1. Big Ed

    Lime render

    Three parts sand.
    One part lime.
    A little water.

    Big Ed

    Two parts builder.
    One part philosopher.
    One part icon.

    They say a man can be judged by the tools he uses. Well, here I look at my bucket of tools with which I could erect a dwelling, and wonder.

    There is my Stabila level for accuracy; Marshaltown trowel for balance; and last, but not least, my versatile Estwing brick hammer, with which I can cut and dress bricks.

    I was asked to pick my best tool, but they are all the best of their kind. You choose.

    Builder by day. Town oracle by night. In his day Big Ed was Cardigan rugby club captain. And by all accounts should have played for Wales. He has no twitter account, but has secretly confessed to having a Kindle. And loving it.

    Photo by Andrew Paynter

  2. Geek + Luddite

    The most interesting products of the future will use the skills of the past and make them relevant to the world that we live in today. The DODOcase (a protective case for your iPad and Kindle) does this well.

    It uses techniques developed hundreds of years ago by the bookmakers of San Francisco and combines them with an idea and some understated design, that makes it sought after today.

    The DODOcase philosophy is simple enough: manufacture things locally and help keep the art of book binding alive and well by adapting it to a world of e-readers and iPads.

    Sounds like a good bunch of people. Bet they ride nice bikes too.

    Made In San Francisco

  3. Collaborate

    Iittala have worked out the importance of collaboration. They seek out the best, and work with them.

    This frying pan made from solid cast iron was designed for them by Björn Dahlström in 1998. Like all good design, it goes beyond just looking good. It will outlast its owners.

    Iittala’s philosophy is to favour sustainability over consumption. To create timeless objects for everyday use. And to understand the importance of another collaboration – between the planet and us humans.

    So have one rule: work with the best. Expensive works out cheap in the end.

  4. Writing with light

    It is a fleeting moment. It is eternal.
    It comes from the inside.
    It reveals the author.
    It is catharsis.

    It is life. It is death. It is every place in between.
    It demands a response: ‘is anyone taking any notice?’
    It is worth dying for. It is not worth dying for.
    It persuades. It challenges.
    It is safe haven. It is stunning beauty.
    It is freedom.

    It is a snowflake – subtle and unique.
    It is a storm – bold and dramatic.
    It is pain and anger and suffering.
    It is love and celebration and laughter.
    It is blood and sweat and tears.
    It is passion.

    It is news. It is fiction.
    It is a story. It has no beginning, no middle and no end.
    It is objective. It is honesty.
    It lies. It is subjective.
    It has meaning. It helps make sense of the world.
    It questions. It answers.

    It takes the eye to a destination and the mind on a journey.
    It takes the eye on a journey and the mind to a destination.
    It is not always clear what it is.

    It is left-to-right and top-to-bottom. It has depth from front-to-back.
    It is colour. It is black and white.
    It is light. It is dark.
    It is negative. It is positive.

    It is an image. It is an object.
    It is inspired. It is art.
    It is treasured and framed. It is a cheap print.
    It is a happy accident. It is meticulously crafted.

    It is what the author intended to make.
    It is not what the author intended to make.
    It is touch, taste, smell and sight. It talks.
    It creates feeling. It is evocative.

    It is permanent. It fades over time.
    It is dying. It is reborn.
    It is taken. It is given.
    It is mine. It is theirs. It is ours.

    It is a photograph.
    It is yours.

  5. Keep your cupboard well stocked

    There’s no benefit to being lucky unless you are prepared for its opportunities.

    The evolution of fforest over the past 5 years has more resembled a collage than a business plan. It has been shaped by a mixing of place, materials, resources, people, ideas, history, seasons.

    Each new building and structure has had its own story. Its own reason for being created. Its own notch on the history timeline. And its own deadline.

    I believe in changing your mind. I believe in keeping your senses open to the possibility of better, of less convenient, of responding to the accidental, the happy coincidence and the right time.

    But your ability to respond all depends on what’s in your cupboard.

    What I keep in my cupboard are all the bits I can create my collage from: people, buildings, boats, books, music, memories of great things, that’s the ideas bit. But I also keep lots of materials and interesting things ready to be used. In fact a big warehouse full of stuff.

    I like to keep things. I like well made things. I like things that have been used: a building, a tool, a pair of jeans. I like the memory of things. When I look at a dry stone wall snaking along the flank of a hill farm, I wonder about who built it, what they wore, how they lived. When you’re told by the architect, the builder, the mechanic, that it would be cheaper to knock it down and start again, cheaper to buy a new one, first think about what you’re really throwing away. Sometimes it’s a relationship.

    In 20 years you won’t remember most of the things you don’t have anymore. When something needs fixing try to fix it.

    Have you got an old screwdriver that belonged to your dad with a sweat burnished wooden handle that fits right into your palm, brass collar, oily steel shaft, great smell? I haven’t. I really wish I had.

    I remember my brother Brian taking me to buy me my first pair of Wranglers. He was 19 I was 13. It was my birthday. It was a right of passage. Wide straight leg Wranglers. That funny unique weave they have, more random than straight line, they faded more to baby blue than the grey blue of Levi’s and the even greyer Lee’s. I wore those jeans every day. The most comfortable, indestructible friends. They endured bike crashes, bog rescues, tree-climb snags, bonfire scorches. They were patched and patched again. Endeavour, adventure and learning. The story of my adolescence.

    I’ve had lots of jeans since then. I still wear blue jeans most days. And I’ve loved lots of them (including my white needlecord Levi’s) but the feeling I had when I bought my first pair of Wranglers.

    They’re still in my cupboard somewhere.

    Good luck David and Clare, you’ve got a lot to live up to.