When Bianca Berning suggested creating this series, I found it hard to join. What could be the little thing that made me get through this horrible year? A year that has put us so much outside our comfort zone that we forgot there was such comfort once; a year that has shown us vulnerable; a year that has polarised our feelings so deeply that we made mistakes, we were angry, we fucked up.
Nevertheless, I added my name to the list. I wanted so badly to find the one thing that made me get through, but I couldn’t find it. Because there wasn’t one. Just one. Instead, I have memories of the days we made pizza at home (some Pinterest some Pinstrosity!), or when my new flatmate Juana made piña coladas, the hours I spent sorting out the jigsaw pieces (yes, sorting by size, form and colour! So soothing), or the excitement when the post arrived after two or three weeks (in the UK this is unheard of). There was the happiness of the day I found flour in one shop during the flour shortage and the healing bike journeys in and out of a deserted London. I remember the moments staring at the neighbours’ cats and then, when we were able to access their back garden, the time spent watching the wrens, the robin and the blackbirds, or suffering together with the blackbird when her nest was gruesomely attacked by a magpie. There was the time when I tried to save the sick laurel by washing meticulously each leaf and the excitement when the dried ferns came back to life after some watering.
After deciding to become a graphic designer at some point during the first 23 years of my life in Siberia, I remember spending my days alone, in front of a computer: taking online classes, watching design conferences, and making self-initiated projects. I preferred to avoid client work that didn’t show promise in favor of my own, made-up assignments that would look good in my book. Instead of collaborating with people around me, I focused on getting better at my craft with as few distractions as possible. It seems that eventually I got what I wanted: I made a portfolio good enough to move to New York.
Between the pandemic, dissertation writing, and a stint with crutches, I’ve spent much of this year at my desk beside a window, looking over the road in front of my flat. As lockdown progressed, I started recognizing the daily parade of people, dogs, and bicycles gliding past the window as they made their trek down my street. For myself, as mundane as it may sound, joining in with the daily procession of London walkers became an anchor in 2020. Continue reading
In late May our backyard neighbors adopted a two-month old lab puppy. They sent a text announcing her arrival and within minutes my husband and I were standing by our shared fence, waiting to hold the snow-white rolls of fur and floppy ears. They named her Winnie.
The quarantine came quickly and forced us to stay home, isolated, away from the social contact we are used to. You might think that typeface designers were already stuck in caves before the pandemic anyway, but as I mentioned in an email exchange with one of my great teachers, Rubén Fontana, it’s one thing to choose solitude and another to have it imposed on you. In his own words, “It seems that humans cannot accept anything being imposed on us, not even for our own convenience”. So the question arises, is it possible to transform a situation that is imposed from the outside, into the protagonist of opportunity? Continue reading