August 20th, 2007
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guerilla thoughts, etc.

I find myself a bit overwhelmed with mail, thank you to everyone for all your well wishes and congratulations! I am grateful for every word.
I’ve been busy working on a new book and haven’t had much time to think about baby things. To be honest I was starting to think that it wasn’t going to happen, that I might be one of those moms who doesn’t prepare at all and just wings it, only getting the bare essentials. I have spoken to many new parents who bought a lot of things they didn’t really need, or that their child didn’t like. But a week ago I saw this quilt, and it sparked something in me, a primal need to sew. (actually I love everything at otchi potchi.) and it’s all i’ve been thinking about ever since. My mother and grandmother made everything for my sister and I and I want to continue that tradition. So I’m going to create my own version in a similar style. I’ve been searching for organic linen like crazy. if you have any good leads on organic cotton and linen please let me know. I found this list at the worsted witch which is helping somewhat. But i’m really interested in bright, flat color, which seems harder to find.
in other news, the Guerilla Art Kit is already going into it’s second printing, (and it just came out)! So that is extremely exciting, (it’s #2 in the Activism category on Amazon, though this changes hourly). I haven’t talked much about it here because I’ve been busy. But I wanted to say how proud I am of this project and how it turned out. It was a rather long process getting it to print, it was rejected many times by various publishers (who I suspect were fearful of the subject matter.) But I persisted with it because I believed in the idea so strongly, (finally landing with Princeton Architectural Press, who embraced it completely and jumped right in. thank you!).
I believe this book is really about tuning into your environment and paying attention to little details, something many of us forget to do at times. This is the common theme amongst all of my work these days, and through all of my reading. The theme evolved from researching and noticing the affects that the overuse of technology has on north american society. Sitting at screens for so many hours everyday results in a dulling of the senses. Because of this we are losing touch with with our animal nature, our sense of our surroundings, our intuition, our ability to tune into the natural world (and respond to it). We stop using our sense of smell, touch, our hearing, there is little that actually links us with nature in any definitive way. And so this book evolved (in part) with finding ways for myself to reconnect with the senses in a way that would work in modern society, (urban settings). I wanted to show that reconnecting was possible without having to leave the city or retreat to the woods.
Leaving things in public places or altering our environment in some way causes us to connect with a space in a way we haven’t before (or at least recently). We begin to take ownership of it, a feeling of not being seperate. It is a kind of “marking”, as is done by tribal cultures who leave objects behind to say there where ‘there’, as a ‘note’ to others or a map of some kind. and it can also be remeniscent of children who play and leave traces of themselves (toys, grass, rocks) in a hole in their favorite tree. children often leave hidden secret places wherever they go, and they connect with their immediate environment in a very direct and intimate way.
when I started out writing this book a few years ago, I had no idea of the impact of this kind of ‘marking’ and what it represented. I only knew that it was incredibly satisfying as a creative medium and that I wanted to do it more and more. Over time it has become more clear to me why it is important on a cultural level. Many of us have lost all forms of ritual in our lives and there is little to help us connect with the place in which we live. And I’m hoping that maybe by sharing a few ideas for ways to do this that others will come up with their own versions and methods. Or even on a most simple level, just to recognize that there is a need for us to reclaim a sense of ownership with the place in which we live.
addendum: there is also a wonderful phenomenon that occurs, a kind of “snowball effect”, which I talk about briefly in the book. This happened in my town after I started chalking, many others started adding things (writings, found objects, stencils) to the community. I was just sent this link about a woman in Richmond VA who has been participating in a community “shelf”, where people started anonymously placing homemade or found objects. it’s fantastic! (thanks Craige and Mim). Every community needs a shelf!
I have a piece in the Learning to Love you More exhibit currently touring in Eindhoven, NL:
August 24 – September 10, 2007
A project by Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July
Curated by the second year students of the MA Curatorial Practice Program at
the California College of the Arts, San Francisco
Emmasingel 20
5611 AZ Eindhoven

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