*folio

*folio is a simple, portfolio+blog+personal landing page theme built for Jekyll, a static website generator originally geared for GitHub project pages. It was my first foray into creating themes—something I quickly found a passion for. The problem of creating something that works for many scenarios as simply and elegantly as possible is addicting.

the *folio repo has been forked over 250 times, and used as the basis for a conference website, numerous personal portfolios, and as a boilerplate for learning Jekyll in a University of Toronto graduate course.

For this project, I wanted to combine a personal blog with a portfolio page, and wanted two separate layouts for that. I also wanted a simpler listing for my poetry, which I was able to easily import from Tumblr straight into markdown entries for Jekyll.

I started with the original install of Jekyll, cleaned it up, whitened it up, and made the focus white space, subtle transparencies, and Helvetica.

github repo • live demo

main landing page immediately surfaces most relevant or recent content.
about page features oversized font awesome icons for easy contact on many platforms.
a simple, lightweight list layout, perfect for poems or the like.
The portfolio showcases a select thumbnail of your project, or a bold square of theme color if it’s not a visual project.

Eur(nope)

an experimental novel exploring not things as they are, but things as they are not

Welcome to opposite day.

When ending a relationship, one does not think of what was, but what was not—the things that were lacking, the things that were not there, that never existed or disappeared or couldn’t even be imagined. These are the reasons a relationship ends.

The act of living in a place is also a relationship. Visiting or experiencing a country, even briefly, forms a kind of bond. What if we think of leaving a country as the end of a relationship, and instead of thinking about what was, the good things that happened there, think about what was not? Then, when you think about what something isn’t, it then opens up a world of possibilities about what it could be. It could be Albania, but what’s to say it isn’t Albany?

Europe explores the ways in which what was not tells us what is.

We find that after years of struggle that
we do not take a trip;
a trip takes us

John Steinbeck

List of Countries:

The list of countries was drawn from Wikipedia’s “List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe” (at the time of writing). Generally, countries were excluded if some of their geographical area falls outside the boundaries of the European region. Exceptions were made for countries that culturally associate with Europe.

Process

Within the Travel section of the New York Times website, each country name was entered as a search term. The resulting articles were searched for negating terms, as outlined below.

Search terms:

"n't"
"no"
"no "
"not "
"never"
"nothing"
"nowhere"
"nobody"

Resulting phrases that used these search terms became the building blocks for the poems contained in the book. No additional words were added to create poems. As the author is Bulgarian, it makes sense to excerpt the corresponding poem as a taste of the work. Find PDF download at the end.


Bulgaria

It’s not the mountain
It’s not the snow
There was no light-up trail map
After all, there was nothing to ski on
Hip-deep powder, not mere dust

Not even from these cliffs does the Black Sea look black
This fertile land is limited and usually not very appetizing
If you haven’t savored grilled kebapcheta kebabs

We had not heard a note of Bulgarian music
“Traditional Bulgarian folk music” is a threat, not a sales pitch
I learned not to pack my most conservative clothing
Nodding one’s head to say no

No Communist holiday was ever marked so intensely
The government had done nothing
Not to mention Lenin
Sprawling but not unsightly government complex
As though no one was in charge

There were no raw, concrete apartment blocks
Nothing to indicate what they might once have been
No particular reason for them to be where they were
There was no money for repairs
Though no one could say why

Sofia is no more a city of whispers

*simplepage

When I first discovered Jekyll, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. In looking for previously established themes, I came across Single Paged. I really liked the layout, and appreciated the ease of choosing colors. I wanted to make it my own, though, so I used that project as way to get familiar with Jekyll.

I ultimately ended up using this template for my personal site, until I decided I needed several pages, for projects and writing and other things. This theme still remains one of my favorites.

github repo • live demo

Marbu School in Nepal

This project was a collaboration with Johanna Greenspan-Johnston and Micaela Hall as part of course requirements from 4.411—D-lab’s School.

The goal of the project was to design an eco-friendly, earthquake-resistant structure that could be built using locally sourced labor and materials.

The project began with site analysis. We examined climate data from nearby Kathmandu and what little data we could gather of Marbu, as well. We used our analysis of climate data to come up with a simple model of our ideas for insulation. We outfitted the model with temperature sensors, and tested the model for two weeks. We iterated over the design, changing the roof to include clarestory windows when we discovered we needed more ventilation. We additionally designed shutters to improve air flow.

We researched precedents for other seismically stable dwellings, and found houses in Pakistan built with local materials that used cross bracing for stability. We incorporated a similar idea into our design. As part of our research, we explored the tensile strength of clay bricks, and how their strength varied with the inclusion of cement. We tested the bricks that we made. In our design, we imagined bamboo cross bracing infilled with bricks made of local materials, which would provide plenty of support in a seismic event.

download full report (pdf)

the Icon Chair

This project was a collaboration with my partner, Tara Ebsworth, as part of course requirements from 4.500—Design Computing. The goal was to create a chair that was easily manufactured out of common materials, and put together only using a rubber mallet. The intent of the design was to use as little wood as possible, and to still be comfortable and stylish. We achieved this by using thin slats of plywood that had some give, conforming to the body.

Our design was inspired by the humble park bench, with simple curves adding optical appeal and inspiring the name—the Icon, because if it’s resemblance to religious icons.

For our final review, we were judged on both aesthetics and comfort, and this dainty little chair held our 6’4”, 220lb instructor comfortably. We were also the only group in the class to produce two chairs from the given materials.