Adj Marshall

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Pt III- Art of Environmentalism

In Art, Business, Education, Photography on February 18, 2011 at 12:42 am

Fork Sculpture

“There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say “It is yet more difficult than you thought.”

-Wendell Berry

For about two years now I have been creating and selling jewelry made from silverware. Every chance I get I work to tell the story of where my creative impetus for this medium came from (See previous 2 articles).  I however have yet to convey this message of environmental awareness in any cohesive manner while selling my work. The silverware I use in my jewelry creations often times come to me from friends and family members who do not know what to do with their mismatched eatery sets. When they pass them along to me they are partaking in a form of recycling by giving their often times personal family heirlooms a new life.If I run out of silverware from friend or find a particularly alluring pattern I will sometimes purchase silverware from Savers Thrift Store (a recycling project of its own) which has had a longstanding supportive relationship with the  Big Sisters Program in RI.

My Jewelry !

After collection, the silverware is then sorted and selected for upcycling ,as a necklace pendant, pair of earrings, ring or mini sculpture. In this process I am given creative license to re-imagine a life for this silverware as a decorative ornament that will highlight the aesthetic beauty created by the previous sculptor (the silverware designer). As I stated in my last article. The silverware I once revered also holds an ugly side, one which is wrought with the environmental implications wrecking havoc on our community today.

In terms of Environmental Awareness I have begun to take creative license in the creation of a tag that will feature the following graphic of the Gorham Silverware a map dated from 1920. This map is defined as a general map which includes depictions of the Gorahm Silverware factory campus layout and the Massapaug Cove/ Pond. I enjoy the historical /artistic nature of the graphic while recognizing its connection to our environmental issues.

1920 Goraham Site General Map

With the map on one side of the tag I have decided to feature the quote from EJLRI : For the nearly 100 years it operated, Gorham Silverware factory  used the pond and land around the factory as a dump for wastewater polluted with carcinogenic chemicals…

As lead is a widely recognized highly toxic child/containment known to be linked behavioral problems learning learning disabilities, hearing and speech impediments as well as seizures and death. I have chosen to focus the facts that will be listed below the quote on the tag on lead issues in Providence. This will allow the connection between silverware production in Providence and subsequent contamination particularly to lead to be drawn more clearly in my work.

In presenting some of these facts as part of my work, I hope to raise awareness about the seriousness of metals contamination in our city, particularly amongst our youth while using my interests in silverware as a source of inspiration. The Art of Environmentalism ie the tag I have visually designed here will be made available by the end of April and will serve to create a more holistic approach to the Social Justice nature of my work.

Below is some information on Lead Poisoning in the city of Providence and State of RI

In 2006 after construction on Alvarez High school had already begun a highly toxic slag pile, with high levels of lead and copper, was found on the banks of the Massapaug cove, Gorhams former factory site part of a Brownfield which shares land with Alvarez highchool. Under court order, Textron removed the slag pile, however the toxins are still present at the Gorham Manufacturing site and are of particular concern because they put already vulnerable populations at risk. Children and young adults, like the students attending Alvarez High School, are more vulnerable to toxins than adults and the fact that the school is located just feet from unremediated land undoubtedly makes these youth more susceptible to health issues. Article 1

Click on the Map to Enlarge

RI Kids count states that children absorb 30% to 75% of lead which reaches their digestive track, compared with 11% for adults. Poor nutritional status (particularly calcium, vitamin C, or iron deficiencies) increase an individuals susceptibility to lead poisoning by increasing lead absorption. Article 2

Providence Plan found that 1:6 Providence children under age 6 were exposed to lead in 2000. Statewide, 1:11 children under 6 were exposed to lead. Nationwide, this number was 1:25. These risks are unevenly distributed within the city based on racial, geographic, and economic factors. Article 3

RI Kids Count found that core cities (Central Falls, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick and Woonsocket ) had an 11% elevated lead level rate as opposed to the 4% rate for remaining cities. Article 2

Three Articles and a little under 2,500 words later I conclude the story behind my interest in and impetus for creating Jewelry fashioned from silverware.

Material Referenced in Above:

1 Center for Public Environmental Oversite: Providence Rhode Island Schools

2 RI Kids Count: Issue Brief Lead Poisoning

3 Providence Plan: Providence Neighborhood Profiles Lead Exposure

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Ritual Created, Goal Accomplished !

In Art, Business on January 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

Selling my Art !

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

– Pablo Picaso

About two years ago I began crafting with a good friend of mine Carole Ann we called it Crafternoon. At first it was just a way for us to get to know one another outside of book club. I would bring my sewing machine to her house and we would work together on projects or independently on our own projects. In the summer after our first year crafting together we decided to to make this thing we did together a little more formal. We started a blog (which Carole Ann still carries on today), we sold at our art work for the first time at the Down City Arts Festival, and even had our first business meeting where we created our Artistic Manifesto.

The manifesto, hatched in the living room of my Artist Residency at Firehouse XIII, was quite simple :

  • Stay True to the crafternoon philosophy (learning and creating as a part of a community)
  • Contribute to the artist community of creativity
  • Learn about art/specific skills
  • Earn a little money to sustain our studio/supply costs
  • Excite and energize others with our work
  • Network with other artists in Providence
  • Become comfortable in our skills as artists

While a lot has changed in the last year we have both kept true to the manifesto in our own ways. About midway into our year of time together Carole Ann and I realized that our art work had gone in two very different directions. I became obsessed with silverware utilizing the materials and tools available to me at the Steel Yard while Carole Ann kept on moving full steam ahead with her sewing. At this point, we decided to go our separate way, each supporting the others creative ventures. In this separation however, I lost my accountability partner, the person who would check in on me and make sure that I was reaching the goals I had set out for myself.

My Gift from Carole Ann

Reaching goals requires routine, routine however, can seem stifling. Twyla Tharp in her book the Creative Habit (which Carole Ann gave me as a gift last winter) states it best: “There’s a paradox in the notion that creativity should be a habit. We think of creativity as a way of keeping everything fresh and new, while habit implies routine and repetition.” What makes something a ritual is that you do it without questioning the need”… “It’s like going to church. We rarely question why we go to church and we don’t expect concrete answers when we do. We just know it feeds the our spirit somehow and so we do it”.

In creating rituals we get out of the habit of allowing ourselves to procrastinate the little steps that will help us reach our goal. If we make the steps of our goals a ritual we will will be less likely to find excuses for not completing them.

One of my professional goals is always to become a better writer. In order to become a better writer however, I need to write. Having a reason to write that I am held accountable is what often makes this goal a difficult one to pursue. Learned Curiosity has given me that reason.  In creating this blog I new that accountability would be essential. So when I began posting I attempted to create a ritual for myself.  I committed to posting on Learned Curiosity  for 7 days straight starting day 1 with with the LEAP plan. Day 3 I would go public and day seven I could scale back.   After day 7 ( Which Is Today !) I can honestly say I am quite proud of myself. Making posting an essential piece of my daily life I knew would allow me to set into motion a good habit for my long term once weekly posting plan.

Sticking to the posting regime this week has been a struggle. There were many other things I could have chosen to occupy my time with instead however I chose to  make Learned Curiosity my top priority. Creating the positive habit of posting I know will assist me in sustaining my commitment to becoming an active writer.

While I have accomplished my goal of posting for 7 days straight, there are still many more goals that lie within the pages of my LEAP, I only hope I can be as successful with those as I have been with Learned Curiosity this week.