Improvised Life » paths + processes http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 An Innovative Farm Experiment + ‘The Dirty Life’ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/05/reading-dirty-life/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/05/reading-dirty-life/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:56:56 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46277

Ben Stechschulte

For the past couple of months, we've been participating in Essex Farm's innovative CSA experiment. Curious about its origins, we've been reading The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, ex-journalist/city girl Kristin Kimball's tale of her unexpected transformation into a farmer and partner of Mark Kimball, whose vision drove Essex from the start. He is a man after our own hearts (and hers, after some wild adventures)...]]>
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Clever, Strong Folding Sawhorses to DIY or Buy http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/04/clever-strong-folding-sawhorses-diy-buy/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/04/clever-strong-folding-sawhorses-diy-buy/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:28:38 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46389

(Video link HERE.Barclay Moore is a woodworker who was fed up with broken sawhorses. So he designed is own and knocked prototypes out of plywood. Then he created a Kickstarter to raise money to sell his invention. The project, he says, developed out of necessity (as many great inventions do).

What interests us most are all the constraints that his design had to work within, and the demands it needed to fulfill. Check out this list: (more…)

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‘My Only Religion is Love of the Work to Be Created': Matisse http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/03/visit-matisses-chapel/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/03/visit-matisses-chapel/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 09:29:22 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46307 In this beautiful video, Morgan Meis visits Chapelle du Rosier de Vence, the chapel Matisse called his “masterpiece”. The short film is a wonderful interplay of the chapel itself and clips of Matisse working. Meis' commentary illuminates what it's like to experience the spare space, as well as Matisse's process and motivations:]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/11/03/visit-matisses-chapel/feed/ 2 Marie Kondo’s Philosophy of Decluttering http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/30/marie-kondo-philosopher-declutterer/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/30/marie-kondo-philosopher-declutterer/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:55:03 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46396

Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has taken Japan and Europe by storm. And it seems, it is in the US as well. What sets Ms. Kondo off from other decluterring experts is her underlying philosophy that dictates the work of “tidying”.

An article in the New York Times outlined Kondo’s two basic, somewhat radical/spiritual, tenets:

Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service and… (more…)

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Scared? Great. Do It! http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/29/scared-great/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/29/scared-great/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 08:53:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46160

Reading Holton Rower’s “Run Toward Your Fear” sign recently, I recalled a remark that Tom Robbins made to me years ago when I was fretting about whether to sign up to design a big, new project with a tight deadline that required a great many skills I did not have—skills I would have to learn on the job. A very scary prospect.

What if I dropped the ball and left the client hanging, (more…)

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Seth Godin: Make Two Lists, then Choose http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/21/seth-godin-make-two-lists-choose/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/21/seth-godin-make-two-lists-choose/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:12:29 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46079

We were struck by Seth Godin’s recent post about the two lists we seem to carry with us at all times, which become apparent during a crisis or moment of doubt: one is the positives, the other, the negatives we perceive in our lives. His point: we have a choice in which we choose and the choice we make determines how we will proceed: (more…)

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Forssman, the Heart Pioneer who Used Himself as a Guinea Pig http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/20/forssman-crazy-pioneer-used-guinee-pig/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/20/forssman-crazy-pioneer-used-guinee-pig/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:33:00 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45742

Reading the illustrated walls of the hospital waiting room a couple of weeks ago, we learned this compelling little fact about Werner Forssmann, one of the pioneers of heart catheterization. He had the idea that you could thread a healing device through an artery and into the heart.

Then he tried it on himself.

At Improvised Life, we are big believers in the “try things out” school of discovery and creating.  (more…)

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So Many Pathways At Any Given Moment http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/16/many-pathways-given-moment/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/16/many-pathways-given-moment/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 07:59:48 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=46015

Ellie Davies

This morning we ready this haiku by Buson:

       Coming back—
so many pathways
       through the spring grass.

Only nine words, it has been resonating all day (more…)

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An Engineer’s Strategy for Getting Things Done http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/engineers-strategy-getting-things-done/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/09/engineers-strategy-getting-things-done/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 08:30:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45868

One of the great gifts of Improvised Life has been correspondence with readers, who are a mightily varied, creative and surprising group of people. Recently, Michigan-based engineer Kevin Neff, responding to the contest/challenge we published a few weeks ago,  has been advising me on how to rig my bed to stop it from transmitting the mysterious vibration that comes through the floor. In addition to the practical solutions — making or buying concrete bed legs of a certain, carefully-calculated weight, and sandwiching them with visco-elastic Sorbothane —he offered an excellent strategy for getting project done. (more…)

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Improvised Family http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/07/improvised-life-family-thank/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/07/improvised-life-family-thank/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 08:02:14 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45785

Isabel Rower

Since posting the sudden announcement that I would be taking a break due to a confluence of big life events, I’ve received the most generous response from Improvised Life’s readers: notes of sympathy, gratitude, understanding, support. They came in many forms: from Isabel Rower’s artwork card to emails and Comments, to hand-written notes.  Some readers subscribed to Friends with Benefits despite there being no new content, sending a little affirmation to my Inbox.

When I mentioned them to Susan Dworski, a frequent contributor who has become a friend though I have never met in person, she wrote: (more…)

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Art Retreats as Career-Shift Catalyst http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 08:52:42 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44494

A classmate inspecting a freshly-poured silver casting in Penland's metals studio

A vacation for my soul,” “summer camp for adults,” “paradise,” “the one time a year I get to make anything“—these are all common phrases heard at summer arts workshops around the country. For many without home studios or careers in the arts, these short-term art retreats (way up in the mountains or shrouded by woods and river) are the only entry point into a totally immersive environment of making and ideation.

This July, I returned from a short summer session at Penland School of Crafts where I was taking a silver casting and ring fabrication class with world-class jewelers Tim Lazure and Jen Townsend, and I decided to (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/25/arts-retreats-career-shift-catalyst/feed/ 0 ‘Deconstructed Piano': a Film About Transformation http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/deconstructed-piano-film-transformation/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/23/deconstructed-piano-film-transformation/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:14:39 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45510

(Video link HERE.) In this assault by two robots wielding heat guns, a piano’s wood is gradually burned on and on to the point of collapse.

The film is said to “consider ‘Deconstructed Piano’ considers the gradual destruction of instrumental music through digital sound generators.

To us it is a film about change, erosi0n, aging, living, transformation… that contains both sadness and stunning beauty.

via The Dish

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Contest: Solve the Vibrating Bed Mystery http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/19/bed-shock-absorbers/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/19/bed-shock-absorbers/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:00:25 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45046

Holton Rower

A few months ago, after a mysterious vibration coming through the floor started shaking our bed, and us, awake at night, we wrote about the improvised bed legs I’d made using yoga blocks and special thick rubber we’d researched. It worked for a while, but we are still plagued by the mysterious vibration that is keeping us sleep-deprived. (From surfing the internet we realize that THOUSANDS of people suffer from this problem). We have read endless technical papers on the vagueries of how sound and vibration travel. We’ve lost count of our attempts at damping the vibration, including the sculptural “bed shocks, above, my friend Holton Rower devised.

So we’re issuing a challenge to Improvised Life’s clever readers: help us devise a solution to keep the bed from being shaken by the vibration coming through the floor. The winner will receive a lifetime subscription to Improvised Life. Here’s what we’ve tried already (call us crazy but we can’t sleep): (more…)

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Air Baths and Other Ways to Enhance Creativity http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/daily-rituals-artists-work/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:15:17 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45477

At Improvised life,  we’re always interested in ways to become more creative and productive. So when we came across Mason Currey’s latest book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work we were excited. Currey describes personal quirks and daily rituals developed by many of the world’s great artists, musicians and film makers.

From the bizarre right through to the strikingly simple – the book reminds us that we all work in individual and often improvised ways: (more…)

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