Sunday, November 10, 2013

Diamond in the Rough

For some reason over this past year, this weekend being no different, I work better at the cabin. I have more patience which allows me to get more quality work done and I'm wondering why that is.

Perhaps it's the lack of cable television, the disassociation with day to day routine, being surrounded by weird but inspirational odds and ends or simply the peaceful quality of being in the woods.

While it's likely a combination of all of those things, it's unlikely my actual work surface is helping. My desk is not ergonomically correct like at home, in fact the surface isn't even by a quarter of an inch in some places.

I made this desk top in a college furniture class. An MCAD alum had dropped off a load of seriously distressed, grey, splintery wood that he had rescued from a barn demolition. Being a poor student who needed wood and wood being expensive, I grabbed an armful of barn scrapes and ran it through the planer only once to find some gorgeous red and white oak underneath.

I glued it together, sanded it down and shaped it on the table saw. The original design included an extremely heavy concrete and rebar shelf component that still exists but is living in the forest by my parents house. It resides pretty much exactly where it was pushed off the back of a truck after returning home for the Summer following my senior year. The wooden top was in my parents basement up until last year when I realized that with a few brackets (and one leg for good measure) it would make the perfect floating corner cabin desk… nevermind my uneven sanding job.

Can you believe this used to be on a barn?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Back In The Saddle

I'm back in the blog saddle, it was nice to take some time off but I'm happy to be back at it. I've been collecting a few things for blog posts over the past six months while mainly focusing on getting comfortable in my new day job. This blog and my independent pursuits had a lot to do with where I was lucky enough to be offered a new position which brings me to this weeks topic:


It's a trending topic everywhere I turn, everyone's talking about. Mostly it seems to be in reaction to this double-down economy that has folks casting about for new options that allow them to have a life in addition to their career. It's also the other side of the crafter/maker indie business trend, it turns out burning the candle at both ends is not sustainable in the long run.

I've been thinking about it a lot myself. In addition to having always held a full time graphic design day job I also do freelance, write, illustrate, publish, and create various other projects on the side. For the past few years I've been working on cleaning out some of the work clutter in my life, the things that drag me down instead of building me up, side projects that I'm no longer passionate about, it's all got to go. A great start for me was by getting a new job with new opportunities in an industry I can be passionate about, all of which goes a long way on the happiness meter, but there is more to be done. I want to do more of what I love, less of what I don't and I don't want to get bored, it's just that simple. Yes, I've been thinking a lot about happiness.

Randomly I ran into this fabulousness at the Cultural Center in Chicago while in town for a wedding this past September.

I love Stefan Sagmeister and I love that the subject of happiness isn't new to him. I don't want to go on and on about Stefan (you should get his books) but it was just such an appropriate installation to have stumbled upon that it felt serendipidous. The photos below are from the exhibit but don't come close to the actual experience of traversing the show, find it if you can. Oh, and you should also watch his TED talks: TED: Stefan Sagmeister

So here's to keeping things interesting, getting better at saying no to projects that I don't find inspiring and progressively plodding along toward that shiny light.

Oh, and here's to more travel, let's go places:

Facts That Will Make You Want To Travel