Thursday, March 25, 2010

Boy the movie

Go see "Boy the Movie" today in New Zealand (and surely worldwide)!

and some more good info in Maori with subtitles!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the lofty design process

I was reading a blog post (here) on how much time it can take to design a fabric. The lady in question said it could take up to 6 months. And it's not as easy as it seems. How interesting!

Now I remember when dad tried to teach me how to ride a push bike when I was a grasshopper. I fell over. I might have scraped my knees. I'm sure I must have bawled my wee eyes out and screamed I would never get back on the thing. I would be afraid of the big bike. I would yell dad had to not let go. This I remember clearly (poor dad). Then there's the memories of me naturally cycling at top speed on bikes of any size and chasing friends around. Lots of shouting, yelling and laughing going on. Still the occasional scraped knee but nothing to worry about.

My fabric designing days started organically. I designed my cows and couches in wait for it... a weekend. Not months. Now either I'm the next Van Gogh (I don't think so, too fond of my ears etc) or a more likely explanation: all that preceded to the point of Hemptech taking me on as a designer was the fact I attended Artschool in the Netherlands, I had my own studio for a few years, I emigrated to New Zealand, and kept designing for family and other relations while working as an interior stylist and later, interior decorator/designer. 

The fact is that people who are good in what they do (I'm not saying I am, I have my humble moments of perplexity that others like my stuff), lies more in the experience, and honing of one's skills, the repetition of the exercise,  which allows magic to happen, more so then forcing it out of us (or stomping our feet when it doesn't happen).

Athletes will tell you they didn't get that medal at the end or got to the Olympics after 6 months of training. We're talking years of dedication people. Don't expect you'll hit the jackpot in 6 months (although you very well might financially if you buy a ticket and good on you too.)

So as boring as it may sound: if you know how to paddle that bike-kanoe, ride that horse or swim that ocean, you are likely to have done it quite some time before you reach the other side. Process is continuous growth. Truth is, you're never "there". Society nowadays seem to crave instant success, instant meals, instant love making and instant customer service. Instant, now and immediate seems to be a lot to expect. Which means there also will be a lot of disappointments. It depends on the skills and the honing of said skills what the time frame will be of any result.

Practice makes perfect. There's no way around that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

living in godzone

"We call it Aotearoa around here, bro"

"I did SO"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

textile vibes

In the last few months I have come in the possession of several tea towels made by the New Zealand company Esther Diamond. They are too designery cool to use as mere tea towels although I'm sure many will use it for that exact purpose. Me, I like to put them up as a form of Art as they're fun and original.

My jewelry designs have inspired me to apply them to the tea-towel and cushion realm. 

What do you guys think?

Monday, March 15, 2010


Are you part of a group? Family group, friends group, sports group, networking group, ethnic group, spiritual/church group, hobby group and there are many more you are likely to be part of.

Naturally as we progress through life we seem to become part of one group and detached from another, being involved in various degrees with all of them. This is an ongoing thing.

I have made contributions over the years to get groups or individual people motivated and at times put enormous energy into trying to increase the energy and its effect. I learned that I can't make a horse drink water just because I think that's the next best course of action, nor that I am right because I think I am at the time. I've come to the conclusion that as groups have common threads running through them it is also sensible to realize when to withdraw when the groups rules or attitudes change. Game over can in effect open up other possibilities and work better rather than to stay put. This can make me appear changeable, but as I'm exploring and trying new things, which is the best way for me to learn and live, I will not worry about other's opinions regarding my behavior.

Seth Godin's blogpost supports that instinct to trust our own antenna, not someone else's, and also to dare to make a stand for yourself. So really there is only a group, a tribe, when there is a sense of 'we', a clear sense of direction and common ground. When that changes, expect the group to dissolve over time. Make peace with the fact that all continues to change anyway, that people come and go, that groups change, because if you don't, you will have a very hard time dealing with getting disconnected. This is my humble opinion anyway. The trick however, is to stay connected and true to yourself.

We humans love to be attached, to be part of a group, to belong, to know where we are going. Ultimately that is because all of us want to be loved and appreciated and we are hurting when we're not. But if we can't have a loving appreciative relationship with ourselves, how can we expect to have that in a group?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

vision or ideas

(image courtesey of

Having a Vision and having Ideas are very different things. Going off on tangents (ideas) can be fun, possibly useful for brainstorming, but most of us would like to see some sort of result, or progress at least.

A Vision gives us the landscape, strategic planners love models or written plans as that way the Vision becomes matter. There's 2 sides to this coin. 

Naturally only having ideas doesn't lead to much. Over the years I have toughened up in that regard. Once upon a time when little Miryam was in ArtSchool having tons of fun for 5 years there was room for exploring and fluffing. The thing I regret about becoming older is that inherently it becomes more realistic and usually therefor less fun. Darn! But it shouldn't have to be. That's why it's important to keep the balance of having fun as well as knowing what you're really up against. Pink glasses are so yesterday.

So making the transition from ideas, to dream, to Vision, takes time, and both creativity and sensibility are needed. Just trying and seeing how it goes usually falters. Or the steam runs out if the Vision isn't strong enough (been there done that). Entrepreneurs or Artists that are most successful seem to possess the blend of several aspects that are necessary:

1. Talent: creativity
2. Vision: knows goals
3. Determination and conviction
4. Connector/net-worker: knows many people
5. Has financials in order
6. Web-savvy and use social media
7. Produce results

From what I can see online and observe in the real world; the ones that are "clued in" are savvy. They do their homework, take chances and go all the way. They stick their necks out, they pursue that which they believe in. Of course they have doubts about some aspects, as they are human, but generally they stick to their guns and ride the waves. They also are very good at building tribes (Seth Godin) which means they have a loyal fan-base and peers in their industry.

On this topic also read an excellent post by Roberto Verganti for Harvard here.

People that have done very well by following their Vision (imho):
Hugh Macleod: Gapingvoid art/wine/writing
Gary Vaynerchuk: wine 
Chris Guillebeau: writer and traveler
Boh Runga: NZ musician and jewellery designer
Lucy : TheDesignFiles: interior decor blog

The future consists of adapting to new media, but to keep continuing 'the story' as that is vital to building the personable brand. Business has become personal, with communication becoming intimate. This also means transparency, ethics and being genuine are on the top of the list.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Zen and work

With working every day there's always that thing about finding the precarious balance of ZEN and letsgo letsgo letsgo! Nico and I agreed we have to watch our input-output levels. The fuses get short at times when we do too much stuff in a day. This is of course entirely our own fault. Mad dutchy disease. We collapse in the evening to get up early again. Times when we had fluffy duck weekends are something out of books and we have some very vague memories of them. Naturally we don't understand people who get bored in their time off or who can lay about on their sofas falling asleep. What IS with that? Really.

Now the best fluffy time is crammed in the times we visit 2 week old calf Bella to bottle feed her and then watch her zoom around the paddock at top speed chasing the goats. It's a good thing Glen the dog has retired as Bella can easily do his work... she's a natural. To the dismay of the goat girls who are still wondering whether Bella is a dog, a funny smelling goat or an alien that's landed in their domain.

(this is when mum Kate was still watching too, now Bella's moved to the goatie pasture.)

our little girl is growing up. Kapow!

Still life is great on the prairie and we wouldn't want to miss it. Even with all the things we have to do to increase its appeal and workability.

And it's also good to share, with some friends who come help feeding and literally pitch their tents for the night.