Thursday, July 20, 2017

kolrosing

in which our plucky heroine wants to add decoration to all the things...
Whilst at ATWW earlier this month, I took a class on "kolrosing" (a method of decorating wooden objects by incising lines with a sharp knife, rubbing charcoal into the cuts, then smoothing the surface to allow the design to be visible)... when I got home, I realised that this one wooden spoon in my kitchen would be an ideal candidate. It is a quick, fun, relatively easy way to add simple embellishment to everyday objects.

a closer look at the handle of the wooden spoon decorated with an interlace pattern

There is not a lot of information out there on how far back kolrosing goes in history, primarily I suspect since the objects so decorated have not survived. Here is one article that attempts to document the process. The process is similar in some ways to tattooing, and also to scrimshaw.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

workbench Wednesday


in which our plucky heroine has a dream come true...

I have wanted a European style metalworking bench for decades. Instead have made do over the years with assorted thrifted desks, and most recently for the last almost twenty years with a kludged together combination of Ikea IVAR components, which allowed for adjusting the benchtop height to a better level. When Blue Cedar House let me know that they had a source for surplus 3/4" furniture grade plywood, a cunning plan ensued.

My first thought was to use the plywood to greatly stabilise the basic Ivar structure, using it almost like creating a partial torsion box; the plywood skin is much stronger than the thin steel x-frame that usually keeps the IVAR structures from rack and ruin.

Since it doesn't take much surface area to do the job, I had Farbjorn cut a variant on my house decorative motif into the top edge of the back, and mount that panel a little bit lower than the top of the framework, but just high enough that anything on the upper workbench shelf would not roll over the edge and onto the workroom floor. The side panels only cover the benchtop area and partway down the sides, about half of each side panel in total, which adds a significant area that can be now configured for storage without making the bench too heavy to move.

This view makes me all kinds of happy, with all the different complex curves. Right now the workbench is empty of contents, but the corner spots on the upper shelf that usually hold lazy susan turntables are visible in the variable color of the upper shelf. I had created the upper shelf from a standard IVAR shelf when I moved here to Acorn Cottage, as a way to keep more of the small hand tools accessible, and as it works well, saw no reason to change that aspect.

The workbench top, however, was significantly reinforced, gluing and screwing two layers of the plywood to the former benchtop, for a total of just over 2" thick. Since my sabre saw wouldn't be able to cut such a thick chunk, Farbjorn marked out and cut the curve from each layer separately, then attached them together, and finally spent time with a rasp and file making all the curves smoothly align. This thick benchtop has a very solid feel now, and the additional layers bring it up to a good level for me to comfortably rest my arms while working on tiny details. We had to raise the upper shelf one notch to compensate for the increased height.

This style of workbench with a central cutout is more commonly found in the Old World, and not commercially available here. I am not sure how far back in history the concept goes. The basic idea is to have a tall workbench that supports your work and your arms at a useful height to avoid back strain. I found some useful hints about bench ergonomics on this website about the "FrankenBench"

This half circle cutout is close to the shape of a traditional jewelry/metalworking bench. The bench pin to support sawing and filing small pieces will fit neatly in the center of the curve, I plan on a visit to Oregon Leather, for a chunk of hide to make the traditional hanging leather underbench drape that catches anything dropped from the benchtop. The refurbished workbench will make my shop a bit more congruent with the premise of William Morris, I know it to be useful and believe it to be beautiful... plus it will make that aspect of my "going to work" much more pleasant and functional.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday tidbits


...in which our plucky heroine shares some recent items of note...

this tiny OCF peach, made from a disc of pure silver just under 3/4" in diameter, and stamped by Bill Dawson... I enameled it using an attempt at the medieval basse-taille technique, where the bas-relief of the base plate is enhanced by adding transparent enamels in various colors across the surface, without using wires to separate the color as in cloisonne.
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All the small decorative enameled discs for the Wastekeep coronets are finished, and were sent off northwards to be added to the component parts in process, bringing the project that much closer to completion. In addition, I have now acquired cobalt blue and golden yellow dupioni silk, so as to start on creating the striped silk coronet padding, which will be an interesting project in itself.
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This is, in fact, a tiny drawstring bag, inspired by a Japanese style of rice storage bag... made by me. I was inspired by the talented Gwen Bury to start creating small cloth bags-of-holding to contain my assorted bits inside the lovely tine box that Drusa made for me, so that when opening the lid, the interior does justice to the beautiful exterior. Also small bags keep the contents of sewing box or purse well organised and tidy

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I was in the backyard, summer pruning the apple, when I noticed that the young feral grapevine has two tiny bunches of grapes!! This grape plant showed up in the middle of the backyard three years ago, probably planted by squirrels. When I realised what it was, we transplanted it next to the chain link fence, where it has been growing for the last two years... this year it grew exponentially, and had some tiny flower bunches, and some now seem to have turned into grapes... No idea if they are a tasty variety, but can always be used for verjuice... I figured to be happy with some grape leaves I could use for making dolmas, actual grapes are a plus.
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 20 enamels for Wastekeep apron dress yard waste bin
2 tiny peach enamel workbench refurbishbag to Goodwill
3 tiny linen bag x x
4 x x x
5 xx x
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, July 17, 2017

media Monday

in which our plucky heroine remembers that some friendships go way back...


Dogs and humans have grown up together for a long time. Millennia...
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 20 enamels for Wastekeep apron dress
yard waste bin
2 tiny peach enamel workbench refurbishbag to Goodwill
3 tiny linen bag x x
4 x x x
5 xx x
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, July 10, 2017

home again home again jiggety jig


in which our plucky heroine returns broken but unbowed....

This year ATWW was extra long, instead of a long weekend we got almost a weeklong SCA event at the lovely site near the southern Oregon coast. The moon was rising towards full, so the nights were well lit, and several mornings the cool mist from the ocean twisted its way down the valley and cooled the weather.

That lovely site, however, along a twisty creekside road, is several large pasture fields, with trees here and there and no real pathways or flat places. Cows and horses don't care about that, but the long event was really challenging for me physically, since getting anywhere involved walking (over very uneven ground mowed farm field) and my already damaged ankle was most unhappy at being asked to repeatedly take me overland from my tent to the portapots, particularly in the middle of the night, and to the few things I determined I had enough spoons to manage.

The good parts were that the class on block carving I taught was well received, I got to witness Vanya propose marriage to his ladylove (I have known young Vanya his whole 22 years of life, and his parents were some of my first SCA friends), and I had a chance to have a bit of a visit with Eilis who I dearly love and as she lives in Berkeley, almost never see these days. The other good thing is that all the clothing I made for them, and for Blue Cedar House over the month of June worked out really well, fit everyone, and were put to good use during the event.
Vanya and Elizabeth
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Other than those few good aspects the event was pretty grueling. I was in tears more than once. I began to doubt that camping with my friends was a good idea. I spent a lot of time remembering all the various activities that just a few years ago were so very easy that I rarely gave them thought, like walking from one end of the site to the other, or from camp to the portable shower truck on the other side of the creek... I sure am not 25 any more. I am not even 45 any more. Not only do I have no spoons left, I am not sure there is anything left of my "kitchen utensils" at all...
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 20 enamels for Wastekeep xx
2 tiny peach enamel xx
3 tiny linen bag x x
4 x x x
5 xx x
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, July 3, 2017

media music Monday



in which our plucky heroine is speechless...


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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 20 enamels for Wastekeep xx
2 tiny peach enamel xx
3 x x x
4 x x x
5 xx x
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x