Little Fish

Presentation of Practice; Goddard College, MFA-IA, 2016

Susan Buroker and Stephanie Trotter with Little Fish, Scuppets.

Susan Buroker and Stephanie Trotter with Little Fish, Scuppets.

For my required presentation of practice, I created Little Fish; an interactive puppet show showcasing the effects nitrogen pollution has on aquatic like. The story is centered around Millers Pond, a community pond in Smithtown, NY.

Drawings of Millers Pond.

Drawings of Millers Pond.

During my study at Goddard College, I had an opportunity to attend the Highlander Research and Education Center. “The center has been a catalyst to reform in the labor and civil rights movement in this country and has touched the lives of many, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Pete Seeger” (Horton).

 
Catfish

Catfish

 

This concept combined with imagination, offers people an opportunity to create a world of respectful justice and the mindfulness of the oneness of all. I had an opportunity to share my experience as an artist, developing sculptures and art addressing ecological and social issues challenging my local community. The feedback I received from the group suggested using Cultural Organizing as a strategy, combining art and culture to broaden my audience. This is an avenue I am currently developing, using Scuppets (sculpted puppets) to address nitrogen runoff into Millers Pond, a pond in my local community (Nissequogue River/Smithtown Bay Watershed).

Brown Bullhead Catfish

Brown Bullhead Catfish

The Highlander workshop consisted of immersion into Highlander methodologies, Population Education, Cultural Organizing, Participatory Action Research (PAR), Language Justice, and Intergenerational Organizing. All the methodologies encompass learning and begin with the learner’s own experience, focusing on connecting that experience to others. Using the thread of experience to educate in such a way that people are able to grasp deep concepts and make sense of them through community, the program produces effective practices participants can use to govern their lives.

Catfish

Catfish

Preliminary Drawings for Scuppets:

Nitrogen

Nitrogen

Nitrogen

Nitrogen

Lady of the Lake

Lady of the Lake

Yellow Perch                                                                                   Bluegill Sunfish

Yellow Perch                                                                                   Bluegill Sunfish

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Millers Pond’s “Lady of the Lake” attends to the fish living in the pond suffering from Nitrogen’s infiltration. How will this be solved? Will Nitrogen have to go on a diet? This is what the audience had to find out. The performance concluded with a procession around Millers Pond.

Posters to spread the word and advertise the performance, Haybarn Theatre, Goddard College, VT.

Posters to spread the word and advertise the performance, Haybarn Theatre, Goddard College, VT.

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PROCESS PHOTOS:

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The suppressing heat of the summer forced me to convert my home into a studio in order to finish this project!

Spencer, my Jack Russel, volunteered to be a model! But he is a dog, the wrong species.

The Rehearsal at Goddard:

This is the brochure that was given to the audience before the performance.

This is the brochure that was given to the audience before the performance.

Goddard advisors; Peter Hocking, Rachel Van Fossen, and Erica Eaton.

Goddard advisors; Peter Hocking, Rachel Van Fossen, and Erica Eaton.

The Performance:

Question and answer after the performance with Susan Buroker and Fran Sillau; Little Fish's stage manager and one of the performers.

Question and answer after the performance with Susan Buroker and Fran Sillau; Little Fish's stage manager and one of the performers.

This project has been a collaboration by many. A special thank you to all who contributed.

This is a project that I'd like to continue to perform for children of all ages to educate on the importance of community building. Anyone looking for a performance, let me know!

Peter Hocking; Goddard advisor, my portfolio thesis second reader, and a very dear friend.

Peter Hocking; Goddard advisor, my portfolio thesis second reader, and a very dear friend.

Dr. Gale Jackson; Goddard advisor, my portfolio thesis first reader, and a woman after my own heart!

Dr. Gale Jackson; Goddard advisor, my portfolio thesis first reader, and a woman after my own heart!

The drawings, posters, and ceramic hand painted pieces from Little Fish, are exhibited at the Eliot Pratt Library Gallery from now until April 21st, 2017.

The Urban Sketching Handbook

Happy to featured in Urban Sketching Handbook: Reportage and Documentary Drawing: Tips and Techniques for Drawing on Location by Veronica Lawlor.

The drawing featured is a portrait of WWII veteran Tom Dugan. I sketched him during an interview for an oral history project about the men who served aboard the USS Intrepid.

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Sculpture Delivery for to Mystic Seaport Museum

On Novemeber 13th we very happily delivered my most recent sculpture to the Mystic Seaport Museum for Dalvero Academy's exhibit Journey of Transformation.

My sculpture Living in Harmony with an Ancient Being. Sound; Communication is in the process of being installed by Mystic in preparation for the opening November 21st. The sculpture is made from sepele mahogany, stainless steel, and aluminum wind chimes. Measuring 9ft. W x 6ft. H

I will continue with more updates!

Photo by Chris Brody

Photo by Chris Brody

Photo by Chris Brody

Photo by Chris Brody

Hidden Pockets Blog

Hidden Pockets is a blog that I developed after my research for the Hidden Pockets sculpture. The blog addresses the unrecognized labor — the hidden pockets of farming. The green revolution addressed the need to increase crop yield for the growing population, but what about the human element of labor needed and used in farming?

Migrant and seasonal farm workers perform numerous tasks necessary for cultivating and harvesting a large share of our nation’s food supply.  These undocumented farm workers live below poverty level in shoddy labor camps isolated from the community. These are the real philanthropists, (Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic by Margaret Gray) these workers sacrifice basic human needs to nurture food for others all while knowing they will go hungry.

You can read more about what is going on in the farming community and what you can do to help on the blog site: www.hiddenpockets.info

After enjoying your holiday meal and supporting local business, take part on December 1st for #GivingTuesday. Show your solidarity with farmworkers and plan to donate. The Farmworker Justice is accepting donations: https://www.farmworkerjustice.org/support/make-donation