Trained as an architect, Martha McQuade lives and works in Minneapolis, MN where she teaches architecture, designs clothing, makes buildings, takes photographs, writes about process + design, and is always looking for phenomena + beauty. More from Martha on her online workbook and Flickr.
on the nightstand:
about 30 issues of the New Yorker magazine, folded over to various articles I’m in the process of reading…
- Christian Houge’s photography, especially the images of Angkor Wat and the arctic.
- Cobalt blue
- Billy Bride Jewelry
- Candied grapefruit peel
- Sledding (we’ve had an especially snowy winter here in MN)
how does winter inspire you?
Winter is by far my favorite season. I am easily overstimulated by too many colors in the landscape and the muted colors of winter are a wonderfully calming environment. Winter here in Minnesota means bitter, dry, cold air and lots of snow, which seems to make everything quieter. This has a very focusing effect on me. I feel sharper and more tuned in to texture and light.
what’s one item in your winter wardrobe you can’t go without?
don’t have one item per se, but my material of choice is wool. I dress in layers including a wool t-shirt, sweater and wool socks. I am always cold (which makes you think I would hate winter….), so I often wear a hat and gloves indoors.
what’s your idea of the perfect homemade winter meal?
I make a very spicy vegetarian chili that has a ton of different vegetables and beans and has a complex, layered flavor. My favorite winter meal is bowls of this with tons of add in choices, stacks of tortillas, red wine and a tableful of friends to share it.
what is your winter theme song this year?
I don’t have a theme song, but I’ve got the album Eyelid Movies by Phantogram on constant repeat.
what are three constants in your day?
- candy (in that order)
tell us about the inspiration behind these photos.
For a few years now I’ve been looking at the map and planning a road trip to Kansas City. I have some friends there I wanted to visit, and I’ve been dying to see the steven holl designed addition to the Nelson Atkins museum. When I looked at the map, I was struck by how straight a line the highway between Minneapolis and Kansas City is. I imagined that the landscape would be pretty flat (esp. driving through Iowa) and the idea of the flat landscape and straight line of road was really intriguing to me. In early January, I finally made the drive and I decided to document my trip through photographs, shooting directly east and west, emphasizing the horizon line.