Recently, my day-job as a waitress has been temporarily suspended for 7 days while my employer has been renovating.Almost immediately, I think, “How great! So much extra studio time! So much time to start new projects! Yes!” and then quickly, upon realizing that I would be experiencing a zero flow in income, I started to get a little anxious.
Taking the “I’ll be damned if I’m not productive during this time” attitude towards this time off, I’ve forced myself to swallow my naturally occurring anxieties and push through burying myself in research and information that I feel like I need for my next move in this creative crazy world we call life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about combining all of my passions into one conclusive study, project, or ambition. How can I combine my passions for design, technology, and sustainability, all at once? They seem to me, to go hand in hand, and my recent projects have made me hungry for all of it. In undergraduate, I originally intended on studying computer programming, as that’s the family environment I was raised in, and a strong interest in tech was definitely present throughout my childhood. When I finally did attend college, I opted for Fine Arts, which was also another very present practice and passion throughout my life. After my undergraduate studies, within my personal projects, I find myself exploring ways to combine both, and just can’t seem to let go of it. I’ll go down the path of exploring one concept, be pleased with the results, but it just didn’t seem to be enough.
As a result of all of that, I’ve been thinking a lot about graduate school. Adding this to my list of research, I went ahead and lost myself in graduate school reading. What I found couldn’t be more exciting- there are several programs available that fit my passions perfectly.
A few programs really struck me:
The University of the Pacific Northwest’s MFA program in Collaborative Design.
MIT’s Media Design Lab.
Portland State University’s MFA in Contemporary Art Practice.
Parson’s MFA program in Transdisciplinary Design.
Applying for graduate school is a little overwhelming. I mean, I haven’t even applied, I’m just narrowing down the research of where I want to apply, and figure out the steps it’s going to take to make a killer graduate application. But you know how it goes when you have an idea that won’t quit. A little bugger-worm of an idea, that’s always in the back of your head, that you can’t quite verbalize, but you know you’re onto something exciting. This is what I want to do. I just want to do it in the best way possible. So, being an avid type-A list-maker I began to hit the sketchbook (or list-book, haha)
What do I need to do to fill in the gaps of my creative arsenal?
How can I use the resources available to me to accomplish this?
What kind of “Self-cirricula” can I establish for myself to accomplish these goals?
What is going to make me a more well rounded art/tech/permaculture nerd?
How can I, through my dreams and ideas, make design and sustainability more readily available for everyone?
And then came more serious string of lists, researches, and rambles. I found myself scribbling crazily in my journal these past few weeks. And then I found myself feeling corny for jotting own the following:
How can these ideas make a difference on a large scale?
But really. That’s what I want.
Some of you may or may not know that I am a hobbyist gardener or sorts. My entire childhood was spent in a garden with my grandfather, and parents following. I’ve always been interested in how we can produce great food for ourselves, and the far-reaching positive effects of such: personally, and on a larger environmental scale. I started my first kitchen garden about 3 years ago in my crappy rental-frontyard, and as a result of minor planning, lots of love, and a whole mess of trial and error, by the end of the season my roommate and I had produce for weeks! (I also learned that when you plant Peas and Radishes too close together you get Pradishes, and no, they don’t taste good.) The next year it evolved into a patio garden- though the space was half the size, last year’s experience netted almost double the harvest. Similarly to practicing art in my studio, there’s a special kind of craftsmanship, introspect, and observation that occurs here that I really enjoy.
Using the University of The Pacific Northwest’s Grad Application as a model, there is one question that continually beckons to me:
What is an emerging ‘wicked’ problem that are you interested in today?
As I began to attack these questions, the answers became a little more concrete. I’m interested in using design and technology to bring people’s personal relationship with the natural world closer. I’m interested in using design to present information that lowers the barrier to learning, and self-teaching in the realms of permaculture.
This is where I go off on a tangent about how much I love the the availability of free information and knowledge. I’ve made TED talks a constant go-to of downtime. I purchased The Arduino Starter Kit, and Basic Arduino Programming Book through some colleagues at The QC Co-Lab, and am beginning to teach myself the basics of circuit design. I’ve been pouring through Arduino Playground, a huge resource and community for learning the basics and beyond in Arduino Programming. I have this bugger-idea for a mobile, solar-powered outdoor garden sculpture-monitor…thing. *laughs* Miss Sarah Wurst, a lovely partner in artistic and environmental design, shared The Regenerative Leadership Institute’s massive, 72-hour lecture course on Permaculture, available free to the public. Word on the street says that A Sustainable Design Conference is being hosted by St. Ambrose University. And I’ve just contacted a family friend who one-man runs a local organic farm, and something tells me he could use a hand.
My creative-cirriculum-arsenal is starting to come together, and boy is it exciting. I’m really excited, (and a little nervous) for what’s to come ahead, but hope you enjoy being along for the ride. :)