Monday, July 25, 2011

Storyteller travels to St. Louis

As promised in my last blog are images
of "Clocamo, the Storyteller", shipped to Mirroz Gallery
in Creve Coeur, MO (just outside St. Louis). I met the gallery
owner, Zina Gelman, at ACC Baltimore. With a customer in
mind, she made specific requests...the storyteller was to be in
black and white. O.K. - I admit, I let a little bit of color sneak in.
I couldn't resist including the border on the old cloth (handwoven
by the Chin of Mynamar) which I used for the cape and carpet.
She requested three masks - a cat:

a mouse (first time for me):

and a colorful clown (again first time for my Star Wanderer

Clown masks were fun to create...made quite a few
extras as I was more storytellers may
get them this fall. Here are a few I've started:

Zina showed the storyteller to another customer
who wants a storyteller with a mask of a blond cocker
spaniel, a hippo, and an iris! Hmmmm....Another customer
is interested in a jazz motif!..(I like that idea a lot!)

Meanwhile, now that the grandkids have left, and heat wave
broken, I'm working on some new winged creatures in my
studio (nope no air conditioning in it!) Process photos in
next blog.

Adventure on! Wendy

Thursday, July 7, 2011

HYCC kids "Emerald Necklace"

For the last few Springs I've worked with the Hawthorne
Youth and Community Center after school program on
projects involving architecture , thanks to grants received
from the Boston Foundation for Architecture:
The kids have designed their own "dream" theme park,
a model for a HYCC cafe and last year a fantasy courtyard
model of the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. This year our
project title was "Discovering Landscape Architecture in our
Roxbury HighLand Park Neighborhood".

Spring is a good time to wander the neighborhood and
sharpen kids' eyes to their surroundings and for them to
learn about, appreciate and care for the aspects of the city
which make it a more beautiful and livable place. We
started with the kids taking lots of photos - all easily
possible thanks to digital technology. They resisted (mostly)
taking photos of each other and focused on landscape
architecture features around houses, schools, the community
center and parks.

One of the favorite yards they pass on their way to HYCC from
school is the house below with sculpture in the front yard and
a mortar free wall built over a couple years by the homeowner.
They have enjoyed watching the long, slow process. Now that the
wall is finished, they enjoy looking for the snakes hiding there.

Our neighborhood offers a variety of housing and parks
including Highland Park, right up the hill from HYCC laid
out by America's "First Landscape Architect" Frederick
Law Olmsted. The kids learned about Olmsted's life and
his designs including Boston's Emerald Necklace linking
downtown to Roxbury's Franklin Field. The park is on
the site of a Revolutionary War Fort used in pushing
the British out of Boston in 1775 so we were able to
highlight local history too.

The Victorian standpoint erected when the fort was taken
down is a favorite landmark. They took many photos showing
its placement and how the cement benches indicate the
original dimensions of the fort.

As the kids explored, we talked about all the things that
need to be considered when designing a park - how it
is used, by whom, the climate, how Pudding Stone
contributes to (and complicates) landscaping in Roxbury.

Then they sat down and drew elements of
landscape architecture which they had observed.

After lots of photos, sketches and discussions, we
moved on to the kids making their landscape

First in blocks:
I thought the idea of book sculptures you walked
through in this park was a pretty cool idea.

then on to small individual parks made from various
recycled materials which we "linked" together
to make our own "HYCC Kids Emerald Necklace"

This park square included sculpture, tables,
stone play area and steps:

Quite a few included water features, paths and
pudding stone!

And some individuals got really elaborate. Our
HYCC Emerald Necklace ended in this mirror
mountain climbing landscape:

HYCC projects always conclude with a presentation by
the kids to their families and the community. This year
besides their models, they made posters using their
photos to explain the project.

At the presentation, the kids did a good job of explaining what
they had learned, received certificates and their own Emerald
Necklaces (Mardis Gras green variety). Then we installed the
display (as seen at the beginning of the post) at our local
branch of the Boston Public library. It will be at the Dudley
branch all summer. The kids enjoy seeing their work in the library
and hopefully the installation encourages others to sharpen
their eye for landscape architecture.

The most important aspect for me is the way these projects
deepen the connection that the kids have to our Roxbury
neighborhood and to Boston. I appreciate that the Boston
Foundation for Architecture makes this possible.

My next post will include images of a storyteller I just finished
which is going to a gallery in Missouri!

Adventure on....Wendy