I want to say one word to you. Just one word.... Plastics.”
Mr. McGuire, The Graduate

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cheng Long Tutorials

Hello to all the art volunteers! I'm looking forward to meeting you in April.

I started this blog last year when I worked on the project Knit for Trees in New York City. You can look at past blog entries and get an idea of the work I have done with plastic bags.

I wanted to share a few tutorial videos that can be helpful when we work together on Invasive Species  in Cheng Long. Please email me if you have any questions: igarbani@netscape.net

How to cut plastic bags:

How to roll the yarn:

If you don't know how to crochet, I will teach you when I get to Taiwan. If you would like to learn now or just get an idea of what it's like, I had found this really good video on YouTube last year. As a matter of fact... this is how I learned how to crochet:

謝謝. Thank you.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Closed for the year

Today is the last day that Governors Island is open to the public. All the artists have taken down their installations or are in the process of doing so. Dan had volunteered to help me take the knitting down, which turned out to be an enormous help, and I cannot thank him enough for his work and efforts. We had originally planned on going Friday September 23rd, but the weather forecast for the weekend was so abysmal, that we decided to chance it, and wait until Saturday. It was a wise decision. After installing in torrential rains in May, after installing my second Knit for Trees in Vermont in more rainfall, I have finally beaten the precipitation curse, and we took down the artwork in gray, but otherwise dry conditions.

The installation was, for me, a great success: not only did it look the way I anticipated, it also gave me a lot of confidence as an artist. Confidence to tackle ambitious projects, and confidence that I can realize the ideas in my head, and have them be received positively. Here is the final photo of Knit for Trees before de-installation:

We started working around noon, and it took us a little over 4 hours, working pretty steadily, to take all the panels down. Here I am taking down the very first panel:

And Dan hard at work (he does seem to be enjoying himself though!):

I had gotten some concerns and questions from visitors about potential damage to the trees from the plastic wrapping. Concerns about plastic panels making it likely that the trees would grow mold or be more susceptible to diseases. Not only was the bark on all the tree trunks healthy and essentially dry by the time we left Governors Island, we also found thriving little ecosystems in the knitting. Bugs, from ants to cicadas, seem to have found the panels to make a perfect home. We unfortunately had to evict the largest spider we have ever seen (she temporarily moved to a non-knitted tree, and we apologize for any inconvenience!):

I had the honor of cutting the last thread of the last panel. We later rewarded ourselves with a large brownie!

At last all the panels were down, dried as best as possible before they began their journey back to my studio, where they will be dismantled, rolled into new balls of yarn, and used in the next project. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the panels were in very good condition, with just a few colors (notably the yellows) that had faded slightly.

Figment Sculpture Garden 2011 is over, and it was an amazing journey. Thank you to all who have helped me realize this project: I could not have done it without you!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The last days of summer...

Over the summer, many people have knitted with me, and their contributions were finally added on Friday afternoon. I took a leisurely trip to Governors Island, and added all those panels to the branches of the large tree. I must admit that I wished then that I could keep going with adding panels and finish all the trees on the path near me. I will also admit I am running out of steam so, in a way, my low energy level cancels my regrets!

I am truly impressed by the number of panels visiting knitters were able to make, and would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this project: from donating and cutting bags, to knitting one row, to knitting several panels. The project was successful because of the generous help I received since February.

Friday was a slow day at work for me so I took that opportunity to make a mini-knitted tree for the artists who have a mini-city installation next to me. I choose a branch that would most look like a small tree, and covered it with extra tiny panels I had, then knitted bands of blue, red and yellow. The tree survived two subway trips, and a massive cat attack, but was not sturdy enough for the visitors to Governors Island. Within an hour of being installed, the tree was broken, one of its branches dangling like a broken wing. I had not taken photos of the tree at home, but here is a photo after the accident:

The past few mornings have been pretty cold, and ads are running for back to school supplies. The project is almost over. My last knitting circle will be next weekend, followed by our celebration picnic Sept. 3. It has been a truly amazing project, which has given me confidence and energy to make more art. Governors Island is open to the public until the end of September, so come on by if you still haven't visited this year!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gearing up for Vermont

As the Governors Island project is winding down, I am getting ready for the show in Vermont. The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in Rutland, Vermont, has accepted the Knit for Trees installation, as part of their SculptFest 2011. This show (which is called Forces of Nature) will open Saturday September 10th in Rutland. I recently received the dimensions for the trees, as well as a photo for the site. Needless to say I am very excited about it, and I am furiously knitting in order to have 5 trees done for the opening. The trees are all birch trees, so I decided to make more colorful panels with bands of colors (yellow, blue and black) at the top,  bottom, and in the middle of each tree. Here is a photo of the site sans panels. I will post photos in September when the installation is complete:

I am not abandoning Governors Island quite yet, however. I am planning on a quick trip to the island on Friday to install all the panels that were knitted on site. They will go on the large tree branches and complete the Knit For Trees on Governors Island.

I am also planning a Labor Day picnic for all the knitters, bag cutters, bag givers and general supporters. This will be a GREEN potluck picnic, September 3 from noon to 4. Bring your own drink and food to share. This will mark the end of the knitting circle, but the installation will stay up until the last weekend of September so you still have time to see it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Art and Science

For the past two weeks, I have been noticing very large bugs hanging from the knitted panels. A visitor told me they were cicadas that had molted so I was actually seeing a shell of a bug, not an actual bug. Of course I had to go to Wikipedia to find out more:
"After mating, the female cuts slits into the bark of a twig, and into these she deposits her eggs. When the eggs hatch, the newly hatched nymphs drop to the ground, where they burrow. Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts from two to five years. The nymphs feed on root juice and have strong front legs for digging.In the final nymphal instar, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. They then molt (shed their skins) on a nearby plant for the last time and emerge as adults. The abandoned skins remain, still clinging to the bark of trees."
This means a few things: the nymphs were there in May, feeding underneath the ground when I installed the panels, which I hate to admit is a little creepy. But more importantly, it means that cicadas are art appreciators, and will choose to cling to beautiful trees for the last stage of their childhood! It can also mean that knitted plastic easily traps twigs and dead bugs. One or the other. In any case, below are a few photos of the skins!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Yes I have been neglecting my blog...

Work and my age have been catching up with me lately, and I have been neglecting Governors Island and my blog a little. Our dear friends John and Theresa came down from Boston for a quick visit last weekend. We spent Saturday on Governors Island and I taught them how to knit (Theresa was quickly converted). And I skipped going on Sunday... and I also skipped writing about the weekend on Monday...and taking a short break felt really good...

But it really feels like the lazy days of summer are upon us: so few visitors came on Saturday that I started to wonder if the entire city had gone to the Hamptons. I must admit I felt a little guilty skipping a day... I will try and have better attendance in the next few weeks that I have left with this project, I promise!

I also need to report that I will do a similar installation in Vermont in early September, so Knit for Trees will stay alive and well for a little while longer. The installation will be at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in Rutland VT. More details will be forthcoming, I'm sure.

In the meantime, you can still enjoy Knit for Trees until the end of August.

Of note this weekend on the Island:

Saturday, August 6: Lululemon- Escape to Governors Island, 10 AM - 5 PM, Colonel's Row
New York City's first-ever bold collaboration of yoga, community and music on Governor's Island! All are welcome to celebrate with us: complimentary admission, open level classes, bring your own mat! More info/class times at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169225413144855

Friday, July 29, 2011

Events this weekend

On Governors Island this weekend:

Saturday, July 30
Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon 10 AM – 2 PM
Picnic Point
Join the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon for an activities expo, live music, vendors and skateboard demos at Picnic Point.

More information at: www.adrenalinaskateboardmarathon.com

Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31
First Annual New York Poetry Festival, 12 PM – 5 PM
Colonels Row
Come out for this free poetry festival for readings and performances by the Poetry Brothel, the Poetry Project, Ear Shot, 2nd Avenue Poetry and much more.

More information at: tpsny.org

And of course, I am back at Knit for Trees until the end of August.
Hope to see you there!