A Day Spent With Laura Vickerson

The Esker Foundation opened its doors for a sculpture workshop on Saturday. Working with concepts and cardboard, the day was a celebration of invention.  Laura Vickerson met with us, first, in the darkened theater where our eyes feasted on a collection of images; sculptures created by former students.  I have never thought in three dimensions and signed up for this workshop as a way of moving out of my comfort zone and into space and form.

(I also forgot my camera.)

I wish that I had photographs of the cyclone of cardboard pieces!  The Esker had all materials and tools nicely laid out upon our arrival…caddies filled with straight edges and X-Acto knives, saws and such….stacks of cardboard boxes of every sort…a glue gun section with generous loads of glue sticks.  It was a dream come true for a creative!  WHOOT!

As preparation, on Friday evening, I perused Laura Vickerson’s website and thought a little about paper.  I’ve been working extensively on genealogy and knew that I would be dealing with memory, nostalgia and family some how…blood lines, as inspired by several authors I’ve been reading, memoir.  I just didn’t know what would be happening.

I also read snippetts on line from a context that Laura would be using as motivation for the work, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.

“Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

“You reach a moment in life when, among the people you have known, the dead outnumber the living. And the mind refuses to accept more faces, more expressions: on every new face you encounter, it prints the old forms, for each one it finds the most suitable mask.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

“The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

As I went about the house harvesting my own collection of boxes, I knew that the labels were very distracting to me and wanted, already, to minimize the messages that were so dominant AND irritating.  I knew in the morning that I would bring along my bucket of gesso...and even applied a first layer to some boxes before eating my breakfast and while drinking my first coffee.

In the dark theater, I liked the topographical handling of foam core in a few of the student works we saw.  Given more time, I really wanted to build a model of land forms in just that way, but knew that it would be a monumental task for a single day.

The sort of impact I would like to create...given more time.

The sort of impact I would like to create…given more time.

Laura was very supportive.  In her first go-round she seemed to be most interested in observing whether or not we would be using the tools safely.  I know that I would be nervous in a room surrounded by artists carrying knives.  Gradually we all hit our groove…once the anxiety around ‘an idea’ filtered out and we tore into the experience.

Thanks to Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation for taking photographs of my sculpture.

Sculpture Kath 3

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation

Sculpture Kath 4

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation

Sculpture - Kath

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation

Sculpture Kath 2

Photo Credit: Doug Haslam and Esker Foundation.

I could not help but look around me and marvel at the huge variety of approaches that were taken.  I was so impressed with some folk and their ability to manipulate the materials to create crisp, balanced forms.  While my piece feels unfinished, I am delighted with the direction it was taking and with the sorts of things that I learned about myself through the process.

Thanks to Laura Vickerson for her inspiring session and for listening to me as I muddled my way along.  So generous!

Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

March 26, 2012 5:30 p.m. -3 degrees The sky looked white and threatening…off-and-on snowflakes of the large wet variety.  I focused on one small section edging on the pond today, picking up litter that had since flown into previously cleaned areas, along the way.  I made a mere dent, but in the larger picture, things were looking better.

Here, a close-up of Max’s paw as he raised it for my wiping, upon entering the house.  He charges after the multitudes of ground squirrels that peek their heads out and then nose dive once they see him coming.  This reminds me of Chevy Chase and Ground Hog Day.  He routinely starts pawing at one of their escape routes and I can’t help but get a big laugh at the whole event!

Workin’ Dog!

Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

March 15, 2012 3:30 p.m. Weather 15 degrees and very windy!  Reports are that wind gusts on the highway from Okotoks all the way south were as much as 100 kms. an hour.  Findings: Max and I headed up to the fence and cleared another two sections, as well as picking up a huge variety of plastics and containers on the way.  I was buoyed by the prospect of enjoying a meal at the Dragon Pearl with my children afterwards…celebrating my son’s 22nd birthday!

Windblown…Parking Lot Photo taken by a hockey Mom.

The City of Calgary has come through for me!  Under some stones, at the base of my bins was a note from Calgary Parks!  I was elated that the city or some representative of the city, made the decision to help me Change the Landscape: One Bag At a Time.  Thank you for responding to my request, left only Monday.

I was discouraged this morning, with the response from Tim Hortons.  I know!  I know!  This looks like they have taken huge corporate measures to address some of the environmental messes their product is creating!  And, yes, once that product walks out that front door, cupped in the customers’ satisfied hands, it is up to those customers to take responsibility for what they do with the packaging.  But…this park space is absolutely FULL of Tim Hortons cups and plastic lids!

Thank you for your recent communication regarding your concern about the litter caused by Tim Hortons packaging within your community.  At Tim Hortons, we always appreciate hearing from our loyal guests.

As published in our 2010 Sustainability and Responsibility Report, we have committed to packaging reduction goals as well as waste diversion goals in our restaurants; however, we acknowledge that there remains a lot of work to be done.  We have a team of packaging experts and environmental professionals at Tim Hortons working to ensure that our business is environmentally sustainable.  

When our environmental and packaging groups meet, we share comments and ideas that we have received from our stakeholders. 

In addition to the information that you can find in our 2010 Sustainability and Responsibility Report, some more specific programs we have run to help reduce the amount of litter caused by our packaging include:

• Anti-litter messages on all of our packaging items, including a “Do Not Litter” message on all of our take-out cups and on our drive thru exit signs at the majority of our restaurants.
• Sponsorship of annual Community Clean-up events by our Restaurant Owners – last year we sponsored over 135 of these events across Canada and this number continues to grow each year.
• Recycling and composting – currently over 650 of our restaurants have either recycling or composting programs for our hot drink paper cups, and this number is continuing to grow
• Reusable mug – we offer a 10 cent discount on all hot drink purchases made by guests who bring their own reusable mug
• Other sponsorship activities – We sponsor many other educational and awareness programs about litter such as our Earn a Bike Program.  This program encourages youth to volunteer to clean up their neighborhoods through community service in order to earn a bicycle. 

For more information on our packaging reduction and waste diversion initiatives, please visit http://sustainabilityreport.timhortons.com/planet_env_steward.html.  Our full 2010 Sustainability and Responsibility Report can be found at http://sustainabilityreport.timhortons.com/index.html

Thank you again for contacting us and we hope to have the opportunity to serve you again soon.
  
Sincerely,

The TDL Group Corp.

Caroline,
Guest Services Representative

I will become familiar with the sustainability plans and reports that Caroline has pointed out to me.  And for today, I simply want to express my gratitude for the support from the City of Calgary Parks.  I’m publishing a wee clip here that reflects how my morning began…up north at the irrigation canal.  The sky was a perfect blue.  The geese were calling with a wild energy, more and more, splitting off in twos.  My heart was bursting with gratitude and love for my home.  Here it was though, a completely different part of the city and I discovered….yes!  You guessed it!  Scads of litter dangling from the bushes and rustling in the dry grass.  I guess you notice what you know and since taking on this project, I notice.