Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Physical Setback, An Assistant Needed

After days of experimenting with altar designs, sawing, drilling and collecting wood, I've sadly stirred up my old shoulder injury, and I've been advised (by my acupuncturist) to lay off any labor that involves heavy lifting or pulling for a few weeks. YIKES! I figured out that I need to hire an assistant for those tasks, but I'm concerned that handing over this work will damage my intimacy with the materials. Guess I'll have to file that concern if this shoulder will ever heal. Instead I'll be shooting more photos, writing a press release, drawing out ideas, and refining a time line. Oh, and then there's the issue of drawing up a contract with the owners who want questions answered about liability, maintenance, access, etc. All of this will be put on hold after Tuesday, the 20th, when we fly east to spend two weeks in Northern Italy (yes, I know our carbon footprint will increase exponentially) where we've never been. We will start out at the ecovillage, Torri Superiore, in the Piedmont district just north of Ventimigglia and the Italian Riviera. I hope to be inspired by their permaculture gardens, and learn more about the international ecovillage movement.

If I don't write much during that time, don't despair. I will post lots when I return. I'll have to finish 4 altars in time for the Gravity of Kindness community performance on August 29th, and to that end, I will hire an assistant for about 3 weeks. Let me know if you have any leads. Skills with power tools and a lust for scavenging materials are a big plus.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Biking heroics in a heat wave

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, and my fellow eco-art list member, Liza, who lives in Edmunds, WA, biked all the way from her home to our island. I was very impressed. I love to bike, but in that kind of heat...whew. Wish I had photographed her arrival up our steep hill, but I was busy watering our thirsty permaculture-designed garden.

After dinner that included yummy greens with toasted hazelnuts & raspberries from our garden, we went to visit the site together, and she asked really great questions about the history of the site and our plans for the garden. What a lively mind!

Here's our proposal: Eden Reframed will be a community-based, interactive eco-art project on the site of the Beall Greenhouses on Vashon Island. Through art, permaculture design, bioremediation and community collaboration, this project will be a small part of the restoration process of a site that has been polluted by pesticides and heavy metals, and damaged by decades of dumping. The project will include sculptural elements such as remediation containers designed from used windshields and car parts and interactive altars made from other scavenged materials. We will invite the community to share stories about gardening and growing food, and the stories will be available for visitors to read on the altars. The sculptural pieces will be surrounded by a healing garden designed from native plants and trees.

Eden Reframed will offer the community a place to learn about the history of this damaged site, while it uses art to both sensually and intellectually to engage the audience with the eco-restoration process. It will be an interdisciplinary collaboration that merges cutting edge remediation techniques, community story telling, permaculture design and site-specific sculptures. It will herald the beginning of a much larger remediation project and open the door to more public art projects and community collaboration. It will have an international presence online offering the world a unique eco-art model of turning a toxic site into a flourishing and aesthetically engaging ecosystem.

Earlier in the day I spent a few more hours with the altar prototypes wrapping & wiring the armatures, drilling, screwing and sawing. Soon I'll have to collect some more art supplies in the woods. No shortage here.

I'll upload more photos tonight when I have more time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Different views of the site

From the burn pile (heart and center of our garden site) to the skeletal remains of the greenhouses. More images from the HBG (I'll be abbreviating the Harrington-Beall Greenhouses from now on). BTW the owners of the HBG, prefer that the site be called that, rather than the Beall (as it was called by the previous caretakers). So HBG is my way of being respectful to their wishes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

First day of heat, sawing and screwing

Welcome to our blog about Eden Reframed, sometimes called Reframing Eden, an ecoart project for the Harrington-Beall Greenhouses on Vashon Island. Starting today, I will begin posting the progress of our project, and introduce visitors to the pleasures and perils of designing ecoart.

A little over a month ago, I learned that I had received the Royalty Research Foundation grant from the University of Washington. I was overjoyed, as were my consultants and collaborators. We are intending to remediate the soil of one small section of the historic site, while making a beautiful meditation garden, as well as an interactive, narrative art project about the miracle of seeds. While my main collaborator, Shahreyar Ataie, is away at a retreat this summer, I am building prototypes for interactive, sculptural altars.

Today I got hot and heavy with my new cordless drill and a bunch of branches found just off the path on our hill. My friend M came over on Monday and helped me drag a dozen or so branches out of the brush, and today I got out the jigsaw and began to sculpt these babies into altars. As dusk entered the garden, I started wrapping wire and jute twine around the joints created by crossing branches, screwed together. I'm not sure how each each part will interweave into a 3D standing structure just yet, but this is fun. What a trip I'm beginning!!!

I'm so glad that the weather has gotten warmer and I can stand outside without shivering. It's late, so I'll write more about the intentions of this project when my brain is less fried. Glad you're joining in this process by witnessing our adventure. Let me know what you think.