Boiling Water Made My Week

Not gonna lie. Got a tiny, fun surprise this week.

Here’s my premise. A few weeks back I participated in the Bored and Brilliant project, hosted by WNYC’s New Tech City. The framework: a series of challenges to encourage us to use our phones less and our creativity more. Count me in. The final challenge was a project posed by artist Nina Katchadourian: watch water boil, empty the contents of your wallet, build your dream home with the contents of your wallet. I lost myself in an absorbing morning of watching water boil and wearing my contractor hat, and you can read all about it here.

The project was just so fun, and I was so grateful that these folks created such a framework…so I did my due diligence to post a photo of my dream house to their flickr stream, and shared a verbose (in true Vanessa style) description. I gushed a little, especially about how cool it was to watch water boil.

This week I listened to the Dream Home wrap up podcast, and I got a shout out from the artist Katchadourian herself. I’m just gonna revel a little here…there is nothing cooler than hearing a creative person you admire appreciate your what you’ve shared…and hear about it in a podcast. She appreciated my enthusiasm for watching water boil. Yip.

My takeaway?


OK, there are two. The first is that when you truly get lost and absorbed and genuinely immersed in a task (any task, even boiling water) it becomes amazing and beautiful for exactly what it is. And then, if you can share all of that authentic goodness that opened your heart, in exactly the way it speaks to you, that is where the magic happens.

Second, Nina Katchadourian provides a wonderful perspective on cheating, aka thinking outside the box. Even though the instructions were to use only the contents of your wallet to create your Dream Home, some folks pulled in props, including a good number of house plants, to build their Dream Homes. Nina’s response:

I know it’s cheating to use plants. Don’t get upset about this. But, I think that when creative pressure forces you to break the rules, and it turns out as good as that, it’s a very good argument for thinking outside the box and doing what you need to do.

So, here’s to getting lost in the art of boiling water, letting go and exploring small details, breaking the rules, and share-share-sharing.



  1. This is wonderful! I’m a water-watcher myself. 🙂 And I love your dream house, and the whole idea of play it entails. I was at my kids’ school science fair last night, and a scientist-dad was doing a project where kids could use shaving cream and food coloring to make this incredible printed swirly art on index cards. Guess who got more excited than the kids?? So this post has encouraged me to attempt a gigantic shaving cream swirl painting this afternoon. After I take the dog out to play football with the kids in the snow. 🙂 Love your spirit and your posts so, so much.



    1. I hope you take some pictures. That sounds really, really cool! I am realizing how important it is to let go and just play, in any way possible! Also, unrelated, I saw a Mardi Gras parade picture today, of a dragon, and it looked like one of your dragons. Maybe you were there in spirit.

      Liked by 1 person


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