Thursday, October 23, 2008


I've been thinking about what it means to be contemporary, and I feel strongly that contemporary means "present moment", but also unique, original, and personal. Perhaps "personal" is closest to what I'm looking for to capture my thinking. My desire is to share ideas, and engage in making things. Realistically; this requires a lot of trust, focus, and common desire. The "personal" aspect distinguishes present from past and future projection. Personal has more power because it has the risk of invention.

The reason we occasionally use the word, "contemporaries" is an expression of movement, and acknowledgement of a common path. We exist is the same stream of ideas, and also of implementation. What a joy to discover a contemporary, and how delightful to actually work together!

Interesting that our contemporaries are worldwide, yet we tend to bump into each other often. This is the fleeting flow of words, and images. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008


At high tide the swamp fills with water when the moon is full. When the water receeds, the grass follows the swirling path of the water. The grass loks windswept but really is water-swept instead. Because the process takes place over hours, it is difficult to observe as it is a very slow process. Yet the process is repeated every eleven hours as all the water from this side of the earth flows to the other side of the earth.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008



This year the colors are spectacular. Maybe it depends on the rain in June, I'm not sure. I wonder if we all change color and don't realize it. I know the grass in the marsh changes color everyday by a small amount. The change is so small it is hard to detect. But after one week it is quite obvious. I do think we change with the seasons, more than we realize. And winter is probably a time for reflection, and autumn the time to consider reflecting. Maybe it is no coincidence that the market crashes in October. Everyone starts to reflect. Intuition is more powerful than false confidence. The transition of colors is more gradual this year, a slow unfolding over a few weeks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Walked thru these "families" of sequoias in Muir woods today. These 2000 yr old trees grow in circular groups like pitcher plants. Wandering in these woods in mysterious and inspiring.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

old living stones

Stones of Illsboro pushing through the surface reach back 600 million years. A mile of ice covered the area just 14,000 years ago. So with the combination of age old artifacts and glacier movement, we can be delighted to walk over random scattered red oxidized and wet green crystalized  boulders in long beach boulder fields.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

oddly connected

Some weeks things have a resonance of all being connected. As if people subliminally read my mind without knowing it happened. Things repeat themselves. Maybe I shouldn't be shocked. Everything is a garden of possibilities. No two flowers are the same, or are they?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


A recession is like shuffling the card deck a few times. I never know what to expect, but then sometimes things stay the same as if there were no shuffling. Shuffling is mostly good because I look in new places for new things, and I don't have to question why, because I don't have any choice. It's the same deck of cards, but shuffled.

In some ways; a recession gives me the extra time I've always craved. Time to experiment, develop an idea a bit more, and perhaps relax during the process. Time to crawl around on the ground and watch the last blueberries float in the breeze.

September 2, 2008

Along the coast there are coves with stone beaches. The stones often define fresh water marshes. The grass grows all summer long in the marsh until it is very tall, and at the end of the summer, the wind seeps over the grass and weaves it together in tiny twirling tornados. In autumn the grass turns orange and then brownish just like the seaweed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Starting in the middle
Many times I start in the middle and work in both directions. The reason I’ve found this process useful is because I find that I have difficulty starting at the beginning, or starting at all. Maybe that’s because it is hard to figure out where the actual beginning begins, and starting in the middle doesn’t require any thought at all. In a way, there isn’t anything to lose. The important thing is to start building something. I never know where this will lead me, and I am always delighted to find out. Starting in the middle might mean starting with the most obvious thing. Starting in the middle is to be present with the possibility of traveling back to the past and forward into the future, or back to the beginning, forward to the end ( a new beginning).

A good idea
A good idea can take a year to develop.
Retaining the quality of the sketch I love to make sketches in copper wire. Sometimes I leave pieces of wire on my desk to pick up when I feel like taking a break from something else. I just start bending the wire into curves. Sometimes the sketches result in a new idea or direction, or just an aspect of a new idea. The important thing is not to think too much. My favorite shapes to build are based on circles and ellipses. In the end this may no longer be obvious that these were the starting point, but frequently aspects of these fundamental geometries are still present in the end. Ellipses are my favorite since one radius flows gracefully into another. When translating these sketches to a larger size, I try and follow the sketch. There is an inherent unique and personal quality in a sketch that is essential to capture, and this quality is also easily lost in translation.

Creating a system
I try to think about how to make organic systems. So understanding the geometry is essential. This knowledge facilitates simplicity throughout the process of building. Simplicity is inherent in the most complex geometries. The beauty of a system is the organic qualities. A system is easily expandable, self-correcting, contains various symmetries, and is adaptable..

Developing an idea with sketches, models, and drawings
Since I’m “over fifty,” I figure it’s ok to still use a mechanical pencil, triangle, and scale; and that it is ok to build study models, and even draft on vellum. It is hard to find a mechanical pencil anymore, much less a parallel bar. But I guess I’m determined.

Mock-ups and prototypes used to refine a frame geometry
I often start with sketches on the back of an envelope or in the margin of a magazine page. These simple cryptic sketches sometimes find their way into small wire models and sometimes gravitate into larger structures bent from tubular aluminum. My process is to first build a full-size mock-up, which is relatively accurate to scale with a series of reference points and lines used to translate the model. I first draw the overall geometry on the floor. Then I project points into space related to the bent segments in various radii. I try and retain the continuity of the curves, and often step back to look at the overall shape. The mock-up is really a second sketch. I allow the mock-up to have a life separate from the original study model. This is essential because there is a translation between the things.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We have been in Dusseldorf since Saturday at the Euroshop show held at the Messe near the airport. Our small booth space was visited by people from 37 countries over five days. We had a good response to our sculptural pieces shown as part of our booth. The orange fabric seems to be part of a larger trend.

The most important thing I learned at the show is that there are a lot of entrepreneurs networking between many countries worldwide. The exhibit industry here is very different from the U.S. market. Exhibit spaces are less object oriented and more social and sales oriented. The booth spaces are more like marketing networks, and the physical aspects of the booths are like a background for meeting and socializing. Personal engagement is a vital aspect of doing business here. Many participants have been involved in the industry for twenty years or more, and have a vested interest in the progress and evolution.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

For fifteen years I have traveled about half of my time. My travel has been centered on our installations and projects. The thread that has held our business together is a careful understanding of the nature of each project and jobsite, and taking the time to get to know the people involved.

In reality, the time required to travel is ten-fold the time spent at the jobsite, with the client, contractor, or design firm. Fortunately, I enjoy the people and places that I encounter along the way as well. I find that every person I meet has a unique story, and often these stories are fascinating and intriguing. Meeting someone while traveling is unusual because stories often are exchanged in one hour, fifteen minutes, or even thirty seconds. This occurs out of necessity when paths cross. The common ground of travel creates a bond and trust, adds richness and perspective, and influences my life in many ways.

As a way to calm myself, and reflect on the preciousness of each day, I write poems, and take photographs as a journal. Here is a recent poem:

shadows cross through the open woods
next to white barren fields
and curvy rutted winding roads.
i walk these in my mind
following the shadows which often fall
far flung against adjacent trees
and down steep creek banks
meandering like the sun across the sky
and drawing to a close at day's end.