The day of the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta. This was a class requirement for the 3D Foundations class at SIU every spring, a major campus event for all students (any student could participate), and a regional news story for national television networks. The rules were that boats could be made from corrugated cardboard, glue, and waterproofing materials, decorated in any way you want, but not metal fasteners allowed of any kind. Also, all boats had to participate in at least one race around the campus lake. (life vests and a motor boat were employed to help out those students whose boats proved unseaworthy) Trophies were awarded in various categories- design, racing ability, most spectacular sinking, etc. Some boats were small, some large enough to have a crew of several students. The one in the image was a Viking style boat in the shape of dragon, tail at least 10 feet tall, the head about 8 feet high when attached, with a crew of at least 4, constructed by my former student Amy Kucharik.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I took an afternoon nap, and when I woke up I had an intense craving for a hamburger. So I went to the nearest place that I could buy a hamburger, Sam's Cafe (a place on the strip that specialized in middle eastern food), and bought one. I devoured it instantly, satisfying my need.
Monday, April 28, 2008
My old boots, pulled out on a particularly rainy day. I had gotten these boots when I was in 8th grade, for hiking and other Scout activities. They ended up lasting about 25 years, and might still be in use if the padded collars around the tops hadn't ripped away from the uppers.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
A national day of mourning for Richard Nixon. Nixon had died several days earlier, but with presidents, it takes more than a few days to prepare a funeral, which was held on this day. Nixon was the first president that I was aware of, and that was mostly because of the incessant tv news stories about Watergate, though it would be years later before I knew what all the fuss was about.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Another ceramics sale. Manning the booth on this day was Mi Wu, print student and occasional Chinese translator. She suggested that I buy the mug shown on the left. I saw the 3 round red shapes as tomatoes, so I agreed to spend a few dollars for the odd rounded bottom mug. I also bought the one next to it.
Friday, April 25, 2008
I went to the Newman Center to see the display of pieces of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. The quilt was started in the late 80's, a collection of 3' x 6' panels, not necessarily involving traditional quilting techniques, but all involving a cloth base and a variety of applied materials, each meant to honor someone who died from the disease. The panels are sewn together into 12' x 12' blocks, and several of these blocks were on display in the main room of the center, the rows of chairs used for Mass having been all put away. Volunteers in shifts took turns reading aloud from a list of names of those who had died from AIDS. Next to each block was a box of tissues, I assumed for those overcome with emotion.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Sifting sand. I was in the process of working on my final project in my glass class, which would be a mixed media sculpture. One part of it would be a cast glass shape. A sand mold is made by sifting sand into a large wood box, so that it's loosely piled in the box. Then the object that will be used to make the mold is pressed firmly into the sand, hard packing it around the original piece. After removing the original, molten glass is poured into the vacated space, taking the shape of the original object.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials play a free show as part of the spring Dawg Days festival. Before the show I had him autograph my copy of their first album. Ed was pleasantly surprised to see that I had it on vinyl, which gave him a much larger cover to sign than a compact disc would.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
A present for Kendra. I was walking on the Strip and saw this dead baby bird chick on the sidewalk. I decided to save it, scooping it into a plastic bag I had on me, and I brought it to the Glove Factory, where I later gave it to grad painter Kendra Kennedy. This might seem like an odd thing to do, but at the time she was working with a lot of similiar images, and I figured she might make use of the reference. I don't remember if she actually made use of it or not, but my recollection is that she was not upset at my present.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Installing an Illinois license plate on my car. My first year in Carbondale I retained all my New Jersey car related situations- license/registration/insurance/inspection. (this is legal for full time students from out of state) I had been told that my NJ based insurance company would lower my rates considerably, since my car was now located out of New Jersey. This turned out not to be the case. So I went out and got auto insurance from an Illinois based agent of a national insurance company, saved about 2/3 of what I would have paid. Toward the end of my second year, I decided to complete the transition and convert my driver's license and registration to Illinois. This both saved me money and meant that I wouldn't have to waste half a day getting my car inspected on my summer trip home (or any other time since downstate Illinois required no auto inspections). The process was made extremely simple by the fact that the local DMV was usually empty. On the day I went to take care of this I was the only customer, a big change from NJ where getting anything done at the DMV usually meant waiting in multiple lines and a minimum of about 2 hours. It took me about 20 minutes to get my new plates, take the Illinois written driver's test, and have a new photo license produced. Back home, I put on my new plates and registration sticker.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I was sitting on my deck in the late afternoon, when I saw a police car drive up my street. It stopped, parked, and the officer got out and started looking at my car, parked on the street just in front of my apartment. I asked him what his interest in my car was, and he said he saw the window was broken. Sure enough, the driver's side window was completely shattered. I hadn't noticed because I had recently arrived home from the other direction (teaching at the blue barracks that day). We never did figure out what happened exactly (I thought maybe something related to the junior high across the street, like a rock kicked up by the lawn mower), nothing was stolen, but then I had nothing to steal. I moved the car to back parking lot and covered the window with plastic until I get get it replaced a few days later.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
A hand stamp from Hangar 9, a bar on the strip that I went to when there was a good band playing. Tonight it was the Bustelos, which included remnants from the former Black Mamba, which had been my favorite local band and had their final show the previous October.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
A large steel sculpture by art grad Steve Peters was installed by Altgeld Hall on campus. Steve specialized in the large welded scrap steel style of sculpture. He was unusual in that he hung out a lot with the 2D grads, while most of the sculpture/industrial arts grads pretty much kept to themselves (or at least away from us).
Sunday, April 13, 2008
My small kitchen sink very full of dirty dishes, pots, and pans. Washing dishes has always been my least favorite bit of domestic activity, but the one that had to be done the most often. At least here is was April. It was far worse in the summer, when the air conditioning was no help against the combination of humid air and hot soapy water.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Laura the sculptor had applied to a number of grad schools, but to this point had gotten rejections. I ran into her downstairs in the Glove Factory, and she mentioned being on the waiting list for one school, and expected to hear from the last one any minute. I went up to my studio to do some work. A little later she came upstairs and said she just heard from the last school- another rejection. She saw a wooden chair in the corner of my studio and decided to sit down. Before I could warn her the chair wasn't stable (unglued, basically just leaning together, strong enough to hold stack of papers and not much else), she sat on it, and it collapsed immediately, dropping her to the floor. Luckily, she saw the humor in the situation. I told her that I was sure that somehow everything would work out for her. She went home, but came back that evening with good news- the mail brought a letter from the school that had put her on the waiting list, and she was now admitted to their MFA program. The quote from Job seemed a good way to sum up the day's events.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
In the hot shop on Sunday, doing some steam sticking. This is a little trick to help puff out the volume of a vessel. A wooden cone is kept in a bucket of water, so that it's completely waterlogged. The vessel is attached by a punty on the bottom, and allowed to cool to the point where it isn't completely slumping, but not so cool that it can't still be worked. The piece is hung upsided down from a rack, open end down, and the saturated cone is inserted into the opening, until it seals the opening. The intense heat of the glass immediately vaporizes the water in the wood, creating steam which pushes out the sides.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Print professor Joel Feldman and his then wife Cheonae Kim had simultaneous solo shows at a non-profit gallery space in St Louis, the Forum for Contemporary Art. I decided to go the opening on this night, driving a few other grads in my car. The show was good, but a huge storm blew in on the way home. My car temporarily stalled out after driving through unavoidable deep water, but I eventually found my way back to the interstate and into Illinois. The way home was a long drive on an unlighted 2 lane country road, much at low speed because of the visibility problems caused by the heavy rain and lack of light. (except for the frequent lightning) My image for the night was the storm I drove through in the big sky flat lands, before the rain eased up a little and I hit the undulating hills of the river valley country.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
I was in the first floor hall of the Allyn building, talking to one of the faculty, when I noticed a very young child (belonging to that faculty), attempting to insert a key into an electric outlet. I alerted the parent to the situation. In this particular case, I knew that the outlet was so painted over that insertion was impossible, but I figured that they would want to stop this kind of experimentation now, before a more accessible outlet was tried.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Spring semester review. Every semester all the grad students had to meet with all the faculty from their area and present their work. In my case it was the 2D faculty- drawing, painting, printmaking. It allowed all those who didn't have me in class to see what I was up to, and the group would question me about the work and advise me, though they didn't always agree on what I should do. Usually we did this in the clean room, but with about 9 months of this series up on my studio wall, the group convened in my studio space.