Monday, September 7, 2009

busy weekend

On Saturday, the all-day marathon enameling demo at Art in the Pearl was surprisingly energising; despite setting up in the pouring rain, there were hardy folks showing up in the morning to see the art and talk with the artists and crafters. As the day went on, the sky cleared somewhat, and the crowds thickened. I talked and talked and talked, and in between, I was able to make a good start on my next commissioned pieces, a pair of heraldic enamels, which served as great examples of both a simple design and the delicate work needed to transform a small drawing into a finished enamel. More than one person commented on my enthusiasm and clear explanations, and twenty-six fliers for my autumn workshops went home with possible students. After ten hours of talking to the public, I stopped on the way home for some dinner ingredients, a bit of nourishing chicken to roast and green salad to get my strength back.

I had finished unloading all the boxes and bags of gear back into the workroom, the aroma of roasting chicken filled the air, and there at the door was my dear friend Valeria. I knew there was a reason that I had bought two pieces of chicken at the store. The only thing better than a restorative home cooked dinner, is a dinner shared with an old friend...
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On Sunday, after leaving her daughter at Kumoricon, we went back to Art in the Pearl, (I wanted a chance to look through this years artist and crafters), it is rare for me to have a chance to go to a street fair with an artist friend. I found that I was noticing things in company that I might have passed by alone, and that was intriguing...oooh you like this, well there must be something special here, and often, there was.

I might not have taken a second look at Joe DeCamillis mixed media sculptural paintings in settings made from old books and other ephemera, but V. was fascinated, and on closer examination so was I, his work was both technically superb and thoughtful.

I had seen Amanda Blake's oil paintings online, but the digital images just do not do justice work so subtle and personable, They feel like portraits of people I once knew, somewhen, perhaps in dreamland...

For some reason, I spend almost as much time looking at how various artisans display their works, as I do looking at the work itself. Somehow, when the display reflects the handwork and style of the artist, the whole environment of their booth comes alive. I was initially drawn to a booth where the display pedestals were open platforms on loooong skinny pipe legs, counterweighted with large pierced stones, and when I looked at the jewelry I was hopelessly enraptured: combinations of carved stone, blown glass, small cast figures and fabricated metalwork. There was a carved basalt bangle with a small bird standing on it, several necklaces with an assemblage of unique artifacts held in relation with tiny clamped cables and forged silver, and earrings and rings combining colored pebbles with forged silver. The works that so caught my eye are not on their website, but the smaller pieces are...

Usually when I think of decorated egg art, I think of pysanky. J Brooke Patterson makes art with and within eggshells that is unlike anything I have seen before. Some are abstract sculptures and others are whimsical dioramas, all are beautiful.

One more thing I enjoyed was a chance to spend a bit of time talking with another enamel artist. Linda Lundell, from Port Townsend, who does very exquisite work in cloisonne.
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The ongoing chicken saga...in the stormy weather Saturday, the plastic and tubular metal sunshade blew down and one of the legs buckled. This meant that the young hens had no shelter. I tried putting all of them into the small chicken yard this evening, hoping that perhaps they could all nicely go into the chicken house, but the silly young things didn't want to. One flew over the fence back into the yard and was quite perturbed to not have a place to roost. I managed to catch her, and as I was stuffing her into the henhouse, another young hen flapped up to the top of the chainlink fence along the alley...whoops, that is a big bad idea. It must have looked like a stupid home video for a bit there, with me grabbing increasingly flighty hens that didn't want to be caught or to go into the scary henhouse, but eventually they were settled there, and I put HP into the chicken cage, since I can't be sure she will behave herself at night. The very next up project is a henhouse with a big enough space for all of them to roost, I'm thinking that a New House will work better than one that is specifically HP's "territory". I don't have a specific plan or all the needed materials, that has been holding me back, but I'm just going to forge ahead and start constructing some kind of framework, and figure it out as I go...

Monday hen update - I've started "training" the young hens that the chook chook chook sound means that they should come over, or at least not run away. I stand by the fence and toss chunks of bread out for them, being sure to toss plenty at HP so she will be distracted and allow the young'ns to eat some too. Eventually they will learn that tasty snacks come from the big boss chicken (me). Tonight I again put HP into the cage, and gradually the young hens found their way into the henhouse, since she wasn't chasing them away... once it got full dark, I decided to put HP into the henhouse too, since they will all be sleepy and dozy. I will let them out early and hopefully there will not be too much drama. They are hanging out just a bit closer to one another during the day; I have read online that Rhode Island Reds tend to be quite bossy/aggressive, and she is definitely at the top of the pecking order. Hopefully they will work it all out and turn into a "flock" before winter cold sets in later this year. I started fooling around with the Ikea parts, my initial plan for a long skinny henhouse is probably not really stable, I had a hard time keeping the pieces upright. Tomorrow I will spend some more time re-combining the parts, I have another idea for how to add an external nest box that might work.

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