Non-design activities/obsessions

I have been soul searching for a while and have come to the conclusion that I’m not doing enough with my hands. I design furniture as an industrial designer at work, and while I enjoy seeing my products released and being sold and made in our factory, it’s a very hands off approach. Before becoming a designer I was an active musician (guitarist) but the time I spend on music has dwindled over the years as it invloves a lot of sitting and I guess my brain is often quite drained at work.

Have been wanting to start making my own things at home in the shed and am on my way to getting it properly sorted and my workbench completed so I can get into that.

I have been looking for other creative persuits though and have decided to try to make my own sourdough bread. I visited San Francisco in August and loved the artisan sourdough bread there. I also watched Michael Pollan’s series “cooked” on netflix and have been reading “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson from Tartine bakery in SF.

I’m wondering if anyone else has obsessive non-design hobbies that they maybe apply their creativity and design mind to. Also, if anyone else feels this dissatisfaction with sitting and sketching/3D modelling/detail drawing all day and feels caged in. I don’t think I’ll ever quit design, but feel it’s not giving me everything I want from life.

Now, to feed my starter and order more bread making equipment from Amazon…

I work in the medical industry and enjoy design & fabricating furniture. Maybe you could design and fabricate medical devices. :wink:

I also sculpt. Most certainly a hack at that, but is a nice distraction.

Working the body definitely relaxes the mind. I ride a bicycle to that end. But I also find the history of bike racing interesting. So much so I have a credit on IMDB as an associate producer of a documentary about a long dead Italian racer. Top spot on my resume. :mrgreen:

Hopefully the bread-making will work for you. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about any time or money invested, just move on to something else. I had tried a lot of things before the bike thing stuck.

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Anything posted to the utubes?

Would love to see it.

This is my movie.

how about picking up a musical instrument?

I say follow your interests with the bread thing! Maybe there’s a reason your mind is being drawn to the subject. Exploring that will open new doors, or at the very least, provide you with some high-quality grub and a great smelling kitchen :slight_smile:

For me, it’s mushrooms. What started as a general curiosity has slowly grown into obsession. Photographing, growing, foraging, eating. I’m also pretty committed to rock climbing. The mental and physical focus it requires is a great workout and spiritually recharging. Either way, I think it’s great to learn something new!

Here’s a pic from the garden… nothing like fresh morels for breakfast!

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Haha. I live in the Adelaide Hills in Australia and there are about 15 large radiata pines on our property so we get literally hundreds of pine mushrooms (saffron milk caps) every winter. We have a very limited amount of porcini in the Adelaide Hills too and I went looking for them in winter without any luck. Mushrooms are great.

The sourdough starter is kicking along nicely but I need a free weekend to do some baking. My combo cooker arrives in a few weeks… Exciting.


Not necessarily, creative, but challenging, requires good time management and strategy, gives you time to think and problem solve, great for goal oriented and stats driven OCD designers, and helps counter balance the hours wasted in the office sitting at a screen or in meetings.

I took up running 3 years ago to make a positive lifestyle change and improve my health (and I was designing running shoes without actually running in them).

This year I’ve racked up about 3,500km, only missed 1 day without running since January, did 5 marathons, 15 races in 5 countries and have no complaints about any weather. Plus I can eat almost anything and drink all the beer I want.

I know lots of runners who are creatives. A good balance between the physical and mental and i think very complimentary to design life. Plus, you can do it anywhere and any time, so fits studio life, business trips, odd consultant hours, and the midnight oil we designers tend to burn.



The large crowd is something I never would have expected. I always assume other people’s silly hobbies are like mine where it draws a few dozen people only.

Please note, the vintage bike thing is small in the US. Italy has an event with 6-7K people riding old bikes. France and Belgium would be the next in line for enthusiasts, but it drops off pretty quickly at that point.

I subscribe to the tenet that good bread is hard/crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is quite difficult to find such an animal in the US. And I do love a good piece of bread, probably more so than Oprah. Unfortunately I do not have the patience or wherewithal to bake.

Do you plan on expanding into pizza dough?

I have a few hobbies and passions I follow outside work. I do find this helps a lot with keeping a fresh mind at work. I enjoy fishing a great deal. It has some great aspects for the designer. Fly fishing holds a special place for me and it allows me to use my design skills to create different products for the sport. I tie flies and also make some different line configurations for fishing. It is practical and artistic so fits my thinking quite well. I have also gotten in to videography which has been great as a story telling media and for work. Also enjoy ridding bicycles it is a great way to free the mind and open your creativity.

Have a kid. If you need more to do, have a second kid. Only halfway kidding. You know how therapeutic and enjoyable it can be to spend an hour drawing or building Lego or even Play-Doh with a kid?

Its kind of like a hobby, but it costs more, and you won’t/can’t get sick of it and change your mind.

I also like polishing individual bicycle cassette cogs to a shine, and repacking hub bearings.

Kids are great, but if you want zero time for your hobbies then have twins.
Once you have kids your hobby becomes developing your kids hobbies and truly learning about life to answer all the “why” questions.

I agree. I have been reading a lot on a site called the perfect loaf which the author has adapted material from tartine bread which is on iBooks for $2.99 so its been great to have guides to follow. I’ll definitely use the sourdough to make pizzas. I’m finding it hard to schedule in a bake session as I’ve got so much going on this time of year and you need a whole saturday at home and sunday morning to bake. I’ll try to get a bake done on the second weekend of december.

Here’s a pic of my starter… The rubber band was in line with the top of the starter when I fed it last night and this is what it looked like this morning. Lots of activity going on in there.

Looking good! I bet that would make some great english muffins :slight_smile:

My favorite bread recipe comes from the NY Times, because it’s super simple and easy to make over the course of a couple days. And, no kneading!

That’s great! Here’s an L deliciosus find from earlier this year. Excuse the dirty hands, I wasn’t actually foraging, but found this guy after a long day of rock climbing. I’m sure your specimens are probably larger, but I was still excited to find this little guy :slight_smile:

I love their bright color! And also their flavor :laughing:

Since people brought up kids I also have one of those to. Pretty crazy how kids change your view on life. He is 3 and it is so much fun doing activities with the family. We got a two person kayak recently and it has been great fun piling into the kayak and going out for cruise around the bay.

Ooh. That’s a nice one. Perfect size.

We get all sizes from tiny pins to the size of a side plate. They obviously start small and grow to the plate size.

My favorite recipe with these is a carbonara linguine. Get some of these, sautee with onions, fresh sage and garlic, add bacon, then cream and serve on the linguine with some grated parmesan or pecorino on top.

This sourdough hobby is paying off.

I might even quit design and become a baker. Working with dough is much more enjoyable than designing sheet metal patterns for workstation screen mounting brackets. Maybe even more lucrative. :laughing:

:sunglasses: Vote for my Core77 artisan home baker gift guide: :sunglasses: