gracefully NOTED

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"Art", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
The time lapse film Adrift by Simon Christen was filmed over a two year period and captures fog flowing into the San Francisco Bay Area. He would wake up before sunset, troop up to the first ridge of the Marin Headlands and capture the fog gliding into the valley and across the bay. The images he captured are breathtaking and mesmerizing.
I think it is the perfect way to start the day and I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did! 
Happy Wednesday!

via here and here

be positive (!)

"Design", "Inspiration", "Wordy", "gracefullyNotedDesign"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
I hope these positive affirmations by found on South Venice Boulevard in Venice California brighten your day like they did mine. It is always good to find a reason to be positive! 
For me, part of that positive outlook comes from the fact that I finally got my Etsy shop up! You can link directly there from the SHOP gracefullyNOTED page at the top of the blog. I will make a full post about this on Monday but I was too excited not to share!

Happy Friday!


"Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
The images below are long exposure photographs of fireflies taken by Yume Cyan in a forest near Nagoya, Japan. I have seen photos of this before, and posted about it here, but whenever I see more images of this occurrence I get re-inspired. I can't get enough! It is like witnessing fairies in the forest or being in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Happy Tuesday!

The Book Paintings of Ekaterina Panikanova

"Design", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
The work of Russian artist Ekaterina Panikanova consists of old books and other documents such as notebooks, that she has painted on and arranged to create these beautiful installations. I really enjoy the way she arranges her compositions and am interested in the idea of layering images on printed material. It gives it the feeling of collage, and naturally, any work that incorporates books, and different types of paper, is right up my alley! There is also something about her subject choices, they feel whimsical and in some ways, almost nostalgic.   Most of the images below are from her show titled Un, due, tre, fuoco at z20 Galleria in Rome from earlier this year.

via here, here, here and here.

Seb Lester Calligraphy

"Design", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley Harcar2 Comments

Sketchbook, February 2013 from Seb Lester on Vimeo.

The calligraphy and lettering geek within me cannot get enough of this video. I am also currently obsessing over Seb Lester's website. So much talent. It reminds me that I really need to keep practicing. And by that, I mean I need to keep practicing a LOT.

I hope everyone is having a good Monday! I am sorry I was a bit MIA last week, it was a big stationery production week for gracefullyNOTED and so I focused most of my attention in that direction. I can't wait to share soon, but until then I hope you enjoy the video :)


Noted: Four Designs I Loved this Week

"Art", "Decor", "Design", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
This floor by Arbore Historic Floors is based on M.C. Escher's lithograph "Reptiles", which they created for a client in Madrid. While I am not the biggest fan of reptiles (mostly just petrified of snakes), I love seeing art incorporated into everyday living and interior design, and this pattern in particular is both fairly subtle and a clear reference at the same time. You can see the pattern in the lithograph below to compare for yourself.

The "Forms in Nature" chandelier by Hilden & Diaz is partly inspired by the drawings and detailed plots from nature by German biologist, naturalist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel. When lit, the sculpture throws off a 360 degree projection of oversized shadows that depict gnarled, windy trees and roots.  The sculpture is not only mirrored, but turned upside down as well, ensuring the viewer is engulfed by the shadows created.  I am both mesmerized by this piece and kind of scared by it (big bad woods, anyone?).  Regardless, it is absolutely gorgeous.

"After the Storm" is a collaboration from the married couple, furniture designer Chris Lehrecke and jewelry designer Gabriella Kiss.  The wide chest is made from white oak, bronze mushroom inspired pulls, and also incorporates a branch from a dead oak tree. I really love how it maintains such an organic, natural quality, but still looks elegant and polished.  Such a beautiful piece of furniture.

I love this Book vase by the YOY Design Studio.  And I think I love it even more because it is titled "The Life of Plants".  Enough said.

via Laughing Squid / via Colossal / via NYT / via Colossal

Eiko Ojala

"Art", "Design", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
As I have been working on my own pieces, I find myself more and more drawn to work that has dimension to it.  The paper landscapes by Estonian artist Eiko Ojala, are a prime example of this.  His illustrations appear as though they have been cut from paper, but in fact, they are all hand drawn.  I am so impressed by the way he creates and positions the shadows so that the composition really appears as though it is in relief or popping off of the paper.  They really inspire me to add depth and dimension to my own work. I hope they inspire you as well!

via here and here

Must See: Rain Room

"Art", "Design", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment


Rain Room (2012) by Random International is an immersive installation where visitors are invited to move through a field of falling water trusting that the rain will pause wherever a human is detected. The work utilizes 3D motion sensors to create this effect as the water turns on and off in response to visitors' movements. This allows the visitor to engage with the falling water and create their own interactive experience by in essence controlling how and where the water pauses. MoMA notes that "Rain Room creates a carefully choreographed downpour, simultaneously encouraging people to become performers on an unexpected state and creating an intimate atmosphere of contemplation." 

To me, Rain Room feels very calming and meditative. It also kind of reminds me of when I was little, and tried to dance between the rain drops without much success. Thanks to Rain Room, now I can. That in itself also makes it seem a bit magical! I can't wait to get to MoMA to see it in person.

The exhibit first opened at the Barbican Centre in London in 2012 and opened yesterday at MoMA in a lot set up next to the main galleries on West 54th between 5th and 6th. As per the Random International's request, they are keeping the groups admitted into the exhibit small, so prepare yourself for a wait. I for one though, think it will be worth it!

Below is a video created for the London show where the artist's describe the experience:

Rain Room by Random International from Gramafilm on Vimeo.

 via herehere and here.


"Decor", "Design", "Inspiration", "Style"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
As anyone who knows me can attest, I love to read and as a result I have a LOT of books. While I definitely got on the e-reader bandwagon as well, there is still nothing like an actual, physical book - the feel, the smell, flipping the pages - I love all of it. So, when it comes to picking up a new read, if I am not utilizing the library (I am a little obsessed with my library), I tend to sway towards buying a physical book, which is why my bookshelves are overflowing. Luckily, I actually really like the look of books in a home and enjoy seeing them on my shelves and find them almost comforting. As a result though, not only have a I collected a lot of books over the years, but I find that I can't part with them. I think that is what attracts me to photos of bookshelves in other peoples homes. They are great for providing inspiration on how to arrange my own books. Below are some of my recent favorites. Enjoy!

What's your favorite? Do you have a way you like to arrange your books? Let me know!

Images from Pinterest, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Paper Landscapes by Amy Eisenfeld Genser

"Art", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley Harcar1 Comment
Mineral Lemon Lime
Mineral Turquoise

River Run

River Run, detail

Cove, detail

Mineral Lemon

Amaranthine Chartreuse

Amaranthine Chartreuse in situ

As someone who loves paper art and finding new creative uses for paper, I am really fascinated by the work of Connecticut based artist Amy Eisenfeld Genser. These beautiful dimensional collages, constructed using paper, paint and glue, depict both underwater reefs and aerial views of landscapes. Genser has hundreds of different types of paper in her studio (though she primarily works with mulberry paper) and she uses them as if they were pigments that she can layer and manipulate to produce different colors and effects. The pieces are built up by "layering, cutting, rolling and combining paper" and then placing and manipulating the pieces until she is pleased with the composition. When you look at her work, you can see that even within each paper roll, there are multiple colors and textures, and that the size of each roll of paper is highly variable. I am really inspired by the texture in these pieces, her use of bright & contrasting colors, and the asymmetry of her compositions. 

Check out more of her work here!


via & via & via

Seeds and Sprigs

"Design", "Gardens", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
With Spring making its debut at long last, my thoughts have now turned to starting up my own little garden - lots of flowers, house plants (my Jades are my favorite - they have travelled with me everywhere) and, last but not least, vegetables!  I love planting seeds and getting to watch them grow, and the same goes for growing cuttings/trimmings. I get obsessive about checking on their roots everyday to see how they are developing and then I get so excited when I get to put them in soil!
These are two of my favorite gardening ideas that mix great design with practicality.

I first saw Seed Money by Leafcutter Designs earlier this year on Design Crush, and I immediately bookmarked it for spring. I think it such a creative and fun way to plant your seeds. Seed Money is hand illustrated and letterpress printed on thick paper embedded with seeds for both flowers and vegetables. You simply bury your coin in the soil, give it some Tender Lovin' Care and watch your blooms & veggies grown! They would also make a great gift.

The Maria S.C. Lamp by Pani Jurek was inspired by Maria Sklodowska-Curie, the nobel prize winning Chemist,  and is made from chemistry test tubes. The test tubes are suspended from two plywood bands and are removable so you can change their contents whenever you are feeling inspired. I think it would be perfect for growing cuttings, not to mention showing off flowers or even adding colored water, sand or anything else you wanted as a centerpiece. The possibilities are endless and that is what is so fun about this idea. 


Smithsonian 10th Annual Photo Contest Finalists: Some of my Favorites

"Art", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment

Photo by Hoang Giang Hai (Hanoi, Vietnam). Photographed in the Ninh Hoa District, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam, August 2012
Photo by Raul Amaru Linares (Bogota, Colombia). Photographed in Quito, Ecuador, October 2011
Photo by Colleen Pinski (Peyton, CO). Photographed in Albuquerque, NM 2012
Photo by Md. Akhias Uddin (Sylhet, Bangladesh). Photographed in Moulvibazar, Bangladesh, April 2012
Photo by Han Tha (Yangon, Myanmar). Photographed in Bagan, Myanmar, January 2011
Photo by David Morrow (Everett, Washington). Photographed at Sunrise Point in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, October 6, 2012
Photo by Daniel Nahabedian (Chiang Mai, Thailand). Photographed in Chiang Mai, Thailand, November 2012
Photo by David Egan (San Francisco, California). Photographed in Petaluma, California, September 1, 2011

*I just couldn't resist this one, it reminded me too much of a real life Edward Hopper
Photo by Javier Arcenillas (Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain); Photographed in Chicago, Illinois, October 2010
Photo by Bjorn Olesen (Singapore). Photographed in Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia, November 2010
Photo by Jenny Braun (Hampton, Minnesota). Photographed in Hampton, Minnesota, July 2012
Photo by Violet Kashi (Giv'atayim, Israel). Photographed in Tel Aviv, Israel, September 2011

These photos are just a small sampling of the finalists chosen for the Smithsonian Magazine's 10th Annual Photography contest.  The photos are divided into 5 different categories: The Natural World, Travel, People, Americana, and Altered Images.  While the images above are some of my favorites (I tend to really respond to composition and creative uses of light), truth be told they are all gorgeous and really inspiring. If you have time, definitely check out the rest of the images on the Smithsonian Magazines website. A winner in each category, the Grand Prize winner and Readers' Choice Award are going to be announced in late April, so probably any day now!


Noted: Constellation Portraits by Kumi Yamashita

"Art", "Inspiration"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment
  Kumi Yamashita, Mana #2, 2013
 Kumi Yamashita, Mana #2, 2013, detail
Kumi Yamazhita, Mana #2, 2013, detail

Kumi Yamashita, Erik, 2007

I recently discovered the Constellation Series by Kumi Yamashita, and since then I can't stop looking at her pieces. In this series, the portraits are constructed using three simple materials: a wooden board painted white, galvanized steel nails, and a single unbroken piece of sewing thread.  Yes, you read that correctly, an unbroken thread. Understandably then, the portraits take months.  I can only imagine the extensive conceptualizing and planning that must go into these pieces. The detail shots of Mana #2 really illustrate how the placement of each thread and the shapes that they create, not only affect the way the work is perceived from a distance, but create little microcosms that are beautiful even when inspected apart from the work as a whole.  I also really love how the image comes to life through the layered threads and the textured gradients of white to black that they create.

 Some of her work is now on display at the Scott White Contemporary Gallery in La Jolla. Just another reason to wish I was vacationing in Cali!

via here and here


"Art", "DIY", "Design", "Fashion", "Inspiration", "Outfits", "Recipe", "gracefullyNotedDesign"Meghan Mary Keeley HarcarComment

This website and blog are my creative outlet to share daily inspiration, good design, my artistic and DIY endeavors, inspired fashion and styling, and even some of my favorite recipes here and there.  It will also be the platform for gracefullyNOTED designs, which will be launching in a couple of weeks.  I am really excited to share my artistic process and to present quality stationery, paper goods and prints for both everyday and special occasions.  It is something I have always loved and been passionate about and I can't wait to introduce it to the public soon!

In high school, I developed a love for the works of Vladimir Nabokov. In short, I became addicted - reading everything I could get my hands on. To this day, he is still one of my favorite authors. So, when I found out he used an anagram for his name in some of his works, such as in Lolita, I really wanted to create an anagram using my name, Meghan Harcar, for any creative endeavors I may undertake. What I ended up with was Grace H. Harman - not nearly as cool as Nabokov's Vivian Darkbloom - but special to me. And ever since then, I always knew that if I ever started a company of my own, the name Grace would have to be involved. Combine that with my love of all things stationery, paper and type related, and gracefullyNOTED was born.

Thank you for visiting! And I hope that you come back soon!