Today there was a horrible loss of life in our hometown. Fourteen people were killed at the ACA. The American Civic Association here "...Assists immigrants and refugees with immigration and personal counseling, resettlement, citizenship, family reunification, interpreters, and translators....and fosters cross cultural understanding for the entire community." My past experience as a teaching artist in the local museum included many multicultural initiatives which required doing research with The American Civic Association and The Refugee Assistance Center. One of which, was work on an exhibit called Refuge: The Newest New Yorkers "in response to increasing resettlement of international refugees in New York state, the Roberson Museum and Science Center in Binghamton mounted an exhibition entitled Refuge: The Newest New Yorkers. The show of documentary photographs by Mel Rosenthal featured recent refugee immigrants from Bosnia, Somalia, Cuba, Tibet and other countries. To help student visitors see beyond the "otherness" of the images to universal human experience, the museum's education staff designed a gallery walk on the theme of forced change".
( Teaching Tolerance magazine) One of the activities I designed was a mandala activity for students in school groups and the general public. A large sand mandala (for Peace) was to be constructed by Tibetan monks in the gallery. Research was done in Ithaca at the Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, NY. It was an amazing experience for me to work so closely with the monks. The mandalas pictured here were made by children in my art classes and by art therapists at a conference at Marywood University where I gave a presentation. You can learn more about Tibetan sand mandalas here. What I came to realize was that Tibetan sand mandalas are sacred art...they are like prayers and blessings. The doing of them, is a cooperative activity (traditionally 5-6 monks work on a mandala together) and the dispersal of them into bodies of water sends the "wishes or blessings" out into the world. What a beautiful idea.....maybe I will make a mandala for this sad day.
Reading Brian Stauffer's blog on Drawger. Wow! Nice (make that " Amazing" ) work. He recommends issuu.com to increase your exposure beyond print for your portfolio. There's an example on his website. Very interesting....I can see lots of applications for this for lots of different folks...and it's free:)
Experimenting with yupo paper samples I got in the mail today. It is synthetic paper. It resists water, but some watercolor artists are using it. You can get it here . I think I'd like it better for drawing and pen and ink...has a real smooth vellum surface...read more about it here.
I love to cook. Two years ago I was itching for a kitchen garden. Just something small, nearby where I could harvest fresh herbs and salad stuff. I had only a narrow southern-exposed strip of earth that was home to some overgrown shrubs. So, I felt compelled to create something out of nothing. Last year I had cherry tomatoes, all varieties of small lettuces, basil, lavender, oregano, thyme (wonderful thyme!) A summer's worth of fresh salad convinced me it was worth the work. Johnny's Seeds were highly recommended to me. This year I will be harvesting my first garlic. It is a very small but satisfying space...a continual work in progress ( will be working on training roses up a trellis this year). The bluish colored stuff in the raised beds is "green sand" which will be worked into the soil and I'm schooling myself about composting. The biggest hurdle will be DEER!!
I was so happy to hear about the White House's new Kitchen Garden promoted over the years by Chez Panisse's Alice Waters. You can read her reaction to it here ( a reporter tracked her down in an orange grove). In addition, I admire her "Edible Schoolyard". She is cultivating a food-intelligent new generation. The woman just makes me smile:)
What would YOU plant?
Watercolor studies. A variation of the upside down house (Watercolor and gouache with non-toxic Gioconda soft pastel pencils.)This done on very portable spiral-bound Strathmore 400 Series Field Watercolor cold press sketchpad which alternates 140lb. wc paper with 60 lb sketch (15 sheets each) for on (and off) location studies. This is 10 x7. Also comes 11 x 14 and you can get here. For outdoors, this pairs nicely with Schmincke watercolor set although pricey it comes with brush, 12 colors and 2 palettes for mixing.
Received this shamrock plant from a good friend! Hope it brings me good luck:) I once gave one to a friend who was gravely ill in the hospital, and he did get better:) He and his wife sent me photos year's later of how big it had grown. Go here for more history and legends about this lucky plant.
Previously out of print, but now thanks to BookSurge on Amazon, "Only the River Runs Free: Northern Ireland, The Women's War" is now available again! An amazing story... worth a read if you are at all interested in knowing more about "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Gave all new meaning to my Irish heritage:)
Favorite Irish music: Mary Black Collected. Song for Ireland and there's a lullaby on this CD called "Mo Ghile Mear". A close source tells me it was a song that Bobby Sands (One of the blanket men ( hunger strike in Brit prison 1981) sang to his fellow blanket men (their request) during the strike)....
I just love Karin's bowl that I got at Christmastime. I've been waiting for Spring so I could use it this way. Forsythia and tulips from Wegmans, not my garden:). Her one-year old shop in Sweden is called Manos. And her style blog is here. Spring is really trying to come. More research today for the series "Fire in Pharsalia". Even the Fennimore Museum is getting ready to reopen April 1 after a long winter in Cooperstown, NY
Fenimore Art Museum is now accepting artist submissions for the second annual A Taste of the Sublime juried art invitational , to be held Saturday, August 8, 2009 on the museum's spacious grounds overlooking Otsego Lake.
Chickadee eggs found by the former curator of the Loomis Collection (natural history) at Roberson Museum, Floyd West and a note he left for his successor. I worked with Floyd for 10 years before leaving the museum. I was sad to hear that he had passed away in January. Some of my Kraslice egg collection ( the dye is scratched out of the egg with a sharp needle) and a specimen of winter grass from the garden.