Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The stitched together, very vertical view from our new-ish studio.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day of Adventures

I'm posting this on the train from Svendborg to Odense, both in Denmark. One of the unis where I teach has a meeting twice a year with good food, better company and fun times nestled nicely among (in)formal chat about the uni, this meeting takes place in the maritime town of Svendborg and I've been there a couple of times now.

Oddly enough, this is the town in Denmark that most reminds me of London - it's a sensibility to the past, a certain reluctance to tear down and build new and it therefore offers up a nice bit of psychogeography. It also helps that the place is heavy on maritime symbols, mermaids, anchors, waves cut in wood abound. I have a troubled realationship with my old Nikon D70 and since most of my memory for the camera has either died or been hidden by my son, I currently have the capacity of four photos on one of the silly 16Mb cards that came free with something at one point or another, but here's half of what I snapped:

Soon it's Odense, birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen - I'm not really a big fan of his depressing fairy tales, but I am partial to his paper cuts. I will choose my four shots carefully - or possibly get a new card.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

24 gifts for you!

Over at the website of a secret club we're throwing a little gift your way every day until Christmas eve. Previous days' gifts will not be available, so you best check in 24 times if you want them all.

So far we've given away the crown of King Winter, some delicious gift wrap, a magical landscape and today you'll get a classic collage challenge, unless you read this tomorrow...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Reviving a blog
OK, this blog is on the verge of death. I've written it many times before, but since I started out my focus has shifted, I mostly design through a secret club.

At the moment I'm teaching and I'm focussing my teaching on the importance of the sketchbook, yet sketchbook pages have all but vanished from my website. Sketchbooks aren't made to be showcased, but if I'm trying to inspire the creatives of the future to use this tool, I should put my jpgs where my mouth is, so here's the first of a series of sketchbooky entries.

In 2009 a secret club went to Sweden. Mostly to get stung by wasps and mosquitoes, but also to just sketch, think, experiment without having a project. This is a sample page from that trip:

It shows various random stuff, research and ideas all mingled and mangled, but that's my mind for you. On the left hand page, right in the middle, you see G Y S I N G though. What it actually says is Gysinge.

When you walk up the path to Gysinge, this is what you see.

If you walk round the back, this is what you see - a side of a house painted in different traditional Swedish colour combinations. You see, Gysinge is a hardware store, but not your standard B&Q. Gysinge is for people who really love their old homes, people who restore and it's the sexiest hardware store I've ever seen. It's a mix of reclaimed materials and new, but the true beauty of this place is that it itself functions as inspiration and DIY guide, take the slightly blurry pic below, it shows a ceiling in the state you'd find it in an old house, stripped, primed and painted. It's beautiful. It's not just about flogging your primer and brushes, this place cares.

This excites me. Without my sketchbook, I'd forgotten its name and contrary to what Shakespeare thinks, a lot is in a name - if you have the name you can find it, dead easy. Use your sketchbooks, kids. You'll save so much time later if you don't have to google "Cool Swedish Hardware Store"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The state of my tech

Everything around me breaks - it's true that I keep things longer than most people - I don't see the point in getting more new, planet polluting stuff just for the sake of it, but right now I'm in a rubbish tech avalanche, and hey! Why don't you join me for the ride?

It started when my son stuck 2-4 hairpins into the DVD drive of the second laptop (he currently only uses the numbers 1, 2 or 4 and when we asked him he said 2, 4) Immediately after that, my DVD player (the one connected to the telly) died, I never expected that one to last, the on-screen info was misspelled).

Sunday our router died, but we still have our mobile "broadband" from Telia which isn't very broad, it's never been above one meg. We still have the DVD playing capacity of the first laptop, that one's all right still, the plastic casing is crumbling, though. Thank you apple.

But then, RIGTH NOW I wanted to plug in some speakers at the uni where I teach and when it didn't work, I unplugged them again, only to leave part of the mini-jack lodged inside, so now that laptop has no voice. It registers that a mini-jack is plugged in, so the speakers have been shut off.


Monday, September 17, 2012

planning inspiration-adventure

I've organised a few inspiration-adventures for creatives or students over the years, mostly in London when I lived there - nobody seems to go on inspirational trips to Aarhus, Denmark...

Research for these was usually a mix of regular haunts (Galleries, shops, museums and so on) as well as checking listings and asking around for what was on, something easy to do when you know the place.

Now we're going on our own little adventure to Hamburg and while I've asked around, people I know haven't been able too point me to the kind of places I like, so a bit of online investigation has been needed - it's funny how finding quality info takes a while, a simple google of "cool things in Hamburg" won't do, you'll get a start, but to really get anywhere I've found that following trails works, It's been fun to research for this little adventure, I'm looking forward to finding out if my scouting is up to scratch, but I think it is.

I could get into this scouting and guiding, I enjoyed it in London and it felt good to show other creatives good stuff while getting the word out on great galleries and shops, everybody wins.

Oh, by the way, the main reason we're going is this

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last one...

Luckily, rosehip season is upon us and after a bit of annoying cleaning of these itchy...things... The stash to last us a year is in the cupboard. Right now elderberry capers are soaking up salt and soon it's time for blackberries. Need to get into mushrooms and shoreland foraging next. It's a brilliant thing to do. Somehow, it's connected to my creative work and somehow it's not. We scavenge/salvage a lot of building materials from the street, not only because it's free, but because of the soul these pre-loved bits of furniture possess.

Scavenging and foraging are pretty similar, spotting something useful as you walk, but foraging is knowledge based, scavenging for design projects is open and, well, creative. There's no creative thinking involved in foraging, there's no creative thinking involved in boiling jam, you follow a formula and it's a nice break.

Also, it tastes quite good.