Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wyoming Dispatch: First Print

It seems the roads are finally cleared, after three days of being snowed in. Last night, the temperature dropped to 8 below - c-c-c-cold!!! I'm so grateful that Jentel has such an amazing central heating system. We felt the cold, but not terribly. Of course, I was wearing two layers of long underwear under my regular clothes, so maybe that had something to do with it.

Yesterday I broke out my carving tools and carved the block above. It's based on some of my bovine neighbors here. The print is below.

It's simple, but I like to think that it is deceptively so. The cows are printed on abaca-cornhusk paper. Corn is the basis for our food system. Steer calves, like those my neighbors will drop in the spring, will be transported to a CAFO in someplace like Salinas, Kansas, where they will be fed corn until they bulk up enough for slaughter. 

The corn they are fed has been fertilized heavily with petroleum-based chemicals. It may or may not have also been sprayed with pesticides, or it may have been Bt corn, or both. So through the combination of the paper and print, this piece abbreviates a food system structure that is contributing to global warming, our continued petroleum dependency, and human health issues (not to mention animal cruelty).

On an end note, two days ago, I found a little surprise in my desk drawer. Postcards from past residents of my studio! They contain advice such as,"Make friends with the bugs, the studios have a lot of them," and "Take a least one hike in the thousand acres, you might see a porcupine sitting in a tree," and "You won't leave here the same person - so I hope you weren't too attached to your old self," and "Pay attention - but not too much - and liquor is as important as food."

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