Monthly Archives: October 2013

Weaving in Tapestry.

My tap essay was recently featured on the front page of Tapestry, which was a pretty neat experience for someone who’d been entirely unaware of the app’s existence until a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely love this style of storytelling. The minimalistic format inspired me to take my piece in a somewhat unusual direction and really consider the impacts of the graphics I used in particular. I’ll definitely be making more of these in the future — there’s something powerful about the streamlined aesthetic, and the rigid boundaries are less of a cage and more of a challenge to push the format in whatever new directions I can. 

You can check out my essay here: https://readtapestry.com/s/HQshUFTcC/ . (Wish I could embed it, but WordPress apparently can’t handle technology this cutting-edge. Some day, some day.)

 

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The Creative Process: an illustrated guide

A few weeks ago in class we were asked to doodle our workspace and the creative process we used to make our video projects. It’s an intriguing subject to reflect on, and I thought I might share my sketches here — particularly since they’re done with Paper, an iPad app I’ll be reviewing shortly.

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This is a garishly-colored version of my desk. I’ve always admired folks who can work in public, but when I actually want to get things done I have to quarantine myself in my room until I’m finished. I do my best work late at night, keep a collage of cool pictures pinned to my wall for inspiration, and have my guitar within arm’s reach in case I get stuck and want to play some music to clear my head.

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The second sketch here is a far more streamlined version of my work process while making the video project: it’s chronologically correct, but a more genuine model would include far more dithering, swearing, and acquisition of tea. Illustrating a work process was an interesting exercise in turning complex ideas into little symbols, and it was neat to break down a somewhat more jumbled topic into discrete categories like this.

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A Forest Almanac

David Haskell’s The Forest Unseen has been my favorite book we’ve read for HRCS all semester, but something was nagging at the back of my mind: I got the distinct impression that I’d read something very similar before and couldn’t quite put my finger on it. There was something about the meandering reflections and attention to detail that called up something I’d stumbled across years ago, and it took me until this week to place the connection — in many ways, The Forest Unseen is a modern-day companion to Aldo Leopold’s classic A Sand County Almanac.

I’ve read Leopold’s collected essays more times than I can remember — as an HSE major interested in conservation, any environmental literature class I take would be remiss if it didn’t include at least an excerpt from his groundbreaking work. Like David Haskell, Aldo Leopold was a keen student of his surrounding landscape, and generated a great deal of philosophical thought from his own wanderings in the woods in the early 20th century. Leopold developed the idea of a “land ethic” — a responsible relationship between humans and the land they inhabited — and illustrated the concept with beautiful, near-poetic prose. Haskell’s call to pay careful attention to what the natural world can teach us and maintain a connection with it is its own sort of land ethic, and the two books seem like spiritual kin. Each author’s voice is uniquely their own, of course, but their eye for detail, fascination with the smallest and most delicate organisms they encounter in their daily wanderings, and sense of connection to the ecosystem around them are very much aligned.

So if you like The Forest Unseen,  A Sand County Almanac will be right up your alley. I’ve linked to a piece called Thinking Like A Mountain, which I’ve read for half a dozen different classes and like enough to recommend to you all the same. It deals with the ethics of wildlife management, and if you’ve ever heard a passing reference to “the green fire” — this is where the phrase originated. Content warning for animal harm, but I promise it’s worth the read. http://www.eco-action.org/dt/thinking.html

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