between here and there


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Knowledge equals Empowerment

  
Sometimes we need to learn things more than once in a lifetime. Of course some “lessons” we learn over and over again. In this instance, I am re-learning autocad. And it’s kind of like re-learning how to ride a bike with different gears. Even after twenty years not much in the mechanics of the program have changed. 

So watch out you youngsters, cuz I’ll be speeding by you soon. Just need to learn how to shift a few more gears! From concept to spec, I am gaining the power to tell the whole story. 

Knowledge is empowerment. A great lesson from Remote Studio. 

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Reading Leopold

Louisiana Wetlands

Louisiana Wetlands at Sunset

I fell in love with the wetlands of Louisiana in part because I read Aldo Leopold, and in part because the grasses that wave against the blue sky of the Gulf remind me of the grasslands of the Great Plains of North America, which brings me back to the legacy of Aldo Leopold. I don’t use the word LOVE as a simple term, but as a description for that deep feeling we have when someone, thing, or experience moves our soul. That sense that we have when we believe we have found meaning in our world where so little existed before.

But this takes me a bit off-course, and the course I intend to take you on is the ground breaking trajectory of Aldo Leopold. Actually we will explore, his words, thoughts, and the legacy of Aldo Leopold.

As every Remote Studio begins, so will this one in the summer of 2015, with the reading of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, with Essays on Conservation from Round River. Even if you don’t realize it today, in a a few weeks you will. You will understand the great debt you owe Leopold for the places we call wilderness today, for the endangered species that are protected, for the idea that poetry can be found and experienced on the land, and then written about, and shared with all of us. That the fast paced day you spent online, driving in traffic, and answering texts, can be slowed down and valued relative to the place you find yourself: with the experience of sun, wind, scent and birdsong.

And if you wonder why we would be reading a book written by an activist (although he may not have called himself such) in 1949 , you only need to read the book to learn. The obviousness of this request will appear as you understand how necessary words written sixty-six years ago are in 2015.

Aldo Leopold’s book, the whole book, will be discussed at the end of the first week of Remote Studio, a week of hiking and making, with very little time for sitting still. To give yourself the opportunity to savor his words, thoughts, and to commit to your future, I recommend that you start reading the book before Remote Studio begins. And to take notes, and to write notes to yourself and underline passages you value in the book.Live in the book.  And perhaps someday, if you pay attention you will have a place you love, too.

From this place that Leopold provides we begin our journey with Remote Studio, and the understanding of why architects so desperately need to know the world as he saw it.

 

 

 


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Making it Portable

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A significant condition to Remote Studio is that we are constantly moving, and out-of-doors most of the time. If you are joining us for Remote Studio to ensure that our discussions and your time to create are always at your fingertips bring the following items with you…

The Moleskine Notebook and Sketchbooks are great for carrying around, and they can help you establish a format for  documenting life-long creative practice. You can find these at most paper stores, and even Barnes and Noble is carrying most of them. So, no excuses about not being able to find them.

Moleskine Notebooks

Moleskine Notebooks

Bring one of these notebooks for taking notes and journaling look for this notebook, its about 5.5″ x 9″ and is a hardback. They are hardback, and come in different colors if black is not your thing.

ruled moleskin

Also, you will have time – and opportunity – to draw or paint while we are out. Please pick up one of these great notebooks:

moleskine sketch album

They are called a soft bound “sketch album,”  un-lined and is a horizontal format with perforated pages if you want to take them out to send home.

Also, bring one of the three options for drawing or painting with, and don’t worry if you don’t know how to use them. You can learn while you are here.

Oil Pastels

Oil Pastels

This small set of oil pastels is great to travel with. This particular set is available online from Cheap Joe’s. But I am sure you can find some at an art store near you. Word of warning, Michaels is NOT AN ART STORE. DO NOT BUY your pastels there because the quality is poor.

Water Color Set

Water Color Set

Water Colors in a small plastic box that are not in Tube format, but instead the hard pancake that you add water to. And don’t forget to bring a few paint brushes.

Or you could bring a small (12 or so) set of colored pencils with you.


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A Few More Steps

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The concrete blankets have come off. The giant hole has been back filled with gravel and dirt and leveled…and the plumber has roughed in the drains and pipes that will soon be buried in the concrete slab.

Rigid insulation has been set on top of the gravel, along with wire mesh. And tomorrow it will be my turn for some work. I will be adding the tubes on top of the wire mesh that will serve as the loops that will be buried in the concrete slab to create a radiant floor.

There will be no selfies made of this process. So if you want to see the action you can come on out and take pictures . And maybe tie a little wire. If you are a past Remote Studio student you probably had a similar experience when we formed concrete for your project!


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Mission . Practice. Journey.

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On October 26 I wrote a post called “Beginning Practice” as a follow up to a small piece I wrote “Practicing” on September 26. Now comes the journey.

As I have been traveling to speak to students at universities these past few weeks I have been asking them a question Artemis Institute has been focused on since it’s first program in 1997. I ask them if they believe they have a specific journey in life. Almost all say “yes.” But the next question, ” do you know what that journey is?” Usually follows with their response of “no.” The “no” is the challenge for our future.

There is a big change of outlook occurring with this new generation of people who are of college age. No longer do they believe a degree at a university provides an unquestionable best trajectory for their lives, and certainly not a guarantee for happiness. Truths cannot be guaranteed by those guarding antiquated cultural models. The primary change I see ( as is evident by theses covers of current magazines) is that happiness and job is important, place is important to this generation. And journey is ultimately important. The journey is not just about the self, the journey for these folks includes interaction with community and environment. They want to make change happen. Change requires a clear mission, a practice for that mission, and commitment to take the journey.

The journey is the exploration of who and how we are in the world . There is no straight-line to the end game of success. That idealized trajectory is one of the biggest myths we have told ourselves since the Enlightenment. Interaction, cooperation, multiple considerations, multiple answers, and inclusion all lead us to a new form for being in the world beyond the myth.

Say “yes .” Take the journey.


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Adventure for the Future

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Artemis Institute offers immersion education programs that help connect us better understand the relationship between nature and culture.

Remote Studio is a design/build program based in the Rocky Mountains. A full semester credit is available.

Quest/Utah is a program in Southern Utah, open to all free spirits and also available for 3 elective credits.

Please spread the word, share this post. Send it to all who may be interested.

Apply now. Deadline March 1. 

General Information:  Artemis Institute 

Learn more about Quest

Learn more about Remote Studio 


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Living Like Weasels

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I’m on the plane headed from Montana to North Carolina to visit life-long friends. Friends whose children have transformed in the past few years into different versions of the creatures they were the last time I visited.

I’m thinking about the visit, great conversation, good, local food, and a few long walks. And as I think about their home I can’t help but land in the middle of my own imaginary “Annie Dillard” land. While it has been many years since Dillard wrote

“Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” when I visit my friends I always feel like I am returning to the land and experiences she wrote of many years ago. Beyond Tinker Creek ruminations I realize I mostly transport to the landscape she describes in her short story “Living Like Weasels”, deciduous woods filled with scurrying sounds, that remains a strong touchstone for me even twenty-odd years after reading it the first time. Such a profound reference point for life this story has given me, that I read it every year with my students. A discussion of freedom, choice, intuition, love, living , and instinct pursues. Each discussion , every year, different, but similar in nuance.

Tomorrow I will head into the woods, both real and imagined, for that soulful journey that marries reality with imagination. I will bow to the six directions, as Jim
Harrison notes. I will live for a bit with the weasel and look for the wild rose bush , if I am lucky I will lose myself for a while, lose destination, hear the sounds of the wild woods beyond the motors of cars that hum past the perimeter. I will think about what I should be holding onto, and what is unnecessary. I will smell the woods, look up into the sky for that Eagle she writes of and deliver myself to the World, mindless for as long as I can muster, searching for my necessity in life .