I harvested some lavender from the university of Guelph campus from a flowerbed in the parking lot of Alexander Hall. I made some jelly and simple syrup with the lavender which I am then going to give to the workers who cultivate and maintain the lavender on campus.
On Monday November 16th, 2015, I led a workshop for Outdoor School on knot tying. In preparation I had learned countless knots, chosen the ones I thought would be most accessible to the group, cut 7′ foot lengths for each participant and burned the frayed edges with a lighter.
It was important to me that every single person got to partake in the workshop with both hands, which meant I chose not to have anyone document it via cell phones or cameras. Instead, I have made the following video, both for those who may have forgotten the three knots, or those who missed the workshop.
For those interested, the ‘Bible’ of knots was written and illustrated by an artist, Clifford W. Ashley, and though published back in 1944, is still one of the most important knot tying reference books today. Luckily for anybody interested in knots, the sole North American branch of the International Guild of Knot Tyers, is located in our backyard, just an hour away in Hamilton.
An excellent online learning tool is http://www.animatedknots.com/ It’s step by step images have a mirror option (for lefties), and was how I learned the Alpine Butterfly.
Knots can provide both utility and fun, and the knots I have learned have given me confidence. Before preparing for this workshop I had no knowledge of knots what so ever, but after hundreds of repetitions, it is now like riding a bike. Thank you to everyone who attended the workshop, and I hope you take at least one of these knots with you through life.
Space Terrarium Prototype mk1
Plant life, acrylic, steel, ready-made light fixtures
The Space Terrarium — so named as a nod to the N.A.S.A. research that inspired it — is a vertical, modular, triangular garden sculpture, designed and fabricated to support young plants and to clean the air.
Ready-made fluorescent light fixtures operate at the 6500k colour light spectrum and mounted on a custom welded armature, surround the plants from all sides. Laser cut acrylic containers feature drainage holes in each of their floors, allowing gravity to irrigate the small terrariums from the top down.
This piece is meant be practical as well as to celebrate life — and at the same time to highlight the symbiotic relationship between humans and plants.
Work in process images (below)
Initial design images (below – plant models and light fixtures are stock)
Cell phone video showing irrigation drip (below)
Astrology vs. Astronomy*
by Andrea Aleman-Pastor and Alaina Osborne
Astronomy vs Astrology is a recording of two voices discussing their thoughts on the cosmos.
This audio track combines the responses from separate interviews of an astronomer and astrologer answering identical questions. Historically, Astronomy (the scientific study of the universe) and Astrology (how the universe affects people i.e. horoscopes) were studied academically as the same practice but have since been disconnected.
This piece explores the relationship between the two fields. The voices seem to have a conversation as they dispute and reconcile their beliefs.
The audio piece was created as a limited edition CD
The back cover outlines instructions on how to listen to the piece
“Play this CD on an audio system with separate left and right speakers if possible. Place speakers on different sides of the room. Eliminate all light sources in order to listen in complete darkness. Lie down facing up in a stargazing position. Closing your eyes is optional.
Play the audio track to meditate, reflect, and contemplate the universe.”
Special Thanks To:
Mike Massa, Judith Sainsbury, & Nathan Saliwonchyk
*the order in which “Astronomy” and “Astrology” appear in the title is meant to be reversible.
Modern Mycelium: Urban Fairy Rings is a compilation of photos into a small book. This idea stemmed from my fascination with the romanticized idea of fairy rings. As written in the book, a fairy ring can be defined as mushroom growth found in meadows and open woods that spread in rings originating from mycelial growth or folklore evidence of paths laid by dancing fairies. I loved the idea that these rings were to be believed as what was left behind from mythical fairies. I began to think about the things we leave behind in our current society, and that is when I formed the definition of an urban ring. My definition, as also seen in the book, suggests that an urban ring is contemporary remains found in urban settings, interposed into ring silhouettes, evidence of modern societal residents. I then started making interventions from found items in urban settings, placing these very modern discarded items into rings, resulting in suggested modern mycelium. The book holds a collection of ten images of these interventions, and stands as a prototype for a much bigger, growing collection. This piece challenges us to think about our current society, and the mark we leave on the world. These created rings, made and left in urban areas, challenge our imaginations of mythical happenings, as well as what evidence is left as remains of the way we live.
For more information, questions, or possible purchase of the book, please email me at email@example.com
Hypothetical question: what happens when there’s so much air pollution all the time that you can’t even see the sky at night? You attempt to recreate it and bring it to you.
Standing under an open night sky is like standing in an imax theater; you feel surrounded and you get a sense of limitless space. That’s the feeling I get when I’m standing under the night sky at my house, and it’s what I was trying to recapture with my Universe in a Box. The small size of the box makes the viewing experience an intimate one, and once inside the 24 mirrors bounce reflections and light around the viewer. The spaces in between the mirrors create an interesting juxtaposition of space by creating breaks on the panels themselves, as well as in the reflections. They’re multiplied in the mirrors around them which create even more dimensional space depending on where you’re sitting in the box.
The reflections of the light bulbs are also multiplied to make it seem like there are more then there actually are. They’re meant to replicate stars, but constellations weren’t the direct focus of the piece. They’re like stand in, domesticated stars.
You can do anything in this box: sit quietly, study, read and think about if there will ever be a need for a Universe in a Box because you can’t see the real one anymore.
The Portable Herb Garden Diaries is an artist multiple as well as a useable kit. The idea began during the transitioning of the season from fall to winter. Plants are known to not sprout outdoors in the soil during the cold weather thus I thought why not have a plant that is transportable and can be grown indoors all year around in pots. I also wanted the work to feel personalized and catered towards each participant that is in possession of this kit. As a result, all the materials required were included in the kit as a sense of motivation.
This kit includes a big plant pot, plant markers, soil, manure, peat moss, a marker, paper plant cups, a scoop, a spray bottle, a disposable camera, herb seed paper (chives, rosemary, oregano, parsley), terra cotta bases, a napkin, and instructions. The plantable seed paper was inspired by handmade paper and by submerging the seeds into the paper for planting it supports the growth of the plant. Brief instructions are included due to the project being open for creativity and interpretation by the participants. Participants are expected to follow the procedures to successfully sprout the herbs. The participants are expected to document the occurrences of the plants however, the content of the photos are to be determined by the participants. The disposable camera is to be returned to me within a specific time frame. Whether the camera is empty or contains the roll of film, that is the participants discretion. If the participants decide to return the camera back to me with the film intact I will develop it to reveal the content of the photos.
Portable Herb Garden Diaries was shrink wrapped with all the contents contained within the wrapper and all the multiples were presented on top of a shelf lined up. Once the herbs have been fully grown they are ready to be preserved or used in cooking. Each herb has a different taste and scent. Some are mild and some are peppery. The Portable Herb Garden Diaries is an ongoing project that is left open for creativity, interpretation, and for participants to help me complete.
“Getting to know plants” is an event about human interaction with the botanical world. We curated plants from our surrounding community and created a space for people to have conversation and physical interaction with them. Our interest in the social lives of plants stemmed from a discussion in class. Diane Borsato encouraged a student to “get to know the moss”. We became increasingly aware of the way humans care for plants as objects, possessions, and decoration. This work challenges the conventions of interaction and our relationships with plants.
The gallery was curated with 13 plants of diverse kinds. They were situated on different objects such as cinder blocks, plinths, artificial turf and shelving at various heights. The height variation allowed visitors to interact with a plant at their own comfort level. Each individual was given a prompt card entering the space to either facilitate a conversation or physical contact.
*images are available to view in a slideshow