Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dig In!

Jody sets up for a the creation of a collaborative ephemeral maze with the pods, petals, and stems of the fall palette.

I just spend two lovely days working with my MOP colleagues at the Roundhouse Community Arts Centre. We set up in the light of a Yaletown morning, preparing the space for the students and families that took part on the workshops. The activities were a celebration of ecological art, with networking opportunities, artist talks, and an installation of photos of the works created by artists working in Stanley Park.

Purple asters or Michaelmas daisies are good bee plants for this time of the year.

I was thrilled to be working with seeds again. The warm, sunny weather has been perfect for saving seeds, so I made piles of them for the participants to sort through. Using 10 cups of red clay, 6 cups of soil, and 2 cups of seeds, we made 30 dozen seed balls in one session. So in all total we made 75 dozen seed balls. That's a lot of potential bee fodder!!

A typical day at the Roundhouse creates a found poem.

I created a seed game for the participants to become more aware of the shapes of the different seeds.

The grade four and five students at Elsie Roy created a lovely ball made out of ivy with Sharon Kallis.
These are the spools they use to crochet the invasive ivy. The plant has to be thoroughly dried out before it can be returned to the forest or it will take root and spread again.

I enjoyed watching Sharon and the volunteers strip the ivy of its leaves as people inside the foyer stretched to go out for a run. Some of the motions were very similar, but for a completely different purpose and with a different intention.

Jody did a lot of kneeling, bending and stretching to prepare, create, and clean up the ephemeral mazes and mosaics.

I was struck by the meditative quality of all three workshops, especially on the Saturday when the pace was very relaxed and easy-going. Once people got focused on one activity they were reluctant to break out of the zone to enter another. The intimate gestures of sorting seeds became conducive to sharing stories about food and gardening that lead to all sorts of interesting conversational threads and ideas about how to make our city more bee-friendly.

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