Last month I met Bristol-based designer Nick Hand. Over tea we talked about handmade creativity, and he told me how he’s been exploring and documenting the makers he meets. But it wasn’t until this recent stretch of warm days, when I got on my bicycle again for the first time in months, that I realized I’d neglected to recommend his work here. So today I will remedy that oversight.
Over the last few years, Nick has been at work on a bicycle-based project somewhat akin to slow food and slow fashion. The Slowcoast project was built around Nick’s biking journey along the coastlines of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Along the way, he stopped often to meet and record the work of local creative makers and designers. The results of his explorations are twofold: a series of short documentaries recording interviews with artisans, and a book called Conversations on the Coast. Here’s a pic of the lovely endpapers of the book:
(The image at the very top of this post is the detail from the book’s palest of pale blue jacket. All in all, it’s a beautifully produced little volume that thoughtfully makes use of the materials, talents, and suppliers he found right in the British Isles. You can find more images of the book here. Check it out.)
Slowcoast introduces a wide range of creative people, from traditional artisans to young growers, entrepreneurs, and makers. And his interviews all show how good Nick is at getting people to talk not only about what they make, but about why they do it and how it fits in with larger cares and interests in their lives. I love how I’ve gotten glimpses of so many creative projects across the Atlantic. Each soundslide documentary lets you peek into a different, thoughtfully created world.
You’ll find all his soundslides here, bearing the dates he conducted the interviews. Taken together, one can trace his journey around the coast day by day by seeing whom he met. If you’re interested in how being on a bicycle can change one’s experience of a journey, or in what the DIY scene looks like in another part of the world, do explore the Slowcoast project.