Monday, 25 April 2011
Playing with food
The other day I was making a zucchini stir fry. For all my readers in the UK, a zucchini is a courgette. Normally I cut the zucchini into either rounds or quarter-rounds, but on this day I opted for half-rounds. It's amazing how a simple change sparked ideas for pattern designs. Playing with the half-rounds reminded me of the hours I spent as a child arranging and rearranging my Aunt Erika's mosaic puzzle. Aunt E.'s puzzle didn't have half-rounds, and that memory led to another: playing with Froebel blocks in Kindergarten. Recently I watched To Inform & Delight, a documentary about the eminent graphic designer Milton Glaser. In the film, Glaser talked about a poster design where he had printed out elements that he had designed with the computer, cut out the backgrounds, and loosely pasted them down. He was trying to get a feel for the poster. The edges of the elements curled up and he realized that this happy accident worked well. Had Glaser designed the entire poster on the computer from start to finish, the curled edges wouldn't have happened. Computers are useful tools and with them I am able to design things that just wouldn't be possible (with my patience) by hand. That being said, computers can't completely replace the thinking and happy accidents that occur when working with our hands. It's funny how making a zucchini stir fry made me think about mosaic puzzles, Froebel blocks, and a Milton Glaser documentary. Go make something with your hands and see what happens.