thinking... this is amazingly consistent with some other ideas I've been thinking about, tying together ecosystem services/economics/ecology/the dense web that connects all
In reading A Pattern Language and A Timeless Way of Building, I am struck by the feeling of full camaraderie, as if I have finally found someone who understands how I approach building and living - and provides me with concrete reasons and examples for how to present the reasons why I feel strongly about certain aspects of life. I find that many aspects of capitalist modernity feel, to me, like hopeless and sterile cells, though other people will say, "oh, that's nice".
One example is the pattern, one of the last - "Different Chairs". I've lived with this feeling not only about chairs, but about any number of 'things a house has more than one of'. Growing up, we had three different intermixed sets of silverware - and I had preferences on which fork I wanted for certain foods, and which spoons for others. Later in life, I encountered houses with a uniform set of silverware, I was grumpy at being forced into a tyranny of whatever weight and length the forks were, and not at all feeling freed by my lack of having to make a choice. The best fork and mug and plate are the ones you pick from an assortment, just suited to the task at hand, and shaped by the preferences of the user. Most people, I think, will have a variety of these things naturally, gathered through a lived life. Why go out of your way to rid yourself of a menagerie of utensils and dishes accumulated through gifts, old roommates, garage sales, or made yourself? Why replace this rich and varied history of your life in the service of a new box of boring uniformity provided by capitalist supply chains?
So don't stop at chairs - Different Forks, Different Mugs, Different Plates, Different Pillows, Different Cups - many patterns.
Just got back from a trip up to Montreal - we had a chance to go to the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum (http://macm.org/) where the highlight for me was this beautiful shadow eclipse by Olafur Elliason:
I've been thinking about spotlights recently (partially to avoid cords!) and I loved to see this...
I made a new batch of chrysalis lanterns for Art Hop this past weekend, and hung them in the back hallway and filled up our big streetside window with them. They were certainly my best-seller for this Art Hop (my first as a participant!). Each is made with a "fabric-mache" method that I adapted from a paper-mache method I learned from Thom Haxo many years ago at Hampshire College, which provides a rather sturdy form, and creates that wonderful glow. I added wings to many of them, and an LED light bulb rests inside each one, and provides a method to hang.
I had many comments and questions about what they "were" - the most common was dragonfly, but I also heard fish, shrimp, bee, and pokemon! Really they are inspired by my love of insect-like forms, and these specific forms drawn by my fave, Moebius! (drawings of his down at the bottom)
My work is a conversation between artist and material. The process of creating a piece involves discovering how a material behaves when worked with in a certain way, finding how the wood bends (and when it breaks), how the cloth lays, how the paper folds; using methods to modify those properties (steam bending, epoxy coating), and sometimes deciding that a material doesn’t want to talk about what the artist wanted to talk about. Each form of each type of material has it’s own properties and contributions, and specific viewpoints to bring to the work. The three materials I work with most are wood, paper, and cloth. Each combination of these materials facilitates certain forms and conversations.
This way of working leads me to emphasize the process of building and creating, which culminates periodically in the completion of a piece. The final art, lantern, article of clothing, doll, mobile, or boat carries with it the marks of its construction.
I find the idea of conversation to be present in my other work (evolution and genetics), especially when we think about forces that interactions play in the evolution of species. Dogs are the result of a ‘conversation’ between wolves and humans - the crops our society depends on are a conversation between the plants, the landscape, the climate, and the ones doing the farming. Even diseases and pests which have evolved to thrive in the environments we create (either inside our bodies (viruses), in our fields (insect pests), or in our walls (i love rats)) and which we regard with dismay, did not emerge fully formed, but have evolved along with us as we converse.