Sunday, May 24, 2009

Edible Landscapes HFA at SCEE ,PHiladelphia PA

We're just back from Philly , and what a blast ! We managed to get a lot done in a short amount of time . Below are some of the pix from that venture . We owe a debt of gratitude to Jeff and Cathy who despite scorching sunshine continued to turn over most of the garden plots around the habitat studio. This allowed myself , Todd and Odin to get most of the basic structure of the habitat studio potting shed and outdoor work area built with in the short time there. I'll post more images as Todd has a whole stack he took of the process ,start to finish . Friday morning Odin and I were able to get our gardens planted so others can follow on and continue planting and sustaining the gardens. YES it's outstanding in it's field so we had to protect it from the deer that reside in the woods by erecting a full scale deer fence around the garden's perimeter .

New Paltz continues with the habitat at Huguenot Street .Below is a detail of that habitat studio before it left the shop . Todd has some great shots which I will download soon . I'll get a link to the rest of them as there are some crackers !!

Memorial Day activities prevail and we have a family visit to New Paltz , not just to see habitat studios but to check out a skate board store "Liquid" ......

Check in later for more images and new posts SD

Habitat Projects continue , NEW Pictures !!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

New Habitat Studio installed at Historic Huguenot Street, New Paltz NY

May 15 th . The second New Paltz Habitat was installed Friday , Thursday having been a wash.
The initial install will be finished by Monday and will have two sides for artists to add to during their use of the studio over the next few months.

We are scheduling artists to use the studios around town for a MAXIMUM period of 3 weeks.
We are stressing that the artist reflects some of the issues that the project is engaged in especially ecological or environmental issues as well as being prepared to engage in a direct dialogue with the public when that artist is working in one of the habitat studios.

Artists are encouraged to enter into conversation or discourse with the specific studio location such as the History that surrounds the Huguenot Street site . Also to anticipate interaction with passers- by , with work that invites direct participation from viewers in order to create conversation.

As much as possible we ask the artists to be flexible in their approach to working in these studios and also to engage in alternative practices such as re using or repurposing material in their creative process. We do ask that artists minimize the level of toxicity and refrain from potential harmful solvents when working in these studios. This for many may prove challenging but we do want there to be a self examination or questioning of studio practice that artists engage in, in order to make their work.

We are open to artists working certain days , but also for them to be OPEN to others having access to the space during their alloted time . Our goal is to have as many artists using these studios and for there not to be periods where there is no activity. We are drawing up a guideline and agreement package for artists to refer to before their period of use.

As the warmer weather comes our way we will be scheduling artists on a consistent basis.

Please CONTACT the project if you live near the New Paltz area and would like to be considered
as a participating artist in one of the habitat studios . PHONE 845 216 3507 .
We suggest that you have a PROPOSAL for the period of time you wish to use the studio and how it might fit in with some of the project's considerations.

This is invitation is OPEN to painters, sculptors , videographers ,and photographers .

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I did promise that I would be posting NEW images of NEW habitats and recent site visits, so yes I apologize for those of you who had returned with great expectations ,to find me prattling on AGAIN !

BUT and ( never start a sentence with these two words) ,... I felt compelled to share these recent thoughts.

My father passed away a few years ago on 9/11 2005 . A keen gardener, an incessant tinkerer and very committed to his community. Which was not as I was growing up always easy to contend with . What he spent his life doing in the real world was less of a consequence to me as were these activities that he engaged in, in the evenings and at week ends .

Gardening was I think central to our relationship . He couldn't relate to my early dabblings in art making as he was I think disappointed that I hadn't pursued a more musical creative outlet, BUT believe me there is only so much George Shearing you can stand as a truculent youth living in the punk era of the UK !! So there was growing stuff and Dad 's passion was the VEG garden. Here we could both engage in a world that was magical and always full of surprises. And you got to eat what you grew !! "Simon , look at these beans , how green how tender and we're still picking them.We'll have to start freezing some soon ?" Fathers and sons go to soccer games ..Dad and I part-steamed beans and devised ways of economic bagging for maximum use of space in the freezer ! Here we were both teacher and student , he had his favourite veggies and I soon discovered new varieties and began planting "spaghetti" squash and swiss chard.

And how does this relate to whats been going on of late ? Well , simply put you have the whole concept of the shed and it's use of a creative / magical space and with the recent project starting in Philly with the shed/studio at the center of a series of different gardens .

My Dad introduced me to the book by Mel Bartholomew "Square Foot Gardening" .Which , I suspect and this is what Dad liked ,was that Mel was an engineer by training and I think this appealed to Dad's systems approach to certain matters, (tho' he tended to be more emotional about his response to certain things than he cared to sometimes show...and he had his moments later in his life,) .... I digress. This concept which was then a new thinking in veg gardens, now influences the small gardens soon to take shape in Philly.

Recently with all the various meetings to gain permission and agreements with a variety of groups, I have felt my Dad beaming some where , maybe chuckling as I plow into evening meetings of village Boards , listen to business groups try to reach consolidation on events and approach and my sitting sometimes quietly thinking ,....."Haven't I been here before ?"

Simply put , this is community and now a return to that magical world of gardening with all the awe inspiring varieties and processes to engage in . Now put in an ART context ,...

I came across a wonderful world in high school , the Center for Alternative Technology in Mid Wales . I spent some time visiting this place , discovering a variety of inventions that were alternate to the standard norm. I didn't realize it at the time but I was equally drawn to these as an emerging artist, visually as well as for their obvious engineered purpose. It appears that many past worlds and interests have found placement with this project and as I look forward to the new opportunities for it to grow and flourish , my past has had a new light and meaning cast upon it and a new understanding is growing with regard to that man that was my father , John .

In mid life you stand holding the thread of a future to come and the thread of things past , you hope that you have time to hold this thread and gain insight not only into your own world but other worlds that surrround and influence us, every day. At this juncture you can become aware of an altered timeline which exists in a non linear, dimensional reality .

Art has this capability and this is what draws me to it every day. Sometimes it connects so many things which makes it a meaningful, real activity and absolutely relevant on its own merits. This is one recent experience that words only begin to express ,..... best SD


With this sort of a project you are always aware of the weather , and lately we've all be aware of the rain. Despite the seemingly incessant precipitation we have been out and about checking on new sites and making new Habitat studios.

MAY 14 th, rain or shine we are slotted to begin installing the Habitat Studio at Huguenot Street
in New Paltz. The site is outstanding in that it is nestled in a glade of tall evergreens which have proved a wonderful asset during a recent hot spell (before the rains),giving ample shade cover! It will, also sit close to a group of picnic tables which we hope will instill conversation between the artists and picnicking visitors .... On a specific note would Martin DAVIS please contact us , phone # on cards at the Lower Main St Habitat studio , so we can arrange a slot for you to work in this studio !! Martin contacted the project with regard to using the space to continue his work of producing paintings of the various buildings in this Landmark area .

MAY 16 th THIRD Saturday in New Paltz . Various events are planned in and around town, HFA is slotted to have artists at the habitat studios and we'll be posting the first names SOON . There is an artist , Michael ASBILL who will start working in the studio on Lower Main St this Monday, May 11th......from 2 30 . Stop by to see what he has in mind ..............................................
There are various Music performances scheduled so pencil a cultural date in your calendar ! TA !

MAY 20th , HFA is going to be Philadelphia bound. The project "EDIBLE LANDSCAPES", curated by Amy Lipton of ecoartspace NY will be breaking ground. Taking place at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education , (hence referred to as SCEE) there will be a number of artists starting projects at an old farm property at Hagys Mill Rd & Port Royal Ave. .

We hope to have various groups and artists involved in this project as we will be relying on local input to sustain this project ,and as there are a number of small footprint gardens being planted
we do mean sustain,.... There will also be a Habitat studio / Habitat Garden Shed that sits at the center of the gardens which will be available to artists and groups to use if interested , in exchange for tending the seven (7) 6 by 6 gardens.

JUNE 1st HFA starts install at SUNY college New Paltz . As part of this years regional exhibiton , curated by Brian Wallace, at the Dorsky Museum (on campus) "Ecotones and Transition Zones"
the habitat studios will be being installed inside the museum and on campus .Stay posted there is a Benefit performance for HFA and ecoartspace at the college , end of JUNE (27th) by singer /songwriter DAR WILLIAMS. The opening act is an up and coming musician by the name of Nick PANASEVICH. Meanwhile back at the campus mini studios start popping up so as to be in place for the exhibition opening on JUNE 13th . ( MARK the calendar , again !!)

I realize that it's time for me to start posting a few more images of the various new stages in the project , and recent site visits so you can better envision what we've been up to. As it is said a picture is worth a thousand words , especially a thousand of mine !! And on that note I think I'll sign off ,and wish ALL MOTHERS all over a HAPPY MUM"S DAY . ( NB The UK already had their Mum's day , but my mum by default gets TWO days , just incase I forget one !!)

Stay dry , stay well and try to get out and visit some ART event this week end , best SD.

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