Archives for posts with tag: learning

I was a late starter to Pinterest, but have to admit that I have succumbed to it’s appeal and find it amazingly easy to search for images under any subject heading. I was regularly searching through Houzz and DwellingGawker for my interior design and architecture fix. However, when it came to art & design inspiration I had a tendency to just scroll and surf through the Google search results under those headings.

Since joining Pinterest I have many late nights looking through all the design porn I can handle. Not-so-recently, I discovered a simple image that I found appealing enough to save to the camera roll on my phone. (This was before I realised I could save it within the Pinterest app.) Unfortunately, I cannot credit the artist of this great work as I didn’t take note of those details. A few attempts to rectify that have resulted in me searching through Pinterest again, but that always resulted in a lot of other distractions!

Anyway, what I wanted to do with this saved image was to recreate it as a gift to my sister and her husband as a house warming present. It looked like it was a screen print, but it has been many years since I’ve done anything in that field, so I was reluctant to take on this process now. Instead, I chose to use cardboard and cut out the various colours to resemble the original design. It’s not an exact match in colours but I think it turned out quite well. The gift was greatly received and is already on the wall in the new home. It felt lovely being creative again, and has definitely encouraged me to keep some time to do something else again soon. I’ll keep you posted here obviously.

In the meantime, what do you think; did my rehash of the original print turn out well in your opinion? If anyone out there knows the original artist, maybe you could let me know who they are – I owe them a big thank you for their inspirational work. 🙂

Picture 1 is original, with the stages of my work to the final image at the end.


Recently, following a link from Imen McDonnell (@ModernFarmette) to a short movie (see here), I was reminded of my past. I studied folklore in college and researched similar topics to that mentioned in the film. The subject of vernacular furniture and storytelling interested me, but I have to admit I questioned the importance of studying the ‘History of the Spade in Ireland’ in my lectures.

Anyway, viewing this short film on the old kitchen dresser reminded me to appreciate again the simple and practical design of the furniture and tools of our past. I’m thrilled to see this film has gained interest amongst many other people. The storytelling skill of Tony Donoghue and his team has created an award winning film describing the emotion as well as the craftsmanship surrounding this furniture. [The award was given at the most recent Sundance festival in Utah.]

Thankfully, a combination of interests, skills and tools has brought this short movie to me, and to many others. The original craftsmen that built the furniture and the people who used it have created the subject, the curiosity and skill of the film makers created the story and the technological wizardry of the Internet, Twitter and YouTube has helped share and distribute this experience to the world. The collaboration of minds in various fields of expertise can be unexpectedly useful to us all.

When I was a student I often combined the teachings of other Departments with my own course of study. I wanted to look at a particular subject from various angles and try to interpret a story to tell from all the resources. In my final year, instead of the usual thesis, I had to create a programme for radio. This was a task that involved using a new medium to share a story.

The digital age today offers many opportunities for storytelling and sharing images. However, I’m beginning to feel a bit like the old kitchen dresser – wondering where is my place – in the kitchen or shed? I’m now getting to the stage of life where I’ll be needing constant up-cycling and repair! Thankfully, the old country kitchen dresser is still appreciated by many and has a role in our modern society. I hope to use this short film to help me appreciate the skill and knowledge of the past and to use the technology of today to create my future. I’ll start with this blog posting. 🙂

Still shot from the award winning short film ‘Irish Folk Furniture’


I started this blog to help me record the self-assigned task of learning to design, to be a designer. I’m doing all kinds of stuff at the moment to constitute a reference to ‘designing’, but I wouldn’t dare use the phrase “I’m a designer” at the moment. It got me thinking about this statement so I thought I better check it out, and according to this is the meaning of ‘designer’:

de·sign·er [dih-zahy-ner]
a person who devises or executes designs, especially one who creates forms, structures, and patterns, as for works of art or machines.

1640–50; design + -er

So, for now, I can honestly say I do a lot of devising of designs, and there is definitely some (and plenty more to come) executing of designs. So am I a designer now?

In someone’s eyes I am. My wife and her mother look at my work and see me as the designer in the family business. When they compliment my work I’m happy, but I shrug off their praise, and start explaining to them the mistakes I made to get the work done, the time it took and how I hoped it would be done better and sooner. I wish for the day I have more skill in executing projects I haven’t even started! I have a tendency to look at what I haven’t achieved before I acknowledge what I have.

So, to start using this blog as intended, I will state now that I have devised and executed some great designs so far. I enjoyed the process and the material is being received by customer (and intended target audience) quite well. I have ideas for more material and have learnt a lot over the last few design jobs to help me with the next few. I’m researching other work and drafting designs in the believe I am improving.

However, I’m doing all this design work on the side of my life, so I see it as a hobby rather than a career. And that is probably the issue for me. Other people are designers because that is what they do for a living, whereas I am just doing it in my spare time.

So, in the quiet corners of the blogosphere I’m stating now – I’m a designer. I hope to work on future projects that will take me outside my comfort zone. I hope some of these projects will be for someone else besides my wife, and payment is in monetary terms rather than love and affection. The latter, I hope, will always be a well paying client.

The infamous phrase ‘if a tree falls…’ throws out the question of existence and observation. So, if I create a design in this huge creative forest and nobody is there to appreciate it, is it a design? Apparently not. Thankfully my wife and mother-in-law are constantly listening for falling trees. They appreciate the small trees I have felled for the family home. We all hope that someone else in the village will recognise my tree-felling skills and ask me to do the job for them. In the meantime, I think it’s time I stopped writing and go get the axe!