Made by hand.

The NY Times magazine profiles Etsy, a little like EBay for the do-it-yourself world. Among many of my friends, and certainly several intertwined NYC subcultures, everything old, handmade, small-scale, and/or local is new again. I have my cakes, Corie has the Modern Letter Project, my friend Sarah is working on starting up a high-end handmade scarf business, her husband wants to make furniture, many of us are or have been in CSAs. What does it all add up to? The bulk of what I buy and use is just as mass-produced as the next person’s stuff.

Took a group of kids to the American Folk Art Museum the other day. They are in an art enrichment class – not really folk art, but we had some trouble finding a museum with visit availability on the day that we had to come. Some of them were really interested in what we saw, others not so much. The docents were very sweet but didn’t do a great job engaging the kids. Still, when we came back to school, we had a little extra time and I let them color. Several started making “quilts” with paper and markers, making each square a sketch of something we saw at the museum. It was pretty interesting and thoroughly their own idea. When I was walking around, I wondered what is the folk art of today. I mean, we make quilts and whatnot still, but are there new forms? I’ve always thought that some of the stuff people make on the web might be a form of folk art… accessible to everyone, most people self-trained… or perhaps some of the artwork kids make for mix tapes/CDs… my friends and I always made collages when we made each other mixes. I’m not saying ours were great art, but might not someone looking back find them very interesting?

And last week, in their collection of interesting ideas of 2007, the shape that has only one way of resting, invented (or discovered, depending on your perspective about the existence of mathematical concepts) by Hungarian mathematicians: the Gomboc. Sadly, I can’t find any video of the shape doing its thing, you know, wobbling around and always coming to rest on the same face. (This one’s not really made by hand, but pretty interesting so I’m putting it out there for you).

And of interest to me… how do you get part of an image to hyperlink? Can you do it without Photoshop? I basically just have iPhoto and HPImageGallery.

The comfort of moses & the ten commandments This piece, title “The Comfort of Moses & the Ten Commandments,” was the hands-down favorite at the museum. It’s whimsical, creative, and recognizable (one of my students correctly named what it was, apparently a first in the docent’s experience). I liked it, too.

A couple of girls really liked a painting that had been found on the walls of a house – I don’t remember the title of the image, it had a lot of trees. Put me in mind of the early graffiti uncovered in the walls of a Soho building recently…

Oh… isn’t this entirely hand-written newspaper beautiful?


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Filed under article, New York, teaching, what I read

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