My friend Nancy is an accomplished surface designer who, over the years, has created a range of hand-painted dinnerware for various clients here and far. I asked her if she would send me the rough swatches of stripes and marks that are a product of her pattern development . She happily complied. This is only the smallest selection from her archive. Again, it’s the process that catches my eye. Sometimes I feel as though we are losing out to technology when it comes to the incremental stages of creativity. Maybe. Maybe not.
I read the obituaries in the NYT every day. And I know I’m not alone. I take heart when those, to whom tribute is paid, were at least over 90 when they died. And I find even deeper inspiration from those who were still working away at something they loved. One of the best obituaries I ever read was for a blacksmith by the name of Francis Whitaker. He worked almost right up to the end and, miraculously, grasped a hammer on his deathbed. Today’s obits required two full pages. Never good. Some names held meaning for me in a distant way. Others I had never heard of. Larry Stevenson is one of the latter. I learned that in the Southern California of the early 1960s, he went from lifeguard to successful and innovative skateboard designer in the most linear of careers. He began building surfboard-like skateboards, but by 1969 he introduced a new design that incorporated a “kicktail”: that singular modification to the standard surfboard shape that allowed skateboarders to embark on those crazy airborne tricks that demarcate the skateboarding style that we see today. To his credit, he patented both the single and double kicktail. RIP Mr. Stevenson. Photos courtesy of Lion City Skaters.
I just noticed a fabulous comment, on Swissmiss‘ posting of this image, which is worth repeating. Joanne K. says: “I did some work with Lego some time ago at HQ in Billund Denmark. Did you know that the bounce properties and sound the bricks make when dropped are also copy right protected?”
As an industrial designer, one of those skills in which one should have achieved a certain amount of fluency is the ability to create a three-dimensional object out of a series of two-dimensional shapes…and vice versa. This is something I have yet to master. So, is it any wonder that my attention is fixed on these drawings of disassembled objects? Just from looking at them, I can guess at what their final shapes are. But in order to be sure, I’d have to cut and fold. Of course, from Agence Eureka.
I never did that well at physics in school. But, in hindsight, I think I want to blame the teacher for making a subject that is so fascinating and poetic into something utterly prosaic. These videos are super cool. From the folks over at Wanken.
The other day Swissmiss posted an item about Pantone Christmas ornaments. Someone commented that they thought the ornaments were fishing bobbers. I saw the rationale there, and then clicked on the wiki link provided by the commenter. This took me into the rabbit hole that is the internet. Within minutes, I knew considerably more about fishing lures than I ever thought necessary…although, I’ve always been interested in hand tied flies. Anyway, I found a nice image of some old lures and one photograph which details the different stages of the making of a lure. Always a sucker for process. Photos courtesy of Fishing for History, Wikimedia (via commenter on Swissmiss), Learning How to Fish, Pehl Trading and Artist At Exit 0.