Putting meaning back in our work


Putting meaning back in our work


By Louise Russell

As a society we’ve traveled through a number of eras, reflective of our development. Today we’re sitting upon a blossoming time of reconnection to meaning and emotion. It’s no longer only about the “I”, but the collective ”we.” The “Conceptual Age” is a time of recognition of the other and our own higher Self. This asks us to engage from a fuller perspective. Here we realize that it’s a collaborative approach, in which we come together to build something of deeper meaning.

Interestingly, it’s the food industry that has helped serve as the first role model to reunite significance in our lives. In 1986, the “Slow Food” movement was founded in Italy in opposition to the “fast food” culture spreading from the United States.  It has popularly grown and the “Farm to Table” revolution was set in motion. This mission back to our roots of farming has been pivotal in bringing a sense of appreciation and connection back in our lives. It is the desire to improve the quality of life’s values away from the disengagement of mass- production. Emphasis is put on Care, Attention, Mindfulness and Reflection.

A like-minded approach, called “Slow Design” puts a great importance on designing for a more enriched quality of life. While unlike the Industrial Revolution, where production time became increasingly faster and supply became plentiful, the maker’s personal connection to a product was lost. With Slow Design we are more in tune with responsibility of manufacturing and designing, which enables us to feel more connected to the end result. We are less consumed with having more and quality and uniqueness have become the goal.

A great example of Slow Design can be found in the collection of Issey  Miyake’s clothing brand called HaaT. The company explores at least one handcrafted technique each season to show how these processes might survive in machine work. The result is a beautiful blend of modern beliefs, connecting the maker’s hand to production. This venture reflects an intersection of tradition and the future.

The Conceptual Age asks us to better understand the interactive relationship with our environment. There’s an invisible thread of connection between the designer, his materials and end use. Designing can’t be a fast food mechanical process of detachment of action, but rather it deserves space filtered from the daily assault of information.

Within this new age, purely creative, authentic, and innovative work cannot be duplicated. It’s what sets us apart from other designers.

Daniel Pink, author of “A Whole New Mind”, asks us to ponder these three questions in relationship to our work:

  1. Can someone do it cheaper?
  2. Can a computer do it faster?
  3. Am I offering something that satisfies the non-material transcendent desires of a new age?


How would YOU answer these questions?


Louise Russell

With over 25 years experience as an accomplished textile designer, Louise Russell’s intuitive sense of color, guided by a deep passion for holistic health and healing, brings an incredibly unique and innovative perspective to her design and color work.