Inhabit Movie

In 2013 a couple of filmmakers bravely took on the risk of making a high quality movie about the Permaculture movement in North America. Once they had shot the footage, they launched a kickstarter project to raise funds to complete the project last year.

The movie, [Inhabit]( was recently released. It was initially released through Vimeo and Yekra an innovative distribution channel which has since [closed its doors](

Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise behind permaculture: a design process based on the replication of patterns found in nature. INHABIT explores the many environmental issues facing us today and examines solutions that are being applied using the ecological design lens of permaculture. Focused mostly on the Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, Inhabit provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices ranging from rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.

The first thing that strikes you about the movie are the beauty of the opening scenes, its apparent from the start that the movie will have high production values.

Its engaging and interesting throughout. I particularly enjoyed seeing the homesteads and gardens and hearing from people like Ben Falk and Eric Tonismeier whose books I have found to be valuable and inspiring resources.

Its well worth the price to see mature examples of permaculature designs in both rural and urban settings.

Sydney Ceramics Galleries

There are some excellent galleries in Sydney that focus on displaying the work of local ceramic artists.

I am sure its a labour of love for most of the gallery owners as the market is not large and the work required to mount a successful exhibition is significant.

If in the mood to travel further afield, the gallery at the Sturt in Mittagong always has an eclectic mix of furniture and ceramics.

Making and Work

I describe myself as a Maker, for me the term is a indicator of where my inspiration and satisfaction are found. This has generally been realised in the workshop making objects with wood and more recently clay. Its harder to find in the work I do as a Solution and Enterprise architect. Aspects are definitely present, as myself or my team are generally involved with a larger to team to create and implement a new software capability. However as I have moved more into management it has been becoming a more distant aspect of daily work life.

I think this is part of why I am attracted to the web design world and the app builders. I started my career as a programmer and still regard this as a core skill however it doesn’t feature in my professional life a great deal.

New influences
1. Treehouse
2. Offscreen magazine
3. Execute

Matt Gemmell wrote about Makers and Takers in a typically strong fashion a couple of years ago. Its really good piece (his blog is always a stimulating read).

People who make things, or Makers, contribute something to the universe. Makers are people like writers, musicians, artists, architects, software engineers, carpenters, and the chap at the coffee shop who makes your morning latte. He has a skill, and he applies it to create something that makes your day a little bit better.
Theres another type of person – I call these people Takers. Takers participate in the economy as money-handlers, exchanging currency on the back of others’ creations. They lend, and sell, and negotiate and manage. You can argue that these things are in themselves skills, and that’s true – but none are anything I’d aspire to

I use the services of Takers to the extent that it’s necessary, and accept the tacit crassness and unseemliness of the interaction as a cultural cost. I don’t think that it always has to, or will, be like this, but I accept it for now.

Choose someone you admire or otherwise care about. Given knowledge of your motives, would they be genuinely proud of you in your work? That’s the test. What are you creating?

Ceramics Destinations in Tokyo

The most popular post on Slowlane has been Ceramics Destinations in Kyoto, this post seeks to provide the same information for a Tokyo visitor.


Also known as the Japan Folk Crafts Museum. Soetsu Yanagi [1] created this museum to display his collection of mingei items (daily necessities made by common people using local materials)It displays a collection of mingei pottery, textiles and lacquer ware. Feature exhibitions are also held regularly. During our visit the main gallery was showing “KANTHA and SASHIKO – Needle Works from Bengal and Tohoku”.

Its not obvious that the gallery is open, you need to check the opening hours and then open the wooden sliding doors to enter the beautiful open entrance area. Its well worth going on a day when you can also visit Yanagis house (in 2014 this is open every second & third Wednesday and Saturdays).


Mingeikan Sign edge

Toguri Museum of Art

A private collection housed in building designed by Toguri, we were privileged to see an extensive selection of Inari ware, featuring a theme designs with water themes “COOLNESS….Ko-Inari ware with Design of Water”.

After making your way from Shibuya station (a 10 minute walk once you have your bearings), take seat inthe lounge to observe the garden before making your way through the upstairs galleries.

  1. see Soetsu Yanagi The Unknown Craftsman

Permaculture Online Course update

In a previous post I wrote about the positive experience we were having taking part in Geoff Lawton’s Online Permaculture course. Having completed all the online lessons and the quiz we are now working on the practical assignment which is due by the end of August.

The course continues to stimulate us and our enthusiasm for the material remains strong. Even on evenings when we were tired from a busy day the prospect of some “Geoff time” was appealing and we had little trouble keeping up the momentum and staying more or less in line with the proposed course outline.

Geoff Lawton at the whiteboard

The course is well structured and its clear that Geoff has given it many times. His great depth of experience serves to ground the potentially abstract materials and to “keep it real”1. For me the only time this focus was lost was in the final section “Creating an Alternative Society”. Geoff still had plenty of relevant experience to relate however the videos for this section felt looser and had a more rambling character than the bulk of the course. For students at the end of an intense two weeks this is probably a relief as Geoff kicks back and the amount of material being relayed eases off.

Random notes

  • As we start on the practical exercise, studying maps and design options on paper and then taking that onto a plot of land has been revealing and exciting
  • We didn’t make extensive use of the forums however whenever we had a question we could usually find someone else had already asked it. My wife and I watched all the video’s together and effectively formed a small team, this was very valuable as we continued to discuss the course content beyond the time spent “in lectures”.
  • The regular uploads of videos with answers to participants questions are excellent and provided an opportunity for him to reinforce core concepts
  • The course included a DVD set with all of the lectures plus the full set of DVD’s previously created by Geoff. So far we have watched a few of these and I can see they will be a very valuable resource
  • While being very positive about the online course, I can see that the regular on the ground practical work integrated into the learning experience of an onsite course along with a gifted teacher and located at a well developed demonstration site would have many benefits. The quality of the teacher, the depth of their experience and their ability to communicate this would be a key factor in deciding which course to take
  • Key learning – the mainframe design. The course has transformed the way we view landscape and has us spotting dam sites and swale opportunities everywhere. Walking around the site we are using for our practical assignment, a place we had visited many times before, revealed a completely new landscape potential to us. Geoff says the course will permanently change the way you view the world and I believe he is right

  1. Another great benefit is that the course text, Bill Mollisons’ Permaculture Designers Guide which I had previously found heavy going, has undergone a sort of decoding and now reveals itself as and incredible useful manual which supports the course content with additional depth and paths to study. 

Bookmarks for August 6th through August 7th

These are my links for August 6th through August 7th: