Angie Foster | Cutting Room Floor

One of our favorite past times is catching up with old friends.  Angie Foster is a 2013 graduate of the Tuning the Student Mind program at the College for Creative Studies. She now lives and works in NYC.  Take it away Angie:

 

I moved to Brooklyn from Detroit last August. So far it has been adventurous, sweaty, lovely, hilarious, intimidating, ambitious, and perfectly imperfect in every way. I never know what I am going to see or do, but I just feel this pull that I am moving in the right direction. Within a few months of random freelance work when I moved here, I got my foot in the door of Pentagram, pretty much my dream job.

A two-week freelance gig turned into a 9 month freelance-turned-internship with some great people and designers. It has been an extreme growth period for me. I have questioned everything I know about life and design—and I genuinely love it. I’ve felt proud and appreciated and intimidated and confident, even though (once or twice) I’ve cried in the bathroom.

I still begin each day by meditating for 20 minutes. I ease my way through my morning routine without engaging with any digital screens so that I can set up my mind for the work that lay ahead.

In April, I joined Elle Luna and The Great Discontent in the reiteration of Michael Bierut’s 100 Day Project. I decided to introduce myself to someone new every day and document it in a sketchbook. I’ve met a barista, a professional juggler, a 40-something student, a DJ, best friends, an au pair, a makeup artist, a neighbor, a mutual friend, a bartender, an engineer, and even a celebrity—and I’m only on day 36. These titles are merely identifiers for the context in which I met them. Because each of these people are humans. They are siblings, spouses, parents, friends, employees and they took time out of their lives to talk to me. It’s a humbling, grounding, and liberating experience to approach a stranger without knowing what will come of it. It’s the most dreaded (before I do it) and most fulfilling (seconds after) part of every day for me, so far.

 

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Things that David told me during our chat: His two dogs (who were adorable) are Walnut and Barley. Walnut is bicultural—a lover of all humans and animals alike. Walnut, on the other hand, is a diplomat—he chooses carefully. While we were talking, a woman and her dog came up to us. Walnut proceeded to hop up onto her leg and hug–not hump–it. The dog was giving her leg a mid-western embrace, as sweet as that.

 

 

Every moment in life is exactly how it’s meant to be. It’s weird and great and messy. With the support of friends, family, coworkers, and the occasional kind stranger, I am able to forge on, right into who I’m meant to become.

To view my 100 Day Project #100introductions, follow me on Instagram or Tumblr.

 

Check out part of Angie’s 2013 interview that unfortunately didn’t make it into the Tuning the Student Mind documentary, but was just too good to leave on the cutting room floor (Amazing to witness Angie work toward manifesting her dreams. Congratulations, Angie! We hope you’ll continue to keep in touch. We’re rooting for you here at TTSM!):

 

Chelsea: Last night when I was sitting in on your class I caught something you said to Molly. I’m going to tell you what you said and maybe you can elaborate on it a bit. What you said was “If there is anything I now know from taking this class it’s that everything I need is right here within me.”

Angie: I think just realizing that you’re graduating college and you have to become this person and it’s been this 18 or 22 year adventure. Then you get there and you’re like, oh shit, what am I going to be? Who am I going be? What am I going to do? There are all of these crazy unanswered questions. It almost defeats you every time you think about it.

When I do go inside and I meditate and I go within myself, I feel like I can do anything I want to do. Basically every possibility that exists is already within me. I can make it happen and there is no better feeling than that.

Chelsea: If you had to explain this class to strangers how would you go about doing that?

Angie: I guess I would say; you come to class and instantly you’re reflecting on yourself. You learn meditation early in the semester, then you start to use it in your daily life. Then, basically putting that aside, knowing that you’re doing that and having your own personal experiences, you come to class and you talk about your place in the world.

It just makes me a much more confident person, designer, artist. There is so much pressure put on us in our education to go to college, get a degree, get a job, get the right job, get the perfect job. So when you are able to sit and reflect on yourself you can really appreciate yourself I think.

Chelsea: This is sort of random but I have a feeling you’ll run with it… How does “being love” enrich your experience of education?

Angie: I think “being love” enriches my education because I care a lot about everything I do. And I think that can put me in a really bad spot with class mates or team mates that don’t care as much. I actually feel like a stronger designer when I’m independently working.

But I think overall knowing that “being love” and caring and finding passion in everything I create is just going to inevitably put me with other people that care and that want to be passionate about their work, and who they are.

Rather than ending up in a studio designing the sexiest graphic image, I’m going to be in a place with people that I’m happy to go hang out with everyday.

 

Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch

May 2015 Book of the Month

Over the last four decades, David Lynch has created some of the best-known and widely discussed screen works of our time. This distinctive writer-director’s art bears not only the mark of box-office success but also critical acclaim and cultural posterity.

Yet Lynch generally reveals little of himself, or the ideas behind his work. Now he provides a rare window into his methods as an artist and his personal working style. In Catching the Big Fish, Lynch writes candidly about the tremendous creative benefits he has gained from his thirty-two-year commitment to practicing transcendental meditation.

In brief chapters, Lynch describes the experience of “diving within” and “catching” ideas like fish-and then preparing them for television or movie screens, and other mediums in which Lynch works, such as photography and painting.

Cherry Basil Almond Sauce

I love food. I love the freedom it gives me, as an artist, to express myself and try new and unusual things. A majority of my recipes commonly stem from an idea while I’m shopping, after seeing an item that inspires me. This past week, that food item was these luscious, organic cherries I found at whole foods in Detroit. I immediately thought cherries and almonds and was hooked from there.

 

I knew that I was also in the mood to cook with fish so I picked up some fresh Icelandic cod to use as my protein. Icelandic things continue to inspire me and constantly remind me of my trip there so I like to buy them whenever I can. I then invited my mother and father over for dinner. When I told my mom my idea for a cherry basil sauce she sounded uninterested and I suppose at first thought, a savory cherry sauce might be a bit off putting for some. I decided to give it a whirl anyway. I was determined!

 

Cherry Basil Almond Sauce

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped small
1 cup of cherries, halved and pitted
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup dry white wine, I’m using black box Chardonnay
1/2 cup almonds, slivered
1 tablespoon flour
2 tbs butter
fresh cracked salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. In a shallow pan on low/medium heat melt butter and chopped garlic together until garlic is golden brown. Mix in the chopped cherries, basil, wine, and flour, while stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste then cover and reduce heat to low and reduce for 25- 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. While sauce is reducing preheat a smaller frying pan on low heat. Slowly add in the slivered almonds and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Add a dash of salt for taste. Once roasted, set almonds aside. You will use them to top your dish.
  3. Cook whichever protein you desire to perfection and reheat cherry sauce if needed. Drizzle over top. Sprinkle the slivered almonds over the dish and garnish with a basil leaf.
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A note for another time, if you’d like a more intense flavor cut an additional cup of cherries and use them to help marinade your protein for 1- 2 hours prior to cooking. This sauce would also be delightful on chicken! Experiment! That’s what cooking is all about!

 

What Makes a Good Teacher

I filmed this interview at Molly’s house in May of 2013. I remember telling her over tea and through petting her dogs that we were just going to have a conversation about why she enjoys teaching. She was a little nervous as she brushed her hair out of her face and reminisced about me sitting in her classroom just a few short years before. Naturally, Molly quickly forgot about the camera and discussed her love of teaching in the most sincere of ways.

Here is one of my favorite moments from that interview:

Chelsea: What makes a good teacher?

Molly: I think really, ultimately what makes a great teacher is just being comfortable in your own skin and being authentic. Kids remember way less about what it is that you want to teach them then they do about the feeling that is emanated in the classroom. That feeling then inspires them to go out and study on their own.

Maharishi talks about absolute love. He talks about the spontaneous outgrowth of true love which has an unconditional nature. It is not this or that, it is. It’s when you meet someone and you light up in the joy of meeting them. Not because they’re pretty or skinny or young or old or can play the piano, but because there’s a joyfulness in their presence. I think that when you teach from that level, when you teach from that level of truly seeing the whole person and truly responding to the whole person, you create an environment that is inspired for learning.

Introducing the Cutting Room Floor

A common discussion among filmmakers is the ratio between the total duration of footage created for possible use in a project and that which actually appears in its final cut. This is known as the “shooting ratio”. Truth is, sometimes the best stuff ends up getting cut – random jokes, funny accidents, things that are just too intimate to share with a large audience…

We thought it might be fun to share some “lost” conversations from our transcripts. So, we’ve created a whole new blog category, “Cutting Room Floor”. We hope you love reading them as much as we loathed cutting them from the Tuning the Student Mind film!

This Book Was A Tree by Marcie Chambers Cuff

April 2015 Book of the Month

This Book Was a Tree inspires engagement. Written in poetic language, Cuff invites the reader to reimagine their relationship with the natural world. Chock full of creative projects, scientific analysis and reflective prose, This Book Was a Tree offers readers dozens of ways to reconnect with nature. Cuff’s gentle admonishment to unplug and rediscover the joy of the outdoors is perfect for all you couch potatoes, channel surfers and techies out there.

There is nothing like the fresh smell of spring. It’s April people – let’s get outside and celebrate by getting dirty!

Check out Marcie’s website too! http://mossymossy.com/

Magic in the World

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.”

 Albert Einstein

Several years ago while on vacation in Amsterdam, my husband bought me a ring. It was a thin ring encrusted with seed diamonds to be worn stacked with my engagement ring and wedding band. One day shortly after he gave it to me, it accidentally slipped off my finger. After spending several days retracing my steps, cleaning out my car and calling all the spots I had visited, I accepted the fact that it was probably gone for good.

About a week later, I had the oddest dream. In fact, it was so strange it woke me out of a deep deep sleep and left me buzzing with curiosity. In the dream a man was painting the interior walls of my house. He was a colorful character, essentially dancing through my home swinging his arms in an elegant fashion. The images he produced were totally entrancing. The most amazing aspect, however, was that he did not have a paint brush. Everywhere he went beautiful imagery just flowed out of his being. It was as if he had entered my dreamscape to remind me of the magic in the world.

The next morning was one of those crisp, cold, Michigan blue sky days. My husband and son were out in the yard raking leaves. I was at the kitchen washing the breakfast dishes. Suddenly, I heard Mike yell, “Molly, come quick!” When I walked outside, he pointed to my ring sitting innocently on the post rail of our side porch. It looked as if it had been gently placed there by invisible hands. It was missing one diamond.

Ever since that morning I have worn that ring snuggly between my wedding band and my engagement ring. I have never replaced the missing diamond. I wear it as a constant reminder of my belief that to all things visible there is also the invisible.

For most people “real” is what they interact with everyday. It is what they think about, what they “know” and what they can trust. And yet there have always been people in every culture who possess the ability to cross invisible thresholds into the unseen. In fact, I think most of us operate with this gnawing sense at the edge of our awareness that what we “see” is only part of the story.

This morning while driving to the bagel shop, I drove through a beautiful storm of swirling dogwood petals. It was, of course, the grace of the wind that gave rise to the spring show. Every day and in so many ways we are offered evidence of the underpinnings of the invisible — the wind, our intuition, every abstract idea we have ever pondered. And, yet, so often we deny the magic.

Too often, we seek to understand the world only through science, through evidence, through what we believe to be immutable facts. In my mind an adherence to accepting only the concrete vision of what one can see, hear, touch, feel or understand limits one’s ability to grow in wisdom. A “figure it out”, evaluative mentality limits our imagination. It is impossible for the finite mind to begin to understand the complexities of the universe.

I like to imagine that my missing diamond is in the pocket of my dreamscape painter. Perhaps, he took it in exchange for the “magic” return of my ring. As Carl Jung wrote, “Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day.” It is my strong belief that mystery is what compels us forward. My ring is all the evidence I need. I wear it with gratitude.

Molly Beauregard

Stalking the Wild Pendulum by Itzhak Bentov

March 2015 Book of the Month

Radical when it was first written in 1977, Stalking the Wild Pendulum offered the reader  a revolutionary image of the human mind and the universe. We at TTSM hope our July 2012 book pick reignites the passion for consciousness studies first inspired by Bentov more than thirty five years ago.

In his creative first book, Itzhak Bentov paints a provocative image of the universe as comprised of sound vibrations, light rays, subtle energies, and packets of consciousness. He also discusses his  ideas that our brains are actually thought amplifiers, not thought’s source; that the universe is a hologram, as is the brain; that we can instantly reclaim any information ever known; that our bodies mirror the universe, down to the working of each cell; that we are pulsating beings in a vibrating universe, in constant motion between the finite and the infinite. Research on the non-locality of consciousness and the holographic nature of the brain are now commonly discussed and explored in the field of consciousness studies. However, it was Bentov’s original work that brought these kinds of issues to mainstream science and made them worthy of consideration using well-constructed reasoning and inspired speculation.

Bentov uses clear, imaginative and inspiring language as well as witty illustrations to drive his points home. His exciting perspective on human consciousness and its limitless possibilities inspired many throughout the late seventies and eighties. It just may be time for a second look at this unique take on consciousness studies!

Creating a memory board from a special vacation


This year I visited Icealand and absolutely loved it. Along the way I collected newspapers in Icelandic, pamphlets, informational brochures and currency because I knew I would do something with it once I got home. Just arrange some special or visually interesting things you collected and voilà! You will have your very own memory board. I bought my frame from target as a 16×20”. I knew most of my momentos were small so I wouldn’t need a bigger frame. Keep it hung in a populated room of the house for a small, daily reminder of your wonderful travels. One day I hope to have a wall of these.

Perfect for spring break coming up!

Nicole St. John
www.nstjohn.com

Oneironautics – A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming

February 2015 Book of the Month

Do you dream? 

Of course you do.  Everyone does.

When someone says that they don’t dream what they’re really saying is that they don’t remember their dreams, not that they didn’t have any.   In a dream we still have access to all our five senses:  we can see, touch, taste, hear and even smell in dreams.  Sometimes a dream is so real that it’s indistinguishable from waking reality.

What if it were possible to go to sleep tonight and wake up inside one of your dreams?  Think about it.  If you knew that you were dreaming, the possibilities would be endless, right?  Maybe you’d fly across the ocean, reunite with a past love or relative, talk with dream characters, or explore new talents you never knew you had.

Turns out, we can do this, and it isn’t science fiction.

It’s called lucid dreaming.

Our book, Oneironautics: A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming, is an illustrated guide for those wishing to learn how to lucid dream.  In it you’ll find everything you need to know to have your first lucid dream, as well as practical advice on how to take it even further–what to do after you become lucid.

With the help of beautiful illustrations, our guide will teach you everything from flying with control, to dealing with dream characters, to shooting fireballs. It’ll even dive into the depths of nightmares and show you how you can turn them into your advantage.  You’ll learn how to stabilize and guide your dreams as well as how to overcome common mistakes that beginning Oneironauts often face.

– Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel, Thomas Peisel

 

See the Film