Friday, November 27, 2009

Serentripity Workshop at The Asian Art Museum

A few weeks ago I conducted a craft workshop for Serentripity Learning Vacations at The San Francisco Asian Art Museum. My workshop was part of a series of activities including furoshiki gift wrapping, Japanese teas and snacks and a tour of the Japanese exhibits. Here are a few images of the day.
Introductions by Katherine Relf-Kanas of Serentripity.

The day started with a presentation by A local company that sells and promotes furoshiki craft.

An interesting side note: The Japanese Ministry of Environment began a campaign in 2006 to promote the furoshiki as a conservation alternative to plastic bags. It has posted a furoshiki diagram that shows how to wrap objects of different shapes. This is such a nice development as modern Japanese packaging has tended to be plastic happy....wrapping food items in many layers of plastic within plastic within plastic. More info is here at the Japanese government website.

Below: Snack break! Delicious chibi taiyaki snacks provided by Sweet Breams of San Mateo.

I then conducted a three hour Japanese purse making workshop. There was a tour of the Japanese collection to break things up and our docent also brought in her own collection of unique Japanese textiles.

Below: some of our supplies: Sushi grass try for bottom of purse, plastic sushi grass, Photoshop created iron ons. Participated sewed onto strips of Filipino noodle flour bag canvas.

Below: A workshop participant working on sashiko detailing. I get my sashiko supplies at Eddie's Quilting Bee.

Hard at work.

Completed purses.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Technology in Schools

For several years I have been teaching art and stop motion animation workshops in public schools. As I draw from a past career that spanned animated cursor design for computer games to digital illustrations for educational curriculum, I am now getting an in depth look at how digital media is integrated into schools and in non-profits specializing in children's programming.

Closing The Innovation Gap
I am reading a great book "Closing the Innovation Gap" by Judy Estrin and it highlights the lack of long term thinking in culture, education and business in the U.S. She has a great quote stating to the effect that disruptive big leap innovation happens in groups no larger that a jazz band. We need to provide our children with projects and environments in which to work togehter in collaborative teams. The skill set developed in such interaction are essential for success in any career and in any life path.

In terms of technology integration into schools it is so important for schools to have a short and long term goal. I recently spoke with a school official who did not see a need for a five and ten year plan for their technology lab as we do not know where technology will be in five years. I was dumbfounded by this answer. Perhaps my question was misunderstood or I misunderstood the response. We cannot avoid planning a goal for a tech lab just because we do not know where technology will be in a few years. That is reactive and will result in tech labs used for bare minimal, unimaginative activities. There needs to be some vision of what kind of environment a lab should be and some idea of how to foster innovative and integrated technology projects.

Technology labs can compliment every academic discipline just as a library does. A technology lab should provide both enhancement of standard curriculum and provide the tools to connect with others both here in the U.S. and abroad. Below is a great resource for understanding what techonology usage should build.

National Technology Standards
The National Technology Standards, (funded by NASA and Apple) provides great top level structure for how to frame the goals of technology useage in schools:
Creativity and Innovation
Communication and Collaboration
Research and Information Fluency
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
Digital Citizenship
Technology Operations and Concepts

National Technology Standards for Teachers
National Technology Standards for Students

At struggling non-profits it is not uncommon to see computers still in their packing stored away in cabinets, broken down computer hardware hanging out in corners waiting for repairs that will never happen, or even worse, tech labs full of banks of computers not being used in effective programming. I have seen all of the above at non-profits that do not have internal tech support or the technical resources to even know what is possible.

Krause Center for Innovation
There is a great center KCI, Krasue Center for Innovation, that provides teachers with paid training to learn digital tools and integrate them in creative ways in their curicullum.
Their MERIT Program pays teachers for digital technology training and then further funds them to implient projects in the classroom.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Matador Jacket Completed

Yesterday I picked up the completed matador jacket from the framers. They did a great job attaching the wire piece to the black matting. After seeing the piece in the frame I though I needed a few more gold elements to tie the piece visually to the gold frame. Here is the piece with the added gold elements. I will hopefully have a professional photographer take a picture of it before I deliver it to Armando.

Media: wire, produce netting, Filipino rice flour bags, organza, Mexican food packaging labels and beads.

This is the first piece in which I started using a drill to twist wire with. It has taken me four years to complete as I have been working on it off and on. Lesson learned: Make a hard and fast deadline or all my other projects will push the one without a deadline aside. I learned a lot on this piece and applied techniques to 0ther projects.

This piece was also what let me to meeting my friend, Charlotte Kruk, an artist who uses food wrappers in her work as well. She was working on a matador outfit when I met her years ago and I was beginning this piece. Time flies!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

De Young Residency Revisited in Textile Design

A year ago I had an artist residency at the de Young Museum and designed a visitor participatory project of wire and repurposed materials.

I saved most of the visitor created tiles and have scanned a few for experimentation in my textile designs. I have sent this below pattern tile to Spoonflower for a test swatch. I have hundreds of these unique round butterfly tiles created by adults and children who visited the de Young during my residency. I selected these few for my fabric design.

You can design a repeat pattern in Photoshop by selecting the area of your image to repeat and then select Edit: Define Pattern. Below is a swatch of area created with this technique.

I discovered that I could also increase the random look by selecting "half drop" in the Spoonflower settings. I am interested in the creation of textiles that are touched by many individuals hands and imaginations. Designing textile patterns which draw upon public collaborative projects is a fascinating direction to me. What garments and objects can be sewn from such unique fabrics and how can these sewn objects reflect further on community?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Matador Jacket Almost Completed

I have been working on this matador jacket, Traje de Luces, for quite a while now. I hope to have it to the framers this week. It is made of twisted silver wire, silver plated wire, crystals, Filipino noodle bags, organza silk, red onion bags, as well as packaging graphics from Mexican rice bags, tortillas bags and cacahuetes Japones (Japanese Iso peanut snacks from Mexico). My family is getting to enjoy more Mexican foods than usual now as I have bought a bunch of foods for their packaging at a Mexican market.

I started this version of this jacket by creating flat pattern templates in Illustrator. I printed them out to scale and taped the paper jacket together to make sure it worked. I then worked the twisted wire to form the outlines of each patten piece shape.

The final display will be against black felt rather than this purple/blue.

When I first started working on this piece (for a Latino artist friend who loves the pageantry of bullfighting), I wanted to incorporate elements of different cultures. Despite the controversy surrounding bullfighting, it does draw international fans and matador aspirants from diverse countries such as Japan and China. I lived in Spain for a while, (Salamanca) and recall the dramatic bullfighting ring and posters announcing events.

There was a Japanese man, Atsuhiro Shimoyama, who was called Nino del Sol Nacientero (Son of the Rising Sun) who tried to be a bullfighter in Spain. His is an interesting story. Anyway, as a nod to him, I included Mexican/Japanese food packaging and the coloring of the piece (red for the rising sun).

In the Philippines there is bullfighting as well, but it is fighting between bulls and not with people. The backing to this matador jacket is made of a Filipino noodle flour bag overlayed with organza.
Detail images: