m wood pen


“Only you could make electrical lines look good”

I wake up in the same bed, with the same cat perched onto my legs, and crane my head to look out of the window. Only now, I turn my head to the left to be greated by a tidy red brick wall and an enormous what I think to be electrical coil of thick rubbery noodles. There’s a glimpse of a grey-brown twig, the outlier of a grey-brown branch which is sprouting out of a thick grey-brown tree trunk. There are no leaves. Who was that bleak Swedish film maker? Ingmar Bergman. I feel as if I’ve awoken to be in one of his winter films, stark, cold and gloomy.

To compare this to a summer’s day in the house that I just left would be a cruel game, and yet in my mind, I played it yet again this morning. My head would turn to the right, the blooms and flittering leaves of the locust tree waving at me as my birds bounced and flew and hopped and swooped from it’s myriad of branches to feed on bounty of seeds that I’d have left for them the night and night and night before. The view straight ahead would be through bright red french doors over the deck to the forest below.

In my enormous haste to sell pack purge and move from my country house to this new mod city pad, I knew that the days of reckoning would come. Yet, like in all urgent matters, who has time to ponder when the lady from FaceBook Marketplace is stuck in your driveway on her way to score the entire box of American Girl clothing that she’s going to pay cash for? I put it all down to hilarious and wacky experiences that those walls, that house, would be witness to, and was incapable of imagining a day or a life when I wouldn’t just walk through those custom-built three quarter oak stable doors onto my deck into my drive and off in the car. Always to come back.

Back then, I’d sip my cappuccino from my perch at my enormous kitchen island. My square window framed a tableau of said birds a-feasting, a long gravel drive, a catch of small trees, and the corner of the roads. Whatever flew in or out of that small frame was the story of sameness and quiet. Meanwhile, after two weeks here in my city pad, the rumble grumble and tumble of the garbage truck has finally made its heroic climb through the brick alley to fetch what once were sorted bags of garbage and earth-lovingly folded cardboard boxes bound for their second life via recycling. Grunting and rumbling, the hearty beast has finally removed the mountains of mooshy cartons and spilled household bits, clearing up our alley for more remnants of these busy weeks.

The move was a good thing. Leaving behind a place as glorious as the one I (we) left is a reminder of how blessed a life can be. Build on my parents land, where I grew up, we designed, contracted, built, hammered and lived in a house all of our own for the last sixteen years. As I remember my last few years there, with my children grown, up and out the door, my cherished and ridiculously delightful mom gone to greener pastures, the silence and memories were too powerful, and I felt an almost frozen in time inertia that needed to be shaked off. Though still busy with freelance projects, some pretty amazing commissions across the pond, and more virtual company than a gal could ask for, the shell was telling me that it was time to go, to move on, to build again, to turn the page.

Turn the page I did, just two weeks ago. And in an effort to not lose it all, lose these actions and days into the fuzzy haze of yesteryear, I think I’ll write them down. What I don’t want is for my life to have been a blur. Rather, the kaleidoscope that it’s turned out to be.

My cup is nearly empty, so here is the description of my new morning view. Through angled french doors, filled inside at the moment w/a planter and some greens waiting to be allowed outside in a few months, I see a swoop of snow, a grey weathered cedar fence and a march of tall trees set against the red brick soldiers of the receding apartments that stretch ahead and my jeep, bravely going it without a garage for the first time. To the left, a sort of European-like march of back decks, stepping up and up to various verandas, decks, rooftop gardens and stout chimneys. Centered, is a line of yes, elegant electrical poles, their delicate wires swooping and tethered between destinations. And if I squinch my eyes, I’ll just see the edge of park that meets the alley. With a sunny blue sky, and a month or two of warm spring, it will be robust soon with tennis players, picnickers, children running, dogs fetching and me, watching.

gnome by m wood

Career highlight? This comes pretty close. Here’s a gallery of photos from the incredible collaboration I was invited to join for the gorgeous new Baccarat bar at HARRODS in London. Creating hand-drawn architectural illustrations of cocktails served in Baccarat crystal glassware for the beautiful bar menu in collaboration with a global team of fantastic folks, I grabbed my vintage architectural drawing gear and got to work! Hilarity, metric conversions, long distance phone calls, late night emails from England, Iceland and France made for such a happy project. Thank you Gorgeous Group, Scott Wittman, Cameron Attfield, Stevie Kane, Lucy Wheeler, Fabled Studio, Royal College of Art, Baccarat, Harrods, Branding Design, We Love Branding, and Dayfold Print. 

“What emotions do you associate with colour and what do they communicate to you?

For the menu design at Baccarat Bar located at the lower ground floor of Harrods, we had the unique challenge of bringing the emotions of colour to life and relating them to cocktails. Our objective for the bar was to create a stylish, innovative drinks led concept destination in Knightsbridge that appealed to the discerning London and international bar scene with the potential to feature on the World’s Top 50 bar list. We also needed to acknowledge the history of both Harrods and Baccarat and be at the forefront of the new generation of food and drink offering at the iconic department store.

Our modern understanding of light and colour begins with Isaac Newton and a series of experiments that he published in 1672. He was the first to understand the rainbow, refracting white light with a prism, resolving it into its component colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. We used his colour theory as a stepping stone and divided the menu into 8 sections. Each section of the menu included a piece of bespoke artwork created for us by students at the Royal College of Art to represent emotions or qualities associated with that colour.

These colours and emotions were then translated into a singular drinking experience: an expertly crafted cocktail, harnessing groundbreaking techniques, served in a specially selected Baccarat glass created by award-winning bar manager @CameronAttfield and @StevieKane_

Super talented illustrator from Chicago @mwoodpen recreated drawings of the Baccarat glassware and the opulent decor was created by @Fabled_Studio.

in·​sect | \ ˈin-ˌsekt  \

Definition of insect

1a: any of a class (Insecta) of arthropods (such as bugs or bees) with well-defined head, thorax, and abdomen, only three pairs of legs, and typically one or two pairs of wings

b: any of numerous small invertebrate animals (such as spiders or centipedes) that are more or less obviously segmented —not used technically

2: a trivial or contemptible person

Inquire to order as prints or notecards.

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