Monthly Archives: September 2011
put a bird on it! today i’m finishing up 17 art pieces exploring the reuse of my own already-existing artwork [pacific northwest birds], collage and paint! these pieces are somewhere between art piece and collectible limited edition product.
they’ll be available at tilde in the sellwood neighborhood of portland: 7919 se 13th ave. the reception will be next friday 6 – 9pm.
above is the start of an art piece i made especially for old faithful beach cottage, in exchange for my week’s stay there on the coast last week. do you have a west coast cabin on the coast or in the woods and would like some custom artwork for it’s walls? i’d love to do similar projects!
would you like to see the completed piece above, and experience old faithful yourself? maura, the cabin’s owner, welcomes guests on airbnb.com and is also interested in creative barters such as massages, artwork, etc.
last week while away, i also read voluntary simplicity by duane elgin. not as poetic as the practice of the wild, but just as informative. it was also a kick to read while immersed in a lovingly restored cabin with just the basics, 1950′s-era style. the kitchen above was my favorite room, and the one where i spent the most time. below are some quote from the first chapter of voluntary simplicity and old faithful’s awesome simple kitchen, and surrounds.
“voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. it means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, a well a avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. it means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. it involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose. of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might not be relevant to the purpose of another.” – richard gregg
some people tend to equate simple living with a life characterized by poverty, antagonism to progress, rural living, and the denial of beauty. it is important to acknowledge these misconceptions so that we can move beyond them.
an ecological approach to living invites us to continuously balance two aspects of life – maintaining ourselves [creating a workable existence], and surpassing ourselves [creating a meaningful existence].
the many expressions of simpler living, both inner and outer, indicate that this is much more than a superficial change in the *style* of life. a “style” change refers generally to an exterior change, such as a new fad or fashion. simplicity goes far deeper and involves a change in our *way* of life.
simpler ways of living in the ecological era will result in changes as great as the transition from the agrarian era to the industrial era. in an interdependent, ecologically conscious world every aspect of life will be touched and changed: consumption levels and patterns, living and working environments, political attitudes and processes, international ethics and relations, the uses of mass media, education and many more.
to live *peacefully*, we must live within a reasonable degree of *equity*, or fairness, for it is unrealistic to think that, in a communications-rich world, a billion or more persons will accept living in absolute poverty while another billion live in conspicuous excess. only with greater fairness in the consumption of the world’s resources can we love peacefully, and thereby live sustainably, as a human family. without a revolution in fairness, the world will find itself in chronic conflict over dwindling resources, and this in turn will make it impossible to achieve the level of cooperation necessary to solve problems.
the character of a whole society is the cumulative result of the countless small actions, ay in and day out, of millions of persons. small changes that may seem unimportant in isolation are of transformative significance when adopted by an entire society.
love the rustic modern simplicity of this tokyo apartment by naruse inokuma & hiroko karibe architects!
stripping things down to the basics and using simple plywood, yeah!
after a few days spent mostly sleeping, reading, walking and researching i was able to get down to business and begin drawing.
one intriguing new-to-me plant here on the beach is called “sea rocket,” which i’ve incorporated in the native plants drawing-in-progress above.
it’s like a succulent plant overgrown with sea kelp nodules! fascinating! i imagine stringing the “beads” into a necklace with seagull feathers. speaking of string and necklaces, i’m also intrigued with this particular tree festooned with found floats [below]. i’ve been half-hoping to find a float on one of my beach walks, but so far no luck.
i’ve been joking with friends lately that moving to the tsunami zone along the coast is my artist retirement plan. so yesterday when the town emergency sirens went off i didn’t panic. i suspected it was a false alarm, and it was. there was a big announcement *afterwards*. good one though, universe. way to call me out on my own joke!
just before leaving portland i stopped off at the library to pick up the newest stack of books being held for me. well. if the practice of the wild wasn’t just the perfect thing to read this week while i’ve sequestered myself in a cabin on the coast!
gary snyder expertly weaves together several holistic belief systems, nature, culture, history and points us all towards a path of a sustainable way of living based on a deep understanding of your current bio-region, where ever it may be, and how it interconnects with other bio-regions.
stunning. just about every paragraph leaves me breathless. and in need of a nap. or a walk. here are some photos of this morning’s fog-drenched walk and passages from the practice of the wild‘s first essay, the etiquette of freedom.
the world is nature, and in the long run inevitably wild, because the wild, as the process and essence of nature, is also an ordering of impermanence… it has always been part of basic human experience to live in a culture of wilderness. there has been no wilderness without some kind of human presence for several hundred thousand years. nature is not a place to visit, it is home - and within that home territory there are more familiar and less familiar places. often there are areas that are difficult and remote, but all are known and even named.
wilderness is a place where the wild potential is fully expressed, a diversity of living and non-living beings flourishing according to their own sorts of order…when an ecosystem is fully functioning, all the members are present at the assembly… human beings came out of that, and to consider the possibility of reactivating membership in the Assembly of All Beings is in no way regressive.
wilderness may temporarily dwindle, but wildness won’t go away. a ghost wilderness hovers around the entire planet: the millions of tiny seeds of the original vegetation are hiding in the mud on the foot of an arctic tern… these seeds are each uniquely adapted to a specific soil or circumstance, each with its own little form and fluff, ready to float, freeze or be swallowed, always preserving the germ.
i grew up on a small farm… so i had the good fortune of seeing the human and animal as in the same realm. but many people who have been hearing this [people are animals] since childhood have not absorbed the implications of it. they would like to feel they might be something better than animals. that’s understandable: other animals might feel they are something different than “just animals” too. but we must contemplate the shared ground of our common biological being before emphasizing the differences.
most of humanity – foragers, peasants, artisans… have understood the play of the real world with all it’s suffering [and] through the celebration of the gift-exchange quality of our give-and-take. “what a big potlatch we are all members of!” to acknowledge that each of us at the table will eventually be part of the meal is not just being “realistic.” it is allowing the sacred to enter and accepting the sacramental aspect of our shaky temporary personal being.
practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking brings us close to the actually existing world and its wholeness.
well, there ya go! the cafe down the road apiece from the cabin has a great wifi connection, but they’ll be closed the next two days. so this is the last you’ll hear from me until then!
the design process is a little like improvisation… you walk in with your saxophone, and there’s three people already playing music. and you gotta figure out what you can play that’s gonna go with what’s already there… with design, like improvisation, the more you do that, the better you’re going to be at it.
a lot of the best design is generated if you have constraints.
on that note… i’m off to a week on the coast and off the grid to finish a few projects, sleep, contemplate new projects, think, and sleep some more. something like this.
living and working in your local community? check. less mass consumer culture? check. diy? check. another great hand drawn video/ speech outlining the basic priciples in the book Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth. i’ve reserved this book at the library.
everyone knows i love color + wood. well, check out this modular shelving kit from bashko trybek!
“Serpent is a modular shelving system which gives the user an opportunity to choose the desired dimensions of the shelf. It also allows to combine and arrange the shelves to fit various interiors and spaces. The idea of the structure gives numerous usage possibilities by modifying the dimensions of the shelves and wires and adjusting them to diverse spaces. The structure is plain and makes the product sustainable and easy to recycle.”
easy, ingenious. love it! via contemporist.
as you can imagine, i love the idea of urban micro-farming. small plot intensive farming = spin. i’ve been seeing & hearing more of this around portland in the past two years, and now, thanks to treehugger, i know it has a proper name!
[photo from here]
double appropriation and questioning assumptions, batman! this 70 year old chinese break dancer is my new hero!
though you can look it as such, this goes way beyond hipster ironicism. a positive chinese socialist reappropriation of western hip hop which is both critique and celebration of capitalism coupled with a woman of a certain age saying in essence “hey, i never got a proper young adult-hood thanks to the cultural revolution, so i’m gonna live it now!”
“this is their time now. our time is over. i fear they maybe won’t realize the hardships we went through to get to this time of prosperity, they might forget something so hard to get can be very easy to lose.”
yeah! you go girl! show them boys how it’s done! [oh! triple appropriation! dannnnng!]