2. What are you connected to?

How to know what to bring and what to leave behind.

Lets start at the beginning – You Are Not An Island.

I by no means am a de-cluttering expert; the idea is preposterous to be honest, my closest people would potentially laugh until they cried.  However, I am quite good (and growing ever better) at thinking, questioning, editing and balancing myself between my past, present and future.

I would very much like too touch on the ‘stuff‘ and ‘things‘: that you have acquired, boxed up, carried about with you and unpacked over and over again. Mainly because they are a particularly fun, idiosyncratic and wonderful way to connect with people beyond the facades we often erect.  While I am quite certain that there are very real tangible reasons, themes and trends that weave and connect such an array of objects and treasures to you and your life so far. I do think that before we delve into the delicious detail it would be more advantageous to step back and take in the whole vista .

                                                                                                       (Side Note: I was already distracted, hopefully I am not boring you or myself! But if you are distracted as well – be my guest – delve into your treasures for a few hours and then when you are ready; pop back up out of that wonderful, sentimental place and join me for the rest of this piece.)

My point? Marinate the muscle before the sinew.

Muscle? You….. identity, thoughts, ideas, values, relationships, hopes, fears, dreams, passions, past, present etc

Sinew? Stuff+Things….. delightfully arranged selected morsels; delicately sewn into intricate patterns that communicate, form, support and reaffirm the muscle.

Relevance: There are threads that connect you to – everyone, everything and everyplace – you have ever encountered; some connections have been girded as their significance increased, others purposefully cut away or simply waned from lack of use.  I want to prompt you to consider that they exist; and then engage in that maze long enough to trace, identify and reassess each (or some) of them.

What has this got to do with design and architecture?

The process of making is unique to every person, the more I can encourage you to know who you are and what you are connected to – the more you understand yourself – the more stability you put under yourself. That stability will make the practical easier, for instance: when feeling the pressure and complexity in how to balance scope, time and budget over the course of the project – you will have clarity and purpose in your thinking and priorities – because you know your roots and trajectory.

Additionally this idiosyncratic wonderland becomes a very valuable resource to the creative people you have added to your team – it gives them meat to work with. That can translate to inspiration, which will end in spaces, textiles, art, sculpture, furniture, landscaping….. and all the rest….. that will sing quietly (or loudly) too you, capturing the ephemeral moments you treasure (or lost) and re-knotting the ties to you.

A study model – abstracted from a story of a life that imploded, in one moment all perceptions of past, present and future have altered. The once sure and steady facade that faced the world erodes to reveal the now seen connections to all that was and is now known.2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

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1. Who are You?

Building a Home

What on earth have I gotten myself in for?

Stop! Breathe! Don’t panic.

Take a moment to be excited at the amazing possibilities! The fortunate juncture you find yourself at to create such a marvelous thing! Acknowledge the work, toil and dedication it took you to get here – let go, let yourself dream, what do you want this thing – to be and become?

A home? A place? An investment for the future? An expression of yourself? Your point of view? A knitting together of partners, families,  human and/or fur babies? Pause and consider all the significant dwelling places you have known, write them down, recall what was significant about each, what senses were heightened when you were/are in them? What is easiest to remember? Location, light, colour, smell, touch of textile or building materials? What would your transfer forward into your own place now if there were no limits?

If you no longer have access to them – what is occurring in your everyday moments now – when you run smack! BAM! Right back into the memory of these significant places? The shape of a driveway, the scale of a front door?

If this is all starting to seem to fluffy, silly or a waste of time – just hang in there! Let me help you see how it can translate into practical ways of thinking that will assist in making the decisions ahead of you.

For me, I grew up in a rural place so trees are significant and so is open space; later I moved to the city and carved out private nooks in what was to me, a very exposed way of living. Those roots and transitions have influenced how I like to form and approach space – i.e small interconnected spaces leading into, alongside or within much larger, expansive spaces.  

As well as offering an approach, these memories and origins also interrupt my everyday through colour, texture and form. If I feel a certain grain of timber or texture in concrete, see a familiar curve or specific shade of leprechaun green – I remember our lounge room walls – and how after some time we realised the satisfying way they performed and fulfilled the role of ‘back scratcher’ – too humans and pets alike.

Weird? Perhaps.

But to me, I learnt that walls can be made of all sorts of things, it opened my mind to what is possible; it also taught me I am a very tactile person, I like to touch, feel and know what the physical world around me is made of. The overall outcome is curiosity, a valuing of dynamic relationships and a treasured desire to dwell, craft and belong to my places.

How exquisite! Get excited!! Let that energy drive you forward; because you will certainly soar to the highest of places and drop to seemingly endless low valleys. Don’t be overwhelmed, keep hold to the origins because they will sustain, energise and inspire you!

positive-quotes-53 (1)


Author/Maker of above Image- Regretfully unknown

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The Words that Drive… What do the elephants whisper?

‘A part of our future appears to be evolutionary and unpredictable, and another part looks developmental and predictable. Our challenge is to invent the first and discover the second’ John Smart – Accelerated Foundational Studies.

 ‘I never saw an ugly thing in my life – for let the form of an object be what it might – lights, shade and perspective will always make it beautiful.’ John Constable

 What does the building want to be?’ Louis Kahn

 ‘Architecture is about ideas in the first place. You don’t get to design until you have an idea.’ LebbeusWoods

‘Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people really talk, make paltry human enterprises seem important. Singers and musicians show us human beings making sounds far more lovely than human beings really make. Architects give us temples in which something marvelous is obviously going on. Actually, practically nothing is going on.’ Kurt Vonnegut

 ‘A house can have integrity, just like a person,’ said Roark, ‘and just as seldom.’ Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

 ‘The secret of architectural excellence is to translate the proportions of a dachshund into bricks, mortar and marble.’ Christopher Wren

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Acknowledgemnet is the 1st Step

I was recently posed with a question – “What is the hardest thing about architecture?” – as a graduate, with a Masters degree that took ten – yes ten – years to complete, this is a valid question.

Initially, it took me three days to consider a response and after an additional two weeks of considerable thought and rambling conversations I have arrived here.

The summation of my exploration thus far is simple – to me -

The hardest thing about architecture – is the fullness of my mind; the ever stimulated senses; the thirsty creative heart; the glorious un-ending to do list of future and current projects/tasks/ideas – big, medium and small; the struggle to devote myself to it; the difficulty of getting work; registration (no you are not an architect once you graduate – and for good reason – explaining that to everyone);  knowing that in my mind much of what is built is a missed opportunity to communicate, connect, etc etc.

……. the list continues……….

But for the sake of focus; the title of this blog encompasses it - My marinating elephants –  familiar and unique; they are simultaneously my dear companions and thorns in my side; more than anything else, I adore them for they are mine – I now ask you, who are yours?

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