Surviving practice: Mixing and Multitasking

In the stress of these fast-paced times“slow living”, which also involves taking joy in everything you do, is a brave and beautiful philosophy. How can we achieve such joy? My recipe is seemingly contradictory: it is also possible to juggle things and combine a wide variety of practices. As a “life coach” I confirm that this could be a pleasant hedonistic lifestyle. You have to  find those zones and topics that you care about. Whether these be social injustice, jewellery or ancient ceramics. My main topics are product design, craft  and architecture and I write criticism and books, edit, research, teach, curate exhibitions, write scripts, consult and communicate. This gives me the freedom to express ideas and function like a missionary in a situation where there is no professional analytical independent craft  and design magazine or television program in Estonia.

The fact that the public often does not recognize content marketing or is not critically aware of the information presented in such articles is a highly problematic issue for me. I try to offer and promote an ethical and transparent view, but this can sometimes be a monologue and it causes a lot of misunderstanding. In the Estonian context, there is not so much information about design and crafts and so artists expect  first and foremost positive promotion. Critical analysis is taboo for some of them. Nevertheless, I hope that there is no post-truth era, and my desire to adopt an independent position is not too naive.

My first article was published more than twenty years ago and it was an article about window displays. Now I write constantly for newspapers, magazines, online environments, as well as writing books. I try to understand my audience and offer them fresh ideas to consider. To be more and more open I try to become proficient with new media, such as documentary and social media. In 2016 I curated the design and applied art exhibition “Idealists” at the Tallinn Art Hall. I invited artists to participate who are united by a desire to use their work to accept responsibility for the consumption craze, social and industrial catastrophes and the loss of ethical spirit, and to improve the world.

I strongly believe that we must act and through our practice we can change the world.


Karin Paulus

Paulus is a freelance journalist and researcher. Between 2004 and 2014 she was editor and columnist at the weekly Estonian Ekspress. She has written numerous books about product design and architecture. Paulus has also curated exhibitions. From 1999 she has worked as a part-time lecturer at Estonian Academy of Arts, Tartu Art College and others. She is also Head of Communication for the Tallinn Design Night Festival. In 2012 Paulus was announced “Best Design Critic” (The Estonian Design Awards) and in 2007 “Best Critic” (The Estonian Association of Architects).