Or - The importance of surrounding oneself with beautiful things.
I'm a big fan of beautiful objects. I think they can add happiness and inspiration to whatever we do. For me, aesthetics, simplicity and functionality are the key ingredients.
During the course of my undergrad degree, I discovered that notebooks were important objects. And not just important for storing information. I found that nice notebooks encouraged me to carry them everywhere, so that I always had a notebook on me. They encouraged me to write more notes, and keep all my notes from various courses all in the same place. I can't say for sure that they made me smarter or got me better grades, but I'm sure I enjoyed the experience more.
I found that Moleskine Cahier notebooks fitted my style. They were a nice size (a bit smaller than A4), with a soft cover and a very simple design. The first ones I had were during third year. They were deep red, and I liked the size and feel of them. I stuck with them during Honours, but switched to a medium grey.
And what about the most important bit of all, the orchids on the front cover? Well, they are drawn by my wonderful partner, Alice McCarthy! She's dabbled a bit in painting and drawing before, and I wanted to have some pretty orchids on my notebooks, so I asked her to draw on the front cover. My only requirement was that she drew the Canberra Spider Orchid, the focal study species of my Honours.
Needless to say, I was delighted with what she drew. I think they're really beautiful. I think the style of drawing, small marks and dots with black pen, fits so well with the grey notebook. It's a bit like pointillism in that it develops shape and texture through making many small marks. It looks incredibly natural, as if the orchids were there all along. Several times people have asked me where I managed to buy an orchid notebook! Wherever I go, people comment on how beautiful they are.
So, now that I've starting my PhD, you guessed it...more orchid notebooks! This time, because I will be studying a variety of greenhood orchids, I am asking Alice for a different type of greenhood orchid on each notebook. The first one in the PhD series is of a Nodding Greenhood, both a favourite of ours, and one of the first orchids we ever saw.
I think there is great value in surrounding oneself with things that inspire, however that inspiration may come about. These notebooks inspire me every day. Whenever I go to a meeting, or need to jot down some notes, or need to plan something - every time I pick up my notebook, I feel a little bit inspired, a little bit proud, and a little bit happier. Thanks Alice!