Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm Off...

To the Middle Ages (thre way we think they should have been!)
Back in two weeks!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stone Prayers

I just love this piece! I started out to make a photo transfer, and wanted to try a glossy photo, so I sprayed water on some cotton drapery lining and on the photo, then burnished the photo down onto the fabric. The transfer was only partially successful, but this is what is left on the paper. I thien used a white gel pen to suggest the features. I love stone angels, and collect what I can for free, and plan on adding more to my collection after my vacation. There are a couple of cemetaries nearby...
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Monday, July 21, 2008

Not so hot metal

Okay, my dh says this is architypical not-hot-enough soldering. It seems that I just can't keep the iron clean enough. I keep wiping on a wet sponge, I melt solder on it and wipe, I guess I just have to wait until I can get out to get the sal ammoniac, and hope that works. I am sure I won't get it before I leave for vacation, so I will just put the soldering to bed until after I come back from my trip to the Middles Ages. The way we think they should have been. Propane showers, clean toilets, no dysentary or burnings at the stake.

Ah, Pennsic. I am really looking forward to going, I have gone every year since 1992, and look forward to lots more. I look forward to taking classes (we had over 1000 offered last year in every subject having anything at all to do with the middle ages) and seeing old friends. I may take dancing there, maybe even bellydancing! I did that about 6 years ago, loved it then hurt my back and haven't danced since. I am sure I will take English circle dancing, it is too fun. I plan to spend alot of time just sitting around and chatting and spinning and knitting, and some time with embroidery and, if I get organised, bookbinding.

The weather last year was miserable, it rained (hard) everyday I was there except the day I came and the day I left. It was actually cold at night, hence the beetle that thought my ear canal looked like a nice dry warm place to be. I will bring alot of cotton balls, and sleep with them in my ears. In 17 years that was the first time, but I can guarantee it will be my last!

The weather in past years has ranged from idyllic to miserable, no surprises there. One year it was so hot that some of the battles had to be cancelled... there would have been roasted brains under those metal helms. One year I had to beg an additional blanket, and I take several. One year a tropical storm blew in, and once it was so dry the well was bringing up dirty water, even through 4 inline filters. But on the whole, it has been terrific. In 170 days over 17 years, there is bound to be every possible weather condition, except maybe snow. Yes, even tornados, but not on site. We watched the funnels forming over our heads, and some have hit around us, but not touched down on site. One rainy year a bunch of people got plywood (common on site) and surfed the mud! When a really bad storm hits, everyone who can puts on soup and helps those who have lost their tents or whatever.

Have I mentioned there are 12,000 to 14,000 (yes thousand, not hundred) each year? There are several sites with pictures, google "pennsic pictures" and you'll get a zillion. In its Own Light is my fav, but I can't seen to make a link work today, so you'll have to go there youself. Ah well, another 8 days before I can leave.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hot Metal!

Okay, lets talk about soldering. It is hot, it is difficult, it is magical! My wrist is healing nicely, it is starting to itch madly, and looks really ugly, but that is better than it was. Use my bad reactions to be forwarned... the iron is alot hotter than you want to feel up close.

It is also far harder than I expected. All you artists who can solder a smooth, consistent line of molten silver, I bow LOW to you. You are amazing! I am practicing and practicing, and when my tip is good and tinned, and I remember to clean it often enough, and get the tape and flux hot enough, and hold my tongue on the left side of my mouth just right, it is lovely. Regardless, it is fun and I will keep on trying and trying. Tonight as I was working late on a piece, it was really gelling, the flux melted, the solder flowed in even layers, and then I heard a pop.... the glass had cracked. DRAT!!!! Time to stop. I knew a pair of sisters who were weavers, and they wove every day in concert, tossing shuttles back and forth across a huge, wide, loom, and the first time one of them missed a catch, they quit for the day,. Early or late. Smart ladies!

Friday, July 18, 2008

What I have been doing...

Besides getting ready for my annual camping trip to PA, I have also been working on lining a friends sweater (gosh its harder than I thought it would be), and making a book for a friend who was so very generous with his time and energy. He drove me to a hospital the last time I went camping and sat from midnight to 0500, then drove me back to the camp. It was a favor I will never discharge! The short version is that it was really cool and wet and I woke up with a horrible pain in my ear, I thought a bee had stung my ear, but it was a beetle, digging in and crawling to my eardrum. It all ended happily, but it was no fun at all.

Now, you should know that where I camp, it is a two week medieval war! Makes for a fun time! The last two pics are some of the scenery there. So, I am finishing up a wooden cover, coptic bound book. I have painted a winged cat on the cover (his symbol), and a dragon on the frontispiece. I like coptic binding best I think, because while the book may open completely for a flat writing surface, it is also very stable. Perhaps the longstitch is my next favorite, or maybe sewing over tapes.

I have also been teaching myself to solder (so inspired by Deryn Mentock and Sallie Jean, and others who are doing such beautiful jewelry). I will say right up front, it is alot harder than it looks. More on soldering tomorrow, I will just say that my wrist is healing nicely, and I caught the iron by the cord before it hit the carpet... I just didn't get my other wrist out of the way! Sigh.

Tune in tomorrow for more pictures and fun with heat!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Two squirrels and their audience

For some reason the pics I took of Trouble watching the squirrels just didn't turn out, but he usually has his little face pressed against the glass, tail twitching and teeth chattering in anticipation of a squirrel-kabob. It is a good thing he can't get out to them, I suspect they would beat the poor thing up. These squirrels are tough!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Color Class

So here is the first excercise in the new Color Class for my yahoo group The Artists Circle. The idea was to make a 9 bit scale between black and white... I can't follow directions, so my scale has 10 bits!
The wagon, or caravan more properly, is for a challenge. It is only half of it though, the interior is the part of the challenge that will be swapped. I haven't got all the pieces together, but most are cut out. These should speak to our own ideas of what a caravan should be like, what we would like ours to look like. Mine of course has to be fabric! I used a batik that I then foiled in gold, used a gold Shiva oil stick, and freemotion embroidered the top. The bottom was a box from Michaels, and the wheels are bookboard circles, wrapped in copper tape and soldered. My soldergun is not quite hot enough for silver solder, so it is pretty lumpy. Next weekend, a hotter gun!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Second Post... Just in from Okinawa...

My son being promoted to Lance Corporal, USMC! Not that I am proud or anything... well, okay I am! Josh joined the Corps May of last year, graduating bootcamp in August, then trained in satellite communications. He reported to 1st Marine Air Wing in February, and we are as happy as can be!

Better Late than Never!

So here are the last two weeks samples for the Beryl Taylor workshop. The shiva sticks were done on paper, but then I had to try hand dyed silk too! I used an Indian block printing block under one bit of paper, a texture plate from Dakin Clay under the mulberry paper, and a script stamp and dragonfly under the silk. Then I dyed the mulberry paper!

Afterward I attacked the embossing excercise. First I used just one coat of embossing ink on Napali paper, then the same stamp with three layers right next to it. I also took dyed silk and really piled on the ink and UTEE, then pressed a topographic map stamp into it before it solidified.