27 November 2012

New challenges, new location, new blog

After a couple of years of hemming and hawing, I've made a decision. 

I am going to leave Florida and throw myself into a new challenge. A new challenge and what's increasingly looking like a new life.

At some point this winter, I'll be relocating to Pennsylvania and the place where my life began nearly 48 years ago. Never in a million years would I have predicted this move until the last year or so. It's funny though, the same things I ran from when I was in my early 20s are what I crave now as a middle-aged man.

Check out my new masthead, and yes that's an original photograph.

This blog and its archives will remain here in perpetuity and I'll be updating it as I come across things that pertain to its niche. In the meantime, I'm starting a new blog that will document my move and adjustment to my new surroundings. I'll list the link here when it's ready for prime time.

I started this blog five years ago and it was before I knew what a blog was. In the ensuing years, it has showered me with more good fortune than I could have ever imagined. Over the course of those five years, I've gone from being a struggling designer faced with a collapsed housing market, to a power blogger, to someone who's now plying his trade as a blogger and marketer for other people and entities.

I made my blog into a career path and trust me, if I could do it, anyone can.

People who blog their way through life transitions are some of the most self-indulgent people there are and I cannot wait to be one of them. I hope you follow me through my new ventures and adventures and again and as always, thank you for being part of all of this. I promise to keep my new site entertaining if nothing else.

In the meantime too, I have a bunch of trade shows in North America and Europe on my calendar for 2013 and my findings at them will end up here, on good old K&RD. This site and the community that's grown around it is one of my most cherished accomplishments and even though it's not over, it feels like things are changing.

Thanks for reading me for the last five years.

08 November 2012

Architects and designers, wanna go to Spain?

Tile of Spain is running a contest they're calling Passport to Creativity. Four credentialed designers and or architects will be selected to accompany the Tile of Spain team from the US and Spain as well as six journalists on a week-long immersion in all things Spain. The trip will end in Valencia when everyone on the Passport of Creativity tour will attend Cevisama, one of Europe's (and therefor the world's) largest tile and bath trade shows. The four architects and or designers will earn 4 CEUs in addition to winning an all-expense-paid trip to Spain.

Entering takes just a few moments and you can find an entry form here. Hurry though, the deadline's December 3rd, 2012. Be warned, Spain bites deep and you'll come away from a trip like this a different person. I did at any rate.

Nearly two years ago, I boarded a plane in Tampa and I was bound for Madrid. I'd been selected to be a part of the press corps for Tile of Spain's "Reign in Spain" tour. My week in Spain as a guest of the Spanish Ceramics Industry and the Spanish Trade Commission was something I'll never forget. We were treated like royalty and in a country that still has a monarch, that's really saying something.

Though it was a press tour and though I was only there for a week, I came away from that experience with a far deeper understanding of the Spanish people and their culture than I'd had before I arrived. Between factory tours, a massive trade show, and some of the most extravagant meals I've ever eaten, I got to know our hosts from the Spanish embassy. I bonded with my fellow journalists in the press corps and the winners of that year's contest in ways I hadn't expected to. Our shared experiences in Spain more or less cemented us together and I've stayed in touch with most of those folks.

Wandering down the cobblestone streets of Valencia and Zaragoza in the wee hours with new Spanish friends and the conversations we had will stay with me for the rest of my life. The chance to sit and compare notes with people from other countries on their home turf is why I love to travel so much.

Spain's financial woes were just becoming clear while I was there and the truth of the matter was a bit difficult to come by in the US. So I sat in a hotel lobby in Valencia with the Spanish Trade Commissioner and we talked about it until around four in the morning. He explained to me what was really going on and further, he told me the story of modern Spain from the perspective of a man who lived through Spain's transition from Fascism to a Parliamentary Democracy.

Those experiences aren't something you get on a package tour to Barcelona or Málaga.

In that too-short week I saw some incredible sights, gorged myself on Spanish cuisine but more than any of that, I had extended to me Spanish hospitality and kindness.

I hope you enter this contest. Wonders await you on the Iberian Peninsula.

01 November 2012

Cool table!

One of my brothers just sent me a link to this table.

My initial reaction was, "Oh man, I hate round dining tables." Then I watched this video.

Holy smokes!

What's featured here is the Capstan Table by DB Fletcher in Dorset, UK. Though it's not cheap by any means, they're produced in a limited quantity and retail for anywhere between $25 and $50,000, it's just fascinating to watch one in action.