My name is Lena Wilson and I live in the Northwest of Lower Michigan, which is to say the more southerly of Michigan's two peninsulas. I've been a volunteer at the Human Nature School (HNS) since 2011 and have gained so much by being a part of the community. I would like to further contribute to the experience of being a student at HNS by making some official HNS shirts.
Video: Tour of Nature Shirt Designs
Two of my designs are of wild canines that I share my home with - the gray fox and coyote. These shirts are for the kids attending youth programs at HNS, Fox for ages 6-9 and Coyote for ages 10-13. The Coyote and Fox home school students meet for one day (9am-3pm) a week during the school year.
Each canine shirt is a mini study of the animal featuring the
canine, tracks, a sample trail, Latin name and range. The drawings
are meant to be accessible. They are made to resemble something that
could be found in a nature journal, a sketch done for fun and out of
interest in the subject. I want to provide encouragement for students
to journal their favorite animals, interesting plants and
observations. Through observation and appreciation we can all be
encouraged to do some internal tracking and discover our
While the Gray Fox is a shy and lovable tree climber, the Coyote deserves another chance at gaining a good reputation. Coyote can be viewed a trickster, a teacher and an edge walker. This dog can thrive in many edge habitats. Coyote scat can contain bones and hair but I've seen it as chock full of wild plums! Much of the same can be said about Fox. Many people are talking about a style of facilitation called Coyote Mentoring, which occurred naturally in many native lifestyles. Check out Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature by Young, Haas, McGown.
The third shirt design, Earth Layers, is a visual interpretation of the
many layers of Nature and a representation of gratitude. It is
inspired by the Thanksgiving Address as outlined by the Iroquois
nation. One directs greetings and thanksgiving to, from the bottom up: people, earth, waters, plants, animals, trees, birds, wind and cloud, moon, sun, and stars, the spirits of the four directions, the ancestors, and the spirit that moves through all things.
This shirt is for the community of Human Nature School - outdoorsy, nature lovin', primitive skill practicin' Michiganders – added to the general merchandise in all sizes. It is also intended for the bioregion, the state, the world - whomsoever wants one! It will be printed for pre-k students too. This shirt is meant to kindle inspiration and awe of Earth's beauty and mystery. It is a daily reminder of gratitude.
This kickstarter project will print enough shirts in sizes über tiny to adult for current Fox and Coyote students (they will get them for the last day of class this year June 4th!), new student enrollment, staff, and to kickstart the Human Nature School general merchandise shirt tradition (or line).
While I'm the first to contribute designs, it is my hope that future nature drawings will be provided by students in HNS programming or community. My intention is to create a sustainable cycle of shirt printings with sales covering future printing costs so that new students can continue to receive shirts upon enrollment.
My passion for this project is derived from affection for the kids and belief in the HNS mission (see more below). I'm also passionate about creating art to inspire others and offer my talent to the community. I enjoy spreading positive and enriching imagery.
The shirts will be printed with a local business, Field Crafts. I have a good conversation going with the employees regarding these designs and am confident they will ensure the project goes smoothly.
Using earth tones for the ink and fabric, these shirts will be wearable during games of capture the flag and hiding in the forest. The shirts will be printed on 100% organic cotton Anvil shirts.
While it's likely anvil shirts will be used, because the shirt colors are limited (5763C is not available for youth shirts) I'm going to continue to look for the best shirt color options that are affordable.
A Shirt Mock-up with SOS colors
Where's the money going?
- Nearly all the funds raised will go toward organic shirts and printing costs
- Digital Printing and Post for backer rewards
- Artist Fees
The nitty gritty of it: It will cost about 7.95 per shirt on the lower end of things. If we can managed to get in the ballpark of 300 pieces, that's 2,385. A minimum of 244 pieces achieves a new, cheaper, rate. (discounts given for 72 pieces, 144 pieces, etc) Ideally, we can purchase shirts made in the US out of 100% organic cotton or recycled materials, which will cost around $2 more per shirt.
There are costs for mailing rewards, printing the postcards and archival prints.
The artist at Field Crafts will be paid for changes and support as needed.
Miscellaneous costs in spreading the word and compensating myself for a tiny portion of the work I'm putting into this.
HUMAN NATURE SCHOOL
Every time we get together for a Human Nature School function we give thanks and share our stories. We spend hours outdoors together observing, asking questions, and playing in rain, snow, and wind. What does it feel like to be native to your region? Do you know the flora and fauna? By fostering connection to nature, each other and ourselves, the Human Nature School's mission is to build and strengthen bonds. Each community is special and each individual in the community has something to share.
Every community has their own form of play, gatherings, songs, traditions, ceremonies. While we are focused in NW Michigan, HNS is part of a network of people involved in nature connection movements.
Likable, recognizable species can provide a starting point for nature education and awareness and help to promote a mindset of conservation and earth stewardship. People who develop a relationship with nature not only want to protect it, but come to understand natural cycles and change. Many people believe it is important to focus on our interaction with children and their experiences. What teachings are we passing to the next generation and what will they teach their children?
I think it is necessary to understand ecology and know your home place to feel that you are a part of it. Time and time again I hear uplifting stories of gardening, material reuse projects, positive water management, and the healing potential of experience in nature.
Here are some web links from around the world:
Thank you for supporting nature connection and hanging out with kids in nature! Once the project is fully backed, I will send surveys to the backers which will cover all the details of the shirts: color choices, size, and cut choices if applicable. When I created the project I didn't realize that Kickstarter has a survey system to cover any details needed about backer rewards.
Dude, you're on the web...you're famous! We will happily recognize your contribution by adding you to the gratitude shout out backer list on the HNS facebook page and in the HNS Summer Quarterly Newsletter (due on the Summer Solstice).
Just a little 4 1/4” x 5 1/2” thank you card handwritten to you with some doodles! On the front will be tracks, the Human Nature School hand logo, or another piece of nature artwork I've created.
Nature Name Gift and Challenge
This is just a little something extra. For youth that are receiving a print or tshirt gift through this project I would like to send a little Nature Name gift. This name tag will have the recipient's name and a bird, mammal, reptile, insect or tree name (you just let me know if the particular youth has an affinity for a certain group). If you tell me your region I can assign a nature name from your home!
Adults can participate too. In fact, I would be happy if you participate and share it with the people in your life.
My challenge is to make a nature journal entry on this nature name with a drawing, or story, or any details desired. Then, if the person wishes to make a copy of the artwork and mail it or email me a copy or want to send me their original, I will write back with some thoughts and some additions to their research. If they don't mind, I'll post their art on the Human Nature School blog and make an entry on my personal blog at www.lenamaude.com.
I can email you my mailing address if you prefer this method.
The fox print is different from the shirt, see below. These line art prints will be printed with archival ink on 8 1/2” x 11” 100% cotton rag with a smooth finish like a hot press 140lb watercolor paper. They will be printed in my sister's art studio, she illustrates many children's pieces. (www.flyokay.com) I'll sign each one and personalize it if you like. You are encouraged to watercolor, marker or color pencil on this paper. Be careful not to put too much water on the line art.
It's the fanciest coloring book page ever!
Earth Layers Poster
I love to watercolor. For $220 backers I will watercolor the Earth Layers line art and create a mini edition of no more than five 18”x24” posters printed with archival water soluble inks on archival paper. I will sign and number the poster and add a personalized message if you wish.
I'll post some sneak preview updates of the watercolor. The watercolor style will be colorful like my other pieces of work. Here are some examples of pieces:
Here are more images of original watercolors - many of these are studies of the woman form:
Fox, Coyote and HNS Staff Artwork
and Newsletter Contribution
The students will be gathering until the last day of class for the year on June 4th. For $400 backers I'll gather the students in class and we will happily do some nature journaling together in your honor to create a frame-able piece of nature artwork. Limited to three special Human Nature School group power art pieces.
If you feel inspired to share a nature story, a nature journal or drawing of your own, write an excerpt as an addition to our Quarterly Newsletter we would love to feature your piece and post it on the HNS website blog.
A FINAL WORD
Heya, heya, heya, heya, heya -HO!
Thank you for your time.
Risks and challenges
Some minor changes in the designs will be made if necessary to improve the aesthetic and ensure smooth screen printing.
Though I've selected some colors, I want to work with the artist at Field Crafts choose the best values for the shirt colors. All the colors will be earthy like the examples I gave in description. Like I mentioned, I might choose a different brand of shirt. Only one color scheme per shirt will be mailed to backers.
The more we raise, the more shirts we will print. If we raise so much it's crazy, we'll have to get creative and utilize some more ideas - a good challenge to have.
I would really like to print the logo on the back of the shirt centered just under the collar. This can be done if we raise enough money (about $600 extra) to still be able to print a good number shirts and add a second location (another screen). Then backers could have the option of having a shirt without the Human Nature School logo.
The Earth Layer full color version is not completed at the time of project launch...but no worries, it will be. ;)
I'm passionate about this project and appreciate your consideration. A great group of people, friends and family, are supporting my process. Be happy and healthy!
- (30 days)