Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tomato, Tomato

This past weekend Michael and I spent a good full day, with the help of some very talented friends, reconstructing the derelict raised bed that adorns his parents yard. They have an amazing backyard, complete with several types of grandfatherly trees and loaded with hundreds of fireflies come summer. In the middle of the yard a small, 7'x7', raised bed was completely overgrown and needing some love. So, we decided to implement Riha Family Farm and set to work ripping out the weeds and putting in some veggies.

The weeds were relentless, some of them went down to what seemed like forever, and we ended up axing out a few of the tougher ones. After weeding and turning some of the topsoil back into the bed, we added a good amount of manure (thanks to Scotty's mom's horses) and made the soil perfect for growing some hearty veggies. As we planted we supplemented each hole with some loose potting soil, to give a little more O2 to the plant roots. Once everything was planted we topped it off with some rich organic mulch that will help to maintain the moisture in the bed.

The bed now holds 4 different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, dark green zucchini, 4 varieties of hot peppers, one sweet pepper, cilantro, basil, lavender, purple sage, rosemary, Italian parsley, marigolds, nasturtiums, and some pretty purple flowers that I couldn't resist. Hopefully Michael's parents will reap a great bounty off the plot for the rest of the summer!

Projects like these reaffirm for me that we can complement the food system in a really positive way if we approach the idea with the right tools, and the right friends! This idea of small space farming, manageable to two people who work full time, is a continuing project for me. Round one, done.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Madsen bikes make me happy

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

some new inspiration

Recently I am very inspired by color in significant splashes and by silverware shapes, and french breakfast radishes. hmmm.
My next project focuses on to-go wares, containers, the idea of home cooked takeout, seasonal changes in diet, bento boxes, the small American farm and how we take "home" out into the worlds we live in. The project will, of course, be made via slipcasting clay. It is also inspired by my true love of stacking, something I can never get away from. Whether it is books by the bed, rocks on a shelf, papers in the kitchen, or dishes in the cupboard, I really love anything stacked neat and square.
Here's a few examples of inspiration...

bento box inspiration...

forks, spoons, red, radish....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The studio space won't be free and clear until May 17th. I'll move in a few days later. Turns out I'm more excited to move in than the last students are to move out. Figures.

Beginning delayed, by a week.
Not to fret, The General Assembly will march on, slowly.

Shift in thought, or how I began Grad School

So, I am now shifting this blog into being more focused on my ceramic work, and less just about me. I will still include snippets of what I am up to, and of course, what delicious food I am making. All of which feeds into the ceramic work that I make. But, the focus is going to shift more into what inspirations I am finding each week and how that is influencing my choices in the design studio. It's the more personal version of the design blog we have set up at HandinHandDesign.blogspot.com, which serves to show the collaborative efforts of Michael and I.

This blog will trail through the next few years of grad school, where I'll be focused entirely on ceramics and design; the interactions of the two practices, the historical implications of industry on them and how we can take the ideas of "slow" and small into the processes of manufacturing. This will all be explored under the name General Assembly, my new title for the design work that I produce both for myself and as commissioned pieces, all for the sake of bringing strong craftsmanship into ceramic design and production.

Today I am setting up shop in the ceramics department at SAIC, studio M152, I believe. The space is great and it's right next to the slip-casting room, which will make for great instant experiments and explorations, as well as access! I'll post photos of the empty space later today, beginning the documentation of life as a grad student.