|Oh, Jell-O, you always turn us on!|
We try super hard not to talk politics but of course it comes up, so we try to pick the most stupid part of politics, like the year we held the Golden Commode Awards, which turned out to be one of our best shows since I've been on stage. There were some fantastic shows in the past, but I didn't pay as much attention then...I was usually in the other room with my t-shirts trying to be supportive but not really getting how it worked. Now I pay attention to all of it, as overwhelming as that can be.
Politics just isn't funny again this year and we're avoiding it. I can't tell you what we are not avoiding, of course, because it is still amorphous and it's more fun to keep it secret. In fact, it changes every week and will keep building until we get on that stage March 28th, but you can know that we are building on the foundation of the theme, which is Jell-O Obsession.
I do not think of myself as an obsessive person but of course the proof is in the Puddin' cups and if anyone is Jell-O-obsessed, I am in that tiny group. Again this year I have agreed to do a workshop.
It will take place on Saturday March 14th and this time the focus will be on craft. We will be Making It! I watched that show on TV with Amy Pohler and Nick Offerman and got inspired to channel it, but rest assured that we will not be in competition with each other and no one will be eliminated or evaluated because there is no good or bad Jell-O art, which you know if you have paid even a little attention for the last 32 years. We will just be using gelatin to play, wet and dried, jiggly and not.
This is a big year for crafting in Eugene, with the 50th Anniversary of Saturday Market on May 9th and a big Makers conference in town the first weekend in June (look up NOMCON, or Nation of Makers.) The Makers movement is a bit like the 70's Craft Renaissance as people reinvent ancient practices and get excited about them as if they were all brand new. Of course it has always been true that people hand-crafted all manner of useful and decorative objects and there is merely a continuum with a few key historical points when other people took notice, Over the last fifty years people in Eugene have been taking notice every Saturday and there has been an amazing and gratifying life to it all, and many of us have built our lives on our micro-businesses and ways to amplify them. The Makers movement happening now is bigger and broader as companies all claim to be "crafting", all the way from McDonald's through Ninkasi and right down to the littlest business on Etsy, but the more the merrier I suppose. Appreciating the ways people create things is postive for all of us and will help diminish the intense consumption practices of western society we hope, if only we don't throw away all that stuff we bring home from the craft store.
I am doing my part, as I rarely if ever throw away anything that could conceivably be used for an art project. Jell-O Art needs a lot of inspiration as it basically involves the one ingredient, gelatin, and some water and some coloring and a plethora of simple tools and accessories, if desired. The dried gelatin I like the best is just gelatin pieces glued together with gelatin and made fabulous, so I know you can do that and could potentially really enjoy this workshop.
I discovered I had two slow-cookers left over from candle-making and each one will hold about a pound of gelatin mixed to my special recipe of 3 ounces of gelatin per cup of water. It will stay molten longer in the cookers so we are planning to supply this glue to about 25 people so they can make things from the hundreds of gelatin pieces I will bring to donate to the artists. I have too many of them and this seems like a great plan. They're all separated by color in plastic tubs, so picture yourself rummaging through them to find the pink petals for a flower or the yellow shapes to make a model of your Labrador or your blue sailboat or whatever you think you can do in three hours. Maybe you will make several things! Maybe we'll even have a Fast Craft Challenge and a Master Craft Project like they did in the show, (I don't remember the actual terms they used) but we will make all the stupid craft puns like they did if we want and anyone who wants to play Nick or Amy should come and help me so I don't get too serious and forget to have any fun. The last workshop was just history and talking about the things I and others have made and it was a little frustrating for the attendees, who wanted to go deeper, so this year we will satisfy in more tangible ways. At least that is the plan!
I need to refine my techniques a little so we don't all just sit there with our fingers stuck together wishing it were more thrilling, but I expect that the participants will astonish me with all the things they think to do that I have never considered, because that has been my experience at every show so far. If people would rather work with almost-dried pieces to take home and dry later, we can do that too. It's fun to see what's going to happen when you cut and twist and stretch the stuff, which happens at about the 24-hours-in stage, so I'll bring some of that. I will also bring some of the "Jigglers" type of firm but still wet Jell-O that can be used for more unpredictable constructions that will probably fall apart on the way home, but will still qualify as Art and Fun. Fair warning, don't go over the railroad tracks on your drive. And do feel free to come prepared if you are already into it, so you can expand your sculptural plans and feed off the energy of the other participants.
I'm pretty confident that we will have some laughs and not all be completely disappointed with the results. Remember, all you have to do to start over is remelt the gelatin and you can begin anew. You can also toss it on the compost pile and feed your neighborhood rodents if you feel a lingering despair. You will have two weeks to restore your faith and get your piece made for the show.
So Save the Date! March 14th!There will be a small charge to participate but let me know if you want a scholarship because I will be happy to pitch in if your budget does not allow such things as craft workshops in trivial and mostly useless object-craft. It's only ten bucks. I'd gladly pay that to see you get a hilarious moment or two of escape from our hellish apocalyptic future and present. Like I always say, "Thank Gawd We Have Jell-O!"