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40 LETTERS . 3 Théo R

As I journey through my fortieth year I want to take time to thank people who have had an impact on me and my life. Each person to whom I write has shaped me and is partly to ‘blame’ for the person I am becoming!!! This is my third letter, thanking one of my lecturers who helped me learn more than just design.

Dear Théo

As I reflect on the things I have been taught in my life, I am fully aware that what I learned might not actually be what was taught, mentioned or even intended. However, I am thankful for a significant moment of revelation which occurred in one of your lectures.

The simple, life changing moment of clarity I received with you, at Bournemouth University, was this, “Don’t be too precious about your work.” It clearly resonated with who I was. It answered a depth of thinking and personhood that I hadn’t until that point been given permission or vocabulary to believe. I found a new level of freedom to be creative through the eye-opening, perception-challenging iterative sketching you taught. Since that moment 21 years ago I have endeavoured to enjoy the journey. I have stretched myself to understand that sometimes the way that we arrive is more important than the destination. In the journey there are more wonders to behold than in the rigidity of ‘knowing’ one has arrived.

What was unlocked in that series of lecturing, sketching, modelling and confusion has changed me. Not only in the way I create but more significantly in the way I share my life with people. I find delight in the shaping of thought through shared conversation, I try not to be quick to conclude; to colour in the outlines and build immoveable obelisks of thought. I seek to be always aware that the next word or thought, just as the next mark on page, could unlock something fundamentally new or better. The next iteration of understanding could be better.

I remember our collective dismay as you tried to release us into that freedom. It was a hard fought battle, for many it was drenched in tears as you wrestled with a bunch of narrow minded ‘designers’. Thank you for your vulnerability and determination in helping us to see that, we might not have the right answer on our first attempt, or second or third … or ever. Thank you for unhindering us and allowing creativity to flow.

So what have I passed on from what I caught to others. I hope that I have been a ready listener? I hope that I have been an open ‘fellow journier’ ready to engage with the adventure of what might be birthed in shared wanderings and wonderings. And I hope that I have pushed further in creative endeavours.

I am aware and comforted by the fact that I am not a finished article. There are yet more iterations of my physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual self to come.

I don’t know what you expected as you delivered that series of lectures and workshops? As you continue to help young designers discover truth and verity, I want to encourage you that, your ‘words’ resound further than the lecture room. They impact more widely and wildly than simple design. I wanted to write to you to say, “Thank you for investing in me and being a part of my life.”

Jason Huffadine

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