I always believed my job interfered with my work, but now realize that when you teach others, not only do you need to know much more than they do, but you’re the person responsible for delivering this knowledge, and in the best and efficient way. Often, this is a real challenge, not to mention safety issues. For me, this challenge brought a deep evaluation of what is important; next, one must accomplish this task with a minimum amount of effort, so one doesn’t waste time. I believe the students collectively taught me much more than I taught them, because I constantly had to solve their problems with the best possible solutions, and in the most efficient way. While it might be a one on one question/experiment for the student, I benefited from seeing how well my suggestions actually worked, from hundreds/thousands of students. Not only did the students benefit from this collective knowledge, but I did as well. I found out what worked and what didn’t, with an enormous variety of materials, viewpoints, designs, etc., and how to combine them in dynamic ways that made sense. It broadened my material palette, vision, work habits and efficiency.
The unifying aspect about my work is the emphasis on design criteria and philosophies that took me years to define, theorize, analyze, and when followed, insure a coherent and dynamic result. I am a design fanatic, wanting work to be as perfect as possible in every respect including permanence, craftsmanship (meaning you don’t have to apologize about physical flaws), value (emotional, financial, and historical), originality and not to be boring. It’s also nice to employ a “WOW” factor. I’ve not heard better basics or would include them in my work. I don’t believe anyone likes boring music, activities, people, movies or life itself. It’s also best to play with people’s minds using movement, contrast, special tension, organization and psychologically if you can, but in a gentle way so it’s interesting, involving and exciting. Dynamic design requires lofty goals, hard to follow and always a constant battle to obtain, but so worth the result.
- Mark Baldridge