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PGA (Please Generate Art) 2012: Recap

thousands of balloons at PGA (Please Generate Art)

Well, we did it, folks. PGA (Please Generate Art) opened last Friday, and for 6 hours that day, hundreds upon hundreds of people wandered through the whimsical, mini-golf inspired art exhibit. Between shuttling people through Sound Collective, the section that Caitlin O’Meara, Laura Bock, and I created for PGA, and re-filling our balloon wall (you’ll see later), Brian and I managed to take a quick break to run through the course ourselves. I snapped a few photos so that I could take you through the magic, too!

mushrooms at PGA (Please Generate Art)

After grabbing a golf ball and club at the Pro Shop, we started the course at Identity Registry. Giant watercolored walls filled with fun, child-like drawings provided the backdrop for a canvas of thumbprints. We each added our thumbprint to the registry.

down the rabbit hole

Next, we went Down The Rabbit Hole. This installation, created by Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling graduate students, Emily D’Annunzio, Courtney St. Clair, and their friends, was dark and creepy and disorienting. And amazing. We had to carefully maneuver the course, which was crawling — literally, crawling — with dancers covered in glow-in-the-dark body paint. Quite surreal.

PGA (Please Generate Art) all lit up

the big eye at PGA (Please Generate Art)

Once we putted through all the holes in Down The Rabbit Hole, we pushed our way through the curtain to the next section and found ourselves staring at one enormous eye, blinking and looking around as it was projected onto the curtain walls. Our good buddy Sarah Newby created this voyeuristic section. So cool, Sarah. So cool.

colorful cardboard city at PGA (Please Generate Art)

Next was one of my favorite sections — We Generate Our Own Environment by Master of Arts in Teaching candidates, Danielle Holtz and Sarah McHugh. They created a giant cardboard city, which participants could alter by adding stickers or projecting different colors, patterns, and textures onto the walls. The end result was just beautiful.

balloon room at PGA (Please Generate Art)

After adding our stickers to the cardboard city, Brian and I wandered through Balloon Consume. To pass through, we each had to blow up one balloon and add it to all the other balloons that had been added before us.

a wall of stories at PGA (Please Generate Art)

In addition to orchestrating much of PGA (Please Generate Art) throughout the pat year, recent Master of Arts Management grad and our fun friend, Lucia Palmarini, put together her own section for the exhibit. Throughout the last semester, she collected art, photos, stories, and poems from friends, family, and strangers. On the big day, these bits and pieces were strewn together by PGA participants, creating new, changing narratives as the day wore on.

real tweets at PGA (Please Generate Art)

Next up: Town Crier. Boy was this one amazing! It was like a non-virtual twitter feed. We wrote down brief sentences on index cards and handed them to the crier who proceeded to read our “tweets” aloud through a megaphone for all of PGA to hear. After being announced, we tied our “tweets” to pieces of yarn that hung from the ceiling and left our words to mingle with everyone else’s ideas, opinions, and silly thoughts. Our favorite “tweet” of the day was the very first one: “I need soup!”

paint blast at PGA (Please Generate Art)

Next up was Paint Blast. It was definitely a blast. We dipped golf balls in paint and rolled them across a canvas on the ground. Messy, but so much fun.

colorful carnival at PGA (Please Generate Art)

And finally, we found ourselves at the last section — Sound Collective, created by yours truly and my crazy-awesome classmates Laura and Caitlin. We had a giant rainbow colored xylophone, a glittery metallic tunnel filled with tiny jingle bells, and the magnificent tambo-ring of fire. (Disclaimer: We didn’t actually set this on fire. That would have been crazy. Too crazy.) We putted through the tambo-ring using special tambourine clubs and then rounded the corner to the big finale — a game of darts with an enormous wall of balloons. Some balloons had noisemakers inside! People loved this.

balloon wall at PGA (Please Generate Art)

By the end of the day, our balloon wall had seen hundreds and hundreds of people. We went through 1,000 balloons, folks. I consider that a measure of success.

Sarah West Ervin, Laura A. Bock, and Caitlin O'Meara at PGA (Please Generate Art)

Also a measure of our success: we be such good friends now! And I gotta give a special shout-out to all the artists, administrators, and volunteers who made PGA happen: Lucia Palmarini, David Marts, Brandea Turner, Jessica Weisensell, Carolyn Sybesma, Alistair Porter, Sarah Schwartz, Sam Funt, Caitlin Duerinck, Stephen DeSantis, Katie Collins, Emily D’Annunzio, Danielle Holtz, Sarah McHugh, Courtney St. Clair, Michael “Hoodie” LaHood, Chris Naka and the Workroom staff, Jefferson Godard, Kari Sommers, Building Services, DEPS, The Recycling Department, The Graduate Office, Student Organization Council, Xerox, Ace Hardware, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Home Depot. It took a village!


PGA (Please Generate Art): “Sound Collective” Progress

Awhile back, I mentioned that my classmates and I were working on a project for the graduate student component of Manifest, Columbia College Chicago’s annual, urban arts festival, which showcases the work of Columbia’s graduating students. The project devoted to graduate students is called PGA (Please Generate Art) an over-the-top, interactive art exhibit disguised as a miniature golf course. Caitlin O’Meara, Laura Bock, and I put our pretty heads together to propose a noisy and bright installation for PGA (Please Generate Art) called Sound Collective. With DIY instruments, flashy colors, and mini golf obstacle courses, we hope that Sound Collective appeals to the child-like musicians in PGA’s participants and draws forth the joy of making noise and music that most of us keep buried and hidden from criticism.

PGA (Please Generate Art): handmade tambourines

We’ve been ambitious, but with help from Chris Naka, the Coordinator of Columbia’s Workroom (where we’ve been constructing Sound Collective), David Marts (my coworker and the man who helped create PGA), and the best husband in the world (Brian, obv), we’ve made quite a bit of progress in the last few weeks. Take a look!

Columbia College Chicago Work Room: yarn, glitter, and glue

The Workroom has many tools and supplies at our disposal. It is a happy place.

PGA (Please Generate Art): balloons and noisemakers

We had to order some special supplies, though. I guess we couldn’t have expected the Workroom to have 2,000 balloons and 400 noisemakers….PGA (Please Generate Art): rainbow painted bamboo

Caitlin, Laura, and I are each in charge of one section of Sound Collective. We’ll also be working together on a fourth section, which is where the balloons and noisemakers will come into play. My section is a giant xylophone! Oddly enough, the college had a bunch of unused bamboo in a basement on campus (perhaps from last year’s PGA…?). David picked up a lovely rainbow of paint, and we got to work brightening up the bamboo.

PGA (Please Generate Art): handmade xylophone

Once dried, Chris and his student workers graciously constructed the xylophone for us with a couple of 2×4’s and some nails.

PGA (Please Generate Art): gold and silver jingle bells

Caitlin’s section is a jingle bell tunnel! That’s 600 jingle bells, people.

PGA (Please Generate Art): silver tunnel

She got pretty creative with a dryer vent and some scissors.

PGA (Please Generate Art): Caitlin O'Meara & Laura Bock

Here, Caitlin and Laura work feverishly to tie all those little jingle bells to the wire skeleton of the dryer vent, using flashy strings of tinsel.

PGA (Please Generate Art): handmade jingle bell tunnel

Oh, to be a golf ball sliding down this whimsical tunnel…

PGA (Please Generate Art): making tambourines

Laura’s section has been dubbed the tambo-ring of fire. It involves lots of handmade tambourines (using painted embroidery hoops and colorful pipe cleaners), a hula hoop, and a ramp.

PGA (Please Generate Art): Brian West making tambourines

Brian is a masterful tambourine maker.

PGA (Please Generate Art): Sarah Ervin with a cosmic hula hoop

And did I mention that the hula hoop lights up? You don’t wanna miss this, folks. Come and join the fun on Friday, May 4th. We’ll be at 1104 S Wabash (Chicago, IL) from 1pm to 7pm. Make some noise with us!


26 on the Outside, 6 on the Inside

Happy Birthday Brian red and blue cookie cake

I did it! Please join everyone else in congratulating me on reaching twenty-six years of age. While that in and of itself might not be much of an accomplishment, this last year sure has been. As you all know, and are maybe tired of hearing about, I married my co-blogger and the all-around lovely lady, Sarah. Since this past year was such a big one, you may be a bit worried about me. You may be wondering what my twenty-seventh year could possibly bring about to top all the goings on of twenty-six. Well nothing, of course, could top the wedding, but I assure you that’s not going to stop me from livin’!
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The Best of Westervin 2011

handmade embroidered wedding logo on vintage postcard

It turns out Westervin has a had a pretty great year. We’ve done a lot, most notably got hitched, and have had a lot of fun. We’ve put together some of the highlights so that you all can take a look back with us. While we certainly feel that we have accomplished a lot in 2011, we are hoping that we can make 2012 even better. We’re full of ideas and all of that fresh start enthusiasm, so look for this train to keep on rolling.

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You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello

december holiday photo collage

Christmas is over and the New Year is here. We are finally back at home, having brought our journey through the center of America to a close. It was a great trip filled with highs and lows and hours and hours in the car. We drove through six states starting from our homebase in Chicago and ending up in Louisiana, with a layover to see friends in Little Rock on the way back. We were able to pack quite a bit into just over a week. So much excitement, from our trip as well as some pre-celebrations in Chicago, that we just have to share some of it with you. Let’s take a quick look back before we move forward with a new year:

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Christmas, Without You

Well it’s holiday time for the Westervins, which means we’re taking off for a bit so we can head down to Louisiana and Arkansas. But we’ll be thinking of you the whole time, we promise! See you in the new year.

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Happy Thanksgiving


The Westervins wish you a happy thanksgiving from the vintage opulence of Grandma Jane’s bathroom.

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Giveaway Alert: AHC Necklace

AHC necklace giveaway on Where the Lovely Things Are

Hey kiddos! Remember Debbie Carlos from our interview for the Maker’s Remarks series? Well, I just came across this giveaway on Where the Lovely Things Are. Debbie is giving away a few lovely necklaces from her shop AHC, and you just have to leave a comment to enter. So scoot on over there and throw your hat in the ring! And, ya know, if you win you can always give me the necklace… Jusayin.


PGA: Please Generate Art

PGA: Please Generate Art, Speaker Womb exhibit

{ Speaker Womb installation, by Mike LaHood, at the PGA: Please Generate Art 2011 exhibit; Photo credit: Braxton Black }

Now that I’m back in school, I’m reminded of the all opportunities and resources available to students. But I don’t just mean events with free food and student discounts. Turns out there are all sorts of organizations and offices on campus that offer workshops for professional development and avenues for creative expression. This year, I’m taking advantage, dangit. I’ve decided to get involved with the graduate student component of Manifest, Columbia College Chicago’s annual, urban arts festival, which showcases the work of Columbia’s graduating students. The project devoted to graduate students is called PGA: Please Generate Art, an over the top, interactive art exhibit disguised as a miniature golf course.

PGA: Please Generate Art, Pro Shop exhibit

{ Start your journey at the Pro Shop, by Erin Moren and Emily Lamoreaux; Photo credit: Braxton Black }

Last year, the course consisted of about 12 “golf holes”, which participants navigated through… as best they could. Some of the golf holes were functional, allowing the participants to actually sink their golf balls into a bathroom sink or through a life-size board game, for example, but most of them engaged the mini golfers in other ways. Each golf hole was designed and executed by a graduate student or small team of graduate students, from each of Columbia’s 15 graduate programs.

PGA: Please Generate Art, Pro Shop exhibit

{ Photo credit: Braxton Black }

PGA: Please Generate Art, Bathroom/Meadow exhibit

{ Bathroom/Meadow installation by Mike LaHood; Photo credit: Braxton Black }

In the Bathroom/Meadow golf hole, participants parted a shower curtain and found themselves in a fully furnished bathroom, complete with a graffitied wall they could add their names to AND a surprised bather! This actor was wearing a bathing suit, of course—it was a family friendly experience, after all. And it just so happens that I was the surprised bather for part of the day. It was interesting, to say the least.

PGA: Please Generate Art, Bodyscape exhibit

{ Bodyscape installation by Emily D’Annunzio and Courtney St. Clair; Photo credit: Braxton Black }

Through the Bodyscape golf hole, a group of Dance/Movement Therapy students performed a type of contact dance improv. Participants had to navigate through a room of painted, contorted bodies to get to the next “hole”.

PGA: Please Generate Art, Operation exhibit

{ Operation installation by Emily Moravec; Photo credit: Braxton Black }

There was also a functioning, life-sized game of Operation…

PGA: Please Generate Art, Plinko exhibit

{ Plinko installation by Mike LaHood; Photo credit: Braxton Black }

.. a “televised” game of Plinko…

PGA: Please Generate Art, Tea Party exhibit

{ Tea Party installation by Lucia Palmarini; Photo credit: Braxton Black }

… and a magical tea party with lions, and bears, and the pink panther. I was also dressed as the bear for part of the day. How do I get roped into these things?

PGA: Please Generate Art, Balloon Womb exhibit

{ The “Balloon Womb” leading to the Paintroll installation by David Marts; Photo credit: Braxton Black }

So this year, I want to play a larger, more creative role in PGA: Please Generate Art. I’ve teamed up with three fellow Arts Management students (my dear friends Caitlin, Katie, and Laura) to submit a proposal for our very own “golf hole”. The working title? Sound Collective. From our proposal:

Sound Collective is about appealing to the child-like musicians in all of us, about drawing forth the joy of making noise/music that most of us keep buried and hidden from criticism, about watching ourselves (through the strategic placement of mirrors) as we assume the roles of masters of our musical universes, and about the emotions we are able to conjure by seeing ourselves in this state.

Stay tuned, folks! I’ll be chronicling our PGA adventures as we further develop and construct our installation.



Buy Handmade? Take My Survey!

So…. I’m in grad school. I’m working towards a degree in arts management, hoping one day to put some business skills to use in the American crafts industry. I like crafts! Big surprise. Here’s why I’m telling you this: I need to do some market research for an assignment, and I’ve chosen to study consumers of handmade goods. Natch. I want to gain a better understanding of the average crafts consumer, to understand their motivations and interests in the handmade movement. And what better way to do that than to gather data on buyers from, perhaps, the largest and most popular handmade marketplace, Etsy? Answer: there is not better way. So, I wanna hear from you! Let’s talk about how much you love (or don’t love) Etsy’s offerings!

Please take a few minutes to complete my survey , answering 12 questions about your Etsy shopping experiences and, in turn, making my life a little bit better. Thank you!