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APRIL 11, 2008   More below: AIGA REVIEW

Worm farming

Worms being dumped into containerLast month I went to a workshop to learn the basics of raising worms. The idea is you keep them in the basement, feed them your food scraps (vegetable skins, apple peels, etc.) and they happily grow and reproduce, creating lots of worm poop along the way. Worm poop, called castings, makes a great soil fertilizer for the garden.

Today I picked up two pounds of worms—about 2,000—that one of our group had ordered from a supplier in Pennsylvania. I brought them home, made them a cozy home with dirt on the bottom, dumped in worms and about two pounds of food scraps, and covered them with shredded paper.

In theory these worms will polish off that much food every couple of days, and a month or so from now I'll be able to scrape out my first batch of castings.

Update: By the next day a whole bunch (a hundred?) of rebellious worms had crawled to the top of the bin. Some had made it out and were shriveled up dead on the floor. The ones still crowded around the top of the lid I had to brush back down into the bottom. What's up with this? I'd better email Mark the worm guru and ask.


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Student Portfolio Review

Interior of Trinity Cathedral hallThis year's AIGA Student Portfolio Review was held in the Trinity Cathedral complex in downtown Cleveland. The location was beautiful and to my way of thinking more comfortable than the plush, corporate conference center where it's been held in previous years. Add some floating candles and we might have been in a scene from Harry Potter.

Actually, we could have used the candles. The lighting, dimmer and more uneven than it appears in this photo, made it tough to get a good look at the work.

I talked with five or six students and all but one had pretty good work. Two students from Ohio University's Graphic Design program really stood out. I don't remember seeing OU students in past reviews, but would say that their design was technically on a par with what comes out of Kent, but with more interesting ideas. A number of the projects were based on fairly elaborate processes of discovery that led to fresh-looking solutions.

One student described how she'd taken photos, put them into a movie, printed out individual frames to make a collage and based her design for a shampoo package on a segment of the collage. The abstract graphic that resulted was unusual but appropriate. Other students showed the results of a poster project that involved two students combining their work. I have to say I'm impressed by what I saw, and will be looking for more from OU in the future.

One puzzling thing: none of the students showed any web work. The OU students mentioned "new media" that they'd done, and at least two of them had websites listed on their business cards. Is it that their school doesn't consider it important for graphic designers to be involved with the web, or does the AIGA review have the reputation of being print-only?

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APRIL 2008