Monthly Archives: September 2010

Lesson: Research

I’m working on a student centered lesson that involves photo and sculpture students.  They are building an environment to photograph and while researching I came  across this stuff:

Above:  this tag wall isn’t part of it-just a random cool thing:O

for inspiration



Go to that link and listen to the recordings of the places- chainsaws to pheasants!!!

When you are on the map page- click on a red dot for more information and then you can play the sounds from the black box on top of the map.

What are these sounds doing to us?  I like, raindrops on the roof of my car!!!

Liena Vayzman discussion and workshop

Sadly, I missed this lecture.

The following is the exact quote from the Nomadic Studio’s blog:

9.23 ]
2 pm – Food, Art, and the Politics of Agriculture in Contemporary Social Practice w/ Liena Vayzman
How do artists activate dialogue on the cultural politics of food and agriculture? This talk pinpoints an invigorated flowering in current U.S. art practice, with global implications: food as site for discourse and action. In the context of sustainability imperatives and climate change concerns, public attention is drawn to the politics of food production and distribution. The talk will demonstrate how artists lead the way to action with vital, diverse strategies. Artists function as farmers and cultural critics; interrogate the origins and processes of the food we eat; and link to green movements, heralding a change in zeitgeist. The use of food in art practice deploys strate­gies of collaboration, de-materialization, social interaction, sustainability, urban agriculture, and cross-cultural cuisine. Bringing Victory Gardens to City Hall and worm bins to museum lobbies, transforming lawns into vegetable gar­dens and breaching cultural divides through shared recipes, artists catalyze expanded awareness of possibilities for arts civic engagement.

However, thanks to Liena’s kindness she gave a condensed version of her talk to our Art Ed Student Teaching Seminar class.  Thanks Liena!!!

It was incredibly inspirational and I really want to attend the Cultural Fermentation workshop that she is hosting at the Nomadic Studio on Saturday September, 25th from 10-1.

[ 9.25 ]
10am – CULTURAL FERMENTATION 101: Sauerkraut Making and Interac­tive Theory Workshop w/Liena Vayzman–
In this hands-on workshop, we are going to make sauerkraut and other easy fermented vegetables from local veggies. We will read aloud from “Wild Fer­mentation” and other texts make links between fermentation and transforma­tion. How can we transform identity using the what’s in the air, how can we imagine transformation and possibilities? Just as making sauerkraut preserves tradi­tions, the local seasonal harvest, yet transforms them into new forms that come about from a generative collaboration with beneficial microorganisms, identity transforms from interaction with the multitude of forces, visible and invisible, practical and theoretical.

Come get your hands salty! Materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring any of the following if you can — fresh veggies (cabbage, carrots, ginger, apples, greens you can ferment any fresh produce! — so bring the extra abundant harvest from your garden or a community garden), glass jars, mixing bowls, knives, cutting boards, sea salt. We will provide many of these ingredients hopefully we can all share! You will chop, shred, and learn the ba­sics of starting a jar of sauerkraut to take home with you, where it will develop its flavor over time.

And yes, there will be music!

a gardener's education

Regardless of my hectic life pace at the moment I’m sneaking a little time in there to participate in the activities that make me feel calm and grounded.  Gardening anybody?  When the fall rolls around I can’t help but feel a sentimental longing for the diverse harvest on “the farm.”  I could paint the garden from memory.  Tucked in by a row of mature pines, a burning barrel, the gravel driveway, and the old railroad tracks that form the path between, the farm and my immediate family’s home.

I am fascinated by the way Mr. Pollan makes reading about plants so exciting!  Now I have to mention other writers that make reading about plants exciting:  Sir David Attenborough, Amy Stewart, Anna Pavord…  Before these brilliant writers I had a passive outlook on flora.  Now, I can see that the entire earth is a battleground raging with the desire to exist and full of amazing feats.   Pollan features this poem by Walt Whitman who asks the question, “How can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?” :

This Compost

Are they not continually putting distemper’d corpses within you?

Is not every continent work’d over and over with sour dead?… What chemistry!

That when I recline on the grass I do not catch any disease, Though probably every spear of grass rises out of what was once a catching disease.

Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient, It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions….

If you’ve been around or thought of a compost heap you’ll know just what Whitman is getting at.  Growing up in rural Wisconsin I know that decay is part of life but it’s processes are still as mysterious to me as ever.  We are not supposed to play in the cattle yard and then eat without washing but we can eat something that has grown straight out of a product of the cattle yard by just brushing it off on our jeans???  How am I alive?  It’s pretty amazing and a disgusting reality.  If we let the people who turn up their nose in disgust to steak know what’s in that carrot– well you get the picture.

I read the chapter about Roses and I am now convinced that I want to plan antique rose varieties in my future garden.  They are tougher, varied in blooms, and fragrant unlike the commercial varieties – you know, I stopped in the flower shop down the street from where I live and chatted up the woman working there a little about antique roses.  Just inquiring if they are available to order- if I could look at the catalogue I’d find an occasion in the future for such a rare thing.  She, as if it was  a far fetched idea in the first place for me to bring up such a crazy request, told me that they never order those.  I know I could sell them to the people in my neighborhood.  Even at >5 a stem- I mean, show them a frilly rose bloom on a short stem that looks nothing like the tightly wound modern bud and  tell them the story of how Empress Josephine’s passion for the rose made it a star (and had Napoleon’t troops scour the glob for new varieties in the 19th century)-before then it was cultivated for it’s fragrance and medicinal properties.  This rose was in Josephine’s prized garden and painted by, Pierre Joseph Redoute-

Pierre Joseph Redoute- cabbage rose

Pierre Joseph Redoute - damask rose

Pierre Joseph Redoute- rose Indica Cruenta

if that’s not a symbol of passion…

Student Teaching

To my readers! I know their are a couple:)
I’m student teaching so my posts are few and far between. Most of my energy is going towards becoming the best possible art teacher that I can be.
Please keep checking in-I’m still making art and working on my “SERVE” black bear piece. I’m also working on boxes for presentation. I’ll post it when it’s completed.
Thanks! I hope all is well-nikki

100 Starlings Show is DOWN

If you dropped off artwork for the 100 Starlings show it is available for pick up at the DePaul Art Museum whenever they are open.
Main and North Galleries
2350 N. Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614
Tel: 773-325-7506

If you mailed us artwork-it will be in your mailbox soon!!!

I want to thank all of the Starling artists for their support in this exhibition!!!


I’ve been working constantly this summer but it’s quickly coming to an end.  Tomorrow I start my first day as a student teacher at Payton.  I’m excited and I’m starting a separate student teaching blog to keep track of my experiences-pics while I’m teaching.  I’ll be keeping up with this as well however, probably less frequently for the time being.

I have been sawing up some 1×4 clear pine to make boxes for my artwork.  The oiling process is the most time consuming step.  I have three boxes with a few coats of oil-put a coat on wait a day or two until it’s absorbed and repeat x6—

sawing it up-

soaking up the tung oil-

We went to the Art Institute yesterday to check out the special exhibitions.  Nothing special.  Instead, I ended up spending my time with one of my favorite paintings of all time.   It’s so gorgeous, I learn something new about painting every time I look at it.  I took some close ups and listened to some (I’m presuming) vegetarians comment about how disgusting this is.  I love what people have to say at museums.  Sometimes, it’s more entertaining than the art itself.