Archive for April, 2009

Underwater Sculpture

Posted in musings on April 29, 2009 by askthesky

Take equal parts sculpture, eco-mindedness, and diving, and you get the amazing, inspiring work of artist Jason de Caires Taylor.  

Visit the mafia blog to check out the video of his work.  Just amazing.  

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Thanks, Vegan Examiner!

Posted in musings on April 24, 2009 by askthesky

Many thanks to Christina, the Baltimore Vegan Examiner, for featuring a photo of one of my vegan necklaces on her blog! You can still get tickets for this Wednesday’s vegan fibers lecture, too, details are in her post. Hope to see you there! work-photos-262

Tweenbots of awesomeness

Posted in musings on April 13, 2009 by askthesky

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A great example of art making life better, from Kacie’s website:

In New York, we are very occupied with getting from one place to another. I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots.

Tweenbots are human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal.

Given their extreme vulnerability, the vastness of city space, the dangers posed by traffic, suspicion of terrorism, and the possibility that no one would be interested in helping a lost little robot, I initially conceived the Tweenbots as disposable creatures which were more likely to struggle and die in the city than to reach their destination. Because I built them with minimal technology, I had no way of tracking the Tweenbot’s progress, and so I set out on the first test with a video camera hidden in my purse. I placed the Tweenbot down on the sidewalk, and walked far enough away that I would not be observed as the Tweenbot––a smiling 10-inch tall cardboard missionary––bumped along towards his inevitable fate.

The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged. Often, people would ignore the instructions to aim the Tweenbot in the “right” direction, if that direction meant sending the robot into a perilous situation. One man turned the robot back in the direction from which it had just come, saying out loud to the Tweenbot, “You can’t go that way, it’s toward the road.”

Go watch the video– and thanks to Kacie Kinzer for a great project.

Again, with the passing of time.

Posted in musings on April 12, 2009 by askthesky

It’s one thing, you know, to feel yourself aging.  I mean, for me, it’s really not a big deal, and I love my birthdays.  I love my kids’ birthdays as well, but there’s something about sitting here thinking about how I now have a FIVE year old and a SIX year old that freaks me a little. 

It just can’t be possible, and that’s the end of that story. 

I made Z-man a Very Hungry Caterpillar cake for his b-day.  It’s his fav book, and I saw some awesome tutorial (that I regrettably can’t find now) someplace online, and went to town.  It’s much easier than you think- it’s just a bundt cake, cut in two (freeze it first, you’ll thank me later), then shifted to make the “s” shape.  Crumb coat, then freezer again, ice it, and decorate with candies, icing, or a mixture of the two. 

He loved it.  I was surprised how excited he got, as I didn’t bother to make the colors correct or anything.  Proof, I suppose, of his greater flexibility these days…

(click to embiggen)

Happy 5th birthday, little big man.  Mamba loves you.

mother of the year

Posted in musings on April 2, 2009 by askthesky

In an attempt to be better about documenting things the children do (as I am the WORST at this), here’s some things I’d like to note about Ms. Sage, aged six.

She lately says, “how cool is that?” a lot, but not in the “Wow, that is really cool” way, rather as a question to see if I agree with her plan of action.  As in, “I’m gonna get the tape and THEN do my homework, Mom, how cool is that?”  And then I get to say, “Uh, not cool in the least.  Homework first.” 

Cause it’s all about the discipline at my house.  You have been warned. 

Also, a couple weeks ago, when winter was still hanging on firmly here in Baltimore, I took the kids for a walk in the chilly rain to the nearby park.  I remembered some crocus I had seen blooming, and I said to Sage that I’d show her a special surprise when we got to our destination- something amazing and lovely and magical.  As we walked on, she started guessing. 

“Is it a rocket?”

“I know!  It’s a giant mushroom!”

“Maybe it’s somebody’s dog or something.”

We got close to where the crocus patch was, and I pointed it out.  “See, the purple place up ahead?” 

She was excited now.  “Is that the thing?  Can I run up there?”

She did, and knelt down to touch the little tiny flowers poking up through the cold earth.  Zander and I caught up and he bent down to get a closer look, too. 

Sage turned back to me and said, “Well, Mom, I wouldn’t call this magical.”

I can’t wait until she’s 15.  Sigh.

Urbanite’s Green issue

Posted in musings on April 1, 2009 by askthesky

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Check out what the nice people at Urbanite wrote about us:

The members of the Charm City Craft Mafia (http://www.charmcitycraftmafia.blogspot.com/) and the Baltimore Etsy Street Team (http://www.baltimorecraft.com/) make all manner of locally sourced art and crafts, often with eco-friendly materials. Jennifer Strunge creates her stuffed Cotton Monsters out of recycled clothes. Shannon Delanoy of Sweet Pepita builds children’s apparel from old T-shirts. Phuong Pham of Phampersand Press relies mostly on recycled and found materials and organic pigments to create books and paper. Red Prairie Press’s Rachel Bone sources organic cotton for some of her children’s apparel. Val Lucas of Bowerbox Press looks to recycled maps and atlases for her line of books. Heather von Marko of HVM Designs crochets wearable art from bamboo and soy fibers. And Carly Goss of Carlybird hand-weaves scarves and other textiles with bamboo and Tencel threads.

Yay, mafia!  And, BEST!  WOOT!

In other news, I finished a sweater.  My first ever sweater for myself, in fact.  I decided to ask the children to help me take a photo for the blog. 

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You can sort of see the sweater in there, right?  The photographer got a little carried away:

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I did enjoy his enthusiasm, I think I’d like to work with him again sometime… he’s super cute, to boot…

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