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Richard Telford

Photo by Erika Hildegard

Creator of the permaculture principles calendar and the permaculture principles symbols that are used throughout this magazine.

Where do you live?

Seymour on the Goulburn River in Central Victoria.

Who do you live with?

My partner Kunie, our two kids Kai (6) and Sen (3), a dozen chooks and a rooster.

What do you do in your creative practice?

I spread the word about permaculture. Most of my computer related work involves creating visually appealing information in bite-sized chunks, the Permaculture calendar, the website  and my blog. I see permaculture ethics and principles as tools to empower people to become creative in their own lives, to help them adapt to change, to find their own solutions – so I reinforce them in my work.

How did you come to creating the logos for the permaculture principles?

After meeting David Holmgren and his family in WA, I popped in and visited them at Melliadora and offered my services as a designer.

David sent me a brief outline of the principles, and asked for some icons to help identify and visualise them. I worked them up in early 2001 and I’ve been helping David publish his ideas ever since.

In late 2006 David Arnold introduced the ‘permaculture calendar’ concept to me. A few months later I registered with the idea of presenting the ethics and principles in a simpler, more visual form and integrating it with the calendar. In March 2008 we launched the calendar concept and website. I designed and produced the artwork for the 2009–2012 calendars under David Arnold’s direction, before he handed the role over to me.

How does permaculture influence the creative work you do?

When I think about permaculture I like to consider the bigger picture, how one thing relates to another and how they can support each other. This thinking also applies to how I develop the principles website further, how I raise our kids and relate to other people, and how I design and build various projects around our home. Since 2007 I’ve committed to only working professionally on projects that support the permaculture approach – mainly in publishing new permaculture works.

How do you incorporate permaculture into your life in general?

Having worked closely with the design principles for over a decade, they have become part of my being. Everything that I do is informed by permaculture thinking. We grow the majority of our fruit, veggies and eggs, and collect most of the energy and water that we use on site. Meat, dairy and wheat are mostly sourced locally.

What inspires you to do what you do?

The hope to inspire others through my practice, and empower people to have a go at creating the world that they want.

How does your creative practice work in with your lifestyle as a whole?

My creative practice and my lifestyle have become one. I’m doing what I love: living and working from home, surrounded by my family and garden – with friends and colleagues dropping in from time to time. It’s a busy, creative and rewarding lifestyle choice that gives me the flexibility to adapt to surprises.


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