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 Megan McDonough

Sow the Seeds of Victory

by Megan McDonough

Brief description of submission: Encourage people in the Pioneer Valley to make compost and plant
Victory Gardens to provide food security, combat global warming and address the underlying issue of
sustainability – creating systems that are life-giving and regenerative. Sustainability is about more than
maintaining the status quo, it’s about learning from the past and discovering the possibilities of the future.

“Contemporary Art embraces the maverick and the traditionalist. No topic, no medium, no process, no intention, no professional protocols, and no aesthetic principles are exempt from the field of art …”
– Linda Weintraub, In the Making: Creative Options for Contemporary Art

“The Stone Age did not end because humans ran out of stones. It ended because it was time for a re-think about how we live.”
– William McDonough, architect

William McDonough in his book, Cradle to Cradle, jokes that if someone told you their marriage was
“sustainable” you’d ask them what’s wrong. The environmental movement in its search for equilibrium
in a changing world has gotten stuck on sustainability for years, but many are looking beyond what
sustains us to what is rejuvenating and regenerative. How can we learn from nature and create systems that are self-renewing and create no “waste”?

 
 
One basic example of this goal of regenerative cycles is compost in your garden. The waste from your
food becomes the fuel for creating more food, and thus starts a cycle of regeneration and growth.

During WWI and II, the US government encouraged the populace to plant “victory gardens” to help do
their part to win the war on home. Now as we find ourselves amidst a seemingly never ending war on Terror and the crisis of global warming, the time for Victory Gardens has returned. By planting gardens we can increase food security, combat global warming and begin to learn from regenerative systems.

I propose to give Victory Garden Kits to people in the Pioneer Valley. These kits would include a combination of informational literature, supplies and promotional signage. The promotional signage would be made of reclaimed or locally harvested wood. The signs could either be displayed near a garden or used as part of a raised bed.

The goal of the kits would be to give people information to make their own victory garden, supplies to start immediately and signage that would let others know they have started a victory garden. These kits would be distributed at seed swaps, farmers markets, green fairs and through other relevant events and community organizations.

OUTREACH PLAN
The Pioneer Valley is a great location to promote Sustainability through Victory Gardens. There is a long
legacy of farming in the hills and valleys, access to knowledgeable people and activists with a sense of purpose. In Northampton activists have turned parking lots into parks, so the idea of planting food not lawns is an idea whose time had come.

I will let people know about the project through a combination of advertising, grassroots networking, victory garden signs and by contacting key organizations in all three counties of the Pioneer Valley. Advertising may include running ads on buses, in newspapers or something more creative – like doing a mural on a farmer’s barn. My goal will be to coordinate Victory Garden distribution points in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties by partnering with organizations or events in all three counties.

 

See Below for Experience

EDUCATION
January 2004 — May 2008 UMASS Amherst Amherst, MA
• Masters Degree in Regional Planning with a concentration in housing & social issues

Fall 2002 – February 2004 UMASS Amherst Amherst, MA
• Self-Designed degree in Arts-Based Community Development.
• Graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.96.
• Earned a professional development certificate in non-profit arts management from the UMASS Arts Extension Service while an undergraduate.

Fall 1999 – Spring 2001 Oberlin College Oberlin, OH
• Completed two years towards a BA in Visual Arts with a concentration in Community Arts.

CONTINUING EDUCATION
February 17, 2006 UMASS Amherst, MA
• “Housing Within Reach” conference on affordable housing put on by the UMass architecture and wood technology departments

Summer 2004 Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
• Internationally attended week long conference on “local currencies” put on by the EF Schumacher Society

August 3-9, 2003 Smith College Northampton, MA
• Summer Institute by the Center for Popular Economics – Internationally attended conference about economics.
• Received scholarship to attend.

June 19-21, 2003 UMASS Amherst, MA
• “Work Smart Build Community Arts” – Internationally attended arts management conference put on by the UMASS Arts Extension Service.
• Received Venman Fellowship to attend.

June 30, 2003 UMASS Amherst, MA
• “Creativity Sparks Economy” – one day conference on cultural tourism in western MA put on by the Arts Extension Service of UMASS and the Western Massachusetts Arts Alliance.

WORK EXPERIENCE
May 2007 – Present Valley Community Land Trust Colrain, MA
Administrative Consultant
• Organize records and facilitate projects and committees

August 2006 – Present Center for Ecological Technology Northampton, MA
Builder Services Administrator & LEED for Homes assistant manager
• Administrative & managerial functions in support of green building program

June 2005 – May 2006 GEO/UAW Local 2322 Amherst, MA
President of the Graduate Employee Organization – a unit of UAW local 2322
• Elected president of 2,500 member labor union
• Supervised staff of 10 graduate student employees
• Responsible for facilitating the creation and execution of campaigns, overseeing union operations, public representation of the union, and running meetings

September 2004 – May 2005 GEO/UAW Local 2322 Amherst, MA
Family Issues Advocate
• Identified issues facing graduate student families on campus and developed strategies and campaigns to address these issues
• Worked as a part of the GEO staff to answer member questions, hold office hours, and work on our contract campaign

September 2004 – August 2005 Commuter Services – UMASS Amherst, MA
HomeSharing Coordinator
• Facilitated matches between “home seekers” and “home offerers” which often involved a rent reduction for services like childcare or eldercare
• Coordinated the successful operation of the program with a Franklin County Elder Coordinator and the Commuter Services office staff
• Helped with initial conflict mediation when problems arose between homeshare matches

July 2004 – September 2004 Cooperative Development Institute Greenfield, MA
Interim Office Manager
• Maintained and updated Microsoft Access database
•Trouble-shooted computer and office machine problems
• Acted as a point person for the office – doing intakes, planning for events, submitting grant applications, etc.

May 2004 – July 2004 Northampton Planning and Development Northampton, MA
Intern
• Assisted in the research and writing of an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing study
• Assisted in the completion of a Commonwealth Capital Application and a recreation and conservation space accessibility inventory

January 2004 – May 2004 Environmental Design Dept. UMass Amherst, MA
Teaching Assistant
• Grade papers and maintain records for 90 student undergraduate course.

February 2003 – December 2003 Amherst Cinema Center Amherst, MA
Office Assistant & Volunteer
• Did research for grant applications and promotion of the center.
•  Assisted in database management for mailing list and donations.
• Used Gift Maker Pro software, Microsoft project, Word & Excel on a PC.
• Assisted in office organization, filing, and planning.

May 2001 – August 2001 Child at Heart Art Gallery Newburyport, MA
Intern
• Used various computer programs on both an iMac and a PC to enter inventory, create invoices, signs and labels (File Maker Pro, Apple Works 6, Microsoft Word, Excel, & Publisher).
• Acted as a reference point for customers, answering questions about the art on display, the artists, and the store.
•Assisted in research and display.

Jan — May 2001 The Henry Street Settlement New York, NY
Visual Arts/Arts in Education Intern
• Learned about the structure and organization of a large non-profit.
• Clerical duties: Typing (PC & Typewriter), Filing, Faxing, Photocopying, etc.
• Assisted in the planning of educational arts programs for youths and seniors.
• Assisted with display of their Annual Student Art Show.

Jan – May 2001 The 16 Beaver Street Group, Inc. New York, NY
Intern
•  Learned about how a small grassroots non-profit is run.
• Developed an organizational system for future interns to manage mailing lists, press releases, and other contacts with the public.

VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP

Spring 2003 – 2005 The Earth & Sky Collective Amherst, MA
• Founded the Earth & Sky Collective for cooperative exchange (EarthSkyExchange.org).
• Organized workshop series with Collective on cooperative economic strategies such as barter and local currency.
• Press contact and spokesperson for the Collective.
• Led meetings and facilitated workshops.

Spring 2005 – present United Auto Workers Local 2322 Holyoke, MA
• Elected to the Joint Council of UAW Local 2322
• Responsible for personnel, financial and campaign decisions made between bi-annual membership meetings

Fall 2005 – present United Auto Workers Local 2322 Holyoke, MA
• Elected to the executive board of UAW local as the “guide”
• Entrusted with maintaining compliance with union bylaws and constitution
• Responsible for personnel, financial and campaign decisions made between monthly joint council meetings

Art Contest Submission by David Maynes

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 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 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

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

Art Contest Submission by Owen Williams

Hydrogen Hybrid Vehicle Proposal

By-Owen A. Williams

 

Sustainability is something that seems to conflict with our capitalist society, but I feel fortunate to live in the Pioneer Valley where many people see differently. I believe the best way for us to recognize and act on the concept of sustainability it through strengthening our local economy there by reducing our needs from the rest of the world. My proposal is aimed to reduce our need for energy, and generate more jobs in the Valley.

To reduce fuel consumption many people buy new, more efficient cars, but to make a new car is incredibly wasteful. Building a new car requires a huge amount of energy, especially today when most car parts are made overseas. In a country where we have more cars than people we don’t need to make new cars. It would be far more ecologically aware to improve the cars that are already on the road. My objective is to install conversions on cars already in use in the Pioneer Valley that would reduce fuel consumption and greatly reduce climate-changing emissions.

I will install a system on cars that uses conventional fuel (bio-fuel and or petroleum) and makes supplementary fuel from the vast amount of squandered heat cars emit. The fuel made will be hydrogen and oxygen gas in perfect proportion for combustion. The hydrogen, being produced on-bored the vehicle during oppression, will avoided the complications of storing hydrogen. The hydrogen will be made from water, by separating the molecules with an electrical current. A generator, run by a compact steam turbine, will produce this current. The steam will come from a boiler that can easily be added to the cars exhaust system. It the future of this project the engine block cooling system will be incorporated for greater efficiency, but to start off that would be to complicated and costly.

The future of this project is not limited to automobiles. The basic technology can be implemented with anything that releases high temperature exhaust. As a Glass Blower I have designed this type of system for use with a glass furnace, and I am sure there are many other applications in the Valley I have not thought of.

To start this mission I will make a proto-type with an older car, most likely an old Subaru as they are popular in this area, and I’m quite familiar with the mechanics of them. The boiler system will cost more than the car, the majority of which will be made by local machine shops. Unifrax I LLC of New York has already donated some high temperature insulation, which will be needed. I have found someone who had developed a compact and inexpensive turbine that will be well suited for this project. Additional parts and equipment will be required, but it will all fit into the allotted budget. Five thousand dollars is a tight budget for a project requiring an automobile, but I am certain that I can see this project through with my careful planing and resourcefulness.  

The first car will be auctioned off after the public unveiling. This will bring in the funding needed to make this project into a business that can offer this vehicle alteration to all people in the Valley. I also aim to convert public vehicles such as police cars and busses with surplus profits and hopefully some grant money. I hope you find my ideas and goals of a more sustainable, greener, and happier Valley unified with yours’.

Art Contest Submission by Derek Goodwin

The Vegan Bus Solar Installation   

by Derek Goodwin

 
The Vegan Bus is an existing art project in process. I created the project in 2007 and now have a group of friends helping with various aspects of the project collectively. We have a full size school bus that has been converted to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO) using a specialized kit from local company Greasecar. Our objective is to use the bus to go to events and schools to teach people about alternative sources of sustainable energy. Along with the WVO technology we want to showcase solar energy by installing photovoltaic panels on the top of the bus that would charge a bank of deep cell batteries and store enough energy to run various appliances and devices.

From Concept to Final Work
A minimum 260-Watt solar photovoltaic (PV) system will be added to the bus. Two or more solar panels (rated for RV and Marine use) will run along the top front of the bus. They will connect to a deep cycle battery system below the bus that will store the energy. The batteries will output to an inverter that will translate the energy from the 12 Volt Batteries into 120 Volt power. From the inverter a wiring system will distribute the power to outlets on the bus to power lights, refrigeration, computers, and a PA system we will use in our outreach.

But Is It Art?
I believe it will take vast acts of imagination to transform our civilizations to conscious and sustainable ones. It is the mission of the artist to help people transcend their traditions and evolutionary inertias. The concept of The Vegan Bus came to me when I had the epiphany that I was dreaming too small. I realized that the world needed a vehicle of transformation. An artistic statement on wheels that would attract people by its very nature and leave them with something to think about. An artwork they could admire from the outside, or climb aboard and engage. Added to that a group of performers and activists to convey the Sustainable Message in a variety of ways.

The Sustainable Message
As the name implies, The Vegan Bus does not eat animals. In a November of 2006 report the United Nations found that “rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars”. This message is becoming more prevalent in mainstream media and is only the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to the unsustainable practices of modern animal agriculture. Our message is that we need to put sustainable energy not only into our homes, vehicles and appliances but also into our own bodies. As vast populations such as China and India become more industrialized it is imperative that we turn towards sustainability both in energy sources and consumption. The Earth cannot support billions more people living the current US lifestyle. To that end The Vegan Bus’ mission is to promote solar and wind technologies, sustainable biofuels, and a plant-based diet.
 

Think Globally, Act Locally

As a citizen of Pioneer Valley I am committed to local outreach. The bus can travel to local events and schools to educate, and can also to transport local people to events near and far. With our network of musicians, dancers, hula hoopers and DJs we are able to have amazing local events that bring people together for fun while giving them an education at the same time. On any given day a giant school bus with solar panels will draw a crowd wherever it goes, and create a local buzz. I believe it will also be a presence in the Pioneer Valley that will inspire creativity and generate discussions around alternative fuels and a plant based lifestyle. With any luck it will even draw attention from the outside world to our progressive community.

More Information about The Vegan Bus Project at www.TheVeganBus.com
A description of The Vegan Bus WVO Conversion: http://theveganbus.com/about/wvo_conversion/

Experience
1995 BFA in Fine Art Photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology
1997 Studied a certificate program in Computer Multimedia at Monroe Community College
2000-present Proprietor of Derek Goodwin Photography in Northampton, MA

A Short Biography Of My Vegan Activism:
Derek Goodwin has been a vegan since 1996 and is an advocate of using art and media to promote compassion and a cruelty-free lifestyle. As a photographer he is known internationally for his photographs of sanctuary farm animals. In 2000 he started a web-based community for vegan artists called Veganica.com. In 2005 he began broadcasting an FM radio show and podcast about veganism called Vegan Radio out of Northampton, MA, which is now widely popular. Currently he is working on The Vegan Bus Project, which features a full-sized school bus that runs on waste vegetable oil and will be used to promote sustainable energy and a plant-based diet.

Recent Artistic Endeavors:

March 2008 “Heads 2 Hoops” exhibit at The Green Bean café in Northampton along with Megan E LaBonte.
June 7, 2008 Exhibit of cow photographs at The Twilight Tea Lounge in Brattleboro, VT
June 13, 2008 Farm Animal Photographs exhibited as part of the “Storefront Art Project” group show sponsored by local non-profit Commonwealth Center For Change (C3). Derek is a curator for the Storefront Art Project that will place art and artists into empty storefronts in Northampton, helping to enrich the culture of Pioneer Valley.

Art Contest Submission by Garret Connelly

Space-age Mud and Wattle

by Garrett Connelly

Brief description : An artistic sculptural media developed here in the Pioneer Valley to provide hundreds of millions of homes for and by the almost half billion people who earn less than one dollar per day.

Statement about submission :  Many years have been devoted to this project and now that it is complete there is a real mystery as to why something so obvious took so long.

In brief, all economic systems are based on continuous growth on a finite planet. Quantitatively this is mathematically impossible. The solution is to substitute quality for quantity. Growth of human culture is sustainable to infinity upon a finite planet qualitatively. One of the most interesting aspects of qualitative growth is redefinition of reward, I must mention here that I find it quite ironic to be here in New England for this: Reward in a sustainable, qualitative economy is heavily weighted toward fun; pure, innocent, childlike fun. This does not rule out interstellar and inter galactic travel, all humans look to the stars and dream of infinity as a natural type of inborn, genetic fun. Fun is everything but frivolous or evil.

Now we turn to the half billion people who earn about a dollar per day, plus the 2.5 billion who are economically stressed. There is no such thing as sustainability when this huge number of beautiful human souls live in continuous, nagging pain and anguish instead of fun. Dodge and turn as one might, put up gates, or build fences along borders; the welling pain and suffering of poverty will surely drag us all to oblivion and ultimate extinction. Sustainability of human culture includes all humans or none at all, there is no middle ground.

Space-age mud and wattle is a material that opens a synergistic relationship between universities and folk wisdom rooted in ancient forest and savannah. Here we bring together materials from the countryside and the laboratory for a crash program to train hundreds of millions to build for billions. And we must accomplish this task rapidly enough to save ourselves from certain environmental collapse. We seek synergy between those who will wish to improve their lives in a world where all the easy resources have been already been used and those who have advanced research labs ready to sift through millions upon millions of succeses and failures. I have been fortunate enough to test the genetic roots and truth of space-age mud and wattle at an orphanage filled with children who had no idea of my motives, beyond the obvious fact of providing necessities of life.

Build a sculptured shelter for under one thousand dollars of material costs, it will be framed with bamboo to simulate local trash saplings. This is an ongoing development project to provide the technology needed to house the almost half billion people who earn less than one dollar per day. This will be the fourth of the series used to develop this technology.

This particular structure will be a photo journal for an instruction manual and will be built slightly different than normal, it will be arranged so that it can be disassembled and moved for show in various locations. The relationship to sustainability here in the Pioneer Valley is as a tool for universities to train trainers
and skilled artisans, a crop of straight saplings can also be developed, and, if one looks with open eyes at the future, the structures themselves will eventually be of use here as well as in other parts of the world.

The frame material is bamboo connected with wrap joints, it can be seen here www.ferrocement.com
The sheathing skin will be similar to this link www.ferrocement.com

Many years have been devoted to this project and now that it is complete there is a real mystery as to why something so obvious took so long. In brief, all economic systems are based on continuous growth on a finite planet. Quantitatively this is mathematically impossible. The solution is to substitute quality for quantity. Growth of human culture is sustainable to infinity upon a finite planet qualitatively. One of the most interesting aspects of qualitative growth is redefinition of reward, I must mention here that I find it quite ironic to be here in New England for this: This contest is made possible through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 

Reward in a sustainable, qualitative economy is heavily weighted toward fun; pure, innocent, childlike fun. This does not rule out interstellar and inter galactic travel, all humans look to the stars and dream of infinity as a natural type of inborn, genetic fun. Fun is everything but frivolous or evil.
Now we turn to the half billion people who earn about a dollar per day, plus the 2.5 billion who are economically stressed. There is no such thing as sustainability when this huge number of beautiful human souls live in continuous, nagging pain and anguish instead of fun. Dodge and turn as one might, put up gates, or build fences along borders; the welling pain and suffering of poverty will surely drag us all to oblivion and ultimate extinction. Sustainability of human culture includes all humans or none at all, there is no middle ground.

Space-age mud and wattle is a material that opens a synergistic relationship between universities and folk wisdom rooted in ancient forest and savannah. Here we bring together materials from the countryside and the laboratory for a crash program to train hundreds of millions to build for billions. And we must accomplish this task rapidly enough to save ourselves from certain environmental collapse. We seek synergy between those who will wish to improve their lives in a world where all the easy resources have been already been used and those who have advanced research labs ready to sift through millions upon millions of succeses and failures. I have been fortunate enough to test the genetic roots and truth of space-age mud and wattle at an orphanage filled with children who had no idea of my motives, beyond the obvious fact of providing necessities of life, the children were able to do the work with no training.

The final product with a $5000 budget will be to travel to a friendly place and locate a positive family who
needs a 400 square foot home made of space age mud and wattle. Such a home will be built and recorded photographically. A presentation will then be made into a textual manual for input to university art and engineering departments world wide, eventually the universities will discover materials which improve upon what is available now. Presentation to the people of the Pioneer Valley will hopefully stimulate investment in trainings of small scale entrepreneurs to carry this work to more and more countries.

Space-age mud and wattle is a supreme sculptural media. I took some time to backtrack into pure sculpture and write a manual in order to help a different group understand the material. Now I am almost ready to begin again directly with the human need for shelter. Although my schedule takes me away from the area on June 25, I remain doing exactly what the contest is about and I am very happy to discover you doing this important work.