Saturday, August 11, 2012

2 Hands, Take 3 and 5 Gyres

Life has taken a beautiful turn. I am meeting extraordinary people and learning so much about socially responsible entrepreneurial activities in Sydney. I met Take3 founderTim Silverwood, who is such an inspiration. I met Tim by phoning up Digital Eskimo to ask them about their Do Gooder campaign website, in the hope that I could set up a site which raises awareness and funds for organisations like 5Gyres and Two Hands who dedicate their efforts to ocean microplastic pollution. And wow! That was a great phone call, I spoke with Candice and was invited along to an excellent evening of food, conversation and inspiration at the 'Along Came Polymer' dinner held at Brave Cafe in Bondi. An utterly awesome evening, where I got to talk to some lovely people. Great to finally discover my tribe in Sydney. People who really care about the world we live in. I met the environment officer Jody Savage from Waverley council (who has had a fascinating career travelling the world from Kenya to Sydney as a Marine conservationist.) The spokesperson from Transition Bondi was there too. I'm hoping to get to the next Transition meetup with another new friend, Isabelle who runs La Source.

uLab's Groundbreaker

At the Fishburners event, I met an architecture student from UTS Vida Asrina, who very kindly invited me to a public workshop which was part of the 'Groundbreaker' series. What an inspiring event - run by the UTS u.lab. "Subcultures are the lifeblood of the city. They bring together unsuspecting allies and inject new trends, habits and hideouts continuously into the urban ether. If subcultures have traditionally emerged organically, at what point is intervention useful? What supports and what hinders an urban subculture? What are the barriers, challenges and opportunities to help subcultures emerge and thrive? How can we embrace originality and foster creative entrepreneurship to sustain great subcultures?"

Fishburners Event

Social Entrepreneurs ROCK! Thanks to Mike McKay and Amanda Wise, I was lucky enough to attend a really inspiring Sunday afternoon at Fishburners. (And, nope, not sure where that name came from) Fishburners' office is a great, open plan shared office space for entrepreneurs, sole traders, freelancers and startups. The event we attended was the early development of a TV pilot involving a range of Social Entrepreneurs pitching their ideas (yep, like Master Chef but with socially responsible startups). I haven't had such an inspiring afternoon in years! I met so many excellent people...blissful. I hope that some of the concepts that were pitched to us, do come to fruition. It was great to see Cheryl Kernot there as one of the judges. Altogether awesome...and one of the trustees of the Awesome Foundation was there too - what more can I say!

Crows Nest Popup Launches

It took a year of work and then Jane Greenop and I handed the project over to North Sydney Council. There are now 8 artists using two empty shop spaces in the heart of Crows Nest as part of a pilot Empty Spaces initiative in North Sydney. The launch evening was great. Mayor Genia McCaffery did an opening speech for each of the two venues and the night was well attended. This Picasa album shows all the empty spaces in the Crows Nest area and also has a range of photos from the launch of the popup shops. Full article and photos here at the Empty Spaces site.

Monday, July 16, 2012


It's taken no less than four years of thinking, revising, designing and rethinking. It also took one false start and then consultations with three different tattoo artists. Then there was a brainwave and I sent out a brief to the crowd sourcing website 'Design Crowd'. I thought I'd be heading for some illuminated Latin in Calligrafiti style but, to my surprise...Design Crowd delivered me into the capable creative hands of Khaleelullah Chemnad. He is an exceptionally talented Arabic Calligrapher based in Dubai (but of course!). Now, finally my tattoo is complete. I have the three core principles of design engraved on my skin. In Latin they are the words: firmitas, utilitas, venustas. Which is the famous quote from De Architectura by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC) a Roman writer, architect and engineer. So - why these words and why in Arabic? I lived in the Sudan (when I was 2!) and, at the time, I spoke Arabic before I spoke English. Also, I passionately believe that design only works if its strong, useful and beautiful, they are timeless principles. A huge thanks to my Tattoo artist, the Kiwi diamond geezer who goes by the name Mr Sprinkles at Live Canvas. I cannot recommend him highly enough, he's just an incredibly lovely human being! A careful, gentle hand, and a super sweet attitude...If you're thinking of getting your first Tattoo - he'd be the best person to go to. I've dealt with seven different tattoo artists over the years in both Sydney and London. Mr. Sprinkles is my number one recommendation. (I asked for a cheeky smile for my blog, and voila!)