Not long after we posted about kintsugi, the artful repair of damaged things, we came across these photos of a worn wide-plank Douglas Fir floor patched with tin in Mindy Marin’s renovated barn Bluewater Ranch. A perfect example of modern-day kintsugi: the undisguised tin becomes part of the design on floors whose age and wear makes them both interesting and beautiful. read more…
Our favorite column at the very cerebral blog Design Observer is John Foster’s Accidental Mysteries, compilations of photographs around a theme. This week’s post focuses on the Japanese tradition of kintsugi — the artful repairing of damaged objects, and illustrates the beauty of broken and repaired things. This 18th century carved wooden bowl being sold at David Bell antiques is being described as “Perfectly imperfect.”As is this antique Japanese textile: read more…
1. Edit ruthlessly: clear the arteries of our lives, cut the extraneous out of our lives, think before we buy, ask ourselves, ‘Is that really gonna make me happier? Truly?’
2. New mantra: small is sexy. We want space efficiency, we want things that are designed for how they’re used the vast majority of the time–not that rare event. Why have a six burner stove when you rarely use three? So, we want things that nest, things that stack… we wanna digitize. You can take paperwork, books, movies, and you can make it disappear. It’s magic.
3. Think multifunctional spaces and housewares: a sink’s combined with a toilet, a dining table becomes a bed in the same space, a little side table stretches out to seat ten.
“Consider the benefits of an edited life.”
We hear you!
Related posts: digital memory archive (photograph stuff then give it away)
unusual guest ‘books’ on walls and furniture (and books)
keeping a dream book
quilts as memory-keepers
keeping an instagram journal
Zen Habits recently published the very useful Finding Peace with Uncertainty, about one of our favorite subjects. It made us go back and leaf through the great Maira Kalman’s wonderful book The Principles of Uncertainty. We clipped this image from it imagining, for sure, she naturally applies Zen Habits’ 8 practices herself (we’ve summed them up below):
Try something new, but small and safe.
When you mess up, don’t see it as painful failure. See the wonder and opportunity in change.
Ask “what’s the worst-case scenario”?
Develop a change toolset.
Become aware of your clinging.
See the downsides of clinging.
Experience the joy in the unknown.
(Video link here.) Yesterday, we posted a thought-provoking sign we’d seen that we were mulling: “The work you do while procastinating is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life”. Curious that at the same time, Brain Pickings was posting about procastination also, in a completely different way. Their post featured a little video about the “science” of procrastination, and ways to “manage” it, as though procastination were a thorny problem, rather than part of the creative process or perhaps even, activities with a message*.
Right after we watched this very charming, pat video, we received a comment from a long-time reader responding to our procrastination post and a Related Post she’d read called “Leap and the Net Will Appear”. It gives a totally OTHER view of procastination:
dearest improvised life, as i close out this jewish year preparing for yom kippur, your series of messages came through this morning. three months ago i was dx with esophogeal cancer. i have faced many things in life, i am 72, and this one was met with elevated spiritual strength from within and enormous support from dear loved ones. there have been some game changes these last few weeks, but my vote is for both procrastination and spiritual elevation!!!! its all good. thank you so much for this blog…it helps me in many ways. love, suzy read more…
‘the work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life’
We found this sign on French by Design last week and have been mulling it ever since. It’s a quote by graphic designer Jessica Hische, whose work if full of inventive and often very generous ideas (Check out the site, Mom, This is How Twitter Works. Also, click the heart at the top right of her website to switch modes-of-viewing. Our favorite: Teen Girl Mode.)
Hische’s quote has been making us look at the work we do when we don’t feel like writing, processing photos, taking care of paperwork, dealing with the massive amounts of ‘to-do’s on our work table…
Is the stuff we retreat into REALLY what we should be doing? It is a statement that resonates, pushing us to look farther into the idea of work and right livelihood, a question a lot of folks are dealing with these days. We’re tracking the ways we procrastinate to see if there’s a message to be heard.
Truer for us perhaps: the things we want to do when we procastinate is probably the work we should be doing…
What’s your take?
Related posts: the ten principles of burning man (and life in general?)
the ten principles of burning man (and life in general?)
collective learning and teaching in brooklyn and beyond
‘leap and the net will appear’…
We recently stumbled on Anthony Huberman‘s play on the Fischli and Weiss classic how to work better. Like that one, we’d love to see this painted on a building’s exterior wall so it could be read by anyone passing by: a great thought-provoking reminder. TOAST!!??
(Video link here.) After we posted the anxiety-producing riff on Banksys “No stopping”, we found this great post called Slowing Down by Leo Widrich. It’s worth reading Widrich’s process of slowing down. Here’s an excerpt the essential, powerful technique he learned from Paulo Coelho in his book The Pilgrimage; it’s called The Speed Exercise:
It is very simple. You pick a route to walk and you walk at half the speed that you normally do. You do this for 20 minutes. read more…
I am the parent of a child with severe disabilities, a job that calls for near constant improvisation. I asked parents of children with disabilities — some that I knew and most that I don’t know! — what they might have told themselves on the day their child was diagnosed and to write that down on a poster and pose with it for a photo. They sent me their photos, and we put them together in what, I think is an example of an improvised life –
It blew us away: big honest words for an incredibly difficult thing. Aquino’s parents’ messages apply to the many rough diagnoses and challenges that invariably strike us all, while providing insight into the valiant lives that people
live improvise daily. Witness this series of posters: read more…
We often post videos,profiles or quotes of artists because of the courage they exhibit in producing work that breaks from the norm, and that many would consider dangerous. Their example helps us to have a bit more courage in our own life and work, in whatever small matter terrifies us.
Among the most poweful is Chinese artist AiWeiwei. He is a dissident, who has forthrightly spoken out against the Chinese Government, and endured imprisonment, surveillance, and the shut down of his blog, which has become one of his most provocative works (If you click on aiweiwei.com, no page will load: it’s a very real example of what censorship means. )
Weiwei’s artwork spans many media, and blends politics and art in profoundly moving ways. His simple ethos:
If you don’t speak out and you don’t clear your mind, then who are you? read more…
(Video link here.) We can’t think of a better way to celebrate this lovely ordinary day than with this video of the great Maira Kalman – whose remarkable books are a blend of images and words into vivid stories – giving her two cents on what it is to be human. She covers a lot of ground: work, love, identity, life, death, THE POINT OF IT ALL.
Our favorite gem: read more…
This recent New Yorker cover by Mark Ulriksen called “Capturing the Memories” is, curiously, the perfect illustration the New York Times article Call Waiting: It’s Me, Your Vacation: Eight Rules for Getting the Most Out of Your Time Off that appeared a week before. Matt Richtel outlines ”Vacation Mental Prep” for people who have a hard time letting go of the devices – phones, ipads, computers – that keep them constantly connected and unable to being PRESENT during their vacation. It’s a subject that seems to be on eveyone’s mind these days. read more…
Makes us think about: What bridge are we crossing right now…
….and are we crossing it wholeheartedly?
Then we remembered the poem we read this morning, by Ryōkan:
Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
Sometimes you can cross a bridge without doing a thing.
photo via Big Picture’s Great Daily Life: June 2012
(Video link here.) We are always on the lookout for people, books and sites that give an honest view of what it takes to make or do or be something. So were intrigued by this video trailer for The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. The book is Oliver Burkeman’s exploration of various kinds of ”inspirational, success-oriented thinking” and new research that posits that “positive thinking” might not be as useful as we thought. It lead him to a radical take on happiness and success: the power of negative thinking, in which we learn to “bathe in insecurity, uncertainty and failure.”