So a bunch of us Paris Market girls headed down to Arnold Hall (SCAD) last night to hear Grace Bonney - creator of DesignSponge - speak about the evolution of her blog and how it was borne out of an interest in all the cool, craft-oriented, grass roots design going on, specifically in her neighborhood, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the fact that nobody was talking about it. Seeking to fill the void, Grace Bonney picked up the slack and started reporting her observations on her blog *Design Sponge * In part, it was a rejection of high end design, with furniture pieces costing in the thousands, but mostly it was an embrace of design that was not only more economically realistic, but cooler, more interesting and craft oriented. Pieces that showed a little risk-taking behind it, or humor, interesting materials or were just plain out of the ordinary. Whether they were being created in shops or studios, on dining room tables or in basements, Grace Bonney was inspired by it and wanted to share her findings.
I can only imagine that when she first started, she was an even more important voice in the conversation, when left of center design was happening, yet going by and large unacknowledged; when perhaps at that time even the design community didn't know how far they extended, let alone those outside art/design worlds who may not have been hip to what was happening. Pages from the book:
The biggest thing that stuck with me, was that it was her keen interest in filling the void in this burgeoning DIY community, from which DesignSponge grew, which ultimately translated into filling a greater void in the design community. I like when new things grow out of seeing a need. That is the best design. When just a little spark of "Hey, how come nobody know about this" grows into a full on fire of idea sharing. Grace Bonney was wanted to get the word out, and she did. She wanted to provide resources for newbies, and she did. She wanted to foster talent, and she does - with a scholarship with no strings attached. This woman's energy/ideas/talent is exhaustive and so is her blog, so if you don't know about Design Sponge, please go take a look! ---> HERE Look how cute these illustrations are for her categories! And below another pic from her blog:
My favorited part of the lecture was when she said that she was definitely not inspired by ICCF (me neither) and was instead looking to student shows of Pratt, SVA and Parsons in NYC and also RISDE and SCAD for their fresh approaches.
For those of you who feel like you've been hopscotching around on your career path, and are feeling unanchored (fret not, I honestly think those make for the most interesting, ground-breaking, idea-pushing people), before DesignSponge she was a lover of Phish, worked at a record label and studied journalism at NYU, before working in PR. She kept following her interests, and they blossomed into something bigger - not that she had a plan or was searching for fortune and fame - she just kept feeding her appetite for interesting design, she followed up on everything that inspired her and chased her curiosities. Bravo Grace! Thank you and Congratulations on a wonderful book!