from the book "Handmade Houses, A Guide to the Woodbutcher's Art"
from the book “Handmade Houses, A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art”

Creative planning-  such as business planning and time planning is easier for me with paper, paint, and pens.  There are so many programs designed for doing creative planning and tracking on the device-  Evernote is a prime example.  Yet each time I’ve tried to use a computer program like that for a creative purpose, I forget to use it.   Moreover, the ability to overview-  such as the pictures laid out on my desk below-  is practically impossible.

This fantasy of the winter cabin started last week.  Really, it probably started a couple of decades ago, but took shape last week.  Build the simplest cabin.  Minimal electricity or none.  Wood stove.  Maybe running water, maybe not.  Cat door.

Portland is not a large city.  It’s 60,000 people.  About the size of a block in Manhattan, I suppose. And we live downtown, in a beautiful spot. But moving our workshop to Freeport has taught us this- we look forward to getting out of the city every single day.  Going to work feels like a reprieve.

So, we’re thinking ahead to winter, when the commuting gets tricky.  Why not build a minimal cabin somewhere in the woods near the workshop?

After we returned from Italy, and after Daniel developed his computer allergy, we decided maybe we should try to get even further away from technology- for at least part of the day- by building a winter cabin.

I have this love/hate relationship with technology, as I’ve alluded to before.  There’s a certain amount of physical discomfort associated with using computers that has led me to spend more time working on paper of late.  Touching an ipad or iphone for more than a few minutes a day makes my hands numb.  When I use the laptop, I wrap my wrists in cloth so that only my fingertips touch the machine.  Hence, I have a structured relationship with my computer:  we see each other for an hour a day, unless I’ve structured a visitation for a specific project.

The first day back in Maine I started a series of illustrated calendars. Hand drawn, and then watercolored, on thick paper. Every few days or week we’ll update them and add more details for the upcoming projects.  For me, seeing the shape of my own handwriting or the little drawings provides clear emphasis that somehow making reminders in ALL CAPS!!! just doesn’t.

Photo May 25, 12 05 02 PM

A few days after returning home, Daniel showed me his hands.  His fingertips were bright red and appeared inflamed, and he certain it was from touching his computer and phone.

We both have an attitude towards illness that weights psychosomatic causes as “very likely.”  So, we could both find amusement in the fact that he now has to plug in an external plastic keyboard and mouse to his macbook pro in order to even use it.

In the bigger picture, this question of computers is, for me, about the challenges of being creative inside of a box. I feel like my body is constantly warning me about going too far with the computer.  I believe that I write better on a computer. It’s quicker, my sentences seem better-formed.  Given the option of handwriting-  I’ll enjoy it more, but the structure of the argument becomes looser, as I’m unable to see and review the entirety with ease.

However: I like writing.  I like reading other people’s writing.  I like building websites.  I like the wildness and variety of opinion on the internet.

We’ll see.





Posted by:Brook DeLorme

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