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reclaiming self

Welcome to the “Seed” Site! Hopefully, this means you’ve found one of the “Seeds”  hidden around town. If this is so, if you could please leave some information about where you found it and what you made or did in response, that would be great. If you’ve stumbled upon this through the internet and would like to take part, that would also work!

Here’s a little info about what “Seeds” are:

“Seeds”  are gifts made for the neighborhood. The “Seed” you found has two parts: the clay apple, and the  writing inside it. The apples are  made from liquid clay called “slip”, which is poured into a mold made of plaster. After the plaster mold absorbs the extra water from the slip, the maker takes it out, cleans it up, and adds details to it. Then it’s put in a special oven and baked so the clay becomes hard, like a brick. The “Seed” clay hasn’t been baked, though! If you wanted to carve it, break it, or change the shape of it by getting it wet, you could! It breaks easily, so if it’s something you want to keep, put it in a safe place.

The stuff the writing is on is called parchment. Parchment is what people used for important written documents before there was paper–it’s thin goatskin! I’ve included a link so you can find out more about it. Parchment is pretty indestructible, unlike the clay apple. The quote is from the singer/songwriter,  Joan Baez:

You are amazing grace.

You are a precious jewel.

You—special, miraculous, unrepeatable, fragile, fearful, tender, lost, sparkling ruby emerald jewel rainbow splendor person.

Written on the other side is the request:

“Please make or do something beautiful and give it to the world—we need it! We need YOU!”  (seedsatbiginch.com)

To me, the words are what I want the Finder to remember, just as they are. The apple is an experiment, or a toy. It’s supposed to change.

So, “Seed” Finder, if you need encouragement to make or do something, you can use the clay “Seed”! Do something to it and then pick your own spot to hide it. Or, you can keep it and do your own thing, anything: music, drawing, photos, cleaning garbage off the street, planting flowers…whatever precious gift YOU  own and can share with no strings attached.  I believe if we leave enough “Seeds” around, and encourage other people to invent and leave their “Seeds” too, Communities can grow.

Like the apple, you can keep the original writing if you want. The only thing I ask, is you include a note with your own “Seed” that has a positive thought on it and a request for that Finder to make something. So we can share each other’s activities, please include the blog address: seedsatbiginch.com.

For me, the action of making and giving,  then the response of the “Seed” Finder, is art. For a “Seed” Finder to create something beautiful in response to the written request marks completion of the piece. I believe if enough “Seeds” are planted by lots of different people, then art isn’t just possible, it’s inevitable.

What Is Community art?

Community art is not public art. It is an expression of a particular neighborhood’s culture. Graffiti, yard art, roadside shrines, municipal parades, and Christmas decorations are all examples of Community art. It arises from an individual or group need for expression or celebration, and it’s a way of forming and affirming group identity. Community art is not alien to its surroundings; it’s a natural, organic result of a group of people who live near each other.


 


Right. So I’ve done a lot of metal casting, and tried using that knowledge for glass casting. Any of you metal casters out there will look at this wax and know it’s good to go for ceramic shell casting. All you glass casters out there will look at this wax and die laughing at me. And NO, it didn’t make it through the annealing process. So really, this is a visual joke for a very small handful of people. What an art nerd.

Okay, so we’ve had a visitor for the past few days, an artist, a glass blower just like hubby. Actually, he’s a former student of his. It was really great having him around for a few days! He’s from the Cayman Islands, is a fly fisherman, and a musician. He is moving further west (not much further west, just a hop, and the middle of the country is just, just, SO DARN BIG) so he can be with his girlfriend while she goes to grad school. He’s just had a successful show, with good gallery representation, so he’s not teaching for a bit and is focusing on his work instead. He’s also done a lot of glass casting, which is what I’m all about. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that if I tried being part of a glass blowing team, some one would get hurt. I am clumsy. Glass casting, though, that’s another kettle of fish.

These are cast in ceramic and glass.

I love shoes. I love making molds of shoes and then casting them in different materials. I met my husband through my desire to cast my old orthopedic baby shoes in glass. I was teaching at a university near his, and through students, found out about the glass program where he taught. I started teaching myself how to cast glass. It took eight attempts to get three single shoes. The frustration really got to me after a while, and I started casting things in slip instead for a little immediate gratification.

I'm not done yet...

From our visitor, I found out I was having such a poor success rate with my castings because of a temperature differential between the top and bottom of the kiln. It creates a lot of stress on the glass as its cooling. I also know some of my mold mixes were a little iffy. I have one I really like now, and he’s fixing the kilns at school, so that’s AWESOME because now, I can use them too and finally cast the most immaculate wax I’ve ever made to date.

This is a wax. It was made from a three-piece plaster mold that I made around the original shoe. It didn't come out of the mold looking like that.

The image above this one shows a shoe that made it through the whole process. However, it has some air bubbles and junk in the glass, so I want to do it again–using different glass and a different method of getting the glass into the mold. I can do that now thanks to our visitor!!! YAHOOO! This is a couple of big inches!

This gallery contains 42 photos.

I think separating spiritual belief into categories is like separating body/mind/spirit–kind of a silly thing to do. I mean, why the heck did we create those splits in the first place? It isn’t efficient!  And then making one brand of spiritual belief better than another is like saying chocolate ice cream is better than cookie …

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Here is proof that not giving up works and why everything will be okay. I have dyslexia and ADD, and at the ripe age of 48, taught myself to knit. I spent 40 years telling myself I couldn’t do it. HAH! I was wrong!

This is a shout out to all you young artists going through the hoops, attending the university, the art academy, the graduate  program. You’ve spent A LOT of time attempting a marriage between images of your work and descriptive phrases. In an original way that is still academic, intelligible, and poetic. With references to your inspirations, a bow to your art heroes, and a quick nod to where you see your art in the pantheon of art historical and critical theory. If, like me, it ends in tears and feeling trite, unoriginal, and deflated, all I can say is this.

At this point, if you can’t write well about what you make, it’s okay. If writing about your work is an absolute painful struggle, but it’s necessary to write about it to keep making it; do it anyway.

And if you’re making things that look like souvenirs, you’ll get over it after a while. The absolute, most important thing of all, above words, above popularity, above intellectual opinion of others, is that you simply keep making. Just keep those hands and that brain and heart all moving together, and everything will be okay. It really, really will.

Besides. Art is visual communication. It says what words alone can’t. The image above is proof of that. To me, the total, heartbreaking irony of this scenario is visual image and object makers MUST write about what they’re doing. Yes, we are responsible for understanding why we make what we do, and for whom. But putting pen to paper about it, as the maker, is difficult.

Difficult, like asking a writer to draw a good self-portrait.

Carry on, you superhuman, you.