Thursday, August 16, 2012

Slow News Summary: Summer Edition

I'm back from my holidays!

While I was away, I had a fascinating conversation with an old friend who isn't familiar with the slow movement. She is unconvinced that it isn't just another hippy new-age guilt-trip. She's unwilling to really listen when its ideas are described, because she has preconceptions that it's about depriving yourself (it doesn't help that her first exposure to it was one of my posts about fashion diets, and that I have yet to refine my elevator pitch about what I am doing, sigh.). But she made an excellent point, that part of her gut reaction to the slow movement is its' name (which originally was chosen in another language): she asked, "Who wants to be called slow?" Huh. Something to think about.

To create the Gradient Mashirabiya table, Mischer'traxler collaborated with a Lebanese carpenter using techniques traditionally used to make decorative architectural window screens. Via Inhabitat.

You can see Toronto's Castor Design's work in this photo via Remodelista of their restaurant, Parts & Labour: limestone Castor stools inspired by beaver-chewed tree stumps, a giant light fixture created by plastering and applying gold leaf to a satellite dish, and Tank Pendants created from empty fire extinguishers.

On Slow Design, Slow Home, and Eco-Products:

The Sea Chair Project proposes converting retired fishing trawlers into platforms for collecting plastic pollution from the ocean (thus helping to restore marine ecosystems) and using simple molds to create furniture onboard. The designers created this prototype stool using a sluice-like device (dubbed the Nurdler) to collect plastic washed up on a beach; a hydraulic press was used to create briquettes from organic material collected, which was then used as biofuel for the molding process. Admittedly it looks a bit rough, but it definitely follows the slow design principle of the material's prior life shining through and informing the user's reaction to the object (and in this case, the plastic pollution concentrated in maritime gyres worldwide). The designers suggest that small 'floating factories' on converted boats could employ fishermen who would otherwise be without work due to depleted fish stocks. I think there are technical challenges to overcome - such as the difficulty of harvesting plastic that has broken down into microscopic particles in the parts of gyres where 'plastic soup' has been found, or harvesting plastic without harvesting living creatures - but this is a thoughtfully conceived bit of slow design. Via Treehugger.

On Slow Food:

On Slow Fashion:

I'm a little obsessed right now with these lovely summery dresses sewn from vintage bed linens by Etsy's Naughty Shorts (designer Rebecca Williams from Australia). Via the Naughty Shorts blog.

On Slow Travel:

  • From BootsNAll, Travel Is Not A Contest, a list of reasons to embrace slow travel. I love the wonderful reminder about, "going deep instead of wide."
  • Tsh from SimpleMom has great tips for travelling internationally with kids.
  • Margaret from SlowMama wrote about how a little planning improves a slow vacation.
  • FamilyOnBikes hosted a guest post on slow travel with children by Molly from South America Living.
  • From EcoSalon, lists of ways travel can improve your love life (ooh la la!) and strategies for long-term travel on a budget (mostly working-while-travelling).
  • Two bits I missed from The Art of Slow Travel: they had a wonderful guest post by Sarah Shaw on slow travel in Cucso, Peru with tips that apply to anywhere you're aiming to spend time, and shared a brilliant post from The Road Forks on working as a digital nomad. Aaand added to the blogroll, thanks Denise!
  • Martin from The Winding Way took a delightful slow campervan trip to France from the UK, and fretted about having to do 200 miles of the trip on a freeway then taking time at their destination, instead of going by slower roads en route. This really brought home to me the importance of geographical context when we talk about slow travel - to me, living in the vastness of Canada, 200 miles on a highway sounds like a relaxing daytrip, and having to spend a day in airports to get to most travel destinations (even in my own country) is a given. So, for me, by necessity 'slow travel' applies to how I approach my time at my destination, not how I get there. In contrast, for those living in Europe, slow travel is often equated with train trips, bicycle trips, and walking (hiking) trips - which for me, would be part of my activities at my destination - and some writers get a bit dogmatic about that definition. 

On Sustainability and Environment:

On Slow Living:

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