Richard Hollis’s Henry van de Velde: The Artist as Designer is out at long last. A lot of love, sweat, and tears has gone in to that book. It is absolutely jam packed, covering pretty much all of HvdV’s life with over 400 images. As part of Occasional Papers, I worked on the permissions, a bit of editing, and compiled the index.
I’ve been behind. The past two months haven’t been great. But things are looking better, and the holidays couldn’t have come at a better time. We were in the US this time around, got to see more friends and family than I could have hoped. Here are some of the things we got up to.
Find a copy of An Anthology of English Medieval and Renaissance Vocal Music ed. Noah Greenberg
Write down last week’s Dockside Chicken recipe for further refining
dat dat dat dat dat & pie w/ GC and HB
Try making Semmelknödel ◯ Start with this recipe but consider steaming, refrigerating beforehand, adding nutmeg. Aim for Knödelwirtshaft perfection. Think we had dandylion, goats cheese + red pepper, cheese, and bacon? Thx FB!
And go all in w/ iced tea. Hot tip for cold tea: cold-brew tea + squirt of lemon juice + splash of peach and elderflower squash = top-notch summer beverage. I am a little over caffeinated right now.
In a large bowl, combine some diced cucumber, diced celery, and halved cherry tomatoes. Add finely chopped wet garlic or green onions (scallions). Toss with olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste. Optional additions include olives, mint, boiled Jersey potatoes, rocket (arugula), or feta. Use apple cider vinegar if you don’t have lemon juice.
Certain quotes lodge themselves in your head. So many of the ones in my head come from the fourth edition of What is a designer by Norman Potter published by Hyphen Press in 2002.
p.23, on design education
The words by which people describe themselves – architect, graphic designer, interior designer, etc. – become curiously more important than the work they actually do. In one respect this is fair, because under modern conditions it may be very difficult to find one word to identify their work, but such words tend to build up irrelevant overtones of meaning which are more useful as a comfort to personal security than as a basis for co-operative enterprise.
p.30, wrapping up his thoughts on design education
All we can do is make good work possible, and be alert to its coming; never fooling ourselves that all good things come easily. To work well is to work with love.
p.57, on recognising the value in nuance
In raising consciousness of these matters, it should be remembered that our civilization sells itself through sensation, preferably with the volume turned up. This is good reason for designers to learn how to speak quietly, and to understand how it is that conversation becomes possible between people and things.
And nearly every point in chapter 18, “Advice for beginners”, and 19, “Questioning design”.
The point of the phrase “Summer of the Shark” is to remind yourself that a “trend” can be, and often is, entirely a product of people energetically looking for a certain thing, even while the actual rate of the thing is unremarkable, abnormally low, or declining. […] If a self-sustaining hype bubble can form even over something as relatively easy to measure as the number of shark attacks, imagine how common it must be with more nebulous social phenomena.
‘Science explains the world, but only Art can reconcile us to it. What do we really know about the origin of the Universe? A blank so wide can be filled with myths and legends. I wished, in my mythologizing, to reach the limits of improbability, and I believe that I came close. You know this already, therefore what you really wanted to ask was if the Universe is indeed ludicrous. But that question each must answer for himself’.
“King Globares and the Sages” is one in a collection of short stories by Stanisław Lem titled Mortal Engines. It was published by The Seabury Press in 1977 and by Penguin Classics in 2016. All of the stories in the collection were chosen, translated, and introduced by Michael Kandel.