Saturday, 14 November 2009

Recycling is BullSh*t

I couldn't agree more (see this treehugger article for the real deal) - but you want to know what's even more of a load of bull - 'recyclable'. My question always comes to where - and what will it become, and what will the rate of recycling actually be (I believe that its under 9% of plastic is recycled in the UK). There are tons of designers who work with discarded goods - but they certainly have not been recycled in the truest sense, and more importantly are only a small amount of what is actually disposed of. Lets stop fooling ourselves, our green bins are just another version of a garbage can. We need to move past all of this rhetoric in order to actually make a dent on the future solid waste, material sustainability etc.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Book Report - The Omnivore's Dilemma

Now, I thought I would read this, and love it - but to be perfectly honest, it was just okay. Michael Pollan seemingly has a problem with Xanthan Gum - he mentions it several times with a bit of an incredulous tone. I ask to that - what's so wrong with it - it holds all of my gluten-free baking together, is not poisonous and even if derived from corn, is not the root of all food evil. I truly love corn and many of its incarnations (bioplastic anyone?), and certainly there are many substantial political, social and environmental issues in regards to corn, but it is not inherently bad, as is insinuated. He also repeats himself often, as if he had forgotten he had said 'insert fact here' before.

Now with my biggest problem with the book. It is truly a man's view of the world with not a single female voice other than his wife. How on earth can I take a book that neglects half of the population and the primary family cooks very seriously. Really did remind me that no matter how much time passes - that I still have to be a feminist first (how sad). Nowhere in this book did speak to the actual dilemma of how we feed ourselves - time vs. quality vs. nutrition vs. money - and does explore the omnivore's dilemma for anyone other than himself and his foodie friends. I'll stick with Margaret Atwood in the future...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Book Report - Payback

Margaret Atwood does it again - her ability to write witty, insightful, and highly accurate prose amazes me every time.

Her newish book - Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, delves into the way debt permeates our lives, and looks at the history and cultural aspects of debt. I will read anything by Margaret Atwood, and this one is particularly timely, and it was nice to hear about more about the background of debt, and its direct association with sin, wrong doing and over all the more shadowy side of society.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Vote for me

Hi everyone! I'm not sure if I've posted my thesis project here before - but essentially its a waterproof coating for natural textiles that is biodegradable. The innovation is replacement for traditional oilcloth (PVC coated cotton). I've entered the Challenge Your World for some funding to help this go forward. Please vote for my 'idea' over here (You can vote once a day)

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Something to remember... about persistence

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

– Calvin Coolidge

Thanks SwissMiss for the link

Saturday, 19 September 2009


A whole manifesto about awesomeness... what can I say other than awesome (you do know its one of my favourite words, right?)

Friday, 18 September 2009

Fall Reading List

You might know that I read quite a bit (I think a profession as a 'reader' would be quite appropriate for me)

For the fall, I've decided to put together a specific reading list (separating out the 'must reads', from my reading list on the sidebar) - so here it goes...

Design is the Problem
The Omnivore's Dilemma
Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millennium
The Archaeology of Knowledge
Silent Spring

I'll start with those... As I usually take notes, check back here for book reports...

Saturday, 5 September 2009

And life just became more interesting

So, everyone who knows me knows how much I love the city of Montreal, in fact I'm loving it right at the moment, sitting in an open air cafe, watching all the people meander down the street, which is closed to cars for the weekend, and is a giant street festival/sidewalk sale. Oh how lovely.

While at the video store a couple of weeks ago, I saw a poster for the work of Brandon Ballangée (pictured above), and started to look into where this exhibition may be. It happens to be right here in Montreal, at the SAT ( the Society for Arts and Technology, or la Société des arts et technologiques). I must look into this institution further, as I see they are having an evening event next weekend called Art & Design Montreal - if only I had known earlier, I would have submitted some stuff for exhibition, but I will certainly be attending! Sounds like a really interesting group of people, and I look forward to seeing what's going on around here!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Textiles CAN save the world

Often when talking about sustainability and textiles, I often get the feeling that others believe the impact of textiles isn't big enough in order to require more thought past organic/fairtrade/reused/recycled or shared. Of course I beg to differ, and often cite the many sins of textile industries, and the impact of production, transport, use and disposal, and that the textile industry is not just big - but GIANT, and has the power and capabilities of contributing solutions for not just fashion, but many other industries, including architecture, agriculture, transportation, and many more I can't recall at the moment. I came across an article today in Azure of something I've heard of before, but had forgotten about, and I'm glad to have found it again. It is the solar harvesting textiles created by Sheila Kenndey and Frano Violich. They have been working on the creation of viable energy harvesting solutions using window blinds, and other surfaces, and worked on Portable Light Project, and are now working on a larger scale, looking at powering entire structures using their technology. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to get her hands on a bit to play with... This is such a lovely and feasible and implementable technology - if only we could get more ideas and technology!

Monday, 17 August 2009


How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when on is fully aware of blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some mof the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light."
- Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams

Thank you to Paul Hawken's book Blessed Unrest (of which I am in the middle of reading) for this quote.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

I just died....

ewwwwwwww.... but I still want one. How macabre, and awesome! I wonder if done in any other colour if they would look like alien blood. They are by Keetra Dean Dixon, and are part of her series called "The Great Slumber"... these might be making an appearance in my house sometime soon, though possibly in alien blood colours... electric blue anyone?

Sunday, 2 August 2009

rAndom International

I was looking for some stuff on processing's website, and came across this piece by rAndom international. It is based on a rapid method of creating printed signs - and is called Pixel Roller. From what I gather it is a programmable paint roller that creates a raised 'pixel' on the surface if the image requires paint... very intriguing!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A new blog, and a place I want to go...

My darling friend Chloe made me aware of this lovely blog - Pruned... and in their posts I found this... International Garden Festival at Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens. I want to go! The drive is so very long, but oh how lovely....

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

My new favourite store...

so... I happened to be in Paris last week (I think that was last week, I'm losing track I think I've been in 4 countries in the past week, and my sense of place and time are a bit off). Anyhow, back to what I was actually writing about... Clothes. I found a new favourite store in the whole wide world - Loft design by, the clothes are simple and beautifully made, and most importantly - flattering. So now I just need to find a way to get to Paris on a regular basis to go shopping (that's feasible right?).

Monday, 13 July 2009

Generation M

I hope I fit into this new Generation... Generation M (according to the manifesto), is about doing things that matter... Here's a little excerpt...

"Dear Old People Who Run the World,

My generation would like to break up with you.

Everyday, I see a widening gap in how you and we understand the world — and what we want from it. I think we have irreconcilable differences (...)

What do the "M"s in Generation M stand for? The first is for a movement. It's a little bit about age — but mostly about a growing number of people who are acting very differently. They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most. Those are the second, third, and fourth "M"s.

Gen M is about passion, responsibility, authenticity, and challenging yesterday's way of everything. Everywhere I look, I see an explosion of Gen M businesses, NGOs, open-source communities, local initiatives, government. Who's Gen M? Obama, kind of. Larry and Sergey. The Threadless, Etsy, and Flickr guys. Ev, Biz and the Twitter crew. Tehran 2.0. The folks at Kiva, Talking Points Memo, and FindtheFarmer. Shigeru Miyamoto, Steve Jobs, Muhammad Yunus, and Jeff Sachs are like the grandpas of Gen M. There are tons where these innovators came from."

Written by Umair Haque as a message for the G8. Thanks Putting People First for the link!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

If only all websites...

I was looking for some inspiration this morning for designing my website and came across this by Tin Huynh. its his portfolio website, and its absolutely gorgeous. I think it might make all the other websites I see look incredibly boring, like a standard business card... Do check it out and look at all the lovely little details that make it so very awesome!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Teaching each other

I keep thinking about this idea from Swiss Miss' Creative Mornings. What a lovely idea. I also saw a guy at the Tate the other day with a sticker on his t-shirt that said 'I am Smart'. I want one, I'm smart, I need a sticker. I was thinking about getting one and wearing it to our private view, just as a little validation for myself. Luckily I'm even smart enough to be able to make one all by myself!

Lovely Video

Here is a lovely video full of hope sent by my lovely friend Jen. I'm in a place where I'm thinking about possibly becoming an entrepreneur, this is a nice thing to see. All of us have the capacity to change the world, at least I hope so.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

A place to check out...

I found The Centre for Human Ecology today via The Do Lectures Website... I'm in the process of attempting to clean up all the 'stuff' of my life and putting it into boxes, so I just wanted to keep a note for later so I can look at it.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

How to make bioplastic...

Here's a video on how they do it... fun, but I found it embedded in an article about PLA - that's not PLA - thats Starch based bioplastic! Two completely different things. Oh I'm annoyed! I wonder if I can make a PR campaign for bioplastic. I think it needs one - people are still incredibly confused and seemingly writing articles about something they have no idea about and then publishing them. I expect more of treehugger generally, I really do. It also makes me wonder about the accuracy of all of their other reports. I guess like anything, one should take it with a GIANT grain of salt.

I do hate how I've been working with the material for a long time, exploring the small details of a complicated issue, and then the press paints with a giant brush to the very audience who would normally be receptive to the use of bioplastics as an alternative to petrochemical plastics... Sustainability is a complicated issue, and we are going to have to look at it like that, nothing in isolation is good or bad, but part of a bigger more intricate chain of events. Until then, I guess I'll toll away in my own little corner, and hopefully make a tiny difference.

Friday, 22 May 2009

I wish...

I wish I could have gone to this exhibit! It looks like it was AMAZING. Put on by the Experimental Art Foundation it looked at the intersection of biotechnology and art is always fascinating to me. Its interesting to think of the different sides of biotechnology - those that are deemed to save the planet versus those which we are all are going to die a horrible death... Interesting nonetheless.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Why I don't do fashion anymore

because if I can't have the stuff from here - there is just no point. WOW. I am totally smitten with Complex Geometries... I even love their name. I see a fashion crush coming on. Link

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Confrences without going anywhere

If you know me, you know I love going to conferences... except for the 'networking' parts, those are terrible, I'm so awkward and I don't know who to talk to and about what. I usually sit on a chair and look focused and write in a notebook so I don't look like so lost.

So you can imagine how much I love the internet. I don't have to go anywhere or embarrassingly have no one to talk to during the coffee breaks. I can sit at home and listen or watch the presentations... When looking for the Greengaged lectures online today (which I couldn't find), I found this gem of a page from the Design Council. Yea! More fun things to listen to! And of course I should link you to my favourite online lecture series - TED, someday I'll get to go in person, but until then I'll just watch online.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Autumn story

Firekites - AUTUMN STORY - chalk animation from Lucinda Schreiber on Vimeo.

Just wanted to share this. I have always found hand made animation absolutely magical. Thanks Design*Sponge!

My Friends and Neighbours

I've decided to start a little ongoing bit on all my lovely friends - because #1 - I love them, and #2 - they are awesome, and #3 they are amazing designers. Probably list my motives in the opposite order, but I can't help by adoring them first and foremost.

Today its Berit Greinke! Her work is all about textiles and sound - and you can check out her blog on the subject here. In her most recent project, SHhH, she looks at how one can 'playback' a textile. I helped her record some sounds yesterday, so hopefully she will release the tracks soon. Check out her website for updates. She also has completed an amazing project called monoline - I hadn't seen it before today, but entirely wish I had done a bit more poking around before now.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The Arts Catalyst

So I found The Arts Catalyst the other day. Art + Science = Awesome is what I say! There seem to be more people like me out there. They have lots of great events and calls for submissions, so if its up your alley, give it a look!

Material Database!

I love materials... Rematerialise is all about Eco Smart Materials from Kingston University (UK Kingston, not Canada Kingston). Thanks Sarah for the link!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Green Xchange

Creative Commons is going GIANT. They are making a patent networking platform for sustainability in partnership with Nike and BestBuy. How cool is this. Thanks to Worldchanging for the report!!! I want a patent now, so I can share it. Thank you to here for the nice image of kids with ice cream... now I want ice cream too...

Thursday, 7 May 2009


I wonder if anyone could have guessed that I love fabric. Not in a minor way, but with a bottom of my heart kind of way that I can't accurately describe... the fabric shop is the best place in the whole wide world (followed up closely in second - stationary shops). I'm having a love affair with antique linen at the moment... oh the excitement of printing on it, and thinking of all the things it could be. ahhhh fabric.

Anyhow, I think I might have found a kindred spirit of sorts in the blog True Up. Give it a look!

PS. Image above is some of my new fabric... I'll have more info up here soon - I promise on what it is and how amazing it really is.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Top 10 once again

Woot! Another top 10 list. this one on being a designer by Milton Glaser.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

10 Big, Really Hard Things We Can Do to Save the Planet

So I personally am really annoyed with the 'little' things that are supposedly going to save the world. I'm pretty sure just boiling one cup of water everytime you make a cup of tea isn't going to save the world. And the language that goes with this movement is rather ridiculous - one of the sayings that really bugs me is 'do your bit', which is borrowed from the propaganda for war time sacrifices. This movement cannot be about little sacrifices and small annoyances for the 'good' of the environment, it will never work. So I really liked this list from Worldchanging. Its about some hard stuff we are going to have to do. I'll start on Empowering Women, and something that isn't on there, material sustainability, and you take stabilizing the bottom billion, let me know how that goes.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Book Report

I read a book! It felt nice to just sit and read something on sustainability. So here's the book I read... Mid-course Correction by Ray C. Anderson. Good book - more like a giant case study - but simply written and all about the success of greening his company Interface (they make carpet). One pearl of wisdom I wanted to remember is to always ask "And then What?", when it comes to the byproducts of any design and its end of life.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Bioplastic Info

And I was going to make a website about bioplastics. Thank goodness I didn't. It already exists - now all they have to do is make it a bit more user friendly... and dare I say... more beautiful...

PLA Info

Here is some info on PLA - I <3 bioplastics! Looks like a good overarching article!


I found a new Blog!!! Material Stories. Oh how I love materials. They also have a new online newsletter available as a pdf. Check it out here!

Woo hoo! Thanks Core77!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

You suck

Found "Dear Designer, You Suck" today via Swiss Miss today - "Dear Designer, You Suck"... I would like to counter with 'sometimes' . Sometimes your own direction is the best, but nicely phrased opinions are always welcome. What I've found in my professional experience is that it usually isn't the designers that screw up a design- but the business people involved - they want more , or less or something that makes it terrible. Death to buyers and other terrible people who don't understand. (The photo is of our studio)Link

Monday, 6 April 2009


I saw the work of Nick Cave on The New York Times' website yesterday. It says he's a sculptor - but it doesn't quite seem as if it is sculpture to me - but who wants to be a textile/fashion artist I guess. Anyhow, he has an exhibit on at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. His work is not just about the aesthetics of the piece but also how it works for a dance performance, and they all have sound implications... as the series is called 'soundsuits'. Anyhow, I'm doing a poor job of attempting to explain it... Check out his work here.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Data Visualisation

I've been working my way through several books about visualising data... And then coolhunting finds this. AMAZING.

It is the work of Andreas Nicholas Fischer, whose sculptures are based on scientific data vizualisation. He works with many mediums so do check out his webite.

Leaving a trail of crumbs

I want one!!! First I would need a bike though. How utterly intriguing to leave a beautiful trail of your path, could turn out to be a bit creepy - dependant on the colour someone could follow you. I also wonder about the sustainability of random chalk paths on the road/sidewak/bike path. And the blue and greens? Do they contain heavy metal colourants? And as truly a useless but fun gadget is it just adding to the mountains of stuff meant to 'green the world'? So many questions. Created by Studio Gelardi - you can check out more information here. Via coolhunting.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

just nice

I found this at HQ Galerie Boutique's blog (a very cool girl living in Montreal - how is she not my friend? - probably too cool for me is my initial thought). I love the thought of skating on the highway, and the song is lovely too.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Igniting Change

I found this awesome initiative today via Core77... Its everything all of us at MATF are working towards each in our own little way - so its nice to see it on a bigger scale. I think we will have to become involved in some way!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

I clicked on an advert

and I found this!!! StyleShake. Its this amazing site where you can design your own dress, and then they sew it for you (in your size), and send it to you in the post! AMAZING! I absolutely love it! I just need to go there and get swatches now so decisions on fabrics can be made for my very first order!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

oh how I love a good bit of compost!

This isn't about just any compost - but the conference Compostmodern. Treehugger has posted videos of their conference on YouTube and you can check them out here... Oh how I can't wait to dig into a good bit of green design theory.

Friday, 23 January 2009


Maybe the "New Scientist" isn't a scientist, maybe its a designer? I can always dream... Scientists are always getting into art and design - so now its my turn to be in a different realm. This is the work of Peter Wasilewski, a scientist with NASA, in a series called Frizions.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Posing Nature a question

I heard about this a couple of weeks back - but its entirely cool! Its called "Ask Nature" and was created by the Biomimcry Institute. You can search for a function, and it will tell you what organisms in nature do that... so. I asked it about melting ice. I got back several different cases - one including a plant pathogen called "P. syringae". Try it out!!! So much fun!

Friday, 16 January 2009

Nano-nano Everywhere

So the world of nano is coming into its own lately. Through Puff & Flock - I've found a whole site on soooooo cool!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Work in Progress

Just to let you all know... We are having our Work in Progress Show tomorrow night, and there is an open day on Thursday if you happen to be near. I'll let you know how it goes. Just doing some details for my work at the moment. Exciting - feedback! For more details on the show and all of the projects involved check out the Textile Futures website.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Post MA confusion

So... I'm coming up to the final days of my MA (well, the last 6 months anyhow). And I'm thinking about what I want to do when I grow up... and I've decided I don't want to grow up (shhh don't tell my mom or sister). So I'm looking into a phd. Just not sure where to do it. All the opportunities are here in Europe, but I want a tiny bit of my real life back (the outdoors, friends, and most importantly FOOD!). The one thing I have found out - is that within North American institutions there is seemingly no slot for my research - the inbetweens of science and design hasn't made it to NA so much - and now I don't know what to do and where to go. I was thinking about MIT - but looking through their departments and research units, I don't fit into any of them really... then I was thinking of UofC Berkley, and I don't really fit in there either. I was thinking maybe I had to get back to my roots and look at design institutions - and the phd's aren't really all that developed at RISD - which is the only place I was considering. Ahhhhh!!! I think I might need to call in some reinforcements. Either that or convince someone to start a department for me. :)