Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week Five of Hester Street Collaborative Internship (:

Projects of interest floor map, t- shirts, and garden.
The floor map is coming along really well! In the beginning of the week we bought paint and mixed it to the shade of gray we decided on last Friday. Then we strategically painted parts of the room. The first of the room to be painted was the chalkboard wall, then into the back rack and shelf and under Jess O’s, up to Annie’s desk, back to Jess P’s desk, and then finally Dylan’s desk after he left for a meeting. The gray on the floor looks really great. Yesterday we started to grid the floor with chalk with Larry’s technique. The floor then got a layer of masking tape to mark off the streets. With just the masking tape it’s shaping up. I like the angel/ice cream cone/exclamation mark like taping that Alex and I worked on towards the end of the day. The real streets are a public plaza. This morning the clutter of stuff in the chalkboard corner got moved and the painting began. The blue looks like an atlas sea blue but it looks really great. I can’t wait till the masking tape (carefully) comes off to reveal the blocks. The map shows from the lower East Village down to the curve of the river at the Cherry St. housing. The curve of the map has a lot of river so that will be painted soon as well. The parks will get a layer of green after the blue dries. The bridges will also be painted another color. The floor map is really turning out well. The sad part is the today is Cassie’s last day and she won’t be able to see the full map completed ):
The surveying t-shirts won’t be screen printed since Sadie is probably the only one attending. But Dylan said we might screen print next week. I would really like to see the design come to life.
We haven’t spent much time at the garden sadly this week. Although there is a lot of rain so the plants aren’t suffering. Yesterday we went for an hour before it started to rain…really hard. We mostly swept the garden clean and George was playing with a cricket. Sadie started a bet about the time it was going to rain; Cassie won with the closest bet of 2:17. It severely thunder stormed that afternoon until about 5o clock.
It was a really great experience to work with you, Cassie. Good luck on your SATs and college stuff ~

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"It's Week Four"by George

Hey it’s George. This is my fourth week here. We finally started to paint the map of the community on the floor, after we decided on a color scheme. The street will be gray, the blocks will be light blue, the parks are light green, and the river will be dark blue. We brought four gallons of white paint and mixed them to create different colors. We painted a light gray as a base coat. Then we use a chalk line and started to grid the whole office. It took one hour just to grid one third of the room. After we finish the grid we will start painting the streets and blocks on the floor for the map.
Last week we carried over fifty mosaic blocks and grouted them. The mosaic blocks will go into the wall of the new playground in the Sara Delano Roosevelt Park. We also started to make the stencil that we will use to silkscreen the t-shirts that everyone in the office will wear on August 2nd for the AAFE Chinatown Summer Street Festival. Sadly I won’t be there because I will be performing at a concert. The t-shirt design is a tree with many different types of leaves. In the middle of the t-shirt it says “Talk to me About Your Park” in English and Chinese. On the back it has the Hester Street Collaborative Logo.
On Friday someone broke into the garden. They threw the water buckets everywhere. They opened the shed and took the shovels out and they dug a hole in the mud pit which is very strange. The kids left a basketball and a baseball. At the office I planted a jasmine plant in the garden bed in front of the office and I water all the plants and then suddenly after I finished watering it started to rain. Today we are suppose to go to the garden but it’s suppose to rain at 1pm so we might not go.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cassie's Fourth Week

Hi, this is Cassie on my fourth and final week at Hester Street Collaborative. We’ve worked on some interesting projects in the past week. We finished grouting the mosaic blocks that will eventually be part of the walls in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Some of them had to be grouted several times, so it took us a few days to finish them. Also, we finalized the design for the t-shirts for surveyors at the AAFE street festival on Sunday in Columbus Park. The surveyors will be there for people to talk to about the parks in Chinatown. These suggestions will hopefully be taken into account when fixing up the parks. Our design for the shirts has a tree with many different types of leaves and says “Talk to me about your parks” in English and Chinese. To make the design we traced leaf images from the computer onto a piece of paper that already had the words printed on it from the computer. We then translated this design onto tracing paper with a dark pen so we could scan it into the computer. Once the design was in the computer, we sized it to the size of the shirts. George traced it onto contact paper which we’ll use for the silk-screening to make the shirts. Larry and Alex, two of the college interns, created a stencil by cutting out the parts of the design where we want the color to be when we silk-screen the design onto the shirts. When we silk-screen it, we’ll use a squeegee to drag the colored ink through the stencil onto the shirts.
Another big project we’ve been working on is painting the map of the Lower East Side on the floor. Last week we chose an orientation and color combinations for the map. The colors we chose are grey for the streets, light blue for the blocks, and green for parks. Yesterday we bought paint, cleared off the floor, and started painting the floor grey. We painted a huge amount of the floor in just a short time in the afternoon, and we’ve continued to paint it grey this morning. We have yet to paint under the desks because we need to finish taping up the wires and edges of the filing cabinets before painting. After we paint everything grey, we’ll tape off the grid for the map and then we’ll paint everything blue. The parts that we tape off will be the streets, so when we remove the tape they’ll still be grey. The floor is going to look very cool when we’re done painting everything.
Hopefully by the end of the week the floor will be done so I can see it before I stop working here. It’s been a really fun and interesting experience working at HSC and I hope to keep in contact with the organization and hopefully help out a few times in the fall.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Second Postings ~

So this is Megan again and my second blog posting. The past week has been pretty busy with many projects going on. The map on the floor has to have the orientation finalized if we were to paint it the week Annie is gone. The t-shirt design for the Summer Street Festival has to be finalized and the shirts have to be made before next Sunday. The garden is in pretty good shape although all the fruit on the trees have disappeared…and the peach tree may be sick): On Wednesday, when we went we saw the lower branches were oozing sap that was a yellow-orange-amber color. The eggplant patch has an eggplant though! And there are more and more cherry tomatoes growing (one is almost red)! According to Jess O. there will be strawberries if the flower growth keeps up…that’s what I’m secretly hoping for the most.
With the floor repainting project, it’s been more difficult. The North/South orientation has to be somewhat accurate, with the East River at the front of the room. Also having to systematically move all the furniture and tape off a grid may be problem. Not only would I like to paint the floor, which I must say is the fun part, I’d also like to learn a bit about large spaces and how organizing such a project is done.
The Summer Street Festival is coming up soon. It’s going to be next Sunday at different locations but mainly Columbus Park on Mulberry St. Since I was little I been going to that park but less and less nowadays. It would be really cool to see something I helped design in the public eye. In the process of making the shirts, I also get a chance to use what I been learning to make a simple phrase in Chinese to go on the shirt. Though I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to go home tonight and double check with my grandparents to see if I used the right words :x
So far this week I have been enjoying laying out the mosaic tiles for the walls along the path in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Carrying the mosaic tiles wasn’t the best part…it was a workout to carry them from the school back to the office, then grouting some of them. I must admit it was nice to do something hands on but the grout really dried out my hands… I’m hoping there won’t be enough tiles and then we could make some. It would be fun to learn one more new artsy thing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

George's Second Blog

Hey it’s George again. This is my second blog. I have been here in Hester Street Collaborative for about 3 weeks. Yesterday we carried about forty mosaic blocks from M.S.131 to the office so we could document them by taking pictures of them and grouting them so they could go into the wall of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park. We also started making patterns for the layout of the mosaics on the brick wall. At the office we’ve been using adobe illustrator which is software that helps make advance sketches. We used adobe illustrator to help make a grid of the office which appears over an aerial picture of the lower east side, so we would have a specific floor plan of what we would paint on the floor of the office. We are also trying to find a good color scheme for the map that is going to go on the floor of the office and we also made a calendar out of the chalkboard using painting tape. Last week we finished hanging the signs and we picked three apples and on Friday we had our first visitor in the P.S.134 garden. I didn’t catch her name but she was a nice person. She helped sweep up all the leaves and branches and throw them into the compost bin. Today we are going to go to the garden to fix the chairs and water the plants and sweep up again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cassie's Third Week

Hi, this is Cassie again on Tuesday of my third week at HSC. Last week we started a few projects. We painted one of the office walls with chalkboard paint, finished hanging the signs at the P.S. 134 community garden, and started working on the “map-on-floor” project. Right now the floor is just grey, so we wanted to paint a map of the lower east side on it. To get started on this project, we took all the measurements of the office and drew a plan. We chose one of the sketches to use and scanned it into the computer and drew a grid over it to create a scale so we would be able to accurately paint the map on the floor. The next step was to put an aerial picture of the lower east side into Adobe Illustrator and put it behind the grid. We had to make sure to get in a few key spots, such as the HSC office, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, and P.S. 134. Yesterday we made different versions of the prospective floor by orienting the map and grid differently, and changing the size of the map. We then chose potential color schemes for the floor by using different paint, mixing colors, and seeing which colors looked best together. In the afternoon yesterday, we went to the garden where we did some maintenance, such as sweeping leaves and bark into the compost bins, picking up trash, watering the plants, and turning the soil. Then we came back to the office and Annie took us across the street to M.S. 131 and showed us to the classroom where a ton of mosaic bricks were being stored. We went back and forth between the school and the office, bringing the bricks to the office so we could document them today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

George's First Blog at HSC

Hi my name is George and I going to become a freshman in Fort Hamilton high school. I’ve been here for about 2 weeks now. I don’t really know what I should write about but I think it goes like this. On the first day everyone went to the P.S.134 garden to help water the plants and sweep the floor and Dylan taught us how to use the watering hose. Days later we started painting the signs with varnish and hanging them up. The other intern and I also created four signs that tell the people in the community when the community garden of P.S.134 is open. To make the signs we had to print stencils and cut them out. I know this sounds like an easy job but it wasn't because the ink on the stencils never really dried. It took about two hours to cut the stencils out and then we use paint and stencil brushes and stenciled the letters into the sign.
Back in the office other interns Megan and Cassie and I helped make step by step sketches and 3D examples for students in the summer school program from NDHS (New Design High School).The purpose of the summer program is that students from NDHS have to make up credits and were trying to make a deal with the community so they could build a boarding school in the parking lot across the street. The students have drawn floor plans and made 3D model showing the plans. When Friday came it was time for the students present they’re structure they had created.
This week we turned one of the walls in the office into a chalkboard, we started to make designs for shirts that we will wear when we ask people questions about they’re parks, and we started to survey the office so we can paint a map on the floor. The map will show all the project sites that Hester Street Collaborative has worked on. Yesterday we finished drilling and hanging up the signs at the P.S.134 garden. The word MUDPIT was the hardest. We had to use a ladder but the signs kept falling onto the ground. It took about 30 minutes just to hang it up.

FiRsT bLoG~ mEgAn~

Hey, this is Megan and this is my first blog entry of the summer. I have been assigned to write an entry on Thursday and so far my mind is full of questions. I’m not entirely sure of how to write this entry except that there’s a lot to talk about in the past week and a half. Even though the time seems short, a lot has been done. On the first day, we jumped into the work after a tour of the workshop. Dylan took us out to the garden and taught us the ropes of the work out there. George started off by watering the plants, Cassie was sweeping, and I was picking up inorganic litter. As simple as that sounds, I was a bit tired by the end of all that. We did a lot in the times we been at the garden including refilling the barrels of water, painting the signs with polyurethane to keep the signs protected from the wind and rain, and much more. With Jess O. George and I started to work on the compost. Although compost breaks down over time, the compost bins had a twigs and branches which didn’t break down as quickly. We watered and broke down the matter more so that decomposition occurred faster. The other day at the garden with Sadie, I found a small apple that had fallen between two branches. It actually tasted like a Granny Smith! I hope by August that the apples will be ready with the weird weather.
Throughout the first week was the second week of the credit recovery program at NDHS (New Design High School). They were working on a project called SPURA which they were proposing ideas for a campus for their school on two current parking lots. The process started out with making models to scale (as much as possible) with an aerial image of the parking lots as a base. George, Sadie, Cassie, and I worked on a sample model the afternoon before. It was interesting to see all the students’ designs and their ideas for the use of the space. After modeling the space, we photographed the models. After all the pictures were uploaded to the computer, they were printed in black and white. Afterwards, trace paper was used to trace out the basic foundation lines of the structures. I chose to draw the space of a fountain that was on Alex and Larry’s model. I pictured it to be a three tier fountain with space for the community and students. I drew a couple of sketches of the area. With one of the trace paper sketches, I made it into a collage with ideas of how the space was going to be used and how it was going to be. With all the color and details, the sketches were scanned into the computer and placed into folders with students’ names. The photographs, sketches, and plans were placed into a template in InDesign, which is the layout program used this time. I learned the basics of the tools. Along with ourselves, the interns, working through the whole process, we helped out the students with their work. It was an interesting experience since they were…unpredictable at times. It was a noisy week but it was full of learning experiences.
I also learned a lot on top of SPURA and the garden. George, Cassie, and I worked on signs for the garden that showed the garden was open for the public. There were color schemes, stenciling and placement involved. It was messy to cut out the letters for the stencil…I had printer ink on my hands for a few days. On Monday, I used a bit of what I learned during the school year to help me draw a scale plan of the workshop. I didn’t think that technical drawing techniques would come helpful. I used a lot of what I learned about dimensioning as well. The plan will be used to help layout an aerial map that will be painted on the floor. I find that ongoing project really interesting since it’s so big and it should be a lot of fun. On top of the heavy lifting and gridding methodically that will need to be done.
So far there’s been a lot done and already a few ongoing projects. Yesterday, we started on t-shirt designs for the Summer Street Festival surveyors. My idea is pretty simple. On the back is a generic phrase that says “Ask me about YOUR PARK” to distinguish the surveyors. The capitalized words are to show some emphasis and importance of a park for people’s needs. Then on the front it says “Park Surveyor” with a hibiscus because it shows that it’s not only summer but its fragile beauty. Even in such a crowded and congested place—there is still beauty to be found.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cassie's First Blog Entry

Hi everyone, I’m Cassie and I’m going to be a senior at Riverdale Country School. I’m interning at Hester Street Collaborative for five weeks this summer. So far we’ve worked on a few projects. Last week the other interns, Megan and George, and I went to the P.S. 134 Community Garden with Dylan and helped clean it up and watered the plants. A few days later we went back to the garden with Sadie; we painted a clear top coat on wooden signs, made by the students at P.S. 134, so they could be hung up on the fences surrounding the garden.
There was also a summer school session last week at HSC. Students from New Design High School, who had to make up credits, were to create their idea of a boarding school. The project would be built on the SPURA (Seward Park Urban Renewal Area) parking lots across from their school. For years, a multitude of community members have been lobbying to build something on this land instead of just using it as a parking lot. The teachers and administrators at New Design High School thought that a boarding school would be a good use of the land, as many of the students who attend NDHS do not have stable home lives. Having a boarding school in the neighborhood would allow students to focus more on their schoolwork than on their living situations.
We helped the students by making examples for each step of their process in designing their buildings. The first step was making a model using cardboard, construction paper, wood figures, and clay. Once the models were done, the students picked an aspect of their design to focus on and then they drew detailed sketches of what the insides/outsides of parts of their schools would look like. They also sketched a plan (a bird’s eye view) of their schools, and a 3-D image as well. Megan, George and I scanned all of their sketches so the students were able to input them into an InDesign layout on the computer. Finally, each student presented his or her work, explaining why they chose to include certain features in their designs. The designs were all different; however there were many recurring features, such as study areas, gardens, basketball courts, and of course housing.