Friday, October 26, 2012

Chicago's Twelve Panel Discussion

This past Wednesday was the Panel Discussion with 6 of the Chicago's 12 artists at the Garfield Park Conservatory.  

I was so happy to see my first outdoor sculpture, Monsanto's Genetically Modified Crops still standing strong and hopefully bringing some awareness that Monsanto exists.

I checked out my other piece, Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables.  These pieces have been up since August 9th and will be on display till December 9th.  

The panel included, from left to right, Yva Neal, N. Masani Muhammad, Victoria Fuller, myself, Jason Brammer, and Vivian Visser who is not in the photo.

It was a great discussion and I hope to do more of these in the future!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Farm Friday at Midnight Sun Farm

This may have been my last day farming at Midnight Sun Farm.  The season is winding down and there isn't quite as much to do.  Today we harvested beets, carrots and turnips.

Dill gone to seed.

Turnips!  I ate all the blemished ones that weren't ok for market....mmm.  Sweet and crunchy.

Thank you Nick and Becky for a great season at Midnight Sun Farm!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Panel Discussion: Chicago's Twelve at the Garfield Park Conservatory

Next Wednesday, October 24 at 6pm there will be a panel discussion with Chicago's Twelve (that includes me!) at the Garfield Park Conservatory.  We will be discussing our work.  This event is free to the public!

Below are the two pieces I made for the Garfield Park Conservatory that are on display through December 9th.

Monsanto's Genetically Modified Crops

Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables

Monday, October 15, 2012

Revisiting Wormfarm

Last Friday I made my way back to the Wormfarm Institute where I had done an artist residency this past summer from May 20th to June 20th.  I took the Van Galder bus from Union Station to Madison, Wisconsin.  I spent 2 hours exploring a bit of Madison and then was picked up by Betsy, a past artist resident of Wormfarm who came to the Wormfarm sometime after me.  We drove to Reedsburg and went to the opening reception for the 2012 Wormfarm Institute Artist Residents Show where Betsy, myself and 4 other artists had work on display.

I spent the night at Wormfarm and woke up bright and early the next day to explore what had become my home just a few months ago.

My first stop was the chicken coop.  Jay had already fed the chickens and they were scattered around the field searching for bugs and greens to eat.  But I could tell my plump little Honey was not out there.  I went inside to find her and tempt her with my apple core.  She is the biggest, golden lady in the bunch.

A chicken bum in the doorway.  My favorite.

The new rooster.  He is not fully grown yet.  He is pretty but I am not too fond of him.  When a rooster comes along he takes control of the ladies...those ladies don't need a rooster.  No lady needs a rooster.  Hopefully he won't be too cruel to them for his own good.

Milkweed!  So incredible.

I started my adventure, walking around for two hours.  It was a gloomy, rainy day, but it was beautiful.

These were growing on the tree/bush branches alongside the rode.  I am sure soon I will know the names of many plants.  This summer I collected so much information already.

Trouser is the tiny black dot ahead of me on the path.  He led the way just like Cathi said he would when I came to Wormfarm for the first time.  I will be forever grateful to him for walking with me that day.

Everything looked as if it were on fire.

The path was so empty compared to the summer.  All the plants have died and dried up leaving much more open space.  It felt very different from June.  More quiet and still.

Jay said that back in July when the drought was bad, they had to send the cows back to their farmer because there wasn't much grass for them to eat.  Only five remain.

Wormfarm still feels like my home in Wisconsin.  I was worried that it wouldn't feel that way.  I have the opportunity to come back next summer and I am pretty sure that I will. 

Before I came to Wormfarm, I thought I had everything figured out.  When I left, I was confused about the person that I am and what my future looked like.  I thought that as I got older things started to make more sense.  Instead I have learned that I have to accept life as it comes to me and try less to understand everything at once.

After my walk, Jay drove me to see Farm/Art DTour, "a fifty-mile backroad tour of art installations, Roadside Culture Stands (artist-built mobile farm stands), pasture performances and rural culture education sites in Sauk County, Wisconsin."  I was so glad I got to see it.  Thanks, Jay.

I caught the Amtrak train from the Wisconsin Dells back to Union Station in Chicago.  I sat on the edge of my seat the entire time looking out the window in awe.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

2012 Wormfarm Institute Artist Residents Show Opening Reception

This past Friday was the opening reception for the 2012 Wormfarm Institute Artist Residents Show at the Woolen Mill Gallery in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.  I was very happy to see all the lovely Wormfarm people!

Here is some of the artwork I made while at the Wormfarm Institute.

Closeups of The Feathery Ladies of the Wormfarm Institute.


Harvesting the Strawberry in the Midwest

The work will be up through October 21st for the duration of Fermentation Fest and Farm/Art DTour.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Making Potions at Hope's Place

Tonight was the canning party.  Hope, Angelina, Kae, Eli and myself canned some mixed berry jam. 

First we mashed up the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries and threw them in the pot and brought the mixture to a boil.  Then we added the pectin.  The pectin helps preserve the jam and thicken it.  

Then we add the sugar and boil it until it thickens.

I am describing the Cherry with Anise Jam I made in July.

Angelina eating some chocolate peanut butter cups I made.

We wash the jars, lids and bands with hot soapy water.  Then we place them in a pot of water and bring  the water to a simmer and turn the heat off.   We leave the jars in there till the jam is ready and place the lids and bands in.  Taking the jars out is a little scary!

Pouring the jam into the jars.  The funnel helps keeps the jam from spilling all over the top.  We left a 1/4 inch of headspace.

Wipe off any jam that spilled on the top of the jar.  It needs to be clean so the lid will properly seal.

Using this magnetic tool to take out the lids and place them on the jar so that I don't touch them.

Eli giving canning a try.  You want to tighten the band finger tight.

Place the filled jars back in the water and bring to a boil.  We boiled them for 10 minutes then let them sit in the water for 5 minutes.  In the end we got 10 1/2 8 oz jars!  These preserves can sit on the shelf for up to 1 to 2 years.

We ate the left overs!

Thanks, Kae and Eli for taking pictures!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Preparing for a Canning Party Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Hope and I will be having a Canning Party.  I will be demonstrating how to do a boiling water bath for jam.  We will be canning a big batch of Strawberry/Blueberry/Blackberry/Raspberry Jam!  If you are interested in attending contact me at