Hosting the winning art work

“The Table Set for Forever” is a portable, multi-media, installation piece that honors existing individual and collective efforts at sustainability while engaging the viewer/participant with questions, ideas, images and visual metaphors related to sustainability in our region. Your community can host the artwork in a public location for one month. During that month, you can arrange a lecture/reception to meet the artist, local Jane Wegscheider, who has agreed to come out to communities to talk about the creative process that brought this inspiring piece to life.

Location criteria for the art:

  • Secure location with oversight, monitoring
  • Public Place- Library, town hall, etc.
  • Length of stay 1 month
  • No outdoor venues
  • No sitting on the chairs
  • Minimum area needed for installation 10’ X 10’

**We will deliver the artwork to the prearranged time and location. The setup time is approximately 1 hour** 

If you are interested in hosting this artistic representation of sustainability in your community call or email Catherine Miller at cmiller@pvpc.org 413-781-6045.

Scheduled Locations for the Artwork Calendar

Month Location
January Northampton Town Hall 
February Greenfield
March
April
May
June
July
August
September 
October
November
December

Art of Sustainability

Theme: Sustainability in the Pioneer Valley—what is it?  what does it look like? sound like? etc…what are the causes of unsustainable behavior? What are the benefits of sustainable living? The scope of this contest is deliberately broad–we want your ideas…

Description and Background: Artists and inventors throughout the Pioneer Valley (Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties), Massachusetts, are invited to submit their ideas and concepts for a project that will result in a representation of sustainability.  Ideas can be described visually (through sketches, models, sculpture, video etc.) and verbally.  This first stage of the contest involves only concepts; not finished artwork or productions.

Purpose: The goal of this contest is to stimulate thought and action on sustainability in the Pioneer Valley. The idea of sustainability dates back more than 35 years.  It was a key theme of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972.  The concept was coined explicitly to suggest that it was possible to achieve economic growth and industrialization without environmental damage.  In the ensuing decades, the concept of sustainability was progressively developed through the World Conservation Strategy (1980), the Brundtland Report (1987), and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio (1992).

Sustainability is both a goal and a concept.  As a goal, sustainability is an idea of a world where people care for and nurture the environment and one another as they carry out their day-to-day activities.  As a concept, sustainability calls for probing about limits on natural resources, capacities of ecosystems, and interactions among social, economic, political and environmental systems.  The central theme underlying this concept is working toward a sustainable quality of life, now and in the future.

Perhaps the most widely accepted definition of sustainability comes from the Brundtland Commission.  The Commission was convened by the United Nations in 1983 to address growing concern about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resources and the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development.  The Commission defined “sustainability” as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”   Enough for all forever.

The concept of sustainability presents us with exciting challenges.  It inspires all of us to work creatively toward moderating and changing our practices and behavior.  It feeds new ideas and passions about technological, economic, and social growth that are ecologically viable. 

Embracing all of this, what does sustainability in the Pioneer Valley look like, sound like, feel like? How can it be represented? Is it best articulated through a device, or through dance, music, film, sculpture, or two-dimensional design?  We invite you to show and tell us.

Funding: $1,000 for winning concept submission and significant exposure and recognition for ALL finalists.  Contest winner must agree to execute his/her winning idea and produce the final work with a $5,000 budget by September 30, 2008.

Criteria: The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network is looking for project ideas that demonstrate the following: 

  1. effective communication about the concept of sustainability;
  2. creative use of materials (recycled, locally based, or sustainable in other ways);
  3. how the final work can be produced within the $5,000 award budget (include a budget) plus any other funding you have to realize your idea;
  4. how the final work will reach a large public audience here in the Pioneer Valley (include a plan);
  5. a spirit and intent that is positive;
  6. an artistic imagination;
  7. inspiration to thought and action on the part of the audience who experiences your art/invention.
  8. You must also be available to present your idea to the Judges on June 25, 2008 6:30-9 pm at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton

 

Judges for the contest will use the above criteria to evaluate all submissions. 

Judges: (click here to see bios)

ART: Hilary Price, Josh Simpson, Gina Beavers,

Media/outreach: Chris (Monty) Belmonte, Rus Peotter, Kristen Beam

Sustainability: Daniel Ross, David Starr, John Majercek,

Eligibility:  In the spirit of sustainability, this contest will be locally based in the Pioneer Valley.  Artists and inventors of all ages, backgrounds, training are encouraged to submit ideas—you must all live, work, or go to school in one of the cities or towns located in Hampden, Hampshire, or Franklin County.

 

Call for Submissions–IDEAS first

winner will receive up to $5,000 to create her/his idea

Sustainability—Enough for All Forever

Art/Invention Contest

Sponsored by

The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network

 


Generously Supported by WGBY
Click here to View Submissions

 

 
The contest is over. Thank you for your interest–

“A Table Set For Forever” Jane Beatrice Wegscheider

“A Table Set For Forever”
Jane Beatrice Wegscheider- Winner of the 2008 Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network’s “Art of Sustainability” contest speaks about the project

Brief description: “A Table Set for Forever” is a portable, multi-media, installation piece that honors existing individual and collective efforts at sustainability while engaging the viewer/participant with questions, ideas, images and visual metaphors related to sustainability in our region.

Detail on Art work
“A Table Set For Forever” is a portable, multi-media, installation piece: a kind of permeable “room” that can be set up anywhere. The central visual motif is a table and six chairs. The table top is a garden-theme mosaic made of colored glass tiles and bits of broken plates (pique assiette technique). The mismatched (‘recycled”) wooden chairs are painted as blackboards, with questions related to sustainability in our region written on in colored chalk (and viewers are invited to contribute). Six free-standing curtain-like panels in portable frames are set up around the table. Each of the two-sided panels is made of a collage of seed-packets sewn together with images (both photographic and drawn/painted) and text derived from relevant literature and local community sources. The panels are set up around the table and chairs so that people can walk between and around them easily, in and out of the “room”.

An essential part of the piece is that it involved the participation of many other people in its process. The artist, Jane Beatrice Wegscheider, sent out and distributed (in local businesses, libraries, etc.) written requests for participation in the sustainability dialogue, beginning with the question: “What does sustainability mean to you?”

Jane solicited answers to these additional questions:

Do you feel motivated to live a more sustainable lifestyle? (and if so, what or who has motivated you?)
What are some of the things you do to live a more sustainable lifestyle?
What are some of the challenges of living a more sustainable lifestyle?
What ideas and solutions for sustainability have you considered?
(These could be dreams or inventions you have in your mind but haven’t tried yet…or things you’d like to do but don’t know how to yet.)
Do you have any questions that would challenge people to think about sustainability in a new way? (for example, “how much is enough?”)

And these answers informed the work.

The artist organized several dinner parties, featuring local food and great conversation about sustainability, as part of the development of the work of art. For each conversation, she brought together groups of six-10 people from varying segments of our communities to share their ideas and brainstorm further sustainability activism. These conversations were recorded and excerpts from them became the audio component of the installation, as well as source material for the seed-packet collage panels.

Jane Beatrice Wegscheider’s basic premise is that dialogue/conversation/the sharing of ideas (especially person to person) is essential to sustainable activism. Sharing thoughts and ideas around a shared meal is a way to combine activism with community-building. In the conversation about sustainability, we are also talking about basic needs and resources, of which, food is one primary need.

Jane is convinced that small actions need to be honored along with bigger systemic efforts. People change and accept change in different ways. Her aesthetic is generally an “accessible” one. The seed-packet “curtain”/panels will show the significance of ALL actions, ideas, questions, etc. that collectively add up. Even on their own these panels will be a stimulating and informative visual discussion.

the table as metaphor
the table as place
the table as community, family, the future
the table shared
the table abundant
the table as an edible landscape

Jane used the pique assiette technique (broken plate mosaic), along with the garden theme, to refer to the past that is a part of us.
The chairs have questions painted on them to represent the challenges of joining the sustainability discussion/dialogue/effort.
The “walls”/ “curtains”/ panels are permeable to suggest visually that this is not a behind-closed-doors conversation. The seed packets are a literal metaphor: seeds produce multiples of themselves. They symbolize growth and potential.
The installation is purposely portable, each element breaking down into carry-able pieces so that it can more easily become part of various local environments/public spaces: farmer’s markets, schools, outdoor cultural events, etc.

This installation is the first phase of this project. The second phase will involve developing the audio component further for web and radio and developing ways to use the installation to disseminate physical cards (for people to take with them) with ideas and information on them. (Jane imagines letter-pressed “information” on vegetable-shaped cards in bowls on the table.) The third phase will be the organization and facilitation of having the installation travel to schools, libraries, farmer’s markets and other public venues.

If you would like to host this work of art in your community.

Art Contest Submission by David Maynes

David Maynes Contest Submission sample

Concept Description Submitted by David Maynes

Sustainability in the Pioneer Valley Art Competition

Concept
The idea of sustainability is vast and multifaceted.  At the core of sustainability are the so-called “three E’s of Sustainability”; Economy, Equity, and Environment.  Within each of these lies the elements that define them; clean water, renewable energy, localized food production, land/resource preservation, working, living, prospering, etc.  Although vital in fostering sustainability, these elements are only catalysts that allow for the evolution of resilient systems, systems that respond, adapt, and react to one another over time.  The earth has been following this ecological flow from the beginning, and will continue to do so with or without human influence.

The anthropocentric idea of sustainability is born out of the human exclusion and actions that have impacted the system we have forgotten we are a part of.  The western world view dominates society and continues to imagine an ecology separate of humans, one that is its own entity, only existing for the manipulation and exploitation of human need.  This view is accelerating earth-systems decline, and has created an ecology characteristic of human disconnection.  The human species disconnect has polluted watersheds; raped natural resources; changed natural systems by land manipulation; created poverty, suffering, and desperation; prioritized efficiency over effectiveness, and technology over environment.  It is not surprising that the plagues of this disconnection are the very things that have the power to once again connect people with the system(s) we are participants in.

David Maynes Contest Submission sample

   
I am proposing that the essence of sustainability in the Pioneer Valley is people.  There is no remediation; no economic, social, and environmental solution; no future for the human species without the reconnection of us with one another, and the ecological flows we are a part of.  Cleaning polluted watersheds, fostering better land-use, realizing the power of local dollars; these are all solutions for people, by people, in response to people, under the umbrella of ecological participation.  It is this acknowledgement and awareness of ecological inclusion that has affirmed our identity within the system’s process.  Life, processes, and all things living are in a perpetual non-equilibrium state of mutation and adaptation in multiple scales over time. It is now, at this moment, that humans are beginning to understand ecology as process and the regenerative nature inherent to it.  We are water, we are forests, we are local economies, we are energy, we are agriculture, we are ecology.  We.

 

Davis Maynes Art Contest Submission sample


The Work
I intend to represent the above idea with a walk through exhibit depicting elements (using various media forms) of sustainability (in the PV) such as the Connecticut River, farmland, downtowns, forests, etc., each behind a two-way mirror to illuminate both the image/object and the viewer’s reflection of themselves looking at the image/object.  This represents the individual inclusion in any sustainable endeavor.  The space would be arranged in three groupings with images characteristic of the ‘three E’s of sustainability’.  There would be some narrative possibly, or the use of mixed media to illustrate each image clearly and artfully.  The arrangement of the space would as well take on ecological significance (although I have not pinned that one down yet) reaffirming the big idea.  At some point an image of the viewer would be taken (using hidden digital camera) and the final mirror-image element within the exhibit would depict all of the viewers’ images, representing a collaboration of experience and inclusion within the process of the exhibit, again reaffirming the big idea. 


Possible layout of the space could be something like this:
The space could be constructed indoors or out, in one single location or multiple (ie Springfield, NoHo, & Greenfield).  It would be made as much as possible of recycled materials.  The individual pieces of each element would be done by a mix of artists (ideally).  There are many more ideas about how to mature/refine the concept/piece even more, but I intend to allow processes of creation as a tiller for final aesthetic. The budget allocated for the project should be adequate for installation. The scale of the project can also vary depending on the site(s)

EXPERIENCE

Education
Master of Landscape Architecture (May 2009 completion) – UMass – Amherst, MA.
Bachelor of Science in Landscape Horticulture and Design – UMaine – Orono, ME.

Professional
2003-2008
Owner/Operator:  David Maynes Design – small high-end design/build firm in coastal Maine specializing in ecological design and construction of residential landscapes.  Portfolio available at website:  www.maynes5280.net

Creative
Trained jazz and classical musician
Furniture design and construction

Art Contest Submission by Erica Wheeler

Sustainability in Place

by Erice Wheelerwww.ericawheeler.com
Singer/songwriter, workshop facilitator, speaker

Goal: To foster engagement in sustainability by engaging peoples hearts. This project generate stories of place through a series of “free” writing workshops, to be followed with a public presentation of the works created. “Free” writing workshops will be geared towards all residents from all walks of life, all ages, incomes and levels of experience.

My work is dedicated to connecting and re-connecting people with their sense of place. Songs I have written help to evoke a sense of place in the listener, while my hands-on writing workshops provide the opportunity for participants to uncover their own stories of place and belonging. I have significant experience in organizing, offering and promoting public events, having been a full time touring singer-songwriter for over 15 years and, for the past 8 years having presented my workshop “The Soulful Landscape” at conferences, events and learning centers across the country. In addition, I have a career as a keynote speaker, offering presentations focused on the importance of emotionally connecting people and place. I combine my background in the performing arts and my life-long interest in the environment and cultural history to offer relevant and inspiring presentations.

This current work has brought me full circle to when I was new to the valley, as a student at Hampshire College. The bulk of my work there was a project entitled “ A Sense of Self, A Sense of Place,” which focused on how we effect our environment and how our environment effects us.  Living in the valley now for  almost 25 years, I have lived here long enough to witness changes, both positive and negative.   My most recent CD has songs about people and their relationship to place from different perspectives, and several are about the valley itself. “Good Summer Rain,” is a song, which tells the story of a valley farm sold and developed. “To Deep Water,” is a song I wrote about a lake near my home in Colrain, reflecting the beauty of this area and what it means to me.

I believe our current state of environmental degradation comes the disconnection we have between our surroundings and ourselves. When we get caught up in our individual needs and busy modern-day lives, we make choices that have immediate rewards with dire consequences for the future.  Wendell Berry has written: “ You don’t know who you are if you don’t know where you are.” I believe we can reverse our course of disconnection in several ways. You can give people the information, skills and tools they need to make new choices, but we cannot create lasting change without first creating a change of heart. Our stories of connection from the heart are a crucial spoke in the wheel sustainability. As author Terry Tempest Willams wrote “Story bypasses rethoritc and pierces the heart.”

 I teach “The Soulful Landscape” so people at any age, with any level of experience, can gain the skills needed to communicate effectively what it is they love most about their  “place,” and what it means to them. These workshops help to generate memories, imagery, and metaphors, which can be crafted in, to song, stories, essays or poems. I would like to help others find and express their voice, so that everyone can be part of the sustainable conversation. Often the word “sustainability” conjures up ideas of elitism: being something only for those with the income, education or liberal leanings to create and enjoy. Our future demands our “whole community” participate. For those already engaged in sustainability, our stories will help keep us inspired and focused on the deeper meaning of the work we do. For those unfamiliar with sustainability we can give them the “how’ and “why”, but only they themselves can find the reason in their own hearts to change. The opportunity to find and give voice to our stories of place and belonging may be just the incentive some people need. Remembering what we love about the valley, we can make sustainable choices for its future.

Our imagination is the key to a sustainable future. To be able to know and communicate the relationship we have with our surroundings is foundational in our ability to re-imagine our future.  We them can begin to embrace the notion in Aldo Leopold’ wrote about in  “A Sand County Almanac” that “when we see the land as a community to which we belong, we can begin to use it with love and respect,”

 My proposal is to offer  “free” writing workshops for towns in the valley. This will attract people from all age groups, all levels of experience and all walks of life. This will generate songs, stories, essays and pomes, which will help us, understand the diversity of what we love about “our place.” An outcome of Sustainability in Place (proposed title) could also be open mics and potlucks at town meeting halls to create community and share our works.

An additional outcome or direction for my involvement in this project could be to produce a video/audio component, in collaboration with a videographer and/or photographer. This would highlight some different aspects of the valley and include a soundtrack of original songs. An outcome could be a video for PBS or a CD to benefit a local organization.

Ultimately, my project could go three directions or have three components:
1. A series of free writing workshops in valley towns to generate stories of how people lived in a sustainable way here before, and still do.
2. A video honoring of the ways people have lived sustainably off this land and still do.
3. A CD cycle of songs about the valley.
A public presentation of works generated from this project. The public will benefit from this project by a public showing of the work, be that a video on PBS, a CD, chapbook, concert or a reading.

This project will also involve partnership with another organization. Perhaps with The Trust for Public Land, who co-sponsored my current CD, or other organizations like CISA, HCI (Highlands Community Initiative) or the American Farmlands Trust.
Funding will be used for expenses such as: room rentals, publicity, production of concert, video or CD, and for personal income while creating the project and offering it to the public.

Click here to see video of Erica singing “Good Summer Rain”

 

Art Contest Submission by RJ Magoon

Sustainability in Action: A Community-Based Design Embracing Material Re-use and Environmental Interaction

by RJ Magoon

Having lived and worked in the Pioneer Valley for eighteen years, my project is designed to not only represent how sustainability functions within rural communities, but to also act as a catalyst for further inspiration on the part of local residents to live more sustainably in their day to day lives. The design
provides a physical outlet for one to carry out sustainable practices (such as gardening and growing one’s own food), and could most appropriately be constructed within a park or a center of the community where sustainability and recycling is seldom practiced.

Originally inspired by the efforts in Holyoke, MA to provide community gardens to downtown residents, my concept is manifested through the construction of a free-standing, three storey structure which houses three separate community gardens, as well as a shrine to sustainability in the center of
the building. Though the initial frame calls for store-bought lumber and plywood, the structure is designed to show how easy and cost-effective it is to re-use organic materials and byproducts and, thus, make them an integral part of our lives.

For example, the multi-leveled gardens can easily be heated and maintained in the wintertime through wood and Plexiglas panels on the exterior of each garden cell, into which passersby can quickly deposit their recyclable bottles and containers (once they are filled with water) which, when sunlight hits them and heats the water inside of them, will provide heat for each garden plot in wintertime conditions.

In order to provide fresh water for both the filling of these recycled bottles and the irrigation of garden plots, storm water collection systems on top of each garden cell distribute both rainwater and snow (melted by the exterior bottleheating panels) into each plot by a vertical hosing system. Over time, rain water is dropped into the central sanctuary space, where, in the summertime, a freshwater pool provides relaxation and refreshment, and, in the wintertime, allows for interesting ice sculptures and natural, environmental art to take place. In order to enhance these natural ice formations, natural vegetable oils may be used in order to dye the ice.

In addition to irrigation and heating, the structure is also designed to provide effective and creative waste management opportunities for the surrounding area. For example, in order to insulate many portions of the structure, walls made of scrap metal can be filled with common waste by pedestrians, and later emptied by truck. In the winter, hay bales can also be used as insulation. In order to encourage local composting, gardens are also maintained atop composting plots, within which compost is deposited by pedestrians or nearby residents, and later dropped onto lower plots in order to naturally create soil.

Overall, the proposed structure shall be instrumental in not only representing sustainability, but also inspiring members of the Pioneer Valley, local pedestrians, and even passing visitors to take part in enjoying, contributing to, and appreciating the structure’s self-sustaining systems and the benefits of living sustainably on a regular basis.

Art Contest Submission by David Fessenden

Art Contest Submission

by David Fessenden

The traditional Silversmith has practiced recycling since the art’s inception.  Patrons typically brought their old flatware, vessels and coins to the town silversmith be melted down and hammered into new more fashionable pieces.  This aspect of Steve’s work was recently documented by the Discovery Channel when they included a segment on his work for their “Green Planet” channel with begins airing in June 2008 ,taped in Ashfield at the last week of May.

I met Steve when writing a newspaper story about the chandeliers he made for Sanderson Academy and for the Ashfield Town Hall.  I was struck by Steve’s almost evangelical commitment to rediscovering and preserving the lost techniques of hand wrought silver, copper and brass. Together committed toward  filming a detailed video diary documenting the evolution of Steve’s commissions along with workshops hosted by The Paul Revere House in Boston and Historic Deerfield. We call the gave the project the working title “Painting With A Hammer”  Some of our footage can be viewed on Google video.  A link is also on Steve Smithers web site http://stevesmithers.com/

We were making record time on or project, but we have no idea where we are headed.  Steve and I approached WGBH, Museums and commercial cable outlets and came to the conclusion that in every case we would have to compromise our mission in one way or another in order to fit their programming needs.

 

  1. Concept description:  A twenty minute film on Steve Smithers and his work.  Possibly with narration and defiantly with original music created with local talent.  Subliminally embedded in our film is the supposition that American craftsmanship and locally based, entrepreneurial fabrication of goods has fallen by the wayside in our country.
  2. Final work will be a DVD with all intellectual property rights secured with releases.
  3. Concept of sustainability: The work of a traditional metalsmith, as practiced by Steve Smithers, encompasses many concepts of sustainability.  Since the inception of metalworking more than 5000 years ago, metalsmiths have been recycling their material. Patrons typically brought their damaged or out of fashion vessels, utensils, and coins to be melted down and fashioned into new objects of function and beauty. Steve works with his son to create new objects as well as repairing and conserving antique metal pieces.  They use the classic hand tools of the ancient art, which require human energy, as opposed to the energy intensive process of mass production by machines. Their work is typical of, and well represents the many small art and craft studios throughout the Pioneer Valley  The work produced in these shops is carefully  and well made, destined to be passed down as heirlooms, as opposed to poorly made products which eventually find their way to the landfill.  Steve’s small shop is made of native and local lumber.  He teaches and demonstrates his art in museums, schools, and other locations, helping to foster interest and enthusiasm for this earth friendly movement among the next generation.
  4. Materials to be used:  Existing footage, music yet be purchased, possibly narration and the editorial talents of Harry Keramidas.  Harry is a retired to Ashfield three years ago after a career as a feature film editor.  Harry and I have since collaborated on only what we consider worthwhile film projects such as our 90 minute concert documentary on Village Harmony and an in progress  project for John Bos on the creation of a local hospice choir here in Franklin County.
  5. Our project can be completed within the award amount because most of the footage is shot, we own the equipment and have the technical experience to finish our film.
  6. The film would be available for screening, without charge and distributed for a nominal charge.  Copies would be offered to local libraries and schools free of charge, as I have done with all my locally produced films.
  7. Specifications: A twenty minute film, possibly longer.

I have a BA degree from Ohio University (Communications Radio/TV)  and two years post graduate study toward a MFA in film.  After college I worked as a cameraman in Los Angeles, until 1989 when I left the commercial film industry in order to peruse interests in woodworking arts and crafts. In 2001 I came back Ashfield, MA  to be with family and build a homestead..  The films I make today are projects worthwhile and mostly documentary in nature.  Most of the profits gleaned from video production go toward camera gear and editing hardware. 
 
My five minute short called “The Three Seasons of Winter”  took first place at the First Annual Ashfield Film Festival  last year.   Ongoing and completed video projects this summer include a yet untitled documentary for John Bos’ Rural Renaissance about the formation of a hospice choir group in Franklin County. Recently completed is a 90 minute concert video on Village Harmony’s leaders concert here in Ashfield.  Earlier this spring I recently shot a documentary  video portrait of Sonya Kitchell which is now in post production.

Art Contest Submission by Lisa Ganci

The SmartyPants Project 

by Lisa Ganci

The Smarty Pants Project is art & industry woven together with an entrepreneurial ambition that is deeply rooted in social and environmental responsibility.

SmartyPants were designed specifically for the cloth-diapered babe, yet they look fabulous on all children ages 3 months to 3 years.  Each pair is a one of a kind combination of color, pattern & texture merged with design and function.  They are made from donated, recycled and/or vintage cotton fabric gathered from local sources.  What also makes these pants dance is that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Rays of Hope, a rock your socks organization that gives so much to the families of the Pioneer Valley who are coping with cancer. 

This funky, trade-marked design incorporates a “butt-panel” that provide extra room for a diaper, and equally important, the panel creates a look that is so fun.  The waist is a simple 3/4″ elastic band for easy on/off action and comfort.  Each pair is assembled, by local folks, with a serger for durable high quality finished seams.

A true ‘smartypants’ is one who is committed, with every stitch, to being socially and environmentally responsible.  That’s us!

By using donated, recycled and/or vintage fabric, employing local folks, and generating a low-carbon footprint, I’m making clothing that, (much like local food is to a locavore), is sustainable and beautiful!   Starting with a pair of pants, this project is turning a little piece of the garment industry up-side-down by creating a beautiful children’s line that is truly sustainable, practical, and affordable.

The idea for this project was born at the time my daughter Stella was 21 months old and I   was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Cancer turned my world upside-down as well as
inspired me to launch this dual-purpose mission, one that, already at such an early stage, has brought me great joy and a sense of purpose.  I turned to the sewing machine for comfort and have become a wild sewing-mama ever since!  As part of deepening my commitment to live more green, SmartyPants and my love of sewing are traveling down a unique path, one even richer in color and texture than I previously imagined.  Our goal is to succeed at operating a local endeavor that is steadfast in it’s social and environmental initiatives.

 
 A sustainable clothing line for young children & the planet
 
I vow to generate a low-carbon footprint in the entire cycle of creating and selling SmartyPants and commit to initiatives that off-set what footprints I do make.  I promise to have fun, to dance in my pants and live by the motto of what it really means to be a smartypants living on this planet.

a few of my future goals and initiatives:
 

  • search for a source of new fabric that is truly sustainable (like organic bamboo but grown in the pioneer valley, hmm?)
  • convert our equipment over to wind-up sewing machines & sergers, (that is, if wind-up technology ever makes its way into the garment industry.)
  • on our super sunny property we will build a green sewing studio and warehouse.
  • purchase a bio-diesel vehicle for collection of fabric and delivery of orders.
  • increase my donations to other local agencies that do great things for the community.

Art Contest Submission by Nicholas Taupier

Sun Farmer Art Contest submission by Nicholas Taupier

Sun Farmer

by Nicholas Taupier

Sun Farmer Art Contest submission by Nicholas TaupierFor the Art of Sustainability contest, I am proposing to research, write, and draw a graphic novel about sustainability.  Entitled Sun Farmer, it would be set in the not-too-distant future, in a time when people’s wanton use of energy and lack of foresight has left gas prices soaring, energy shortages sweeping the nation, and global warming changing the environment in which we live.  In the setting, the book’s protagonist seeks to create a life for himself, where he can live sustainably off the land, and provide clean, renewable energy to others, all through the power of the sun.  Given the quality of the land in the Pioneer Valley, it would make a fine setting for our Sun Farmer, although the scope of the book would make it clear that these are tenable and noble goals no matter where you live.  To get a better idea of the concept of sun farmer, please read the attached pages, and consider them to be a “trailer” for the completed work, as you would see for a feature film.

Artists’ Statement:
It’s time that we face it: each year, the sun sends to earth many thousands of times more energy than even we humans use.  It would only take an area the size of a small country covered in solar panels to supply all of the energy that the entire worlds needs each year.  Sustainable energy is fully within our grasp, yet somehow it continues to elude us.  Sun Farmer would provide factual evidence of the ways in which solar energy could improve our lives and preserve our world (through all manners; industrial, agricultural, and otherwise), and a fictionalized (although based in fact) account of what the world may look like if we continue down the path of wasteful energy usage and pollution causing sources. 
   

I believe that a graphic novel is the perfect format to spread a message of sustainability; through the combination of words and pictures, I will clearly be able to present information about sustainability, and do so in a way that is dynamic and interesting to a wide audience.  I believe that presenting in this format will make the concept accessible to more people, draw them in with the story, and then get them thinking about, and hopefully acting on, what they read. 
   

In its completed form, the graphic novel will be fully drawn in ink, colored, and approximately 25-35 pages in length.  I am proposing that the final project be posed on the Internet, on its own website, which could be set up and maintained through the budget from the contest.  There are several reasons for realizing the project through this method; first, in the name of sustainability, publishing the graphic novel on the Internet would negate the need for reprinted paper copies of the book, which would be costly, and not very sustainable.  Second, it would allow us to reach a wider audience; not only in the Pioneer Valley, but all over the world as well.  This way, the final product will be accessible to virtually anyone, anytime, anywhere.
   

Although creatively this is my own project, as I will be writing and drawing it myself, Sun Farmer will be a somewhat collaborative project, in order to cut down on some of the work I will have to do myself, and to create it in a fuller form than I would be able to alone.  To this end, my friend Chris Manchester, another artist from the Pioneer Valley area, with whom I attend school and have worked with before, is ready and willing to do the coloring for Sun Farmer.  Chris is usually a painter, although he has worked in a wide variety of styles, formats, and media, and I know his work and help will bring great beauty and life and each of the pages of Sun Farmer.  I also plan to get another person to set up the web page for me, so that I do not have to spend time doing it myself within the timeframe for the completion of the project.  I already know several web designers from the Valley area who are willing and able to work on this project with me, so the only question is to pick exactly which one.
   

I know that together we can work to make Sun Farmer a great success and inspirational work.  The materials should not have much effect on the cost of the project; recycled paper, inks, and coloring supplies are all readily available and fairly inexpensive, so the largest costs would be hosting the website and compensating the people working on the project for the amount of time and effort that would have to go into a project of this magnitude.

Education:
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.  2005-present.

Work experience:
Orchard and grounds maintainer; New Salem Preserves, 2005-present (summers only)
New Salem Preserves is a small low-spray orchard and organic garden, where I have been the sole continuous employee for four years now.  There I have learned many techniques for protecting and growing fruit bearing trees and bushes with limited or no chemical means, and minimal impact on the environment. 

Unfortunately, since I am but on the cusp of my senior year of college, I have not yet had much time to build a career around or a public archive of my work, and thus do not any way to grant you access to my prior works and endeavors other than in person.  I do not, however, want you to mistake this for a lack of experience.  For many years now I have been completing and working on graphic novels and other works of comic art, for reasons ranging from school projects (which have been completed in time frames ranging from a few weeks to several months), works for my own edification (I have several finished and on-going works), and my current employment (I am currently finishing work on a script for a dramatic/comedic graphic novel about student life).  The topics of my works have ranged from mystery, to fantasy, to an historical graphic novel about the exile of the Kalmyks by the Stalinist Russians, to analysis of existential philosophy, to stories based on real life events.  I am wholly committed to this work, readily to look critically at this issue, and would love the opportunity from you to move Sun Farmer from a vision into an actuality.

Art Contest Submission by Cassandra Holden

Art Contest Submission

by Cassandra Holden and Jill St. Coeur

 
We are addressing the concept of sustainability as it relates to the design and production of clothing. The number and type of garments we choose to own as well as their initial manufacture and maintenance impact us on a daily basis.  Our goal is not only to provide information to the consumer about these issues but to present it in a novel and engaging way.  We intend to organize a runway show which showcases the myriad perspectives on “eco-fashion”.  We encourage viewers and participants to examine their choices in a conscious and creative way.

Our project would have three major components. We would design and construct garments which demonstrate unique solutions to the questions sustainability poses.  Elements to consider would include the re-use of existing materials, the possibility of employing manufacturing waste, the design of convertible, reversible, adjustable and/or expandable garments, and the selection of “hi-tech” materials vs. “natural” materials.  In addition we would also consider the impact of garment upkeep on the environmental footprint (laundering, dry cleaning, etc.).

In the process of researching sustainability as it related to design we would gather information about current materials, the availability of “green” fabric and clothing sources, the environmental impact of specific manufacturing choices, and so forth.  Our findings would be collected and made available to the public.  We would also include information about local resources, for example:  weavers, dyers, fabric and notion retailers, yarn and knitting suppliers.

The culmination of this project would be a runway show and exhibit.  Local residents, artists and students would be invited to submit their ideas for clothing designs as renderings or as actual garments.  Entrants would have access to our research findings to consider as criteria for their designs.   In addition to the finished garment or drawing the artist would be asked to write a brief statement detailing how the finished garment addresses the issues of sustainable design.  These statements would be contained in the show program.

Sustainability is a “goal”.  There are many confusing and contradictory concepts within the “green” fashion movement.  There is great public appeal to using “natural”, “sustainable” and “organic” materials.  However, the production and processing of these materials can sometimes carry a heavier environmental load than using synthetic and blended materials.  Our intent is not to tell consumers which choices and products are right or wrong but to provide information so that they may decide what makes the most sense within the context of their lives.

Our idea is to make clothing appealing, affordable, expressive, and practical. We would ask local clothing stores, drycleaners, designers and surface designers to contribute their knowledge of sources of more “green” suppliers and be more conscious in what they offer to the public.  We also encourage consumers to “make their own” instead of relying on large manufacturers and retailers exclusively.   Small businesses which supply fiber, fabric, notions, and other supplies would benefit as well as local artisans (dyers, hand weavers, knitters, spinners, felters, etc.) who create textiles and adornments.  .

The runway show would be staged at a local venue with high visibility such as the Center for the Arts or the new APE Space.  We would hope to have 20-30 entrants submitting garments and an equal number of renderings to display.

It is hoped that the show/exhibit would reach a large audience by being well advertised and open to the public.  By including students, artists, retailers, and fashionistas of all stripes, a broad spectrum of the community would be engaged.

Examples of my work can be seen on my website: cassandraholden.com

Click here to view additional images from my recent show at Skera Gallery. This show featured a number of restored and reworked vintage gowns as the blogpost describes.

“Buchasche”, choreography by Pearl Primus performed by the Five College Dancers, 2002.  Costumes by Jill St. Coeur using vintage, reused materials and found objects

Jill St. Coeur – Bio
I hold a Master’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in “Clothing and Human Behavior” and have held the position of Costumer in the Theatre Department at Smith College for 20 years.  In addition to working for Smith, I have designed and constructed costumes locally for the Five College Dance Department, Sorvino Dance, Candance Saylers, and Rodger Blum.  Nationally, I have worked with Yvonne Daniel, Jowalle Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bush Women, The Talking Band of New York, and Florentine Films.  As a member of the Costume Society of America, Textile Society of America and the North American Textile Conservation Group I have been able explore costume design in an historical and cultural context.   Most recently I attended a conservation conference in Mexico City and in New Orleans where I participated in volunteer conservation work at the Jackson Barracks, a military museum damaged by Hurricane Katrina.  In 2002 I was involved in the mounting of “The Northampton Silk Project” exhibit at Smith College.  While serving on the Board of Directors at the Fiber Arts Center in Amherst from 2002-2004 I curated the exhibits “Haitian Voodoo Flags” and “Psychological Clothing” work by Kate Kretz.


Cassandra J. Holden Experience

cassandraholden.com

Education:
Smith College.  Northampton, MA.  BA anticipated January 2010.
MassArt.  Boston, MA.  2004-2005.
Alfred University.  Alfred, NY.  1991.

Practical Experience:
1998-present    Designer and Owner, Cassandra’s.  Northampton, MA.
For the past ten years I have run a custom clothing design studio.  With the help of a team of talented stitchers, beaders, and embroideresses the shop has been building one of a kind garments for discerning clients nationwide.  In addition to clothing, I have been responsible for the creation of costumes, sculpture, and home decorating projects, as well as the restoration and renovation of vintage garments.  In recent years the shop has collaborated with a variety of local artists in a wide range of disciplines including Pat Hayes, Jane Herzenberg, Peter Dellert, Chris Nelson, Micala Sidore, Sarah Beth Atherton, David Hurwith, and Krisen Day.

Teaching Experience:
Summer 2007    Snow Farm,  Weekend Intensive in Fibers. Mobile making workshop for youth.
Fall 2007    Northampton Center for the Arts.  Pattern drafting: principles of flat pattern design.
Spring 2008    Northampton Center for the Arts.  Pattern drafting: creating a custom sloper.
Spring 2008    Northampton Center for the Arts.  Pattern drafting: creating a pants sloper that fits.

 
Selected Exhibitions and Events and Projects:
2008, April.  Custom Bridal Attire.  Skera Gallery, Northampton, MA.
Runway show of wedding attire featuring vintage elements and color. 

2008, January.  Project Runway.  Belchertown High School.  Belchertown, MA.
Panel judge and creation of internship opportunity for winning contestant.

2007, October.  Recent Custom Work.  Skera Gallery, Northampton, MA 
Runway show of custom clothing featuring formal attire, suiting, and costumes.

2007, September.  New Trends in Felt.  Fiberarts Center, Amherst, MA.
Group exhibition.  Collaboration with Christine White.

2006, October.  Basics.  Skera Gallery, Northampton, MA. 
Creation of a line of simple formal separates for the art-to-wear gallery.

2006, October.  Swamp Thing.  Daily Hampshire Gazette.  Northampton, MA.
Creation of original Halloween costume and directions for special segment for readers.

2005, July.  Screen.  UMass Medical Center, Worcester, MA.
Collaborative construction of printed screen with artist Peter Kitchell.

2004, November.  Mobile.  St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, Tampa, FL.
Collaborative construction of large scale mobile with artist Peter Kitchell.

2003, October.  Roadkill.  Skera Gallery, Northampton, MA.
Debut of a line of faux fur and irreverant wearables.

Professional Memberships:
Women Business Owners Alliance
Northampton Chamber of Commerce
Hampshire County Smith Club