I’ve been lurking around LJ for some time now and I’m not sure why I’ve never posted but here goes – a little about me to begin with…
I’m a graphic designer originally from Seattle but now living in Mauritania (Africa). I have been here for a few years as my wife, who is an architect, is working for an institutional donor.
Years ago I created a project called Indexhibit, which was amongst the first of its kind at the time (now Adobe is one of our competitors – ouch), to create conceptual index + exhibit style websites. I’m sure you have seen one or two, or at least ones inspired by the idea, around the web. I invite everybody who reads this to play with our system – it’s perfect for focusing on showing work (instead of focusing on the design of a website).
I started woodworking not long ago because pushing pixels and working in the virtual started to drive me nuts – I needed to make something I could touch (since I haven’t been doing print work for years now).
Woodworking in Mauritania is not quite what you would expect. While most traditional cultures have true craftsman classes these people were nomads until 50 years ago. They do not have a vast visual or musical cultural – their culture was mostly oral and they are seen as some of the best poets in the Arab world.
When you visit a woodshop here it’s not uncommon to find floors of sand, unsharp and rather rudimentary tools. For instance, I once saw a person using a grinder as a sander to get the seams of a door to match up – which was complicated because the wood was already visibly warping and the person was working out in the open in an extremely hot sun. If you don’t cure the wood yourself here, it’s not cured. On many occasions I have noticed things in peoples homes suffering for that reason.
I don’t normally walk into a persons place and start snapping photos so I don’t have any to show – but I’ll try to ask permission in the future while visiting. I just felt it was about time to make a post.