We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mrs. BD was discussing the elements of design with me as she has been working on yet another one of her design projects. We talk about rhythm, balance, repetition, unity, etc., but, above all, putting the specs first. Like a sonnet.
We thought that this wiki entry, Design elements and principles, offers a beautiful and succinct summary of the topic. Each section can lead to nifty conversation about almost anything.
Design principles can apply to anything that anybody wants to make beautiful: art, gardens, clothing, buildings, furniture, tools, music, etc. Come to think of it, even writing stories or making up a dance.
I know somebody whose career is industrial design. Give him the specs and he will design a work of functional art. With talent, function can be made beautiful.
Consider the humble sinuous scythe. One of my grampas, the industrialist, was a pro with a scythe on the farm. In Yankeeland, pronounced "sigh." Sad to admit, I have always been lazy and partial to power machinery but a good man with a scythe can do faster and better with the added benefit of keeping in shape.
That's not a scythe, it's a bush hook. A scythe has a longer and thinner blade. It's an understandable mistake, as when I Googled for images of scythes, most of what I found was the version with a short thick blade. The Wikipedia page for "scythe" has a picture of a real scythe and some black-and-white pictures showing one in use.
I learnt how to use a scythe on mountain-side farm in Austria in 1971. The blade slides right to left just a bit above the ground, barely angled so that it cuts a swath about two inches wide. It's slicing the grass, not chopping it. It's a very satisfying, rhythmic motion with very little force to it.
I have a 25% slope that I clear once a year. It used to take all day with the rented heavy duty weed whacker. It takes 2.5 hours with the medium duty scythe blade. The slope helps to sustain the momentum of the blade so one can swing in great semi-circles, even through small pines and hemlocks. And I don't have to buy gas or change the oil, just swipe the stone across it a few time every 20 minutes or so.