Monday, February 23, 2009

5 weekends / 5 months / 25 pounds of Coffee

It's been a week and a day since we pulled the pod from the ice. It was five months of work culminating in a great way to spend short winter days with fellow adventurers. I spent three nights camping on the ice and on the last day i was able to stay in my sleeping bag and watch the temperature go from 3 degrees at dawn to 50 degrees at 9:00 am with the rise of the sun and no need to get up to prepare for visitors. Veronica arrived soon enough to enjoy our last cup of coffee and Colin arrived with the drill spinning in reverse and he had the cover off before i could yawn one more time. I'll continue to post videos as I edit them and you can see all the pictures from the project by clicking on the blue pod. Many thanks to the consortium, Margaret, Ellen, Colleen and Arden for making the move off the ice so easy. And a thousand kisses to the Soap Factory, Peace Coffee,David Pitman, the Art Shanty organizers, and all of the shanty artists for creating such a festive village on ice!

My favorite question which we heard quite often is "Does it spin?" I liked the visual this put in my mind of a hovering spinning pod, so I'll leave for now with this video of a cast iron top spinning as Jo and Anna team up on the bicycle.

Ped Pex Power Pod

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Weekend Four

20 artists slept in the shanty village Friday night including me. It was a warm night; 30 degrees and slightly breezy. I arrived with a truck full of supplies at ten PM, and had a chance to see the bathtub in the ice that Jonas and Betsy had made outside of Sweat and Drink Inc, but was too tired to wait for the sauna temps to rise, and turned in early. Saturday there was an art car parade and a steady stream of visitors. The wind was up with a biting air and there were times when I couldn’t get back in the shanty due to the crowds.
The five-week length of the public project is taking its toll on the artists and many were tired of repeating the themes of their shanty. The sheer volume of questions we answer is phenomenal. I didn’t realize how hard this would be. What is most apparent is that we are not scientists. People are asking great questions, “How much power am I making? How long does it take to make the coffee I am drinking? How does it work? What are you doing in here?” Frankly we are still astonished that we are actually generating power out there, even though it is not enough with two bikes to generate as much as we need. We have a Watt reader that tells us when the batteries are being charged or drained, but because we are doing both at the same time, we don’t actually know exactly how much is being created.
The afternoon turned around when my family came by to hear my niece Emme Mandara G. and her friends Isaac, and Martha play music and do spoken word. It was beautiful and angst ridden at the same time. I love Emme’s voice.

Sunday we were able to rally and are feeling grateful for all of the support we have been given. Peace Coffee continues to support our efforts, and friends and family give generously. We spent the day recharging the batteries we had drained yesterday. We heated water with the Solar Oven and White Gas. Dave brought us a thermostat, and the temps inside the shanty reached 90 F with the door open. Outside temps were in the 30’s. The quality of light is stellar in the pod and people were happy to sit and visit with us and enjoy the day.
Resistance on the bikes remains high. We are still looking to meet the person who can help us solve this one. Most people are convinced we have it geared wrong even when we explain it is the current between the alternator and the battery that creates it. Though pedaling is difficult, we have a steady stream of riders.

A big shout out to Bekka Mueller for designing the buttons and Hannah Glidden for putting them together. Hannah did a great job helping in the control booth and fielding questions all weekend. Veronica and I put together our “25 Things about Ped Pex Power Pod” list.

My favorite is 21 “ If laughter charged my batteries, I’d be fully charged” . Veronica quoted a guest for this one.

Tonight we removed one of the bikes, as Colin needs the alternator and battery back in his truck. We have a two bikes and one alternator in the studio, but don’t have any batteries to connect them too. I’m sure we’ll figure something out for closing day next Saturday.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Music in the Pod

Time travel in the Power Pod both days. A huge THANK YOU to the musicians!!
Saturday we enjoyed music by Shawn Glidden, fiddle, and friends (Alan & Ann)
Sunday Tim Kaiser brought in his electronic instruments.

Saturday we drew down the power in the batteries by boiling water in a 190 Watt Crock pot called Hot Pants. We also used a solar oven (provided by Affordable Energy Solutions) to heat water to 122 Degree F. in 1.5 hours, and continue to rely on the Coleman Stove. We consumed 21 gallons of water and 6 pound of Twin Cities Blend Peace Coffee in two days. Sunday we asked guests to recharge the batteries so we would have enough power for Tim Kaiser's performance at the end of the day. He came prepared as he had brought his consumption down to 85 Watts.

With a shout out to our neighbors at the Map Shanty for having our Latitude and Longitude coordinates and a map on hand to bring Tim and Family to our location.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Seed Magazine Article

Katherine Sharpe wrote an article in Seed Magazine covering three of the art shanties with science themes, and included the Ped Pex Power Pod.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend Two

This weekend we had two bicycle generators running. On Saturday we discovered our back up dc powered water boiling thermos also had called it quits, so we were charging the camera and cell phone batteries. (Again relying on our coleman dual burner stove to boil water for coffee, tea, and dish washing) On Saturday we brought a crock pot to boil water as it only draws 200 Watts. We ran it for awhile (along with a radio and an ipod charger) and soon discovered that the resistance for pedaling is much greater if the batteries are drawn down. Backing up a bit, Colin rigged up a control board in the studio with lights and switches for up to three bikes. Once a rider gets some rpm’s (rotations per minute) going on the bike, Colin would switch the connection on to the battery. Many times this would be enough to keep the momentum going and generating power is relatively easy. Some riders would slow to a stop once the battery was connected. Colin was an excellent coach in telling riders about the wall of resistance that once you break through, it is easy riding.

We also had music in the pod this weekend when Vicki Dischler and Sarah Burk played on Saturday afternoon. Many thanks to them!! Also thank you to our out of town friends who visited and donated to our efforts, Susan Ranfranz and Theresa Smith

Ped Pex Power Pod image gallery

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

view from above

Click here to see an image of the Ped Pex Power Pod from the Sky.

MNKiteman visited the shanty projects and took a photo from his camera on the kite.

It means a lot to us because our uncle EW Redmond (the kite gypsy) had a big influence on our creative efforts. EW of Tulsa OK died in 2001 while holding the world record of consecutive days of flying a kite, 1297. He would ask a witness to sign his log and give them the kite they had watched fly. He also did a lot of photography from his kites and made wooden tops. One of those tops I cast in iron and have in the center of the pod. Many visitors ask "What's with the tops? It is my way of bringing EW with us. Thanks for the beautiful view from the sky MNKiteman!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Power is On!

We are now transforming pedal power into electricity in the pod. On the other hand, our brand new$95 DC 200 W coffee maker has called it quits after one day of service. Did we ask for too much? I did buy a $20 135W DC thermos which boils 2.5 cups of water in about 35 minutes. We are getting by with that for now. Tonight it is enough to know that after 4 months of working on this project, we can generate a bit of electricity on a frozen lake as part of a creative community...

photo gallery here

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Performance in the Pod

We will be hosting some music in the Pod at 3:00 pm on:

January 24 Vicki Dischler Ann Arbor MI, folk rock
January 31 Shawn Glidden and Old Time Friends, Twin Cities, MN fiddle
February 1 Tim Kaiser,Duluth, MN electronic performance artist
February 7 Emme Mandara G and Martha Minneapolis, MN

Opening day in Big Wind

Opening day for the Art Shanty Projects today went great. Big crowds and even bigger wind. The good news for us was that our shanty held up to 30 mile an hour winds. Big relief. The bad news was that we haven’t gotten the bike generators to work. Yet. We think it may be a faulty alternator. We had it tested yesterday and were told it was broken. Then had it repaired, but we still couldn’t get power…. We served up coffee, tea and cocoa using the battery power we had, and hooked up two 5W solar panels (courtesy of Tamsie Ringler). The batteries brewed our 200 W coffee maker for four hours and we ran our good ol propane coleman duel burner to boil water and make French press coffee and wash dishes. We also had trouble with the heaters. Lil buddy wasn’t having any of it, but the Pod was surprisingly comfortable, although a bit loud from the wind. Once it warms up we’ll tighten the cover. We plan on having at least one generator running by next weekend, and we’ll be out on the ice tomorrow and Monday. We have a nice view from inside the Pod of the Shanty Village. I only had time to check out a few of our neighboring shanties and did manage to sing a few songs at the Norae Shanty... Barry White, Sinatra and the Temptations. There are some brave shanty artists living at the Imperial TransAntarctic Expedition. It is well worth a visit to their outpost.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We are down to the wire. Two days until the opening and we are sweating it. We are nearly done with the first generator. Big shout out to David Welder for designing the tensioning system. Veronica and I are testing our machining capabilities…if we can just get the two tabs in just the right spot we’ll be golden. Colin came down with a cold and needed a day off. He’ll be finishing the door tomorrow. We are waiting for the wind to die down so we can put the shell on. We found some 40 foot wide reinforced plastic to use and we have our fastening system figured out (sandwiched triangles) so we’re hoping for calm skies on Friday. The power pack arrived today but we are still waiting for the low watt coffee maker. Back up plan is in order. We have a Coleman stove to boil water if we can’t get the generator going by Saturday. Either way, we’ll have coffee and tea and three bikes in there ready to ride…..

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

4 days to opening

With just four days left before the Art Shanties open, we are continuing to design and trouble shoot as we go. We have the floor and framework up on the lake. We built the door in the studio yesterday, and were hoping to put the plastic over the building, but
the winds picked up speed in the afternoon. We spread out the plastic on the ground over the unused railroad tracks behind the building, and it was impossible to cut it, because of the waves created by the wind. At one point Colin was lying on the edge of the plastic shouting instructions about length needed, and all i could do was laugh, he looked like he was belly surfing a big wave. riding the platic yo. Also the plastic has more holes in it than we first realized, and we will not be able to use it. We are looking for a covering which is 35' x 35' and the plastic comes in 20 foot widths. We're still working that one out.

A big shout out to David Everett for helping us solve the slumping framework issue. On Saturday after our second trial set up, we were brainstorming ideas ranging from incorporating an umbrella type framework to internal supports and David's idea of plywood triangles around the outside edge, provides two solutions in the shape of the pod and a good way to secure the cover.

Click Image for photo gallery of the Ped Pex Power Pod

I am expecting the Power Pack and low voltage coffee makers to arrive today. It is extremely cold outside today, we might install the door this afternoon, and plan on completing the first bicycle generator.

I am ever grateful to my employer, Franconia Sculpture Park, for allowing me to rearrange my schedule and continue to Power Pod this week!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Deadline looming, punch list shrinking...

On Friday, when I started asking the salesman at Batteries Plus in Woodbury questions he called a technician and said he had a science teacher here with some questions. He didn't know what to think when I told him it was an art project. OK. After 20 minutes of playing telephone (ask the tech , ask me,) he put me on the phone with Paul. I spent about a half hour walking around the store talking on the phone. He was very helpful and thought our plan would work. I bought a 125 RC Minutes at 25 Amp deep cell Werker Battery. The deep cell gel battery with similar amp hours was more than twice the price. I was encouraged later at Northern Tools when I talked to another salesman who was bragging about his 900 joule power pack which ran all his DC accessories (lights, radio, fishfinder) all day in his ice house. He said his was old school with a fraction of the power I was looking to buy. I ordered the 200 watt DC powered coffee maker, and the Durracell 600 W Portable Power Pack which we will be able to recharge from the batteries we will be trickle charging with a bicycle generator. The battery in that unit is a closed cell battery with 28 AMp Hours. It won't last as long as our other battery, but it comes with two DC outlets and an inverter, two AC outlets and a built in charge regulator.
Yesterday we spent time reinforcing the center post, and talking with Lee Wilson at Alternator Rebuild Co, in Minneapolis. He helped with wiring for the hook up from the alternator to the battery. We also cut the pieces to reinforce the bottom edge of the pod. Today we will be building a table around the center post, before we go to the Soap Factory to do our final set up indoors. We will also fit the plastic which we are using for the shell. Opening day at the Art Shanty Project is next Saturday and the weather forecast calls for very cold temps this week so we are planning on installing tomorrow. I'm off to the lumber yard to buy the wood to make our skids, so we can move the shanty once it's on the ice.
Ped Pex Power Pod

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ped Pex Power Pod
We have moved the shanty floor from my studio to the Soap Factory and are now working on the structure. We ran into a couple of problems with the rigidity of the pex for our structure. (What were we thinking?) We have reinforced them and the shape is taking form. Right now it looks more like an egg than a half dome, and the center post needs major reinforcement. Time to get busy with Wendy o Welder. (Loaned to us by William Glidden)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Supported by Friends

The response to my request for help has been incredible.
Thank you!
This project is supported by the generous support of money, time, materials and information by: (in order received)

The 2009 Art Shanty Project and the Soap Factory
Heather Doyle and The Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center
Zane, Tasha, and John Hock
Peter Morales
Sam Spiczka
Loretta Draths
Andrew MacGuffie
Shawn Glidden and Ellen Keane
Mary Lee, Riverlark Studio
William Glidden
Todd Bockley
Krista Kelley Walsh
James Michael Lawrence and Peter Michael Wilson
Nung Hsin Hu (Veal)
Sally Waterman
Michael George, choreographer/dancer
Coral Lambert
Terry Chance, Site Assembly
James Gladman
Diane Hellekson
Leigh Combs
Peace Coffee
Tamsie Ringler
David Welder
Thomas Moran, Classic Quarters
Bruce Stahlberg
Colleen Daly
Sheila Riley
Jonas Lindberg
Thomas Linder
Jenny Lea and Christopher Gamer
David Asher Everett
Jeffrey Kalstrom
Margaret Kelaart
Kate A. Clark
Jane Powers
Vicki Dischler
Sarah Burk
Susan Ranfranz
Theresa Smith

Ped Pex Power Pod">process image gallery

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Coffee Shop Plan

Colin did some sketches...

Our shanty

My brother Colin has returned to our hometown after living13 years in Seattle and one day over coffee we hatched our plan. A bicycle powered coffee shanty. Oh we have big ideas: built in heating and cooling systems in the walls, bicycle generators, lights, hot coffee. Veronica and I run metal pours together and she is the one who winter camps every year in Northern Minnesota.. She has good cold weather functioning, yes she’s in.

We realized immediately that we needed a lot of supplies and information and bikes and….so, after three weeks of worrying, I put together the following email and mailed it to everyone in my email list who I thought would either a) be interested in hearing about the project and/or b) would donate money, objects, and information.

Dear Friend,

Me and my siblings, Veronica and Colin are developing a community art project and we need your help. We are building a bicycle powered coffee shop as part of the art shanty projects on Medicine Lake this winter. It's a five week (Jan 17 - Feb 14) interactive exhibition and we are having loads of fun putting this thing together. We received a grant of $700 ($450 before it starts and $250 after we move it off the ice). We are recycling as many materials as possible, but our projections require another $900 to build 7 bike generators and gather building materials. We have a good start with 7 bicycles donated, and a good lead for possibly partnering with Peace Coffee. (who delivers all of their coffee locally by bicycle) Can you help? Please click on the link below to donate through paypal. Any amount brings us closer to realizing this green dream. In kind donations are also welcome we need: 2"x4" boards, 5/8" plywood, 3/4 inch pex, 40' x 40' reinforced plastic, 7 GM alternators, 7 deep cycle (or car) batteries, discarded steel bed frames (angle iron) and other cool stuff.

"The Ped Pex Power Pod relies on visitor’s energy and stamina to pedal their way to a cup of hot coffee, tea or cocoa. A social sculpture and experiment in green energy, we are creating bicycle generators and are hoping you, our guests, will have enough pedal power to provide hot drinks for all. We ask visitors to bring a cup or thermos. Although we will have in house mugs, no foam or paper cups will be distributed. Bring your book club or coffee clutch and generate some heat."
blurb to be published in ARP 's shanty insert in January

We really appreciate your help with this and of course hope you can visit us on the ice!! All donors names will be posted in the pod. (please let me know if you wish to remain anonymous) Anyone who donates $100 or more will receive a piece of copper toast as a thank you!



Felicia Glidden