women in the shadows

Posted by sol in designer



The reason things have been quiet around here is this. My semester project, which I officially wrapped up on Saturday.
An urban installation against domestic violence.


We took photos of women’s shadows around the city (which was a big challenge because we had the cloudiest spring in like a century), then we made stencils out of the shapes, and after an extensive research we came up with copy that really got our message across: violence against women is never women’s fault, let’s stop asking why a woman stays, let’s start asking what does a woman need in order to be able to leave. And, most of all, it’s not a gender issue. It’s a people issue.


It was challenging but it was an amazing experience. Bilingual design, the street as a canvas, the sensitive topic.
And yeah, I was happy to have those 12 year old trainers lying around. I finally got to chuck them!

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Santi, 4. Paper airplane party.

Posted by sol in craftulence, cuisine or at least food on the plate, designer, images, life, my sons are smarter than me


4 years ago I made a baby and he was the chubbiest sweetest thing in the world. Now he’s a big boy who still wishes he could wear nappies, who loves food and cars and pink. He’s quick to scare (Santi the cupboard!!!) and also quick to console. He loves his big brother probably more than anything else, and also to twirl his fingers around my hair, especially at 3 in the morning.

Since next year we’ll be in England, who knows if we will have time for a party, and since he’s seen Damiano’s party, a bash of his own was mandatory.


The invitation was a trace for a paper plane, of course.


The cake was a whipped cream cake base from the usual book, layered with strawberries and strawberry compote and frosted with 7 minute frosting. It’s a slight variation on the one cake my grandmother used to bake when I was little. For the lettering, I piped his name with melted chocolate on a piece of parchment, froze it for a few minutes and carefully placed it on top of the cake.


We had around 18 kids so we sealed our parking lot with construction tape.

He got a ton of presents. His favorites? This (he will go to sleep hugging it), and this. (yep, that’s right) oh, and this.


And tattoos. (I don’t think I’ll ever throw a kid’s party without them)


Besides folding around a hundred paper planes, mostly taking inspiration from this kit, I folded tiny ones to put in the favor bags. Very relaxing. My favourite pen (White ink!!!)



tic-tacs in the favor bags=happy kids.


For the bags I used my tracing paper and I sewed them into pyramids, which was very satisfying.

I don’t have many photos of the actual party because I was too busy taking kids to pee, making sure nobody threw themselves in front of a car, and keeping the wind from blowing all our cheese-puffs away, but my friend Chrissy did so I’m waiting…



typography soft pr0n part 2.

Posted by sol in art, designer, images

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typography soft pr0n part 1.

Posted by sol in art, designer, images

Today I went on a little field trip to a very cool Museum of Modern Art that opened 10 years ago in the small city of Rovereto. For their 10th anniversary they’ve put up an exhibition combining objects and artworks from their collection, as well as objects they’ve shown over the years in different exhibitions. It is great because it’s a combination of very famous pieces (or rather, pieces by very famous artists) and other less prominent, almost apocryphal artworks and artifacts. Anyway, the whole thing is a little typography feast so you’re welcome.

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Ne pas plier and Gerard Paris-Clavel

Posted by sol in designer, globe-trotting, images

It is no secret that I love My University, and how could I not? This time it took me to meet one of the most important graphistes of the past century (may I also say philosopher?) and I got to spend the whole day learning from him and his philosophy. It was one of the best experiences in my career so far.

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Sleep and disorientation

Posted by sol in designer, images

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Quick coptic stitch weekly planner

Posted by sol in craftulence, designer

Soooo…. I’ve got a ton of things to do and surprisingly a ton of enthusiasm, too.

The new semester started and it’s called SUMMER SEMESTER. That means winter will eventually end and the sun will shine on us. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, especially since I discovered my favorite thing in the world which is cross country skiing. But I’m still a depressive piece of work, so summer is very welcome. Also, this semester is awesome because I pretty much adore all the courses that I’m taking. It’s very hard work and very hard fun.

I wanted to be prepared to hustle like a real nerd, so on the train ride this morning I whipped out a little weekly planner in inDesign. I printed it when I arrived at the uni, and I bound it just now. It’s pretty banal, but it does the trick of having a lot of space to write ideas and stuff, and it’s so simple and cheap that I don’t have to worry too much about my awful handwriting, which makes me sad on those posh moleskines.

The design is pretty simple: It comprises the 19 weeks from next Monday until the end of the exam session. I used one of my favorite typefaces which is Caecilia, by Peter Noordzi. The signatures of the book are made of a single A3 sheet of paper, printed on one side. On every A5 quarter there is one week and the coptic stitch binding is done on the inside only, so the paper can be unfolded revealing a whole A3 blank space to work on.

I had never tried to bind a book using the coptic stitch method entirely by hand, so I tried and it worked pretty well.

It’s one of those things that give instant gratification.


If you want to try your hand at this lovely book-binding method I found this tutorial extremely good.




Posted by sol in designer, my sons are smarter than me

These “books” make the rounds every year at our local pre-schools. Children pass them around to their friends, who in turn fill in the pages with their photos, favorite foods and the like. The real purpose of them is, I suppose, for the parents to have names, phone numbers and most importantly the names of the kids’ parents. I admit they help avoid awkward situations.

Of course I could have gone to the local stationer and bought a couple of them, but where’s the fun in that?

And, let me be clear: things like these are a monstrosity, don’t you agree?


Okay I think I managed to make my point. Here’s the preview of the one I just sent to the press:

2010 2011 by Sol Kawage | Make Your Own Book

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bakers helper and typecooker

Posted by sol in craftulence, cuisine or at least food on the plate, designer


Here’s the new, and definitive (in case I manage to pull the prints on Friday, if not I might tweak the design further) version.

Here’s a little something I made while locked up in the hospital.

I digitized my typecooker sketches from typo Berlin (a monospaced-no descenders-short ascenders-slab serif-flared stems kind of thing) and made a little conversion chart for bakers like myself, who prefer to weigh ingredients and who own books with ingredients listed mostly by volume. I’ll clean it up when I have time (when kindergarten starts next week! HURRAAAAH!) and then I’ll screen print some tea towels with it. Let me know if you’d like one. Also, when I have time I’ll make a proper font and I’ll put it here for free downl0ad.



The couch!

Posted by sol in craftulence, designer

Lo and behold! It’s finally here! In record time, judging by my past performances, in only 4 months from idea to finished product.

I wanted to make a couch for the boys’ room since we got rid of the changing table more than a year ago and were left with a sad mattress on the floor that was fun for the kids but not exactly comfy for either of us to sit down and read books. Then there was the usual dilemma that I face: make or buy? Luckily I went for make and made a pretty good grade in the process.

First I bought the stainless steel pipe for €75 . Seven meters of it. I made the structure bending said pipe with a small electric pipe bender and welded the parts together. My initial idea was something similar to the Alcove couch but not exactly the same. In fact my couch needed to accommodate 3 people in a very small space. That’s why I decided to ditch a perfect rectangle and went for the trapezium (I think I’m a bit of a trapezoid). That way one side of the couch is deeper and it gives me the feeling of becoming more of a cocoon. It’s quite comfy let me tell you.

I then cut some plywood and bought foam rubber for the seat (100mm) and side walls (40mm). €95.

I bought the material for the upholstery. I chose this fabric for a few reasons: the color is very Mad Men, very 60′s. Its dark enough that it will bear up well. It’s heavy but not so much that my sewing machine wouldn’t make it (shout out to my Bernina which has served me so amazingly well these 4 years). Last but not least, I made this couch for my kids room, and apparently they plan to grow into big tall men sooner than I wish and I want the couch to be suitable for them when they grow. That’s why I eschewed anything too kid-dy. This was the most expensive part of the project, at almost €350 for 7 meters of material. How many couches could we have bought with that money? MANY. Here’s the cutting layout of the material: NOTHING was wasted.

I sewed and sewed and sewed and cursed and cursed. I also took some photos of the process, but they were lost when my iphone bailed on me.

It’s not perfect, and part of my daily therapy is accepting and rejoicing that nothing is. This couch makes me happy.

view from above. Don’t you love that diagonal? I do. It feels so nice to finish projects!