What is worth doing, during shelter in place? Why is the answer so different from regular life, whatever that means?

Plants

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A new idea: all fabric hanging pot. A bit of wire forms a circle at the top.
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My first draft, made in about an hour at midnight, was much too deep!
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This one was much cuter.
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Months later, it still hangs comfortably. A major benefit of this style pot is that you can bump your head into it comfortably. Which happens a lot because it’s in the bathroom.

The unadorned fence could use some greenery. Here I use wood framing with fabric again to make angled planter boxes for ferns to live in the shade of our gazebo.

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Months later, these ferns have grown to the top of the fence. This project worked.
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Darn simple construction. Felt attached by staple gun.
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Art is sometimes about making basically pleasing shit and then peppering in interesting tidbits for brains.
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Same ferns at summer’s end.

Oh, right, I also made this planting table. It’s been really handy and I guess I spray painted it green. Sometimes other people like to leave Amazon packages on it.

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Scarecoronas

An actual art project with batch production and everything! Renée proposed that we make little sculptures to frighten away coronavirus. So I made a few of them and hid them in little parks in my neighborhood.

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The philosopher’s stone. This was gone in about 4 days.
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This might be my first stuffed animal kind of project?
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And it was a very cute camel indeed. Lasted about a week.
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Torn apart for the magnetic plastic bits, the rest was left in a pile in the park.
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I didn’t check in on this one for a few weeks, at which point it was gone. This old art llama has been around!
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Happy moments
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Gene made this scarecorona as part of the same project! Fortunately, it is sited on land he owns, so the sculpture still stands. No one has tried to climb it and sue him yet either! Good things do happen!

Decorating Packages

This bottle of Jasco oil got a hole in it when I squeezed it. Time for a new bottle! But the label has so much important content about safety and directions and cleanup. Must reproduce the label, only cuter!

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It’s very subtle, but the label now shows evil demons from hell whipping someone to death with a dancing apple over it. Also I added a wink at the part that tells you not to transfer contents to a different, unlabeled container. This is one of those “no one will ever appreciate this but me” art projects.

I also took the time to redecorate a bunch of odd shaped containers I’ve been holding on to.

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It’s handy to have boxes and jars like this, but I’m reusing ones with awful labels. Mod podge for the win!

Decorating the Car

I got a new car. I had been planning on it for a while, then suddenly had the free time and the used car market slumped. This was a red car when I got it.

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Truck bedliner is tough and looks it. I like to use it on the roof of a car so that I can store things there without scratching any delicate paint. I also want it on the bumpers, so I’m immune to scratches. (The trick is that even when something scratches the liner, which is possible, I can just add more with a brush in five minutes.)

I had a sheet of magnetic material that I’ve used before to make car magnets. Renee suggested I might turn it into spots and make my car a ladybug! So nice.

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Art with Trees

The Albany Bulb is a nice spot in the universe. No one is trying to make money on it or gain face with their property, so you can actually do fun things with people and try out ideas!

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We invited people to join us for art making, and put together a bunch of shit!
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Randy did this one and it’s lovely. Paint like this will last about one season.
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I did a bunch of these hanging gold rocks. They are nice.
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Distributing drumsticks on the land to make a shape is so classic. My comrades decided to turn my simpler shape into a pentagram, which was eventually dispersed entirely. This was all gone within a few weeks. I suspect that a less contentious symbol would have lasted longer. However, are we making art for ourselves or for the biggest audience we can get? The drumsticks were all broken and thus free, so whatever.
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This old project generally needs a bit of repair, then it stands strong!
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Gene added this excellent piece, the key to which is materials transport! It has stayed for a while and is a nice example of a gentle contribution to an environment.

My first camping trip of quarantimes was to a friend’s property where they invited us to build a play structure for goats! They had a nice pile of beat up scrap wood and we put together this fun thing for goats to climb and play upon.

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The prototype. This showed us the angles of incline that goats will put up with. They really want a flat surface to stand on, in the end, and really hate boards that shift under them.
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So we built this.
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You can see we’ve reused the metal parts from an old picnic table that was on its way to the dump.
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Here are the goats.

Tree Spiral. I had the idea for this one and then had to figure out how to get it to stand up on its own. I made several prototypes to figure out how to get the curve of the spiral right. It turns out that a really proper spiral would be much too aggressive and vertical for this location. Still, it adds some cheer and sometimes people like it.

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Conclusions

I can’t help but feel disappointed in my work from this time. Everyone is so chock full of negative feelings, it’s almost impossible to make work that gives them positive feelings. I feel trapped between “why try” and “just do something.”

Probably my work here is more colorful and childish than usual, with extremely low barrier to entry for an audience, as a result of these conditions. I hope that becomes a benefit in the long run, as it seems to me now as just a loss.

Essayist.

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