Monday, April 30, 2012

Practice Makes

I've been out of school for almost five years now. It's not what I planned... because I did have a plan. And it was a rather good plan at that. Grad school, teaching, settling down. Yeah, not so much. There are lots of reasons the plan hasn't worked out and it's easy to get down on myself for not doing more. You know. MORE: more art, more shows, more money... more work.

But sometimes it's worth reminding myself that I haven't been idle. (Ha, right? Those of you who know me probably wouldn't come up with the word "idle" to describe me. Workaholic, maybe...) But sometimes idle is how I feel- the part of idle that refers to worth. Maybe it's my rigorous art school background that demands that I appraise all of my creative actions on a societal scale of value: the larger, more physically tangible and conceptually ethereal the better. Maybe that's just not how I work. I'm starting to suspect that it may never have been how I worked.

Nobody has told my brain that, though.

That's where my sketchbooks come in.

I don't do much drawing, but I always always have something to write down: ideas, notes, words, lists, concepts, worries, plans, schemes... And so here I am, five years later, suddenly with tangible evidence of my working

I started a new sketchbook this morning and it simultaneously felt like starting over and continuing on: like a reaffirmation of my identity. I don't know yet how that comfort relates to the plan, or even if it does at all. I don't know if I should promise myself to try to get out of my sketchbook and into my studio more or if I should throw myself head first into the sketchbook and guilt be damned. I just don't know. 

But I do know it was a good morning. 

Practice Makes is a reminder to myself that any doing is doing, any thinking is in the right direction. Much like a yoga practice, you have to allow yourself to be effected by your art practice and nurture it lovingly and with patience. Practice doesn't have to make perfect, but all practice changes you. All practice makes.

Spring 2012: Chicago

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gardener's Log: Stardate 4-29-2012

I love my Sunday mornings: while the farmer's market is on Spring hiatus, Rebecca and I have been spending all of Sunday morning in the garden. I have to leave for class at 1:30 but from 10am until then, I know where I'll be and what I'll be doing. It turns out that a limited weekly schedule is pretty perfect for novice gardeners like us. We get the time we need to get everything done without have enough time to get carried away or over-attentive. (Gardening mother hens? Mayhaps perchance.) Weekly intervals are also great for staggering planting and doling out the time between now and summer when things really start to happen.

We've been putzing for the last few weeks months: painting pots, prepping beds, reading about soil content (nerds)... but today we finally got some stuff in the ground. YES. LET THE VEGGIES GROW.

(Click on any of the photos to go to my flickr- lots of  notes and thoughts about each plant.)

 Carrots and the first round of beets: planted! 

We'll plant another two rows of beets every other week for a "continuous harvest" which sounds very official. Also delicious.

 Not just seedlings any more!

Five types of tomatoes. They're going to have to get thinned out, I know, but I just couldn't help putting so many in the ground.

Rebecca: "That was actually way more mint than I wanted in my mouth at one time. At least my breath is minty fresh now."

You guys. Mint? Turns out it's kind of invasive. After letting it grow way way past it's little fence all spring, we really had to clear some of it out to make room for the (craploads of) tomatoes. We had some extra mint. Now now, I know what you're thinking: "what do you MEAN EXTRA MINT??" But fear not! 1.) There's PLENTY MOREJITOS A'COMIN and 2.) Please. You know I can't actually throw any plants away. 

SEE?? Who wants mint?!

Free to a good (and local) home. Mmm.. Apparently, I eat a lot of yogurt. Lucky for some of you, that means you get mint. Yum!

High five team garden!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Starting the Garden 2012

I've been a bit lax about updating my blog. Work, identity crises, work, and the need to find some time to sleep (occasionally) have kept me from thinking and writing about art. Also keeping me from art? My sudden, burning, all-consuming neeeed to garden ALL OF THE TIME.

You guys.

This years garden? Is going to be LEGEN(waitforit)DARY.

Seed Savers
I got (almost) all my seeds this year from the Seed Savers Exchange, a company that specializes in organic and/or heirloom veggie, herb and flower seeds. They're awesome! Gaze upon my rainbow of veggies-to-be!

I'm also really excited about having a gardening buddy this year. Last year, my garden was a meditative source of solace while I was going through a season of change. This year, ROOTS difinitively. My friend Rebecca is awesomely working with me to create the best possible garden results!! 

Also? She usually brings beer. BONUS! We started our seeds indoors back in March.

I would say that this is my favorite part of the whole gardening process, that moment when the first seeds in the first seed pods start to germinate and grow... but I know from experience that I'd continue to tell  you all season long that each step was my favorite. ALL OF THE STEPS ARE MY FAVORITE.

Yeah, this would be why I haven't been getting very much work done lately. My studio seems to have become a temporary greenhouse. Oops? The tomatoes jiggle and sway when I use my ancient sewing machine on my rickety card table... I feel a little guilty about shaking them up so much but it makes my studio smell like tomatoes which makes me really happy.

We were lucky enough to get a bizarre heat spell in April which allowed us to get outside early and start prepping stuff.

I've been gathering a ton of ideas for garden designs from pinterest (my one true love). We need a ton of pots for all the annuals... Not sure what we'll do with the pallets but they were right there in the alley! We couldn't just pass them up.

Spray painting pots. And yes, we did establish a color scheme in advance. You better believe I've got a whole Garden 2012 sketchbook with schedules, notes, color swatches and samples. What. Once and artist, always an artist. 


The pots along the garage wall will hold climbing veggies like peas, beans and cucumbers. Most of the plants shown here are gonna get moved around... I'm waiting for more of my seedlings to mature before I do a bunch of moving stuff around. The raised bed (shown here housing the overly tall and ugly dusty millers that should have died off over the winter) will eventually hold root-type veggies: beets, carrots, leeks aaaand chard, I think. 

This project is Rebecca's baby: a potato condo!! The idea is, as the potato plants grow taller and taller you can add boards up the side of the frame so that the container gets deeper and deeper. Bonus? If you get impatient, you can pry off the lowest board mid-season and pull out a couple of fingerlings. Haha, genius! She built the frame out of reclaimed wood purchased at The Rebuilding Exchange which is why they are already so lovely and weathered-looking.  She planted three types of potatoes... red, white and blue! NOM. 

In the interest of making my first blog entry inlikeforevs a reasonable length, I won't make you look at aaaallll of the pictures of my plant babies I can't seem to stop taking. (They're like babies or cats! I can't seem to stop photographing them! They're just so darn cute!) HOWEVER, there are a bunch- and will definitely be more- on my flicker. Gaze upon their visage !

Stay tuned! The gardening season is just beginning in earnest... we'll see if I get any sewing or art done at ALL until harvest. YEESH.

And by "yeesh," clearly I mean SWOOOOOOOOOOOON.