I've had a deliciously unproductive summer. I didn't make much art, didn't do much traveling, didn't go to many bars and clubs. I spent the majority of my time in my room, catching up on reading, meditating, practicing yoga, and playing the occasional video game (was anyone else disappointed with Dragon Age's ending?) However, I did manage to write a new song.

Songwriting is a funny thing for me. I either sit down and finish one from scratch, or I spend months upon months forcing lyric into time. This song is a bit of both. I first heard it in a dream, which is not uncommon for me- I've woken up to write several songs from dreams- but the only bit I could remember was its opening line, "In Bethlehem, New York." I figured this place that I've never visited or even heard of must hold some significance for me. I spent all of July trying to figure out the meaning of this "Bethlehem,"distinct from its holy cousin, and finally settled on its metaphorical nature. To me, Bethlehem is a place of quiet peace and humility, a place I've been striving to reach all summer. The rhythm of the chord changes match the rhythm of my breath as I meditate.

I can't say much else about this piece except for that little bit which got me started, though its meaning runs much deeper than that. I'd like to leave the rest for your own interpretation. Thanks for listening.

In Bethlehem, New York I laid a stone
to canonize this old forgotten mind
that once was something more productive.

In the letterbox, there's something growing sweet,
and you've hidden it from me for all these years.
And with all my love, I'll give it to the air.

In Salem side by side we lift the sun
to turn it into something more complete
with both our hearts, we'll give it to the air.


Classes start up again this Wednesday. This is my fifth fall semester at college. It doesn't really have that giddy first-day-of-school feeling; it's far more ominous than that. This fall I've decided to really push myself. Four 400 level classes, three of which are studios. A teaching assistantship. And a part time job.

Ceramic Sculpture
Advanced Independent Studio/Honors Thesis
Experimental Animation in Film
Media Production (budgeting, casting, schedules, pre-production)
Glassblowing (asst. teach)

Whew. Wish me luck.

Schools Kill Creativity

"Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects. Every one. Doesn't matter where you go. You'd think it would be otherwise, but it isn't. At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts. Everywhere on Earth. And in pretty much every system too, there's a hierarchy within the arts. Art and music are normally given a higher status in schools than drama and dance. There isn't an education system on the planet that teaches dance every day to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important. I think math is very important, but so is dance. Children dance all the time if they're allowed to, we all do. We all have bodies, don't we? Did I miss a meeting? Truthfully, what happens is, as children grow up, we start to educate them progressively from the waist up. And then we focus on their heads. And slightly to one side."

Rosie the Riveter

It's August, which means that every store is flooded with back to school supplies. Notebooks, pencil boxes, and Solo Cups are on sale everywhere. People are saving their beer money to afford that new "Fundamentals of Business Communication" textbook (which I'm selling, if you do need it), or whatever they need. Even the art student is stocking up, buying gobs of fresh gesso and duck.

But what about us sculptors? And more specifically, what about us lady sculptors?

My back to school shopping list begins somewhat standard: wood glue, dremel bits, various grits of sandpaper, angle grinder disks, nails, screws, and Bondo. Lots and lots of Bondo.

But here’s where it gets tricky: I also need pants. Work pants. And steel toe boots. And leather gloves.

The pants I’ve been using were just standard jeans, which have totally worn through in the knees, are speckled with holes from welding burns, and are crispy in areas from spilled plastic and resin. My studio shoes are gaff-taped together. My leather gloves are clumsily too big for my little lady hands, hindering me more than protecting me. This is a dilemma; the clothes designed for people who work hard are almost exclusively male. We girls are stumbling around in work boots that are too big and hemming pants that are too long.

A few people have noticed (thank god):

Rosie's Workwear is "Designed by women, for women." Finally we can get coveralls that aren't baggy. In hot pink and floral prints!! The boys won't mistake you for a bro with your welding mask on anymore.
Ya Girl! is a line handmade in Vermont by a man who's really feeling for our plight. "I'm not putting on women's pants to do my chores, so why should we expect a woman to wear a man's pant?" They've got heavy duck work pants, work shorts, and even work skirts (with hammer loops!!)
Charm and Hammer is for the rest of the shopping list- safety gear sized smaller for women. There's so much stuff men take for granted, like the width of their safety glasses and the bulk of their respirators. Here are fitted knee pads, gloves, dust masks, and even hot pink tool belts and construction helmets.
AngelFire Welding Gear doesn't have much of a selection so far, but they offer an arc welding jacket and gloves designed specifically for a woman's comfort and safety. Men's welding gear is too big and tends to gap, allowing sparks and splatter to fly down your collar. With a fitted jacket, no more burns!
And a little off topic but worth mentioning,
Carmen Electrode is a blog for ladies who weld and fabricate metals.
And I feel like I should say something about that Satisfaction music video here. I think its constantly playing in our studios. Even though it's exploitive, we've all agreed that you can't just throw any girl on a power breaker and hope for the best, which means that these girls are very likely to be real construction ladies. So, yay!

Prophecy in All Its Branches

A beautiful portrait of me by Katherine Nonemaker.
Girl has SKILLS.

Carnival In July

It's August, and I'm already thinking about what I'll be wearing to Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year. I went four years ago and had a blast, but this time I'm in it for REAL. We are cordially invited to the exclusive Krewe Ball, which requires a lavish and unique costume. I've already got my royal purple shirt- I need a mask.

I plan to build my own mask from scratch, from an original design. There are several factors to consider; it needs to be lightweight and wearable, it needs to be strong enough to survive travel (and Bourbon Street), it needs to be breathable and drinkable (I don't want to remove it for every sip of sangria), and it needs to be as colorful as king cake.

Traditionally, masks are made from paper mache or paper pulp, but I'm thinking of a resin mix, maybe with fiberglass support. So... how do I figure out what to make?

Several years ago I spent a few weeks living in an apartment in Venice- I'd take the water taxi through the Grand Canal every day and wander through the streets surrounding St. Mark's, gazing at shop windows filled with artisan crafted Carnival masks. Carnival is the celebration of Fat Tuesday (your last day of freedom before Lent, if you're Catholic) so traditionally, it is a day of vice and pleasure, purging the body of temptation before the 40 day religious fast. The pre-Lent party was transported to the New World, where it took particularly strong root in New Orleans, and thus our modern Mardi Gras was born.

So, I’m gonna build a Carnival mask. I’ll post sketches when I have some good ones, till then, here are my references.