That Extra Bit of Trouble

01.25.18 The give and take of the garden

01.05.18 | QUOTED

Accidents on purpose

I rode the #41 bus today, a highway route. The speed of the bus makes it bumpier than a normal route, but I only noticed this because I was sketching on my iPad. As we headed North on I-5, it was wiggly lines or nothing. So I imagined a dead tree and continued.

The situation reminded of something that Dan Snow, a master dry stone mason, wrote about incorporating accidents into design. He writes beautifully on the subject of masonry because he’s so in tune with the role that time and nature play in his work and he has a philosopher’s touch. I’m finishing two of his books right now, and this is from Listening to Stone:

As I wandered around the [Anasazi] ruins, their striking forms and intriguing spaces caused me to ponder a notion. If it could be said that accident played a strong role in their creation, then accidents must be a very good designer. I could do worse than to adopt accident as my mentor. And while I may not be able to design by accident, as happens in long-established, built environments, perhaps I could create accident by design; purposefully creating the space and opportunity for accident to happen. In a way, I could make pieces of work that grew organically within the parameter of a narrow time frame.

If I need another organic, squiggly line, it’s simple: I’ll catch the #41 and take out a pen.

01.03.18 | UNDERGROWTH

When that new shoot…

… is really a green stink bug with its head buried—to stay warm? avoid Twitter? It’s hard out there for a pest.

01.02.18 | QUOTED

Site empathy

In architecture, the design for a building may be new, but the design of a landscape is always a conversion of an existing place to something else. It is vital, therefore, to understand the context in order to establish a genuine empathy with the site.

I found Drawing for Landscape Architecture at the library today and have been devouring it. This “conversion of an existing place” reminds me of my favorite part of making magazines: redesigns. Could this be what’s led me to gardens? Anyway, the book is exactly what I needed to get me thinking and drawing in the new year.

Outtakes from 2017

12.31.17 A photographic look back on the year