Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yes, we have no bananas.

You know what it's like to check a person's blog sometimes to see if there's new content, only to find nothing novel and you wonder what they're doing with their days that must be more fun than being on a computer? Spending time with friends and family under leafy canopies! Visiting museums in New York City and picking up supplies for orders, doing things outside and late at night, going to music shows and dance parties in mill buildings, enjoying and entertaining houseguests, reading, writing proposals, eating favorite foods every day, trying to keep plants and animals alive.

Thank you to all for birthday wishes, and thanks to Jacque for a wonderful day full of gifts! THANKS FOR THE VIDEO CAMERA!!! More videos are soon to be recorded, edited, and posted to my youtube channel!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Years ago

I was born today. Make sure to use your life to do things you want to do!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America

Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

In the Pennacook language Pawtucket supposedly means "place of loud noise" (referring to nearby falls), yet another resource claims that it means "at the falls in the river (tidal stream)" in Algonkian. Either way, my perception is that contemporary locals think of both the place and its name as unsexy. It's nicknamed, "The Bucket."
Pawtucket is actually an amazing place, filled with beautiful old buildings that reflect its glorious history. The first fully mechanized cotton spinning mill in the U.S. was built here in 1793 by Samuel Slater. It still stands as a fascinating museum, Slater Mill!
Evidence of the massive textile trade is still found easily all over the landscape. Did you know that Hasbro began in Pawtucket as Hassenfeld Brothers? They sold textiles, then pencil boxes & school supplies, and later toys! They incorporated as Hasbro in 1968 after the success of Mr. Potato Head and G.I.Joe.
The photo above and the photo below are of two views down intersecting streets at one corner, but there are SO MANY MORE square blocks like this. These aren't even the fancy ones!
After WWI and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, much of the textile industry around here declined. Many businesses lacked the capital or the foresight to invest in the future of textiles-- synthetics! Other businesses moved to the South.
The companies that filled the vacuums left in those vacated mill spaces were mostly focused on costume jewelry production. They didn't necessarily need to invest in massive machines like spinning and weaving equipment; much of the jewelry work at that time could simply be done by hand. Over the subsequent decades Rhode Island grew into the world capital of costume jewelry production and related processes (metal casting & plating, knife- making.) Who doesn't love a mural of an air compressor, lathe, drill press, chain- maker, engraver, and ? (One of those is a stranger I haven't met yet, but I bet their job has to do with folding and crimping.)

You can still find dumpsters and warehouses all around here filled with jewelry molds, buckles, beads, buttons, blades, and findings. This place is surely a heaven on earth.
Lots of these buildings continue to house working factories and businesses.
Unfortunately, many spaces are being razed, but some are also being preserved or re-developed. This is what is left of the Union Wadding Company on Goff Street. It was partially developed into lofts and studios, but an unusual arson last October destroyed more than half of the 450,000 square- foot complex. Noone lived in the parts where the fire started and I don't think anyone was injured, but all of the residents were displaced. From firsthand experience I can tell you that being forced out of your home is one of the worst feelings in the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Some childhood favorite painters & printmakers

I was very lucky to see so many art museums, books, magazines, and prints as I was growing up. The books were mostly from the 1950s- 1970s; almost all of these folks are male and almost all of them are European.
Ivan Albright

Ivan Albright was perhaps my favorite painter. This portrait of Ida Rogers was begun when she was a teenager, and Albright spent about two years on it. He had such extreme attention for exaggerating details. I bet Joe Coleman loves him.
Double click above for legibility
This is a detail of an 8-foot-tall painting of a door. He worked on this painting for ten years.

Tamara de Lempicka

Modern and almost timeless, always gorgeous
Her nudes are somewhat Cubist- Art Deco!

Friedensreich Hundertwasser
He was a painter as well as an architect
and his buildings look like his paintings!

Alex Katz

Max Beckmann

Aubrey Beardsley
I love his prints, especially these boudoir/ toilette scenes.

Egon Schiele

I'm a fan of his drawings much more than his paintings. Can you read his hand in these blind contour lines!? What skill!

Edvard Munch
I also prefer his prints to his paintings. Go see them in person if you find or make an opportunity.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pelican Bay

at least 6,600 people in California are on hunger strike until core demands of prisoners are met.
Basically, end abuses, torture, unreasonable treatments, and feed them adequate quantities of sanitary food. The hunger strike BEGAN on JULY 1st!
(Follow the link and scroll down to the bottom.)

My friends in the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army are on tour with a beautiful puppet show about a concise history of prisons and slavery in the United Stated. Go see their show if they come to your town!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Haystack Scenes in Scents

In Woods

Citrusy pine oils from living trees (and thick carpets of fallen needles)
Spongy, mossy humus (not to be confused with hummus)
Ferns unfurling
Footsteps on the forest floor sound like
walking on a cork surface
that's hollow underneath

Sunlight on a sawdust path

Hot shop

from the armpits of women
and the armpits men
Melting beeswax,
wet newspapers burning dry,
soaked cherry wood steaming sweetly,
The dusty smell of fire brick

A picnic on the rocks or a dinner in the hot shop

Molten butter
and the salty sea

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Thanks to Cody for telling me this aired again. (Check out her unbelievable photos of the Springfield tornado!)
When I do demos I pass these eyeglasses around for the audience to see how the didymium lenses filter out the sodium flare in the flame. I love telling people, "Martha Stewart wore those!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ring of Fire

I and Lindsay MiŚ with Christopher McElroy's Ring of Fire
Jar Schepers models Ring of Fire
Mister McElroy and his marvelous ring--
I am at Haystack, surrounded by geniuses. Follow those links!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

At Haystack

This is what I can see from where I am. I am on a tiny island called Sunshine in Deer Isle, Maine. Sherry Lassiter from MIT invited me to come to the new digital fabrication laboratory at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.
I get to stay in one of these cabins, designed by Edward Larabee Barnes. This year is Haystack's fiftieth at this location! The school was previously at Haystack Mountain in Montville, Maine. That site is now a campground called, "Cozy Pines."
It is such a special privilege to be here, surrounded by so many forms of wonderous life, (especially the people!)
This is the Fab Lab at Haystack! It's really strange to be in a Fab Lab without the internet. The only web access on campus is at the library.
Elliot Clapp and Anna Kaziunas-France in the beautiful new lab