Tiny terrariums.

Thursday I teach terrarium building to kids at Kingsbrae Garden’s ARTrageous. This post is to help any new parents of tiny terrariums to take care of their creations.

Wednesday

It’s pretty simple, add a couple drops of water if you notice it’s looking dry in there. This won’t happen very often. The terrarium contains charcoal to keep it fresh, but if you get mold, it probably means too much water.

Keep out of direct sunlight. If you like, you can tie a cord around the neck of the bottle and wear it like a necklace! Just do your best not to shake the little guy up too much. If you want somebody who really likes all that shaking, check out Marimo moss!

If it so happens that the little mossy dies, don’t despair! This is all locally harvested, and sometimes a species just doesn’t take to captivity. Remove the deceased critter, and go for a walk in the woods to find some more! To protect future mossies, only take from a plentiful source, and remember to wash out any bugs with clean, cool water.

Moss_4 copy

If you need to replace the whole thing, or would like to make more for friends, the layers are as follows, from bottom to top. You only need a pinch of each! Try to fill the bottle only half way with the dirt layers, leaving half the space for the moss to thrive!

Terrarium Layer Cake
Mini bottle (Dollar store or online, best to wash with dilute bleach)
2-3 gravel stones or beads (for drainage)
Sprinkle of activated charcoal (from aquarium store, to prevent algae)
Dampened dried moss (optional, keeps dirt from falling through in bigger bottles)
Half and half mixture of sand and potting soil (tamp down with a paintbrush handle or skewer)
Teeny tiny moss baby of your choosing! (dig a little hole for it with your paintbrush)
Spritz or two of water down the sides

I hope you enjoyed creating a habitat for your new friend! You can use the same recipe to make all different sizes. Keep me posted on how you get along!

What a mouse has to do with visualizing space.

I find it hard to visualize three-dimensional space. When designing quilts, and other 2D creations, I rely heavily on digital software to help me see what is coming next. This allows me to easily test out composition and colour scheme before I start working in cloth. Without a similar aid, I felt at a bit of a deficit when I began working in sculpture.

Over the past term I’ve been dealing with this issue. I’ve just finished a course in 3D printing, which has taught me how to use digital modelling software, mainly Lightwave. I was amazed how easily you can place a sketch into the program as a backdrop and build out from it. I first tested this theory with a spaceship design my partner had drawn. I love collaboration.

Warren Steeves Spaceship 3D Model - A Green Artist

It really seems to be a matter of getting into the zone and thinking about the screen as an open environment where you are actually manipulating 3D objects. Then you don’t have to worry about remembering sets of rules.

Warren Steeves Spaceship 3D Model Action - A Green Artist

I started applying this to sculptures I was planning almost right away. The following three will be created in cloth and plant over the next month.

Tree Sculpture -  A Green Artist Tree Shelving Sculpture 3D Model Full -  A Green Artist

I’ve found it really helpful to be able to tweak composition ahead of time, and see it from all angles. I am interested to see what impact this has on the finished creations.

Fungal Islands A Green Artist Fungal Islands 3D Model Bright - A Green Artist

We learned a little animation too, and though I don’t find it as applicable to my work, I can see definite possibilities for working out kinetic sculpture, internal and external lighting, and design proposals.

The funnest part is that I got to 3D print one of my objects! I can’t really describe what it is like to build something in the computer, and then have it in your hand. The difference between working digitally or in reality seems almost negligible.

Lily Centerpiece A Green Artist Waterlily Centerpiece Cutaway - A Green ArtistWaterlily Centerpiece Cutaway 3D Print Sculpture - A Green Artist

 

Environmental architecture

All of our technology comes from nature. Not only did we creatures build it, but we would be silly to think we are inspired by something other than natural processes. The more we learn about how biology and biosphere work, the more our own advances look like an homage.

My challenge is to show this back and forth in a collection of silk wall quilts. I will borrow inspiration from Saint John architecture, and unlike some of my previous quilts, these will not just be the buildings. These buildings will be overwritten by their naturally occurring counterparts.

Saint John Industrial Landscape_10 architecture, waterfall, water, roof

I chose Saint John because of the breakdown, a sort of reversion to something less strict and geometric.

Saint John Industrial Landscape_8And then I thought, what about the other side of this coin? Don’t we transform nature into architecture?

New HampshireThese views of New Hampshire are begging to morph into buildings and cities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I wonder where we draw the lines between technology and nature. At first glance it seems pretty easy to make the distinction between what is made and what simply occurs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But does anything simply occur? Organisms evolve to adapt to niches put in place by other organisms, and all species have been forced to adapt to the overwhelming changes we’ve made to this planet. We make and change things because of evolved tendencies in our brains. So then maybe everything simply occurs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The lines get blurry when you put your thinking goggles on. Where do you place the line?

Green.

Some changes have come to the way I relate to the world. I am moving away from my branding of Bottleneck Consensus and into something a little more committal.

Let me explain. Bottleneck Consensus has a meaning which I respect. To show you the meaning, let me draw you a picture:
Bottleneck consensusdiagram

It is not that I am no longer there. I still have ideas in their permeable little cars, vying for space and colliding and eventually issuing from my throat and my hands in haphazard bundles.

But it’s like now, they get along a little better. They have nice bumper car edges, or matching puzzle piece sides. Together they line up to form a sort of spade, and drive their way out into the world.

So my ideas have come to this nice point, where I want to put my name on them and take ownership. My family name is Green, a name I chose and a name I carry proudly. It was my grandfather’s name and it will be with me my whole life.

When I sign my name it is:                              Allison Green Signature

As in: a member of the Green clan. My actions will be held against my family. While in my teenage years I thought that an archaic and nonsensical punishment, I understand now. The concept of of upholding the honour of your ancestral line, is simply beautiful.

box workshop and mom tree pillow 035_1

But of course Green means much more than that. Green, as in new. I am a new artist. Emerging and forever learning. I am not full grown or stuck on a single path. I need a lot of help, and to gather communities of people who want to learn too. I am A Green Artist.

StonePlantTextile Process 3 019

Green is versatile. The human eye can see more shades of Green than any other colour. I know my work can be different and more challenging every single time. There are as many versions of my work as there are versions of Green. I am A Green Artist.

Planters- Allison Green- Bottleneck Consensus_1

But most importantly, Green is the colour of nature and the base of all that is alive. I have this plan to live in harmony. Technology, humanity’s logical side, is vital to our continued existance on this perfect planet. With its help the Green things can survive, and in my own small way I will ensure that. I am not there yet, my practice is still filled with the trappings of the quick and the synthetic and the toxic, but this renaming marks the beginning of my learning, a contract to everyday be a more Green creature.

new hampshire 1 066_1

I am  Temp Logo Dark Green A Green Artist

Stone-faced.

We took off on our second trip to another of the NB Nature Preserves on Saturday morning. We had made a number of attempts to reach Sugar Island, but couldn’t seem to find the road that was supposed to lead us there. In fact, at the end of the road where we expected to find the turn-off, we instead found the driveway of a very disgruntled homeowner. And so we quit chasing after that one.
Instead, we set off to the Minister’s Face Preserve,  just outside Saint John, NB. This trip was arranged by my school and the NB Nature Trust, so there were a number of us that went. I’d say around twenty, counting the Trust volunteers and guides and their children. We were also accompanied by a musician and what I guess I would call his producer. They filmed a takeaway show at the preserve.
This place was really cool. You can only reach the island by boat, and it is quite sizeable once you get there. It is not entirely owned by the Trust. There were several little cabins along its coast, which made me drool over the woodsman lifestyle. What is part of the Preserve has marked trails which made it a little easier to dig our way around.
We started off by piling into an old fishing boat. It was about an hour’s ride to the island. The view was pretty intense, between the little wooded mountains and the glassy water.
It took about an hour before we were approaching the island. We came around the corner and suddenly the preserve’s namesake was in view. A massive sheer rock wall, granite rising straight up out of the water. It had a massive crack right through the middle of it, and a whole host of intrepid hover-trees.
We came around to this beached area where we were supposed to dock. Unfortunately the dock was gone or never there at all (it was a matter of some contention), so we had to continue on in search of a way to shore.
A little further on we met a private dock outside a little cabin. Desperate, we set down. They didn’t appear to be home, so we ducked ashore with all our gear and set out into the woods to try and meet up with our trails. On the way we ran into a vast array of moss and other plant life.
At the main trail we split into groups and went off in search of art, music, and new trails, respectively. The hike was probably one the most difficult I’ve been on, very steep in spots and wetlandish in others. Most of where we put our feet was sopping wood.
Really enthralling actually, you had to always be paying mind to your next step. The first trail we took led us to a little grove, perfect for chowing our sandwiches. There I saw my first lady slipper. And it was a white one, which I didn’t even know existed. Very solitary and beautiful.
We headed back down and took a side path which was to lead us to the very top of the island. On the way we met some pitcher plants. They were quite violently purple on the inside.
Just past that area we came to a stand of what I believe we were told was brush maple. They only had leaves right up at the top. Really haunting in comparison to the lush greenery right beside.
At the bottom of this hill was the first and only stream we saw, cut right into the valley. We headed straight up from there, I nearly fell out of my boots it was such steep going. Huffing and puffing we reached the top and met up with the trailblazer group.
While I had been hoping to reach closer to the outer cliff’s edge, this was certainly a sight. So high up, and right next to us was a massive drop off. We amused ourselves while we rested by throwing off rocks and waiting for the thump.
Then we trucked back through the paths, taking in a number of sights we had missed on the first go ’round, including man-sized ferns and gorgeous stumps. We ended up back on the dock, this time meeting the homeowner. He seemed not too perturbed, I think we’re probably a pretty wholesome-looking bunch. He simply sat on his porch and kept an eye out.
While we dipped our feet and waited for the boat, I snapped some pictures of this rust-eaten chain. Possibly my favourite capture of the bunch. As you may or may not have noticed I have a thing for oxidizing metal.
The boat was quite late. When it arrived it had been gunning its engines to try and make up the time and was steaming to high heavens. We heard him call in a rescue request, but eventually with much pouring of water they got it in forward motion. I was frankly shocked that we got off the island judging by the worried face on the captain. For all its faults, at least the boat was neat to look at.
After working the night before and the four-hour hike, I was mostly comatose at this point. The boat ride and drive home was sort of a blur. It was a really beautiful day, perfect weather, a healthy amount of exertion, good company, and great sights. My only regret was the efficiency with which we traversed the trails. I am one for slow-poking through nature, and I would love to spend a couple days in that place. I think that was a one-time trip though, it’s so secluded. So glad that we decided to go, I judge harshly all the kids at my school who chose to miss out.