Monday, January 31, 2011

A lampshade

I made a lampshade from a plastic bag and a plastic cup. I like to think of it as a ghost's dress.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Uwajimaya is a huge Asian grocery store with a few locations around Seattle. When I say Asian, I mean Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Filipino, Vietnamese, Indian, and more. I think it's the largest Asian grocery I have ever seen. Pictured above: fresh wasabi, ginseng, and horseradish!
Check out this variety of brassicas! Chinese broccoli, Chinese mustard, choy sum, bok choy, napa, collards, kale. . .
Many, many misos
This aisle is all noodles.
These are the biggest sea urchins I've ever seen in person. They seemed about six inches in diameter. I find echinoderms really exciting!
Eating raw salmon like a bear, if bears ate filets.
Thanks to Jason and Yasmeen for telling me about this place, and to Dan and Lola for taking me here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Okay, last post about Houston

Imagine waking up here,

seeing this over the backyard fence,
and walking through this yard on the way out each morning.
I have been a very lucky duck.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hanging out with Sarah

Sarah Gabbart and I went out on International Pie Day! The first pie restaurant we went to was closing as we walked in, another one was out of pie, but the House of Pies was really there for us. I usually try to not eat wheat (it exacerbates my asthma) but, OH, PIE! I finished a slice each of pumpkin, Pippin apple, and egg custard.

Sarah is the darling proprietor of Sew Crafty Houston, which will unfortunately be closing next month, so please support it while you still can by filling up those classes and buying stuff on sale!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Green plants in winter

I am accustomed to winter in New England-- cold and snowy. Sometimes we enjoy milder weather in the Northeast, but there are never plants outdoors like I celebrated in Houston.
I walked past this house everyday on my way to and from the Center.
It was easy to find mosses and ferns growing on tree bark.
It rained a lot when I first arrived, and never before had I noticed plants growing from pools gathered in the roots of a tree.

These wet branches reminded me of a person's stretching limbs.
This wet tree looked like glazed clay.
I was very happy to see sidewalks re-routed around big trees instead of cutting off parts of the roots or cutting down the whole tree.

Monday, January 24, 2011


A detail of the installation shows my handmade glass rain and lasercut, hand- sewn plant forms

Houston, Texas has surpassed my expectations by light years. I worked all week to install Inverted Harmonies at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. In my mind, the working title is, "Why Are We Fighting When We're On the Same Team?" This installation is the biggest thing that I have ever made, aside from building rooms in warehouses. The support from the center has been so incredibly thorough and generous. I have to especially thank Anna Walker for EVERYTHING! I am ineffably grateful to Anna, Randall Dorn, and Ashley Powell for their invaluable help, & to Kerry Inman and Nyala Wright for their generous hospitality.
Photo by Anna Walker

As I hung plant forms I rearranged the platforms of the scaffold to allow the pieces to hang, fully extended.
Here Anna Walker (r) and Ashley Powell (l) prepare strands of glass rain before I hang them.
Photo by Anna Walker

I spent months lampworking Pyrex to make lots of glass rain drops. It felt like it took forever to tie them all! Thanks to Dave Olsen for teaching me how to make a fisherman's knot, and for being so helpful to me.

This is the text that accompanies my installation:

The idea of "Man versus Nature" fails to acknowledge that humans are animals. Though we exist in the context of nature, we are distinct from other fauna in many obvious ways. We try to control nearly every other living thing around us, from pests to pets. In relating to everything only as something we can manipulate, we fail to view and understand the rest of life with true empathy.

Our impact on the natural world is currently disruptive and unbalancing in unprecedented ways. We are turning the world upside- down, but I believe in the resiliency of nature sans humans. If plants can grow through from underneath pavement, nature can eventually resolve much of the damage for which we have been responsible.

The most inspiring works I've witnessed have all been naturally- occurring ones. I aim to make things that reflect my respect and awe for the natural world, my quiet sadness for our uncertain future, and the paradox of humans trying to control and recreate nature in artwork that can only strive to be as beautiful as authentic life.

The screening of Handmade Nation at the Lawndale Art Center was packed beyond capacity, with people lining the walls and sitting on the floors. 225 people attended the film and 100 came to my artist talk! It was a lot of fun to meet everybody and talk with folks, so thank you if you were able to be there! Also, the What Cheer Brigade from Providence (the band in the bookbinding scene of Handmade Nation) will be playing at Super Happy Fun Land on March 10th!
Thanks also to Sarah Gabbart and Sew Crafty Houston for hosting my workshop on sewing ruffled textile forms and accessories, and thanks to everyone in the class!
Sarah, you're a gem!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Sometimes a moment feels so seemingly unrealistic, in a good way, that it makes me happy for days. A few weeks ago I was driving home through Olneyville Square in a car borrowed from my family. There were very high snow banks on both sides of Manton Avenue, and I could see pedestrians ahead. I slowed down because I wanted to make sure that they could cross the street safely. When I recognized them I got so excited because one of them was the very same person whose album I was listening to on the stereo in the car! I rolled all of the windows down and turned the volume up as loud as it would go. He scowled at me and I think he gave me two middle fingers, but that's Jacob for you. Sometimes.

Also, when I first got to Houston Anna took me to a hardware store to get supplies for the installation. I put off going to the bathroom because I was trying to focus on accomplishing our tasks. It turned out that my timing was just right, because when I stepped out of the bathroom I saw the only friend I was certain I had when I arrived in Houston. Of all of the people who are not likely to go to a hardware store, and all of the hardware stores in Houston, there before me stood Amanda. Perfect.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

6 hours of sleep in the last 3 days

I usually try to continue working until the last minute. A very snowy layover in Cleveland on the way to Houston.

Thank you to the helping hands of birthday- celebrant Dave Olsen, Jacque Genetti, and Diandre Fuentes!