Monday, November 26, 2007

building resources

i forgot to mention earlier, but one of the true delights of the weekend was treating myself to a totally unnecessary trip to building resources, a scrap/re-use yard in bayview that always has something that i don't need, but have to have. this time it was more wood cabinet knobs (of which i have quite a collection going and no plan in sight of what to use them for). i tried for the double whammy of treating myself to SCRAP also, but my splurging plan was foiled when they were not open for an reason which was undisclosed on their cardboard "we're closed today" sign. what i love most about these places, other then my wholly consuming addiction to junk, cast-offs and re-use, is that they're in these industrial parts of town that i otherwise never really go to, and there is something about these locations that feels like the end of the earth, solitary and expansive, like nothing and everything could happen there. i mean SCRAP is usually surrounded by garbage and building resources is built on some of the more toxic land in san francisco, but i guess when you are a person that tries to make useful and beautiful things out of waste and junk, then you try to see desolation as possibility. which makes me hopeful because it must be something of how these amazing places came to be.

monday morning recap

another jampacked weekend of making and eating, my two favorite things to fill my days with. thanksgiving was perfect, sorta slow, sorta quiet. the last few years we've been doing big potluck dinners, but this year i had rice and beans with esti and her mom and i couldn't have been happier to just relax and eat. i made a few simple things to share, oven roasted potatoes, maple brussel sprouts with tempeh bacon, and a cream cheese pumpkin pie (which i just finished the last slice of my half yesterday. yes, i ate half a pie by myself in 3 days, you wanna make something of it?) i also received a lovely box of quinces, persimmons and pomegranates from my friend jason and his sweetheart maggie, which came from maggie's family's farm up north. i'm still looking for a good recipe for the quinces, but you know i already dove right in to the pomegranates.

i've been holed up in the house the last few days, making books and stationary packs, sewing away at curtains and flannel maxi pads and some other random goodies. i'm trying to set the end of the month as my deadline to get some little stuff up on my etsy shop, so we'll see how that goes because it is a busy week with the new roommate and we have another little art thingee friday night also. whew.

i also whipped up a ramshackled set of benches and table for our garden out of an old window, a shipping crate, some cabinet doors, some scrap plywood, some chair frames, and some 2 x 4s (that's no joke, sometimes i like to think of myself as the macgyver or junky old furniture). they're not quite finished, i'm going to make some cushions and maybe add a cute fabric so you can't see the bags of potting soil and compost inside.

aaannnnd... i finished the walls at femina potens! nothing too exciting, but there you have it, wally wall walls. i haven't said enough to sing the praises of what an amazing organization femina potens is, i mean how many feminist art spaces exist nowadays, let alone one that evens out the playing field by only exhibiting the work/films/writing of women and transfolk. pretty revolutionary if you ask me. they have an opening for beth stephens and annie sprinkle's love art lab this saturday, and if you are in the area, you should not miss it. they are in the 3rd year of a 7 year project exploring love as art, and are some of the more radiant people i've had the pleasure and good fortune of getting to meet. and there will be a seance to summon the spirit of marcel duchamp. seriously, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

the cool down, the warm up

i have cold feet today, literally and figuratively. i haven't managed to give up the faux espadrille summery flats i've been wearing for months now, even though it is consistently chillier and drearier as the weeks go (flying) by. somedays i put big slouchy leg warmers over top of them and that tends to do the trick, but you know when you're considering tube socks, it's probably time to retire them til next summer. we're also looking for a new roommate, and after having met 10 strangers for about half hour each this past weekend, i'm feeling indecisive and exhausted. it's so difficult to patch together the overlap between a person's spiel with your needs. and then when you factor in their zodiac sign, i mean, geez.

but enough about that. let's talk about things. projects. cordless drills. sewing needles. let's not talk about my (still non-existant) etsy shop that everyone's bored to tears by, but let's talk about things that are actually happening in three dimensional, real life space and time. big things, important things, and stuff too. things AND stuff.

yes. so i'm building these walls at femina potens gallery. mysterious floating (although painfully heavy) walls. hmmm. yes. i'm also going to sew some curtains for their acres of windows. they will be off white muslin and curtain-y. well then, i guess not too much to report about all that for now.

i've also started a new project in spite of the four thousand open ended projects i can't seem to find the time for these days. it's a stealing project. a succulent stealing project. i mostly work on it on my lunch breaks, when i walk around potrero hill and take cuttings off of succulents and put them in a paper bag. then i sort them out at home and have plans to start rooting them in jars or paper cups. something about regeneration and resource, about perpetuating life in your environment, something about sharing, something about taking. we'll see how it develops.

and we had another art opening last friday, which went off without a hitch and drew quite a crowd for it only being our second show in our humble little spare room. i'm so glad to be working on this project. even in the tiny bit of time we've been working on it, i already feel more in touch and more inspired. and meeting people who are making amazing work and having such brilliant beautiful ideas, that they're willing to share in my home, well, what could be better?

Monday, November 5, 2007


I Took The Handmade Pledge!

monday space out

ahhh, monday.

here we are again, monday. just you and me. mano y mano.

ahhh, yeah. i don't actually dislike mondays. sure i sit around sunday night bellyaching about having to go back to work the next morning, but i tend to think of the work week as more cyclic then stop and go, so that's not really what gets me. it's more the demarcation of time lately that's giving me the old one-two punch. like there is not even close to enough time for anything and i find myself amazed by anyone who's actually getting things done. finishing stuff has become the holy grail of making for me, and let me tell you folks, i am seldom acheiving it. my to-do lists and my idea books just get longer and more full, but there never seems to be more to show for any of it. i wonder where i found the time before and where, oh where, has it gone?

alas. well, i guess a nice counterpoint to this dreary diatribe would be a little photo montage of something i actually did finish. here's a little ditty about a soft sculpture fence that lives at Southern Exposure:

the humble beginnings.

piecing it together.

hanging it up.

that'd be me on the rickety ladder fastening it together (the backstage ain't always pretty, you know)

almost finished.

a close up.

the whole shebang.

so there you have it. i guess i do things every once in a while. now if i could only get that etsy shop up and running darnit!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

praises for beneficial insects

so last january erin schelpped out here from the coldy moldy northeast and for three months we looked at every god-awful apartment in san francisco, trying to find something that was better than the place in the mission i had been living for the past 2 1/2 years. it was a rude and ugly awakening to realize i had commited to leave what turned out to be a diamond in the rough, and that i could no longer afford to live in even the tiniest, dirtiest, sketchiest places in the mission. so in the 11th hour, i think 2 days to be exact, before we had to be out, we found a horribly decorated, stained wall to wall carpet, scrambled egg tiled, most perfect ever single family home in bernal heights, with everything, seriously everything, that we had been longing for. we moved our stuff into the garage before we even signed the lease or the painter had finished painting, made a deal with the landlord to do rent/work exchange to refinish the hardwood floors, and slept on a mattress on the kitchen floor for the first month while we sanded ourselves into carpal tunnel oblivion.

the point of this story is that one day, if you're lucky, i'll post some pictures of our darkroom in the bathroom, our shabby chic hot tub retreat guest room, our in-house art gallery, our garage studios and everything else wonderful and amazing in our house... no, no. that wasn't the point. the point was that we have a garden! a garden that has changed me and now i can't imagine living without one ever again.

our garden was mostly weeds and oddly placed bricks and dirt mounds when we moved in. we had a few largely overgrown jasmine plants and a science fiction-like monster aloe plant, some scraggly trees and a ton of horsetails. so we trimmed and pulled and dug and composted, and eventually our roommate set up a waterfall of succulents and we planted a ton of new seeds and seedlings, mostly vegetables, but a good handful of flowers because i buy a lot of those half dead 25cent plants at the hardware store because, well, i can't just leave them there so sad and lonely. so we were set, and things started to grow. a few things grew really well like tomatoes and zucchini and cucumbers and arugula. but all the leafies, especially the dark leafies were getting eaten up more and more, no matter how much soapy hot pepper yadda yadda we would put on them (of course we're organic, you know we're hippies). we couldn't figure out what the problem was until one day i realized that the cute little caterpillers that were always hanging out were getting fatter and fatter and the cute little moths that the cats would chase were getting more and more prolific. turns out those cute little caterpillers were cutworms and cabbage loopers. drats.

we weighed our options and after feeling severly emotionally scarred by putting a caterpiller in a bucket of soapy water after a book told me to, we started looking into benefical insects. we bought trichogramma wasps, which are teeny tiny little wasps that feed on the larvae of the caterpillers. they come on postage stamp sized papers that look like sandpaper, and we hung them from thread in the trees and in a few days all the little rough bits were gone from the papers and our wasps were off fighting the good fight, the collard greens and swiss chard fight. and wouldn't you know it, about a month later and our greens are growing with minimal chewed bits and we're getting ready to dig a bunch of sad stuff up, move it around and re-plant. i can't wait.

i'll be unleashing some more beneficial insects on the garden this weekend- predatory nematodes. they are supposedly the end all, be all of beneficial insects because they'll eat anything that lives in the soil and is smaller than an earthworm. they come in a sponge which you rinse in a gallon of water and then water them into the soil (i know, it's all so sci-fi). i'll let you know how that goes and keep you updated on all the rainy season gardening fun that ensues in the next few months.