Monday, August 27, 2012

haven't lost the touch

Our plucky heroine is encouraged that the initial foray back into the world of very small and very very hot has worked out so well. Of course, staying up 'till 4 AM is better with company, but barring that option, productive work will do nicely. This was fun, I got to play experiment with use the various textures that the enamel can create, and stretch the things I know how to do...

Dried and ready for the final trip through the kiln, the last layer of seeds are done in painting enamel. The individual dots are a millimeter or less across.

It is really hard to photograph shiny black, it ends up mirroring the surroundings. The finished enamel actual size is about 7/8" diameter. Given the size, wirebent seeds would not have been small enough, so the enamel had to do the work. There are about four different layers of seeds, starting with the copper baseplate. Am also happy with the slight texture in the red outside of the pomegranate, and the shading and veins on the leaf...

The sample discs will probably be turned into small charm pendants in the form of pies, given how many folks thought that my time in front of the 1500 degree oven resulted in some perfectly circular fruit pies. Now I need to figure out how to make a tiny semblance of lattice top crust

Sunday, August 26, 2012

back in the workroom

After long absence, our plucky heroine is back in front of the Very Hot Oven... These are (3/4" diameter) samples, color tests for the center of a medallion; it takes far longer to do these than expected, but it is strangely satisfying.

I always forget, when away from the workbenches, how absorbing the work is... (silly girl) Just like drawing from life, or going walkabout with camera in hand, the handicraft is another path to a peaceful heart, at least some of the time... Now mind you, sometimes when the fire divinities are not smiling on me, my heart is far from peaceful, but tonight, this is a way to stop thinking about sadness and focus on beauty instead.

Y'know, when I talk about walking through fire and transformation, that is also what my artwork is all about. The glass goes through it again and again and again, and in time, is transformed to beauty that will last for centuries. I use that image, the walking through fire, when I think about the challenges in my ownlife. While I'll not last that long, mayhap some of the work of my hands will go on, and with luck speak to some unknown future...
≈ : ♥ : ≈

Tearose on silver: flowed in place, partially dried, sgrafittoed into dots... takes longer than you'd expect, 'tis a good thing I am nearsighted.

Fired the first time just to what I call sugar stage - the enamel is vitrified, but the individual grains are still mostly separate, just starting to fuse together. This allows me to flow in a second color of enamel, around the spots.

Tearose spots on a Ruby ground, silver backplate

This was fun. Half opaque Flame, half transparent Ruby. (whoever makes up the color names for enamels must also work for the housepaint manufacturers)

Fired twice, with counterchanged ground (Flame on Ruby, Ruby on Flame), on a silver backplate

I very rarely work on copper, it flakes off all kinds of oxide all over the place, but for playing with reds (and purples) once in a while it is necessary. Tearose spots on copper backplate, then to be given a Ruby ground. I also tried Ruby spots with a Flame ground, also on copper...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

bizzy like a bee

in which our plucky heroine makes progress in various places...

Rode my bike to the shops, in the cool of the early evening. One good thing about it being late summer, was that the summer hats were on clearance at Fred Meyers; found a simple solid black wide-brimmed hat that will do very nicely to wear to the wedding next month, and with the clearance markdown 'twas only ten dollars. All that is needed is to decorate a hatband with some flowers and feathers and suchlike, which is the fun part. Am feeling relieved that I will not need to also make a new hat in the next few weeks, indeed, have figured out that the bluerose pinafore, worn with my black lace top, will look quite suitable, should I not feel like (or have time to) sew anything new.

This weekend is all about the enameling, so not a lot more till Monday...

Like Flylady, but for the rest of us: Unfuck Your Habitat

Suspect that stuff-sorting, despite the aggravations, will yield very helpful results in addition to the desired organisational improvement. I looked in a box that appeared to have random bits of brown paper, and found, instead, the pattern from my overalls. Now I need not spend the better part of a day pulling a pattern from them, but can, instead, spend an hour or two cutting out a new pair. Once I find the brown cotton twill.

Have a cunning plan that involves the Ur-Pattern... it should be possible to selectively grade it up to fit my current size.How awesome would that be. My height and shoulder width have stayed the same my entire adult life, while my circumference has not... Of course, I am not sure what it says about my personal style that a design that I wore at age fifteen still appeals to me, and still fits in my wardrobe. This style has a bit more figure definition than my current TNT jumpers and pinafores do, but it would likely be another TNT design if I have the chops to do the re-draft...

Friday, August 24, 2012

get a clue

In which our plucky heroine does her best to help keep her friends alive, or how I am puzzled by manufacturers ideas about the intersection of style and safety...

This is what the back of the motorcycle jacket looked like after I was finished adding the reflective panel. Much more visibility to clueless drivers.

The only reflective panel of any size on the original jacket was this modest triangular patch in the center top. I cut away the additional fabric and stitched it turned under in order to allow the patch to remain functional. Every bit helps.

This shows the original narrow reflective piping along the back seams, in addition to a detail of the handstitched addition. Was necessary to handstitch the reflective panel to the back, to not compromise the inner layers of the jacket which, among other things, hold the armoured panels in place.

The remainder of the large reflective stripes from the cannibalized safety vest were added in a strip down the center front of the jacket, stitched to the wind flap over the zipper.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

you're still gone, and other Thursday thoughts

"...But I am still here
There's nowhere else to go
And I am still here
There's no one else to hold
And I can't fly
I'm not that strong
Yeah I am still here
And you're still gone
And I am still here
And you're still gone..."

Pretty much says it, in that plaintive western song style. Our plucky heroine saw G for the first time last weekend since he broke it off with me. It was both harder and easier than I had feared. Y'know when a whole channel on the stereo shuts down, and the music is somehow less vibrant, because part of it is missing - when we spoke, it was like that. Gone so totally now that my heart was bruised to bump against the absence. When he came down here last month to tell me it was over, his love for me was still there. Foolish me to think that love would remain, though the actions would change...

I wake each morning without that extra sparkle of joy that comes with knowledge that this girl is held in someones heart with love. Am very glad to still be walking in the bright world, but truly, would like company to my walking. Had it for a while. Miss it now that it is gone. The love in your heart wasn't put there to stay, love isn't love 'till you give it away... I miss that too.

Wheel just keeps on turning. Have been asking for more income generating work, and am making progress on some of the sewing projects this week. Almost done with the first motorcycle jacket modifications, that will be complete later tonight. This weekend will be dedicated to finally getting back into the enameling zone, I've a couple of actual orders, so the studio workbench will need dusted off. Once I get started in the workroom, I remember how much I enjoy it, and will try and get some pictures to share as well.

On the housey front, am hoping to get the big freezer defrosted this summer, and since summer is almost over, it better happen soon. Will need to borrow a few extra coolers (from friends) to store frozen food in for a few days. Am also thinking about actually doing a bit of indoor painting, like maybe the bathroom. Now that it is no longer full of temporary catboxes, for the temporary cats, and while it is still warm enough to leave windows open during the daytime, the lilac paint that is intended for that room could, maybe, be on the walls rather than in cans. (after the enameling is done, since that is a posthaste rush order) The good news is that our plucky heroine is finally finally starting to feel energetic enough to contemplate projects more strenuous than embroidery. Will be careful, of course, and ask for help when needful, but for months now have been very frustrated to not have the strength or the will to do anything other than convalesce. Oooo maybe I can manage to get some plywood cut, and this winter work on the mosaic windowsill project... Down girl down, one thing at a time... off to your sewing machine for right now... first things first then next things next...

a weekend party near Mud Bay

there are markers that let you know you are in the right place

and cows across the road

the house is gradually changing color

I remember this field being tall with hay,
and looking up through it to the sky

early morning walk to my beloved Perry Creek, the tide going out

always changing patterns to see, water and rock and wood and mud...
what does not show is the swooping patterns of swallows dancing in the air under the bridge

the woodpile makes a different kind of pattern

rusty garden weasels like fallen stars

under the appletree, the young chickens are growing up,
three of these hens will eventually come live at my house

later that day, it was time for a small expotition,
and the light showed the green in Jen's braided hair

Toshi practices balance, while the writer and the birthday girl follow

turn to look down the valley, these clouds in layers caught my eye

and just behind me, the children also practice balance

Look! almost the whole pack... en route the bakery on the other side of the bridge.

Looking up high over the countertop, inside the Blue Heron.
The soft light spills across the plants and barely shows the folk art
portrait of the shop on the wall above the espresso machine

Mud Bay, another view I never tire of, always different. The blessing of living near here for several years is one for which I will always be grateful

the Mud Bay tire, all encrusted

Later that same night, the party had good fun, good friends, and good food. B manages the wood fired oven, and some amazingly delicious treats ensue. This year I started the fire with flint and steel, something I have been attempting for several years now, finally successful

This was a dessert pizza, before being baked

M, tuning one of the most unusual guitars I have ever seen

M and D, singing together

the next morning, young C eats breakfast

slightly out of focus picture of the silk rainbow bunting
that was my gift to J's classroom

the sky on the way back south was full of amazing clouds;
these reminded me of uncarded locks of sheep fleece

on the other side of the overpass, the sun was going down

and all too soon, it was time to head back home...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

the last of the ketchup

Was a delightful long weekend away, up at Fjords End visiting, and celebrating the natal day of my dear friend J. Our plucky heroine drew lots of pictures, and rambled round finding photo opportunities ('tis a target rich environment in that respect) washed dishes, knitted a finger puppet for tiny C, ate all sorts of tasty food from the woodfired oven, finally managed to make fire with flint and steel, and all sorts of other activities... more about that later (and photos too), but for now, here are the rest of the missing daily drawings:

On the way up to OlyWa, it was so hot that B&N would only permit the train to run at 25mph, because the heat can cause the rails to twist. Part of this drawing was begun while it was still moving slowly, but once we started picking up speed, my drawing started disintegrating. Image is looking forward in the train car, back of seat is on the right with tray table upright...

A raised copper container inspired by basketry form, and decorated with cobalt and white beads and tiny discs with the moon phases engraved.

Apple tree, chicken coop, dog wading pool... all on the edge of the driveway at Fjords End

My most favorite dog on this side of the rainbow bridge... Toshi (asleep)

The tangle of split rings was quite challenging to draw...

B & K have a very generous fig tree. The basket handles were particularly hard to draw, as is obvious.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

hot sauce is not catsup

Our plucky heroine is trying not to melt in the heat, triple digits today, and now almost 10:30 at night and it is still 80 out. There is a dishpan of cold water underfoot here at the computer zone, that helps, a little bit. It is almost time to run the fans for a few hours, since it is almost cooler outside, finally, than inside. Running the fans for a few hours in the early morning helps rather a bit more. Getting on the other side of August will help the most. I am seriously wondering about the DIY whole house fan; for next year at least, it would allow running a fan all night, for significantly less effort than creating small fan openings in the outside walls.
That said, here are the other catch-up drawings from this week:

teddybear teddybear turn around... This wee bear is only a few inches tall, even with the felt hat and ruff. Has lived on my shelves somewhere or another for years and years, at some point he asked for something decorative to wear, hence the dagged attire.

This is the burn test birdie... I know, that is not the original purpose of suchlike, but as long as it has lived here at Acorn Cottage, that is the function it serves. Much safer than holding a bit of burning or melting fabric in hand (burn test, for those not in the know, is one way to help determine fiber content of fabric, when that data is unknown; different fibers react to flame in different ways)

In the bathroom here, on the steel medicine cabinet, a block of lucite with a magnet holds a test tube, which then can hold a tiny bouquet of alley flowers: fuchsia, and rose campion, and wild pea.

Woke up with this song running through my head, and with a bit of effort tracked it down, can tell that I will need to do a lot more listening to Show of Hands...

and then found this one, a little more contemporary...