Sunday, July 30, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Better Plan

I was looking over a bit of our original grant proposal today:

“It is our intention over the course of nine months to visit three sites around the world that demonstrate community living through sustainable, environmentally friendly means because of necessity and choice. These sites include: Tasmania, Australia where permaculture, the science of diverse agriculture, began, Japan where the bases of design is multiplicity in use and space, and India where sustainability and spirituality are practiced due to economic necessity. From visiting these sites we hope to obtain information about sustainable technologies and ways of life that can be readily executed in the states.”

And realized how out of date it now is. So to clarify for those of you who will be following us in October, the current plan is a two or three month stay in Australia, then a two month stay in Thailand with a possible excursion into Cambodia, and ending in Japan for two months. That is, of course, if everything goes according to the plan that we have expertly laid out.

We are going on this journey to see how other people do the same things we do, but in different places and with different styles. We seek to learn more of our place in the world by leaving it behind us, and how we can change it when we return. I feel our goal is morphing as well, away from sustainable design and towards sustainable communities. Looking less at the objects themselves but more at how they are used. I wonder what is more important to different people, how something looks, how well it works, or what makes it work?

Peter's Valley

Last summer Alison and I randomly received a scholarship to the same course at Peter’s Valley in New Jersey. The course was titled “The Table – an elevated twig surface” taught by Clifton Monteith. We figured what the heck, it was mostly free and could be cool, so we went. Not only did we learn about willow furniture, but we also received first hand instruction in traditional Japanese lacquer techniques and got wise to some very exciting ideas. Clifton told us a lot about his son Matthew (not me) who had done some travel photography in high-school and was able to score a Fulbright from his pictures. After hearing this Alison and I looked at each other and said, “We’ve got to do some cool shit.” And that is how this whole journey began.