Thursday, November 18, 2010

Essays on Beauty

" may be contentious and difficult to define, but it’s also one of the great goods of human life. It is something we all crave..."

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment has published seven commissioned essays on beauty. I did not find these provocative, rather they comforted me.

As Hasan Bakhshi writes, "The appreciation of beauty is a fundamental part of what it means to be human."

Enjoy! And thanks, Chris Fremantle for this link.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Local Happenings

I enjoy focusing on the global level, as I've written of here before. Yet I appreciate being grounded and local, too!

Last night I joined pals from Sustainable Edmonds at an event for Sustainable Works hosted by Green Drinks. It was a clear evening and I enjoyed a spectacular sunset over the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound on my bike ride home.

Speaking of the sound, People for Puget Sound organized a 10-10-10 work party at the Edmonds Marsh. My sister's grade school age kids eagerly joined me and an impressive gathering of volunteers for some good old mud.

In August I had the pleasure of participating in the "How To Bring About Large-Scale Behavior Change" workshop led by Joe Brewer and hosted by Sustainable Seattle. My guest blog post is here.

Meanwhile Beauty of Water projects continue to evolve and emerge in their own sense of rhythm. I have learned not to force collaborative art processes. "Spirit of Water" in partnership with Carol Schillios and the Fabric of Life is one of the collaborations I am excited about. More info on this wonderful project will come in the fullness of time...


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sound with Water at Arts in Nature Fest

Last weekend at the Arts in Nature festival I got to be a kid again. The "Sound Cabin" hosted by Amber Kai Morgan and Garrett Kelly of Hollow Earth Radio was a blast! They had hung an underwater microphone in a tank of water, and provided inspiring tools like leaves and shells for making surprising sounds, using the water as part of the instrument. It was really fun!

Now I'm wondering about including realtime sounds of water in the multifaceted installation we're in the early stages of developing in Edmonds, north of Seattle. Join us if you can.

Throughout the day the elegant Cabiri aerial dancers, two pictured here, from the Anunnaki Project, delighted onlookers.

Thank you, Nature Consortium, for a lovely day!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beverly Naidus and the Beall

I recently had the pleasure of traveling by bicycle and ferry to see Beverly Naidus, shown here, eco-artist, professor, and author of several books including Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame, at her home on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound near Seattle.

Beverly has begun a new, multi-faceted work called "Eden Reframed: An Eco-art Project for the Beall Greenhouses" in partnership with local non-profit SEEDS and other community members.

After a refreshing salad of greens I picked from her garden, graced with a handful of raspberries and toasted filberts, in other words, nirvana, Beverly took me on a tour of the Beall property, which held commercial greenhouses for many generations, as this 11-image slideshow reveals. The precise site for the project is featured in several slides -- watch for a pile of rubbish in the brush.

The soil at the Beall is contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, most of which arrived by way of a formerly functioning Asarco smelter. There is also pesticide and petroleum contamination, making remediation additionally challenging.

Artists have gravitated to the Beall for many years, yet this project is unique. Combining sculpture, ritual, video, oral history, permaculture and more, collaborators will work together to heal this land and reclaim it within the community. Utterly inspiring, thank you, Beverly!

Please visit Beverly's Eden Reframed: An Ecoart Project blog for more photos and updates.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Beauty of Water Website

I am delighted to announce the newly redesigned Beauty of Water website, integrating more photos, sharing more information about our projects, and making it easier to connect with our work.

We loved the old site, but simply outgrew it.

Please drop a line to send your thoughts on what you like and what could make this new website even better. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scriber Lake High School Mini-Course

Beauty of Water at Scriber Lake High School in the Classroomtranquility / splashy / opaque / beauty / refractive / wet / glowing / soaking / marveling / drenched / promiscuous / strange / pure / pristine / abrasive / bottomless / transparent / wonderful / polluted / creative / loud / majestic / devious / developing / abused / living / powerful / taken for granted / luminous / beautiful / interesting / priceless / refreshing / spiritual / quiet / persistent / sensational / temperamental / graceful / noisy / indifferent / immortal / wild / an influence / moral / lamella / water / art / reflection / vigorous / shiny / ever-lasting / repetitive / relaxing / calming / smooth / awesome / clear / flowing / chaos / fluxuating / questioning / peaceful

Beauty of Water at Scriber Lake High School at the BeachThese words graced the Beauty of Water Mini-Course at Scriber Lake (Alternative) High School, as they were provided by twenty participating 9th through 11th graders when asked to describe water from an artist's perspective. The workshop, which ran from April 19-23, drew inspiration from the learning series we offered through the Raja Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts in Kerala in 2008, curriculum available.

Teacher Mike Carey and I facilitated classroom time combined with visits to the lovely Marina Beach Park on the Puget Sound in downtown Edmonds, Washington. On Friday we were joined by the wonderful Leon, volunteer shown in the top image above. This 17-image slideshow provides a glimpse of our experiences.

Students produced slideshows using their own photos, sculptures, poetry, hand-held collections, and spontaneous practices including skipping stones, which became the launching point for digital videos.

We asked students, "If the water at the beach we visited this week could talk, what would it say to you?" Here are some of the responses:
  • It would tell me 'jump in!'
  • I appreciate your art sculpture you made for me, it was delicious.
  • I'm glad that people appreciate me, I wish more people could see the beauty in me and treat me respectfully.
  • Whaddup?
  • Thank you for visiting me today and studying my nature.
My favorite feedback? "Great!" "Fabulous!" and "Perfect!" It was!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Mt. Shasta HeadwatersBeauty of Water is alive and well. Waves of activity swirl and dissipate, while under the surface churning continues.

I am reminded of the first phase of our work in India, during which new connections formed like a neural network, and every day was exciting in the project's new location.

I notice the same tentative yet grounded exploration here in Edmonds, Washington, a quiet hum of happenings and connections that can help take the project forward. While I'm not new to the USA, Beauty of Water is taking its first tangible steps on this continent.

I recently gave a presentation to the good people at the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary. I'm also working with a colleague at Scriber Lake High School to apply for a grant... more when there's more to tell.

Mt. Shasta HeadwatersOne finds abundant inspiration for celebrating water. In this photo I am privileged to be drinking directly from the source. Gratitude to all who rallied to rescue Mt. Shasta Headwaters, one of so many bodies of water we can appreciate with all of our hearts... and creativity.

Shshshsh, I'll tell you a secret. A new Beauty of Water website is coming soon!