Stuff I learned or read or thought about over the past month.
- I did a couple days of #vectober, and then abandoned it. This is the third time this year I’ve abandoned a do-one-particular-thing-every-day project. I’m learning they’re just not the type of projects that I respond well to. If I’m trying to get better at something, that means I probably need more time to complete said thing, which means I’m not going to be happy with what I can make in an hour or two (not that I even have that much time daily).
- Took a class on Sámi knitting techniques at the Nordic Museum and learned about some of the distinguishing elements of their mittens. We learned how to make a special twisted purl stitch, how to add a thumb and the top shape of the mitten, and how to make the little tassel that’s attached to non-fishing mittens. The Sámi are a group indigenous to Scandinavia that I know almost nothing about, so I really appreciated hearing from classmates with Sámi heritage and getting a long list of resources from the instructor.
Good design-and-dev articles
- Dear Ueno: How do I learn illustration?
- The Art of Comments
- Introducing a New Format for Evolving Stories
- The long, incredibly tortuous, and fascinating process of creating a Chinese font
Nice bits of internet
- Dinara Kasko’s algorithmic cakes
- Evolving the Dropbox brand: divisive, but I’m glad to see a tech startup do something that’s not blue and Open Sans.
- Jennifer Brook’s What Color is the Earth? project
- This animated Grecian vase
- How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good
- 3 Morning Journaling Techniques I Use To Tackle Anxiety
“How to Do Nothing” is a long read, but it is absolutely worth your time. I’ve read plenty of mindfulness-adjacent articles, but Jenny Odell approached this subject in a fresh and illuminating way. This snippet about a rose garden threatened by commercial development really got my wheels turning:
...those [public] spaces which are not seen as commercially productive are always under threat, since what they “produce” can’t be measured or exploited or even easily identified — despite the fact that anyone in the neighborhood can tell you what an immense value the garden provides.
Currently, I see a similar battle playing out for our time, a colonization of the self by capitalist ideas of productivity and efficiency. One might say the parks and libraries of the self are always about to be turned into condos.
And this quote by writer John Steinbeck is lovely:
When you collect marine animals there are certain flat worms so delicate that they are almost impossible to capture whole, for they break and tatter under the touch. You must let them ooze and crawl of their own will onto a knife blade and then lift them gently into your bottle of sea water. And perhaps that might be the way to write this book — to open the page and let the stories crawl in by themselves.