There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

two thousand and twelve

It's easy to forget the nuances of years past. The classic New Year's song Auld Lang Syne begins with a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten. This unique New Year's tree from last year's blog post is a toast to remembering. Take a new look at the old with the spreads for the New Year's story designed for The Decorated Tree book, which can be ordered here. This book will take you on a cathartic journey through the whole year of holidays from Valentine's Day to the next New Year.

AS WE GET OLDER, the years seem to fly by. Friends come and go, but for old times sake, the important events in life are not forgotten. The classic New Year’s song Auld Lang Syne begins with a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten. It’s up to us to answer the question in the way that works best for us. If it has been a good year, then of course we’ll remember, but if it has been a bad year, we tend to try to forget. Memory serves well to selectively process and store the good times we all cherish.

THERE are MANY exciting things about a new year. It is a time to mix a refreshing drink and reflect on old and new goals alike. Looking back, as one is wont to do at the beginning of the new year, there’s always the practice to resolve to not repeat the mistakes of the past. As for the future, since none of us really knows what is in store, superstitious beliefs abound. Having been raised in the American South, eating collard greens for prosperity and black-eyed peas or Hoppin’ John for luck has always been a part of my New Year’s ritual. Our vision is not always perfectly clear in looking back. We have to “be in the now” to latch onto that elusive moment of clarity. That is a resolution for anyone—to be aware of and in the moment as much as possible when conducting our daily lives.

THIS NEW YEAR’S tree is an elegant and glitzy way of remembering long-standing relationships, welcoming new friends and raising a happy and prosperous toast to whatever lies ahead.

BRING in the NEW | (1st "New Year Glitz" spread from The Decorated Tree book) Bringing in the new doesn’t always mean throwing out the old, but it certainly is necessary to make room for new aspirations.This large mercury glass tree is encircled with a collection of glass beaded snowflakes attached to a garland made of wire and glass beads. Two miniature metal cups and a champagne bottle hang from the antlers of a recycled aluminum deer. The champagne-filled glassesin the foreground are garnished with rosemary sprigs that have been given a sparkle with a coating of egg white and coarse sanding sugar.

TOP SHINE | (2nd "New Year Glitz" spread from The Decorated Tree book) I’ve retrofitted this tree topper with a new typeset and glittered disk of calligraphy. It is surrounded by beautiful glittered metal rays with tinsel woven through them. Glass-beaded snowflake ornaments are attached to a beaded garland encircling a sturdy mercury glass pleated tree. This beautiful reindeer symbolically stands guard and brings in a cup (or two) of good cheer on its antlers. The champagne flutes are garnished with sprigs of sugared rosemary as a symbol of remembering the good times.

collecting, photography, styling and design by Darryl Moland


Thursday, December 15, 2011

what's old is new . . . again

NOW THAT I'M finished with the first iteration of the book The Decorated Tree, what's next? Do I look to the future or to the past for inspiration? A lot of work has been done to create the book that a real bonafide publisher will want to buy into, but there is a lot of footwork involved in finding said publisher. But I'm happy I now have a self-published book in hand to show and tell about. Having been a designer my whole adult life, I've learned very well that even though I might be fairly articulate at telling someone what I see in my head, it's necessary for most people to literally see your design in a visual sense. You have to spell it out in the language of design, which involves type, photography, illustration and the magical elements involved in putting all of that together in a way that makes sense. Beyond just making literal sense, it also has to turn heads, as if saying "look at me!"

I'VE OFTEN SAID I feel like the blogger Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) in the movie Julie & Julia, where Julie states "I could write a book, I have ideas." or "I am risking my well being for a deranged assignment." The original blog ran on I'm laughing out loud as I'm finding out her new blog is named "What Could Happen?" with the subtitle "musings from a "soiled and narcissistic whore." However, like Julie during the time of the Julia/Julia Project blog, I am currently working a day job as a graphic design contractor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which puts me in a position not unlike Julie in the movie. I work at a government job by day and blog by night and weekends, while working my way through my ornament collection, notes and photography I've compiled (instead of cooking my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking). The Decorated Tree book is a result of all of this.

WHAT COULD HAPPEN? Indeed! I have to say, that coming up with another tree to show so soon after finishing my book has surprised me. We are right smack in the middle of the holiday season though. I still know that even though I've created a book that I can be very proud of, this is only the beginning to finding the way to the future I envision. I need to spell it out in the visual language I'm so used to, but I also need to articulate it verbally and through the contacts I make. "What's old is new" is my mantra now, as I carry on and bring what I've created to the next level. Stay with me (and buy my book!). This should be a wild ride.

OLD & NEW | (above three photos) I found this cute wire tree at Homegoods early in the season ("handcrafted in the Philippines" is all I know about it). It had cheap gold plastic beads on the ends of each stem, but did have the really cool cardboard birdhouse ornaments glued to its branches with bright red silk thread. I took it apart and reconfigured it by adding vintage Shiny Brite® ornaments to the ends of the branches and a vintage finial tree topper. I also added the jewel-toned shatterproof ornaments (with proper metal caps) from the Jaclyn Smith Today Golden Heritage collection from Kmart. (I usually shy away from plastic ornaments because they also have cheap plastic caps. These were dressed up with beautiful metal caps). The gold krinkled wire balls were sold at Michaels as vase filler. The beautiful rusted metal door in the background is from the private collection of my friends Charlene Fisk and Maggie McBride.

OLD IS NEW | I'm always drawn to the old Shiny Brite® ornaments from my childhood, but I've been collecting the new versions now marketed by Christopher Radko. The large box are the new interpretations and the tiny box next to it is the box of old ornaments I bought that cap the branch ends on the tree above (if you look closely in the upper corner of the box, it says "a Shiny Brite® product"). I'm seeing a bawdy bright tree full of new Shiny Brite® ornaments in my future! Who knows, I might even use some colored lights (but I doubt it).

GREETINGS | I had to share my illustrator friend's gorgeous holiday card I received in the mail a few days ago. I gasped when I opened the envelope. Stanislawa Kodman is the talented artist behind it. I send my heartfelt well wishes to her and her family, as her mother just died. Stanis also designs illustrated jewelry and can be found here at her website. She can be hired professionally through her agent Alexander Pollard.

collecting, photography, styling and design by Darryl Moland,
card illustration by Stanislawa Kodman.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

a labor of love

The Decorated Tree in book form available here.

MY FIRST BOOK, the collected best from what you've seen in this blog is available NOW here!

IN THE SPIRIT of Indie publishers and bloggers everywhere, I decided to self publish my book exactly the way I wanted it to be. This blog served as the catalyst. I wish I could have stacks of them to give away and sign for those that have requested that already, but if you order it, I will sign it for you. If you're not in Atlanta, we can figure out the details of how I can do that by contacting me through The Decorated Tree Facebook page or here. Being the perfectionist I am, this book is as professionally-produced as any you might see at a bookstore. Using my huge collection of ornaments and decorations, having an art director's eye for photography and developing a knack for writing has led me to realizing my dream of publishing a book. I'm hoping this book will be the tipping point for something big! Although this coffee table-worthy book is no small feat—it is a large 12" x 12" in size and 144 pages, with 186 sumptuous full-color photos. The finished product is a high-end digital hardbound book with a dust jacket (preview it below)

SINCE THE BOOK is printed within a publish-on-demand scenario, the price is a higher than a mass-produced book. But that is how publishers afford to bring books to the general market. I'm only profiting nine dollars for each book sold with the rest going for print and production costs., who is publishing it makes high quality books, so I don't think you'll be disappointed. I even surprised myself with what I have created! Within the book, there are some new photos shot especially for the book that aren't in this blog. So if you like what you've seen in this blog, the book has a more complete feel. I'm an old-fashioned print guy, and I worked to design it within the realm of my expertise for a printed product. There are only a few more days left to order to get this extra-special, from-the-heart first-edition in time for Christmas. Even if you don't order now, order it for after Christmas. The book carries you on a trip through a whole year's-worth of every major holiday and more.

DIVIDED INTO four sections—one for each season, the book takes you on a journey through the most celebrated holidays of the year. Starting with Valentine's Day, the book ends with a toast and a New Year's tree. Old and new acquaintances I've made through this blog won't soon be forgotten. So here's a toast to all those who have encouraged and supported me throughout this effort—from my blog followers, my Facebook friends (both my
personal page and The Decorated Tree page)—to friends in my daily life who have embraced my ideas. "Here's a toast to many more friends, creative ideas and decorated trees to come." Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement in helping me make a dream into a reality. It's has truly been a labor of love!
The Decorated Tree book by Darryl Moland,
book cover photo by Harold Daniels