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You can keep your Island, thank you very much – a Let’s Blog Off Topic

This blog is in response to a shout out by Let’s Blog Off where we asked:  “You’re given an island. The only thing to consider is once you move there, you can’t leave. Who and what would you bring? What are the rules?”  A list of other participants responses appears at the end of this blog. I will update the list throughout the day as participants declare themselves.

This is  a rant. And, to start with at least, it is going to read like a blatant plug for Modenus.com. Sorry, but stay with me.

Last week Modenus published a list of the ten most viewed products. Half were from the USA where we create some wonderful design and we do it well.  There are a couple of British pieces that show their love of craftsmanship and design flair. There is a breathtakingly beautiful chair from Guatemala. The top item is a table which combines cast concrete in silver leaf and burnished nickel. It comes from Ohio. Being enthusiastic about influences from around the world doesn’t mean were not proud of American enterprise and creativity. It means we celebrate diversity and our ability expand our horizon and creative resources.

The next ten most viewed items included beautiful tiles from Italy, concrete lace from the Netherlands and, if memory serves me right, France was in there somewhere as well. One of my missions for the next few months is to find reliable distributors to help you European colleagues to ship their work to the States and the American furniture and other products in the opposite direction.

I love Modenus. One of the things I love about it is that we are able to surprise each other with astounding work of talented and skilled designers and craftspeople from across the globe. I really don’t want to live on a small Island at least not one I can’t get away from, no matter how good it looks on paper.

For at least part of the year, in fact this part of the year, Florida has a climate that many people would think is ideal for their isolated island. And there are other very wonderful things about it. The wild life is amazing, there is space for everyone and when you come across real Southern hospitality it can be both warm and real. But there is, in places, something of an isolated Island mentality. I worry that schools and other institutions are getting a little too enthusiastic about creating a society without dissidence or, for that matter, difference. It has a tendency to be very homogeneous this little Island of ours. In almost every respect whether it’s design, social life, politics or anything else. One or two casual conversations with strangers have been notable for their assumption that we all share the same values and world views. Except those aren’t world views, they are parochial, just about to the end of your own nose, views. There is much to love in Florida. Its a good place to come home to, but to come home, first you have to leave.

So put me on an isolated Island and I’m starting to swim honey.

The blog off topic asks about the rules I would set. This may be a surprise for people who know me but I don’t want to be in charge.  And much as I love them I don’t want Dog Walk, Paul Anater, Modern Sauce or any of my co Lets Blog-offers to be in charge either. Don’t get me wrong, we need people to be in charge and set some rules. No laws and no way of enforcing rules leads to the rule of the bully. What we need is a bit of a mess. We need rules that are constantly changed and updated and reviewed and changed some more. You know, democracy.

Can you imagine food and drink with no influences beyond your local neighbourhood? No chili or spice? Chocolate probably isn’t local for many of our readers. And odds are you can forget about tea and coffee as well. Even if you are reading this in Bordeaux, do you really only want to drink the local wine? OK, there are exceptions. Tropical fruit and fresh fish would be wonderful for a while but how long before you isolated island people start to fancy a hot dog, a curry or just a surprise?

My idea of an Island is less tangible, it is a challenging, inspiring mess of ideas, cultures and surprises. It isn’t always comfortable, it isn’t always easy and it certainly isn’t boring. At times its a bit of a struggle, I know this because I think I’ve found it.

This Island State of Mind has rules that are open to challenge and change. The people who live there includes people I disagree with and people I don’t actually like. They are welcome. Because without dissidence, disagreement and dissent there is no creativity and no life. And what’s the point in that.

So, thanks but no thanks. You can keep your little Island and give it to the next guy, right Richard?

Paul Anater @paul_anater Kitchen and Residential Design
Rufus Dogg @dogwalkblog DogWalkBlog.com
Becky Shankle @ecomod Eco-Modernism
Nick Lovelady @cupboards Cupboards Kitchen and Bath
Saxon Henry @saxonhenry Roaming by Design
  • http://www.kitchenandresidentialdesign.com Paul Anater

    Hah hah! Brilliant world view and oh so true!

  • http://ecoprotectiveproducts.blogspot.com Jamey Burrell

    My feelings exactly. I love Atlanta, but it took going to bed each night 8,000 miles away to truly appreciate it. But once you’ve done that, living with one view, in one place, and in an established ‘routine’ can never yield happiness. I guess I was afraid that I would upset the Letsblogoff establishment if I ditched my island on Day 1, so I went with a hypothetical island (doomsday) scenario.

  • http://www.cupboardsonline.com Nick @ Cupboards

    Glad I wasn’t the only one that tossed the island idea out the window! Great read.

  • http://www.hudsonvandam.com Nneoma

    Just a plug here . . .

    You mentioned matching European manufacturers to distributors in the U.S. Well, Hudson Vandam is a distribution company focusing on bringing German products to the U.S. market. I just thought I’d throw that out there :-)

  • http://modernsauce.blogspot.com ModernSauce

    Don’t worry – I don’t want to be in charge either! But I do reserve the right to complain a lot. ; )

    I’m just happy to be in a post where my name is mentioned right above a picture of some spray cheese! That’s definitely going on my non-island…

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com DogWalkBlog

    I love Cheese Whiz.. and Oreo cookies and Cool Whip. I don’t want to ever be in charge which is why I would move to the island! Let someone else steer and fuel this thing for a while.

    I worry too that our culture is becoming too homogeneous. Fort Kent, Maine looks a lot like Boise, Idaho or Allentown, PA or Westin, FL these days with the exception of the weather and some land masses. But give us some time and we’ll take care of that as well. :-)

  • http://www.eco-modernism.com Becky / @ecomod

    Here, here! (or is it hear, hear?) My favorite Mark Twain quote:

    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

  • admin

    Oh now that’s definitely a soap box for this girl to stand on….one thing that kills me is that some 70% of the US population does not have a passport. I know it’s a BIG Island but an Island nonetheless and for better or worse one has to see what else is out there to appreciate or at the very least see more clearly.

  • admin

    Couldn’t agree with you more Gerard. Diversity, personality and uniqueness have become un-loved step children in our society when really it is exactly our society that was founded on just those attributes. As I said above, we are an Island. A big one but an Island nonetheless.

  • admin

    I want you to know there’s a real honor in being placed on or near the Spray Cheese. Just ask @ziapriven when you have a chance. Spray cheese means a lot to me.

  • admin

    May be a good idea Nneoma, seeing how your product selections seem to draw a crowd here on Modenus. We’ll be sure to pass it on.

 

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