I find myself back in the office, in Ventura, California, and once again, am up before the chickens. Maybe it is jetlag. But I doubt it. My waking dream was about love. Not the manner or type of which one might think, coming from somebody who just proposed marriage to his long time girlfriend. It is the type that changes everything.
As I work through the processing of 2800 images from Bali, I went straight to the above image this morning. (It was in my head as I awoke). A bracelet Betty B produces, post birth, in a Bali workshop. It is a ring of sorts. Rings say a lot. People’s lives are sort of like that: rings. Would that all of ours would have the same stamp on them. The world would be better for it.
If you read nothing else this year, read this remarkable piece on Steve Jobs, by his Sister, Novelist Mona Simpson. It was sent along via some mutual acquaintances through my dear friend and colleague, Martine White.
I am always struck by the quantity of people Donna Von Hoesslin’s company vision touches, and how it affects change. The look on her face as she sits with one of her teams of artisans on Bali says it all. This matters to her, that her company offers a link to other realities for her people. I think it may possibly be the single best design catalyst, to care enough about people that one would be willing to love them to the point of changing their worlds for the better.
Betty B could manufacture anywhere. Margins would go way up in some ways, but the quality of life for people she deems special, would not. So she keeps most of her work creation on Bali. I jokingly refer to her modus, as detente by design.
But it suits her. And her collaborators. And something very, very special, is born into this world by it. Jobs did this very same thing, in his own way with his family, and with Apple. He changed the world.
Donna and I both are able to create a heck of a lot with great facility, due to Steve Jobs. In the image above she documents something pretty cool. However, what she does not realize is that her artisan was working on the engagement ring which I had designed for her. The little green piece of seaglass on the table, was one which I had brought over from California and had at the last minute swapped out for a smaller piece found on Bali. I was stifling myself as I shot this in Ketut’s workshop.
Life tends to become a blur. Donna’s designs make one pause, and consider what beauty and love truly are all about. We need that. I need that. It is what I want in my life.
I had a lot of time to think, and shoot, as Donna and I flew home on EVA. Our route takes us over Brunei. It seems that magical things always occur there. Here is one grand panoramic which seems to me like a castle in the sky.
Landing in LA and going through Customs, I saw some of the same agents who always seem to be there, and without fail, welcome me home each time. As I pass through the new station, complete with camera and fingerprint ID system, the tired looking agent asks me if I have anything to declare. “Ah not really. I did not bring much back.” “OK. Good trip? he asks.” “Yea great. I went over chasing a girl. Found her. Asked her to marry me. She said yes!”
Guy cracks a big smile. “Man that is great. Welcome home”
And as I strode into the baggage hall, I knew what lay ahead. It had been a peaceful respite being on Bali. But my country is in deep shit on many levels.
Fixing this place will take a whole lot of Love. I would have to live it. Not so easy to do, when what kills the country is selfishness. But each one of us, if we really want a sustainable future, well, we have no choice but to live it. That is where the beauty truly lies.