As you can see, there is progress on the Rain Rug. In the last two weeks, my luck has held out and the various thrift stores have had a variety of sheets in good colors to add to my paintbox. Greens, purple, pink. Maybe we can have a sheet tearing party one of these days in the backyard!
Another, very important event, that will raise money for Art Education outreach in Ypsi, Ann Arbor, and Westland, is a “Studio Workshop” series on creative re-use at FLY Art Center in downtown Ypsi (see the map below!) on July 6 and July 13 at 2:00 pm. There are other classes and open studio opportunities as well. It’s a fun thing to do on a summer Saturday, so come on down!
The first workshop will feature instructions about how to re-mix a tee-shirt from baggy dad-shirt into fashionable fitted cuteness. It will give students (adults are welcome too!) an opportunity to learn the basics of crochet, and then to work up to the second workshop which will show how to make a small rag-rug project, most likely a coaster or a placemat, but advanced students might try a bag or basket.
I’ve been volunteering with FLY for a little while now, (only 2 events, but who’s counting!) and really enjoy their mission. They go into schools mostly armed with every-day objects and help kids harness their creativity by letting them loose with a theme or problem to solve at the “art buffet” with their cafeteria trays to select their supplies. The students are free to follow the direction or make something new, and always with the support of FLY staff and volunteers.
Next Sunday, the 23 of June, is the forty-first annual EcoRide. It has a couple of different loops for local bicyclists that stop at a variety of eco-conscious area sites. Ann Arbor is rife with ecologically conscious farmers, recycling and re-use places, etc, so the EcoRide only stops at a few, but it is nevertheless a fun day.
This year, I’ll be participating in their new pop-up art gallery event in Riverside Park (the ANN ARBOR one, not the Ypsi one), bringing along my rag rug (and maybe some little things) and sharing my skills as a fiber artist to raise awareness about sustainability. Just like the now slightly tarnished “Live Strong” bracelet, participants will be invited to make their own recycled t-shirt bracelets, titled, reCYCLE bracelets. Hopefully it will not only be fun for the young riders, but will inspire others to share what they know about recycling.
Here’s a video I made for the Ecology Center so they can promote the EcoRide.
In addition, my mother will be at the Leslie Science Center in the Project Grow Garden there. She makes recycled garden sculptures that can be used as trellises, light trees, or scarecrows as well as looking really cool.
Though my drawing a day project has once again fizzled, I have in fact been making art nearly every day. When I started the project, my intention was to do all kinds of work, showing progress, drawings, sketches, and finished work as it went on.
But as the project went on, my parameters got more and more narrow. First, somehow, I decided it had to be a drawing. Then I decided it had to be a drawing on a particular size of paper. But as an artist, I’m all over the place. I do several bodies of work in several media all the time. All those limitations are not how I work, but somehow I talked myself slowly into that consistency and regularity.
Some of the work that I do as an artist is less photographic. Like the above shot, a photogenic rearrangement of something much less exciting to look at: making the “paints” for my “paintbox.” Each sheet has to be torn and in order to use them more efficiently be rolled into a ball so when it comes to making the carpet, no detangling is needed.
In any case, I wanted to outline for you some of what I’ve been working on, though each of these things will get more attention as time goes on this summer, perhaps you would like to know the whole list of “what’s up” in Adventurous Art land.
Recycle Ann Arbor had an Earth Day Art Contest, and my “Sun Rug” was selected to be a finalist. Though the turnout was small, I stuck around for the Public Reception and made some good connections to people in the community.
My small success in that contest persuaded me to shoot higher and I’ve been working on a proposal for a larger series of rag carpets to be displayed in narrative series from Cloud, to Rain, to Rainbow, to Sun. The first proposal contains some mistakes and omissions, so we will see. In either case, I’m excited about the project and you will see some progress shots soon.
One person I met through the program was the Outreach and Zero-Waste coordinator for RAA with whom I’m coordinating the translation of some of their materials about how to recycle in Ann Arbor into Spanish. It’s cool to get to do some translation work, if only as a volunteer.
She also introduced me to someone at the Ecology Center, and I’m volunteering with them to do an interactive recycled art table at the Eco-Ride on June 23 at Riverside Park in Ann Arbor. Yes, Ann Arbor, not Ypsi. I’m going to do a whole entry about this since I made them a video and I think you’ll enjoy our project, even if you can’t attend the Eco-Ride.
Another of the people I met through the Recycle Ann Arbor Earth Day Contest was the director of FLY Art Center, an Ypsi organization that does outreach to under-served public school children. We met up and I’m going to teach some “Studio Skills” classes (one about no-sew upcycled t-shirts, and one about rag rug coasters or placemats), and do some volunteering for them in their outreach and public programs.
Today was so busy that although I could have made time for another drawing, this one makes me happy so I’ll share it with you. Also, when I went to the art store today, these recycled toned papers from Strathmore were on sale, and I’d been drooling over them, so it seems perfect to share!
An example drawing from today’s private lesson. We read the book and the kids had to teach me to draw the main character. They looked at shapes, body parts, and colors, and I asked them to describe it to me while they drew it. Although my drawing is simplified, but close to the original, theirs were much more expressive and less exact. So beautiful and charming. As students progress with Drawing and ESL, I ask them different kinds of questions to increase their visual ability and speaking aptitude.
This book, Clink, by Kelly DiPucchio and Matthew Myers, is about an old robot who feels like he isn’t as good as the bright shiny new robots who can do anything. It uses onomatopoeia to communicate the noises that he makes, and the drawings are great. Clear expressive forms that are easy to understand and identify with for students of a variety of ages. The reading level is a little too high for students who are only beginning to learn English, but the onomatopoeic sounds and bright pictures help them follow the story using other means. The story line is simple enough to break into smaller words as you explain, and the pictures give the right amount of subtext to allow children who don’t know every word to be drawn into the story.
Although I used to discount my example drawings, looking back over some of the ones I did while teaching in Madrid, there are a few gems that I’m proud to call my own. This one is a nice schematic, but some of those are really expressive.