The Nest

 This past spring we noticed a petite nest being constructed inside an azalea bush in our front yard. It was no bigger than an orange at the the days went by it increased in size daily. 

The wasps that resided there were prolific in their construction and it soon ballooned into a large bulbous community that hummed and vibrated in the heat of the summer sun.

We made a sign to warn visitors so no one would get caught off guard and stung by our busy, buzzy friends. As summer waned and fall set in the occupants moved on and abandoned the nest. This week I carefully removed the nest from the bush. I carefully  examined the construction and beauty of the architecture. The striations throughout the surface are magnificent. It was a delight to photograph.

Now the nest is packaged up, ready for it's second act as art object. Tomorrow I am mailing it to artist Jennifer Angus. She currently has an installation in the Fragile Earth exhibition at the Brandywine Museum in Chadd's Fort PA. Her work is stunning and her message timely and powerful. 


The Sketchbook Project, the next gen...


This semester I have the pleasure of teaching Introduction to Art Education at George Mason University. Now that we are straddling the halfway mark I can say it is my favorite part of the week! Unpacking and examining the many layers of what we do everyday in an art classroom is invigorating and undoubtedly these students raise questions that keep me on my toes. 

It has also provided me the opportunity to revisit and reimagine the Sketchbook Project (SBP). The first SBP began in 2020 during the height of the pandemic as a way to build community among students while virtual. That year the students mailed (via snail mail) the sketchbook to each other on a weekly rotation and documented their spreads on their blogs. To learn about that SBP, click this link.

This second iteration of the SBP has definitely taken on it's own personality, the weekly entries are grounded in the readings, observations and explorations of each week. The students are able to pass the book to each other during class time, no mail necessary. However, documenting the process on their blogs is still an expectation. 
Then every week in class whichever student had the sketchbook that week presents their spread and how they captured their thoughts and documented them artfully. There is no media limitation for inside the SBP, and every spread must include a pop-up feature. 
The end of the semester will result in a completed Sketchbook Project showcasing a rich, visual chronology of what the student's were contemplating during the various weeks throughout the fall semester.