Sculpture project with Tim Johnson
Sculpture and contemporary basketry artist: Tim JohnsonApprentices: Elke Hegmann, Gloria Bohn, Evey Kwong All images credit to Tim Johnson
A workshop with Ana Lisa Alperovich
To make material sense means to ‘learn through making’ by exploring the possibilities of the local and overlooked resources found in and around the Floating School. Different material senses will be invoked by a series of sensual, practical and theoretical, series of experiments that might include mixing and matching, moulding, melting, cooking, digging, bedding-up, ironing, recycling, dying, glazing, destroying or evaporating matter. Possibilities of what biomaterials could do – or be – will be stretched to their maximum as participants forage for algae, moss, driftwood, grasses, bark, dead bugs, stones or soil, or might choose to work with food waste, wood chips or cardboard.
This three day, DIY, hands-on workshop will create biomaterials to be used for bio-design and bio-architecture through the finding of resources, the making of samples and mind maps, all while developing new neural connections and gaining unique knowledge of the world through their senses. The workshop will result in a group exhibition. There is just one important rule: no animal cruelty (this includes other human-animals).
My contribution to the workshop, a woven reedmace.
Swiss vernacular whisk broom
For generations, the Swiss folks own a tradition of whisk broom-making for their daily use. These brooms, typically made of purple moor-grass are an inconspicuous whisk brooms made by women farmers, braided in fall for the use of cleaning wooden stove surfaces.
This simple utilitarian object symbolises the women’s occupation and matriarchy. Today, the wooden stoves are no longer in use and with the increasingly disappearing marshes, this tradition is lost. (wip)
Optically, the fibre and length looks very similar to the South East Asian mangrove palm, in which the natives uses its stems to make whisk brooms called, “penyapu lidi”. (wip)
A happy family of Ybriger, Urner and Habkern Handbeseli with differing techniques made of purple moor-grass species. The bottom mini version is an improvisational Ybriger design by industrial designer, Flavia Brändle.
In the Silesian Beskids mountain, I was fortunate to be introduced and learned the skills from the last local basketmaker, Jan Zogata. The main unique material used are spruce roots. What is more exceptional is the construction of the cross-base structure.
A second private residency learning from Carlos Fontales Ortíz, a Spanish basketmaker, teacher and researcher.
Day 1: We started with the soft material: sedges
Day 2: Harvesting and processing rushes from the neighbourhood.
Braiding and coiling
Impressions of weaving with sedge
Day 5: Galician folk split wood basket. Through his contact with the immensed wealth of traditional Galician basketry making that developed among farmers and fishermen, what survived was the memory and the knowledge of some of the oldest people in Galicia.
This basketry method is particularly widespread throughout the north and northwest of the peninsula (Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia). The Galician split wood baskets are known for its sheer elegance in form and fineness.
We joined Encik Raman, a Semai tribe of Senoi group gentleman to learn to build a day-shelter their way. Among raw material collects are the Bertam leaves (Eugeissona) and the main standing structure from trees.
5 days living off-grid with the Lun Bawang ethic communities in Central Northern Borneo: Almost all of the traditional economical and self-sustained activities of the Lun Bawangs are related to rice plantation, and they cultivate both rice on hill and from paddy field. The production of rice is related to ones' prestige/financial status, as excess of rice harvest are traditionally consumed in huge irau feast, signifying wealth and fortune. Cooked rice is wrapped inside banana leaves called Luba' Laya, and rice is also brewed into rice wine or burak for practical reasons.
Manual harvesting is common across Asia. It involves cutting the rice crop with simple hand tools like sickles. The harvesting method is very effective when a crop has lodged or fallen over, however it is labor intensive. Manual harvesting requires 40 to 80 hours per hectare and it takes additional labor to manually collect and haul the harvested crop.
We went through different stages of turning paddy to rice. As paddy is farmed traditionally here, the work involved is highly laborious. Ripe stalks of paddy are hand-harvested, threshed, sun-dried, cleaned, and finally milled with the help of home scale milling machine.
Thinking by making: site specific weaving with bamboo and rice straw.