Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mandala Project.

Today was a gold-star day in the neighborhood.

Why? Our class successfully began our Mandala learning activity! The activity went as follows:

1) Discuss the three-part project (book, individual mandalas, group mandala).

2) Look at pictures from a book (title to be edited in); students guess what is happening in the pictures documenting the creation of a sand mandala (the students were really observant and asked great questions - I am proud of them).

3) Students finish simple mandala templates begun by the teacher (connect lines to make a square within the circle, connect corners to create the compass directions with a Western orientation, label N, S, E, W).

4) Students paint one mandala segment at a time; students carefully sprinkle on colored sand one segment at a time. Students refrain from pouring sand off into the all-colors bowl until they are completely finished covering the whole circle with colors.

5) Students have a completed basic example of a mandala. Although gluing the sand down does not convey the idea of transience, the overall image will be used in the following days as a teaching tool. The final mandala will be a cookie decorated with colored sprinkles and eaten as a class. That mandala will be created with more attention to a class-created ritual, to wholes making a larger whole and then being returned to nothingness, to symbolism, and to team work. More details as the project continues!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Roger Cummings

Roger Cummings spoke this past Monday night at Watertown's Arsenal Center for the Arts. I came into the lecture cold, but left with a much warmer idea about both his work and the work of street writers. What struck me the most, as he described writing in the context of post '72 big-letter aerosol tagging, is how the often elaborate and colorful names sprayed on walls and trains were, and are, not simply acts of vandalism. They are acts of identity establishment. If you don't have the resources to own space or travel, but your name is visible or traveling across the world, you have expressively made a space that reflects you where there was none before.

A few other topics he mentioned were:
1) environmental racism (the situation in which the physical infrastructure of an area re-enforces socio-economic and racial boundaries).
2) how imporant good writing skills are for everyone (especially street-writers)
3) how the system of mentors and apprentices is valuable both for the human contact and the skill tradition.
4) he said something to the effect of, "I don't mean to hate on Shepard Fairey, and he does what he does, hooray for him" after discussing how S.Fairey is not coming out of a tradition.

In general, the topics discussed by Cummings and the other speaker were under the lecture series' themes of the public good, public engagement, and of teaching (one's own) discipline.

R.Cummings agreed to sign my book - I want to show the class I co-teach what writing can be.

So then, of course, I also had to rock out during free-play and write my name. When one student asked what my picture was, another responded that it was what people did when they were trying to be cool.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Any day with Biking...

Any day with biking in it is a good day.

This afternoon I handled my drops with bare skin for the first time in months. The weather was so warm that I shod the tight leather gloves I wear as hand-shields from cold Boston winds. I was a little surprised at the emotions the contact triggered. The foam-rubber wrapping over steel presents a pretty firm grip, though with a little give, and, when combined with the hugely comfortable drop-shape Jamis has created ... made me feel like I was holding hands with an old friend after much time apart. The sunset made the day's riding end even sweeter. I never thought I'd say it, but hurrah for daylight savings and huzzah for spring.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bricks speaking.

These bricks seem to be crowding this tree-stump. The grating was already there to keep down other plants and to act as a barrier between tree and bricked side-walk. The bricks must have crawled over.

These arrows were hard to find - particularly the top one. They remind me of the arrow from Disney's Alice in Wonderland, when the mome raths point the way through the tulgey wood.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Epic Boston.

This is the Boston Monument to Snow. Situated on the bland concrete tundra somewhere between Mass. Ave. and the Prudential, this memorial to the annual arrival of accumulated frozen precipitation sits smugly atop its circular mount.

I found this bike parked along Boylston Ave. The light on the clean sidewalk demonstrates the odd norm of the day's wandering: strangely clean and barren sidewalks. The haze-filtered sun lit Boston's oddly empty streets. Good for photography ... but difficult for walking west into the afternoon.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Sunrise from March 12 - the first of my 23rd year.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Carnations and Tires.

Here is the carnation in the hall. It took residence there two days ago. I found it on the ground as I left one day, and so placed it on the crown of the newel nearest our door. Sometime during the day, it migrated down the hall 20 feet to the next perch. I moved it back. The game seems to be over as of this morning.

Below is the bicycle tire which exploded this morning while having post-surgery air pumped in. At least the patch held.

( post-explosion clean-up )

Monday, March 9, 2009

Corny but Valid.

Lucy from Peanuts, who usually represents a rash point of view, finally has a good thought.
(Courtesy of a clipping from the Boston Sunday Globe).

To that effect, onward every day.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Website Announcement.

Check out some new image-populated pages and other updates on my google website:

Julia Wagner Art

Oo-ra technology.