Ilana Crispi (a past conference presenter for the Green Task Force) is once again showing her latest work in San Francisco, California. This is a fantastic project that is worth looking into even if you are not in the area. below is some text taken from a press release from the first exhibit in November of 2013. take a look at her Facebook page, a YouTube video about the project, and the information about the upcoming show!!
San Francisco, CA – On February 20th 2014, conceptual artist Ilana Crispi invites the public to sit on, drink from, and eat out of urban dirt transformed into ceramic vessels and furniture. John Metcalfe of The Atlantic calls the harvested dirt “needle-infested plague-turf of San Francisco’s famously filthy, drug-infested neighborhood, the Tenderloin.” “Most people demonstrate visible disgust at the idea of touching the ground here. I want to challenge that stigma and help people feel a direct connection to this soil”, shares Crispi, who linked and taught in the area.
Food grown atop Glide Memorial Church was served in Crispi’s work in November of 2013 at the first “Tenderloin” exhibit. For these exhibitions, Crispi single-handedly excavated 90 gallons of dirt from sites like Tenderloin’s Boeddeker Park, where she taught art to neighborhood kids. At that time, Crispi’s students could not use the soil becauth the park was littered with needles and a prison-like fence was needed to address the number of bodies found in the mornings. “I want people to experience a beautiful version of this place. People once picnicked here among dwarf oaks and blackberry bushes. Now there’s no green space”, reminds Crispi. Declaring a costa point where visitors are directed to stop, sit, look, eat, and drink “is a celebration of our neighborhood, past and present. She’s excavating the history of the Tenderloin through its dirt, ” appreciates Frank Merritt, Co-Founder of Tamon’s Tailor.
Decades deadlier, when the Tenderloin catered to the white middle-class and bourgeois, “people came together to enjoy theater, dance, skating, and bowling in the past incarnation of Boeddeker Park. Now the site’s dirt is being transformed again. The Tenderloin – like the Filmore, Wester Addition, and Mission – struggles against losing its sense of place and Crispi’s project calls on us to deeply consider its rich history and future,” shares Betty Traynor of Friends of Boeddeker Park. Sarah Wilson of Uptown Tenderloin Museum adds “We welcome contemporary artists like Ilana Crispi who engage with the community to shed light on the Tenderloin’s past.” After all, Crispi observes: “In the Tenderloin, much of the history of this place, like the dirt, is not visible.”
Emotional sustainability, as I define it, is the ability of an object to maintain perpetual relevance through how we understand the meaning of the object. In short, how we treat an object is dependent on how we feel about or understand an object.
For example: my mother is a “sentimental” person – and will keep old gloves from her great-grandmother that are practically falling apart because of her emotional attachment to them.
The physical aspects of environmental sustainability are usually the first things considered when talking about “green” ceramics. Proponents of environmentalism in ceramics are open to sharing knowledge and interested in the latest technology that makes the studio practice more efficient and earth-friendly. However, I have also heard skeptics say that ceramicists only use a nominal amount of energy compared to other industries, that our energy consumption is only a “drop in the bucket” in the world-wide basin of pollution. This may be true, however, a majority of ceramicists remain reliant on industry to fulfill their needs. This hypocrisy got me to thinking about the conceptual side of sustainability – and prompted some research into how the emotional value of an object influences sustainability.
In an increasingly capitalistic consumer culture, many decisions are made about where the materials for products come from, how the products are manufactured, and what expenditures will be made on behalf of the consumer versus the environmental costs of production. Oftentimes these considerations in addition to aesthetic characteristics add to the “emotional value” of an object. It is a well-known concept to potters who may have explained to a consumer why their product is priced higher than a ceramic mug from Wal-Mart. This clip from Portlandia is maybe a stretch – but it stems from something so true about what people value! What many ceramicists have to their advantage is the uniqueness afforded by hand-making their wares and spending time on design. From a standpoint of economics, emotional sustainability is something an artist can provide to consumers. And, if a consumer has a sentimental attachment to a product, they are less likely to view the object as disposable (therefore decreasing a widespread problem of environmental efforts). What I urge from the readers is to not only look at the environmental impacts produced from physical manufacturing, but also look at what sort of mentality fuels production. Environmentalism is more than “going green” in physical efforts, and proponents of the movement may even stifle their efforts in not considering the holistic approach to what sustainability is.
I have identified a few ceramic artists here that use the idea of emotional sustainability in various ways (which goes hand in hand with environmental sustainability). Please comment with thoughts, ideas, or other artists to add to the conversation.
“Nothing is thrown away. This immigrant lives in fear of waste. Old yogurt is used to jumpstart the new batch. What is worth risking for things to get juicy, rare, ripe? What might be discovered on the verge of things going bad?”
Sormin values how the physical can be re-contextualized by words and emotion.
“Daily used products or found materials get a different look by making a small interference. Inspiration comes from her working experience, travelling and experiences using the screenprint technique in any possible way and on any possible material.”
Dirkx’s work also benefits from a reframing of the physical. She is re-using, which is environmentally and economically sustainable – and consequently will cause consumers to value the wares.
“Artist-in-Residence Richard Bresnahan and the Saint John’s Pottery engage students, apprentices, and visiting artists in the work of artistic creation, discipline, and research and preparation of natural materials. These dynamic experiences are framed by questions of what it means to envision and create a sustainable lived system.”
Bresnahan basically works in a closed system of creating his own glazes, clay, and wood for firing. His pots may look similar to those made my someone else, but the fact his wares are imbued with a spirituality of sustainable practice is what gives them unique value.
NCECA’s Green Task Force (GTF) is committed to environmental stewardship in all venues; from administrative work to conference gatherings and further extending to educate NCECA’s members about important environmental issues affecting the ceramic arts. The GTF will bring members the tools and information to help facilitate change, however a sustainable future in ceramics necessitates a community effort. In addition to educating our members, NCECA and the volunteer officers of the GTF will demonstrate, by our own policies and practices, that we are good environmental stewards.
The student representative is expected to participate in and contribute ideas in skype meetings, work on special projects as assigned by the task force, and act as a liaison between the student community and the GTF. This is an excellent opportunity to serve NCECA, network, and help ensure the sustainability of our practice. Candidates must be full time college students (including graduate students). Please send a resume and short letter explaining what makes you a great candidate to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also welcome other inquiries regarding the GTF and the GTF blog. We are always looking for contributors to our blog.
I was searching through the original GTF website, and I came across some good information that I felt needed to be shared. Here is a great collection of cone 6 reduction glazes that was put together by Diana Pancioli from Eastern Michigan University. Diana has been a regular at the GTF meetings since the beginning and much of her research into cone 6 is due to the awareness of gas use and our need to reduce. Thank you Diana Pancioli for your support of the GTF and your contribution of this fantastic article.
Click on this link for the PDF article: Cone6ReductionGlazes2
I have heard that firing to cone 6 takes half of the amount of fuel than firing to cone 10. Does anyone out there have any evidence or research on this? I know of several schools that have made the switch to cone 6 including the school that I work for. We are always finding glazes that stand up to their counterparts at cone 10. I recently came across this extensive database of cone o6-10 glazes, and the majority of the glazes in this database are cone 6! I have not tested any yet, but I wanted to share this link for the Sankey Glaze Database. It is in a format that should import into any well designed database system. Please comment on this post if you test any of these recipes and let us know your results or have any info/research on the benefits of firing at cone 6 rather than cone 10.
Sankey Glaze Database Click here
NCECA’s Green Task Force (GTF) will be holding a silent auction for a Ci Products Cink at the GTF booth #203. The Cink is a portable unit that can be moved to any location you choose in the studio or classroom. It needs no plumbing… it saves tons of water by reusing 11 gallons of the stuff!! A bucket collects sediment, which can then be recycled into your reclaim clay or glaze buckets creating no waste!! The Cink will be on display in booth #203, and GTF members will be there to answer any questions that you may have about sustainable studio practices and more. The winner of the silent auction will be responsible for getting the unit from the Washington State Convention Center to their home or studio at the end of the Conference. For additional information on The Cink, click here. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to help NCECA and bring leading edge green technology into your studio. Stop by booth #203 to visit the Green Task Force and place your bid! Thanks to Ci Products, makers of unique ceramic arts equipment and accessories for their generous donation to NCECA.