Connect/Collect.

Starting out, I wasn’t always very good at taking care of myself. I’m sure everyone can relate, it took me a while to get good at making meals, sleeping right, keeping up in school, making time for exercise and fun. Keeping my head above water seemed like more than I could muster, let alone trying to be active in my community.

Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? It says that when your selfish needs are met, you will begin including the needs of others into the equation. In high school I thought that was ridiculous, I could never imagine myself feeling that way.

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

But now I’ve got me covered. Mostly. I feel I have a hold on my habits, my mental state. And you know what? Miraculously, I want to connect. I want to help and share and teach and collaborate and create community. Communities of people on a common quest. Because what’s the point of questing if you haven’t got your homies?

This week I’d like to talk a little about some groups I’ve become a part of. They are really great.

fredericton makerspace

Fredericton Makerspace. Facebook followers may have heard me mention this before. While the first building we had turned out to be unsuitable, work has continued behind the scenes. We were chosen for the Pond Deshpande Centre’s B4Change Social Enterprise Accelerator. Our fearless leader, Philip LeBlanc, has been learning a great deal about how best to move us forward.

We are gathering a growing number of makers: artists, designers, programmers, carpenters, engineers, and many others. The plan is to open up shop in the spring, a membership-based workspace for collaborative learning and creation. We’ll have equipment for a whole slew of disciplines.

If this sounds interesting to you, there will be an information/brainstorming session later in the month at the The Station (attached to the liquor store on York St). If you have ideas about what would be useful to you in a space like this, it is a good chance to have them heard. Check the facebook page or group more info.
indigo 063 (1280x960)

The second group is in it’s very early stages, because it is not quite that time of year yet. What time of year, you ask? Planting season! We are a group of textiles students, alumni, and teachers from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and we are going to plant a community dye garden! I have so little experience with natural dyes but I am very certain I want to learn. Nothing could be better than moving away from harsh synthetics and into complex natural shades. Expect to hear lots more about this when the ground finally thaws!

emerge
Photo credit: Mark Cameron

I have also become a juried member of Emerge Artists Collective, a group of eight Fredericton artists dedicated to creating experimental new works. I had my first meeting with them a couple Sundays past, it was a great vibe and lots of cool ideas. In the works is a show at Government House in October, and we will be occupying both windows at M&T Deli for the month of August. That collection will incorporate the work of local poets. I have a happy history of working with text so this will be a fun project for me. I can’t wait for my Triny Finlay books to arrive!

A Brief History of Written Communication (Detail)

If you would like more information on any of these groups or events, please feel free to contact me any time.

Praying to the rust fairy.

Today I discovered that ferrous sulphate is nowhere to be found in Fredericton. Garden stores, hardware stores, grocery stores, pharmacies; all came up empty. My only hit was in the “online only” section of Home Depot website. No time to be ordering away, the bridge piece needs finishing in the next week.

So for experiment #1 I settled for a big ol’ piece of chain, which unfortunately is galvanized. I put in the fabric, weighed it down with the chain, and poured in about 2 L of vinegar.

It immediately began to fizz. I suspect it is the zinc coating coming off. At any rate, I took it out to the shed for safety’s sake. Who knows what all is toxic these days. Don’t want to be breathing anything in.

When I was at the pharmacy I looked for iron sulphate but found only iron bisglycinate. I bought a bottle anyhow.

So for experiment #2, I followed the instructions here but with the whole bottle of iron supplement. It really seemed to have no effect at all (fabric was already cream-tinted). However you are supposed to let it dry before washing out so maybe if will oxidize overnight.

For Experiment #3, I grabbed the bucket of iron tablets/4 L of water that I had used above and threw in about a cup of vinegar. I put some fabric in, weighed it down with a wine bottle, and put it in the shed.

This was maybe an hour after Experiment #1 got started, and check out the foaming action now! Neato!

It looks like most of the shiny coating has come off the chain, so hopefully the next step is rust. Or it could all go horribly wrong and I’ll have to suck it up and use synthetics.

Cross your fingers for me!