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Zen and the art of clutter maintenance 
18th-Apr-2008 10:36 am
I was really surprised to find that if you put 2 cuts on LJ you can see both if you open one, so I'm only going to put a single cut from now on. The one below contains:

-A photo of our celtic knotwork dining room table and a ramble about its genesis from clutter and built-in obsolescence

-Another Extermiknit dalek (pattern and copyright by penwiper http://www.entropyhouse.com/penwiper/who/extermaknit.html)

My partner and I are both horders and all of the rooms and passageways in our  house have grown a layer of bookshelves smaller on the inside. Our oldest is doing gym and needs to do handstands against the wall to practice and literally can't do it anywhere except on the doors (and considering the structural integrity of the modern internal door, probably not even there). I went through a phase of being obsessed with decluttering (like most people I know), but in my own obsessional way, until I realised that what appeals to me about decluttering is the zen minimalist approach to space and furniture, and the contemplative calm that it evokes. It occurred to me that obsessing over NOT HAVING A CALM CONTEMPLATIVE ZEN ENVIRONMENT GODDAMMIT was probably a bit silly, especially with young kids around. (Anyone know what age they start putting their shed clothes away unprompted?) I decided it was much more in the spirit of zen to ignore the clutter and achieve peace in spite of it.

 I have also been thinking a lot about the environment and consumerism and built-in obsolescence, and how wasteful Western society is. (Prompted by being told at work that 5 years was the maximum use I could possibly expect from a -80 freezer that cost in the order of $16 000, and thinking back to my parents leaving their parents' fridges and freezers behind when they emigrated after 50 years of reliable operation only to regret it 3 years later when their new white goods reached their programmed deaths). So I came to a sort of compromise and decided not to chuck everything out but to try to avoid buying new things and to recycle as much as possible. Most of our furniture hasn't been "upgraded" since we were impoverished students and is either op shop (and we aren't talking antiques) or recycled bulk rubbish collection fare. Our dining room table was looking decidedly ordinary and the surface was starting to lift and splinter, and I had been admiring friends' tables (huge jarrah slabs with gorgeous growth patterns in the wood, talmor's parents' lovely extended long table). I love the idea of the table being at the centre of family life, a place to break bread and share the stories of our days apart and play games together. I wanted something that would reflect the emotional value I place on it without paying lots of money and buying into consumerism , so I decided to do up our old table instead of buying a new one. The design is from p16 "Authentic Celtic Iron-On Transfers", Co Spinhoven, ISBN 0-486-28309-7 copyright 1994 by Co Spinhoven, modified for more internal pattern repeats and insanely magnified (the book is smaller than A6). I was very happy with the outcome.

18th-Apr-2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
The table is great, and you must put the dalek in the Swancon art show next year.
18th-Apr-2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
There are several reasons I can't do that:
-Current owner is 4 and just wouldn't understand if I borrowed it back
-A Swancon one would just have to be lavender and black (because of Emma's allergy to lavender oil itself and her long-standing association with the art show - otherwise it could just be stuffed with dried lavender)
-But really because I was only following a pattern, the artistic and intellectual property belongs to the designer. I really think it deserves a design award, as it is quite ingenious and has personally altered my whole approach to knitting and opened up a whole world of incredibly clever techniques.
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