Monday, January 25, 2010

Pecan Branch

pecan branch, originally uploaded by kt.ries.

From East Knoxville. The fall of 2008 was much drier than 2009 and yielded many more pecans for my friend Charlotte, from whose tree this branch fell.

Charlotte tells me that every year several pecans root in her yard and make small saplings with deep taproots. In one of many failed art-gardening attempts last year, I took several pecans and tried to get them to sprout. No luck.

Thanks to Tour de Plants, we now have a 5' pecan tree in our house. We brought it in to avoid the freezing weather and there it stays. The mature tree could get to be over 60' tall and will potentially be dropping nuts on the ground. This limits slightly the public locations in which it will be welcome (e.g. not great for the greenway, no good in shallow soil, etc.). If you live in Knoxville, and have room for a pecan tree in a semi-public location, it could be yours. Let me know.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Student Labor = Free Labor

Design is work. Art is work. Both take time, skills, discipline, and materials. I often get the impression that those outside of these fields think that the work is accomplished through force of will and genius. I do not assume that Kerry Mitchell of rouXbarbeque lacks respect for design and art generally, but I do assume this contest is a great way to get a lot of young people to work for free. Sure, one lucky designer wins, gets paid and eats well for a while, but everyone else has just donated hours of their time and energy to a job. The design students I know at UT are already busy working their asses off. There's also nothing here to say that rouXbarbeque won't keep elements of your design(s) for future branding or other projects without declaring you the winner. Again, I do not doubt the good intentions of Kerry Mitchell and the rouXbarbeque crew, but I feel this aiming this contest at students is disrespectful of both the students' work and design as a practice.

Why not hire a commercial designer? There are many great firms in Knoxville? For example: Robin Easter or Yee Haw Industries. If rouXbarbque still wanted the publicity of a contest, they could contract a working designer for several options and put them to a public vote.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dog and Order

I was not especially keen on getting a dog. I am wary of the way we treat domesticated animals and selfishly did not want to have to look after anything other than myself and my beloved.

Thankfully, I misunderstood. It's not like that at all. I am grateful for the small dog who has entered our life. As Jane Goodall said to work around her desire to anthropomorphize the chimpanzees, "If she were human..." I would say that she is socially minded, high spirited, and happy. Currently she is tightly curled on the floor and sleeping.

Her animal-ness is a good reminder to me when I am trapped in a thought bubble and feeling as if my anxieties were of global importance. It is often good to take a walk and start anew.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Red Tide Poison

Found this propaganda gem in a thrift store in East Knoxville. I liked the simple two-color design of the cover and was surprised to find just how bat-shit-crazy it is. Not only is the body copy chock full of nutzo sentiments (published by the Soldiers of the Cross in Englewood, Colorado) but the previous owner has added her own dubious notes about the commie invasion. In addition to communists, the reader was worked up about "the Jews". She notes to herself, "Satan is destructive."

The text next to Castro reads, "old, ugly sloppy mouth/ He'd look real good with lipstick, a dress, and high heels./ The "bearded lady." ha ha" The reader/note taker goes on to highlight several communist ploys and notes they are "Carl's favorite tactics."

Scary and weird. Can't decide if I should throw the book away or keep it as a reminder of how deeply we fear perceived differences.