Thursday, 26 June 2008

On my desk

My Wednesday "on my desk" post is actually on Thursday. This has been such a hectic week, and after having busy weekends with friends visiting or travelling to visit friends, days go by without my having time to even post.

I´ve been working on several new design projects for a very good client and that has been filling my days up completely. Whenever I´m waiting for an answer via email, I frame some of the papercuts that I did during the last few months and knit a few more stitches on my very first sock (top-down; I started one toe-up but had a bit of trouble reading the instructions and unfortunately can´t find videos about it...). It´s also my first time knitting with dpn´s and I´m just trying to get hang of it.

See the tea? There it is, as usual!

ETA: I´ve added a button to my side bar so that you can go directly to Kootoyoo´s for more desks.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Bolivia part IV: Salar de Uyuni

Em português, aqui.

If you wish to see more photos, visit the post I wrote in portuguese.


After some days, I´m resuming my posting about our trip to Bolivia, on the last week of May, which is the beginning of winter. Although Bolivia is not known for having four seasons, winter comes with particularly chilly temperatures and the best place to experience the shivering cold was definitely Uyuni.

But Uyuni is not known for being cold in winter. The reason people travel there today is to visit its salar. It is a huge, huge "lake" of salt, with a diameter of 140km. Apparently it is about 11m thick and underneath there are some water "channels" that, at some point come up and break the surface. This water is loaded with lithium and other minerals and is believed to be helpful in curing skin conditions.

Well, but all that isn´t what is the most striking characteristic of this place: its other wordly appearance is what makes a person feel dizzy. And, as the guides told us, it can be very disorienting if the sky is cloudy, as mountains in horizon disappear and everything becomes white.

Going in winter means that most of the yearly rainfall is avoided, as it occurs mostly during the summer months of January and February. We got all the cold, wind and sun one could expect at this time of the year. Nevertheless, I don´t regret it the tiniest bit. The visit to the salar was probably one of the (travelling) days best spent in my whole life. Its white neverending surface brings the visitor to the moon and back, when realising that on the other side there are mountains with regular coloured earth.

Travelling from its entrance in Colchani to the volcano on the opposite shore was a surreal experience: at some point there were no other landmarks to be seen and only the guides could give us the security of going to a specific place. It is terrifyingly beautiful and striking; it´s a lanscape that cannot be forgotten.

We had lunch on the opposite shore, near the small lakes that appear between the salt and the earth. Thanks to the water there´s some small vegetation and contrasting flaming pink flamingoes. It´s incredible how in such a short distance (just a few metres), one goes from no life at all, just salt, into a green tapestry with fluorescent flamingos drinking water and keeping their balance on just one leg.

This beautiful scenery made our meal the most special one throughout the trip. It was a simple meal though, but who cares about that with such scenery and great company.

Speaking of which, I cannot help myself and mention (again?) how good most of the guides were: we had a guide and a driver for just the two of us and they never, ever rushed us. They took their time to explain things and answered all our questions. They always respected our times as well, as walking and climbing, at this altitude, was a bit of a hard workout. Entrance to monuments was always included and we never had to pay any "extras". These are the tiny details that made this trip even more special, I think.

Going back to the salar, no trip is complete without going to Isla Incahuasi, an island of earth in the middle of the salt lake. It´s funny how one can get to an island by car, but that´s really how it goes. From the top of the hill, this is the view to be had:

Surreal, right?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Poster | Cartaz "Mesa Redonda"

This is a poster for a "round table" meeting to discuss changes in land management law. I´m not sure if "round table" means "meeting" and "discussion" in english, but it does in portuguese and that was my main idea for this poster.

For more information, head over to GEOTA´s homepage.


Este é o cartaz para a Mesa Redonda organizada pelo Geota, cujo objectivo é discutir as alterações ao regime jurídico na gestão territorial.

Para mais informações, sigam para a página do GEOTA.

Finished! | Terminada!

My first sweater ever is finished! The pattern comes in this year´s "El Arte de Tejer" and it is called "Semimurcielago". It´s easy to knit but the instructions aren´t very thorough, which may be a problem for rookies like me. I did improvise a bit but basically followed the instructions given. It´s a comfy and warm sweater but raising my arms makes the whole sweater come up to my chest, thanks to its "bat" sleeves. It was a good first sweater, I think!


Ora aqui está a minha primeira camisola tricotada. Sou do género vagaroso a tricotar mas isso não é coisa que me importe demasiado porque gosto muito do "durante". Mais do que a parte das costuras e desconfio que até da parte de vestir as peças terminadas! Resumindo: estou contente com a minha camisola. Agora tenho de arranjar um poncho para lhe pôr por cima para sair à rua, porque já comprovei que o casaco não funciona.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

On my desk

The days after coming back from Bolivia have been very busy with work. It´s all related with graphic design and until they´re published it´s the usual thing: no blogging about it.

To distract me a bit from all the computer work I´m revisiting some old papercuts I did that are waiting to be framed and hung. There´s also my knitting project at the moment: a small one because at this point my mind cannot bear anything too complicated.

I must say that I´m happy for being commissioned with all these projects but I certainly miss the time spent illustrating (or papercutting, for that matter), away from the computer. It makes me feel... well, more fulfilled, maybe?

As a soundtrack, I´m enjoying listening to this podcast whenever "Once" (its original soundtrack) isn´t playing on a loop.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Bolivia part III: Oruro to Uyuni

Em português, aqui.


Leaving La Paz was a bit of a relief. The city is a busy, busy valley and the expectation of seeing a bit of countryside was great. We were southbound to Oruro, a mining city where Carnival festivities are the country´s most famous. The route is a straight one, something I got used to here in Argentina, but still the landscape was impressive. It was pure, arid desert. Mountains surrounded us in the horizon, looking like cocoa powder hills.

Travelling by bus in Bolivia is not a pleasant experience: people stand in aisles, seat in aisles, eat in aisles, seats are uncomfortable (specially compared to argentine buses, which offer first-class service) and toilets are non-existant. We got to Oruro and my bladder was at its fullest.

We still had a couple of stops before getting to the restaurant: picking up train tickets and checking-in luggage. And then food. And toilet, of course.

In Oruro the dust flies with the wind that blows and sweeps the altiplano. There are no trees and vegetation is sparse. It gets to be warm under the sun but staying in the shadow is almost freezing.

It was Mother´s Day in Bolivia so as we got to the restaurant there were no free tables. After waiting a bit, we could order what came out to be the "best meal in Bolivia", quoting my fellow passenger. I had a vegetarian meal - the only one there was - but the food was delicious and the size of the portion was far more than I could handle. And I am good at handling large portions.

See more photos here.
After that huge meal we happily boarded the train, thinking of a good siesta to help make the digestion. The train was comfortable and there was a TV with a DVD player, which gave us plenty of entertaining after it got dark. Before that the landscape was all the entertaining we needed.

From the window we could see the "last breath" of Lake Titicaca, as these small(er) lakes are the ones that connect the only river that drains it. The river feeds these lakes and dies here, as water evaporates quickly due to the dry climate. The waters are shallow and flamingoes can be seen with their feet soaked. (If only flamingoes had "feet"...)

As the sun sets blankets are brought to passengers: the temperature outside drops to a bitter, harsh, cutting cold as the wind blows on the altiplano. There aren´t close mountais to exert any resistance to it, so it blows and everything is swept away, lips get cold sores and ears hurt.

After seven or eight hours of almost-watching movies in the train, we get to Uyuni, the pueblo in the middle of nowhere that used to be the place where railroads crossed on their different paths to Chile and the south. It is also the base for visiting the Salar de Uyuni, a huge salt field with more than 140km in diameter.

In Uyuni I felt the coldest in my whole life. I know I come from a city where snowing is a phenomenon and live in another one where exactly the same happens; I know that I´ve lived close to the tropics my teenage years; in short, I know that my "cold" measuring is probably not the best; but still - it was cold. And the worst part? No heating.

The next day was "Salar day". The experience was so amazing that it deserves a full independent post.

1000 Words: A Manifesto for Sustainability in Design

Here´s a useful link: Core 77 - 1000 Words: A Manifesto for Sustainability in Design. (via Fabrica)

Illustration Friday: Forgotten

This is dedicated to each and everyone of you who got to the front door only to discover you don´t have your keys with you.


A minha ilustração para o Illustration Friday desta semana é uma homenagem a todos os que chegaram à porta de casa e descobriram ter esquecido as chaves para entrar.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

On my desk

On my desk today, apart from the usual likes of computer and tablet (lots of design work going on) some sketches for an illustration. I love playing with inks and color and must confess myself as a color rookie. It isn´t easy for me to combine colors so I must compensate with lots of playing. It relaxes me and then I can finally do something - when I am relaxed and not thinking about the results, that´s when results are best.

There´s tea, as usual, and some music: Ocean´s Thirteen Original Soundtrack. I also listened to the commentary to Portugal´s match against Czech Republic (glad we won!).

See other desks at kootoyoo´s.

Work Life

Here´s to a great book (with a very good online preview).

What a concept!

What a cool concept. It really goes beyond what has been designed so far. I wonder now what kind of fuel it will receive if it comes to be mass-produced. It is nevertheless a huge shift in the way of thinking and making a car and I find this shift to be fundamental in the design process. They just proved a car can be made different.

Found via 37 signals.


Que ideia fabulosa! Realmente, para quê chapa? A única dúvida que tenho é que tipo de combustível irá este carro usar, caso venha a ser produzido em massa.

A mudança do paradigma da construção de um carro é para mim uma das novidades mais importantes que este projecto traz ao mercado: as coisas podem fazer-se de maneira diferente e, acima de tudo, inovar é possível.

Via 37 signals.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Bolivia part II: Lake Titicaca

Blue skies like these? I´ve only seen them in Portugal. Really, there are no blue skies like in my home country but the ones in Lake Titicaca can come pretty close. I wonder if it is because there´s so little moisture in the air (the same happens in Portugal during the summer) or because the air is so thin. I don´t know but it just reminded me of home. But a cold, cold home.

The trip to Lake Titicaca started early. In the non-heated bus they gave us huge blankets to cover ourselves, which was a very good idea. We saw the break of dawn during our trip from La Paz and the sunrise behind the mountains was beautiful.

Falling asleep and waking up again we would have a different landscape. At a certain point, among all the dryness that describes the Andes in this place, there´s a huge sea. We know it´s a lake, but it is so big you cannot see its opposite shore.

The arrival point is Copacabana, a small town that serves those tourists that are travelling to or coming from Isla del Sol, the island in the middle of the lake.

In Copacabana there´s a beach that, albeit beautiful, smells like urine. Ant then there´s the strange (for this latitude and longitude) mudéjar-style church. If it weren´t for the sharp temperatures and the lack of oxygen in the air, I´d say - by looking at these pictures - that I was somewhere in the south or Portugal. But I guess I´m mentioning Portugal way more often than Copacabana or Bolivia, so I´ll stop comparing.

The main attraction of the church is the "Vírgen de Copacabana", but what I really liked the most is the beautifully sculpted wooden doors. They tell the story of the Vírgen´s sculptor in a way that looks like a cartoon. It touched my illustrator´s heart.

Isn´t the blue sky something special?

The clouds were what struck me the most - I felt like squeezing them.

We then took a boat to the island.

The landscapes were beautiful and, once again, reminded me of home. But I won´t get into that. The island was beautiful and the series of snowed peaks were visible in the distance, as a background to the crystal clean lake waters and the smaller hills on the lake´s shores. But not everything was perfect because we had to leave the island sooner than we would have wanted. That was something both of us didn´t enjoy much about the tour: we spent such a long time travelling and waiting for other travellers just be a couple of hours on the island. It felt too little time to actually see something.

It gave us enough time for this, though:

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Bolivia part I: La Paz

Para ler um relato da viagem em português, aqui está uma ligação para o meu outro blog.


Although this is more of a work blog, I cannot resist posting about it here because this trip to Bolivia was such an eye opening experience. I realise this is no touristic paradise for my fellow argentines but for us, europeans, Bolivia is an exotic treasure. It´s not "undiscovered" - but it certainly isn´t full of people covering the same beaten track. I´m sure there´s a lot more to Bolivia than what we saw in ten days - and certainly a huge amount of more "virgin" places, but the places we visited felt pretty unspoilt to us (specially compared to Argentina).

We flew from Buenos Aires to La Paz. The airport sits on a 4000m high plateau and the lack of oxigen is quite asphyxiating to people - like us - who just landed from sea level. You don´t notice it in the first few minutes, but once you try to lift your luggage from the luggage belt - then you know it. Heart racing, slight chest pain, heavy headache - that´s it.

After being delivered to our hotel our first stop was the chemist´s: "soroche" pills to counteract the effects of the very thin air. Then, food:

This ceviche was devoured way too fast for my camera, a bit like Lucky Luke. Then, the necessary mate de cocato help us breathe:

The next day we strolled down El Prado for a bit of the Sunday morning La Paz action. There was a fair with lots of kids playing and singing and people dancing. The ambiance was perfect. Nobody seemed to be suffering from "soroche" apart of us.

Then we started touring the city and went to the Valle de la Luna as well.

This last spot is a place where the andean rock is eroded in such a way that it feels like you´re on the moon, not on an earthly landscape. The cactuses bring us back to the earth but the lack of oxygen always makes you wonder where you really are.

No visit to La Paz is complete without a stop at Mercado de las Brujas, "Witches´ Market", where amazing things are available: silver and bolivianita - a local semi-precious stone - jewelry, alpaca sweaters and ponchos, fake-alpaca sweaters and ponchos, different souvenirs and, of course, lucky charms, llama foetuses and other goods that serve the adoration of Mother-Earth, Pachamama.

By the end of the day we were a bit more acclimatised. Still, the feeling of exhaustion sent us to bed early every single day.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

On my desk today

On my desk today? Tea! I don´t know what I´d do without it. Well, it´s a rooibos infusion with orange and cinammon, but to keep it simple I just say "tea". I love to drink it all year round but when it´s cold outside it tastes better.

Also on my desk: my week planner. After coming back from Bolvia on Monday I´ve had too much to do and too little time to actually plan - it now works as a "to-do list". And I still prefer to write things down than having a little computer application with little noises. There´s nothing like ticking (with a real pencil) a done item, right? (Yes, I´m old-fashioned and tecnhology-impaired...)

Some quick sketches made in Bolivia and german class exercises. I had an oral presentation today and somehow feel that I am in "post-presentation" mode: I feel that rush of having accomplished a mission. I´m happy about it.

The rest of the work I´m on right now is basically computer based. Some doodles will be necessary in the next few minutes. I just love the doodling part.

Visit more desks through kootoyoo.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Back indeed

We´re back from Bolivia. So far I´ve managed to download photos and go through emails, answer the most urgent ones and reassure my parents about making it safely home (they weren´t concerned, really, they were at the movies when I called them).

More about Bolivia later this week. For now, a suitcase is still waiting for me. And dinner. And bed.


Voltámos da Bolívia. Correu tudo bem mas só vou conseguir escrever algum post sobre o assunto amanhã ou depois. Por agora, descarreguei as fotografias (muitas) e li e respondi aos emails mais urgentes. Ali no corredor, a meio caminho entre o daqui a pouco e o já vai, está uma mala para ser desfeita e arrumada.

Falta fazer o jantar. E ir dormir, porque hoje a alvorada foi cedo.