Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicago's 12 at Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago's Twelve at Garfield Park Conservatory opening Wednesday, August 8 from 6-8pm!  Also, there will be a Chicago's Twelve Artist Talk at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Wednesday, October 24th at 6pm for Chicago Artist Month.

This is my first idea for a piece that could be located outside.

My second idea.  I have yet to get the go ahead for either of them but I have probably 2 weeks to get these done.  I am going to have to be speedy.

Monsanto Seeds

The materials I would use would be  recycled wood, metal, glass jars, and clay sculptures of corn, alfalfa, wheat, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugar beets and sorghum.  These are the 8 GMO seeds Monsanto produces on an incredibly large scale.   The glass mason jar is used to preserve foods.  Having the plants in the jars is a reminder to save and preserve their natural make-up.  Plants are brought to peoples attention when they are in the Garfield Park Conservatory and this piece serves as a reminder to recognize the history and future of these 8 seeds.

Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables

The Garfield Park Conservatory contains some plants that are over 300 years old.  They also display plants that many viewers did not know exist.  Placing these heirloom fruits and vegetables in the Garfield Park Conservatory will educate viewers about edible plants that seem strange and have been around for over 50 to 100 years.  The materials would be made of recycled fabric and twine to hang from the ceiling.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blackberry and Strawberry Jam!

I have finally canned something for the first time - Blackberry and Strawberry Jam!  It was super easy once I figured out all the steps needed.  I couldn't let all those black caps that we picked in Wisconsin go bad.  I received some strawberries in my CSA share from Midnight Sun Farm as well, so I added them to the jam.  

All I needed was blackberries, strawberries, lemon juice, honey and pectin.  And now they can sit on my shelf for a year or so and I can enjoy the blackberries in the winter.  I am going to can EVERYTHING!

On my last day in Reedsburg, I went to town and bought this bright yellow yarn.  My goal is to use the entire thing up on egg yolk related work.  This is a work in progress.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Goodbye Wormfarm - For Now

I finished my time as a resident artist at The Wormfarm Institute on June 21st.  I had a wonderful time and have grown as an artist and as a person.  The Wormfarm opened up a lot of possibilities for me and I am thankful for the experience.

The Wormfarm is part of a collaborative CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) called Wisconsin Home Harvest.  Before I left, I wrote a few paragraphs about my time spent at The Wormfarm for the Wisconsin Home Harvest newsletter that would be sent out to all the members of the CSA.  A photo of Honey and I was included as well!  Here is what I wrote:

I have been an artist in residence here at The Wormfarm Institute since May 20th and will be leaving in a few days.  I was born and raised in Chicago and therefore have always been surrounded by concrete and dirty pigeons with missing toes.  Reedsburg, Wisconsin offered me something more natural and a chance to be connected to the animals and land surrounding me. 

The chickens were the highlight of my stay.  All those beautiful, feathery, plump ladies running to me all at once in hopes that I had something good for them to eat.   Much of my time here was spent watching them and learning their habits.  I admired the way they bathed in the sun.  They would lie down, sprawl out their wings and legs, close their eyes and tilt their heads towards the sun, taking every ray in.   Food is their main obsession.  They roam The Wormfarm searching for bugs and greenery to snack on throughout the day.  Their wide variety of nourishment is the cause for the most golden yolks I have ever seen in an egg.  These ladies are living the life and their eggs are the proof of that!

Relish, Honey, and Heneral Lee are the names I have given my three favorite hens.  They stood out from all the rest and were the inspiration for much of the artwork I created while here.  It breaks my heart to say goodbye, but I know I will be back.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Honey

Honey and I had a talk.  We agreed we will miss each other something awful.  I will miss her plumpness and she will miss my apple cores.

I hope to finish the 4th chicken tonight.  

I went black cap picking again.  This is my stained hand.  I hope to make blackberry jam when I get back home.

My sister comes tomorrow to spend the day at Wormfarm, then the next morning we leave.  I am excited to go home but at the same time, I don't like the thought of leaving here.  It is bittersweet.  But there are a lot more places to experience!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sewn Chicken #3 and Edible Flowers

I finished sewing the third chicken.  They look like big, feathery puffs when they are laying their eggs.  I call these types of chickens Dinos because they remind me of dinosaurs and have little personality, but I guess they are good egg layers.  There is about 10 of them here.

These Daylillies finally bloomed outside the kitchen.  They bloom in the day time and die by night then new ones open the next day.  I love watching new fruits, flowers, and veggies come alive when the time is right and then go away only to come back next year.  It makes me pay attention to my surroundings more and enjoy these plants while they are here.

And I found out they are edible.  They taste slightly sweet!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chicken Rider in the Butterfest Parade

I was in the Reedsburgs', Butterfest Parade with Wormfarm.  I was riding a chicken that was made by last years artist in residence, Laura and her husband John.

I was later equipped with a snazzy Wormfarm T-shirt to walk the parade in.  This officially makes me the ultimate chicken lady.  All the children loved me except one.  He said, "That poor chicken!"

I pickled some scapes!  I have to wait 6 months to eat them.

We went to Devil's Lake yesterday and climbed this huge mountain of rocks called the Balanced Rock Trail. 

A view from the top!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Relish the Chicken Sewn and Chickens Enjoying Scraps

I finished sewing the second chicken, Relish.  My original plans were to sew three chickens, but I think five might look better.  I want to show the many different chickens.

Relish up close.

When we have scraps from the kitchen they go in a bucket.  When it gets full, I take it out to the compost.  The chickens have learned that when they see me, I usually have food.  They run to me and follow me to the compost!

My oatmeal with raisins had gone bad so they gobbled it up.  They really like mushy things like tofu and noodles.  They also LOVE eggshells.

Relish found some creamy goop to enjoy and she has no interest in sharing.

Honey likes to stick her head in the bucket to get every last bit out.

I am going to miss these chickens so much!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Black Caps and Garlic Scapes!

Jeff and I picked a bunch of black caps yesterday.  They grow all over in random places and are actually wild blackberries.  I found those pink flowers while we were looking for the berries.  They smell so wonderful!!!

This is what they look like when we find them.  They are ripe once they are dark purple.  I put them on my oatmeal today with some brown sugar!

Garlic scapes are the swirly things growing from the middle of the garlic.  They are actually a flower but you have to cut it off so all the nutrients goes to the garlic bulb and not the flower.  Anyways, garlic scapes taste super good, like garlic but a bit more subtle.  You can chop them up and put them in a salad or saute them.  Laura said she pickled them last year.  They are only around once a year and you will only find them at your local farmers market.  We harvested a ton of them today!

A garlic scape cut from the garlic.

The black caps were all along the outside of the trees.  It is so open and beautiful out here!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Relish the Chicken and Dust Bathing

I am going to call her Relish.  She is super curious but will not let me get too close to her.  Her face is so sweet!

This is where the ladies like to hang out and dust bath.  This means they roll around in the dirt to cleanse themselves of any bugs.  I love watching them do this because they look like they really enjoy it.

When they are done, they ruffle their feathers to get rid of the dirt!  Poof!

Relish is the next chicken I will be sewing together.

This is an Oriole.  They are super bright!

I have 8 more days here at Wormfarm.  I am going to miss all the different animals and greenery, but I know I will be back someday!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Sparrow Project

Friday, June 22nd 
at MBK Studios 
1706 S. Halsted St. 
Chicago, IL 60608
6-9 pm

The Sparrow Project

My friend Caleb and his wife are expecting conjoined twins.  The Sparrow Project is an art auction, raffle and live music to benefit Heather and Caleb King.

Read more about their story here.

I will be donating these two pieces to the show along with a pair of handmade earrings and a handmade pin.

Come out and join us!  Here is a link to the Facebook event.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Metal Pour at the Foundry

Yesterday Tim and some friends stopped by to use the Foundry at Wormfarm to cast some small metal sculptures.  I joined in because I had never casted in metal.  This is somewhat similar to when I casted Mrs. Chicken in hydrocal and made the mold out of plaster, but this is with sand and extremely hot metal.  Here is a link to how she was made.

First, we made a box for a small sculpture.  Then I put the plasticine clay sculpture inside.  I made a sunny side up egg.  Then we put talcum powder on it so the sand would not stick to the sculpture.

We lay this metal grid over the sculpture and push the sand through to make sure the first layer doesn't have big chunks of sand.  If there is a chunk it will show in the cast.  We only use it for the first layer.

This sand has some clay and water in it to keep it together.  We ram the sand in the box to make sure it is tightly packed or else the mold will fall apart.  We fill the boxes to the top with sand.  The sand is reusable.

I filled another box with sand.  The top box is the imprint of my sculpture.  When we took the sculpture out the first time it did not work because I had undercuts.  I fixed the undercuts and we tried again, this time putting talcum powder and graphite on it so that the clay would not stick to the sand.  (The graphite is why it is black)  

Tim made a hole on both sides of boxes for the metal to be poured into and a vent for the gases to go to. (not pictured)

We screwed our boxes together and Tim heated up the aluminum in the furnace.

Tim and Jeff grabbed the ladle out of the furnace with tools.  

Then they went down the line pouring the aluminum into each mold.

This is what mind looked like when it was done.

This is the exciting and often terrifying part it you have worked on a sculpture for a very long time because a lot can go wrong.  But I just made a fried egg.  I took out the screws and opened up the mold.

Tada!  An aluminum sunny side up egg.  Their were cracks on the sides, so aluminum poured through.

I can take off the metal around it and sand the egg.  I may leave it as is...not too sure yet.