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Giving calendars a second life

We love calendars here at little otsu and on any given year we have several different ones around our office. But we never know what to do when the year is over and we have to throw away--well, throw in the recycle bin--the old calendar and no longer get to enjoy the art. So when Jennie Smith came to us in 2006 with the idea to make a calendar that had a poster on the back so that you don't have to throw it away after the year was over, we knew it was kismet. We have used this as a central idea in all our calendars since.

a view of both sides of Ron Rege's 2011 Calendar & poster

Over the last four years Jennie, Lart, Chris and now Ron have made some pretty amazing posters on the back of their calendars. I've seen people in the sf store buy them specifically for the poster side as wall art. That said, we think of function as necessary in everything we make, even if art is paramount. We love the idea that something that is only temporarily functional like a calendar for a specific year can live on in a completely different way. It's almost like they are two different things at the same time, each to be enjoyed on their own even though it is one object. Certainly calendars are everywhere like your computer, iphone, ipad, ietc (i.e., the information is out there) and those are all great tools for knowing what day it is, but somehow it's more fun when Ron Rege draws it.

So they are calendars that become posters and we used a functional form to represent that transformation--the fold-out aspect. People sometimes ask us about the folds and really it's what I was talking about with one thing becoming another. The opening of the folds physically transforms this small square into a large 18"x24" poster in front of your eyes and you are part of it. It also has the added value of making them easier to ship and store which is better for the environment and makes them less expensive to buy and sell. And seeing the folds on the calendar, while not an obvious advantage, is just a reminder of the transformation. I could be making too much of it--it is just a calendar--but it's nice to think of these things.

poster side of Ron Rege's 2011 Calendar & Poster

poster side of 2009 Treehouse Calendar by Jennie Smith

poster side of Lart C. Berliner's 2009 Railways Calendar

So riffing off the idea of giving calendars a dual purpose that started with the calendar/poster, when we made the 2008 calendar Through the Year with Gordon The Fox with John Porcellino, we thought of the idea of having all the calendar information on the bottom of each page and putting a dotted line on the cover so that at the end of the year you can cut off any and all calendar info and it becomes a spiral bound mini book with no trace of the calendar it once was.

before and after the cut with John P.'s Through the Year with Gordon the Fox

Eun-Ha from Milkly Elephant came to us with a great idea to create a postcard calendar where the postcards are perforated and can be torn off after each month is over. We made sure there was no calendar info on the back of each postcard so now you have an amazing postcard set. Poof, a second life!

Milky Elephant postcard calendar is perforated for easy tearing

With Chris Duncan's special "Two Years of the Youniverse" calendar, we made it two sided with a perforation so that after 2010 is over you can just cleanly tear off the calendar section and you're left with this amazing double-sided art print. We love the idea that calendars we made years (or a year) ago are still spending time in people's lives and on their walls as posters, prints, books, and postcards.

Two Years of the Youniverse print by Chris Duncan

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