Saturday, August 16, 2014

New Digs

I've migrated work over to a new, more comprehensive site:

Visit at will!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Newark Creek

Spent this summer and fall having the extraordinary opportunity to work with people in the Cleveland neighborhoods of Stockyards, Buckeye-Shaker-Larchmere, Glenville, Central and Mill Creek to design out how they wanted to make the places they live be more inviting, beautiful, creative, and inspiring. This was a pilot year for a project called City Repair (which originated in Portland, OR) in Cleveland. The dedication people showed over the course of 6 months-- to making meeting after meeting, drawing in new people and putting in a huge amount of hours and brain-power to get projects implemented-- was pretty unbelievable.  The photo above is of Newark Court, an alleyway in Stockyards about 850 feet long.  The long-term plan is to paint the entire length of the alley as a stream (since a stream actually does run underneath the street).  Because the actual painting of the pavement has to wait until City approval comes through, neighbors came up with a Plan B of getting permission of every single property owner on the alley to pain their fences and garages as the streambed.  It came out gorgeously. But more importantly, I have maybe never seen any other project pull together so many people in such a short period of time as new friends, and collaborators in re-envisioning our world together.  I am so excited to see where this goes from here!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Deep in the Heart of Texas: It's Dragon Fort

There is materiality to our lives and our decision-making.  Our traffic patterns, the places we live in, the thoughts we think and the conversations we have all have a real physicality.  Physicality you may not be able to see or to clearly connect to its causes or effects, but that exists and informs our movements, habitats and relationshipsWe design this material world, often more through ommission than commission.  It's design then helps conjure things out of us.  And makes other things less likely.  

Christopher Alexander's attempts-- in books like A Pattern Language-- to explicitly name design patterns that make structures alive rather than dead was a real service to anyone trying to build a material world that conjures life out of us. 

For me, building these forts is about putting in practice, learning how to put into material form my desire to be alive, since much of what has been around me structurally since birth is dead space that conjures death from myself and others.  These forts in process and form, for me, question what is worth protecting and preserving, and what behaviors a sane culture would seek to cultivate through all it builds.
What attracted me to the thorn bush is how it immediately displaces you in space and time.  It's a surprising thing to come across.  Though its design draws from structures that form themselves naturally from fallen trees and brush, is an improbably cleaned up, human-scale version.  It has barbed, scary edges.  It feels like fairy tales.  It asks the same thing of you that any encounter with intense powers in the universe asks: that you walk into your fear and sit down to have a conversation. 

I think that because this fort asks that of a person, it's innards can have a specific power to re-center energy. It takes you to a different place, where different ways of perceiving and being are possible.  It implicitly asks what of yourself is most worth protecting.

More at:
and check out Angela's second TX fort at:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Thorn Bushes are Bigger in Texas...

Spent a surreal last week building a thorn bush fort in rural Texas with one of my favorite people in the world, one Miss Angela Beallor.  We were in residence at Habitable Spaces, a combination sustainable farm and residency program just getting underway near Kingsbury, Texas.  The remoteness of the land, the hugeness of the sky, the barbedness of just about everything (plant life, animal life, the sharp noon day sun and some sharp cold nights) made for a fascinating awakening.  I loved being in such a foreign topography.  Gathering up simply stunning flint (in blood reds, oranges, browns), and branches from all sorts of thorny things made for a week I won't soon forget.  More pictures on the way soon.