between here and there


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Making it Portable

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A significant condition to Remote Studio is that we are constantly moving, and out-of-doors most of the time. If you are joining us for Remote Studio to ensure that our discussions and your time to create are always at your fingertips bring the following items with you…

The Moleskine Notebook and Sketchbooks are great for carrying around, and they can help you establish a format for  documenting life-long creative practice. You can find these at most paper stores, and even Barnes and Noble is carrying most of them. So, no excuses about not being able to find them.

Moleskine Notebooks

Moleskine Notebooks

Bring one of these notebooks for taking notes and journaling look for this notebook, its about 5.5″ x 9″ and is a hardback. They are hardback, and come in different colors if black is not your thing.

ruled moleskin

Also, you will have time – and opportunity – to draw or paint while we are out. Please pick up one of these great notebooks:

moleskine sketch album

They are called a soft bound “sketch album,” ¬†un-lined and is a horizontal format with perforated pages if you want to take them out to send home.

Also, bring one of the three options for drawing or painting with, and don’t worry if you don’t know how to use them. You can learn while you are here.

Oil Pastels

Oil Pastels

This small set of oil pastels is great to travel with. This particular set is available online from Cheap Joe’s. But I am sure you can find some at an art store near you. Word of warning, Michaels is NOT AN ART STORE. DO NOT BUY your pastels there because the quality is poor.

Water Color Set

Water Color Set

Water Colors in a small plastic box that are not in Tube format, but instead the hard pancake that you add water to. And don’t forget to bring a few paint brushes.

Or you could bring a small (12 or so) set of colored pencils with you.


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The Discomfort of Transformation

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“The things we want are transformative , and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation . Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration – how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory , about becoming someone else ?”
Rebecca Solnit,
A Field Guide to Getting Lost

I have spent a great part of my life on the edges of the known. In design, art, home, teaching…there is a certain solitary condition to being on the edge, the boundary that separates what you think you know from what you really know. Like Solnit, whose mantra is recognizable if you read enough of her, is about letting go, disappearing in order to discover yourself in the world , while also discovering the world …I teach from a similar philosophy .

Creative thinkers have this ability to imagine possibilities . Imagining another way of being, existence . From these contrivances comes the future. But the future is long ahead , no matter how soon we wish it would materialize . No great transformation comes over night , despite the moment of the epiphany. Dreaming requires commitment to bring a vision into a reality.


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Architecture and Modesty

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This weekend was full of work . I’m not complaining. But stating a fact. Part of the work is a modest design proposal for an addition to a house.

There are always lessons in everything we do. And this little design has reminded me of a few things I have known. Confirmed things I know even in a cobwebbed corner of my mind:

1. It is necessary to know when to respond with modesty over exuberance, no matter how talented a designer you are. And perhaps the lesson I needed to be reminded of. There is a certain critical effort that must be made to design thoughtfully while at the same time working from a place of restraint . Not all creative answers should be dominate , some should be quiet and simply fit in with what came before. This is the case for the addition I am working on.

The existing structure is a dynamic , yet simple, 1970 contemporary house. It’s dynamism is in it’s sweeping roof that is a singular gesture of form. On the rural landscape it’s primarily living area is visible as a single sharp pitched shed roof reaching from the ground and extending to the sky.

To take away this dynamic and singular move from the primary living volume by way of a bedroom addition would be disrespectful to the hierarchy of architectural expression . The best response is one of support. Of course making the overall building better, but not by making an over-expressive addition. Instead by making a better whole.

2. Most architects and designers work today with the use of the computer for 2-d drawings and models . And this had been my primary method for a decade . But with this small work I thought all handwork would be best, and faster. Because I teach architecture students I am well aware of their current use of computers, 3-d modeling and laser cutters. And I recognize the benefits of these tools, and use them myself. But the work this past weekend using pencil , paper, cutting blades and chipboard also reminded me how critical it is for creators to use their hands to understand their ideas, their work. From this process a clarity arrives, like the clarity we gain through concentrated meditation. The slowing down of the process in exchange for the immediacy of current technology asks us to think and be sure and clear of our decisions. The tactility of hand to brain connects us to the world in it’s reality like feet to a hiking trail, bringing connection and surety.

The process also reminded me of all the things I am capable of with my hands, the versatility of expression, creating, and making . And the deep knowledge I have collected over thirty years with my brain connected to the actions of my hands that allow me to make the art I currently pursue .

Mind to hand. We are makers in the world . There is no better substitution.


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Savannah Comes Home

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Lightly attached to their hosts, bromeliads were everywhere once I realized they were there . On the trees. Seeming to hover in the air. And then I found a few in the ground, a little careful observation and I realized they had been knocked from the trunks by the resident black bears. Yes! In Florida the bears are in the wilderness , too! Such awesomeness is in the World!