The Past is a Foreign Country

My resolution to write every Monday morning slipped a little today and I’m only just getting around to it now, armed with a mug of cold green tea, with the clock about to tip over in to tomorrow.It was a strange weekend;beginning with a nostalgia filled trip to Whitby and ending with a sudden snowfall that covered everything in a blanket of white again,then disappeared overnight like an unsettling dream. The highlight of the trip through my old stamping grounds was Botton Village, near Danby. Botton is run by the Camphill Trust and the whole village is centered around providing a supportive living and working environment for adults with various learning disabilities,based on the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner. It has one of the best book shops around, as well as a shop selling  Organic and Biodynamic produce, a craft shop, glass and pottery workshops,dairy,bakery and a cafe.The landscape is beautiful and  entering the village itself feels like crossing into a different country…with unusual wooden buildings, gardens and an atmosphere that thrives on creativity .

(Photo by Steve Hailey)

Anyway, after a weekend of dredging up old memories, saying things like “ooh, this used to be fields” and thinking “heck, I’m ACTUALLY middle aged!” I dredged these old images up from those heady days of Final Major Project at CCAD and pondered yet again the twisty- turny route my life  seems to follow as well as the ins and outs of design. I struggled as a freelance designer, partly because my work didn’t follow “trends” very well ( how infuriating to be told off for making zebra print bunnies only to find that Indigo – one of the biggest textile trade fairs- has a leopard print rabbit as its logo this year!) .

Originality and creativity have also been an issue lately with the much publicised Claire’s/Tatty Devine dispute, as well as various friends of mine having their designs and styles copied almost exactly by other designers. I feel very strongly about this,as inspiration is one thing but copying is lazy (and illegal), while slavishly following trends may make your stuff sell like hot cakes in the mass market but ultimately makes the world a duller place.

Ok, so this is why I’m poor as can be and why Mr Next hasn’t given me the top job! Its also why places like Botton are so important because they nurture creativity and independence.

Now I feel as though I’ve delivered a lecture that probably needed better editing and I must head up the apples and pears. The temperature in the kitchen has dropped and the clock is telling me it’s now Tuesday. Tomorrrow I will be busy making and planning , drawing and designing and hoping I’m heading in the right direction…

5 responses to “The Past is a Foreign Country

  1. Thank you……I didn’t want this story to end……

  2. Keep making and planning , drawing and designing………Im not sure any of know we are heading the right direction but its lovely when you find out that other folk think you are!
    Great Whitby photo too………….

  3. i think the coping of other’s designs is a shameful practice. I hear you on the struggles of staying true to yourself and on the “middle age” i laughed. i say everyday when i leave my job “i am too old for this:)!” half serious/half joking. thats the beauty of middle age we can vacillate between the two young and old….. hummm i am starting to look at it differently as i write this…that maybe this is a very good thing:)

  4. We to share your passion for the Camphill people and for many years now have been sponsors. Two years ago we went on a visit and I was moved to tears by the peaceful atmosphere, the happy friendliness of everyone and the commitment to make it such a wonderful place.
    It was a great posting you did today Kim. Thanks for sharing the story and your beautiful work with us.
    Lynn x x

    • Thats great Lynn, I wish Icould sponsor them,I’ve heard that Botton Village is in some financial trouble…? I hope not. Thank you for your lovely comments , as always x

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