Course Description: Science & Art Lab
Does watching things decompose inside of jars sound like fun to you?
Want to learn (or re-learn) the Scientific Method, set up experiments, and learn about how various substances, natural and artificial, break down in the environment?
Use another part of your mind (and another set of abilities) in any artistic pursuit; we are a mixed-media studio.
__ W – O – R – K – – P – A – R – T – Y __
8/16 Sunday (and/or) 8/17 Monday, after 6pm!<>
<> <> Puppet studio+theater will SOON be open to the public.
<> HELP NEEDED: trouble-shooting for safety, minor carpentry, materials organizing, and decorating.
<> ADDITIONALLY: Green-thumbs invited to offer advice on wild plant management and herb gardening.
<> <> Compensation: Time Exchange currency
<> <> Location = 2608 Rogers Ave. (in the back) 78722
Well, ya just stay busy don’t you?
That’s my answer to a lot of questions right now.
And it’s still exciting, all this work to do!
Some things accomplished, other things brewing:
– Joined the Austin Time Exchange Network! Check it out.
– Received a beautiful 1/2 report /visual edit from Chad that I will post on a School (without walls) page very soon!
– Got on board the visioning-for-a-REPURPOSING-RESOURCE-CENTER group. Evolving out of what was Greater Austin Garbage Arts and pulling in more (and more) powerful potential with strong collaborators, this as yet nameless model for a new way of relating to waste and resources is going to be a beautiful addition to our city in a short time!
– Other synchronistic connections happening that will bear fruit soon, soon.
– Trying to cut down on sugar and yeast. Cool!
– Getting ready for an awesome mini-tour with Night Viking to McAllen, TX, this weekend!
– Monday: Work Party! ! (for building both the Studio and the Theater!) +brainstorming for future projects [–> playhouse made out of ???? bottles?? oh my!]
– Puppet season is right around the corner…
– I started my performance archive!
Next week: Radical new blessings, keeping the ball rolling, and Doctor Clown v.1.something <<<<
Basically, my proposal is this, flexible to variations, and happily responded to, YES or NO:
Collaborate with me on this project to make “my backyard” (which is semi-“public”, in that it is not fenced in and has hosted numerous public gatherings so far) a lively, beautiful, quirky, KID-PROOF sanctuary/destination, with more happy PLANTS, private areas, and functional attributes.
Some of the challenges I am currently facing are:
1-Storage decay & insecurity.
2-Unclear boundary of workspace.
3-Extremely rocky and glass-filled dirt.
4-Unpleasant ground-cover with too many burrs!
My hopes for the space are to:
1) “Fix” my current storage space system to store: items for specific events, tools and materials for specific outdoor projects, and Art. Storage must be secure and dry. (I am working on this part now).
2) Area immediately surrounding storage => an organized studio. Stuff for my own projects needs to be secured/locked, and additional shelves for future students/co-workers should also be considered.
3) Create a raised sink (+ greywater processing and irrigation system) for use during outside events or workshops or studio time. This structure will bring some life in the form of some irrigated plants — perhaps vines or kitchen herbs.
4) Create a few comfortable and fun places around the area (a swing, benches, some mosaic, collaborative public sculptures, puppet theater stage, etc.! (This is where I am extra-open to outside ideas and inspirations!)
5) Replace the current ground-cover with one that is hypo-allergenic and softer.
6) Overall, to Increase peaceful play, promote creative work, provide an enjoyable experience for out-of-doors gatherings,and to be AMAZING.
I KNOW that I need help with this, and I FEEL that it is a project that many people could get excited about, depending on their degree of investment. I know that people need to feel that a project is beneficial to them in order to invest any amount of time or energy into it. I see this as beneficial to many because of the number of potential uses the space can have: a learning space (“The Austin Cooperative Free School“, if you need a name for it), a work space (for outdoor crafts), a place for community puppet theater, more artsy swap meets, collaborations with other friend-organizations, etc. To wrap it up as “conceptual art” I may refer to it as the Recycling Center, where rescued materials are cared for, traded, and crafted. In addition, the environment itself is a slowly evolving work of art (indeed, A Living Space). Artistic/professional collaborators may use the space to showcase their work, to create an example of their skill that will be seen by many people, even while each part is a thoughtful contribution to the community.
There is some food for thought. Bon appetit!
- SUPER SETTINGS! – consulting and installation
- news and interviews (and science) internet TV show (group project w/ San Marcos folks)
- Commitment Cafe — part of the free school; kind of a paradoxical combo of words; we want people to experience the positive feelings associated with accomplishing a goal — to that end, we champion (carry a flag for) i.e. encourage flexible structure of the buddy system or committee type, placed in a comfortable context.
- Make Rert give birth to an educational Video company (ex: Molly’s “How To Brush a Dog”)
- no more art; just “[Absurd] Crafts”
- a show of only Really Long Things
- getting serious about dance by forming a group with some musicians (female would be a welcome change) to get together in a dance studio (or other well-lit setting) to play and shoot video from fun angles.
- Reviving… THE MONTHLY COMMUNITY PUPPET SHOW! a Variety show for the E X T E N D E D Family. For example, in one part, you tell the news.
So! Anyone wanna get started on anything? I have questions barring the way on some of these, so help me if you can: 1) I am stubbornly obsessed lately with thoughts of “masonry”, building with rocks, cinder blocks, mortar mix, mud. Maybe good walls make for good neighbors, maybe also a maze or puppet theater would be best, but really I need some advice. Come to my back yard and stand in it with me. Many people have already been there during Junk-a-thon… but the rest of the days, I want to spend more time out there, but I ccan’t stop thinking of
big stones and where to place them.
It may be that it is just fine the way it is. So my need to create, to domesticate, might be an imposition.
But then again, I do have instinct. This is one, this weird rock part of it. And then the bringing people together for hand-made entertainment and sharing- that too. I think I like it.
It’s hard to know how to communicate all this sometimes, and when I am not communicating, the things in my head don’t seem quite real. (and they stay in my head). But I think they are; they’re not premonitions, just urges.
This morning I went to an “oculo- and cosmetic surgeon” because my optometrist insisted that sebaceous cell carcinoma be ruled out as an explanation for my inflamed eyelid gland. I knew however, that this $120 consultation would only lead to a prescription for an even more expensive, not necessarily necessary, procedure, which it did, and which I can’t afford. (I’m going to see what acupuncture can do.) But the woman working reception was very warm. As I was sitting down she scanned my paperwork, and she asked if I was a writer. Because, “With two middle names, you ought to be a writer!” Well, thanks! Maybe I will.
Some recent highlights: YESTERDAY: An adventurous day with my twin nieces in Imaginationland. Then the Night Viking lasagna family dinner was nice.
MONDAY: School without walls had a hand-sewing class that went very well. We all made tiny heart pillows, except for Marina, who made a football. / Before that I modeled more vintage clothing for Leah’s Threadhunter business… / After that, got a little more balanced internally at The Neighborhood Acupuncture Project clinic. / Then the O.P.E.R.A. House got together to make a crazy flyer for our upcoming May project (at Co-Lab): Teeny Tiny Diorama-rama Zoo. It’s an open-call show for dioramas, but we are going to make a zoo installation as context for the entries. Dioramas due opening night: May 23rd! / Finally, watched The Devil and Daniel Johnston and slept.
Tonight, Night Viking is playing our first show since January 28th! Show starts 9:30 at the Chaindrive. The opening act, Sunday Papers, is reminiscent of Elliott Smith, in a good way. We’re 2nd and we are really revved up! After us is The Smiling Knights and Bridge Farmers, whom I have not seen, and probably won’t since I have to get up early tomorrow…
What do you want to learn? What do you want to teach?
(Thank you, Landon, for crystallizing this thought through conversation.)
<______This post is a form_______>
The purpose is to figure out what you would want to teach
and what you would want to learn at the School without Walls.
Read my lists, then write your own lists, in a comment trail…
WANT TO LEARN
_Language practice, cultural educations
_Tap-dancing, other dance forms (p.s. there is a “Folk Dancing” class at Hancock Activity Center; I will go if someone else goes)
_Environmental sciences (soil testing, pruning, landscape tips, how to tend a wild-scape as well as garden plants, etc.!!!)_Local history
_How to fix sewing machines
_Computer video editing
_Animating on the computer
_How to cook awesome amazing Indian food or other healthy special treats.
_something that you want to teach?
Oh, so many other things! (I will keep editing my lists)
WANT TO / WILLING TO TEACH (or facilitate)
_painting or drawing
_astrology as a language and a tool for understanding
_dance/movement exercises (for healing, expression)
_recycling unusual trash items into art/craft objects
_synaesthesia / hybrid art forms / brain stretching
_puppet show creation
Off the Top of My Head
Ahh, it’s good to get some March rain. Spring is supposed to be messy. So, though I was planning to do my first mortar-collage (mosaic experiment) this Sunday or Monday, I’ll just have to wait and see.
Here are some ideas of what I hope to bring to this blog soon, and also to physical reality:
- An interview with Laura, Tony and Paul of the Neighborhood Acupuncture Project! (I volunteer there in exchange for treatments)
- Junk-a-Thon product previews (photos), like some of the finished products from last week’s stencil session, plus other stuff we will be peddling.
- An “Art Project Archive” page (my version of a Curriculum Vitae or artist’s resume)
- A hard-copy pamphlet/info-sheet that explains this whole constellation of community projects I’m startin’. (ready by Junk-a-thon, 3/28)
- Soil Testing=== I want to test the soil on our lot to see what’s in it (nutrients, pollutants, elements). I really know nothing about how to do this, so I’m just asking around. Whatever I learn, I will share here!
- Speaking of sharing, part of my make-share-learn-teach mission (hey that kind of has a ring to it…) is: I want to make skills and knowledge available to others. So, one way of doing this is to video-document (thanks Wendy!) whenever I have someone over doing a demo or workshop, or whenever I track down a soil expert, etc. I am a total novice at holding a video camera, and I’m about to teach myself how to edit. That said, documenting is one area I welcome help in! And, look forward to a freeskoolatx YouTube channel!
- Oral history projects, more interviews, neighborhood research and connecting (going local!)
- More dancing, and a Litterbug Jitterbug (Chad’s idea of a trash pick-up parade made fun)…
- Community quilt progress (starting this weekend?)
- A silkscreen workshop or demo would be an awesome follow-up to stencilling.
- Mm, a cooking class?
- More information for astrology clients!
For the present moment, I am watching the rain.
GREAT MONDAY, EVERYBODY!
Lots to report today;
We are on a roll !
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Got started this morning with a gust of Lori 16mm, who came by to create marvelous
stenciled artistic creations on clothing,
filling up the reserves for 3 weeks from now when the Art-Hungry Populace comes to Ye Olde
With finesse and furious pizazze, she filled up one+ clothesline with wearable art. Chad and I made some, too.
Then, with batch #1 drying, spray paint cans were removed and additional supplies were found in preparation for the kids’ Art Class.
Not long after school let out across the street, Patrick, Marina, and Jennifer showed up to learn how to make Stencil Art! I demonstrated the process, from finding a surface/cloth, to choosing a stencil or a flattish object, to applying paint, and hanging to dry. Marina and Jennifer worked nonstop for an hour on all sorts of colorful designs; Patrick made a new stencil, of the letter “P”, with the help of Chad, who also took these photos:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So, pretty good format for a day. Maybe we can get someone to come help do screenprinting on another Monday?
If not that, we’ll definitely be at work again next Monday, perhaps on the first mortar-and-object collage.
And Saturdays! The Quilt-Sewing gatherings must start! I think Saturday afternoon might be a good time for me (or maaaybe Monday nights). We’ll just get together, share our sewing skills, design a quilt, work on individual picture-squares, and put it all together. We don’t have to meet every Saturday, just when people don’t have better things to do.
Sundays are our great Clean-up days. I didn’t get pictures, but there was some fun Boy Scouting type of activities yesterday, as Jeremiah, Patrick and Brer-John explored into the thickets of the backyard and learned about some of the differences between live plants and dead ones. There just might be a garden sprouting up soon!
P.S. I am having trouble formatting this page!
Who wants to learn how to sew? Who already knows how to sew and wants to help make a quilt by meeting weekly or almost weekly? I have materials! And a re-arranged living room that would be a great meeting place. Let’s make a Visions for the Future quilt!
Saturday was scheduled to be the day for an art lesson with Marina and Patrick. We are working on a banner, so we are studying the essentials of good sign-making, as well as practicing “loose”, “from the arm” control of the pencil. (So you can write BIG as well as small. Focusing on the whole shape.) Next week I plan to incorporate some “text in the environment” photos from library books; we will keep expanding our minds about SHAPES!
Meanwhile, the shapes in my brain have been moving and clarifying… With accompanying words to describe them! Stay posted for a new page, called “School Without Walls -> Recycling Arts Center -> Good Building : THE PLAN“. I am creating a time-line of Vision: sub-visions.
- Things that I want to happen really soon: Quilting bee / sewing circle and Quickrete/mortar/rock/mosaic action and Plants!
On Sunday, February 8th, we had the very first Backyard Assembly. On the agenda was 1) Muffins, 2) Awards Ceremony, and 3) Announcement of Intentions.
Marina and Patrick were awarded the Young Scientists Award, for successful plant growing and creative use of materials.* Molly and Twyla were awarded the Art + Heart award for loving animals, finding good things to collect, and making art every day. (Molly accepted the award for both of them since Twyla had the flu.)
The intentions that were announced were: 1) I am planning to start a school without walls. I will be outside cleaning the grounds on Sunday mornings for sure (other days randomly, like Wednesdays) and weekly meetings will be held Sundays after noon. I can guarantee a fun activity or workshop going on every other Saturday, starting the 21st of Feb. ! 2) I requested the assistance of Marina and Patrick in helping to make our environment healthier. 3) I gave an Emancipet calendar to Molly & Twyla, so that they may start to comprehend time a little bit, and help me plan stuff when I am with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Patrick wanted to know: “Is the school going to have vending machines?” Good question! Even better, we’re going to have a garden! Fresh snap peas taste like pure sugar.
Linda Kelsey-Jones officiated over the ceremony, Chad Hopper took photos, Zoe Rose glowed, and Chips Guthrie tried to get the muffins.
*I have a picture here that is proof of Marina and Patrick (and Jennifer) ‘s “creative use of materials”.
Look at this playground they made!
Did you know that my dream is to have my home environment be a place of community, sharing, working together and making art?
I’m going to start masonry-ing my yards, making curved paths and designs to eventually “hold” garden plots. Kale! Chard! carrots?! Fresh veggies and herbals to juice!
Eventually we can have a Tool Library (in the shed; people can sign up to borrow the key/tools). And a Quiet Parade club. Neighborhood Trash-picking / Recycled art workshops. Mask-making that leads up to a dramatic outdoor production / performance.
This time of economic change / values shift / Saturn-Uranus opposition is great for claiming ALL the freedom that you are able to use responsibly.
I’ve been quietly observing my own small downsizing (the recession can be less brutal to someone who’s already been living on the margins/outskirts of the economy; I’ve been underemployed and under-the-table employed with cheap rent for the last 5 years), and making squeaking baby steps, “er! er!”, towards becoming what I have come to believe I CAN/MUST be. One step is this blog — I am writing, and making public my intentions. So,
It’s Official! Expect a photo of the GOOD BUILDING, and more details, soon.