Monday, July 1, 2013

Maps and What Not

Looking (Tuscany, 2009)
I. the set up

Anna Smith (@writerswriting) told me about the Making Cycle series (#clmooc) and thought I might be interested in it as I like to make stuff. So I followed the link she provided and thought it the perfect reason to return to my neglected blog with a post in response. 

The focus for this week is on exploring the tenets of connected learning as expressed in these three key questions:

  • How is what you create driven by your interests?
  • How is your learning and making supported by peers?
  • How is your learning and making connected to larger systems?
The suggestion beyond these questions is to make a map that represents your making.  (Imagine my surprise that an earlier post I wrote about learning walks is referenced.)  A perfect day for that too.  Overcast with the hint of fog--every photographer's best day at that. There are all ways of walking.  Some happen largely on the feet.  Some happen mostly in the mind.  At best these differences may be hard to differentiate--not worth the bother.

II. an interlude
What is Written (Sant'Anna at Campana, 2009)

Last Thursday I learned that I won a trip to Italy. The last time I was in Italy I went alone and spent two weeks there, most of it at a monastery in Tuscany where I made art and practiced zen. The light in Tuscany is everything everyone says it is: too pure, it almost pains. It seems to set into focus specific parts of the landscape, like Hopper captured in Maine. To know I will be returning sometime this year fills me with confidence that I will return to making images--something that in this too busy year I have made less and less of.

Spun Gold (Tuscany, 2009)
This time I will travel with my husband and son and we will spend time in Tuscany and the south of England--where I recall the light as being bolder, working off the ocean with a sense of urgency.  I will bring my camera, a small box of paints, some paper, a brush, and a pencil or two. And the work I make there and later will be temporary maps, lighting possible ways.  This time I want to also work with sound. 
(Plymouth, England, 2012)

III. middle spaces

Like most walks, learning and not, the first physical steps happen while on your feet.  They begin with some intention--even if the intention is less clear, such as to wander, to be lost.  When you practice zen walking the focus is on putting one foot in front of the other, deliberately, nothing more or less.  At the monastery, we did such walking, a method that seems to clear the mind.  Now make images, says Doug. Make them at noon when the sun is directly above. Break the rules you think you know. Make portraits (see top image). 

And the walking, then and now, strips away the clutter, leaves  making photographs simple, doable, like this morning my husband taught me how to make coffee.  This is what it means to be in the middle: way leading on to way, loosing the need to know and the pretense of expertise.

Later today I will be meeting a friend in Morristown. Nearly two years to the day from the learning walk I documented. Who knows what might happen... Connected learning is less about the connections made with others, and more about the connections that happen when open to possibility. 

It's largely a way of living.


  1. much love.

    Break the rules you think you know.
    And the walking, then and now, strips away the clutter, ...This is what it means to be in the middle: way leading on to way, loosing the need to know and the pretense of expertise.

    1. How are you? Hope all is well in your corner of the world:)

  2. Spun Gold is breathtaking! Can't wait to see new images from you 2013 trip!