Saturday, February 28, 2009

Grow Your Own

Here is a video I made for a Motion Design class last semester. I imagined the androgynous heroine, Anneal, to have several gardening adventures. You know, things like adding worms to the compost, weeding for hours and being sore, putting out plants too early and having them drown in the rain-- fun little life lessons.

My Name is Anneal from katie on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I met a lot of great Knoxvillians at the Seed Swap last Sunday at the Birdhouse. (Thanks to Shelagh for planning it!) There were many knowledgeable and earnest folks looking to bring agriculture into their urban lives. I count myself among them.

Primary to that integration is an understanding of some of the myriad systems that perpetuate life in our region: the carbon cycle, the water cycle, how to punctuate an email to a stranger, the cycle of decomposition, etc.

Above is an illustration detailing a method of mushroom growth (inoculation?) using a straw bale as the growing medium. My understanding is that as the mushrooms grow, they create a fertile environment in which the tomato plants thrive. The tomato plans, in turn, benefit the mushrooms. Will have to do more research on the how and why of this, but the mental image was very pleasing to me.

In my brief googling of this topic, I found these folks and their lovely step-by-step straw bale gardening. They use the strawbales as structural support to build a raised bed. Awesome! The picture at left shows the garden in full stride. Behold the awesome power of rot and entropy.

Monday, February 23, 2009

James Greene's Question

James Greene graduated from UT's printmaking program before I began. He posted this question to (a social network for printmakers). I think it bears repeating:

I graduated from two fantastic printmaking programs. I love to print, especially when it comes to shooting and printing with silkscreens to produce ultra-smooth objects and images.

I'm an artist who teaches silkscreen printmaking in a very small studio at a university that is a 30-minute drive from my house. Over the last two years I have moved away from printmaking as my main medium out of necessity more than anything else. The fact that I have two little kids at home complicates the use of printmaking techniques around the house, in my small studio, etc. It is next to impossible to carve out the large chunks of time needed to produce editions, as my wife needs a lot of help with the kids and printmaking projects aren't easy to just step away from. I've found that I do not love the medium so much as to warrant the cash and time investment required to build a home studio in my rental house we'll likely move away from in a few months.

So I have switched to other means (vinyl plotting, comics, video, sound) to make my work, and these techniques suit my current concerns far better than printmaking can. I get a lot more (and more interesting) work done now that I have largely abandoned printmaking.

Why, besides enjoying the process, did I insist on only making prints for so long? And what would be the reason to return to using print techniques for my work? Would it simply be moving to a place where a print lab is more accessible and my kids are older? Or is it something more?

What draws us to print? Why do we use printmaking as opposed to other methods, and why is there such an emphasis on the difficulty or complexity of a process as it relates to its value? I personally can't think of a reason to print at the moment, and that doesn't bother me.

So tell me why you print, why are you a true believer?

Check out James's blog and website.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Go forth, multiply.

Ah, the wealth of the multiple! I like to talk about the "democracy of the multiple" when people ask about printmaking. My friend, Erin Mullenex, argues that the internet could be considered one Big Print in that it uses a matrix to repeat information. I've heard said that all bloggers do is repeat things they've seen elsewhere. To these ends I offer these images from my brothers' blogs.

From Papr Papr:

This excellent image of multiples from The A.D.D. Sportsman. Behold, I give you The Mantiple.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Digging It

Alix rallied a good crew this weekend and began work on the Birdhouse garden. We now have concentric oval ditches in which we will pile woody debris, leaves, partially finished compost, and finer soil. It's a German method called hügel, which means mound. How apt. I dug and dug and earned a nice blister.

We went to see Antony and the Johnsons later that evening, and my open blister ached and stung. Again apt.

Between the Big Ears Festival, the stunning warm weather, and the open trenches waiting in the yard, I am overwhelmed with the good work in the world.

(Photo above by Cara Pfennigwerth.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Possum Fists

Or opossum. There are many in our neighborhood: the quick and the dead.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Joke Has Been On Me

Found this video by scoping contacts of contacts on Vimeo. My friend from college, Mimi, is a dancer and videographer in SanFran. This video is by one of her contacts. Cheap and fast digital video + contemporary dance = YES.

I'm especially glad to find another heart song (as Going On by Gnarls Barkley has been). Makes you (or maybe just me) want to dance. Need to cultivate that feeling. And to act on it.

The world is large and full of noise, write Jane Hirschfield. I add that the work is never-ending, the suffering, unavoidable. Which is why it is important to sit down and eat a meal. To dance and shake. Ain't nobody going to do it for you.

Vulture Realty sings,
"I'm a fool with hesitations. You're so full of allegations. Agitate my senses, you're fogging up my lenses.

I finally see this world with different lenses, they just don't seem to fit me. I guess I never really realized, the joke had been on me."
Ah yes.

What we did on Thanksgiving day from mira cook on Vimeo.