Friday, May 23, 2008


20080523_hand Click to see this photo's flickr page

"Hands confirm what we see, define what we feel and allow us to touch the spirit of design." - Bryce Rutter

I've been thinking a lot about hands lately. I have my students working on mobility/medical devices projects, so we are looking at grips, walkers, wheelchairs. It goes beyond trying to figure out ergonomics; I see my students working hard to gain empathy for other people and trying to find solutions that would help people accomplish very basic tasks.

This week, I listened to an online hand ergonomics seminar. There are some nice thoughts that I took away from the seminar that really transcended the anatomy and science. I find that I really want to spend time drawing hands again (and maybe feet) and writing from my lecture notes.

But for now, do this:

Take your hand off your mouse. Stop scrolling down and Just do it.
Okay. Put your hand over your chest, close your eyes and breathe,
and know that I appreciate your visit here and send my love to you for the long weekend.

A special hello to my twitter posse. Thanks, guys. xox -w

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Portland Japanese Garden

Winding streams, Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Click to see this photo's flickr page

I visited Portland a few weeks ago and made it a point to visit the Portland Japanese Garden. It was just spectacular! All those winding streams, manicured plants, raked beds, benches, alcoves and tea rooms; I love Japanese landscape architecture and its simple - yet great - details.

I would have taken more photos, but found myself in the delightful company of a kindred spirit, content to sit and take in the scenery for long, relaxing stretches of time. That's the way the garden should be enjoyed, after all...

Click here to see the full set!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I need a pedicure

Feet by Wendee. Pedicure by Monica and Limmy
pcc_feet Click to see this photo's flickr page

Yes. I have some serious blog-catching up do to. I've had lots of adventures, photos, thoughts of bloggy words, but no great motivation to type them. Meh. I've been pretty good about keeping up with posting photos on Flickr, though, and you can see the photos here.

Tonight, my students are on my mind. They have so much enthusiasm, idealism, hope, energy and goodness. They have so many daunting real-life, gutsy challenges ahead of them. Can I offer advice? The best I can do is gently remind them that they have to make their own decisions and be at peace and secure with the choices they make. It's the best any of us can do, really. I have been sitting at my computer, thinking of them and just wishing them strength and faith.

... I have them working on "help people do something basic, better" / mobility / medical device projects. It is going slow because there is really meaningful information they are gathering, interviews and interactions that they are initiating. I hope to help them create designs as meaningful as the intent they have brought to this particular project. I'm truly humbled by the very sincere topics they've chosen.

So, we find ourselves drawing lots of hands, figures and feet. I had to share (we do a lot of sharing) my uneven toes on my left foot with them; I've wondered to what extent this affects my balance on my left foot versus my right. Does this affect the mechanics of my running? Just look at the toes on my left foot! The next class period, the butcher paper with my feet was still on the table, and at the end of a very busy class, two of my students told me they had given me a pedicure. "Go see!" It is more playful (and more orange) than I would ever go for, myself, but I like this idea. I'm not keen on the happy/unhappy face tattoos, though. My feet are, after all, happy feet.

When I can see that there is a playful creativity that we share, when we can share silly anecdotes about our lives, when we can all sit and enjoy the communal act of brainstorming and drawing together, with so much enthusiasm at the end of what I know are really busy, busy days, I know that I am very, very fortunate to do what I do.

More indulgences

'Oh! new pencils!'
20080502_moreinktense Click to see this photo's flickr page

So, yes, I went and bought more Inktense watercolor pencils. I tested the new colors and posted the little scribbles on Flickr. Get this: I got more views for that one image than anything else I've ever posted. I mean, by an order of magnitude. I thought, "Weird".

And then I picked up more colors (what? You're getting ready to waggle your finger at me. It's not like I'm buying illegal drugs or anything) a few days later and posted those colors samples (above), and, that image got even MORE views.

I'm not sure what is so much more intriguing about the little squiggley color samples, compared to all photos of the lovely places I've been visiting, or even my sketches (sigh), but there you have it. The numbers don't lie.

'Ooooo. Lookit the colors...'
20080429_new_inktense Click to see this photo's flickr page. Go ahead. Everyone else did. ;)

PB&Js travel in style

20080422_lunchbag Click to see this photo's flickr page

More from "Draw something everyday". I love my Built NY neoprene lunch bag. A nice design-y indulgence in my life. And notice it's that mint-y green that I seem to have such a preference for. Oh, I haven't mentioned that yet? I'll have to document it and share all the mint-green bags and things that I seem to have collected over the last year or two.

Draw something, everyday

20080429_waterbottle Click to see this photo's flickr page

It's a new assignment I'm trying out - to have my students draw something from life, something new (or even, the same), every day. Where have we heard this before? Hmmmm. I was going to follow along with them, since it's a good habit, this 'draw everyday' concept, but I find I'm a bit behind.

Seems like the only time I have to draw is when I'm sitting down to eat; and then I draw bits of food that I haven't scarfed down yet...