May 1, 2008

East Lagoon Clean-up

Together we picked up quite a few bags of trash. Here we are with some of them.

Apr 21, 2008

Freeze Photos

I finally have photos from the opening reception "Freeze."
You can see them on photo bucket at:



Do not forget tomorrow Monday, April 21, 2008 at 10:50am is the Frozen NIU experiment.
The freezing shall commence at 10:53 am and end at 10:58am. Please come and participate!
Bring your friends!

Apr 14, 2008


Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art
download a copy of this catalog from the smart museum's publication listings:

David Parker's graduate seminar class read some of this catalog. Thought I would pass it along.

Apr 11, 2008

Frozen NIU

This is what I am planning on doing for the freeze project. I hope all of you can make it. Invite your friends! I would like to have about 100-150 people part of this. If you guys have any suggestions, please tell me.

: YOU!

What: freeze in natural positions for 5 minutes
ex. walking, smoking, taking a picture, talking to people, free hugs people etc.

Where: around fountain in front of Cole Hall towards Reavis and Dusable

When: Monday April 21st, 2008 at exactly 10:53am-10:58am. I would say get into positions at about 10:50am

Why: to freak people out and it's Sarah Kim's eco-art project

ALERT: if someone asks you about the freeze act like you don't know what happened and do not freeze in front of any entrances to the buildings


Apr 10, 2008

E-Mailing Your Favorite Businesses

This last week I started E-mailing my favorite places to shop asking them for lists of eco-friendly products that they sell or asking them to offer eco-friendly products. Sometimes I feel like I talk more about change than actually attempting to change things, so now I'm trying to make an effort to change that. Anyways, here are some of my 'tips' for contacting businesses:

1. Be nice! Sometimes being 'passionate' about your beliefs can be a bit abrasive. Word your requests in a friendly manner.

2. Explain how offering earth friendly products can help their business.

3. Drop a few names of competitors who are carrying green products.

4. Ask a question to secure a response from the company.

5. Thank them for their time!

I've gotten personalized responses from most of the places that I've e-mailed, and hope that they are helping in their own small way.

Apr 9, 2008

Green Apple Festival

This free music festival is happening in our own backyards!
I hope some of you can make it out!
Band Lineup:
Derek Trucks Band
Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Meshell Ndegeocello
Chicago Afrobeat Project
Miss Lori Holton Nash (PBS Kids)
The Gwalla Gwallas
Event MC- Kyle Orton - Chicago Bears
There will also be Eco-Speakers between musical acts.

Mar 29, 2008

Free Reusable Crocheted Grocery Bag Pattern

Hi all, I just wanted to let you know that I've finished the pattern for my grocery bag pattern, and you can find it here on my blog:

Free Grocery Bag Pattern!

Mar 27, 2008

Plastic Bag Art

The issue of plastic bags seems prevalent in our class and from our discussions people have been trying to figure out a way to utilize it to make art. I found this on a website that I read regularly called Hope it gives you guys some ideas.

Street Art At Its Best #3: Plastic Bag Animals


Every time we start to think that street art is starting to get a bit tired and boring, along - out of nowhere - comes something that reconnects us with why we fell in love with street art in the first place.

There's an artist who's been making these animals out of discarded plastic bags. He (or she) ties the bags to the ventilation grates above the subway lines so that when the subway rushes through underneath, the animal jumps up and springs to life.


Mar 17, 2008

Eco Events

Here are some ecoevents I gathered from the magazine Consious Choice. Which is a great magazine. I highly recomend you check it out. They are also on the net here :

The first of two all-day events will take place in Chicago on March 29 at AV-aerie, 2000 W. Fulton, Suite 310, an organization that provides resources for local, community-based cultural, social and environmental initiatives. The second swap will be on April 12 at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe. Admission to both events is a bag of clothing and a suggested donation of $20 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Proceeds will benefit the Three Sisters Folk Arts School, AV-aerie and the parent organization Swap-O-Rama-Rama. For more information, visit

3.29 Earth Hour Tonight 8-9pm Turn Out Your Lights for Global Warming atYour House, at work and everyday. Collectively on March 29th people will join where ever they are to support this movement at
Sydney, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Manila, Copenhagen, Melbourne, Brisbane and Toronto all turning off their lights for an hour to fight global warming. JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

04.04 7pm Earth and Cosmos as One Organism at the Angelic Organics Learning Center -1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, IL 61011 Phone # 815.389.8455 workshops at Biodynamic lecturer and farmer Manfredd Klett will help us engage in a living picture of farm and earth. Please pre-register. Program Fee: $10

04.05 1-5pm Farm Dreams Angelic Organics Learning Center - 1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, IL 61011 - 815.389.845 - - workshops at - Assessing Risks & Resources to Start a Small Farm or Market Garden. Come learn about types of sustainable farming careers and take part in a series of self-assessments. Please pre-register. $50

04.05 9am-12pm - Biodynamic Compost Preparations - Angelic Organics Learning Center - 1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, IL 61011 - 815.389.8455 - - workshops at Discover the fascinating life of bees, see urban beehives, and prepare to start a hive of your own. Please pre-register. $50

04.12 1-3pm - The “Ins” and “Outs” of Composting - Angelic Organics Learning Center Chicago Office - 6400 S. Kimbark Ave, Chicago, IL 60637 - 815.389.8455 - - workshops at - Learn what makes a successful compost pile, and decide which methods will work best for your household. Please pre-register. $45

4.17-05.31 9am-5pm
Melting Ice / A Hot Topic: Envisioning Change
The Field Museum 
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive 
Chicago, IL 60605
The effects of climate change are taking place from the Andes to the Arctic, and throughout Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Come see how 26 artists from around the world respond to the threats posed by melting ice and rising temperatures.

4.19 1-4pm
Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration
2024 McCormick Blvd.
Evanston, IL 60201
ecologycenter at
Festive activities featuring music, earthy games, crafts and organic food. Information stations will guide you to smaller environmental footprint. FREE!

04.19 12-5pm
CASE - Green Scene
Northside College Preparatory High School
5501 N. Kedzie, Chicago
greensceneinfo at
Get your green on at this second annual Earth Day fest. Browse goods and snack on food from 30 eco-friendly vendors. Includes free jewelry making workshops, kids’ crafts using recycled materials, demos, giveaways and more. Bring your used books, movies, music to sell. Recycle your used computers and cell phones.

04.19 12-5pm
Green Scene presented by the Community for Alternative Sources of Energy
Northside College Prepatory High School, 5501 N. Kedzie Ave.
Get simple ideas and tips for everyday environmentalism featuring eco-friendly products, hands-on activities, demos, giveaways, media swap and more.

04.20 7:30am-3pm
Earth Day 2008
Trailside Museum
738 Thatcher Ave.
River Forest, IL
Enjoy bird walks, wildflower walks, preserve clean-ups, wildlife viewing, environmental information, children’s activities and much more! Call for information.

04.20 2-4pm
Walking Tour of Angelic Organics
Angelic Organics Learning Center
1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, IL 61011
workshops at
Join us for a tour and introduction to Angelic Organics, a Biodynamic CSA vegetable farm in northern Illinois. Please pre-register.
04.26 9am-3pm
Starting Your Organic Garden
Angelic Organics Learning Center
1547 Rockton Road, Caledonia, IL 61011
workshops at
We’ll cover double digging, prepare a garden bed, and learn about seeding and transplanting through hands-on projects. Please pre-register.

04.26 8am-12pm
Eco-Garage Sale
2024 McCormick Blvd.
Evanston, IL 60201
ecologycenter at
Practice reduce, reuse, recycle by finding a use for something gently used. Proceeds benefit the Evanston Environmental Association.

The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean

When trying to explain her book, author Susan Orlean says “It’s about orchids…but it’s not really about orchids. The book “The Orchid Thief” has received rave reviews from many critics. The New York Times claims that the book is “artful…in Ms. Orlean’s skillful handling, her orchid story turns out to be distinctly something more.” “The Orchid Thief” is about Susan Orlean, a New York journalist who becomes intrigued by a court case of an eccentric plant collector, John Laroche and three Seminole Indians who were caught smuggling rare orchid flowers out of a Florida swamp in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. Orlean decides to go to Florida and meet the infamous Laroche and follows him through the unusual world of Florida's avid orchid collectors. Orlean also learns about the history of orchid collecting and about Laroche's partners, a tribe of Seminole Indians. Essentially, Susan Orlean's book is about passion itself, and how far some people are willing to take it. The reason why I chose to read this book for the assignment was because I really enjoy the film “Adaptation”, which is based off this book. I knew the book would not be exactly like the movie but because of my love for the movie and wanting to know why the main character in the movie keeps referring to Orlean’s book as a beautiful book about flowers, interested me to read the book. I have never been too keen on flowers but this book has opened me up to a whole new subculture of obsessive orchid collectors. I had never known how long orchid collecting has been a hobby nor did I ever know how competitive people can be just to find rare orchids. Orlean explains how some ardent orchid collectors are willing to put themselves in harsh conditions of remote unknown places of places of the world and some have gone to the extremes of killing other competitors. Orlean digresses into the history of rare orchid collecting and about the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, which is believed to house some of the rarest orchids in the world. Orlean says that she knows little about the orchid world but is fascinated by the passion that these plants inspire in others. She explains her desire to see the elusive and rare ghost orchid:

The reason was not that I love orchids. I don't even especially like orchids. What I wanted was to see this thing that people were drawn to in such a singular and powerful way.

In Victorian England, the hobby of growing orchids became so popular and uncontrollable that it was also called “orchidelirium”. It seems that The Orchid Thief is really about the nature of obsession:

I wanted to want something as much as people wanted these plants, but it isn't part of my constitution. I think people my age are embarrassed by too much enthusiasm and believe that too much passion about anything is naive. I suppose I do have one un-embarrassing passion- I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately.

The Geography of Nowhere

Author: James Kunstler

In his book, James Kunstler explores how America went from a country of small towns with solid communities, striving local economies, and a strong sense of civic pride, to today’s endless suburbia where main streets are left to decay, sprawling suburbs are the norm, and everything we build is dependent on cars.

He traces shifts in American architecture, industry, culture, morals, and politics in effort to illustrate how our cities have become what they are today. He also points out how these factors have slowly crept into our way of thinking, and how they are now being taken for granted.

Kunstler accomplishes this without putting forth a completely negative or partisan viewpoint. I believe this is one of the strongest aspects of the books because he doesn’t aim to offend or belittle the average person. Instead, he offers reasons for our habits and convincing arguments as to why we should aim for better.

This book resonates with a lot of issues I am currently dealing with in my studio work. I am currently working on a series of watercolors depicting the interiors of empty houses built mainly in the early half of the twentieth-century. I am contemplating and questioning why they are being abandoned for modern ‘cookie cutter’ suburban homes and what that communicates about our society’s social and moral ‘progress.’ In the book he talks about how these architectural changes happened and how we might go about reversing their negative effects.

According to Kunstler, the most detrimental force working against our ability to construct wonderful places to live is our reliance upon cars as our sole form of transportation. The rise in the production of cars resulted in the ballooning of cities all over the country. Everyone wanted their own little ‘country house’ that was away from the hustle and bustle of the city. He also points out that there are many areas in our cities and towns that are dead zones for pedestrians. He believes we have abandoned the ‘craft’ of building good cities in exchange for the remoteness and isolation of the modern day suburb.

Kunstler also offers us ways to reroute our downward spiral and turn our cities and towns into places that are once again desirable and rewarding places to live. He believes that better urban planning, pedestrian oriented downtown areas, and creating areas of civic art will turn our cities back into places where we want to spend time.

I believe this book is an excellent summation of how we should be planning our cities and how we got ourselves into this mess. I would highly recommend reading this book to anyone interested in preserving our environment because it offers a better understanding of how we came to be the consumer oriented culture that we are today and how we can go about reversing our consumptive ways to create better communities and in turn better lives for ourselves.

The Prairie Keepers by Marcy Houle

Marcy Houle creatively tells of her experience studying the great abundance of buteo hawks in the Zumwalt prairie of Oregon. As The Zumwalt is a unique place for several reasons. First, the 200 square miles of untilled, wild land that makes up the Zumwalt is almost entirely privately owned by cattle ranchers. Second, it is home to an extraordinarily high concentration of buteo hawks. Buteo (beau-tee-o) hawks are known for their ‘broad, round tipped wings; husky-bodies; and wide-fanning tails.’ The buteos are generally dependent upon uncultivated and unpeopled prairies.
Houle is a wildlife biologist and student working to discover why the buteos are found in such large numbers in the Zumwalt prairie. As she explores the prairie through hikes and drives documenting everything from nest productivity to the abundance of Belding’s ground squirrels, which the buteos feed upon, she comes to a startling realization the is disbelieved by both the ranchers and environmentalists who are on opposing sides of the land use debate. The ranchers generally lay the blame on the government organizations and environmentalists for trying to take away their land and way of life. In the meantime, the opposing point of view that the ranchers are destroying this last segment of native wilderness is the original assumption the Houle expects to discover from her studies of the Zumwalt.
This book was a very interesting read and left me feeling generally hopeful. The discoveries Houle makes along the way as she studies the prairie and interacts with the ranching community are hopeful that perhaps the cattle industry and native prairies can, in fact, co-exist and even cooperatively work together. She also shows the points of view of the government organizations, such as the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Fish and Game, and the U.S. Forest Service that also have stakes in the land-use debates. The variety of reactions the results of her studies turn up is fascinating considering that the results are not what anyone would have expected. This discovery is a hopeful one and is inspiring even as the family ranches are vanishing into posterity.

Mar 16, 2008

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by, Jon Krakauer

I decided to read the book “Into the wild,” by, Jon Krakauer for my eco art book review. The reasoning for why I choose this book is kind of ironic in that I was sitting at work one day trying to figure out what book I wanted to read and write about when a co-worker of mine happened to walk in a slap the book down right in front of me for he had just finished reading it and then persisted to say I should read it so we could both talk about it, so in a way the book came to me.
Well fist off a little back story for the people who don’t know the story which just so happens to be a major motion picture as of recent. The book is a about a guy named Chris McCandless who severs all ties to his family and sets off to the west after graduating college and donating the remainder of his trust fund to OXFAM. He also in a further attempt to get away from his old like adopts the name “Alex Supertramp.” The book is basically just a record of this young man’s life from pieces put together through his journal which primarily consisted of record of what he ate and the stories of a few people that Chris aka Alex meet on his travels until finally meeting his demise in Alaska. The book also at times would side track a little and the author would tell stories of his life and of other peoples who have set out and done practically the same thing Chris did.
At times reading this book I did find myself saying, “hey thats pretty cool,” or “hey that’s not a bad idea,” but over all I found reading this book to be sort of hard for I ultimately found myself disagreeing with many of Chris’s ideals. Now do not get me wrong I found his want to be one with nature to be very appealing and almost poetic in a way, but how he went about doing seemed very arrogant. I say this in that you can go out and be one with nature but you do not have to completely severe all human contact and become a hermit essentially. He was also very ill prepared for many of the tasks that he undertook and I believe that he was very lucky not to have met his down fall a lot sooner than when he finally meet his death in Alaska. It is also my belief that all these undertaking gave him a false sense of security which lead him to believe he could do anything without any help. Which also leads me into the small fact that throughout most of the book the author Jon Krakauer continually speaks of how people helped him along the way, by giving him a place to stay, or shoes or a machete est.…and also most importantly human interaction by having long in depth conversations with others. And yet he would continually leave the people he meets wondering what happened to him, just as he did his parents at the beginning of the story.
All in all the book was a very well written book I believe other then the few occasional reflection stories of the author which was his way of trying to identify with Chris I believe I don’t think they need to be in there. But I would have to say that going off and doing what Chris did one needed to be more prepared and also not be so arrogant. He needs to have a little more respect for the environment he wished to traverse. He was consistently putting his life in unneeded danger and then encouraging people do the same. One story told was about an old man that grew so attached to Chris that he ended up selling off his house and everything and started living off alone with seldom human contact. And I don’t care what society you are in a elderly person should not be encourage to seclude himself for the simple fact of , “what if” something happens and no one is around to help him. At least if one is younger you can have a better chance of coming out on top. Truthfully in the end it comes to ones upbringing and their ideals, I spoke earlier about how my co-worker gave me this book to read and discuss it well we found that both of us were harping on the same tactics in which Chris utilized but found my co-worker still envied him where I did not.