WELCOME TO THE MAKE A FISH FOUNDATION, A COMMUNITY BASED ARTS COOPERATIVE
HISTORY OF THE MAKE A FISH FOUNDATION
I bought a fish hat in 2001. At the greatest hat store ever, Berkeley Hats, on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. http://www.berkeleyhat.com/ Little did I know that it was going to change my life completely.
Never had I been any kind of fish person, never even owned an aquarium. Don't care much for fishing, and don't eat much fish. But the hat grew as I added tokens, badges, and fish, all gifted to me my friends from all over the country at festivals and music events. As I started to acquire more and more fish, my interest in art and creating things grew. Fish here and there, some of it handmade. All of a sudden I am a collector of fish.
At High Sierra Music festival,in 2003, I was at a party known as the High Sierra Message Board MeatUp, and it seemed everyone brought me some type of fish. Especially these fish made out of 7Up bottles and glitter that were both hilarious and cool at the same time. I loved them and thought “Make A Fish Foundation” out loud. My friends were floored. The Make A Fish Foundation was born right then and there.
Later in that summer at a String Cheese Incident Show in Benbow that featured
Julia Butterfly Hill, I decided to actually make this happen and started to set it up..
Founded in 2004, the MAFF foundation did festivals, house and birthday parties and other events. Among the festivals were Bobolink and Earthdance. We have painted cars, buses, umbrellas and wall installations at different events.. Always fun and people loved to create....
At Earthdance one year this Hells Angel, and I mean “wearing the patch” H.A., spent hours working his fish. We did Umbrellas there. After a couple of hours, he came up to me, put his big burly paw into mine and said “Thanks a lot man, this is the one and only creative thing I have ever done in my life”.. I told him that is exactly why we did this. I told him I hoped that he would keep on and he said he would. All weekend, he kept coming back with his buddies and pointed out his fish to them. And they would work on one. And come back and put on some more glitter and googley eyes on them all weekend.
So the work is fulfilling enough for me. I love it. But it has to make money, pay people to work it, pay artists for their work and to donate to fish related charity. So I needed to create revenue beyond the donation jar. One way was to create my own art and the other was to enlist, and pay, other artists to participate by supplying their fish related art.
One thing I knew I had to do was be creative, and create my own art. I had to learn my own lesson so to speak. And that has happened. I make ceramic pendants, tie dyed luminaries and other art works. I have also found many artists who have excellent fish products. (See products tab).
Another thing was, the art did not work. the finished product was never satisfactory in regards to the art that was created. Some things were great but some were just so out of proportion and the finished piece was uneven. I have found a way to fix that. I created The Make a Fish Tessellation!
When I started creating the Tessellation that would become "Tess" I had a design in mind that had to be able to be have many fish possibilities. I was looking for something that I could make fun, something that even when blank was interesting enough to see fish possiblites. It also needed to be able to become many different fish, within Tess, fish using different eyes and mouths, gills tails etc. Below is the second bunch of "tess" The second ninety nine. This was a group project seeing how people saw "Tess" and how it all comes together...".