Modern ceramic salt and pepper shaker by Craighton Berman
Pinch Me

Indie Chicago designer Craighton Berman is passionate about food and passionate about design, so he’s combined the two in a sleekly modern ceramic salt and pepper set he calls Pinch. Salt sits in the bottom portion and the ball holds pepper and serves as a lid for the base. Interesting looking on the table or by the stove, methinks, but what’s also interesting is the way he is handling production, through Kickstarter, the online funding website that’s getting a lot of techie attention for its innovative methods of helping designers, artists, and musicians get money together for their visions. Pinch will be initially produced in a limited handmade edition of 100, which you can preorder by pledging $75 or more on Kickstarter, and the eventual goal is to have the design mass-produced for specialty retailers by this time next year. If Mr. Berman’s name rings a bell, you probably are thinking of the fluorescent-orange Coil lamp made of a rather pedestrian extension cord we featured in the magazine.

Furniture and other items at Jayson Home and Garden annual fall flea market

Euro Stash

The globetrotting Jayson Home & Garden buyers are back from The Continent, abuzz with excitement about all the great stuff they picked up and will be passing on to the public this weekend at their annual fall flea market. The sale runs from September 24–26 at 1885 North Clybourn Avenue (with a free parking lot right across the street), but 150 early birds who show up when doors open at 8 a.m. on Friday will get a signature Jayson tote bag. There’s free local delivery all weekend on this latest crop of rugs, lighting, tableware, furniture, artwork, and curiosities, complimentary gift wrapping, and unsold items will be posted on the website beginning October 1.

Stylish kitchen by Susan Fredman Design Group

Healthy Home Cooking

It’s such a tired cliché to wait until New Year’s Eve to make resolutions to start living a healthier life (for a few weeks, at least), so why not jump the gun and start this weekend at Healthy Home 2010, a stylish and scholarly designer home built from eco-friendly scratch in Palatine? The manse is presented by the Healthy Child Healthy World nonprofit group, and was constructed by Dior luxury home builders with sustainable interiors planned and implemented by the Susan Fredman Design Group and the Greenguard Environmental Institute, among others. Surprising EPA statistics indicate that people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors (whaaaa? If that’s the case, I should be clearing out way more of my TiVo lineup) and that indoor pollutants can be 2–5 times higher that those al fresco. A couple of home-healthy things I’ve learned already: air out new furniture and textiles before bringing them inside, to off-gas (not on garbage-pickup day on the North Shore, obviously); and use a no/low-VOC sealer to coat pressed wood and particleboard, or you’ll be at risk of inhaling formaldehyde. The home will open to the public on Saturday, and stay open until October 10 with scads of tours, classes, and lectures every day. Admission fee, 20 greenbacks.

Personalized card with photo from All She Wrote

Season’s Readings

If you have a new baby, puppy, or spouse, you know that December’s the time to shout it to the rooftops with a cute card that will be tacked up to cubicles and magnetized to fridges to months, if not years. Facebook doesn’t cut it for the holidays, my friends—we’re gearing up for the old-school peel-it-stick-it-mail-it season. Now through the end of September, the Lincoln Park stationery and gift shop All She Wrote is having its annual holiday card sale, offering 20 percent off all custom orders, sure to be seen on a bulletin board near you soon. Go prep with a design from Boatman Geller, mod with Dabney Lee, or stick with a classic papeterie such as Crane. Save yourself some more money by mailing before January 2—that’s when postage stamps hike in price to 46 cents. Didn’t rates just go up already? At least USPS has stepped it up with some kicky designs and stamp subjects available at their online store. I’m partial to the Simpsons and Katharine Hepburn, personally.

Woman Descending the Staircase by Gerhard Richter

Commercial Art

Speaking of online shopping, the Art Institute of Chicago’s 2010 gift catalog just arrived, and it’s dense with delightful new home products and arty giftables, from the traditional (Frank Lloyd Wright wrought-iron magazine rack for you bungalow buffs?) to the modern (Danish artichoke pendant light, MCMers?). I’m very pleased to see a selection of quality framed artwork reproductions of some spearheads from the collection, such as one of my favorites in the Modern Wing, Gerhard Richter’s Woman Descending the Staircase,  ($350 for this 28” by 43” version).