Count down to Berlin!

Time to hustle. 9 days to installation. Making progress but still much to do. Work, run, eat, sleep.

Looking good. 

Looking good. 

Picked up brass yesterday. It's too long to fit in my studio! Will have to cut it up just to manage it. Think about that later today. Now a list to keep me focused. Early to bed tonight....!

  1. Run
  2. bolt center cabs together
  3. Glue, nail trip on two center cabs
  4. Finish up edges of tops
  5. Cut 3/4 inch brass for tops (test)
  6. Router top groove (3/4 inch, 1/8 inch shy deep)
  7. Shelves for center cabs
  8. Drawers for center cabs (need screws)
  9. Rip and add plywood supports for lower trim.
  10. Rip 1/8th inch x 2 1/8 inch Ash for 2 corners
  11. Cut plywood corner supports (use existing scraps corners!)
  12. Call hairdresser see if can move around appointment (?)

Breathe. Run. Have some fun. Ice cream!!!!

Details, details

It's detail time at Made by Hand. Trying to stay focused, go with the flow, get to sleep by 11 and stay hydrated. Berlin is 12 days away!

Well that took forever!

Well that took forever!

TO DO:

  1. Make a list.
  2. Focus on finishing one cab completely today to know trim, shelf and drawer layout.
  3. Build base frame.
  4. Details, details....
  5. Order brass for pick up tomorrow.
  6. Run till the sun goes down!

Well that all seems feasible. Good luck! Happy Solstice! 

Starting to Finish...!

I found myself sanding the tops last night which means I must be getting close to starting to finish!!

My mini-shop chock full of cabinets and tools!

My mini-shop chock full of cabinets and tools!

Still a good amount of questions but they are getting fewer. Wrote up a pretty good punch list which leaves even a few days for catching up and time to pack!

Punch list time!

Punch list time!

I was working late last night having had a late start due to a early morning migraine followed by a mid morning nose bleed! So since I was only sanding and it was past 7PM I had a bit of Corralitos Brewing CO. Lupalin IPA. Making sanding fun again!

Only because all I was going was sanding. Otherwise kids, safety first!

Only because all I was going was sanding. Otherwise kids, safety first!

On Monday I did have a pretty magical day. On my run I came upon a little creature in need. What happened next just about made my... life. I'll post a bit later about it but for now it's up on my instagram page. enjoy!

Bending, starting to finish, the countdown!

 It took more than a few days to recover mentally and technically from that last major minor set back. Spent a few days at the cabin, baked some damn good Norwegian FILMJÖLKSLIMPA bread. So, so good. Froze half for later. Yum! Buttermilk, rye, molasses and loads of seeds and things.

Maria's garden beginning to explode back home in Watsonville

Maria's garden beginning to explode back home in Watsonville

One of my favorite, okay my favorite trail running place, Nisene Marks in Aptos.

One of my favorite, okay my favorite trail running place, Nisene Marks in Aptos.

Current favorite running place, Blithedale Ridge!

Current favorite running place, Blithedale Ridge!

Back to the office. Bending and routering done now I'm on to trim, shelves, drawers and base frame. At this point, it's time to make a punch list/calendar. Everyday is crucial. I can't believe I'm leaving for Berlin in 2 weeks. Can't even think about it.

  1. Run
  2. Macbeaths - for plywood and more ash
  3. OSH - packing tape, sanding disks
  4. Art store - Kraft paper
  5. Laminate (again, last time, seriously)
  6. Shelves!
  7. Order brass
  8. Base frame (figure out curve later)
  9. Dry fit!
  10. Yoga (if possible, for measurements, can do Tuesday as well)
Bending ply! Used screws to clamp which will make more finishing but worked!

Bending ply! Used screws to clamp which will make more finishing but worked!

Just a few pics to show I've actually been working.

DIY clamp extensions. Haven't had a chance to use them yet. Hopefully today!

DIY clamp extensions. Haven't had a chance to use them yet. Hopefully today!

Humbled again...

After a joyful day spent routering I discovered Saturday that I'd routered an extra rounded corner into my design! How did I do that with the model just by my side? Can't I stop to think? Can't I do anything right? DEEEEE-pressing... but it is what it is as a lady at Trader Joes tells me as I relay my story to her trying to find some sympathy against the self-bashing going on in my brain. 

Cutting the major-minor mistake off the table top.

Cutting the major-minor mistake off the table top.

Initially I thought I'd have to remake the whole piece but now I only need 8 more board feet of 8/4 ash... and of course there is a shortage, why wouldn't there be! Ahhh. A yard in SF is getting a shipment tomorrow or Wednesday so I'll pick some up on the way back from a few days in the cabin. As I said to the men in the yard as I walked out empty handed, "the saga continues." 

"It never ends," they replied. I say. But now that I look at this I see something interesting, something I might be able to apply to my sculptural practice... when I have the space and time.

My studio is chock full of things, growing.

My studio is chock full of things, growing.

I did manage to get some work done yesterday despite my blue mood. I am still a little behind. But I'm glad to be working, creating and learning. Next challenge, bending the 2" wide by 1/8" thick brass flat bar that will form the edge of the table top. That'll be a trick. Getting conflicting advice as usual so I'll need to discover for myself. Saga continues indeed.

That pesky cabinet that I made twice. Two times as nice!?

That pesky cabinet that I made twice. Two times as nice!?

What I learned: when you get to congratulating yourself before the job is done, check yourself and your plans thoroughly.

Router day!

I'd wanted to use a CNC to complete the edge work and cutouts for the current project; I even took a series of classes at TECH SHOP but when push comes to shove, I'll do it by hand...

New Dewalt 1/4 shank router with dust attachment. In love!

New Dewalt 1/4 shank router with dust attachment. In love!

I'm pretty pleased. Had a few close calls, due to operator error, but once I figured things out (repaired the template!) things went smoothly. But hold on, you gotta hold in. My oh my. Glad that parts done. I also found this one particular blade for my Jig saw that didn't quite bend like the others. Must find more. Like my friend Paul told me once, "the router is for shaping, not cutting." It's for details and templates. It's a beasty sometimes but an old friend. Plus templates are a little fun! CNC one day but for now I'll keep doing what I'm good at. May consider buying a full size router... or just really learn that CNC. Big router means big bits which means $$$$ and more possible trouble. My new 1/4 router is about as big as I want to get, enough power as long as I rough cut to the line.

Some of my handy work and the master template.

Some of my handy work and the master template.

Plus if I did it with CNC I'd miss all this sawdust!

Today I think I'll start milling more ash for trim:

  1. Hike and or Run!
  2. Mill ash for trim, 1 7/8 for back of table tops and 3/4 for cabinet trim. Might need to get more!
  3. Install trim
  4. Yoga and check height for base dims
  5. Banana bread! Adding cherries to this batch!
  6. Finish assessing media applicants for unnamed residency program!

Random list of things I hope to accomplish today. Better get moving! Working through the weekend but plan to take a few days of home in the mountains.... so it's worth it. Happy Saturday!

Making (more) Progress

Back in my mini-shop and making good progress.

Little West Wood Shop, 2017

Little West Wood Shop, 2017

I found a practical use for my color crazy sandbags!

I found a practical use for my color crazy sandbags!

I have decided to go with the 1/8 inch brass for bending around the table top. It's local, more affordable, thicker and more sturdy, but will also entail I quickly re-acquaint myself with metal heating and bending specifically for brass. Some say it can be bent cold but mostly I'm reading that one should heat it to just under red hot then dip it in cold water to anneal it. 

Found image of my installation at de Young.  Okay, I googled myself+baskets. Nice!

Found image of my installation at de Young.  Okay, I googled myself+baskets. Nice!

Making Progress

I like to take my time when I can. That's what I've been doing lately as the rush of the Spring semester recedes into the distance until wow suddenly I realize I'll be packing for Europe in 4 weeks and installing this piece! Time to ramp it up. Starting to move parts to my mini-shop in Berkeley where I'll work on details and attempt to make it all fit in a space smaller than it's ultimate length! It fits in my mind!

View from Blithedale Ridge

View from Blithedale Ridge

I've been staying with friends near Mount Tamalpias. It's been wonderful. Closer to the big shop and afterwards everyday I run this pretty challenging trail that initially seemed to only go uphill. Now it's a new friend. My time is improving and I recognize the familiar bends and climbs. I've also started refinishing their bench. Doing it the hard way as usual.

Managed to laminate the tops on Sunday. Still so many questions. Move forward through the unknown. It will be revealed.

Sometimes love and work come together.

Sometimes love and work come together.

Process

Today was hard... as was yesterday.  Spent 2 hours trying to set up a SS table saw for dado. First wrong cartridge (we have a legacy saw) then all three correct cartridges were bad (?!%#). Add to that the bank....! no, not here...

Ash prepared for lamination

Ash prepared for lamination

IMG_3153.jpg

Reminds me of what I sometimes tell my students: "Nothing is really stable, or level for that matter. The natural state of matter is decay. So when we build, when we create, we are working against the odds, against gravity, the Universe! That's why it's hard. Why are we doing this? That's a whole other question..." to be considered. 

Magic Word opens

The project I've been working on for a year and a half opened last night. Sometimes things work out. Helps to work with amazing people. Feeling a lot of gratitude today. Pictures coming soon. Meantime please see these links. Thank you!!! More events to come. Now back to bed with my tired body and busy mind. Peace.

This now....

It has been a tremendous year. Last night looking through old note books I discovered that I know things sometimes before I think I do. It's good to slow down and look at the words we write down. Things move so fast. Reflect and look forward to  new adventures, but most importantly, be open and present now. If anything, this year reminded us of what really matters, love, friendship, creativity, community. Defend what you hold dear. Choose your words with love and make meaningful, heart-centered work and relationships. Spend more time in the forest and with friends. 

(RE)TIME at Djerassi, 2014.

Next up on the creative agenda is FLMWMT in March (part of my curatorial fellowship at SOMARTS) and later this month I'll be performing as a featured artist at Kinetech in SF, a dance and technology oriented collective. Have some thoughts on what to do but not quite sure. Either redo (RE)TIME with video(s) or do my WWN speech and then (RE)PLACE... but I just did (RE)PLACE so maybe something else? (RE)TIME would be fun but also a challenge. A 20 minute solo is hard. And it can be boring. Need to decide by Wednesday, but can also change my mind as long as the technology needs are similar.

Much to consider. Off to the forest now. It's been a few weeks. Oh has it been. Happy New Year!

Just found a cool link to Digital Nature, the event I participated in thanks to curator, eco-designer Shirley Watts. Nice images of all the work. And I like the title I used then. Funny how I forget this stuff. 

Collaboration with Sarah Cameron Sunde

This past June I collaborated again with my friend, artist, amazing human, SCS. We'd been invited to the PSi Conference in Melbourne and though we were unable to attend in person we created a new work which was presented by Mills College Professor of Dance, Katherine Mezur and panelists. For 4 days in June Sarah and I performed the choreography we developed for her project 36.5 in 2014. Twice a day we marked the high tide and recorded out efforts. The collected video was screened at PSi and the audience afterward performed the choreography as well.

With a little help from my (new) friends

About half way through my ARTWORKS residency at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History I was asked  to write a blog post about my experiences there. Of course I said "of course!" and now it's the night before I move out of the MAH and I'm yet to blog a post. It's time.

First week ARTWORKS July 2016

First week ARTWORKS July 2016

For a few years now I've been playing with the idea of building a human size nest and now I had the space, time and facilities to do it. But it's always hard to start. Sometimes you just have to start moving through the motions. Performing the process until your gestures feel form. I had donated some of my own clothes to the project to get things going ahead of time, old shirts, a scarf, some skirts to fabricate the ribs (warp) of the nest basket. The weavers (weft) would be supplied by the generous citizen of Santa Cruz. Little did I know that my plan to make the nest functional was problematic from the start. The pieces I'd sewn back home were too thin and the material too stretchy. But I didn't know this. I didn't know a lot! That's what residencies are for, time to explore and exchange ideas. It was all part of the plan... right!

Week 2 in Santa Cruz Summer 2016

Week 2 in Santa Cruz Summer 2016

During my residency I was also scheduled to perform with my collective The New Urban Naturalists at the Montalvo Art Center. This entailed my producing 6 cardboard animal heads for my collaborators to wear during a 4 hour dance performance about diversity. I felt a little overwhelmed. I'd managed to put myself into a fairly stressful state. In the month of July I moved, I gave notice at a job I'd held for the last six years, bought a new car, sold my old car and moved to Corralitos. Did I mention I had a birthday too, yeah. Not getting any younger either. 

Bear head in process at the Montalvo Art Center, July 2016

Bear head in process at the Montalvo Art Center, July 2016

Elizabeth Costello as Crow and myself as Puma at Montalvo, July 22, 2016

Elizabeth Costello as Crow and myself as Puma at Montalvo, July 22, 2016

We did it! The Montalvo performance was a great success. Fun was had by all. Time to head back to Santa Cruz and get back into my test-nest! But I was beat. After a series of semi-all-nighters my energy was fading. How would I get enough fabric to make a human size nest!

Sorting fabric at the MAH, Summer 2016

Sorting fabric at the MAH, Summer 2016

When I returned from Saratoga I discovered that the MAH staff had added to my gradually growing pile of soft goods and made a social media shout out for more.  I got bags and boxes of donations of fabric! No time to waste, I began working with new found energy. Yes thank you Santa Cruz! And I led a drop in workshop covering coiling and twining that was well attended. What talented students!

A sweet gourd shaped creation by a local artist. She said she'd never coiled a basket before! Hard to believe.

A sweet gourd shaped creation by a local artist. She said she'd never coiled a basket before! Hard to believe.

The next day I began to realize my time was growing short and my nest was not right. It needed to be much bigger. Earlier in the week my sewing machine decided to call it quits. But I devised a simpler more efficient means for processing the fabric thanks to some insight from my workshop students. The nest began to grow. Things were starting to happen... until I caught the dreaded summer cold! You too? Can't stop now. Hopped up on ibuprofen, pseudoephedrine (the kind you need to show your ID for) and mega doses of C and Zinc I pressed on... 

As I was working one day, wiping at my running nose, bemoaning my sudden sickness, a young woman came again to the gallery. I'd seen her here before. I greeted her with a sincere smile, though I was feeling pretty low energy due to the allergy medication. She smiled and said nothing. She spent a good part of an hour in the room where I toiled, feeling increasingly achey, and stiff as I worked to suspend my nest, then released it from the rafters to let it rest over night. At one point I noticed she was standing close by then she walked out. Feeling druggy and introspective from the allergy meds, I continued to work.

My test-nest, on the ground of my studio, July 2016, Santa Cruz MAH

My test-nest, on the ground of my studio, July 2016, Santa Cruz MAH

It wasn't until later that I found the note, a poem on a post it. It really hits me as I read it again. Did she write it? I don't know. It's pretty fine if you ask me. And it encapsulates so much about how I was feeling. I didn't share any words with her but this... if my work and process has anything to do with this kind of contemplation, I guess the day was well spent despite all the snot, nasal spray and nose blowing. It was a good day.

Did you write this? Please contact me. I'd like to give you credit! And thank you.

Did you write this? Please contact me. I'd like to give you credit! And thank you.

My cold turned out to be pretty stubborn, it's with me still, but thanks to this wonderful poem, and my chemical friends I set my sights on completing my nest for the First Friday / Screaming Hand festivities scheduled for Friday August 5th. I had honed my technique and began building the nest up as well as raising it higher into the "roof" of my studio. It was Friday and it was almost finished.

All day long people streamed in and looked, asked questions, shared stories. I had a number of my workshop attendees return to behold the completed nest. One of my youngest student weavers and her mother proudly showed me their most recent creation thanks to or despite my ad hoc instruction. It's like we all have it in us, this weaving streak. Just a little nudge and it comes out.

Close up of my Test-Nest #1. Even though it failed as a functional nest, and it's sort of a hairy mess, it seems to be the kind of hairy mess that makes people happy.

Close up of my Test-Nest #1. Even though it failed as a functional nest, and it's sort of a hairy mess, it seems to be the kind of hairy mess that makes people happy.

The night brought a mass of people, especially to see the Screaming Hand exhibit, but our galleries and studios were packed as well. Some friends arrived and with my new found confidence I invited the smallest of the crew, couldn't have been more than 50 pounds ( 7 years of age), to climb into the nest. Oh my, it instantly sank about 6" and I could hear threads popping and fabric straining. I smiled for some photos and tried to play it off as best I could. So relieved when Z climbed out and the whole thing didn't completely collapse.

I was sad suddenly. My mission had been to build a human nest. Hmmm. But maybe there's a reason we humans don't build nests. They are awfully awkward to climb into. So much easier if we could fly! And bowl shaped nests typically rest on a branch or some other support. Ha! Well I guess I have some more chin rubbing and brow knitting to do to get this one figured out but for now, I'm satisfied. Test-Nest #1 introduced me to so many new people, ideas and none of it could have happened without the generosity of essentially strangers, willing to share a little, let go of things, dream about what it might be like if humans made nests, if we foraged for our building materials, and could rely on our community for resources to help us find shelter when we are new in town or just passing through. And that's what happened. It's still happening. Right here.

That's really what the project is about. It's an opportunity to discover other options, make new connections. A manifestation of a community working together. The nest, whether it worked or not was/is a by-product. The process of the work, more specifically the social aspect of it is really interesting to me and what I'm interested in retesting again and again. I'd like to expand on that aspect as much as engineer the nest so it could hold more than a 3 year old. Though that's far less important to me personally than building something beautiful. If it doesn't bring people together but can house a human, I wouldn't say it worked at all.

There it is! My blog post done. Don't miss me too much Santa Cruz. I'll be back. Check my website for upcoming Basketry Workshops in Watsonville this Fall. XOX! Sasha

Publication and Montalvo Performance

Kulturfolger will be going to press in 4 days. I've just received the proof of their page featuring my work along side an exquisite passage from Etel Adnan's Journey to Mount Tamalpias.

Here's the brief bio they wrote up for me as well. I kind of love it.

Sasha Petrenko. Oakland, San Francisco. 

The multitude of mediums utilized makes her work united and fluid, transversing between performance and visual media. Her natural and human relations explore unseen networks for understanding life. Her soft voice and aura lead one to explore their relationship with the outside world.

And totally thrilled that Anima|Animus will be performed at the Montalvo Art Center in July! More info on that follows:

Anima|Animus is a collective performance illustrating the importance of diversity in nature and in society. Up to a dozen performers, each wearing a different colorful, cardboard and paper mache animal head, will roam the grounds of Montalvo Art Center, interact with nature, and the public as we dance, play, voice our concerns and finally sit in silence, and conclude with extinction.
In April, as part of the Public Square on Labor and Ecology at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, I performed the work for the first time along with 14 or my University of San Francisco students. Over the course of 3 hours we moved through synchronized and interpretive scores, and carried picket signs and voiced our opinions on ecology and community.  For our final scene we performed a silent sit-in followed by an extinction, where each performer, one by one, stood up in silence, removed their head revealing their humanity, then left the scene, in the end, leaving a solitary species, in silence, alone.
For the Montalvo performance I will enlist a team of friends, former students and volunteers to perform with me. A core group of 8 - 12 may be be supplemented by members of the public who can join the performance on the day of the event. We will perform 5-6 scenes, roughly 15-20 minutes each over the course of the event. Our performances will seem spontaneous and appear at first in the periphery, gradually moving to the fore. During breaks the public is invited to try on heads and enlist in the next scene. My hope is that the public will ultimately displace part of the core group. In the least, the public is invited to indulge in animal head selfies in lieu of performing with the core.
The imagery of all the species walking together, performing as a collective is a powerful vision of the strength of diversity. Some animals have beaks, others have trunks or snouts, some are magenta or silver, blue and yellow yet they work together, collaborate and come to the aid of the other, despite their obvious differences. 
The project also ties to ideas about ritual masks and the role of becoming other to gain a higher consciousness, empathy, gender and Jungian concepts of anima/animus or the inner other. At the same time it also exhibits fetishistic qualities relating to animal worship and a kind of back to nature escapism that prevents society from facing the gravity of our collective responsibility to the planet and each other. In the end however when the performers reveal themselves as human the intention of the performance clarifies and the audience learns that there is no other, and realistically we will all suffer from climate change and the powers that prevent us from acting to stop it.

Documentation for Anima_Animus

Movement research towards anima/animus. All sound movement and sculpture by Sasha Petrenko. Special thanks to the Activist|Artist in Residence Program at the Finnish Hall in Berkeley, CA.

Video by Gino Mascardo. Featuring University of San Francisco Artist as Citizen students and their instructor, Sasha Petrenko. Performance took place at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, April 16th as part of the Public Square on Labor and Ecology.

YBCA this Saturday!

My ART 488 Artist as Citizen Students are performing with me this Saturday, April 16th, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts! We are rehearsing today and then that's it! Show time! 

Student designed poster #1, 2016

Student designed poster #2, 2016

Flat pack furniture craving

With the weather turning nice I want to make a little dining area outside. But I don't want to spend a bit of money. These sweet sawhorses look promising for the scraps I have on hand.

Saw horses for seats and I think the table too!

Saw horses for seats and I think the table too!

I think I can deconstruct/reconstruct this.

I think I can deconstruct/reconstruct this.

Then just some plywood for the top and a table cloth... in business! We'll see what I can get done today. 

Mock ups for USF Community Garden Picnic Table

Busy Saturday with my class, Saturday, that's right! Service learning... extra fun and extra effort. But we're building some redwood and concrete picnic tables for the University of San Francisco's community garden, lead by the wonderful Oakland based gardner, writer,  Novella Carpenter. Here is what we have so far:

Helpful men at Lumber Baron in Berkeley. Good deals on redwood!

Helpful men at Lumber Baron in Berkeley. Good deals on redwood!

Stacked and resting. Enough for 2 ten foot tables!

Stacked and resting. Enough for 2 ten foot tables!

Mock-ups for concrete legs!

Mock-ups for concrete legs!

Next week we start building forms. Meanwhile, my students are working on designs for cheap, smart benches. Stay tuned! I'll turn any class into a shop class if I can. The chance to design and build for others is a gift. Purpose.