I have the enjoyable affliction of not being able to read only one book at a time. That means that there is a huge pile of books next to the bed, plus a few more in whichever handbag I’m carrying around. Right now I’m mentally twitching with excitement about the books I’m currently reading, all of which are in tune with the once-hazy and now beginning-to-materialize idea that I’ve been having for a possible PhD research proposal.
The first book is my eagerly-awaited copy of Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman. I’m only at the beginning of this one, but so far he’s managed to excite me even more about the two books that are to follow in this three-part series, which also have to do with craft and society.
I’m planning for one of the areas of my research to be about craft and craftsmanship, but I also want technology (especially the Web), learning, meaningfulness, socioeconomics, and culture to play a part. As a result, I’m also in the middle of reading the following:
I keep flitting from one book to the other in excitement: it’s the grown-up equivalent of holding as many fingers as I can between the pages of a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story. I’m rarely so enthralled by so many books at once. Reviews will follow, once I get through each of them.
We went to see Complicite‘s ‘A Disappearing Number’ at the Barbican this evening. One of the central themes is mathematics, and I was reminded how much I loved math when I was a kid. It really is an art when it’s done for the theory and the pleasure of it. Most kids I knew hated math and only did it when forced to (and not even then). I read books about math for fun – there was a brilliant one called ‘The I Hate Mathematics Book’ which I read again a few years ago and it was just as good. The performance this evening reminded me that there is a lot of beauty everywhere, in numbers as well as in things. Don’t craftspeople create beautiful patterns? Doesn’t nature work on a mathematical basis? Working with mathematical principles in order to arrive at a perfectly crafted piece is probably something some craftspeople do without even realizing it. I’ll be on the lookout for it more from now on.
Ceramic cup by James and Tilla Waters
I went to Origin – the London Craft Fair at Somerset House yesterday, for the second time in as many weeks. I knew as soon as I stepped in the door on October 9th that I’d want to come back for the second round of artisans, so I bought the special two-visit ticket, and I’m glad I did. Yesterday’s visit was every bit as good as the first. I brought my sister this time and she enjoyed it too.
Walking into a space filled with beautiful work of every description made me feel giddy for the first few minutes; after half an hour I felt glutted with loveliness. It’s actually quite difficult to look at so much beauty all at once. My usual method is to walk round the space quickly, making a mental note about what I’d like to go back and look at more thoroughly. Then I go around again, spending more time touching things and talking with the artisans. My sister and I both admired a gorgeous hand-woven hemp shawl by Tazuko Saitoh and talked to Eloise Grey about her wonderfully tactile organic Scottish tweed coats.
I came away with some goodies for other people and a cup by James and Tilla Waters for myself. Its minimalist gray and red design is perfect for calm weekend mornings.
I also got an advance copy of Ruth Singer‘s new book, Sew It Up – a modern manual of practical and decorative sewing techniques. I’m really looking forward to working with some of the quilting techniques! The book is published on 30 October.
Welcome to my new blog, SmaBoutique – Inspired by Design. SmaBoutique is the name of my new business. It’s technically not a business yet, but it will be soon – and I’m planning this blog to go along with it.
My new SmaBoutique will be on Etsy, and on it I’ll be selling handcrafted items – mostly jewellery and small sewn items, but there are many other possibilities that may eventually find their way into my shop. I’ve been selling jewellery on Etsy as Nadia Design Studio, but that business was registered in Canada and now I’m in the UK, so I’ll need to open a new one over here.
I chose the name SmaBoutique because I make small things, but also because SMA stands for Saturday Morning Activities. That’s usually the time I’m most likely to be crafting, creating, or planning.
I’m inspired by many other blogs about design and craft that deserve recognition, so I’ll be listing them soon. Here’s to more art, craft, and design in the world!