we make things. so far i've spent a life making very big and very small things in the world.
now i teach young designers how to make things, but the trick is that what i really am teaching them is how to make an experience. we have such an attachment to things and our experiences.

people also see things as valuable and collect them.  but that is also part of the action that is an experience. collecting is an experience. physical things are held, stored and numbered, as are immaterial things like our memories. so i think that things are not static and are always moving since the way we experience things in the world is through our perception. and this happens ultimately with our bodies interacting with objects and places in a situation.

the origin of the word thing is interesting: meeting or assembly which suggests an action between entities. things are experiences.

Origin: thing

before 900 ad; Middle English; Old English:  orig., meeting; seething 
Ă¾ing with the meaning "assembly"

we have them forever. or we have them for transient moments. they come and go.

we horde them. sometimes, they are not solid things but moments. we keep them growing safely in our memory. perhaps we make a place for a thing by making a painting, or a song or a structure that creates a situation for assembly.  sometimes i think we make things to contain our things.  and this is the infinitesimal beauty of making things.

many of my favorite things are places or very transitional meetings of things.

i like sudden things.

handwritten stories

the arrangements and spaces between things

the thickness and thinness of a day and material in light

unexpected collaborations: 
my daughter paints with william downs to make one watercolor.
i ride a swing one of my students made out of recycled bags hung from a balcony beam.

furiously drawn lines that cannot be erased 
and also reveal themselves after many layers of paint.
they float up through the final varnish with surprise.

foucault's pendulum at the Sorbonne reminds me 
how we are always moving so fast even when standing in place.
in Atlanta, the pink tag that once told me every day to keep going, even in distress, 
continues to tell me to go in peace.
(see the lower right corner of this photograph)


  1. love the photos, Helen! Sometimes it can be so distracting to be caught by "things" as you go about your day.

    1. yes! so much to look at and wonder about.