Friday, December 30, 2011

Farmer's Hand Complete!

I finished the farmer's hand this morning. Now I will start making the corn out of should be really fun!

I am going to buy the Monsanto hand his suit and the farmer's hand his flannel from the thrift store today. :O )

It will be interesting to see how this clay dries. It will more than likely crack but I think that will be fitting. I've only used this clay for the tomatoes and it worked really well for them, but they were small and easy to carve out the insides so they'd dry faster and without cracking.

The fingers were planning on sagging so I cut the armature from the clay monsanto hand I'd built in the summer and stuck the wires into the palm.

This is the end result. The holes in the arm will be to tie the hand down to the board with wire, I also added two holes in the palm since the corn will cover it. This picture is kinda creepy...

I'm excited for this piece! All the hard parts are done. Smooth sailing from here on out.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monstrous Monsanto Hand

I'm done sculpting the huge Monsanto ended up bigger than I intended, but that's not a problem. Next, I will work on the farmer's hand, but I may use clay instead because I don't want the farmer's hand to look so rough.

I will dress him with a sleeve from a suit jacket. I think I will go to a Salvation Army to buy one and sew two sleeves together. Originally, I had the idea to put nuts and bolts throughout the piece but it didn't look right and it made the piece easier to break. I may still glue them on...but I don't think I will. Nor do I think the piece needs it anymore....not sure.

This is for scale. Jacob's hand against the Monsanto hand. It's actually very light though. I will be picking up tiny pieces of plaster for days... :0 )

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Monsanto Hand Revisited

I sculpted this clay hand during the summer. Originally it was going to be a final piece and I was going to make a cast of it, but something didn't feel right about it. It didn't feel aggressive enough and it felt more like a study.

I finally have the time to get back to it, so I am making it out of plaster this time (I know I should use Hydrocal...but my hardware store thought I was crazy when I asked for it). I will be cramming nuts and bolts into the plaster as well. This is a view from the front of the armature made of chicken wire.

And a side view...I have gone into this project knowing this may not work...I have already had some problems. I drilled holes through the board and brought wire through the holes to tie the armature down to the wood.

This is a sketch of what this piece will hopefully look like. The Monsanto hand is gigantic hovering over the farmers hand crushing the farmers corn. The small farmers hand gently gives the corn to the people and the powerful Monsanto snatches it up.

Big problem #1! The plaster was too heavy for the wire and it started to topple over, so Jakey searched desperately for a stick for me to put inside. I drilled a hole in the wood for the stick to sit in and tied the the stick tightly to the wire.

The final view of the stick. This reminds me of Fern Gully when Hexxus is oozing across everything. Very frightening! I have been an environmentalist since I was 4 because of this movie. :0 )

This is were I stop for the day. I will build more plaster onto it tomorrow to create a monstrous hand.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

En Las Tablas: Sock Luck!

Potluck: Chicago went to En Las Tablas yesterday to make sock puppets with the kids. It was a lot of fun. I wasn't able to go to En Las Tablas last time since we had to split up so I was really excited to get another chance. We brought in new and fairly worn socks and the kids were able to pick out the ones they for the body and one for the mouth. The socks where suppose to be avatars of themselves. I was in charge of sewing the mouth and body together. Then they went to another station to have hair and eyes sewn on. Afterwards they were able to decorate the puppets. We then interviewed them with their puppet and asked them questions like "What super power do you bring to Chicago?"

En Las Tablas Performing Arts Center is an amazing place where kids can take dance classes. They offer classes to residents of Hermosa, West Logan Square, and West Humboldt Park. The classes are inexpensive and no child is turned away if a parent can't pay. Where these kids live, there isn't anything else like En Las Tablas for them. I took dance classes as a child for 7 years and it gave me confidence in myself. I could see these kids really felt safe at En Las Tablas and they were all so outgoing!

It made me think about how I could use art to benefit others and not just myself. I am so thankful I have gotten involved in Potluck: Chicago. Before this residency I was very confused about what I would do with my artwork. Now I am realizing there are so many possibilities and my art doesn't always have to be visual installations, it can be more than that, like En Las Tablas. Right now, I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing in the future but I know I will figure it out as long as I keep working at what I love, farming, artwork, and cooking. I will find a way to bring the three together.

This is Alejandra. She wanted her puppet to have glasses just like herself so she needed three buttons on top of each other. The first button was the frame of the glasses, the next one was her eyes, and the third was the glass from her glasses...very creative idea! David quickly realized he could not do this so he asked me to take over. took a lot of thinking and help from parents to figure this one out but I did it and she loved it.

Here is Meg with a puppet she made herself. He was so cute!

A puppet Helen made that I fell in love with so I kept on wearing him. He's so adorable.

Johnny wanted a picture of his Angry Bird Johnny puppet. :0 ) He really liked Angry Bird as you can see from his I had to look them up when I got home. It looks like the Angry Birds are constantly trying to get their eggs back from the hungry pigs. Here is a little video.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I finally made an Etsy account! It took forever but here it is.

Monday, December 12, 2011

First Craft Fair (not counting the time when I was 14 and tried selling mismatched earrings, 1 earring for $1 each, at the Flea Market...)

Yesterday I participated in the Glenwood Sunday Winter Art and Craft Market in Rogers Park. It went surprisingly well! I had a really great time and my hard work paid off. I will be putting some of the left overs on Etsy and see what happens. I will post a link once it is ready.

This was my table. I put the pomanders in the back for smell and interest.

My friend Clare wearing some Chicken earrings!

My friend Abby bought a beet pin!

I love The Glenwood Farmer's Market and all the lovely vendors. They were all so supportive of my work. Thanks guys!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Magnets for The Glenwood Sunday Winter Art and Craft Market

Here are some of the magnets I made to sell at the Glenwood Sunday Winter Art and Craft Market tomorrow from 9am-2pm at The Glenwood Bar, 6962 N. Glenwood Ave. Now I have to get back to finishing up the earrings!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pins for The Glenwood Sunday Winter Art and Craft Market

edit April 10th, 2012: I now have an Etsy account if you would like to check it out here!

I made 50 pins so far for the Craft Market this Sunday alongside the Farmer's Market. I still have magnets and earrings to do so I don't know why I am blogging right now. :0 )

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pomanders and Cardboard Cutouts

These are all the little cutouts I made for The Glenwood Sunday Winter Art and Craft Market this Sunday. They will become earrings, magnets and pins. I still have to sew most of them to fabric. I spent all of yesterday glueing the prints to cardboard and cutting them out. whew. Check out the market this Sunday from 9am-2pm and buy yourself a chicken pin!

A friend of mine (Hannah!) showed me how to make pomanders! They are so beautiful, they smell wonderful, and they are very soothing to make. You can take any citrus and poke a hole into it with a toothpick, then pop a clove into it. Eventually the fruit will dry out and you will have a fancy air freshener. So far I have pomandered (I don't think that's a word) a grapefruit, orange, lime, and lemon. My place smells wonderful. I am searching for other citrus to cram cloves into!

Friday, December 2, 2011

New and Finally Finished Piece

Gourd 2, it is 37x13 inches and made of fabric and paper.

This was the entire process for this piece. A lot of piling heavy items onto it and waiting for it to dry. This image was the final step. Cut out fabric, glue to paper, cut paper, glue to paper, cut paper, and finally glue to illustration's hard to decided when I should no longer cut and glue. :0 )

There were two tiny onions on my counter that started to grow so I put them in my empty pots to see what happened and now they are growing wild and crazy. It's fun to watch. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Summer of Farming (hopefully)

I am finishing up my application for Wormfarm Institute in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. It is an artists residency on an organic farm...kinda perfect! If I were accepted, I would be gone for two months in the summer, making artwork and working on the farm. My experience this summer volunteering at Green Earth Institute taught me a lot about farming in a small amount of time. I met people who were also very passionate about farming and sharing what they know. Each person had such big ideas and dreams and it was eye-opening for me. I want to do something very different from my everyday life and live in Wisconsin for 2 months and meet more inspiring people.

I have also been checking out Growing Power, a 2.5 acre farm on the Southside of Chicago. Who knew there was a farm in Chicago? They do a lot of teaching at this farm to young children and teenagers. I want to be involved with working with kids because if they only knew how their food grew they would respect it so much more and would enjoy eating a carrot once in a while. This could be a great start to something bigger in my life...but first I need to learn how to grow food because really I haven't done much yet. They have an internship for 2 months working 6 days a week on the farm. If I don't get Wormfarm, I may try for this or do both...either way, I expect to volunteer at Growing Power this summer at least. There is always next year to intern.

THEN a friend of mine (Sonia!) gave me an article about Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. This is a 6 month apprenticeship in Santa Cruz, Callifornia. It looks like they want people with a bit of experience, which I haven't got quite yet...but eventually I hope to apply here. It would be more than working on a farm but a real education about how it all works so that I may someday have my own farm or start a community garden...who knows!

And now some photos of greasy, sweet...kinda vegetable-less, vegan comfort foods from our unconventional Thanksgiving with my mom and sister.

This looks like an add for Daiya cheese...cheezy, Sun-dried tomato basil pesto potatoes.

My Mumah makes amazing vegan Flautas twice a year. mmm...

The end result.

Cinnamon Rolls (from scratch) that I made for breakfast. This is before the icing engulfs them.

And then the not so vegan Angel Food Cake. It required 12 egg whites so I brought a dozen eggs that I bought in Chicago from Hedge Row Farm in Sullivan, Illinois...where they have happy chickens. My Mumah made this for me just like the old days. So soft and fluffy. She is amazing and the cake is all gone.

Now it's time I consider taking a break from sweets for while...if I can help it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Potluck: Chicago Day 4

According to Jacob, my pictures do not make much's a lot of feet. :O )

This is the fourth day of Potluck: Chicago that I didn't have the energy to get around to until now. It was a very inspiring day and I had to do it lets begin!

This is one of the buildings from Dorchester Project in Woodlawn. The group met here early in the morning. Soon after checking out the building we met Theaster Gates, Rebuild Foundation founder. And this is the building where it all started. Here are some words from Mr. Gates, "When I moved to the 6900 block of Dorchester Avenue (minutes from my job at the University of Chicago), I simply needed a place to live and wanted my home to be Chicago’s Southside. My intention was to create a totally recycled/repurposed material clad living space that I could invite my artist, and art loving friends to for dinner, music, and conversation. I wanted to live in a place that fostered creativity, made neighbors more than usually comfortable, and could serve as a meeting place for those interested in community engagement, cultural programming, and celebrating diversity in the arts. As I embarked on the journey of turning a once neighborhood candy store into a living space for me and the beautiful objects I wanted to live among, I began to fill my home with many interesting finds and materials that I came across – an old copper sink, wooden floors from a shut-down local bowling alley, and ceramic vessels that held the stories of my travels and life as a potter. Then came the albums – 8,000 LPs from the closing of Dr. Wax Records in Hyde Park. Next came the books -14,000 architecture and design books to be exact from the closing of the Prairie Avenue Bookstore. Then came the Glass Lantern Slides from the University of Chicago Art History Department – all 60,000 of them – and before I knew it, I had on my hands more than just a few small projects. The archives that were now housed in Dorchester took things to an entirely new level and now my neighborhood, my house, my block, just might someday be added to that list of important places that anchor communities and cities alike – my neighborhood might someday be seen as an artistic hub for creative cultural happenings on the South Side of Chicago. Mix these special archives in with an Artist Residency Program and arts programming for the young people on my block and you have a recipe for change, and the capacity to impact and rebuild an entire neighborhood." This writing came from the Reblog Foundation.

A view from inside.

More from inside.

The beautiful floor!

A cabinet in the bathroom...all those beautiful woods and colors....mmmmmmmm!

We got to see another building that is currently being worked on. Instead of tearing the entire thing down and building a brand new building (although it would be cheaper that way) Theaster chooses to renovate the building to keep as much of the original beauty and history and not to create a new building that is ugly and doesn't belong.

Inside the building being renovated.

more from inside...we had to watch out for holes in the floor, that may be why I didn't get many pictures...I was afraid I would fall through the floor if I didn't pay attention.

We also got to take an outside look at the Dante Harper Project. This was a Chicago Housing Autority (CHA) development that has been vacant for years until now. "We propose to reactive the Dante Harper Townhomes into a development that provides 32 artist and mixed income rental housing, as well as an onsite art center where creative expressions, cultural exchanges, and art production can happen." Rebuild Foundation is not only creating art spaces but also creating places for people to live and be a part of a community. I would like to find a way to make art that works with people. The Dante Harper Project has gotten me very excited about the possibilities of art!

After we took the tour we sat down to listen to the life stories of Mr. Bill, Theaster Gates (the artist's father), and Ms. Marva Jolly.

They were all so wise and made me realize more than ever that I still have A LOT to live and learn. Mr. Hook grew up in Alabama and moved to Chicago. He was asked to give his perspective on something Martin Luther King had said about the different racism he experienced in the South and in Chicago and that Chicago's racism was far worst. Mr. Hook said that in the south, people were upfront and told you they didn't like you but in Chicago people would talk to you like an equal and the moment you turned around they were saying hateful things. He got teary eyed and I could see how much pain the hatred caused him. I can't find the words to express how I felt.

His wish for Chicago was "a family structure that can't be replaced by gang violence."

Then Ms. Jolly spoke and she was so charming...and jolly!

She had said that she used to wish for rain to see a rainbow and she was convinced the pot of gold was in Chicago. She was born in Mississippi and grew up on a farm making mud pies. She would tell her mother she wanted to know where black people came from because all she had ever been taught was where the white people were from. She went to Africa in 1974 and said that the experience "filled her up and allowed her to come home [America]."

She said that woman artists are the big deal now and that "people ought to have something to say" I can't agree more!

She was full of such wonderful words that I kept filling my notebook with quotes. "It's you, and what you gonna do!" and "if you practice positiveness, it will become a part of you." I have been trying to incorporate the last quote into my's difficult but then I remember what she said and I try again.

We then went to the Smart Museum which I had never heard of nor been to, but will now be a regular visitor because it was fantastic. The artwork at the moment is work by Viktor Koretsky. He created communist posters that were unlike the propaganda posters we are more familiar with. His work was emotionally driven to make the viewer feel for the "Soviet citizens and others struggling for civil rights and independence around the globe."

We went back to Dorchester and discussed our future plans together as a group and the work we will be creating in the near future. I am excited to approach art in a different way and with a group. This has been, and will continue to be an amazing learning experience. Stay tuned to find out more about what Rights, Radicals and Revolutions will be doing!

The rest of the night we enjoyed a fantastic potluck at Dorchester and danced and relaxed!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Potluck: Chicago Day 4 (to be written tomorrow or Sunday once I get some sleep)

I will write about this amazing day when I have energy again. It's a lot to take in and there is a lot to say and I want to say it right...good night!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Potluck: Chicago Day 3

Two main things happened today with Critical Encounters.

Tonight, half of the group went to En Las Tablas Performing Arts Community Center "...a not for profit community arts organization established in 2006 for the purpose of offering performing arts training to residents in the areas of Hermosa, West Logan Square and West Humboldt Park in Chicago, Illinois." Due to the fact that the space was small and would already have 5 to 6 family's there, we had to split up the group. I was one who stayed back at Columbia. In the beginning of our day we had to come up with a game that could be played with the families that would stimulate the children and the adults and help bridge the gap between the younger generations and the older ones. This was a challenge for me because I do not know much about children and haven't spent anytime with them since I babysat a 2 year old 9 years ago. I helped where I could. I am not sure how the event went and what game they ended up choosing to play but I will find out tomorrow.

The ones who stayed back had a potluck (there was a potluck at En Las Tablas as well) and I made Vegan Chili! Here is the recipe.

1 medium zucchini
1 medium green pepper
1 medium red pepper
4 garlic cloves
2 medium yellow onions
4 cans 15oz stewed tomatoes (italian style seasoning)
1 can pinto beans drained and rinsed
2 cans black black beans drained and rinsed
4 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cilantro (although, emily, since you don't like cilantro, maybe some parsley would be good instead!)

-chop vegetables, saute in olive oil till soft

-add the 4 cans of stewed tomatoes into the mixture of sauted vegetables. Make sure to break up the tomatoes before putting them in, also, take out any hard stems.

-put the rest of the ingredients into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

After we ate we spoke about what our group will be doing next once Ali and Tim are gone. We actually have funds to create something! Ali and Tim will be back in February and we should have a well thought out idea of what we want to do. For now we will share our thoughts through a private blog and keep meeting to share ideas.

I am going to be honest. I am very intimidated and I thought I was the only one, but after talking to others I found out I am not alone. The work I have been creating didn't have any sort of deadline...I could walk away from it for 10 years if I wanted. I am constantly switching from wanting to change some of the issues in the world and wanting to crawl back to my home and pretend I don't care. This is an amazing opportunity to learn about myself and others and I can't back out or I will only feel regret.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Potluck: Chicago Day 2

Today we started out at the workshop. Yesterday we had each answered the question "If there were one wish about the City you'd want to see realized, what would it be?" Everyone, including myself gave vague answers like equality (an abstract word). When I wrote my answer I felt like it was pointless because my wish was unachievable. Today we talked about our vague answers and realized we shouldn't try to fix the whole problem but work small and change slowly. If we give ourselves such a huge task we won't be able to achieve it. We shouldn't work towards a conclusion but just see where each effort takes us and be a living example.

Also, we spoke about working with a community. Instead of working to fix something you think a community wants...ask them! Who am I to say what someone else needs without really talking to that person. I am thinking of ways I can make my artwork more about what a community thinks about food and not all about what I think.

Then we were asked to go out on the street and interview people we would normally never talk to and ask them these four questions and to elaborate...

-What do you think you give to the City?

-What do you think the City gives back to you?

-What are the areas where the City fails you?

-If there were one wish about the City you'd want to see realized, what would it be?

I was afraid but I was determined to do this not just because I was asked to but because I wanted to connect with these people I normally wouldn't and I wanted to hear their thoughts. But once I got outside I froze. After 10 minutes of considering interviewing multiple people I finally got the guts to approach a person. This person gave me a nasty look and turned me down. I tried not to be the ultra sensitive person that I am and 15 minutes later approached another person. This person gave me a dirty look and shook her head. My last try was the worst of them all...he told me NO! I felt awful, it hurt too much and I could not continue. I went back to Columbia, upset, and told them I could not do this.

By talking to Tim, Amy, and Ali I came to realize a lot of things about myself.

The people I am afraid to talk to are people that look unhappy. Also, the people I was afraid to approach were people I assumed were uninterested in speaking to me and I thought made assumptions about me. I had never fully realized this before. It was interesting to see the assumptions we make each day. It also taught me that speaking to others is not one of my strengths and that it is ok, I just need to find a different way.

Later this evening we had a Stone Soup at the Conaway Center. People brought in veggies and the Hull House prepared the soup along with some of the residents chopping at the veggies.

This is my organic sunchoke being chopped!

The chefs!

The bread! So yummy and beautiful!

There were people tweeting (I'm very unfamiliar with tweeting!) when people came in saying where the people were from and what they brought. At the very bottom is my sister. They also tweeted our photos.

Here is a link, my sister Katie and Mr. Jacob Martin are in there as well.

Motiroti introduced their art to the attendees and then we ate the soup and bread!