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“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Winston Churchill

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This is Post number 75!

This time last year when I started, I set myself the goal of 52 posts in one year, ie one a week. Yay for over-achieving :-)

Months ago I read John Maxwell’s blog “Stop Thinking “Can I?” and Start Thinking “HOW Can I?”

Quoting John: “…at first glance, the questions Can I? and How Can I? may appear to be very similar.  However, the reality is that they are worlds apart in terms of results.  Can I? is a question filled with hesitation and doubt.  It is a question that imposes limitations.  If that is the question you regularly ask yourself, you’re undermining your efforts before you even begin… When you ask yourself “How can I?” you give yourself a fighting chance to achieve something.  The most common reason people don’t overcome the odds is that they don’t challenge them enough.  They don’t test their limits.  They don’t push their capacity.  How can I? assumes there is a way. You just need to find it.”

John also quotes from a book by Price Pritchett: “Your scepticism, which you presume is based on rational thinking and an objective assessment of factual data about yourself, is rooted in mental junk.  Your doubts are not the product of accurate thinking, but habitual thinking. Years ago you accepted flawed conclusions as correct, began to live your life as if those warped ideas about your potential were true, and ceased the bold experiment in living that brought you many breakthrough behaviours as a child.  Now it’s time for you to find that faith you had in yourself before.”

Have you noticed? My design knowledge and style has evolved and developed over the past year. The mere existence of this blog has been a catalyst driving me to actively read and learn more.  Of course all I’ve really learnt is how little I know :-)

So, how can I learn more? By continuing to expose myself to the best interior design that exists, and understand how others have solved the myriad of design challenges.  And perhaps more importantly, learn by doing. Anything else is just some form of voyeurism.

The Nick’s Head Station Stewardship Master Plan, by American Landscape firm Nelson Byrd Woltz has very deservedly won New Zealand’s supreme design award for landscape architecture.

Orongo Station at Nick’s Head  also received an award for sustainability, with the judges saying that the project has “unravelled the key elements of custodianship and stewardship in farming”. It responds to the multiple needs of rural landscapes – and not just industrial farming practice. “It exemplifies a responsibility to culture, local people, economy, biodiversity and family. In doing so, it creates an outstanding landscape legacy for all of New Zealand.”

To see more photos and read more visit the Architecturenow or NZILA (New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects)

On this 3,000 acre sheep station they have planted over 500,000 trees and over 75 acres of fresh and saltwater wetlands were restored and constructed.   I’m in awe of the scale of what they have achieved (and I’d love to know over what time frame).  So the scale (and $$$$$) is significantly different to the 20 acres we’ve just bought on the Kaipara Harbour, but I found the description of what has been done here incredibly aspirational.  I’m looking forward to us exploring the integration of aesthetics and function, and the creation of a landscape legacy – who wouldn’t :-)

Seen some great world maps recently.  The one above is a wall decal and available from one of the shops on Etsy – OMG – who doesn’t love Etsy.

The one below is another water colour – this time a print available from Uncovet (who ship to NZ).

And in fairness to Charlton Heston, to finish the quote “… there is no such thing as a bad gun.   A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing.   A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys. …”  I think I’m pretty liberal in my thinking, but there a few things I object strongly to.  One is the sexploitation of girls (and boys).  Another is the American fixation on guns (sorry Charlton)

I saw this coffee mug recently on Uncovet (hate the way you have to register to get to the site).  At first glance I thought this mug was cool, I love the unexpected juxtaposition of different objects.  But now I’m not so sure.  Ignoring the hyperbole about if it is people or guns or bullets that kill people, I do object to the normalisation of guns in our culture.  A don’t have a problem with guns per se, but I don’t agree that they are an everyday item.
Another more famous example of this juxtapostion (not the cigarette lighter or shoes) is Venucci’s gun vase (see  below).

Guns have their place – but I don’t think it is in interior design or mass produced object-da-art

It’s compllicated though isn’t it – if this had been displayed as an art piece, created to make a point (though I’m not sure what the point is) I would have applauded it and steadfastly defended the artists right. I thought the Virgin Mary in a condom was a very clever religious/political statement.  But does context make a difference?   A statue of Virgin Mary covered with a condom behind a glass box (though I think that was for security) is different to something mass produced and sitting in a shop (virtual or otherwise).   Perhaps this is why this mug offends me – because it isn’t going to offend anyone else