Saturday, January 16, 2010

Art of Composting

The plant I used as a model for this painting was a gift from a gardener I met at the oldest P-Patch in Seattle, located on the grounds of the old Picardo farm. Before we moved into a house with its own yard, we tended a plot at the Upper Queen Anne P-Patch, one of the many organic community gardens in Seattle.

The —P— in P-Patch doesn't stand for a pea in the pod, but for the name of the farmer who, during economically hard times, let neighbors grow their vegetables on his property, years before the city of Seattle bought the land in 1973, and the first official community garden in town was a fact.

Since it's practically impossible to control the spread of pesticides (it's carried on the wind) from one plot to the next, the early gardeners agreed all of the gardening should be done without. That is, pests had to be controlled in a natural manner, not with chemicals that could be bad for one's health and the planet.
While they were at it, they voted to use natural fertilizer as well.

In the Pacific Northwest the story goes
that the best fertilizer is a salmon, buried in the soil where you plan to have your vegetable garden. Could be true, but chances are the neighborhood cats will dig up the fish before it can do you or your plants any good. An alternative is steeping fish meal in water which is poured on the soil. Cats seem to pull their little noses up for that, but you'll see plenty of flies hovering over the areas treated with such an infusion. We prefer horse or chicken manure mixed with compost.

Recipe for Compost:
Russian Kale or other vegetable stalks, apple and potato peels, chopped in 2 inch pieces, teabags and coffee grinds (from your home brew or barista), grass clippings, dried leaves, weeds (without seed heads) and water, turned weekly.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mother/mother-* at A.I.R. Gallery

Since I couldn't tear myself away from Seattle, I didn't have a chance to take pictures of the Mother/mother-* group exhibition at the A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y. That's too bad, for this is the only picture I have in which my print shows. Third piece from the right, black/white pinned to wall between two framed pieces.

If you're one of the other participants, or a visitor who made photos of this exhibition (no matter whether it was during the opening, with people present and artwork only partially visible) if you have a photo in which my print Bird Armor is in the picture, I'd love to receive a copy. I'd love to see photographs of the opening —period— if you get my point. Thanks in advance!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Birth of Butterfly

In 1997 the birth of a butterfly from a broken heart shaped vessel seemed to be the ultimate transcendence of grief. My sweetheart and I suffered broken hearts after the birth and death of our little girl. Today she would have been seventeen.

Transcendence of Grief

My sweetheart worked at the Seattle Repertory Theatre at the time that Philip Kan Gotonda's "The Balad of Yochiyo was being staged. The tragedy tells the romantic love story of a married potter and his apprentice. Back in my studio, after watching the show, I started doodling and soon the broken vessels took the shape of broken hearts.

Broken Heart

The Ballad of Yachiyo, a tragedy by Philip Kan Gotonda, about a potter's apprentice's broken vessel and heart, performed at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1997 under direction of Sharon Ott, touched me so that I was inspired to create a linoleum print.