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Object-A-Day Project

August 3rd, 2013

Object-A-Day Project

July 2013
George Schafer, AIA
PhD Candidate / Lecturer
Clemson University

The first design project for freshman students entering the undergraduate program in Architecture at Clemson University is an in-depth analysis of an everyday object. Students were provided an object that has an interior and exterior, such as a kettle, hair dryer, or light fixture. Inspired in part by Phil Burns’ “Egg-A-Day” drawings ,the students are charged with investigating and analyzing the spatial nature of the object, how it is used and moves, and it’s constituent parts. They produced daily wire contour models, orthographic drawings, contour drawings and volumetric models, using different media to explore the salient characteristics of the objects. Included are some examples of the thoughtful and surprising analytical pieces produced by the students in my section.

Tool-A-Day Project inspired by An Egg A Day

June 2nd, 2012

Tool-A-Day Project inspired by An Egg A Day

April 21, 2012. George Schafer, AIA, PhD Candidate/Lecturer, Clemson University.

The first design project for freshman students entering the undergraduate program in Architecture at Clemson University is an in-depth analysis of a hand tool. Students are tasked with finding a hand-held object, such as a kitchen utensil or shop tool, that has at least one moving part and produces an action. They are charged with investigating and analyzing the tool, it’s action, and it’s constituent parts through hand-drawing, using architectural drawing conventions such as plan, section and elevation. There are approximately 100 freshmen that complete this drawing exercise each Spring, and in 2012, I was in charge of one section of 15 students.

Having seen Phil Burns’ “Egg-A-Day” drawings, and having been amazed at the myriad of ways to understand, analyze and represent one object, such as an egg, I decided to have the students in my section do a “Tool-A-Day” drawing. Every time they came to the design studio, my students had to bring one 10” x 10” drawing of their hand tool. The idea was that if the students were forced to think conceptually about their objects, they would ultimately have a clearer idea about how to draw them in plan, section and elevation. To prepare them for this exercise, I showed them as many of Phil Burns’ egg drawings I could gather from on-line resources. Just as with his egg drawings, the students were to make sure each drawing expressed a unique idea about their hand-tool. They could approach is whimsically, abstractly or technically. They could imagine their hand tool in unique and surprising settings. And they were encouraged to explore innovative drawing techniques, both digital and analog.

By the second class session, the students realized how challenging it was to look at the same thing every day and represent a unique vision for that object. It wasn’t long before they acknowledged the extraordinary artistic and conceptual achievement that is Phil Burns’ “Egg-A-Day” collection. Nonetheless, the students pushed themselves and created some beautiful, surprising pieces. At the end of the project, the students presented their work to a group of guest critics, including the faculty coordinator for the course. He had seen the projects of all 100 freshman, and was so impressed by the quality of the “Tool-A-Day” drawings in my section that he exclaimed that it would become a mandatory exercise for the entire freshman class beginning Spring 2013. Thanks to Phil Burns’ artistry, a new generation of architects will begin their education by finding inspiration in the ordinary objects around them and expressing their vision in creative and innovative ways.

Tool-A-Day Drawings by Meredith Lenti. Top: Egg Beater in Motion; Middle: Egg Beater Rotation/Sequence; Bottom: Egg Beater Art.

An Egg A Day drawings on display at Richland County Library

January 6th, 2012

An Egg A Day drawings on display at Richland County Library

Article in the Columbia Star. http://www.thecolumbiastar.com/news/2012-01-06/Arts_%28and%29_Entertainment/An_Egg_a_Day_drawings_on_display_at_Richland_Count.html

Phil Burns - In His Own Words

January 4th, 2012

Phil Burns - In His Own Words

A new video about how Phil Burns took the advice of Pavel Tchelitchew - 'the best thing that you should do every day is to draw an egg'. Audio edited from a February 2009 interview with the artist; original music by Thomas Hodges. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G70J6eBnn9Q

Bibliography for Richland County Public Library Exhibition

January 2nd, 2012

Bibliography for Richland County Public Library Exhibition

Biographies and Memoirs
The Body Broken: A Memoir , Memoir by Lynne Greenberg
Lynne Greenberg recounts her struggles with debilitating chronic pain. After miraculously surviving a devastating car crash at age 19 that nearly took her life, Greenberg is blind sighted years later when the pain from initial injuries suddenly returns with a vengeance. Greenberg intimately details her life, loves, and lessons learned from a long time suffering with chronic neck and back pain. Lynne Greenberg is currently an associate professor of English at Hunter College and lives in New York City with her family.

The Cats of Mirikitani , DVD Documentary by Linda Hattendorf
Japanese-American artist Jimmy Tsutomu Mirikitani survived the Japanese internment camps of WWII, the bombing of Hiroshima and the loss of his family only to end up homeless and living in New York City’s Washington Square Park at the age of 80. He was separated from his family and watched several other friends and relatives die from sickness in the camps at Tule Lake. Mirikitani’s only source of comfort and healing were his paintings that covered material such as the bombing of Hiroshima, the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, his life in the camp and classic art forms he studied while an art student in Japan. Documentary filmmaker Linda Hattendorf records how Mirikitani’s life changes after the artist moves in with in September of 2001. The Cats of Mirikitani won Audience Awards at the International Film Festivals of Paris, Washington D.C., Tribeca and won Best Picture at the Japanese Eyes Tokyo International Film Festival. Both Linda Hattendorf and Jimmy Mirikitani still live in NYC .

Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World ,Memoir by Mary Pipher
Pipher shares her struggle to find peace amidst personal tragedy, turmoil and chaos. Pipher does not claim to be an expert in the art of Zen, but she humorously recounts her journey from suffering feelings of isolation and pain to finally reach a place of inner tranquility. Pipher is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author.

A Stroke of Genius: Illness and Self-Discovery, Memoir by Paul West
Celebrated writer Paul West paints artful prose to share his memoir with wry humor and imagination about living with chronic illness from a stroke. After being diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes and debilitating migraines, West sought out the meaning of life’s many questions to distract himself from how drastically his life had changed. West covers medicines, human nature, the resilience of the human spirit and the therapy of the arts during his journey. West is the author of fifteen other novels and resides in upstate New York.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Book and E-Book by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
A nature based memoir by writer Elisabeth Tova Bailey penned while bedridden with illness. Bailey shares how she coped with her medical conditions by dissecting and writing about the world of a small wild snail from the nearby woods. Bailey parallels her life and that of the wild snail through thought provoking prose and the wonder of a traditional naturist. Bailey quotes Edward O. Wilson from Bibliophilia, 1984 by sharing that “Humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life.” Listen to the NPR Interview and read an excerpt here.

Chronic Pain and Treatments (Non-Fiction)
Above & Beyond:365 Meditations for Transcending Chronic Pain and Illness, Novel by J.S. Dorian Dorian has created a day by day program for conquering chronic pain through the art of meditation. Dorian was inspired to write this book after suffering chronic pain himself due to surviving the removal of a malignant melanoma and coronary artery bypass. Dorian has written several other day by day companion books on holistic healing, mastering the art of tranquility, and his books have been translated into languages all over the world.

The Art Therapy Sourcebook, Novel by Cathy A. Malchiodi
Art Therapy has been making grand movements in the world of healing. From physical therapy rehabilitation to using the creative process as a coping mechanism for chronic illness, art therapy is increasing in popularity. The positive effects of these treatments have been studied more and more frequently as of late and this compilation is the leading sourcebook on the subject. Cathy A. Malchiodi has a Ph.D in psychology and is also a licensed mental health professional. She currently practices, teaches and resides in Louisville, Kentucky.

Chronic Pain and the Family: A New Guide, Novel by Julie K. Silver, M.D.
Silver takes a look at the effects chronic pain can have on the family unit as a whole. Starting with the definition of chronic pain, Silver outlines the common causes for chronic pain as well as the scale by which pain is measured. The many issues that sufferers of chronic pain face despite the pain itself involve the effect it can have on family relationships, intimacy, career and work life, bearing and raising children, depression and medication dependence. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and Silver details several different treatment options that involve both responsible use of medicines, traditional therapies and complementary and alternative medicines. Julie K. Silver, M.D., is Medical Director of a Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Outpatient Center in Massachusetts as well as an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.

Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life CD by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Over the past 30 years Jon Kabat-Zinn has been researching and practicing the art of meditation. Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief guides listeners through peaceful meditation processes that focus on relieving pain, discomfort and healing of the body. Kabat-Zinn is also mindful in his writing of the stress physical pain can have on mental health and well-being for a thorough examination of healing through meditation.

The Language of Pain: Finding Words, Compassion, and Relief, Novel by David Biro
Biro sheds light on the silent worlds of those who suffer from chronic pain and cope through writing and creating art. Biro discusses such great creators as Frida Kahlo and James Joyce and offers art therapy as a way to combat serious chronic pain and suffering. Biro is a practicing physician in New York City with an MD from Columbia University and has a Ph.D in Literature from Oxford University.

The Mind's Own Physician : A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation , Novel by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Richard J. Davidson
Have your own audience with the Dalai Lama through this thoughtful book on the healing power of meditation. Written in conjunction with master meditator Jon Kabat- Zinn, this book explores how to fully commit to the mind and body connection in terms of healing oneself. Psychology, psychotherapy, Buddhism and spiritual healing lessons fill this text to put you on the road to mental and physical healing and wellness.

The Pain Chronicles: Cures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing and the Science of Suffering, Novel and CD by Melanie Thernstrom
Thernstrom chronicles the beginning conceptions of pain from the earliest records until the present day. A long time sufferer of chronic pain herself, Thernstrom’s interviews with those affected lend a sympathetic slant to the exploration of such an intimate and solitary condition. Thernstrom includes the power of private journaling to aid in the healing process of pain. Melanie Thernstrom is a novelist and contributing writer for the NY Times Magazine.

Pain: The Science of Suffering , Novel by Patrick Wall
Wall explores the thesis that pain can affect all aspects of life and involves our state of mind, social mores, beliefs, experiences and expectations. Wall further examines the different ways individuals deal with pain to create specific expressions. Wall explores such phenomenon as the phantom limb and the effects of adrenaline on the brain’s ability to transmit the signals of pain to the rest of the body. Patrick Wall is professor of physiology at St. Thomas’s Hospital Medical School in London and a fellow of the Royal Honor Society.

Why We Hurt: The Natural History of Pain, Novel by Frank Vertosick
Neurosurgeon Frank T. Vertosick, Jr., M.D., has compiled his interviews with patients that suffered excruciating amounts of pain. Vertosick, in turn, takes these stories and weaves them in with the explanations of how pain and peoples understanding of pain has evolved over time. All kinds of pain are examined including chronic pain, back pain, angina and cancer to name a few. Vertosick also impresses the importance of being an empathetic and compassionate physician. Frank Vertosick lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is the former president of the Pennsylvania Neurological Society.

Understanding Pain from TIME Magazine
A special double issue on the influence of pain and health published on March 7, 2011. This features issue includes articles entitled “Healing the Hurt”, “The End of Ouch?”, “Living with Pain”, and “Beyond Drugs”. We hold these issues in our Periodicals section and you can also access the articles free online by clicking on THIS link.


Fiction Works
Truth and Consequences , Novel by Alison Lurie
Lurie is a novel about two couples living with the stress of chronic pain. When first introduced, there does not seem to be a discernible connection, but over time the couples intermingle and share their lives. With some deception and some comedy, Lurie’s novel revolves around how the effect of chronic pain on relationships can change lives and loves until they are barely recognizable. Determination and bravery, however, are also at the forefront of this story for a well-rounded look into both the giving and receiving of care. Alison Lurie has written several fiction novels and teaches folklore, literature and writing at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Surrealism and Pavel Tchelitchew
Surrealist Art: The Lindy and Edwin Bergman Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago
The Bergmans of Chicago acquired a staggering number of surrealist pieces throughout their lives. In this oversized art book, their surrealist collection is featured as a result of an exhibit through the Art Institute of Chicago. One of many surrealist painters showcased in this book was the inspiration and colleague of our featured gallery artist Phil Burns. His is Russian born artist Pavel Tchelitchew. Tchelitchew lived from 1898 to 1957. During that time, he created several pieces and had a penchant for focusing on human anatomy. The Art Institute of Chicago is located at 111 South Street Chicago, IL and continues to run by donations public and private, as well as generous grants and endowments from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Surreal Lives: The Surrealists 1917-1945, Novel by Ruth Brandon
Ruth Brandon writes about influential surrealist artists making way during WWI and ending with WWII. Brandon talks about the effect these revolutionary artists had on the future of art in the world and examines great artists including Andre Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Max Ernst and Dadaist Tristan Tzara. This time in the world’s history was a time steeped in politics, war and a changing landscape for perception versus reality. This was especially prominent in the art scene. Ruth Brandon is a social historian who has written several novels on famous persons throughout history such as Harry Houdini and Sarah Bernhardt. Brandon lives in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England.

Surrealism, edited by Mary Ann Caws
Mary Ann Caws edited this homage to surrealism that covers several famous artists in a beautifully put together collection of images and text. Full color glossy pages make the art come to life and lead the viewer through the history of the surrealist movement and the lives of the artists themselves in the first part of the text. Paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs are included in the works. The second part of the book shows documents and correspondence from the time period. The writings are put into context with what was happening in the world at the time as well as the personal letters many of the artists wrote to each other. Mary Ann Caws is a writer and Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, English and French at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

One Drawing a Day: A Six Week Course on Exploring Creativity with Illustration and Mixed Media, a Novel by Veronica Lawlor
Whether you have experience with art or you are just a beginner, this book will instruct you on letting your creative juices flow. Like our featured artist Phil Burns, you can create one drawing a day and feel your way to creating expressions of thought and feeling from within. Veronica Lawlor is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and the New School. She is also the president of Studio 1482 and a correspondent for the Urban Sketchers international blog.

Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

January 2nd, 2012

Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

"The geometry of the egg is compelling in itself as a formal component, perhaps paling only to the symbolic cargo of the egg as an icon of potential; of life suspended in an embryonic state. Phil has managed to connect both of these dimensions into a cumulatively charming, and impressively dedicated body of work. He revels in the latent potential of the egg through imaginative play, turning bodily injury into the vessel for dreams." Steven Matijcio, Curator of Contemporary Art, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

An Egg A Day - Exhibition in Columbia, SC

January 2nd, 2012

An Egg A Day - Exhibition in Columbia, SC

Current exhibition: An Egg A Day - Drawings by Phil Burns. 357 pieces of artwork now on display at Gallery at Main at the Richland County Public Library, 1431 Assembly Street in Columbia, SC. Through March 4, 2012.

An Egg A Day video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lGNmSpN58w
Original music by Thomas Hodges