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The cutting mat Abbott Miller inspired

I am currently in the process of clearing my belongings from my desk, as my work contract expires at the end of this week. I've taken down my favourite pictures of design work. I have boxed up my books and stationary ready to be removed. I have even put away the small collection of snacks I've accumulated in case of emergency. But my cutting mat remains as a signal that I have not left yet!

I have had many cutting mats in my career, but this one is extra special to me. The reason I bought it was because I wanted to have a nice, new, clean mat to use in a workshop I took with Abbott Miller (from Pentagram). The auspicious nature of the event impressed upon me greatly, and the new mat was my way of respecting the occasion – although I'm not sure whether Abbott noticed.

So, what makes a great mat, apart from having a large size, that is? The fact that it is dead flat may seem unsual to point out, but if anyone has stored a cutting mat on its side for any length of time, they will know about the wobble that can result. My mat is of the kind that self-seals after a cut, which is a very useful quality to have, but this seems to make it more vulnerable to the kind of surface undulation that ruins the mat.

Thank you Mr Miller, for inspiring me to purchase a new mat. I hope my previous one, which was left in a hotel room because it wouldn’t fit in my baggage, is in good hands. I had an international flight to catch, and had to make some hard decisions. The mat was a wobbly one, so I don’t actually miss it that much.

I have to admit the clear desk I currently have is not the norm for me. I usually find a variety of paperwork, design inspiration and miscellany to occupy most of my desk. My method for organizing my desk seems to be “make everything visible at once”, which does have a detrimental effect on the amount of free space I end up with. One of the useful things about having a large cutting mat on my desk is the way it sanctifies the space it occupies. I like the surface to be clear in case I need to quickly trim anything – like a fire station on alert, my cutting mat is always on standby!

Since the end of the week is fast approaching, I know that I will be re-homing my cutting mat soon. Once it is finally relocated, there will be a moment of moving on, which will bring with it a sense of closure. I will need to find a new home that is appropriate for my beloved cutting mat. It will be in a place that is accessible, has good light and most importantly, allows it to be kept flat – the natural state of a happy mat.

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