Sunday, May 27, 2007

Scope of Project: What the Heck Was I Thinking?

After talking with a lot of people and looking deeper into each process, I’m beginning to narrow the scope of this project. Here’s what I’ve got so far (subject to change, but trying to keep it as pure as possible):


Documentation is considered outside of the core art project. I simply don’t have time to make a computer, digital camera or camcorder from scratch!! I’ll barley have time to make the painting and all the tools that lead up to the painting.

Information Gathering:

I can use any means to gather information. There’s experimentation, talking with subject matter experts, books and the internet. I know I’ll enjoy experimentation and talking with experts most, and I’m going to try to lean towards those whenever I can. I’m not trying to go through every stage of human technological development on my own with no help. That would take well over the rest of my life!

Proof of Concept:

To make best use of my time, tests can use modern equipment. If the test result works with modern equipment, I will then do the same technique from scratch to arrive at similar results. Examples: using a mortar and pestle to crush soil into a fine powder (perhaps later done with a hip joint from a deer or maybe two stones) glass jars and bowls to mix materials. It looks like I might have to get into pottery before this project is over. Finding fire able clay will be a challenge…

Location of Raw Goods

I’m going to try to make everything from my local environment, primarily from the property where I live, and my parent’s property in Oregon. For items unavailable in either location, the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia) will be my maximum area to find the items.


For items that I cannot create from scratch within five years, it’s OK for me to barter goods or services with others in my community. A good example would be walnuts. It would take me longer than five years to grow a walnut tree and be able to harvest its walnuts.

However, I could barter what is growing on my property now for walnuts. I’ll have plenty of apples and plums come mid summer.


Smelting is a major technological advance that we’ve made as a race. Primitive smelting is also very hazardous, as the process releases arsenic and other poisons into the air. I’m not going to pollute my parent’s property, or poison my family for this art project, so I won’t do any smelting. So, I’ll try to barter for scrap metal that I’ll rework into tools, loom parts, nails, wire, etc…

Community Involvement
Right now, I’m growing flax on my parent’s property. It’s not like I drive down there every few days to water it. Some processes are going to take many hands to build (like if I decide to make my own kiln, or create my own blacksmithing shop) So, some parts of the project are going to be community based, but I’m still going to try to do as much as possible on my own. As my wife keeps saying “You’re really trying to find the hardest way to do this aren’t you?” My reply: “Well, yes, otherwise what would be the point?”

Monday, May 21, 2007

Quick Update

I've been back from the visit to my parent's new property for a while, and have a whole lot to talk about! So much, in fact, that it's a lot more than one entry. So, for at least the next couple of months, expect a new blog posting weekly by Sunday night. In the meantime, I'll tide you over with links to places that I've visited that directly relate to this project.

K's Nursery
M Graham Paints
Squaxin Island Tribe Museum, Library and Research Center
Fibrefest International 2007 Convention
Wild Rose Fibres

More on each of these places later!