The classic tented place card set above the dinner plate is always proper and elegant. But by tucking it in a different spot or changing its form, you can easily customize this practical card to suit the particular style of your wedding.

The seven versions we’ve created are playful and surprising, and they make use of ordinary objects in innovative ways: One place card rests between the tines of a fork; another hangs over the rim of a glass. All of the cards are easy to make,but you might want to enlist the help of your stationer or a calligrapher for printing or writing the names in a beautiful way. When you give the finished place cards to your caterer to set out on the tables for the wedding reception, make sure he or she knows just where they’ll go.

Place cards may seem like a tiny detail, but their role is important. At most weddings, many people will be meeting for the first time, and place cards can help guests feel more at ease – it’s nice for them to have an assigned seat rather than scrambling to find a spot. And for guests who have just met, place cards are friendly reminders of neighbors names.

Excerpted from a six-page article about place cards, including how-to instructions. The full article was printed in the Summer 2003 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings

Posted in crafts, Uncategorized, Writing at July 18th, 2009.

200403-04Print.jpgImagine a book that has all the qualities of a prized relic of Chinese history: crisp, beautiful letterpress printing, hand-sewn bindings, careful layout, detailed margin annotations. Now, imagine not being able to read one word of the book, even if you know some Chinese. Your literacy has been supplanted by an odd sensation that the words are floating right there on the edge of your subconsious, on the tip of your tongue.

Even though it has been 16 years since Xu Bing first exhibited Book From the Sky, his monumental, otherworldly work composed entirely of illegible Chinese characters, the piece is still haunting. The work launched the artist’s career and defined the conundrums he would puzzle over in the years to come: How can characters be illegible, yet still Chinese? What are the limits of language? What do words symbolize?

Book From the Sky drew praise from the art and intellectual establishment in late-’80s China, as an idea and a creation. But it also drew sharpcriticism for its shocking reinterpretation of traditional linguistic forms. In the intervening years, public opinion turned in Xu’s favor. Today, the artist is firmly established as a major player in the international art scene, having won a MacArthur “genius grant” in 1999 and appeared in a succession of major exhibitions in the U.S. and in China. In recent years, he has experienced homecoming exhibits in both countries: At the end of 2002, his work was included in the government-sponsored First Guangzhou Triennial and in the Shanghai Biennale-his first shows in China since immigrating to the U.S. in 1990. And this spring, Xu will return with new work to the Elvehjem Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin, the venue that held his first solo exhibition in the U.S. a decade ago. For an artist who has said, “I worked for many years to create something that said nothing,” his ways of saying nothing have spoken very powerfully indeed.

Excerpted from the profile that originally appeared on pages 90–95 of the March/April 2004 issue of Print.

Posted in design, profiles, Uncategorized, Writing at July 18th, 2009.

When Honolulu-based Lizzy Murakami and Kara Sugihara weren’t able to find Jennifer Aniston’s trendy Friends outfits in stores, they channeled their sartorial frustration into reel-style.com. The site, which launched last summer, features fashions from stylish TV shows and flicks with links for online shopping. Now fans can have Adam Brody’s Paul Frank tees or Mischa Barton’s Marc Jacobs frock as well as Aniston’s Rachel-wear. Best of all, the site also tracks down knockoffs. “The O.C. is our biggest show because the clothes are in a price range that people can actually afford,” says Sugihara. Next up, music-video wardrobes. We know you’ve been hankering for Christina Aguilera’s chaps…

Posted in etc., Uncategorized, Writing at July 18th, 2009.