Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adventure Wednesday with Mush and Dioramas

Since both Tom and I are fans of things that are quirky and unique, we prefer shopping at independent stores and boutiques when it's possible.  The down-side of that?  If you don't give them enough business, they can't float.  We've seen it again and again, with little places like the late great 8-Ball, and SkyBluePink, both formerly of Burbank.  When we can, we try to "keep Los Angeles weird" by shopping at still-open shops like Uncle Jer's in Los Feliz, Le Pink in Silverlake, and Zamba in Burbank.

And one day, we spotted a little store called Mush, located just down the street in our neighborhood.  Every time we drove by, we'd say "we should check out Mush."  We kept saying that for over a year... until one day, when it up and disappeared.  "Noooooo!" we cried.  "Not Mush!"

To our delight, Mush hadn't closed, it had simply moved a block closer.  So as soon as we had the chance, we made our way into their new digs to explore.

Located on Hollywood Boulevard near Western, there's metered parking and a lot in back.


They specialize in all things I love in a good indie boutique.  Here are some art sconces in the front window.

They have all kinds of interesting books, and a gorgeously-curated collection of antiques.

I love this old postcard projector. It's just the kind of thing I'd like on my bookshelves. (Aside from books, that is.)


Wouldn't you just like to settle in for a martini?


Their collection of artist and costume jewelry was eclectic and interesting.
I really dig that elephant ring, in the middle at bottom.

Check out this awesome array of antique pocket watches and keys. Don't they just scream "shadow box"?

You can't see it very well, but in the top right corner of the picture above is a pair of steampunk-style clockwork rings.  That was our one purchase of the day - we couldn't resist getting it for a steampunk-lovin' birthday girl we know.

There was one purchase we didn't splurge on, but we are still drooling every time we pass the Mush window: a mid-century modern television, in light wood on three legs.  While looking at it, Tom got inspiration for a house project we want to create for ourselves.  He would like to gut the TV of its innards, and have us create dioramas that would live inside.  We'd peer through the TV screen into a tiny world in three dimensions.  I've always been enamored of tiny things and depth/layers... so the thought was incredibly appealing to me!  We're hoping we can save up the dough to buy it before someone else does... but even if it doesn't work out, we at least have a fun idea to add to our list of projects-in-waiting.


Inspired by Tom's idea, I headed online to look at images of art dioramas, to see if they helped me envision my own.  Here are a few, plus links to their artists.

Su Blackwell does beautiful diorama-like sculpture by cutting from books.

Everything is cut out and popped up from a copy of The Secret Garden.

Kendal Murray uses everyday objects like mirror compacts, teapots and coin purses.

I love how the mirror is used in the art - there are some thing you can only see reflected.

What a novel idea - a grassy-material purse as a diorama base.

A day at the beach. In a teapot.

Thomas Doyle's pieces are darker, more foreboding.  They're captured well in a series of detail photos.  Here's one piece, called "The Reprisal."

A second piece, called "Slighting" - 

And another piece,  "Tuff Luck."

And, of course, we must consider the Peep dioramas from The Washington Post contest!  My favorite... the Muppeep show, a finalist this year by Kathy Hardis Fraema.

I love the detail!  You really can tell everybody apart.  The little Swedish Chef even has kitchen gadgets.

All of this inspiration is exactly what Adventure Wednesday is about... seeing things in new ways, filling our well of images and ideas so that we can create fresh and exciting projects of our own.  (And also, it keeps us busy and never bored... so we don't feel tempted to eat out of boredom.)

Have you gone on any adventures lately?  And are you taking care of you?


  1. Love dioramas. And was just talking yesterday about one i made for a friend, of a trainwreck she was in. Heheh.

  2. Your blog makes my heart smile. I love how you and Tom share ideas and have fun together. The TV diorama will be fantastic! I hope you guys get it before someone else does. Of course, you could scour the Goodwill and thrift stores, but a treasure such as that probably won't be lurking there. It could be a fun adventure for you though. You never know, you might just find something amazing for a steal.

  3. Many of our friends share a love of artful dioramas. Awesome! Kendal's work is new to me, so thanks for the linkage!

  4. Mush has some cute stuff! And I love Uncle Jer's. Haven't been there in years.

    I went on an adventure recently, to a beach BBQ at Dockweiler Beach. It was a lovely day, fantastic weather, the beach was gorgeous, but (as usual in summer) very, very crowded. I left about 9 p.m. before the tow trucks start shooing everyone out of the parking lot at 10 p.m., but most everyone else stayed on the beach when I left. I later found out that no one in my group got out of the parking lot until after midnight because there'd been a shooting at the beach. Yes, you read that right: a shooting at the beach. Only in LA. *eyeroll* The cops closed off all the parking lot exits after it happened to check all cars for either the suspect or the weapon, which is why no one got out until after midnight. I guess I was lucky I left when I did. ...Ach. I get so damn tired of this city sometimes.