• Cecilia Macaulay

Design Quirkly Families, not Armies


Border made of a classmates tree trimmings at Maki's Garden, Kanazawa Bunko

'When you make something from reclaimed, recycled goods, don't line them up like an army, they will look worn out and embarrassed. Armies are young, perfect and uniform.

Instead, stagger them, let them be the same material, going in the same direction but with their own individuality honoured. Then they aren't a second-rate, disorderly army of objects. They are a first-rate family, working as a team to make their mission happen. This will be perceived as beautiful, because it is'


Thats a snippet I taught in my Permaculture Design Workshop at Asaba Art Square, Japan. How pleased I was to find my students helped each other make this border after I had gone, and midway, remembered the message.


They started off lined up:



Then they transitioned to 'family' style



You can use this design principle when you plate up odd-shaped morsels for dinner, arrange exotic jars in your cupboard, or build your cities. Its how you make best use of otherwise-unvalued, non-standard things, and make the world a friendly place, and all contributions feel welcome and special.




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Cecilia Macaulay All Rights Reserved