April 2011 Archives


Every year we celebrate Art All Night in Pittsburgh, by making new work and taking it to show. Today I made a 3-in by 4-in linoleum block print. Sketched, carved, and printed. My husband was printing too, and he had the great idea to take a table into the back yard, so that we could work there. We ignored the dandelions and the ankle-high grass, and before long, our hands were inky and the lawn chairs were filled with prints drying in the sun. Perfect way to let late morning evolve into afternoon.

We dropped our work off before the deadline, went home for some supper, and returned to see the exhibition.

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Not to be missed. (via information aesthetics)
Here's a brief TED talk by Mike Matas, who gives a demonstration of a full-length interactive book (or "book" - the commenters disagree) on the iPad. I've just begun downloading the app, and haven't tried it yet. The interactive ways for browsing data look effective in the video, though...

Tina Fey had a great conversation at Google last week, and the video is online. (via swissmiss)
Our neighborhood big box bookstore may have closed last week, but coming soon will be a pop-up book emporium of reading and making, workshops, readings, small press, artist books and zines. Can't wait.  If you are in the area, or have work to send, more information is at their website. Opening day is May 7, and so far they are scheduled to be open for a month.  Oh, and they are on Kickstarter, too.
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A name to remember: Naoko Matsubara - her work means a lot to me.  Here are some glimpses and some links:


Gateways to the East, 2007.
More work here.


Apricot Blossoms, 1993. 

(I saw a retrospective of her woodblock prints and collages in 2009, and have been carrying some of it around in my head ever since - but hadn't looked to see what I can find online. Pleased to find so much to study.)
He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. 
                           -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac McPherson, 13 August 1813
So far none of my imagined projects have moved forward - spent time browsing in a couple of used bookstores, preparing for the big dinner, and re-reading a junky novel. A satisfying and restful day, though...

Yes, they'll sell me matches, but they don't trust my math. "250 count Kitchen Matches - 500 MATCHES per 2-Pack!" 
Can I fit five or six projects and a big family dinner into one weekend? Probably not. I think the best tactic is to start with one small project, and see where that one project leads me.
This time-lapse video is beautiful, and I keep returning to it.
Just the process of sharpening four broken pencils makes me feel ready to start any new project. The smell of wood and graphite shavings is a scent of possibilities not yet expressed.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Spectacular. Watch it full screen if you can.

What one person in my city is doing...
Just got Carol Dweck's book, Mindset, from the library, and am already about a third of the way through it. More about her ideas and what I think when I'm finished, but so far I'm enjoying the mixture of research and anecdote...
A writing project had me thinking about semaphore. The letters A through I can also stand for the numerals 1 through 9. A non-letter symbol stands for "the following are numbers," but a regular letter (J) stands for "the following are letters." Took me a moment to figure out why that would work... But it's been a long week.
Screen shot 2011-04-14 at 10.12.12 PM.png

3 writers use the same 12 slides to speak about writing. Video here. (via Daring Fireball)


http://yes.thatcan.be/my/next/tweet/ - the service looks at the history of your posts to Twitter, and creates/predicts your next one. (via Laughing Squid)
"Confuse work and play - constantly."

The phrase alone rolls from the mouth like music.  Add the sound of wind and water in an ancient forest. Add Bach. And listen.

I've seen lots of links to this in the past few days, so I'm not sure where I saw it first. Probably via stellar.
I like cards - the way they feel as objects, the way they invite play. And I love brainstorming and idea generation. The IDEO Method Cards combine both. Although IDEO has made an application for the iPhone which costs one tenth as much as a paper deck (and they offer a free app with sample set of 8 cards) - I'm thinking about ways I could justify buying the printed set of 51. 
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How wonderful to make a doll's house from pictures cut out of an Ikea catalog and a piece of folded cardboard. (via Ikea Hacker)
Looking forward to a quiet weekend, and reconnecting with projects in progress.
"Difference is a blessing, not a challenge. We define ourselves by knowing other people. We know our world by learning about difference. What is the word we often use? Tolerance. Is that a positive notion? Not really. 'For the time being, I will tolerate you?' I'm against that concept. It means difference is a threat. Difference is a blessing and you don't tolerate a blessing. You embrace it."
-- Mohammad Mahallati, presidential scholar in Islamic studies at Oberlin College. via BoingBoing

Easy recipes for home-made conductive and resistive play-doh look so, so tempting as a weekend activity. (After I've had my own play time with it, I'll think about bringing some to school.) See the AnnMarie Thomas quick TED talk introduction above, or go right to the squishy circuits web page.


Playful exploration of simple motors, made with wire, an AA battery, a washer, and a magnet. Video and explanation here. (from the Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio Blog)

Vi Hart is at it again. Another lovely video.
If you missed last week's New York Times article on shop class for kindergarten students, it's worth a read:

Gever Tulley, 49, a computer scientist and longtime woodworker, founded the Tinkering School in 2005 after he and his wife noticed, he said, "that more and more of our friends' children were requesting to come over to our house for the weekend because they knew that I would give them a hammer and put them to work."

"One day, I suddenly realized I had a responsibility to these children," he continued. "If I didn't give them an opportunity to start building things and making things that express their own imagination, they might not get one."

During the first summer, he helped eight children build a wooden roller coaster with 120 feet of track. Last summer, the 12 children in each session built an entire village, where they slept for two nights, out of nothing but wood and string.

"Children are inherently exploratory," Mr. Tulley said. Years ago, he added: "they were only limited by their imaginations. Now, they seem to be limited by parents."


At $3.99 (and even less, depending on where you look online), my cousin points out that this book costs less than a penny per mechanism.

After a day of game-playing, I like the Nintendo 3DS. I was happy to discover that even wearing my tri-focals, I can see the 3D effect, and I was afraid that wouldn't work. I can imagine eventual educational uses for the device - 3D instructional video, for example, or games of exploration and discovery. For now, though, the software isn't there. I'd love to see it as a platform for students/kids/anyone to use for learning programming.  I'd love to be able to create my own AR experiences, and to create 3D stop motion animation.  The individual 3D photos are great to take, but they are stuck on the SD card - no easy way to view them on any other screen.

So. On my budget, I probably wouldn't buy the device. I'd wait until I could use it more easily for expression and learning as well as entertainment. However, since it was given to me, I'm delighted to have it. I'll certainly have lots and lots of fun playing games while I wait for the next version of the software. 



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