Kids Build a Bakery in the Forest

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Brawn & Bread by Studio Micat

Bread & Brawn is an outdoor, human-powered bakery designed by Studio Micat and built by kids in a New England summer camp. Human-power is used to mill the grain, knead the bread, and stoke the fire. What a lovely project for children to build and use. This project affords a design experience that nurtures a sense of appreciation for how many resources go into making seemingly simple, everyday items.

See more detail on the project here and here

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Tiny Artifacts of Exploration

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2019 is a year of artistic exploration for me. This past week or so I’ve been exploring a new (to me) material: leather. I’ve been learning how to manipulate it by making small projects. This exploration leaves me with a bunch of little artifacts. How sweet they are, flaws and all.

Artist Spotlight: Craig Mains

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trailers at sea via craigmains.com

This weekend I’m taking a printmaking workshop with Craig Mains at The Ink Shop here in Ithaca. I dig Mains’ work and have for a while now.

In the workshop, Mains is going to show us how he integrates a vinyl cutter into his printmaking process. I have a vinyl cutter in my studio. It’s one of my favorite tools. I’m looking forward to learning how I can expand my use of it.

Check out some of Mains’ prints on his website: http://craigmains.com/printmaking

Inventor Spotlight: Florence Knoll

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Iconic architect, furniture designer, and co-founder of Knoll Associates, Florence Knoll, passed away last week at the age of 101. She developed her classic modernist style for corporate interiors in the mid 20th century and it still rings true today.

Knoll studied architecture at the renowned Cranbrook school with masters like Mies van de Rohe and Eliel Saarinen, father of Eero. She went on to co-found Knoll Associates and was the driving design force at the firm. She designed spaces for corporate giants like IBM, GM, Heinz, and CBS, and she commissioned innovative pieces from Bertoia’s wire chair to Saarinen’s fiberglass tulip series (which she had to convince a New Jersey boat maker to fabricate) to van de Roe’s Barcelona chair. The work is timeless.

 

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Knoll Associates

Remembering Florence Knoll (Fast Company)

 

 

Are You a Strategic Thinker?

The answer depends on who you ask. If you share your strategic ideas with people who genuinely enjoy strategy, then the answer is yes and interesting conversation will ensue. But if you ask people who think strategy can only be talked about by the people who have permission to, then you might be out of luck. By these folks, you are less likely to be described as a strategic thinker and more likely to be described as someone who doesn’t know their place. That latter description has negative consequences.

 

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If you’re the boss, when people around you bring up strategic ideas, encourage them to go deeper. If going deeper yields interesting results, encourage them to share their ideas.

If you have good ideas but don’t feel you have the opportunity to be heard, carry on. You’re ideas will most likely apply to future scenarios. Write them down and keep them in your back pocket til the time is right.

Roger Martin, How Strategy Really Works

 

Inventor Spotlight: Takuma Yamazaki

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a pencil that amplifies the sound of writing

If you use Twitter, then you’ll see that I have the following statement pinned to the top of my feed:

“Technology is an effective amplifier. We need to decide, and then design, what it is we want to amplify.”

So I was delighted when I came across this project, The Sound of Drawing, from young Japanese designer Takuma Yamazaki in which he literally amplifies the action of making marks with a pencil. With this project, he draws attention to an age-old method for writing notes or poetry or drawing lines and images. If you are the type who gets pleasure from moving a piece of graphite across a sheet of toothy paper, then you will appreciate what this project does to heighten that sensation.

Here’s Yamazaki’s statement about the piece: By amplifying the faint noises created by the friction between pencil and paper, this project represents a new way of communicating with stationery. I reflected on the meaning of drawing, and discovered that stationery can be not only writing instruments, with the purpose of leaving visual information, but also musical instruments. By redefining stationery as creative tools for drawing sounds, this pencil offers a fresh creative experience for both people who are sighted and those who are not.

 

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Check out Yamazaki’s portfolio here

Originally posted on Spoon & Tamago

Artist Spotlight: Irene Posch & Ebru Kurbak

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Irene Posch and Edru Kurbak are artists and designers who that integrate handmade textile making with computing. They refer to their work “Macro Electronics” in that their technology isn’t hidden in a black box, but rather, visible and with stories to tell. Their hope is to inspire their viewers to explore computing themselves and ultimately to diversify who makes technology.

 

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Posch and Kurbak in DesignBoom

Interview with Irene Posch

A decade of food pictures

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As a designer interested in sustainability, I’ve learned a lot of lessons from food system innovators. And as a daughter of a mother who owned and operated a catering business called Gorgeous Food, well, I think food is gorgeous.

So I have a lot of food photos. I used to share them on facebook but since I am cutting back on social media these days, I’ve gathered a bunch of those photos into this google album. Enjoy!

If you’d like to use some of my pictures for something of your own, you may do so as long as you attribute the image(s) to me with a link to this blog.

 

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Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food on PBS

some of my favorite regional food makers:

Sweet Land Farm (our CSA)

Good Food Collective (innovative distributor in ROC)

Greenstar Coop

New Hope Mills (the pancakes!)

Wiemer Vineyard

Lively Run Goat Dairy

 

 

Reflecting on 2018

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It’s reflection time. I love it. Here are some highlights from 2018:

For the first half of the year, I wrote and published a blog post every day. I always start my day with writing. Mostly I write in my journal. But something about writing for my blog feels different. Blogging helps me figure out what I really think. And it helps me track how my thinking evolves over time. My blog even helps other people – they tell me so!

SPRING. I did a lot of “upskilling” in 2018. In spring, I participated in Seth Godin’s altMBA. It’s a 5-week cohort-based course with lots of great reading, discussion, and exercises on leadership. My favorite reading from that course was The Coaching Habit. In addition to the course content, I loved the actual design of the course and the business model. Very clever.

SUMMER. At the end of summer, I visited Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine. While I didn’t study there, the visit inspired me to pick up my own artistic practice when I returned home. This is the major shift I experienced in 2018: a return to my own art and design work.

FALL. This fall while I was teaching Maker Lab at Ithaca College, I was also participating in a 6-week cohort-based course from the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT. This course is geared toward K-12 educators which I am not. But it was free and with a really smart and international crowd, so I signed up and did my best to apply the reading, discussion, and exercises to college-level teaching and learning. Glad I did it.

In addition to these online courses, I took some hands-on courses locally. I took a 5-session mezzotint course and a 4-session course in metalsmithing. I liked getting ink on my hands in the former and loved shaping and joining brass, silver, and aluminum in the latter. I also took a woodworking workshop at the makerspace and made a Shaker-inspired footstool. Fun! And I took a lamp-making workshop at the public library. That was cool, too.

WINTER. Finally, toward the end of the year, I found a studio mate for a very affordable art studio in an old industrial building. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I’ve been enjoying setting up my half of the space and reconnecting with my tools, materials, and old projects. Projects that I couldn’t really finish when they were set up in my living room or on my dining table. Now I have a space of my own. Well, it’s a shared space. But I like it.

I hope you enjoy reflecting on 2018 and that you are looking forward to 2019.

Onward!

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It’s worth mentioning that I’ve significantly cut back on social media. I’ve taken the apps off my phone (I did that this summer when I went to Maine). More recently I’ve blocked most social sites from my web browser. While sometimes they are useful, mostly they are distracting and even anxiety producing. Also, I’m not feeling great about Facebook (and it’s little brother Instagram) as a company. I don’t want to buy what they are selling or contribute to their data gathering activity.