I have been working on a straw bale studio for almost four years now! I thought it was time to share the work I have done and my updates in a more organised way so I created a new blog to collect everything together:
Woodcut: A WordPress theme
I am a big fan of woodcut (and linocut) printing – I think they look amazing. Something about the imperfections in the printing process really appeals to me. I particularly like the work of Lou Tonkin and Nick Hayes. The latter designed the Right To Roam website, which looks amazing.
I thought it would be interesting to try to create a WordPress theme that emulates that effect without having to go to the effort of creating wood/lino cuts! Of course it will never look as good as the real thing, but the effect is quite interesting I think:
This is a Block theme, which means it takes advanatage of a lot of the latest Gutenberg features – you will need to be using the latest Gutenberg plugin if you want it to look at its best (or wait for WordPress 6.1!).
This theme ships with an inverted style variation, so you can make it dark. I may add more style variations in the future if there is interest.
The theme is also designed to make it very easy to customize – for example it’s trivial to make the left column a different color, or to make the whole site a different color. If you’re interested in Block theme development I encourage you to have a look at the code.
Woodcut is available on the WordPress.org directory and on GitHub.
Me and Dave on WP!
Yes, I know that’s not correct grammar. I made a video with my colleague Dave about what we’ve been up to at work recently.
Up In The Mountains
New song about mountains. I had to buy a pump organ for this one. Also available on Spotify:
A reciprocal roof
On Saturday we raised the roof of the building that will become my studio. Because of the pandemic this happened about a year later than planned, but at least that made the timbers lighter. Thanks to everyone who helped, this couldn’t have happened without you all.
This was also a great way to celebrate Birch’s fourth birthday!
The Dwyer Castles
Just before the pandemic, I stopped off in Ireland while travelling home from the US to do a tour of the Dwyer Castles. My family heritage is from Ireland; my ancestors built these castles to defend their land from the invasion of the English lead by Oliver Cromwell. They were unsuccessful, the castles were confiscated and many were destroyed.
Because of the pandemic it’s taken me over a year to do this post (homeschooling!). I’ve enjoying looking at the photos again; it’s a small taste of the travel we’re all missing.
The best preserved of the castles I visited (Killenure was closed). I was very lucky with the timing of the sunrise. I had spent the night wide awake on an aeroplane…
The Cell Of The Monks
Not a Dwyer castle, but kind of interesting. I’m not really sure what it is. It’s just down the road from Ballysheeda Castle
Not much left of this one. There’s also a memorial to Eamonn O’Duibhir just next to it, and the Clonoulty memorial up the road.
Another ruin. There’s another possible castle on the hill opposite and a church yard with some Dwyers in it:
Only a stump of this one left, but it’s in an amazing location.
This one is part of a farm but the farmer was very friendly and let me take a few pictures:
This foundation is all that remains of Ballymore Castle – there is now a barn inside. The owner very kindly let me look around:
I never found this one, I think the house might be on top of it:
Not much left of this one either. It was a long walk from the road in the mud!
I also saw my name on a few signs:
Have you had your medicine?
It is well documented that being outside, taking exercise and enjoying nature are helpful to combat depression. Speaking personally, I know that getting outside makes me feel better about life. Seeing the world outside the four walls of my room puts my own problems in perspective. Doing exercise gives makes me a sense of achievement, which can often be the first step in achieving more.
When we are given medicine for a health condition we are suffering from, it is important to take our medicine so that we can recover from the illness.
I have found it helpful to think about daily exercise like a daily dose of medicine. I don’t always want to take it, but I know if I do I will end up feeling better. In the same way that taking that medicine from the doctor is a priority, so is getting outside.
I am by no means suggesting the exercise is a cure for mental health issues, simply that it can help to lift your mood and sense of well being, for anyone.
If you’re feeling down ask yourself, have I had my medicine?
A “Brambler” is a person who keeps on rambling and never gets to where they are going.
It is a curious feature of this pandemic that the “liberal” left are voicing support of imposing restrictions and the “conservative” right are speaking out for the removal of restrictions.