Friday, February 26, 2010


Early Morning Rainy Day

Kids just know how to have fun. Three of my daughters Thea, Zara and Lillith with their favorite toy. Its funny how they all want to be the dragon and I'm always the princess. Alas my noble steed...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Introductions to the Family

Meet my youngest daughter Lillith Lou and our newest friend, a week-old premie calf belonging to my brother-in-law, Daryle's herd. Daryle and his family are the hardest working cowboys I know (and that is really saying something as all cowboys by nature are).

Lillith is my chief photo stylist and manager. At a year and a half, she's in there like a dirty shirt taking photos along side me and already knows where product photography is at. Lilly manages my time and engagements - when she sees that I've had too much work she directs me outside to play. Looking at this photo, I believe it is possible that she's allergic to cows...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Conservation Needs Illustration

Meet Phil, short for Phillet O'Trout, the City of Merritt's Water Conservation Program mascot that was alas never meant to be. I created this Rainbow Trout caricature while working as a Water Conservation Officer, otherwise affectionately known as "Water Cop" for the program a few years ago. My City employers felt that the image was too strong for their constituency, especially in consideration of my proposal to use it in connection to the Merritt Country Music Festival's controversial and environmentally damaging Campground C.

Merritt's City Council directed my partner and I to focus the bulk of our efforts on issuing citations to water offenders. Finding that penalties actually made the situation worse (we live in a desert and use more water per capita during summer months than almost any other City in the world) and led me to look a little closer at education and identifying the community's emotional trigger points. Fish and fishing are where its at here and is something that all of Merritt loves and feels supportive of.

So Phil in all of his sketchy glory lives on as a reminder that we are not the only ones who use water that we draw from our taps. Eventually all water particles make their way around the globe via the Hydrologic Cycle.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Free Thinking Debate

A "Free Thinking" debate was held over at the Dudecraft website this evening. Guests and administration blogged about the concept of Free Economy or the new Thank You/Pay It Forward Economy that artists are participating in when attempting to promote their art over the Web.
I did briefly participate in the Free Thinking event this evening but had to bow out as duty called - a trip to the grocery store and then supper for 4 kids. For those, like me, who wanted to join in but couldn't, please see the link here for a transcribed replay.

My $0.02 - I believe that a "Pay It Forward Economy is a fantastic model, but is still an economy...therefore giving gifts within the parameters of this model with the expectation of having your favor returned at some point down the line is still marketing. Thoughtful, right business-minded marketing.

The Potlatch model is similar and a remains a beautiful example of sharing for the well-being of your community and redistributing wealth in tough times. The main benefits for the givers in this model (in my understanding) were an opportunity to give gifts of culture and the ability to accrue status. Visit the above link to see the amazing U'mista Cultural Society's website or better yet, visit Alert Bay, BC and the Na'amgis First Nations to see the Potlatch in action on a daily basis. Photo Credit; Edward S. Curtis.

Yelé Donations Update

Just a little update - With the support of over 40 Etsy patrons, Re:Design Technologies and Birch Beer Boutique have donated $281.79 USD to The Yelé Foundation. Way to go Etsy!

Please visit the Yele Foundation website to see how they are redistributing their donation funds - feeding folks in the hardest hit areas. Yele reports that hurricane season begins June 1st in Haiti.

Wondering why we're working so hard here at Re:Design Technologies to promote the Yelé Foundation? During many years spent dancing with the Ballé Tropicalia Dance Company and other companies in Vancouver, so many members of the Haitian arts community gave me the tools that I needed to advance as an artist. I think that it is fitting to give that help back today. Also, I sometimes make my living outside of Etsy in the field of Emergency mitigation (in a government finance department) and I can see how every tiny bit helps.

So thank you to everyone at Etsy who gave it up for the Yelé Foundation, and Medecins Sans Frontiers, and all of the other relief organizations that are lending a hand.

I Won! I Won! Free IS Good!

Perhaps the old adage is true; "You must give in order to receive". Look what I got for leaving a nice comment on Erin Hall's Kittybeans Jewelry blog - a set of handmade tile coasters.

Thank you Erin. You rock. Your gift comes at just the right time for me - just when I am thinking about the pro's and con's of putting my work out there for free.

In other news, I hear that congratulations is in order and that Erin Hall expecting a little Kittybean. Best of luck on your most amazing and important creative endeavor! Check her Etsy shop out here.

Recreating the Wheel

Ever get the feeling you've been recreating the wheel?

Since discovering a well-worn copy of Popular Science's 1953 publication "How to Improve Your House and Grounds", I have been thinking that we (as a society) may be doing just that.

Vintage and antique artifacts possess the awesome power of time travel, transporting us but for a brief moment into the narrative of the past.

In the case of this book of DIY plans from Popular Science, you can catch a glimpse of an amazing time of experimentation and self-reliance.
I love that I am living in a similar period of innovation and self-reliance right now. And talk about environmental stewardship! Just look at the design of that upcycled tire swing in the plans above.

Have we been here before? Are today's cutting edge designers and Do It Yourself-ers sort of reinventing the wheel - or are we building on the ideas of our parents and grandparents? I'm not sure how far we've REALLY progressed since 1953 in terms of industrial design and Doin' It spite of unlimited access to information. What do you think?

Want more plans? Stay tuned for the next installment of "DIY 1953 Style" for DIY Spanish sandals - and yes, they are stylish. Click here for more plans on this site.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pondering the concept of Free on the Internet

Today has been a day largely spent contemplating the concept of making free proprietary information available to the wider public and where to draw the line when using "Free" as a marketing tool. I stumbled across an Etsy posting on Twitter recommending this article (and pod cast) entitled Free Is Not A Marketing Tool on the Make and Meaning website.

The issue of whether crafters should give their product and/or tutorials and inside information away for free is complex and hotly debated. On one hand, as Sister Diane the post's author, suggests, publishing your insider tips in a genuine manner builds a strong community, consumer confidence, good will and value in the online market place. The cash is bound to follow. On the other hand, skill and time are surely worth some measure of respect for both maker and patron.

I strongly urge a look at the post and a listen to the pod cast. My take home message was that Etsy sellers are flooding the market place with (at times dubious) handmade goods and not offering enough transparency in return. Hmm...Food for thought.

I will in the spirit of "Free" leave you now with a resource that I am learning to love - the 100% free of charge online jewelry making library some 22,000 + entries long of the Ganoskin Project. The helpful folks at Ganoskin make jeweler's tools and do their best to arm potential DIY jewelers out there with resources and support. I came upon their site whilst searching for free flush setting information to better understand and experiment with the process. I came upon this post, the guts of which I am happy to say looks very much like the basic concept of building a forest service road - something I am very familiar with. I cannot wait to try it out. For further info on the Ganskin Project, please visit this link:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SF Girl By Bay Launches Blog It Forward Today

Victoria Smith, incredible blogger mastermind that she is, has invited the blogging community to participate in SF Girl By Bay's blogging relay entitled "Blog It Forward - The First Blogger Mash Up".

SF Girl By Bay is not award-winning for nothin' folks. Victoria does perhaps the best job out there - her voice is unique, her vision is clear and cohesive, her eye is sublime and best of all she shares all that talent with us. It is Victoria Smith that conceived the idea and followed through, organizing 40 + bloggers into groups to share what inspires them with the world.

I am excited to note that along with PoppyTalk, Ink On My Fingers and a plethora of other big names, the Blog It Forward Mash Up project will include yours truly, Re:Design Technologies, on March 16, 2010. You can find the full schedule here.

SF Girl By Bay's personal post kicked off the project today with style. Please check out the inspiration behind the mastermind. I am looking forward to a little peek behind the curtain once a day for the next 6 weeks from all of the Blog It Forward participants.