Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sustaining Ideas , Sustaining a Project

Summer is one of those times of year that we remember as being endless . This Summer I tried to give Aidan , my 10 year old son , a taste of that . In an era of overscheduled child playdates and programmes my goal was to have him not so "plugged" in . 'Getting away from it ' is sometimes in your own back yard . I'm lucky to live in a remarkable part of the world , my immediate back yard is the Hudson Valley. And I might add a particularly beautiful section of it !
Well here I am having been "unplugged " getting back to discussing the Habitat project which is also of an unplugged nature . After an intense period of raising money and then building the sheds I also needed to kick back and let the project percolate and have its' endless Summer. Its hard to let things grow if you are always standing over them demanding them to GROW !!
So over the next few days I am going to be discussing some of the ideas and events that occurred during the previous couple of months . There have been some significant changes in focus and I think all the more relevant as we look forward to the possibility of CHANGE .......
In a market driven society it's hard to push away and see what SUSTAINS us . Having created this project I am now looking at what and how to sustain it so more Artists can experience this unique situation ..... O h and by the way Aidan did get that endless summer and he was also glad to get back to school . Looking forward to discussing these ideas so tune in SD

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Art Unplugged ?

Do check out Beth Wilson's JUNE article in CHRONOGRAM (see link) BOOM or BUST . A compelling read and two other interesting projects in the area . Also do go to Sharon 's blog site Twocoats of Paint as she is writing up a storm ,and has brought up some relevant recent articles that tie into aspects othe Habitat Project.

It reminded me of a related seed of an idea that came from reading Richard Louv's book , "Last Child in the Woods" . In it he sites kids who are overscheduled in their lives and would rather be plugged in ,ie to electronic games. I t led to my drawing the "art survival" shed and a series of drawings I was calling NO artist Lost in the Woods .... I was also riffing on the pioneering of new frontiers which brings me back to DO read Beth's article .....

Also fresh from the printers is Sharon's article in The Brooklyn Rail (JUNE issue).

I shall be posting new photos of some of what has been going on at the shanty village, so tune back in. Also for those non Monty Python viewers Master shed builder has a wonderful adhoc reference to the art sketch "Two Sheds Jackson" . For those without the reference I will link to a YOU tube post very soon. Again read both Sharon and Beth's articles . Back soon SD.


Please note our schedule for viewing the Habitats . In order that we allow as much work time for the artists , we have decided to have a limited OPEN time for PUBLIC viewing.As of this month JUNE 2008 the site will be OPEN , FRIDAY evenings 5 to 8pm and SATURDAY afternoons 12 to 4pm.

Please note we will be having other EVENTS in addition to these scheduled times.STAY POSTED!


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Habitat Village kicks off , the work begins.....

Shanty town, des artistes...... theater, writing sheds, drawing PODS ,and much more, a small bit of creativity kicks off last Saturday , May 17th at Spire Studios, Beacon NY. A sampling ensues ,stay posted for updates and Summer schedule.
Matt provides a dramatic frontispiece to the habitat village. Matta-clark beware, there's humour in them Hills??? Scroll to later post ......SD
Stephen, Dar and Michael's son ,gets stuck into some drawing in Dar's Habitat. Perhaps we need to provide a habitat for him , close to mum's , so as to remain connected creatively?.......
Hear no evil , monkey ......sounds like ?? Dar semaphores reaction to local and organic wines...
Tim, of Artisan Wineshop brought ample samples for all to try , there will be more such events during the Habitat Project at Spire Studios, Beacon NY. Tim and I want to have a local Beer tasting event ..... ie Captn Lawrence,Keegan, Brooklyn and another........ SD
Donald and Kathy hamming for the camera, drama plays a role in all creative events ?
Sharon takes five, after working to get the Habitat opening day off to a flying start.......

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Artisan Wines to host tasting at Habitat Project

Sustainable,affordable and organic wines will be available by Artisan Wine Shop , Beacon NY at the kick off day of the Habitat Project, May 17 th. They will be serving 4 wines ( two red, two white) for your tasting between the hours of 2 and 4 pm.

Further information will be posted Thursday .

We also hope to have a local Cider from Warwick Winery for your refreshment.

Remember , act Globally think locally. Support LOCAL businesses .

More on this LATER . SD

Recent News

I use this term loosely ! Having recently "Googled " this blog I came upon another chat type site that was amazing ...... A whole tete a tete about "this guy building these sheds " , and does he need a permit , as well as "is he intending to live in them ". Luckily a voice of reason chimed in that it was infact an artist, Simon Draper, who was doing an ART installation at the site known as Spire Studios, in Beacon NY. The news GUYS, happy chat room bloggers THEY are SHEDS, I think these are temporary structures under a certain square footage (100 t0 120 sq ") that are not in need of permits, also as this was a project being put on initially as a related project to the planed May ART FAIR, it remains an ART project . Much as it would be quite some abodes in many expanding developing CAPITALS of the world. ( LOOK up Mexico City) . it remains ART.

Oh by the way , the PUBLIC is quite able to come & take alook and NOT be in fear of these HAND made structures collapsing around their ears. Traditional shed building habits are being used in their construction. Perhaps the only collapse may be the preconceived notions that deserve to collapse around certain blogging ears/noses and mouths !! Look forward to seeing you all this Saturday to see what that GUY is doing ..... and the other Geezers (artists). SD

Beth Wilson to write about Habitat Project

Who ? Pick up a copy of CHRONOGRAM. It's a Hudson Valley publication. A magazine with alot of alternative subject matter ..... whose lost by now . Yep I should link you to it NOW, but I 'm not going to right now. Where was I ? Beth Wilson is a wonderful arts writer who manages to cover the arts with out being a pompous , erudite ***** (fill in the Blank!).If you have any inkling or incline to the ARTS , get savvy and start following her articles . May has a wonderful article she wrote on Frida Kahlo and another exhibit in Pa.

In JUNE, which happens to be the magazines' green issue Beth will be covering the Habitat project. She will also be covering projects going on in Kerhonksen , and Kingston NY. All have a wonderful other connectivity , which she will address in her usual dynamic way .... PICK up a copy NOW, or I ought to say for JUNE copy!

Beth and I will also be riffing on an idea for a book , "The Beacon Book of the Shed ". Enlarging on some ideas behind the Habitat project , which I think will prove provocative as well as entertaining. Those of heavy heart should be advised that much of the material covered may prove unsuitable ..... We may look to print some chapters or verse on this blog ? Stay posted !!

Kathy's PODS nears completion

With interior wood trim the final stages of Kathy's PODS (studio) nears completion,we're hoping that PODS , will sponsor Kathy to remain in her adapted studio .... stay posted !!
Tomorrow the space will be painted , giving it that touch of studio from studio .... a little bit of creative space.
Kathy cuts the final sheetrock panel for her PODS. Kathy will be adapting a PODS as her studio over the next couple of days . Tomorrow the inside walls erected within the PODS will be painted white , just as if it was her studio . She plans to include recent drawings and small constructions.

Sharon's Habitat , May 14th

Here is Sharon's Habitat, I am adapting the building of her work space (interior footprint)and the exterior space on an eight foot overall dimension. In other words she has an exterior space of around 40 inches by 80 , or I would call it a verandah .... Great come the summer evenings !

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alexis 's Habitat in New Mexico

Alexis seen here with her neo adobe Habitat in New Mexico. She will be bringing more related material to exhibit in one of the PODS, at Spire Studios ,Beacon NY,this Saturday ,May 17th
A different take on the temporary , optimal work space idea..... looking foward to getting Alexis's
version ,first hand . Be there !!

Habitat New Mexico. Alexis 's version of her habitat neo adobe , see more images May 17th

Mr Virgadamo's Class contributes to Habitat

Here is the final panel of the wooden tiles that were painted by Mr Virgadamo's class (5V) installed on Dar's Habitat. The individual tiles were representative of a poem they had picked during April's poetry month. Thankyou to all the class for their willingness , good spirit and fine
efforts!We also did speed drawing and action poses..... no record remains , just prep work !

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Trees ,and clothes in Blue, stack Marnie's window.

Marnie got to finish up her plexi- window with her signature Tree cut outs and an added
blue source of unwanted clothes. I believe that there was an outfit of Aidan's there from
those baby days ,...... see pale blue detail .

As much as there was an intent of colour , there was a search for an alternate insulation material.
See Bonded Logic's website as to what they are doing with recycled denim...... ! Very cool .

Mountain man seen at Habitats

Oh , if God could only grant us the will to see our selves the way others see us they would lose
their dinners ( I paraphrase R.L.Stevenson ...."Treasure Island" ...??) .

SD seen here with the final version of Marnie's Habitat with ladder. This habitat exudes so much
vibrancy of colour and intent, a must see .

Sara's Windows

Sara and her father , Dan succesfully created two openings for windows in Sara's habitat.
One is up and functioning and will open up Sara's space , transforming a once dark space
to a light and airy abode..... stimulating them creative pheromones ??

Victory Gardens , or Square Foot gardening

This is the start of the first vegetable garden at Habitat for Artists. Situated behind Dar's habitat
this 4 by 5 raised bed ,made from reclaim lumber hopes to be a potential hot bed of activity....
We plan to have rain barrels installed to catch the windfall of fresh water of the various habitat
roofs. It mirrors the smallest habitat foot print ,which we hope illustrates how much from how
little ,a space to grow in..... you decide ! SD

What did your Mother do today ?

Marnie , Aidan's mum , chose to be in and around her Habitat working. That's dedication ..
After much searching for tools and the right paints Marnie kicked a** today !!
Here is an end of day shot of M's habitat . You really have to see this one, it ROCKS !

Bring the Family

Yes,including the dog. Power tools, nails, sharp sticks are always a good training ground for young families and families in training. Aidan runs by exposed wires from muliple outlets and misses the temporary work tables that contain sharp hand tools and other kid friendly toys...

No child is lost in the woods here, this is a veritable feast for kids, young and old to get stuck into.

We will be having other activities for everyone to participate in, especially of note being .......BUILD a Habitat. There will be an area where those willing or able can contribute to the making of a habitat. Paint boards, make a picture and build a side of the new Performing Community Shed. When , MAY 17th between 1 and 3 pm, DON"T WORRY all sharp tools and faulty extension cables will be stored and locked safely away, from family use !!

We're still debating the correct Fire Drill procedures, and have been reading that wonderful literature from the State, about Evacuation Plans in regard to our proximity to Indian Point. Does any one remember "duck and cover" , or is that rock and roll?

Well , hope to see some of you out and about on the 17th , we're going to be working and doing stuff, so JOIN IN, and BRING THE FAMILY (second thoughts leave the dog at home...) SD

Habitat Sheds get Blueprints

In the next week , Habitat for Artists ' sheds will be committed or assigned a set of bluprints. David Birn, neighbour and draftsman extrodinaire has agreed to draw a set of simple plans for the project . This will allow others to fabricate these simple structures, with the view that these Habitats may join other Habitats in other locations in the not too distant future.

Other venues are being looked at currently, with the idea that those who are able , join other artists at other locations with or without their current Habitat. (who wouldn't want a studio away from home, especially whilst on vacation?).

We're also exploring the idea of taking them to other art fairs and having artists from that area join the project. Obviously there are some logistics and other details to sort out first. So far though there has been some favourable,initial response to our doing this.

We are also looking at the possibility, down the road of having Artist Exchanges. Artists being invited to join the Beacon Habitats and Beacon Artists going to other eventual habitat localles. Alexis Elton has been building her Habitat in New Mexico, and will be exhibiting photos and other material from her experience there (at May 17th OPEN DAY). SD

NOT an Opening,or your usual reception!

Well I'm in the mode for explaining things or whilst I'm still at rest, it being a Sunday.

Next week MAY 17th , I want to qualify what you're going to see, if you visit us !!
At the usual opening you get to see finished works that have been dutifully worked upon and finished for exhibition. Or a perfomance takes place and you play a dutiful, usually passive part. Here ,and I admit there has been a change from our original conception, we are announcing the START of the Habitats for Artists (and PODS) project. There will be a number of creative spaces that are in a number of different states of completion. They are complete in that they are box-like structures but not all will have been fully adapted to the artist's particular needs. Some of the artists are still figuring out how they need to adapt the space, and what they might be making within (or with out), their new creative spaces. In short they are in continual process, and maintainance, not unlike your Home? The activity is also not solely restricted to what you will see.... many of the artists have spent time collecting material to use in or on their Habitats. Some material proves more useful or inspirational than others. We haven't even begun to address the question of alternative or usual power sources..... we intend to collect water in rain barrels to water the planned gardens, some artists will be looking to solar panels to charge batteries or power lighting. Dar and I are looking at alternative insulation materials to provide a snug, comfortable shed. Writing doesn't produce enough body heat to warm a room (?).

Some artists intend only to use hand tools. Needless to say, a variety of questions and paths lay ahead for all involved in the project. We have also extended the amount of time that the artists will get to work in and on their Habitats. So if you don't make it May 17th drop by another day. We'll be working if not we may be on another job ($).

But don't come expecting "This Old Shed" or a finished version. This is it there's no rehearsal.

"See the Habitats, meet Artists" May 17th to September 30th, 2008.

The PODS connection ?

Well I thought it time to explain the PODS connection with the Habitats Project. Over the course of building the Habitats there has been a continued question of " what are the PODS for ?".

No idea , I just like white boxes ...... and Dan Davison Jr. of Pods of Hudson Valley, said I could take a few...... so I did! Thanks Dan!! BUT seriously for those who can't stand the suspense any longer. When I was chatting with Todd (of Spire Studios) it was he who suggested PODS, in reference to having ready mades that could be adapted for temporary studio spaces. Having a shed thing and a need to keep busy I decided to mix it up. So we now have the concept of PODS P>ortable O>n D>emand S>tudios........ (will head office be in touch with me, Dan?).

BUT before you start calling your local PODS dealer, you might want to read the fine print!!

The other pratical reason was also purely storage, during this project we have amassed alot of reclaimed material that needed storing, and whilst things were moving at a steady pace there were days where we needed dry storage for gear!

I'd like, ll kidding aside, to thank Dan Davison Jr., John Keller and the PODS team for their generosity, willingness and goodwill in being on board this project and donating the use of several units for our "creative" needs.THANK YOU. We have also produced an alternative PODS Ad video which will be posted as soon as we clear head office (joking).

Saturday May 10th Hive of activity at Habitats

Chris chats with Kathy, I think he was showing her his ready-made pencil holder. Kathy later returned with cereal cartons for another project Chris has hatched for his habitat.

Measure twice, cut once and it's still too short?

Donald, waits patiently for my next cut, Sara working on her window installation, waits for me to get on with it...... I'd forgotten to bring my batteries for the various portable saws we have. Productivity slowed down a little, but that's build as you go, where you go!!

Kathy Feighery joins the Habitat Project

Kathy, seen here inside her PODS studio. Kathy has recently given up her studio at Spire Studio as she and husband Matt are expecting their first child. In the meantime she is taking residence in one of the Portable On Demand Studios at the Habitat village. She plans to do a series of drawings in her new space, as she is staying away from using oil paints and the like during her
pregnancy! We look forward to seeing what she has percolating in this new creative,temporary space .......

It's a family affair

Like father, like daughter? Sara and her father, Dan Mussen, install Sara's window in her Habitat. Both had arrived early in the day bearing a multitude of found materials. Doors, roof shingles, 1 by 6s, to name a few ...... there was talk of Dan coming back to side Sara's Habitat.

Dan dutifully removed the temporary roof tarp and shingled and tar papered his daughter's habitat roof. What a Dad!! We hope to all have a healthy relationship with our own children such as these two proved yesterday! Thanks Dan, glad to have your input.

The Pigs are on the wing ....

Donald Kimmel, director, performer, actor and carpenter (?)
helps construct the Performing Shed at the Habitat village.

Donald will be using the new space for a series of "works in
process." As director of "FLYING SWINE", a Beacon theatre company, Donald will be hosting a number of readings on Saturday, May 17th 3 to 5 pm. Participants "audition" and receive constructive criticism, BUT only by those who have previously performed.

Only licensed actors should enrole, parts must be learnt (no readings) and please no HOUR monologues ZZZZZZZZ.

Enjoy a spot of drama,in a different box and LIVE.......

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dar's writing habitat

The writer's desk, seen from outside. I still have to attach a small shelf to the window apron.
I have a wonderful piece of lumber that washed up on the river bank, (it came off an old door) that will be perfect. The top image shows a detail of Dar's door, with
a Kathy cropped painting as the center piece. The rest of the painting makes up the clapboard alternative..... The side next to the door will be a set of paintings done with my son Aidan and his class, at Haldane Elementary.

Thanks to Mr. Virgadamo (Aidans home room teacher). See next postings for photos.....
A new siding method for Dar's habitat. Taking some old paintings, thanks to Kathy Feighery, I ran them through the table saw to produce a clapboard alternative. Art as building material.

Matt Kinney sets up his habitat at Spire Studios.

Matt brings his habitat down from the Highland Hills . Taking advantage of a run of good weather Matt and I set up his new Habitat at Spire Studios this week. He has a number of ideas on adapting his habitat , so stay posted. He 's going to be working on it this next week, so pop by May 17th.....and take a look !

Sharon Butler joins Habitat for Artists

I met with Sharon this past Tuesday, May 6th. We discussed.

Chris continues work at Studio Habitat

Chris taking a break outside his Habitat. He'd spent the better part of a Sunday afternoon attaching a variety of found objects to the inside of his habitat. Detail shows his collected paint rollers. Chris has spent the most time so far using the habitat as his new studio space.......

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What's going on ?

Well there's been lots going on in Beacon, lately. Or should I say it's not what's not going on that has created a lot that's still going to go on !! Confused, well don't fear you're not alone......After a flurry of last minute negotiations between, the Art Fair organizers, building owners and the town officials the stuff hit the fan. After the dust had settled it became clear that the new art fair wasn't about to happen,well NOT this year. Most of you may have already gathered that.

The good news is that other events are still going on, so if you were headed this way there will be plenty to see, Open Studios at Spire and Bulldog (old high school), a grand project at an old factory building near Main St called Electric Windows, (large scale paintings will be made and installed by over 20 artists, best you go to their website for details). Other galleries plan to be open with new shows, and this project Habitat for Artists will have an open day, which will include some theatre, which will be a breath of fresh air after the recent event drama, or things fall apart.....

So check it out May 17th (that's a Saturday), we'll be around doing stuff so drop by and see what's going on! Habitat Project is at 45 Beekman St Beacon. LOOK for the PODS.

Richard's Habitat

Details of Richard's paintings which he has
attached to three sides of his Habitat.

The long openings are to be windows, the
plexiglass being reclaimed from a gallery's
unwanted material in storage.

Richard Bruce joins the Habitat Project

Richard Bruce seen here , with one side
of his Habitat. Several of his smaller paintings
are attached to the outside of his new studio.
Of particular note are some of the found boards
he saved from a rennovation on his house.
Some of these make up his door.(see later

Marnie's "Stunning" Habitat

This is Marnie's stunning Habitat. The real work starts inside very soon. Stay posted

Marnie Continues Working on her Habitat

Using found lumber that has washed up on the shore of the Hudson river Marnie paints them in her usual vibrant palette.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


First POD arrives

at Spire Studios, Beacon, NY

April 5th, 2008

The Art of Building!

Marnie's Habitat

Marnie installs panels on her Habitat. Old paintings of hers cut up to create exterior sheathing.

April 5th, 2008

Details of Chris's Habitat
April 3rd, 2008

Chris's Habitat

The door installed on Chris's Habitat.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Roof Light

The most cost effective method to get natural top light. Several artists have decided to use this roof type on their Habitats.

Offcut Blocks

Using Simon's "Offcut Blocks", Marnie's floor gets leveled.
April 2nd, 2008

Walking the Dog

Despite the activity involved in constructing Habitats, every dog needs walking. Maddie Draper poses.
April 2nd, 2008

Off to Beacon

Parts for Marnie's Habitat loaded and ready to be installed at Spire Studios, Beacon, NY.
April 2nd, 2008

Marnie's Door

Reclaimed door saved from Hopewell Junction dump. April 1st, 2008

How Much? How Little? The Space to Create

Sarah and Lori discuss what size Habitat each of them need.

(c) 2008-2011

s.c. draper & k.k. conner, all rights reserved.