass.  They swoop and dive and kind of dance in the sky.  I saw a group of them doing just that the other day.  It’s pretty amazing, right?  Well, wait until you see this.  These two girls in Ireland, who just happen to be in a canoe (love that!) witnessed a murmuration that is INCREDIBLE!  Lucky for us they got it all on video.

:: Carrie ::