Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eden Reframed gets a HUGE BOOST via the newly formed Eden Society

So it's clear from my lack of posting on this blog, that I have not had much time and energy for this project. While I HAVE been hosting events for the solstices and equinoxes at Eden Reframed consistently since September 2011, these past two years have been full-tilt demanding in other areas of my life and practice. So for that reason alone, I am enormously grateful that the folks on Vashon have formed the Eden Society to maintain and nourish this eco-art project. Given that it is the first and only food forest on Vashon, and perhaps one of the first in the Puget Sound, it is really important that this project doesn't sink into disrepair or get choked by invasive weeds. If you have an interest in joining the Eden Society, please contact Margot Boyer - the next meeting is at Eden Reframed on August 14th at 4 pm. Here's some photos of the amazing folks of Eden Society who came out on July 10th, 2014 to remove weeds and return the project to its best self. Kudos to Margot Boyer, Nan Wilson, Swaneagle Harjian, Phillip Devanter, Charlie and Elizabeth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The garden continues to do its thing...

I've visited Eden Reframed twice in the past month, like I was grabbing fast food from a drive-in restaurant. It was not satisfying on any level - like watching a child you love through a window of a car. There was no intimacy and it felt a bit sad and disrespectful to rush through a visit. Nor did I make it there for a winter solstice event because the community energy to gather there was not evident. People were too busy, too stressed, too committed to other things. Without living on the Island anymore, it is hard to generate buzz and steward the project. So the next steps in caring for this project seem like trepidatious ones...although I don't want them to be. Perhaps I just need to trust that the garden will continue to do its thing. It will take little human interference now. It is my choice and the community's choice whether it will be nourished by our presence or not.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oooooohhhhhhh, it's been how long since I last posted here? YIKES! Is that what my life is like now??????? Oh, my. Well, it means that my hands are in the city, not on the island, and I've been looking at Eden Reframed from my car window, rather than sticking my fingers in the dirt. We have to do something about this. This Friday, the much discussed end of the world, according to some, also happens to be the awesome winter solstice, one of those holidays that I like to celebrate (thank the goddess that Hallmark has not yet appropriated this one). We are having the briefest acknowledgement of this turning towards the sun, from 3-4 pm at the site. I hope you can come, if not in body, then in spirit. We will do something, altho' it will depend on who arrives, just what we do...I hope it's fun and outrageous and that it's not dripping wet. See you there.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The summer is almost over and Eden Reframed has survived due to the ferocity of some of its plant species and the graciousness of a few volunteers. We now need to pull together some energy to make the garden thrive through the next year. On Sept 9th, we will gather at the garden to discuss ways to steward Eden Reframed. Bring any of the following: your work gloves, gardening tools, seedlings for winter crops, ideas and questions. Snacks would be good as well. We will be there from 2-5 pm. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ok, I know I've been lousy at keeping up this blog all school year, but now I have the summer off and intend to be more responsible. Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Third Proposal for Eden Reframed (never posted before according to one reader)

Project title: EDEN REFRAMED: An Eco-art Project for Vashon Island's Burton Adventure Recreation Center (aka BARC)

The proposal is to create a community-based, interactive eco-art project that incorporates an edible garden with ecological restoration, site-specific sculptures, storytelling and community building. If implemented at the current Burton Skate Park site (BARC), this project will bio-remediate damaged soil, demonstrate permaculture design techniques while archiving stories from farmers and gardeners on Vashon Island in attractive, interactive sculptures. It will also provide visitors to the park with a comfortable and compelling place to sit, read, daydream and learn more about the processes of healing soil and growing food. Sculptural aspects of the project will include interactive story hives made from scavenged cedar planks and panels and story benches engraved with community stories about gardening and farming. Informational plaques will provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the ecological processes on view. The deer fence surrounding the gardens will include a gutter system and cistern to catch rainwater. The previously planted edible garden at BARC will be transplanted and relocated to the Eden Reframed site.

This project will begin in March 2011 and be completed in August 2011. The Royalty Research Foundation at the University of Washington has awarded Beverly Naidus (a tenured faculty member at UW Tacoma and Vashon resident) with funding for consultants, materials and equipment. A total of $38,360 will be spent on this project. If the project receives approval from Vashon Parks a campaign to receive in kind donations for the project will be launched.

A team of volunteers has already been assembled to build and maintain the site over the next few years. Liability insurance is being provided by SEEDS.

It is hoped that Eden Reframed will be the first of many such eco-art projects for the BARC site. If Vashon artists get inspired and excited about the benefits of doing community-based, eco-art projects, then the Vashon Park District can become a showcase for this type of work.

The lead artist for this project, Beverly Naidus, has had a long history of doing socially engaged, audience-participatory art. After several decades of creating work for museums, galleries and alternative art spaces, she has started to work outdoors and to engage more deeply and directly with issues of concern to her community and the future of our planet. This art project merges the desire to reclaim and restore neglected land with the concept of gardens as sacred, healing spaces where many human needs and those of a sustainable ecosystem can be met. It also addresses a significant issue in our community that has global implications: how do we restore ecosystems that have been neglected or abused, and design new ways of living in balance with the natural world. A few pioneers in the international eco-art movement, have been deeply engaged in restoration and remediation projects, but more artists need to get involved with this work, and she wants to be one of them.

Naidus has felt the power that gardens can have on the human psyche since her early childhood, and writes about that in her recent book, Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame. She grew up with parents, former New York City dwellers, for whom gardening was a passion. They grew much of their own produce, and spent nine months of the year engaged with planting, weeding, pruning and harvesting. Her 92 year old mother is still growing tomatoes and squash.

Over the past two decades, Naidus’ involvement with the Institute for Social Ecology and the Vashon organization, SEEDS (, has helped her expand her understanding of the permaculture movement. SEEDS has initiated several projects on Vashon that involve permaculture, including a bioremediation project on private land in the south of the island. Her eco-art project will be done in consultation with their team.

Since moving to Vashon eight years ago, Naidus has been investigating various sites for creating an outdoor installation. She have been in conversation with many local farmers and gardeners about their concerns about the soil and water, and looked at where her project might do the most good.

Eco-art is a term used to describe art that responds to the environmental crisis. The forms that this kind of art can take are various, but most well known are the projects that can be viewed at the Green Museum,, the Ecoart Network (where my work is listed among a list of international artists) Ecoartspace and Women Environmental Art Directory Remediation or restoration art are widely used forms of eco-art. Brownfields, dumps, damaged wetlands, etc. have all been the lucky recipients of art projects that combine healing the soil and water with aesthetic means. Some projects offer the viewers a deeper understanding of the social and industrial history that led to the contamination or neglect of the site.

Eco-art is not a new area of investigation for Naidus. She has taught courses on the latter topic for many years, both at UW Tacoma (where she is an Associate Professor) and the Institute for Social Ecology. Her recently published book, Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame, discusses eco-art at length, and celebrates the burgeoning community-based arts movement. The book argues that the time for socially engaged art practices is now and that such practices can take many forms.

In addition to her work as a teacher of eco-art, Naidus has been a founding participant in an important international online discussion group of eco-artists for over a decade. She have given dozens of lectures on the topic for many conferences in the US and Canada. Most recently she has spoken on eco-art at the internationally-known Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, CA; an eco-art conference in Oslo, Norway, Swarthmore College, the Green Feminisms conference at SUNY New Paltz; for Platform London; and at Manchester Metropolitan University's MIRIAD colloquium in the UK.

Since the early 1980’s Naidus has created art projects that address environmental issues. Some of her well- exhibited works are Canary Notes: The Personal Politics of Environmental Illness (a digital image/text project, 1998) and Brought to You by the Men Who Plan Beyond Tomorrow, a digital photo/text project about climate change (2007). Both projects have been shown internationally. Recently she created and exhibited underGROUND: Artifacts of the Moment, a series of mixed media works created with scavenged materials that address the nuclear and environmental history of Vashon (2009).

In the early nineties Naidus created her first installation with living plants in a contemporary art space in southern California. It was an audience-participatory audio installation entitled REMOTE CONTROL that looked at how our educations inform our relationship to the environment. Designed to look like a classroom, old school desks became planters. Juxtaposed next to those sturdy desks, were fragile ones constructed out of paper, balsa wood, text and dirt. The project was designed to be temporary, so all the living parts of the installation were transplanted when the show was over. Everything else was recycled. All that remains of that project are photographs and a video documenting the installation and audience participation.

Naidus’ experience creating temporal works has been positive on the whole, but she is ready to take on the challenge of making a work that grows and lives beyond the life of an exhibit, a work that will hopefully generate many other art projects on the same site.

The interactivity of this project has been presaged by a career of doing audience-participatory work. Naidus’ installations have collected stories about nuclear nightmares, environmental illness, bigotry, body hate and more. The sharing of those stories creates a collective dialog that can ripple outward in meaningful and often positive ways. Community participation in this project will celebrate the instinctive impulse to plant seeds, tend gardens and harvest, and to heal ourselves and the land with this process.

The artist/consultant for this project, Shahreyar Ataie, is a highly skilled contemporary artist who has widely exhibited his multi-media work in the U.S. and the U.K. He has been developing projects with environmental themes for a number of years. He will document the project with video and help conceptualize and construct the storyhives, fences and benches.

OBJECTIVES: Through art, permaculture design and collaboration with local gardeners, farmers and artists, this project will create a living and learning garden at the BARC site. The project will include sculptural elements such as story hives and benches and hand crafted, raised beds.

Eden Reframed will offer the community a model of soil remediation using mushrooms and plants, to redefine our understanding of the eco-restoration process. It will be an interdisciplinary collaboration that merges story telling, planting and site-specific sculptures. Collaborators will include scientists, gardeners, farmers, environmental activists, students, community members and other artists.

PROCEDURE and Related Concerns

1. Planning will involve meeting with the permaculture design team and Vashon Parks to develop the most appropriate strategies for approaching the site. A timeline will be put in place and calls will be out in the community for more volunteers and in kind donations. A map of the site will be drawn so that everyone knows the parameters of the project.

2. Staking the site and soil testing. If possible, we will locate the project on the bluff overlooking the meadow and stake its perimeter. We will do some baseline soil tests. The garden beds are designed as interlocking arcs with room for two benches and two story hives in the center. An heirloom apple tree will be planted in the center of the garden.

3. Story hives will be built from cedar planks and panels. Two of them will be located in the center of the gardens. Each hive will contain pull out drawers and slots where audience members can place and read stories about their experiences with the aforementioned wonders. The hives will have shelves where jars of seeds can be left and traded with other community members. New stories can be left in those jars as well. Cedar panels will have text burned into the surface and then be treated with linseed oil and beeswax to protect them from the weather. The panels will have a honeycomb motif. The hives will have latches that can be locked when the park is closed.

4. Fallen cedar logs will be identified, split and hauled into the site to be used as story benches. The text will be chosen and burnt into the surfaces, which will be then treated with linseed oil and beeswax.

5. A deer fence will be designed with gutters to channel rainwater into a cistern. Gates will lock at two sides of the garden. The artists can lead workshops where participants weave the fence with yarn, beads, and community visions for the island. DUE TO THE PARKS FACILITIES MANAGER'S CONCERNS WE DID NOT USE CISTERNS AND GUTTERS, BUT RATHER BUILT BRUSH DRAINS TO IRRIGATE THE PLANTS.

6. The edible garden will be transplanted into raised beds (constructed as hugel culture – with rotting wood and branches as one of the layers in the soil, straw, nettle, compost and layers). The area outside the garden will be terraced with native plants that allow for adequate sunlight in the garden. Salal and mulberry bushes are first choices.

7. Interviews will continue to be conducted with Vashon farmers and gardeners. A call will be put out through Vashon All online list, solicitation at the Farmer’s Market and word of mouth. A team of volunteers (including former students) will interview local farmers and gardeners and the gathered stories will be included in the hives. Wooden benches with images and text will be designed to display the stories collected from farmers and gardeners.

8. SEEDS will assume liability for the project once the artists, consultants and volunteers are working on site.