Begin.

I broke my favorite mug.

I barely knew what was happening as it came crashing down from the high shelf. I bought it in Austin about 5 or 6 years ago, in some cute shop with a hipster-y bird in its logo. The mug was designed by Rae Dunn, a ceramicist whose aesthetic resonates with the wabi-sabi appreciators (look it up). This particular mug was Rae Dunn by Magenta, which means a manufacturer took some of the artist’s creations to China to mass produce, which brings a little irony to that whole wabi-sabi thing I just mentioned. I don’t care. I loved that freakin’ mug.

As a spiritual person, as a follower of zen buddhism, I understand that I should not have attachments to things. Attachment causes suffering, yadda yadda…it’s just STUFF. As an artist, a designer and a design appreciator, I struggle with this. I’m supposed to (and get paid to) create things that people will become attached to…and really, I don’t find significant harm in attachment to product –even mass produced product–if there is some meaning to that product. Who designed it? Is there a story behind it? A memory? Is it particularly well crafted–something you will pass along to your children or grandchildren? Will it grow more beautiful with age? And so on. There is joy to be had in something that was created by another person.

So, my mug. I was scouring the internet to find a replacement, none to be found. I even emailed the manufacturer. No luck. It was getting a little ridiculous, the lengths I was considering in order to replace that thing. But then I remembered! I have so many artist friends. So I commissioned one of them to make a new mug for me. But I didn’t show her the old mug. I just told her the word I wanted on it–“Begin.”–and the rest of the design is up to her. So I will have lost my favorite mug, but how much lovelier to receive it again, in a new form, created by someone I know and whose work I enjoy.

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Bedside Reading.

28. More books, fewer magazines.

I have a magazine addiction.

It’s kind of because I’m a visual person. It’s also kinda because I’m constantly pulling tear sheets for work. It’s mostly because the articles are in these tiny, easy-to-digest formats that make it seem like I am soaking in more information than I actually am. I feel like my busy schedule can accommodate the bite-sized articles. Who am I kidding? I’m being lazy.

Someone must have caught on that I like reading magazines, because within the past 3 months I’ve been getting BOATLOADS of magazines–that I did not subscribe to–in the mail. Here is what I received today–just TODAY, mind you!

These are the ones I’ve legitimately subscribed to, with my very own money:

I subscribed to Whole Living because I genuinely enjoy it. Elle Decor was a Groupon impulse purchase that I validated by telling myself it was for “work.” W was something I picked up with some random frequent flier miles that were about to expire. W is great.

Here are the ones I started receiving that I did NOT subscribe to:

Why am I getting these?? Have these been gifted to me? Am I somehow paying for them without realizing it? No strange charges to my bank account recently…And what demographic have they placed me into? More magazine? “For Women of Style and Substance.” They should just say, “This is an old-lady magazine.” (Apologies if someone gifted me More magazine. I love it.) Money Magazine? Seriously?

Parenting is okay, what with the kiddo hanging around and all. Still probably not something I would pick up on my own. Fast Company…now this one I actually do enjoy. I read the Fast Co. design blog every now and then. They have great posts and articles about innovative businesses.

Here is one that I will not admit that I subscribe to:

No comment.

I actually have been reading REAL BOOKS recently, though not at the pace I was hoping. It will take some time to get back into the habit. I used to read A TON. I had a weekend routine of grabbing a book or two (maybe a magazine too) and sitting on a comfortable chair outside, reading and napping, reading and napping all afternoon.

When I was in China in March, I jumped on the bandwagon and read the first book of The Hunger Games. I buzzed through that book awfully quickly. It was my first time reading on an E-reader, which I also enjoyed. I wanted to read something easy, so that I could get back in the habit more quickly. I will start the second book soon. (I had to wait for David to finish the first book.)

Before that I read a book about Hella Jongerius, my absolute favorite designer of all time and forever. She blurs the lines between manufacturing and craftsmanship, giving manufactured products the appearance of being handcrafted, or inviting factory workers to make their mark on a product. She is brilliant and wonderful.

Her attention to detail is awesome, even in the production of the book itself. Primitively bound, it comes with vinyl clings that stick to the book and you can move around to change the color of the vase on the cover.

Beautiful. The content of the book is a series of “conversations” or interviews with Hella, along with a timeline of her work. Highly recommended for any artist, craftsperson, or designer.

Currently I am reading a graphic novel (much to David’s delight), Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China.

I’ve only just started this book, but the author’s observations are cracking me up. I can relate to his experiences, which makes the book that much more meaningful to me. Recommended for anyone that travels to China. (I’ll even let you borrow it if you ask nicely. And please give it back.)