I just have to check
Us in on foursquare,
this kitschy wall decor,
A link to this place,
Our picture to Facebook.
This on tumblr later.
Going off the grid
Is getting harder every day.
This past Saturday, I attended Brooklyn Skillshare, an annual event based around individual artists, performers, and other creative people sharing their knowledge with others in the community… for FREE! From their website:
The Brooklyn Skillshare is a communal, hands-on, learning experience that aims to serve as a jumping-off point in the construction of an autonomous, nonexclusive, reciprocal learning community.
It took place at the Gowanus Ballroom… a little off the beaten path, even for someone familiar with the surrounding areas. Without the sidewalk chalked, line-drawn arrows pointing me in the right direction every 15 feet or so, I would have gotten lost. But I liked this element to the Skillshare: the sense that it was a grassroots (sidewalk chalk signs), clandestine event which at the same time, was welcoming to newcomers—as long as you took the effort of seeking it out.
The first workshop was on Japanese Stitch Bookbinding, and it was taught by two women from Alaska House. I loved the fact that the class was hands-on. We got to choose colored papers for the front and back covers of our mini notebooks, and used 10 sheets of blank white paper for the inside pages. Using needles, string, and a special bookbinder’s needle, we were taught how to stitch the binding of the book. I love the cover that I chose… it says: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.—Ralph Waldo Emerson”
I then went to a class on Fermentation, or, How to Make Sauerkraut. This was more of a history lesson and talk, with a demonstration of the process for how to make sauerkraut. It was led by a woman named Angela Davis. I learned that making fermented foods is actually quite easy, and the process of preserving foods by fermentation allows the food to keep its nutrients such as Vitamin C and “good” bacteria. Whereas another preservation method, canning (making canned foods), can actually be very dangerous if not done correctly, fermentation has never been documented to have killed anyone. My friend and I were giddy at the prospect of making pink sauerkraut by mixing green and red cabbage.
In the afternoon, I attended a class on Single Sheet, Pamphlet Style Book Making, taught by a guy from Haven Press. The idea was that from a single sheet of 18x24 paper, you could make a bunch of folds and cuts, and end up with one “signature” or a small book. (Before digital printing, printers would have huge plates that would print multiple pages onto 1 single sheet of paper, which would save time and energy vs. printing each page separately.) This reminded me of my days (er, years) working in publishing and my visit to Offset Paperback Manufacturers… way back when I first started working, and before companies started tightening the reins on “non-essential travel.” It’s pretty amazing to think back to that trip, and how all those publishers sent us—young assistants or coordinators in our early to mid-20’s—on a 2 or 3 day (can’t remember now) overnight trip to Pennsylvania for the sole purpose of educating ourselves on book production.
And finally, in the last workshop I attended, I learned about how to do Xerox print transfers. The woman leading the workshop showed us how to use solvents such as acetone or Citra-Sol (a floor cleaner) to lift the toner off of a xerox and make a print onto another piece of paper. The quality and clarity of the print had to do with the type of toner the xerox was made from (black is easier to lift than color), the amount of solvent you use (too much can make an image blurry), and how you rub the back of the xerox with a coin to release the toner. I ended up making 3 postcards: one of an astronaut (which I gave to RC), and the 2 below.
What a great Saturday.