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Sketching out The Future of Plastics

On Monday morning I briefly lost access to my Google Workspace account because I forgot my password (despite having a password manager and accidentally wiping my phone last week because I blanked on my pin code). Alas, with paper and pencil as my only available tools, I sketched out an idea for our next campaign on The Future of Plastics.

This campaign will explore the tension between the innovations enabled by plastics (from light-weight electric vehicles to heart diaphragm pumps) and the significant environmental destruction caused by plastics (from the clogging of the worlds rivers and oceans to the profusion of nano-plastics). While the development of alternative materials is invaluable, the ubiquity of plastic in our ecosystems obliges us to rethink how we value, use and dispose of it. The future of plastics is circular.

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On blogs, this log, and growth

How can designers be truly sustainable? A question of oceanic proportion, that I am unqualified to answer. Nonetheless, Creative Boom offered me the chance to reflect on things I’ve learned over the past year at Avery Dennison. As per usual, it took a long time to chisel and hammer my thoughts into a coherent form, but when I eventually pulled back from my labour most things held in place.

Writing revealed just how unique an opportunity it has been to learn how to design for sustainability in practice, gaining specialised knowledge directly from my colleagues. It also reiterated the value of this log as a reference to return to. And, plot twist, through conversation a possibility has emerged for me to become more of a specialist in this field. It’s an interesting proposition which could pass by if I don’t take the initiative to carry it forward. The first step is to map out the deficits in my knowledge so I can work toward closing the gap.

Interview posted below for archival purposes.

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In the mirror, Wednesday

She’d always had circles beneath her eyes, but in recent years they’d grown darker, deeper, puffier. Vague attempts to get more sleep or eat better usually fell by the wayside, and only stretches of rest seemed to have an effect. Today, remnants of mascara showed, faintly smudged, at the base of both lower lashes.

At some point, she couldn’t remember when, sun spots had appeared. The largest one, the size of a shelled pistachio, enveloped the narrow end of her left eyebrow. Another sat just above the end of her right eyebrow, and made her wonder about the correlation between sun exposure and the sensitivity of the eye area.

Two distinct freckles rested on her left cheekbone, forming a discreet constellation with two more pairs on the delicate underside of her neck. More subtle freckles were generously distributed across her face, evidence of a childhood in the sun now dulled by grey skies that had pervaded the last decade.

Faint blotches are visible on either side of her chin. As a teen her skin had been enviably clear, but in her early twenties her hormones had wreaked a late vengeance. His appearance marked their disappearance, an indication of his stabilising effect on her.

An exercise in paying attention, after Anne Lamott.

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Pandemic policy update

Today’s national pandemic policy, announced 2 February

Status: Continued strict lockdown with a curfew

• primary schools and childcare centres will reopen as of 8 Feb *
• retail stores will remain closed, however as of 10 Feb customers can collect goods ordered in advance, at pre-agreed times *
• the curfew, between 21.00 and 4.30, will remain in place until 10 Feb, when it will be reviewed *
• only go outside with members of your household, on your own or with 1 other person *
• no more than 1 person aged 13 or over at your home per day
• visit no more than 1 other household per day
• Work from home. Only people whose presence is essential to operational processes can go to work
• do not travel abroad and do not book trips abroad until 31 March
• masks to be worn in indoor spaces
• public transport should be used for essential travel only
• food and drinks establishments are closed, takeaways excepted
• all retail stores, museums, zoos, cinemas, amusement parks and other public spaces are closed
• no alcohol sold after 8pm

*revised from the previous policy update

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In the mirror, Sunday

Windswept, white tips splay forth, like piercing sunbeams, their roots merging into a medium-brown part just left of centre. A blonde wave gathers fine glossy strands upward and across, eventually disappearing from sight into a messy tuck at the back of the head. The hairline cascades, as if a curtain pulled back by ties, not once, but twice. Wispy soft tufts gather delicately before small, pinned ears ending in rounded lobes, each displaying a bright gem encircled in gold – a rare gift from her father.

An exercise in paying attention, after Anne Lamott.

Published

Pandemic policy update

National pandemic policy, effective from 23 January

Status: Strict lockdown with a curfew

• no-one is permitted to be outdoors between 21.00 and 4.30 without an official curfew exemption *
• no more than 1 person aged 13 or over at your home per day *
• visit no more than 1 other household per day *
• work from home. Only people whose presence is essential to operational processes can go to work *
• do not travel abroad and do not book trips abroad until 31 March *
• masks to be worn in indoor spaces
• public transport should be used for essential travel only
• no more than 2 people can form a group outside the home
• food and drinks establishments are closed, takeaways excepted
• all retail stores, museums, zoos, cinemas, amusement parks and other public spaces are closed
• no alcohol sold after 8pm

*revised from the previous policy update

Published

The shape of success

Earlier in the week I stumbled across an old personal note which triggered an everyday epiphany. The note was written in a very pragmatic Q and A format around 2018, after some years of disappointing freelance work. One question in particular caught my eye, it read What does success [in my work] look like to me?. I’d outlined five simple fundamentals:

  • autonomy over my work
  • feeling intellectually challenged
  • cooperative working relationships
  • being able to pass on knowledge through mentoring
  • being relatively financially comfortable

Returning to these fundamentals, so explicitly articulated, it dawned on me that I can count myself successful.

I never imagined that I would work anywhere other than small, boutique design studios, but sometimes, often, our abstract projection of success is incongruent with our granular definition of it.