Monday, December 14, 2009

Missed writing about Suzi's second project

Dear Suzi Fitz- Just wanted to comment on your 2nd project and realized that I missed mentioning it.

Suzi made several items from dryer sheets, silver and red thread for her 2nd project. She was able to synthesize all of these very different aspects into one very pretty design. My favorite was the broach which really took the 3 mediums and capitalized on her strong sense of design.

Can't wait to see what Suzi and Tai come up with for their final project!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

End of the semester

As we come to the end of this class I realize that I have taken on a new role or stewardship (if you will) for the planet.

I have been recycling as much as possible. When I buy produce at the store I try to see if I can get it home without a clear plastic bag , why can't it be placed right in the final paper bag that I am taking other food home in? One less piece of plastic in the world because of me.

While meeting with the employees at Kinkos I told them the premise of our class and explained why I had chosen certain products for the calendar. They listened politely and seemed interested in what we were trying to achieve.

I hope to keep thinking about ways that I can make a small difference to my minute area of the world.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the ideas and resources that my classmates have utilized in order to "Make Good" design in a sustainable and ecological way. Go Forth and Be Green:-)

Copenhagen- Climate Conference-NYT

Danish novelist Hanne-Vibeke Holst writes about the future changes to our "earth" and how we must change the way we think in order to help future generations understand the dilemma we are facing.
Prior to the climate change summit in Denmark- this novelist wrote of her worries and visions of the future if issues are not addressed now.

The other op-ed piece was from a South African playwright by the name of Zakes Mda. He discuses the eco-system downfall and the dangers that are changing the country's "Protea" flowers. Fires endanger the plants that were once abundant as the seasons have become unpredictable. A once treasureed lifestyle, plant and weather pattern have become almost extinct.

NYT- In the Month of Giving

The article discuss the power of being considerate and giving to others in large and very small ways. There is empirical evidence that the body responds in a positive way to these life changes.

A patient with Multiple Sclerosis tried the concept for a month and was found to be less symptomatic.

There have been numerous studies to back up these results. The thought is that altruism might be an antidote to stress, in contrast being self-centered may be damaging to ones health!

So keep holding doors open for others and saying hi to people on campus. You could be a walking medical miracle:-)

Environmental Chief has litle experience-NYT

After a 13 month search for a new head Mayor Blumberg chose a member of his inner circle to head this department. Caswell F. Holloway is the new head honcho.This decision has a lot of people in the field of sustainability scratching their heads.

The new Head doesn't develop environmental policy, but plays a" crucial role in shaping and enforcing policy." People in the know feel that Mr. Holloway is a quick study and excellent problem solver and should be quite capable of running a budget of over $1 billion dollars.

Group Project

Greg, Melissa and I will be working on the final project together. We will be incorporating the art that has been reproduced for the school. A calendar with the 12 winners, the final prototype of the apron/art roll, the ceramic tiles, a print made from chin cholee and a power point presentation with our design concept, and statement with research to re-enforce our premise as well as some of the kids speaking to us about their own thoughts and idea on the ppt.

Greg and I realized that we were running in parallel lines with our research for project 2 and 3. Our Design Statement:

1) To help the students express their feelings about their school and environment and the lack of natural light.

2) Engaging them in the Design Process by giving them the tools and opportunity to dream of a better world ecologically, scholastically, environmentally and emotionally.

3) Utilizing the view of their world and implementing that into the design process.

4) Most importantly introducing the students to the design concepts: META-DESIGN, EMPATHETIC DESIGN, INCLUSIVE-UNIVERSAL DESIGN and CO-DESIGN.

5) Establishing collaboration between the students and the design process

We have already gone to the school to meet the children that won the competition and Melissa, Bridgett and I ( along with Greg) had a blast painting the art onto the cafeteria walls with them. The children were, bright, creative and a pleasure to be around. It was a match made in heaven!

Tai's cardboard Jewlery

Tai has taken a disposable often overlooked product and designed an elegant line of jewelry. He has taken "Trash and made it beautiful"

The interchangeable pieces and the mixed medium make it very versatile while still relying on the actual corrugation of the product.

Tai has a unique "eye" when he in envisioning a design and he was inspired and saw many elements for his jewelry in everyday details. It was very interesting to see how he works his concept!

Trish- "ENJOY"

Trish has prototyped and re-prototyped and prototyped again and then sewn, printed and folded, and attached buttons.

From the etched glass ware and plates to the printed tablecloth and napkins everything was well thought out. She has Incorporated the theme "Enjoy" in several different languages to make people think about the social aspects of eating and the rewards of doing it in a beautifully civilized way. Great Job!

Melisaa's hand-made paper

Melissa took an idea and created a well crafted variety of handmade paper products. From the folders, to the post-it-notes she didn't miss any details!

Note only was there variety within the paper pulp, but it was also laden with seed and herbs to provided a pleasant aromatic experience. Meticulously detailed- a great job!

Plastic-Plastic-Oh Boxes!

Mandy and Elise are really onto something here. The way that they were able to re- purpose the plastic bags into beautiful boxes was amazing! There where many examples and each more interesting than the last. I must also note that their initial Brainstorming presentation was quite professional, well thought-out, easy to understand and provided us with multiple samples of their ideas. By making a sample product line we were able to ask questions, touch and feel the proposed product and offer positive suggestions.

They ideas were so finely presented from the initial concept onto the final prototype- I would definitely buy one if they were in a store!

Bridgett's #2 Project

Bridgett's project started off a little rough but gained momentum when the class brainstormed with her. She was able to come up with vessels made from pressed leaves that where biodegradable and quite attractive!

I felt that her final project was very interesting and much better than the original prototype. Her ideas and creation had come along way.

Soy Based ink vs. Linseed Oil based ink

From what I can tell both soy and linseed are natural oils that can be used in the printing process. I wasn't able to gather much research on the exact ingredients of soy based ink. Both are oil based products but not in the petroleum oil sense. They are natural by-products.

Something to think about as I continue to print.

Tiles for PS #39

Melissa and I have incorporated those same images from the children's drawings onto raw clay and have cut them into tiles. We are replicating the exact colors and designs of the students. Once they are finished firing we hope to have Greg present them to the school as possibly a way to commemorate this project and generate some money for the school.

We have continued the premise of this class by using recycled clay from the ceramics department.

PS# 39 art contest

Greg did a great job of encouraging the students in his school to participate in this project. The drawings that were presented in class are nothing short of amazing and the imagination of these kids is fantastic. I will be transferring some of the images to linoleum and then after cutting them out printing them onto paper, I will be able to demonstrate the possibilities.

Class Brainstorming for 2nd project

I will attempt to utilize Jan's idea and place grommets on the top corners so that the students can wear it as an apron and put the supplies in the pockets and then roll it up when they are done. It was also noted that I should consider placing the image of the window on the inside of the roll since that will be facing out when the kids are wearing it!

Connect the Dots- project #2

I have gone forward with the idea of creating art-rolls that the students can keep art pens, brushes etc. in. The organic 100% cotton-canvas material will be the fabric that I use for this. After making the Lino-cut and printing with linseed oil based ink on the fabric I will sew it together, attached cords for tying it shut and present the prototype to the class.

recapping the 60 minutes Coal-Ash conundrum

Early this semester I watched a show with Leslie Stahl on 60 minutes concerning the by-product of harvested coal. This product is referred to in the industry as "Fly-Ash". It's many ingredients include arsenic, thalidomide, uranium, thorium. These by-products are toxic to our lungs, the water ways which cross into our homes, plants and animals.

Following that segment I found an article concerning "Switchgrass replacing coal at Power Plants" by Ariel Schwartz featured in FASTCOMPANY/Ethonomics.

The article suggested plant based solutions to keep the byproducts from literally flying into the air and away from the mining and deposit sights. The idea was to stabilize the ground with switchgrass and to help insure ground deposit stability and prevent future run-off problems which had been disastrous in the past.

FreecycleBaltimore is a grass roots non-profit organization with almost 5000 groups world-wide with over 6.8 million member. Everything must be free with the direct intent of keeping our landfills empty:-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

connect the dots project #2

Having established the need for windows and light in Greg's school, I will research data on how light effects learning and mood.

Socially and emotionally light creates stimulation and a sense of energy and life. Educationally natural lights provides benefits not seen in fluorescent lighting. Opthamalogically and neurologically the use of artificial light can have adverse effects of individuals.

As stated in my Power Point Presentation: When lighting environment is stimulating the students and staff's mental, physiological, visual performance all improve.

Alertness and mood improve.

There is a demonstrated increase in the willingness to help others, better recall, increased innovation and creativity with better problem solving. (Isen and Baron 1991)

creative caffeine

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Greg's Project

Hooray! Greg has finally gotten his hard earned approval by the powers that be- I am planning on going to his school next Thursday and can give 4 people a ride to and fro. I believe that Melissa has called shotgun :-), but everyone who can fit in is welcome. We will definitely be back in time for a 6pm class- so don't let that stop you.

Let's take pictures of the kids and their art so that we can document their achievements. Hopefully this will help make an impact on how they see their world and the world outside of downtown Baltimore.

Come play with us!

Brainstorming in 2006

Brainstorming was very successful on Tuesday. Melissa's recycled paper that was loaded with seeds and herbs is very well done. The class came up with several ideas for her project and I am still partial to the egg-crate idea and the tree with the gift tags. Both very doable and marketable. She has such skillful techniques that this cannot fail.

Tai's cardboard jewelry is well thought out and could go in many directions. I really liked the idea of the individual pieces of the design being able to be reconfigured. The corrugated edges give it a very "now" vibe and make cardboard cool.

Bridget's leaf project is full of possibilities. I was inspired by the idea of creating an object out of the leaves that could function as a piece of art by itself but could also be recycled. The leaf recycle compost bag and leaf bowl, etc. are very exciting.

As always class was a blast!

creative caffeine

Not sure if I spelled that correctly- but, I walked around the CFA today and took pictures of several of the windows that we have in this building- There are windows upon windows. Staircases with glass block, windows on the doors and window walls. Doors with glass panels that when you look through them you can see another window with a view to the outside.

As students we take for granted the natural light that plays such an important part in our creativity. I find enclosed rooms with no light dreadful. They suck the life out of creativity and merge into a black hole.

Greg' students don't have that luxury, that is why it is so important that we help create an environment that helps their imagination flourish. I hope to see many people from the class next week at Greg's school.

Meanwhile I am going to attempt to download the pic's onto this blog. Wish me luck! :-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

battery operated cars need sound effects...

Hybrid Cars May Include Fake Vroom for Safety

Published: October 13, 2009

For decades, automakers have been on a quest to make cars quieter: an auto that purrs, and glides almost silently in traffic.

J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

Kevin Walsh, an engineer, monitored waves from sounds that Fisker Automotive Inc. developed to use on their hybrid car.


Times Topics: Electric Vehicles |Hybrid Vehicles

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They have finally succeeded. Plug-in hybrid and electric cars, it turns out, not only reduce air pollution, they cut noise pollution as well with their whisper-quiet motors. But that has created a different problem. They aren’t noisy enough.

So safety experts, worried that hybrids pose a threat if pedestrians, children and others can’t hear them approaching, want automakers to supply some digitally enhanced vroom. Indeed, just as cellphones have ring tones, “car tones” may not be far behind — an option for owners of electric vehicles to choose the sound their cars emit.

Working with Hollywood special-effects wizards, some hybrid auto companies have started tinkering in sound studios, rather than machine shops, to customize engine noises. The Fisker Karma, an $87,900 plug-in hybrid expected to go on sale next year, will emit a sound — pumped out of speakers in the bumpers — that the company founder, Henrik Fisker, describes as “a cross between a starship and a Formula One car.”

Nissan is also consulting with the film industry on sounds that could be emitted by its forthcoming Leaf battery-electric vehicle, while Toyota has been working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Federation of the Blind and the Society of Automotive Engineers on sounds for electric vehicles.

“One possibility is choosing your own noise,” said Nathalie Bauters, a spokeswoman forBMW’s Mini division, who added that such technology could be added to one of BMW’s electric vehicles in the future.

The notion that battery E.V.’s and plug-in hybrids might be too quiet has gained backing in Congress, among federal regulators and on the Internet. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, introduced early this year, would require a federal safety standard to protect pedestrians from ultra-quiet cars.

Karen Aldana, a spokeswoman for traffic safety agency, which is also working on the issue, said, “We’re looking at data on noise and E.V. safety, but manufacturers are starting to address it voluntarily.”

A Toyota spokesman, John Hanson, said: “I don’t know of any injuries related to this, but it is a concern. We are moving rapidly toward broader use of electrification in vehicles, and it’s a fact that these cars are very quiet and could pose a risk to unsighted people.”

A study published last year by the University of California, Riverside and financed by the National Federation of the Blind evaluated the effect of sounds emitted by hybrid and internal-combustion cars traveling at 5 miles per hour.

People listening in a lab could correctly detect a gas-powered car’s approach when it was 28 feet away, but could not hear the arrival of a hybrid operating in silent battery mode until it was only seven feet away.

Some electric-vehicle drivers have taken a low-tech approach to alerting pedestrians. When Paul Scott of Santa Monica, Calif., drives his 2002 Toyota RAV4 electric car, he often rolls down the windows along busy streets and turns up his radio so people know his virtually silent vehicle is there.

Mr. Scott, vice president of the advocacy group Plug In America, said he would prefer giving drivers control over whether the motor makes noise, unlike, say, the Fisker Karma, which will make its warning noise automatically.

“Quiet cars need to stay quiet — we worked so hard to make them that way,” he said. “It’s the driver’s responsibility not to hit somebody.”

Mr. Scott has already warmed up to the idea of a car ring tone.

“It should be a manually operated noisemaker, a button on the steering wheel triggering a recording of your choice,” he said. “It could play ‘In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida,’ or anything you like.”

Neuroscience and the young


The Young and the Neuro

Published: October 12, 2009

When you go to an academic conference you expect to see some geeks, gravitas and graying professors giving lectures. But the people who showed up at the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society’s conference in Lower Manhattan last weekend were so damned young, hip and attractive. The leading figures at this conference were in their 30s, and most of the work was done by people in their 20s. When you spoke with them, you felt yourself near the beginning of something long and important.

David Brooks

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In 2001, an Internet search of the phrase “social cognitive neuroscience” yielded 53 hits. Now you get more than a million on Google. Young scholars have been drawn to this field from psychology, economics, political science and beyond in the hopes that by looking into the brain they can help settle some old arguments about how people interact.

These people study the way biology, in the form of genes, influences behavior. But they’re also trying to understand the complementary process of how social behavior changes biology. Matthew Lieberman of U.C.L.A. is doing research into what happens in the brain when people are persuaded by an argument.

Keely Muscatell, one of his doctoral students, and others presented a study in which they showed people from various social strata some images of menacing faces. People whose parents had low social status exhibited more activation in the amygdala (the busy little part of the brain involved in fear and emotion) than people from high-status families.

Reem Yahya and a team from the University of Haifa studied Arabs and Jews while showing them images of hands and feet in painful situations. The two cultures perceived pain differently. The Arabs perceived higher levels of pain over all while the Jews were more sensitive to pain suffered by members of a group other than their own.

Mina Cikara of Princeton and others scanned the brains of Yankee and Red Sox fans as they watched baseball highlights. Neither reacted much to an Orioles-Blue Jays game, but when they saw their own team doing well, brain regions called the ventral striatum and nucleus accumbens were activated. This is a look at how tribal dominance struggles get processed inside.

Jonathan B. Freeman of Tufts and others peered into the reward centers of the brain such as the caudate nucleus. They found that among Americans, that region was likely to be activated by dominant behavior, whereas among Japanese, it was more likely to be activated by subordinate behavior — the same region rewarding different patterns of behavior depending on culture.

All of these studies are baby steps in a long conversation, and young academics are properly circumspect about drawing broad conclusions. But eventually their work could give us a clearer picture of what we mean by fuzzy words like ‘culture.’ It could also fill a hole in our understanding of ourselves. Economists, political scientists and policy makers treat humans as ultrarational creatures because they can’t define and systematize the emotions. This work is getting us closer to that.

The work demonstrates that we are awash in social signals, and any social science that treats individuals as discrete decision-making creatures is nonsense. But it also suggests that even though most of our reactions are fast and automatic, we still have free will and control.

Many of the studies presented here concerned the way we divide people by in-group and out-group categories in as little as 170 milliseconds. The anterior cingulate cortices in American and Chinese brains activate when people see members of their own group endure pain, but they do so at much lower levels when they see members of another group enduring it. These effects may form the basis of prejudice.

But a study by Saaid A. Mendoza and David M. Amodio of New York University showed that if you give people a strategy, such as reminding them to be racially fair, it is possible to counteract those perceptions. People feel disgust toward dehumanized groups, but a study by Claire Hoogendoorn, Elizabeth Phelps and others at N.Y.U. suggests it is possible to lower disgust and the accompanying insula activity through cognitive behavioral therapy.

In other words, consciousness is too slow to see what happens inside, but it is possible to change the lenses through which we unconsciously construe the world.

Since I’m not an academic, I’m free to speculate that this work will someday give us new categories, which will replace misleading categories like ‘emotion’ and ‘reason.’ I suspect that the work will take us beyond the obsession with I.Q. and other conscious capacities and give us a firmer understanding of motivation, equilibrium, sensitivity and other unconscious capacities.

The hard sciences are interpenetrating the social sciences. This isn’t dehumanizing. It shines attention on the things poets have traditionally cared about: the power of human attachments. It may even help policy wonks someday see people as they really are.

china's superrich

China's Growing Economy Mints Billionaires

Published: October 13, 2009

BEIJING — The superrich in China have bounced back from the financial crisis with a vengeance, and China now has more known U.S.-dollar billionaires than any other country except the United States, according to a report released Tuesday.

The annual Hurun Report said that China has 130 known dollar billionaires, up from 101 last year. The number in the United States is 359, while Russia has 32 and India 24, according to Forbes magazine.

China’s rich are getting richer, with the average wealth on the list $571 million, up almost one-third from last year, said Rupert Hoogewerf, the report’s compiler. The Hurun Report is a luxury publishing and events group, its Web site says.

“With the greatest wealth destruction in the West of the last 70 years, we’ve seen China buck the trend and the wealth seems to be still growing,” Mr. Hoogewerf said in an interview on the sidelines of an event to unveil the 2009 rich list.

“They’ve put the credit crunch behind them,” he said. “The key driver has been urbanization. You’ve got all these cities being built, and that requires property developers, iron and steel manufacturers. The latest thing is cars.”

Topping the list was Wang Chuanfu, chairman of the electric car and battery maker BYD, in which the American billionaire Warren Buffett holds a stake. Mr. Wang’s personal wealth is estimated at $5.1 billion. He was also the fastest riser from last year, moving up 102 places.

Second place went to Zhang Yin and family, owners of the paper recycler Nine Dragons Paper, while in third place was Xu Rongmao and family, the owners of the Shimao property group.

Huang Guangyu, who founded Gome Electrical Appliances and owns unlisted property businesses, sank to 17th place from the top position he held last year. He is being investigated for alleged financial irregularities.

One famous name fell off the list this year — the basketball player Yao Ming, who has struggled with a foot injury for the past few months.

China’s ruling Communist Party once condemned entrepreneurs and private business people as capitalist exploiters but has welcomed them since the late reformist leader, Deng Xiaoping, began landmark economic reforms in the 1970s.

One-third of the people on the 1,000-name Hurun list are estimated to be Party members, according to the report.

Mr. Hoogewerf said the actual number of dollar billionaires could be higher than estimated.

“Either they are superdiscreet, or perhaps they haven’t come to the surface,” he said. He added that the transparency of wealth was, however, now much higher because of the greater number of listed companies.

Mr. Hoogewerf said people who probably should have been listed, but about whose wealth not enough is known, included Liu Chuanzhi, the chairman of Lenovo, one of the world’s largest makers of PCs, and Chen Feng, the founder of Hainan Airlines.

further thinking for next project

Spoke with Melissa today and discussed taking my FedEx bags one step further. I could design a window for Greg's kids and print it on the envelopes, then the students would have a place to keep their art supplies with the print on the outside of the envelope....any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

big planet small world concept

I have been thinking about trying to recycle Fed-Ex mailing bags into a more interesting form of packaging. Essentially I would like to use one of my linoleum's from printmaking and print the inside and outside of the bag. Trim it and divide slots for brushes, pencils, palette knives etc.

The bags are more resilient than I first suspected. It was easier to cut through from the outside in then to cut through the inside. The inside is fortified with a string like weave that is embedded into the material.

I made a prototype this morning and was fairly happy with the printing results. The only problem is that the ink has taken all day to dry in some spots. Look forward to presenting the design at "brainstorming".

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jaime Salm- A Generational Genius in Design and Craft

Jaime Salm's presentation was very informative and entertaining at the same time. He presented the whole picture to the students when he discussed his "voyage" through the design process and his successes and failures. He was able to explain to the audience the journey that takes place when a designer first steps up to the challenge and how their career and design aesthetic can morph into a variety of different platforms over the years.

His presentation started with the early years as a senior in college and led us through several dips and turns as he, then he and his brother tried to navigate the business world. Through trial and error he became much more knowledgeable about the business end of the design process. Sometimes this doesn't coincide with the artist's vision, but it always has a significant impact on the outcome.

As MIO branched out into other aspects of design, the company discovered new challenges and constantly used brainstorming techniques to work through the process. He mentioned that originally he was the artist and his brother was the business planner, but over the years they have become so well versed in how the company works that they can switch roles and still fulfill their visions.

He gave his brother credit for having the foresight to establish a European branch of MIO. It has proven to be very successful, having branched out from a garage to a professional showroom. Sometimes it is hard to see what the future can hold for an artist when they are bogged down in the tiny details of day to day design. That's when a different perspective is important. By employing ideas from both the design and business world his company has become multi-faceted.

As an older student I was able to relate to the realities of the business world and how everyday responsibilities sometimes impact decisions on how and when you design. Jaime understands that it is a luxury to pursue this craft and still be able to make a living. His determination and good luck have helped him become more sophisticated in the business world . This in turn has led to new opportunities and adventures that he might not have considered if he had gone down a different path.

I was happy to hear that his own moral values keep him in check when it comes to who he deals with as a business partner and what he is willing to design. It's not always about the big bucks. Yes, everyone ultimately wants to make a comfortable living and be able to enjoy some luxuries in life. But fortunately for all of us, he isn't willing to compromise on his visions.

This lecture was very thoughtfully done to help all students recognize the journey. It takes many forms and might not always be how one plans it, but that is what makes it all worthwhile! I am now a devoted fan of MIO and its philosophy. I hope to see them create innovative designs for many ,many years to come.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Deforestation Article

Giants in Cattle Industry Agree to Help Fight Deforestation

GGirl pic

GGirl pics- which Liz Bucke's helped me figure out!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


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These are the notes from class discussion about a Group Project for the final project, Thursday, October 1.
Feel free to make additions putting your initials/name in parentheses so we can track comments. [JB]

Bring YOUR sketches for this project on Tuesday, October 6

Project Runway style projects based on sustainable design/exhibit [Elise]
group work/solutions

Why? Project
Why? [each students' topics]
Why? Aren't there windows in elementary schools?
Why? Is there sizism?
Why? Is there rudeness?
Why? Is their sexism?
Why? Are we using/wasting so much plastic?
Why? Are you rushing?

Overarching Strategies
1. Interactive [Droog, Pioneers of Change, felting, wall decals....]
Bridget: interactive window event- window theme-draw your own window, interpret the idea of window; photographs?, prints?
Greg: advertise the event/project, people send in their answers to "why?", ink jet printer, print on shirts......
Make your own...shirts? screen printing

Different Rooms in CFA/different presentations- participants get a souvenir from some rooms [downplay consumerism; it's about being]
Example: a sustainable sleeve for hot drinks: "Why? Are you rushing?", "Slow Down"

Tea Salon/Go Slow- Mary?
feature this semester's tea infusers
loose tea materials [donation from local company? presented/laid out in an aesthetically pleasing manner]
sewing tea bags

2. Exhibit Student Work from the Semester [Mandie, Elise]

3. Screen prints of Greg's windows, fundraiser...specifically for? [Anita]
4. Tangible items for purchase [Trish]

*Crucial to the success
Towerlight * I am currently working on joining the Towerlight right now. I have a bunch of contacts for Towerlight. -Trish*
Towson Times
Baltimore Sun
Washington Post
see press contacts/links from TUs homepage

PR People

what does META-design mean?

Metadesign (or meta-design) is an emerging conceptual framework aimed at defining and creating social, economic and technical infrastructures in ...

cut and paste

command-c and command-v

thank heavens for smart young classmates:-)

Fast Company has fabulous articles about social design and sustainability. I suggest you check out their site.

and once again many thanks to Melissa, now if only I can remember my flicker address....
This is the link for a very interesting article about the felt art exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt: -

thank you Melissa:-)

Cooper-Hewitt review

Since I wasn't able to go on this trip I have written down some bits and pieces of information about the museum. After researching the contents in the museum, I hope to be able to visit it in the near future.

The Cooper-Hewitt Museum opened its door in 1897. The building which houses the museum was original owned by Andrew Carnegie and was the first of its kind to be framed out in steel with air-conditioning, heat and of course, electricity.

Industrialist Peter Cooper's granddaughter's, Amy, Eleanor and Sarah were the founders of this amazing gathering of art and information. It now houses over 250,00 pieces dating from the 17th-20th century and includes textiles, prints, graphic designs and textiles.

The Design Resource Center opened its section in 1998 and houses exhibits and resources in:
Drawings and Prints, Graphic Designs, Product Designs, Decorative Arts, Textiles and Wall-coverings.

It is the ultimate resource for designers and students alike. While I was not able to see things first hand, I was able to garner some information concerning it's current major exhibit.

Design for a Living World incorporates 10 renowned designers who come from diverse backgrounds in design and are located around the world. These 10 artist where asked to design items from sustainable and harvested materials.

The Designers included:

Ted Muehling- A jewelry and Industrial Designer who traveled to the Island of Pohnpei. There he designed and created a series of jewelry using sustainable, harvested vegetable ivory and black pearls.

Stephen Burks: Works have included " beautiful and socially beneficial" projects. He traveled to Australia where he developed the idea of : physical as well as spiritual tools:, For example, a totem pole that was also used to crush items.

Yves Behar: Feels that "seeking ways to improve health and welfare through design " is paramount. He is involved in the program " One laptop for every child" which frog leaps the lack of educational materials in impoverished countries and brings the children access to the world through technology. He spent time in Costa-Rica and utilized organically grown cocoa. He stated that " concentrating on a product that is simple and elegant as well as primitive and ritualistic" is the way to approach different cultures and their design needs.

Abbott Miller: Co-Created Design for a Living World . He was sent to Bolivia where he incorporated Bolivian wood into chairs that he designed.

Paulina Reyes: A designer for Kate Spade, Enterprises travelled to colloborate with local weavers and carvers.

Isaac Mizrahi: A well known Fashion designer has incorporated salmon skins into his clothing designs.

Hella Jongerius: A Rotterdam products designer travelled to the Mayan Forest in Mexico and experimented with chicle Latex which up until this point has primarily been used in chewing gum.

Christien Meindertsma: a Netherlands designer travelled to Lava Lake Ranch in Idaho to spend time with the sheep that help her make the wool for her felt projects. She noted, " a lot of the value of a product lies in knowing where it comes from, how it grows and in what amounts..."

Ezri Tarazi: An Israeli designer concentrates on re-use and conservation of materials. He utilized roadside banners that had both Hebrew and Arabic text. The banners where manufactured into seats for chairs that he designed. He noted; "rather than use the material as a a surface, our project enhances the materials to become an object in itself."

Maya Lin: She was chosen to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1981. Her career has epitomized the utilization and exploration of the movements and undulations of the earth's surface. She uses this as inspiration for designs in furniture, landscape, memorials and installations.

This is a short synopsis of the information that is available on the site. it is worth the time to explore all the artist listed and then works to have a better understanding of their importance and what place they have in sustainable design.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

just doing the right things makes a world of differnce

A small article demonstrated how something so simple as planting trees can make a person who is down on their luck feel connected to the world around them.
Edgar Sosa-Mieles the program director of New Leaf firmly believes in helping the homeless by 'growing plants and harvesting people'. In the article it notes that "he relates the work of horticulture to help navigate the working world without drugs and by building their self esteem."

An honorable attempt at using nature to expand and heal damaged peoples worlds.

baby boomers have a tough year in more ways than one

Obviously baby boomers took several nasty hits this year. One being the economic downfall of the country and the Ponzi schemes that reverberated throughout the world. But almost as important is the legacies that died this year. These celebrities, athletes, musicians and newsman defined many peoples ideas of "their" time in history.

The questions that must be asked is "what legacy will this baby boomer generation leave
behind?"As we age and re-evaluate our lives we have become known as Generation 'E'." or the Encore generation. We have the opportunity to achieve a second and more meaningful phase of our lives which can now be parlayed into a more empathetic career. We can become the D0-gooder Generation and leave a legacy of a better future for generations to come!

do you know where the lead is?

A recent article in the NY times asks that very question. Is the slight presence of a toxic chemical in our daily products cause for alarm? The Ecology Center in Michigan is researching that very topic. Jeff Gearhart the research director at the research center said that is known for its investigation of chemicals in children's toy. They have an ongoing database which they have decided to expand as the they have experienced an increase in public demand. They are actively involved in trying to introduce legislation that regulates the system and the chemicals used in products for consumer use.

Dr. Andrew D. Racine, director of the division of general pediatrics at Children's Hospital in NY questions the usefulness of some information. He ask, "What does this mean?" "What is the impact on our health?" "Without that information all we are doing is frightening people." He agrees that any item that contains lead should not be allowed near children.

Currently some dog toys, plastic women's handbags and other common household items contain lead. How we use this information is the most important point. By being aware of what is in products we can actively participate in the dialogue between manufacturers and ourselves.

fight grows over labels of household cleaners

NY times had a very interesting article concerning the ever changing dynamics between manufacturers and the consumer. There where several valid points that should be considered by anyone who is interested in this subject:
- Can a company divulge their ingredients on the label of a product without losing revenue and product?
-How does the Manufacturer manage good intentions vs product trademarks?
-How does the manufacturer prevent knockoffs and still go green?
-What is the balance between product confidentiality and consumer education?

Even with the best intentions by the Manufacturers there is a lot to be figured out. How much information is relevant to the consumer and what information really matters? Will the label become a scientific lesson only informative to the people who speak it's language?

As a person with multiple allergies and sensitivities I can relate to needed information on a product label. But, even with the best intentions things can still go very wrong.

For instance I am extremely allergic to Latex and hypoallergenic products. While recovering from major surgery this summer I had a significant complications 2 weeks post-op and had to find surgical dressing that would not "eat" my skin. The adhesives in the Latex Free tape and sponges literally tore away flesh and have left amazing scars at the surgical site.

Now I consider myself an educated consumer when it comes to my specific medical conditions , but I still had to play russian roulette while I tried to stop the excessive trauma to my skin. At one point that was worse than my surgical complication. I spent countless hours over the last 3 months figuring out ways to let the skin heal as I searched for alternatives. Even with the expertise of my husband who is a physician, I was at a loss.

I can't blame the manufacturers for their lack of insight into my problems, but most rely on my own fund of knowledge to avoid things that will provoke another attack.

It is everyones personal responsibility to read the label products, ask questions and do research and hope that manufactures are doing the same.

World Hunger

Recently in class we discussed world hunger and its after effects. I came across a blurb on the Internet. The article by Reuters stated that " food aid is at a 20 year all time low despite the soaring numbers of hungry people world -wide".

UN World Food Program that the number of hungry people will pass 1 billion this year. There is a serious budget shortfall as contributions decline due to the overall world economic slowdown. They have only 2.6 billion available to cover a budget of 6.7 billion.

When I was growing up parents told their children not to waste food because of the starving people in it could be said not to waste food because of the starving people worldwide.

free speech impaired-NY times

Typical of the Insurance megalomaniacs and their "ass-backwards" thought process they have denied people with physical impairments the right to communicate freely within the confines of their own homes and in society.

While their private insurances will pay for some types of accommodations they have followed the Medicare/Medicaid guidelines and will not allow the most basic computer programs that allow a patient to access anything outside of their bureaucratic purview. They will not cover less costly software such as Iphones, and netbook PCs that can "help the speech impaired, despite their usefulness and lower cost..."

Perhaps they should be subjected to the same conditions for 24 hours that these people deal with on a day to day basis and see how they do!