navel gazing as personal reflective processing.

As stated many times in many contexts, I have a complete inability to sit, rest, do nothing and be. This is why i love yoga and hate meditation. So- what to do when faced with with no big projects to pursue and a lack of inspiration? I just keep churning the wheels with arbitrary art-assignments and half-baked solo endeavors. I might just be moving in circles, but at least I’m moving. These usually involve long hours of tedious repetition, leaving me plenty of time and space to listen to radio shows, then music, and eventually new ideas. Once that happens these things, to which I’m never too attached, fall by the wayside. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they evolve or feed into something else, and sometimes they just disappear forever. Below are a few examples from the past year or so. Though usually uninteresting and always unfinished, these little stopgaps are incredibly helpful and, I’m only just starting to realize, an important part of how I make things:

A thorough, deliberate and ritualized destruction of a beloved anatomy book.

A thorough, deliberate and ritualized destruction of a beloved anatomy book.

Abandoned for now- the project as initially conceived is way too convoluted and internal to be interesting to me for as long as it needs to finish or to be interesting to anyone else.

A holdover from my first Postcard Collective exchange- still working to interpret Chris Toalson's 10 'photo' prompts.

A holdover from my first Postcard Collective exchange- still working to interpret Chris Toalson’s 10 ‘photo’ prompts.

Currently discontinued from lack of ideas/interest, but not totally abandoned out of guilt about not responding to Chris’s prompts. Creating interactions and exchanges is hard and when another artist tries to facilitate them, not responding makes me feel like an asshole. I also worry about karmic retribution.

A cataloging of every apron worn by the female characters of Mad Men, inspired by textile patterns, midcentury class/gender-roles as expressed through clothes, and a desire to turn the impulse to watch Mad Men into an art project.

A cataloging of every apron worn by the female characters of Mad Men, inspired by textile patterns, midcentury class/gender-roles as expressed through clothes, and a desire to turn the impulse to watch Mad Men into an art project.

Totally abandoned.

from the Encyclopedia Apocalyptica, a series of numerological historiographs exploring personal fears and the book of Revelations

from the Encyclopedia Apocalyptica, a series of numerological historiographs exploring personal fears and the book of Revelations.

…Eh? Still into this idea and really like how the first (of 22) finished pieces looks aesthetically, however, like the first, it’s super internal/personal and like all ‘product’ producing projects, I have a hard time staying motivated- if there’s no room/plan for interaction and no plan to display, what’s the point?

The most recent stopgap - thinking about plants and  ecologies and connecting those interests to my long standing interests in viscera and sewing paper.

The most recent stopgap – thinking about plants and ecologies and connecting those interests to my long standing interests in viscera and sewing paper.

Ditto to the above. I’m not totally scrapping this idea, but without a real ‘what’s next’ beyond the image itself I have a hard time coming up with a motivating ‘why.’

Creative ecology, permaculture of the mind.

Currently in the process of absorbing the following into my brain:

Studios, collections, spaces for exploration and discovery, permaculture, self-sustaining ecologies, learning ecologies, living lightly, living deeply, the connection between life and artistic practice, collections, our intrinsic need to touch natural materials, space and aesthetics, summer.

(all images linked to their original owners.)

 

 

 

House Keeping

Before I get too far into the ideas buzzing about my head, I’ve been trying to get caught up on the terribly unsexy work of documentation, including this:

website

Click the image to see this spring’s contributions to the Postcard Collective

And this:

movie edit

As both involve long hours looking at a computer and fiddling with what feels like insignificant changes in color correction and transition timing, I’ve been dragging my feet to do it and all the way through it. BUGH. More updates and exciting things to come. Just as soon as I go play outside a bit more. And also read another chapter in this book…

Grow Write Guild #29: Wildness

Grow Write Guild #29: Wildness

It was a singular curiosity- there, three inches behind her navel,  was a  small, unusual gland. Though unconnected to any other part of her otherwise normal endocrine system, it was deemed benign from the get-go and so generally ignored. As she grew older, however, she began to notice an annual rhythm – So long as the ground was frozen, this gland rested between the rest of her organs, small, solid and exciting as a dried kidney bean, stirring only with a howling wind, or a silent road, or the hint of a minor chord. When the days lengthened and nights grew warm as skin, the heretofore globular organ would begin to pull and retract, like gum between a thumb and forefinger, until it reached the back of her throat, painlessly pulling though guts and lungs, thin and delicate and strong as a spider’s web. At the sight of the untamed and untranslatable, giant weeds and threatening disarray,  the thread sounded a clear note, as though plucked- inaudible to anyone else and absolutely unignorable. Her head ringing with its barbaric YAWP, she found herself championing beautiful messes- hacking down orderly shrubberies, letting her garden’s edges melt and ooze into the bugle weed and ground ivy, cultivating edible weeds and reveling in wildness.

 

 

Grow Write Guild Prompt #29: Write about wildness.

Dinner winner?

Dinner winner?

Hey friends, we’re going to try an experiment here- Now, you were warned that this might happen (see here), however, I do feel the need, at least this first time, to give you a head’s up, so you can opt out if you’re not interested.
I’m going to try something that just a few years ago would’ve seemed impossible and insane-

I am going to write. About food. And share a recipe (of sorts).

Like sewing and gardening, cooking is a skill  my mom tried to teach me growing up but, through sheer stubbornness and dependency (‘but why learn, when you’re so good at it already and you’re right down the road and will be for forever and ever?’) never quite stuck. It wasn’t until I was living in my first apartment, eating giant potfuls of beans and rice, and oatmeal for dinner that I started to take feeding myself (and anyone else I might be interested in impressing) seriously. This also happened to coincide with an absolutely amazing science class that looked at the food industry from all angles and dinner became, not just tasty, but a chance to nourish my body and vote with my fork. Thus began an investigation into cooking with whole foods, and a real relationship with flavors and tastes. Thanks to friends, family (mom!), the internet, trial and error, I’ve graduated from someone who can possibly make dinner with two hours, a recipe and a few trips to the store to Someone Who Can Make Dinner In a Reasonable Amount of Time And With What’s On Hand, Recipe Be Damned, which is really about as far as my cooking aspirations go. On one level, I want to celebrate that, but on another, I want to share these tasty things I’ve been making with you so that you can make them and share them with the people who love who will make them and share them with the people they love- This isn’t just thoughtless navel-gazing, people, this is a REVOLUTION.


IncrediBOWLy Tasty Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Rice Bowls

Like Conan and Fat Tire, or peanut butter and siracha, black beans and sweet potatoes are a pairing that have earned a special place in my heart, despite the naysayers. So much so, in fact, that when I start thinking about dinner (usually about 30 min before I want to be eating it) and I think ‘Gee, I have a sweet potato that needs to be eaten soon, I instantly think, “THANK HEAVENS THERE”S BEANS!” because there is. There’s always beans.

things you can make a shit-ton of at a time and freeze: black beans, chickpeas, rice. to use, thaw. then use (DUHbecky.)

things you can make a shit-ton of at a time and freeze: black beans, chickpeas, rice. to use, thaw. then use (DUHbecky.)

  1. First things first, you will need cooked rice (some?), beans (lots?) and roasted sweet potatoes (I used one, but who ever said no to more sweet potatoes?). If you’re using frozen beans and rice, get those out to thaw.
    bean_Bowls1Then, congratulate yourself on being a grown up and a GENIUS.

    BONUS INFO: The Craft is now on Netflix. You’re welcome.

    If not, then open a can, or put some beans and rice on to cook. Meanwhile, roast that potato- scrub, dry and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with a little olive oil and salt. Roast at 425 F. Go live your life.
    bean_Bowls3

     
  2. After 30 to 40 minutes, they should look like this:
    bean_Bowls4


    feel free to ‘test’ a few pieces.

    Now it’s time to make the queso;

  3. Like most sauces/dressings, this started out as someone else’s recipe which, through sheer laziness and ingredient availability has been simplified/substituted/bastardized. The base recipe for this particular sauce came from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, snarky vegan-food-fairy and author of Isa Does It. For this version of it, Add the following to a blender and blend until smooth:
    3/4c. soaked cashews (Oh, what’s that? You haven’t been soaking cashews ahead of time? HAVE NO FEAR- for in my indolence I have made the following discovery: As long as you soak the cashews in really hot ((like, out of the kettle hot)) water for a few minutes while getting the rest of the ingredients, all is not lost), 1 c. veggie broth, 3 T nutritional yeast, 2 T. lemon juice, 1 T white miso paste, 2t. cumin, 2 garlic cloves, smashed, and a teaspoon or so of dried chipoltle powder if you have it, regular ol’ chill powder if you don’t. Blend the hell out of it, until smooth (ish). Pour into a small sauce pan, and heat over medium, stirring regularly.

    I have a hunch that adding chopped up pickled jalapeños at this point in time would be an excellent idea.

    I have a hunch that adding chopped up pickled jalapeños at this point in time would be an excellent idea.

    until the whole thing is thick like queso sauce. How will you know when it’s reached the right consistency?

    Trust me, you will know.

    Trust me, you will know.

     

  4. And finally, it’s time to make the ‘meaty’ filling for the bowl:
    These are the things you'll use.

    These are the things you’ll use.

    In a large pan, saute some onion. After it’s just starting to brown, toss in the beans, a can of tomatoes, juice from one lime, some (?) cumin and a few sprigs of oregano.  Cook on medium high heat until the liquid begins to evaporate.

  5. Assemble the bowls with rice, the bean mixture, sweet potatoes, and the sauce. Top with any taco fixings that tickle your fancy (red pepper, cilantro, avocado, etc.) and mow down. You can carefully arrange each component, OR toss it all in and smoosh around until every bite’s got a little bit of something else. Clearly I have a preference:

    Double plus bonus points if you forget to photograph the finished dish until it's halfway down your gullet.

    Double plus bonus points if you forget to photograph the finished dish until it’s halfway down your gullet.

A modest proposal.

 

For generations, History, and her champions the Historians have been concerned primarily with truth- namely, with the task of finding the one Truth behind the events of Civilization and in doing so, dispel any lingering Untruths. We the members of the North American Pseudohistorical Society believe such endeavors to be, not only dull and tedious, but erroneous in thought. We believe most concretely that no such One Truth exists, but rather, that there exist multiple Truths, each no more valid a truth than the next.

Our mission, instead, is to find and celebrate multiple truths, and even untruths, if the story’s better. As humans, we live and breathe outside of the Text, and so, as pseudohistorians, aim for our work to live and breathe in a variety of media and methods. We strive to rigorously study, trusting the words of our hero, Herodotus; “Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects.’

 

To this end, we have undertaken several small-scale endeavors. At times, these endeavors seek to mine deeply a narrow focus, as with our temporary institution, the Northam Park Natural Art and History Museum (Which, it is worth noting, we were able to expand last summer with a new, permanent collection wing, along with several workshop sessions with the distinguished Will Foster. The later of which resulted in a fine collection of speleographic paragenetic studies of the area’s flora, fauna and hand washing stations.) Other times, we may sacrifice depth to cast our probational nets wide, as we did this past fall with the Center for Lacunal Inquiry. During this time, we shifted our focus from one particular place to nonplaces, exploring the various lacunae throughout the Columbus Museum of Art. Other past enterprises have included a wide range of subjects, including the surveyor cum prophet, P.T. Simmondinger, the ancient Earthworks of Newark Ohio, and the growing field of numerological historiography.

 

Having grown exponentially over the past year, we, the North American Pseudohistorical Society, respectfully propose a new study, bigger in scope and influence that previously attempted. Over the next year, we hope to explore the infinities of the finite, the terminal, in short, the ENDs that (cease to) exist around us. This proposed study and resulting exhibition would lean heavily, as always, on the help of volunteer research assistants, and drawfrom several sources with varying degrees of reliability, including public record, personal journals, historical websites and pure conjecture.