Dreaming of Music Merchandising

THE NOTEBOOK AS MUSICIAN’S TOOL AND USEFUL MERCHANDISE … The photograph above is of Nick Cave using one of the bespoke notebooks that I make for him. The spine construction, which is inspired by the steps on the deck of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, which just seem to float, allow the book to open flat at every page on his desk. The covers are shellacked, an homage to early recordings. And also the early days of Sony, when the founders, working in a bombed out building in post World War II Tokyo, made audio tape by cutting thin strands of kraft paper and using calligraphy brushes to paint them with shellac. .

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I am drawn to useful music merchandising … t-shirts, tote bags, notebooks and coffee mugs … rather than the things that are kept in boxes for future sale on e-bay. But Awesome Merch makes so many different kinds of things that I feel like I could go there and construct a small apartment installation and live in it for days, like Daphne Guinness in the window at Barneys!

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Other people may go to art galleries and find solace and inspiration in gazing at paintings and sculptures. I’ve found the equivalent experience in looking at the massive machines at @awesomemerch ’s posts on Instagram. One of the values in being completely new to manufacturing is that I have no preconceptions. And mistakes are useful. I learned to make books by reverse engineering books I bought in the sale at my local library in Los Angeles. I bought trashy novels so I wouldn’t feel bad about destroying them. And I know now they were badly made and left out a lot of trimming and bolstering. My books have great structural integrity but are very lean. I simply didn’t know I was supposed to have that other stuff, and I figured out my manufacturing techniques adapting concepts from the courses robotics engineer Ken Goldberg teaches at Berkeley. .

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I have a medium weight saddle stitch stapler that I’ve hot rodded to make my books. Now I’m dreaming of going to the Awesome Merch factory and making the charismatic megafauna version of this machine.

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