Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ferns: weekly photo at cougar mtn, 4/21

Those of you with calendars will probably note that I'm late posting these photos too. My last couple of walks at Cougar mtn got me lots of pictures of the ferns growing out of the moss that grows on the trees. I have a couple of pieces percolating right now, and I'm printing photos on fabric today so that I can work on them this weekend while I'm on Whidbey Island with the Seamsters Union. I don't think I'll be using the first photo because there's too much going on in it. But the second one, the closer one with the little fern, it will definitely be used in some way.

This one is here so people can possibly understand why I'm so obsessed with these ferns. I think it's just amazing, the layering of green that happens in the woods here.

And this one was the first of the close ups of a very small fern growing next to a tiny streamlet. I can't help but wonder if it will survive the summer when the stream will dry up.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

microcredit comes to NYC

In my email this morning was this news from I pass it along because I think going small (and relocalizing) is the best way out of the current economic problems for most of us.

My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange tricks on us. We see things the way our minds have instructed our eyes to see. /--Muhammad Yunus/

*Good News of the Day:*
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, known as the "banker to the poor" for making small loans in impoverished countries, is now doing business in the center of capitalism -- New York City. In the past year the first U.S. branch of his Grameen Bank has lent $1.5 million, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, to nearly 600 women with small business plans in the city's borough of Queens. People around the country are struggling to repay mortgages and credit card debts, but Grameen America says its loan repayment rate is more than 99 percent. [ full story here ]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Backyard Bushtits series finished! Finally!

So here are the completed 4 pieces that were all done starting with the backyard bushtit photo I blogged about earlier, when I finished the first piece. It's taken me over a week to get the photos taken so I could blog about them, and I'm not completely happy with the first photo, but it's "Ship It!" time so here they are.

The first 2 pieces are both about 8 x 8 finished size. And all four are put on stretcher bars so they are ready to hang. I haven't done any pieces this way before and that was a learning experience. (This shot came out a bit darker than I'd like so I'll probably redo it, but not today. I'm itching to go work on my new pieces.)

Backyard Bushtits #3 is approximately 10" x 20" and was my first attempt to explore the theme of birds living in the nooks and crannies that we leave them.

This turned out to be the one I liked the best after it was finished. I didn't completely like the batik fabric that I intercut through the picture as I thought it made it too jangly and disrupted. So I added the silkscreening after I'd already pieced it. (And after #4 was halfway done...) And that didn't quite do it, so I added some more stenciling and watercolor highlights on top of it all.
I think this is the one that gets across my idea, and has the most coherent design.

After being unhappy with #3, I thought about just doing intercut fabric in one direction. Thus, I came up with #4. It's okay, but not as appealing to me as #3. It's also not as big as #3 being only
9" x 17". I did like the effect of silkscreening on the fabric I used to slice up the bird photo and I'll probably be doing this some more in future work.

Frankly, this was an exercise in doing a series, to stretch my own process, and experiment with working multiple interpretations of an idea at a time. I learned a lot about how I work, and got some ideas tried out that had been bubbling in my head for a while. It was worth the effort and I hope, in addition, some of you like some of the pieces that resulted.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Earth Jurisprudence: Legal rights for Gaia

I blogged about Ecuador adding legal rights for nature in their rewritten constitution. And here's a link to an article about where else the idea is catching on, including Vermont (no surprise there) and Maine, where local communities are using the idea to fight corporations (such as Nestle) who want to use their aquifers for bottled water without regard to the local communities' desires or the aquifer recharge rate.

Read the full article here.

I am particularly excited to hear about the folks at the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), based in Pennsylvania. They're providing legal assistance to communities both locally and internationally. I'm intending to look at what I can do to support them. See their webpage at If the rules aren't working, and I believe they're not, then we need to change them rather than wait for disaster.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekly photo: Larsen lake greenbelt, 4/11

Having successfully recovered after surgery and the almost neverending flu, I have resumed my weekly photo taking. I took the camera along to Larsen Lake, and was fascinated by the pussy willows budding out. I don't know what the yellow things I photographed are called, but I really liked their shape and contrast against the grey stones on the greenbelt trail. This one was taken using the macro lens on my camera.

And here's a more distant shot of the same things still on the bare branches of one of the many willows along the lake.

I'm mulling over how to use the macro one in a fiber art piece. I'm thinking I'll work smaller, probably 8 x 11 and see what happens if I focus on the textures and contrast of the colors.

Here's hoping you're finding your own inspiration this spring!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tidal power test in BC

Today's email brought a story about British Columbia testing tidal power generation in the islands off Vancouver Island. Since I live in the Pacific Northwest area, I follow water power ideas. I think each region will have to find alternate power sources that suit their strengths. Solar in Arizona, hydro in the PNW. Apparently, some of the folks in BC think the same.

First few paragraphs:

North Vancouver Island will soon be home to the first commercial-scale tidal current electrical turbine in North America.

The B.C. government announced last week that it is giving $2 million in funding to Canoe Pass Tidal Energy Corporation for the project.

Company officials said the turbine will be running before the end of 2010 in the tidal channel between Quadra and Maude Island, north of Campbell River.

To read the full article, go here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm Back! with electric vehicle updates...

I seem to finally be over the dreadful flu and post-surgery lassitude that has overwhelmed me for the last couple of months. So, I'm starting off my return to blogging with a couple of links about electric vehicles. One is Segway's 2 seater version of their personal transportation. Since it has 2 wheels, and no motor, is it legally a bicycle? I'm looking forward to trying one out. Check it out here.

The next bit of news is about a trial run of a fully electric car in Vancouver BC. The vehicle is freeway capable, and is from Mitsubishi. It's being tested in several cities. Read the full article here.

Wow, this is sure happening fast. And a good thing too, if the recent articles about Antarctic ice melting are any indication.