I discovered Ezra Caldwell when researching local bike makers (in search of a bike for myself). His bikes stood out — they were simple and elegant, but each had a unique personality, and it was clear they were designed to work not merely look good. I was instantly attracted to them. I noticed he had a blog, and I clicked hoping to learn more about him.
But instead of the mechanics of bike making, I discovered something else: Teaching Cancer to Cry stood at the top of the page. Ezra’s tale spanned remission, treatment, diagnosis. Hours went by as I read his posts, working backwards in time. Ezra is gifted at many things, writing among them, and I couldn’t stop reading.
I worked up the nerve to email him and try to persuade him to allow me to make The Bike Maker. To my pleasant surprise, he was interested and invited me to come up to his home in Harlem for coffee. (Ezra makes really fucking good coffee.) We chatted for several hours about everything from politics to the state of manufacturing in the US. Five months later, I was back in his home with a crew. Ezra was a good sport; I’d like to think he was as curious about what we were doing as I was in him. He was generous, brave, and graceful.
So I have a confession: the Made by Hand series is not really about making stuff. Well, at least for me, it isn’t. I started Made by Hand because I wanted to tell personal stories, stories that would give me more perspective about my own work as a filmmaker, and a human. I think Ezra’s story does just that.
A warm thank you goes to Ezra and Hillary.
Movies in Color is a blog that pairs motion picture film stills with their corresponding color palettes.
I’m late to the chase, as this is over a year old, but that makes it no less lovely. To celebrate the best actors of 2011/12, the New York Times created this video gallery of short cinematic vignettes inspired by dark icons of film and starring the top performers.
They don’t sound very good, but Amanda Ghassaei’s laser-cut wooden records with tracks by Radiohead, Joy Division, and The Velvet Underground look really neat.
I don’t know how well it rides, but aesthetically speaking, this plywood bike is super sexy. File under BILF.
Digging around on an archive drive, I found this old test photo that I shot from the window of my Manhattan studio circa 1999 - 35mm Kodak infrared color film cross-processed.
After several years spent working long hours in the advertising industry, Mat Driscoll scratched an itch and followed his curiosity to learn to hand-craft wooden furniture. He moved to a small town in Maine and learned under master furniture makers. Shortly after, he returned to NYC where he opened up his own studio, Bellboy in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He’s now making some of the most beautiful furniture I’ve laid eyes upon. More on his story on the Working Not Working: Free Range Blog.
What would happen if a wet towel were wrung out in space? Commander Chris Hadfield answers this question with a little demo aboard the International Space Station (where he is currently living).
My friends Tina and Ryan Essmaker are the folks behind a fantastic interview series that focuses on creativity - The Great Discontent. This week, they sat down with Sara Blake, an illustrator/designer that I’ve been a fan of for some time now. I always admire when talented people have a lot of candor about what they wrestle with to get to make their work. See more on Sara’s site and her blog.
The interior carpet of the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s The Shining recreated as wallpaper.
Here are a few fascinating explorations of what went into making Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, The Shining. During the production of the film, Kubrick allowed his then 17 year old daughter, Vivian to shoot behind the scenes footage for a BBC piece on the film. For another perspective, here is analysis of how spatial awareness and set design in the film are used to psychologically influence the view - parts 1 and 2.
These ads from a 2010 campaign for The History Channel composite locations of famous historical events with their current state.