Author: Elena Barthel

Let’s take a line for a walk

On and Beyond the Chair continues while students draw remotely in this new virtual learning version of the chair class.

Today the students begin a new fun and relaxing daily exercise “taking a line for a walk around their chair.” For the next two weeks students will spend only ten minutes each day drawing with a pen on a 8″ x 11″ sheet of paper.

A line is a dot that went for a walk. – Paul Klee

The assignment encourages students to make quick decisions while continuously drawing a line. They must keep as small an interval as possible between drawing and looking at the chair. These drawings will also become a diary of reflections during this emotional time of social distancing.

It is all about ingredients

Each week we celebrate one ingredient from the Rural Studio Farm during a special lunch and discussion (led by Elena Barthel). The ultimate goal of the these Thursday lunches together is to learn about healthier eating habits. We suggest using fewer ingredients and higher quality, organic produce in our meals. Our own farm salad is always part of our celebration with a good dose of Tuscan olive oil.

The first ingredient we celebrated this year is tomato. Tomatoes can be grown in our greenhouse in early March and in the field garden in May. They can be eaten fresh in the hot summer months and easily preserved to be consumed during both the fall and the spring semester as tomato sauce.

Ode To Tomatoes by  Pablo  Neruda


The street
filled with tomatoes,
midday,
summer, light is halved
like a tomato,
its juice runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes its ease on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife sinks
into living flesh,
red viscera a cool sun,
profound, inexhaustible,
populates the salads
of Chile, happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we pour oil,
essential child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper adds its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding of the day, parsley
hoists its flag,
potatoes bubble vigorously,
the aroma of the roast knocks
at the door, it’s time!
come on! and, on the table, at the midpoint
of summer, the tomato,
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile star,
displays its convolutions,
its canals, its remarkable amplitude
and abundance, no pit,
no husk, no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers its gift
of fiery color and cool completeness.

Drawing the ‘negative space’

Negative space is the space behind, around, and between an object. It represents the context of an object. It is important because it greatly influences our perception of the object itself.

You can compare the negative space with the silences between the sounds. As Claude Debussy said, “Music is the space between the sounds.”

Learning to draw the negative space is particularly important to switch our brain from the language mode to the visual mode. It forces our brain to visualize the invisible, implicit forms.

Preparation Day at the Solar Greenhouse

While we waited for the walls to dry, and the insulation to be installed, we filled the seed house cavity floor with gravel.

We selected some leftover angles at the steel scrap pile to build tables for the greenhouse. Also, we completed the full-scale drawings for the fabrication process.

Drawing by measuring

The first project is focused on recording the construction of the chair.

One full-scale composed and multi-layered drawing, showing the chair in plan, section, elevation, and details.