Doug Shafer was playing his guitar at the Portland airport this summer, on that rare day I got on a plane to goto CA (for a day! to build an oven for a writer at Sunset, but that's another story). I stopped to listen and talk. He had these beautiful little kazoos for sale, hand made from a small piece of bamboo, some duct tape, and a piece of an old plastic bag -- beautiful! He sold 'em for about $5. A deal not to pass up. Doug's website: http://www.doug-shafer.com/ . . .
Rainer Warzecha, sculptor, oven mason, collaborator, Germany
Some years ago now, I got an unexpected email from Elke Cole, a German-born architect now living in Canada, whom I had originally met at the first Natural Building Colloquium in Oregon, in the mid 90s. Elke was traveling in Germany, where sheâ€™d come across a public art project in a park in Berlin. It was full of earthen sculptures made by a German artist named Rainer Warzecha. At the time, I was collecting stories and photos to expand a little pamphlet about earthen art projects (Dig Your Hands in the Dirt). But most of what I had were small scale projects: benches, ovens, and things . . .
Dig Your Hands in the Dirt: A Manual for Making Art out of Earth
purchase As you might suspect, a book with this title features many photos of barefoot kids happily stomping in the mud. Mud huts and mud pies conjure up pictures of primitive peoples and childish pleasures. But then you realize that the kids aren't in Africa, but in Washington DC, Chicago, Portland (Oregon), and Berlin. And they aren't all kids! Looking past the pictures of giddy, muddy fun, here is substantial and serious inspiration and practical lessons for artists, teachers, students, and designers, as well as builders interested in natural materials like adobe (and, more recently, . . .