Saturday, June 28, 2008

insomnia + the 3 things thing

Almost midnight, I tried to go to sleep, but it is still too hot. Actually it's hotter inside Acorn Cottage (85 F) than outside(80 F) Bleah! And being all banged up and bruised from my close encounter with the sidewalk this morning doesn't help.

The cloisonne workshop turned private lesson workshop is being great fun. Khalja is a wonderful student, I should have guessed that her lampwork experience would be a good background for a very different type of working with glass. Maybe some pictures tomorrow. Smokey the compact Akita is delighted to have such congenial, dog-friendly company, and insists on bringing her stuffed toys into the workroom.
Wandering around online I found this...
Rules: Post 3 things you've done that you believe nobody else on your F-list has done. Indulge in remorse if someone calls you out on a listed item.

I really struggled to think of things for this one, it feels like my life hasn't been that unusual, at least in ways I'm willing to commit to in writing (grin), but this is what I came up with...

1. Saw a cougar, at the end of my driveway in Idaho. (it ran away like a lion-shaped piece of water running downhill)

2. Got a ride across two New England states, while hitchhiking when I was in college, from a man who turned out to be a Federal Marshal. His parting remark when he let me off at my destination was "...see, Federal pigs aren't all bad", which given that this was in the early seventies, left me pretty speechless.

3. Worked, for a day, as a "live model" for med students at UW who were learning to do pelvic exams.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Welcome to the all cloisonne channel...

I'm still putting all the bags and boxes and bits away from my road trip up to Seattle. Teaching up at Danaca this weekend went well, I had four new students, and one from a previous class. Two people did more experimental pieces, and we learned that larger rectangular enamels need a different sort of support trivet for firing, and that sterling melts at a lower temperature than fine silver. Some lovely pieces were made, though I wasn't able to photograph all of them. I really find that for beginning enamel students, starting with a small circular piece allows a piece to be successfully completed, as the technical challenges of learning to bend wires and apply enamel are quite enough. These three pieces, made by Anne, and Autumn, and Krista are approximately penny sized

This coming weekend, June 27th to 29th will be the first cloisonne workshop here at Acorn Cottage. I will have two students here, in the newly refurbished workroom. My plan is that Friday evening 7:30-9:30 will be a social gathering and design parameter discussion, with actual studio work all day Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 10-5. (Cost $175, all supplies included to complete one quarter size circular pendant.) I am hoping to hold these workshops on a regular basis, perhaps once a month or so.

I'm also thinking to have an open studio night once a week, where folks, once they've taken a workshop could arrange to come and use the kiln and workspace. The idea being less costly than direct instruction, once you have the basics; I'd be also working on my own projects, but be available to answer questions...
I have mostly a voice again, though it seems to not quite be the voice I had before, it is perfectly adequate for teaching. I am quite ready to be done with the parade of respiratory viral invaders.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ooo looky, an artist lives here...

This afternoon my friend Mila came over to help with, and provide moral support, whilst major movement of stuff happened here at Acorn Cottage. The goal was to tackle the gobs of clutter that had geologically formed in the workroom, move them to more appropriate homes, move the worktable into the workroom, and thereby make possible a productive work/teaching studio. About five hours later, this is the result...! (needless to say, I am overjoyed, I have been sloowly nibbling away at this project for months. Having company to help keep me focused, and help move things around makes an enormous difference)

Of course, there is still a massive amount of primate sorting behavior still needed to actually organise the art and craft supplies, but the space is now useable, and there is room to do the organising/decluttering. (note the large flat empty worktable, which I vow will remain that way, when not in active use) There is also the taller "standing" workbench, which is barely visible as a corner on the righthand side of the image. Eventually I'd like to get a few more comfy adjustable chairs on wheels; I wish that Boeing Surplus was still an option. A year ago this room was a soggy disaster...
Whoo hoo, me brave... I just actually changed the HTML to make the page from last years demolition open up as a new window, and it worked! (tiny geeky babystep here)
Yesterday ended up having an unexpected work in the garden aspect. Went out to spend 15 minutes pulling weeds from one of the two badly overgrown beds, and just went bonkers. Ripping the huge weeds out, shaking the dirt from the roots, and flinging the weeds over my shoulders onto the lawn. Let me tell you, the hens were mighty interested. I can just see their tiny brains whirring...well finally she is acting like a proper chicken and scrabbling in the dirt. In my frenzy, I didn't think much about where the weeds were going, other than out of the garden. When I stood up and turned around, my not-yet-dry waffleweave bath sheet was absolutely decorated with large dirt patches. (note to self: next time weeding, keep TubTrug handy and gently deposit weeds therein).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

shameless materialism

Thursday my dear friend Vikki gave me a teapot that she found at an estate sale... It definitely passes the William Morris test, as I know it is useful, and it is the most beautiful teapot I have ever seen. The shape is wonderfully sculptural, and indeed short and stout like the childrens rhyme. When I turned it over, barely visible through the glaze on the underside, if viewed at an angle I could see the makers mark, HEATH. A bit of research turned up Heath Ceramics and I was quite pleased to discover the provenance of this lovely object.

One of the things I accomplished today was a better support structure for my baby espalier apple. With some molding from the ReBuilding center, two tall metal garden stakes, and strips cut from an discarded bicycle inner tube, the tree is looking much tidier. There is one tiny apple, on the Golden Delicious branch, if it actually becomes ripe, I shall make the most twee little pie this autumn.

De-cluttering the house is going slowly. I did manage to clear off the dining table. Well almost, 'cos I then immediately started sorting the first of waay too many boxes of random papers, at least half of which went immediately to the recycle bin. I will clear the table tonight before bedtime.

Hens are back to laying again, hooray. Two of my garden beds are full of luxuriant weeds, which I shall be removing as I can, but I've discovered many tomato volunteers, probably thanks to the hens-in-the-garden escapade of last summer. Being sick for the last two months has rather crimped my garden prep for the summer, I anyone out there interested in exchanging garden help for enamel or sewing... ?

I think that being "materialistic" is actually not such a bad thing. If it is possible to cherish the beauty of the world, both the living world and the made world, without being attached to it. This includes, for me, doing all I can to care for, make thoughtful choices, and live lightly on the planet. When I was in school I really struggled to justify my desire to live as a person who makes things, often luxury things, in a world that is already stuffed to bursting with things. But a thingmaker is what and who I am, that is the flavor of being I was born as; even as a tiny child that was what I did...

"Let the beauty you love be what you do.
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth."
~ Rumi

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

every day in every way

I am getting better. Voice is returning, slowly. (Still sound like I've been abusing whiskey and cigarettes since I was a toddler) Beginning to feel energetic again, and hope to spend the coming weekend evenly divided between garden, workshop stuff, and de-cluttering. All three have been woefully neglected for the last two months. Am managing to end each day with a shiny sink, though I do refuse to wear lace-up shoes - I don't own any. My substitute is to make sure I have earrings on, that makes me feel dressed and ready to face the day. It is silly, I guess, that I am an artist that usually forgets to wear any of my own artistry. Other than that, I am just at the beginning of the de-clutter aspect, amazing how much clutter one creative packrat can accumulate in a year and a half...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

random thoughts

The weather this morning was perfect, that is to say it was a perfect day to mow the lawn, which desperately needed it. Someday I shall figure out how to have a yard without lawnmowing, with the resources that are available to me. At least I have an electric lawnmower, which helps. Still seems thankless and useless, an odd kind of peer pressure, in order to not have a yard that upsets the neighbors. Up the street a bit, Molly and Carl have a front yard that is all flowers and sculptures, with a few tomato beds thrown into the mix. I should ask her how they did it. I'd love to have a front yard all fruit and flowers, and a backyard all veggies and fruit and poultry. Speaking of poultry, Henrietta has gotten over her fit of broodiness, and is romping around the yard again. I hope she starts laying eggs again soon, as I still owe 5 dozen for my Egils food, and I like to eat eggses my ownself.
I went out for a bit today, and while at Goodwill found a well-shaped small coffeetable with nice mid-century lines, solid wood (albeit a bit scratched up). Only $10, so it came home with me. Eventually I'd like to sand and stain it, but for now a quick cleanup makes it useable. Odd that I had just been thinking about such a sort of table, and there it was...
I realise that I have ridden my bicycle more in the last month that I've ridden in the last ten years. At least. And I've been enjoying it, which is more of a surprise. When I was young, I loved riding my bike, even as a young adult. But one day when I was very angry, and wasn't paying attention, I rode at full speed into the back of a parked car. Fortunately my glasses went flying before I flew over the handlebars and landed on the car face first, or I might have been blinded. I escaped with only minor injuries, but it was decades before I wanted to get on a bicycle again. When looking for a home here, one of my desires was to be close to necessary services. I have a recycling center, and a Post Office, and a New Seasons grocery store, and a FredMeyer all within a one mile flat radius of Acorn Cottage. Soon, probably within the year, there will be a local Library branch opening near the Post Office. Even if my car was running, it just makes more sense to bike it. And I'm grateful to dear Ariadne, who gave me her old folding wire pannier baskets.
Still have no voice. I hope it comes back before the two teaching jobs this month. I'm starting to get together the supplies for the class in Seattle at Danaca, since students are signed up. And I'm re-arranging my workroom to make a place for students, since there was interest in my enameling workshop the last weekend of June. I've also been thinking about possible barter (for-enameling-class) needs. I could use several cubic yards of garden compost and/or leafmold. I could use some woodworking. I could use the backyard deck taken apart and removed. Or...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

not a Luddite

I did it - set up the modem access and everything - and now can wander happily in the land of electrons whenever I so desire! (no bus trip to the library required) Yup... DSL has come to Acorn Cottage. Now to be careful that computer does not eat my brain...memo to self: this is a treat and a Useful Tool...
Yesterday my voice was going away, and by the end of the day completely gone, can not even whisper. Apparently trying to clear ones throat makes laryngitis worse. Must then simply do my best to ignore the awful tickling feeling in the back of my throat, and be patient. I hope the voice comes back before my teaching in Seattle! and the workshop here the last weekend in June...
I found the coolest thing under part of the rosemary bush. An odd bone fragment that must be a bluejay skull. As there were clumps of blue wing feathers. It has been under there for some time, as it is empty and almost totally clean.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

No more boring organ recitals…have some random movie goodness, and more~

I found The Cave of the Yellow Dog on the library DVD shelf. What a gem. Although I've missed seeing the other film by this director (The Story of the Weeping Camel), after watching this film I shall certainly track down that one as well. Daily life of a contemporary Mongolian nomad family, a sweet story, and beautiful scenery, not to mention the disassembling-the-yurt sequence. This film is now added to my (very small) list of films I want to own.

Yesterday I was silly on the bus home. There was a young family across the aisle, all terribly cute in that urban hipster mode. Pictogram Mom, in a sundress that really showed off her body art, had a little baby in a front wrap, septum-pierced Dad was keeping the folded stroller from escaping into the aisle, and there were two little curlyhaired boys, in jeans with bright shirts and felted vests. The older boy, who looked about five, had a black flat cap. When I looked over at him and smiled, he took his hat off, and put it back on upside down. I couldn't resist… I reached into my canvas bag, and pulled out my black Goretex rainhat, turned it round in my hands, then flattened it and put it on my head upside down. His grin got wider, and we spent the next thirty blocks taking turns putting our hats on sideways, or hanging off an ear, or covering our faces…all silently. I have no idea what the other people on the crowded bus thought; when leaving the bus, the boy quietly told me "it was fun playing with you"

The forecast is for more rain. Ran about this morning kludging together my downspout parts to direct the raingutter water into two additional waterbarrels. I've already managed to fill up three barrels. While I haven't had time to actually set up a "proper" rainwater system, I'd be foolish not to try and catch some of this somehow. If this odd June weather eventually turns into a more usual (no rain) summer, I'll have gallons of water for the garden.

Very soon I won't need to go to the Library to go online. If all goes well, after tomorrow evening. I need a DSL filter for my kitchen phone, which is attached to the wall. The filters they provided don’t work on that kind of phone. I did spend a hour yesterday talking to a young man named "Pain" in the Qwest service center, who managed to find out that yes, they did have such filters; yes, the phone filters are included as part of the set-up, and no, they cannot send me any until my account becomes activated. I had hoped to have all the needed bits and bobs on hand before setting it all up tomorrow, but will, instead, have to disconnect my kitchen phone. O well.

I'm thinking about looking into Flylady once I am on-line at home. Various friends have been quite successful with that system for decluttering and smoothing out the homekeeping, and I could use a different approach than my current one…

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

breathing is very important

Last night I woke up coughing so hard that my voice is rough today, but I have no fever, and I feel like my brain is returning. Hopefully I will still feel this way later today. But I am still sick, dammit. Tomorrow I am going to the free clinic, NxNE, which is only open one evening a week. I don't think I have pneumonia, but I can't listen to my own lungs. I'd like to get a perscription for my inhaler, which is currently four years expired, but still was very helpful with the former wheezing. If this is all allergies, and not some wierd viral crap, I swear that I shall need to rip all the carpeting out of my bedroom (at the very least)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

a grumble

I have managed to drag self to library to do internet, but have also managed to sign up for DSL WHoo Hoo! Activation is on Friday evening, so once I get setup accomplished, and virus software onto my computer, I will be good to go. This should be the last week I will have to waste hours to get to the internet. (yeah right, can use that time to wander around the internet instead, from the comfort of my own living room!)

I am still sick.
At least I am not wheezing much any more, but seem to have exchanged wheezing for lowgrade fever, for the last three days still horrible coughing, and a fever that hovers around 100. Not enough to feel truly awful, but enough to feel truly disassociated from ordinary life. I am managing to get self and critters cared for, but keep having to stop and sleep. I keep taking vitamins, herb tea and kombucha, and the organic chicken soup-in-a-box from Costco is my new best friend. Bah! My home and garden are in desperate need of attention, not to mention my commissioned work. I sure hope that I am better before the classes I need to teach later this month.
When I talked to my sister, she suggested that I needed to have my own virus recognition software updated, not just my elderly computer...