In the woods

  I have been lucky enough to spend quite a bit of recent time in the woods. Specifically, the mid-British Columbian woods, which means a lot of spruce, some pine and some aspen, mostly. Anywhere in Canada, urban people like me flock to the lakes, to fish or swim and relax and maybe just to […]

Wood: A friendly word that describes material, work

Wood is what trees are made of, or at least part it. The main part. The part between the roots and the leaves. The inner part. Wood is basically cellulose fibres, held together with lignin. The fibres are mostly a water transport system, upwards, between the roots and the leaves. Lignin is the glue that holds […]

Ride the train of real-world design solutions

We designers typically start doing what we do once we have a clear idea of a problem that needs solving. These may be very tangible and public issues or they may be more vague and personal. But the addressing of a problem is what gets us moving toward an outcome: a result or solution. It provides us […]

Figures of speech – let me design my own rules

I hate grammar. I really do. Just the mention of the word subjunctive puts me into a state of despair. I don’t want to know which is the predicate and which is the participle. Leave me alone. It is not that I am averse to the use of words and especially the effective use of […]

Ready for virtuous leadership. Hewers of wood

This was written in The Bible, about a both treacherous and captive people, (Joshua 9:21): Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water… Canadians have been referred to, and have referred to themselves, somewhat self-deprecatingly, for a long time, as hewers of wood and drawers of water. In part, […]

Practical and pretty, buttons to boulevards

They are dressed in camo colours: splotches of tan and green and various shades of brown, and they are lined up along the sidewalks as we flash by in the cab. But no, fortunately, they are not armed. They are not even soldiers, although they have the correct upright posture. They are trees: plane trees, […]

Old ways

Tradition can carry wisdom Design lessons are sometimes found in unlikely places and at unexpected times. All the good learning doesn’t happen in the classrooms. A very important experience occurred for me while I was a student, but not through a curricular lesson. As a non-funded student, I worked my way along, and, in 1970, […]

One by one in 3D

Industrial design’s need for speed There is an ideal, in industrial design (at least from a consideration of the production end of things), of achieving great efficiency. One ma-terial, one process. As an example, we take some material and hit it with a tool. Bang!  And we’re done. I have a small collection of metal […]

Trade shows

Why we bother I’ve begun to wonder how many hours I’ve spent walking the aisles of trade shows. I know it will be a big number. I started as a student and then eagerly continued on as a young professional. Eventually, I was one of the exhibitors too, and then I really got to know […]

Abe Lincoln and me

From log cabins to cross-laminated timber I was born in a log cabin. I guess that makes me a “man of the people” alongside Abraham Lincoln and many others that preceded me. Or maybe I’m only guessing about the log cabin part, and likely exaggerating. I was actually born in Johanna’s Maternity Home, which was […]