Single Minded

June 22, 2008

GOOD Magazine has a brief piece about a Chicago-based artist called Sighn who is devoted to the phrase “It’s OK“.

[T]he artist has set out to create a million hand-carved, business-card-sized blocks of wood in the shape of his words. The ambitious project started as a way for him to use up the scrap wood lying around his studio. Now, after selling out the first edition of 500 pieces—each costs $20—he’s turned to bamboo plywood and locally grown basswood for his materials. He has even collaborated with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree for every piece sold—and he appears to have no desire to quit anytime soon. “I absolutely plan to continue this through to completion,” he says. “I hope to plant one million trees.” At his current pace, Sighn estimates that the project will take 60 years.

It all seems more industrial than artistic to me.  To spend an entire lifetime on a single creative idea is depressingly limiting.  But wotthehell, wotthehell, as Mehitabel would say.

In Support of Goonj

June 22, 2008

In India, there is a wonderful organization called GOONJ that helps recycle old clothing and materials to make clothing, school bags and items such as sanitary napkins for poor villagers. The GOONJ organization has just been awarded the Indian NGO of the Year award, a year after winning a UN award for its female hygeine project.

Founded in 1998 and organized entirely by volunteers, GOONJ now supplies more than 20,000 kilos of materials to poor families each and every month.  Taking the idea of recycling would-be waste to a whole new level, the GOONJ project has become well established as a distribution network able to reach the poorest areas of India.  They deal with a number of recycling issues, but their primary target is clothing.

The Global Oneness project has an interesting video interview with the founder of GOONJ.  He makes the very valid point that huge natural disasters bring international clothing assistance, but that for those with no clothes, just a regular winter is a continuing disaster.