I am having a very slow Monday – on purpose, after a hectic weekend. So far I have managed to send half a dozen emails and write one cheque, and it’s getting on for lunch time, so I think I’ll have a break in a minute. If you want a little reading to accompany your own lunch break, there are a few links I have been meaning to share:
Dundee, une ville d’histoire, de design et de fun is a blog post by Sophie, one of the #blogmanay crew who visited in January and had a brief weaving lesson here.
Throughout 2016 there is a Festival of Architecture going on across Scotland. If you are visiting, you might want to take note of some of the events lined up. I like the sound of this. And speaking of events, this is Dundee’s first full year as a City of Design and there is a lot planned – including an International Design Festival in May.
And finally, I’ve noticed a lot being written recently about ‘Peak Stuff’, like this piece by Will Hutton. It is a topic I am pleased to see in the media, but the tone of some of the articles does make you wonder where everyone has been all this time.
Personally, I feel I reached Peak Stuff quite early on. I am very much the kind of person who buys a thing (which might be a washing machine, a frying pan, a t-shirt) and subsequently expects that she will never have to buy another. After all, I already have a washing machine, a frying pan, a t-shirt. OK, so I do have multiple t-shirts, but you know what I mean. It drives me nuts when I have to replace something that can’t be mended. Yes, I do buy things that I believe to be beautiful as well as things that I know to be useful, but at a rate that would send a sloth to sleep, and more often than not I am happy just to look at them and go home without.
So as someone who Makes Stuff, albeit in a very small way, I am aware that I really don’t want to be contributing to an ever-growing Stuff Mountain. I don’t think that something which is well-made in a studio is innately ‘better’ than something which is well-made in a factory and therefore exempt from these concerns. In my own practice I want to make less, not more; slower, not faster. I am also aware that it is a difficult topic and that some may very well be annoyed or offended by my views, and with little energy for controversy that makes me reluctant to say a great deal.
I can see that if I had started making Stuff earlier on my experience and opinions might very well have turned out differently. Many of the younger artists and designers I meet are busy building up their brand and working to get their Stuff out into more and more shops and galleries – and the economics of it all has major implications for the way they work in order to achieve this. I can see that in another universe that might possibly have been me. In this universe, no. I feel very fortunate that I can extend my creative practice in different directions, so that I don’t have to embrace an economics of expansion.
But of course there is still Stuff on the loom and I hope that it will turn out to be well-made Stuff.