Egret and Cockies bathed in morning light at Dee Why Beach
📷 A seal washed up overnight by huge waves at Dee Why.
📷 Bondi morning
Hammersmith on a rainy night about 11pm.
Origami cranes, Japan
Kyoto Bikes 📷
Bill McKibben has a fascinating piece in Mother Jones, Yes in Our Backyards
Thanks to Alex Steffan for the link.
Pondering whether its worth paying for Roon & Tidal when I already pay for Apple Music.
I get that the streaming is generally more from lossless sources however my main listening environments (at my desk or running) have a much larger impact on the sound quality. I do like the artist information however its a lot to pay for that.
Bronte baths at sunrise
Reading John Connell’s “The Running Book” with its evocative portrayal of the Irish landscape prompted me to dig out this catalogue of black & white photographs by Giles Norman. I seem to remember we picked it up at his studio in Kinsale back in the early 1990’s. Beautiful moody landscape and street photography.
We also had the best Seafood Chowder ever at a pub by the beach at Kinsale. Since then all Seafood Chowders have been measure against the Kinsale Scale. Most come up wanting…
When I considered which of my favourite books to write about for this blog, one of the first to come to mind was William Paul Winchester’s wonderful memoir of life on his 20 acres - A Very Small Farm.
This is a book to pick up over the years and read a few pages, just for the enjoyment of immersing yourself in the manifest simplicity of Winchester’s life. Divided into chapters that are essentially diary entries, you are drawn into the joy he experiences from being engaged in the world around him. Many entries begin with details of the weather (particularly clouds) and then precede to illustrate his appreciation of the rhythms of life that flow through his farm.
Winchester built his own house, barn, put in a garden and orchard, acquired a milk cow and took up beekeeping. Yet he describes his simple life with a humility that belies these substantial achievements, the size of which will be apparent to those who have taken on a piece of land and made it into their own sanctuary.
This book fits into a cannon of naturalist writing that is often compared to Thoreau’s Walden, and it is for me at least, a book that I turn to with the same anticipation of reward.
It is not a how to book for the “back to the lander”, however there is much in it that will appeal to those readers.
It was published by Council Oak, however they no longer list it on their site, so it may be out of print. Amazon still have copies available.
Another very good publisher of books relevant to this blog is Chelsea Green, I will be reviewing some of their books in future posts.📚
Thought provoking post by Adam Richardson at Harvard Business Review on the levels of abstraction implicit in the financial system and the trust that is required from all participants for it to continue to operate.
Crisis of Faith in the Financial System
From Bernie Madoff to derivatives to the housing bubble to dubious AAA credit ratings, we continue to find new ways to encourage people to make financial leaps of faith. Have we reached a breaking point where the abstraction has gone too far, and is too complicated for 99% of people to understand what they’re signing up for, that we must backtrack to more conventional methods? And has the level of trust in private and state financial institutions sunk so low that most people now feel there is no accountability or responsibility for the promises made, or that sound decisions will be made to guarantee “circulation forever”? (Via HBR.org)
While browsing the website of designer Zach Debord (found via a Make RSS post) I came across this great picture of a chook in the snow with a jumper on, she looks very cosy. Head over to their site to see more of these pictures in a slideshow.
Their blog has quite a few posts about their chickens and burgeoning interest in Permaculture.
Worth a look.
For the those with a technical bent Zach’s beam robots are stunning works that merge art and electronics.
They remind me this work by Robert Klippel which featured 87 small painted objects.
Its Blog Action Day - my plug is for BEN the Bicycle Empowerment Network of Namibia.
Established by Australian Michael Linke who had previously edited Australian Cyclist, which at the time was Australia’s largest circulation cycling magazine, and ReNew, a magazine aimed at people designing, making and using solar, wind and biofuel energy devices, lowering their energy consumption and designing environmentally sustainable houses and businesses.
Since starting in May 2005, they have distributed more than 7,000 bicycles, 80 bicycle ambulances and 9 community-based bicycle workshops. BEN has partnered with 51 community-based organisations, mainly focused on home-based care services for people living with HIV/AIDS and orphans and vulnerable children, as well as the dissemination of information on HIV prevention.
Head over to their web page and make a donation.
Back in 2013 a couple of filmmakers bravely took on the risk of making a high quality movie about the Permaculture movement in North America. Once they had shot the footage, they launched a kickstarter project to raise funds to complete the project last year. The movie, Inhabit was recently released. Its availble from Vimeo and also through the Yekra project, an innovative distribution channel that enables media creators to sell their product without having to deal with the traditional players.
Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise behind permaculture: a design process based on the replication of patterns found in nature. INHABIT explores the many environmental issues facing us today and examines solutions that are being applied using the ecological design lens of permaculture. Focused mostly on the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, Inhabit provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices ranging from rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.
The first thing that strikes you about the movie are the beauty of the opening scenes, its apparent from the start that the movie will have high production values.
Its engaging and interesting throughout. I particularly enjoyed seeing the homesteads and gardens and hearing from people like Ben Falk and Eric Tonismeier whose books I have found to be valuable and inspiring resources.
Its well worth the $10 to see mature examples of permaculture designs in both rural and urban settings.
Mike Dodd makes beautiful ceramics.
Goldmark have produced an uplifting video of Mike talking about his work and life.
Also known as the Japan Folk Crafts Museum. Soetsu Yanagi  created this museum to display his collection of mingei items (daily necessities made by common people using local materials)It displays a collection of mingei pottery, textiles and lacquer ware. Feature exhibitions are also held regularly. During our visit the main gallery was showing “KANTHA and SASHIKO - Needle Works from Bengal and Tohoku”.
It’s not obvious that the gallery is open, you need to check the opening hours and then open the wooden sliding doors to enter the beautiful open entrance area. It’s well worth going on a day when you can also visit Yanagi’s house (in 2014 this is open every second & third Wednesday and Saturdays).
A private collection housed in building designed by Toguri, we were privileged to see an extensive selection of Inari ware, featuring a theme designs with water themes “COOLNESS….Ko-Inari ware with Design of Water”.
After making your way from Shibuya station (a 10 minute walk once you have your bearings), take seat inthe lounge to observe the garden before making your way through the upstairs galleries.
Following a link from Fine Woodworking I came across an inspiring collection of videos featuring a group of traditional craftspeople who live in the US state of Arkansas.
The state has sponsored the production of a movie series featuring each craftsman talking about their work and practising in their studios.
Something that stands out is the advanced age of some of the artists who are still practising. Chair maker Dallas Bump is 94 and fiddle maker Violet Hensley was still making well into her 90’s.
Other artists that particularly interested me were
The award of “Living Treasure” echos the Japanese tradition of designating important figures in the crafts and arts as Living National Treasures). Several other countries have also adopted the nomination including Australia, although the Aus list is short on crafts people, favouring sports people, politicians, actors, writers and business magnates. Craft Australia has created its own Living Treasures list, adding one person each year since 2005.
A recent reminder of the strong Australian links with Japanese ceramics occurred with the visit of Euan Craig to give a very successful workshop at the National Arts Centre in Sydney. In the 90’s Euan was an apprentice of the Japanese National Living Treasure Tatsuzo Shimaoka.
I describe myself as a Maker, for me the term is a indicator of where my inspiration and satisfaction are found. This has generally been realised in the workshop making objects with wood and more recently clay. Its harder to find in the work I do as a Solution and Enterprise architect. Aspects are definitely present, as myself or my team are generally involved with a larger to team to create and implement a new software capability. However as I have moved more into management it has been becoming a more distant aspect of daily work life.
I think this is part of why I am attracted to the web design world and the app builders. I started my career as a programmer and still regard this as a core skill however it doesn’t feature in my professional life a great deal.
2. Offscreen magazine
Matt Gemmell wrote about Makers and Takers in a typically strong fashion a couple of years ago. Its really good piece (his blog is always a stimulating read).
People who make things, or Makers, contribute something to the universe. Makers are people like writers, musicians, artists, architects, software engineers, carpenters, and the chap at the coffee shop who makes your morning latte. He has a skill, and he applies it to create something that makes your day a little bit better.
There’s another type of person - I call these people Takers. Takers participate in the economy as money-handlers, exchanging currency on the back of others’ creations. They lend, and sell, and negotiate and manage. You can argue that these things are in themselves skills, and that’s true - but none are anything I’d aspire to
I use the services of Takers to the extent that it’s necessary, and accept the tacit crassness and unseemliness of the interaction as a cultural cost. I don’t think that it always has to, or will, be like this, but I accept it for now.
Choose someone you admire or otherwise care about. Given knowledge of your motives, would they be genuinely proud of you in your work? That’s the test. What are you creating?
Great infographic post at infowetrust via the Huffington Post and macademic that shows the daily ritual of interesting historical figures. Smoking, coffee and beer appear frequently.
The link above is to a transcript of Stephen Wolframs SXSW talk, a mind boggling run down of the incredible computational power that his firm of rolling out.
The potential to harness these capabilities into new types of software is enormous.
Worth reading right through for a glimpse of the future.