Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter All You Good Eggs!

Don't worry - back in Michigan, still moving.....but we are getting down to the end and getting the house listed next week.  Whew, what ride! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Unpacking...New Studio Here We Come!

How time flies when you’re moving…whew!  It’s been like a respite from the arctic.  When we left Michigan it was 30 degrees below zero and that was without the wind chill factored in.  We packed in a big hurry because we picked up a trailer on a Thursday and then they announced one of those big weather fronts was going to come through after the cold spell.  The one that dumped all that ice and snow on the Midwest and up through Boston and New York.  We decided we needed to “get outta Dodge” before it hit or we’d have to wait another four days for it to be cleared away. 
This is how the new studio looked before I started moving boxes, floor protection (flashing and fire retardant carpet), tools, boxes, and equipment into place.

Looking pretty bare here
It’s not the permanent move yet – but the third load…and a nice stay in North Carolina while we arrange some furniture, make decisions, even ordered an actual new to us kitchen table.   We had a good chuckle with many a clerk here while we shopped as they apologized for it being so cold…LOL, really?  On our one day sprint ahead of the storm the temperature changed by a whopping 60+ degrees.  From minus 30 to 32 above.  For us, even that felt like a virtual heat wave.  And now, a mere 10 days later we’ve enjoyed many a day of 60 degrees.  And sun – hurrah for the sun! 
So far, so good.  We had this head high pile in the lower level storage area that is beginning to dwindle down as we move boxes into their proper rooms.  And thank the heavens for the help as on this end of the trip are one son and my delightful daughter-in-law who are helping to settle us in….and moving many a hefty item.   Between all of the kids helping they’ve made this physically and emotionally bearable – I’m a lucky mother.
What attracted us to this area was the climate, the close proximity to family, and the artistic community.  We are very close to Asheville.    The cons were obvious – we are also leaving two grown children and family in Michigan too.   But grown was the operative word – grown and busy.  We can pretty much travel at will back to MI for visits so there were many more pros than cons in this decision.

Starting to move things into place.  I won't unpack the majority of the boxes until everything to store it all in is set in place.  But it's nice to be making such progress and seeing this nice bright studio take shape.  I've even got a nice nook for photography and books.
Even Daisy and Trudy are benefitting from the warmth and getting exercise.  Since there is no fence here Daisy is getting hers via a harness and lead (Trudy is happy to come when called and stick close by).  This is something we’ve needed to do for a while and although it was a rocky start she is beginning to come around.   Rome wasn’t built in a day but she’s improving quickly to the idea of walking on a leash.  Hip hip hurrah, one step closer to surgery.  Another pro – our daughter back in Michigan lives 15 minutes away from MSU Veterinary College – which is where Daisy was evaluated for hip replacement so we will not have to change surgeons either when the time is right.  And finally and not the least of the issues we faced in Michigan, with the lack of snow and ice, a major hurdle to either Brian falling or me with these titanium knees the lessons can finally commence. 

Well, enough posting for now.  Back to unpacking things.  I can't wait to get back to work.  LOL - I locked the rolling tool cabinet and left the keys in Michigan.  DUH.  It certainly made it safely here but now I just look at it and long to pull a drawer open.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lover's Locks


The history of love padlocks dates back at least 100 years to a melancholy Serbian tale of World War I, with an attribution for the bridge Most Ljubavi (lit. the Bridge of Love) in spa town of Vrnjačka Banja.[2] A local schoolmistress named Nada, who was from Vrnjačka Banja, fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. After they committed to each other Relja went to war in Greece where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. As a consequence, Relja and Nada broke off their engagement. Nada never recovered from that devastating blow, and after some time she died due to heartbreak from her unfortunate love. As young women from Vrnjačka Banja wanted to protect their own loves, they started writing down their names, with the names of their loved ones, on padlocks and affixing them to the railings of the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet.[3][4]
In rest of Europe, love padlocks started appearing in the early 2000s.[5] The reasons love padlocks started to appear vary between locations and in many instances are unclear. However, in Rome, the ritual of affixing love padlocks to the bridge Ponte Milvio can be attributed to the 2006 book I Want You by Italian author Federico Moccia, who made a film adaptation in 2007.[6][7]

Good old Wikipedia!

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Onward and Upward on both fronts!

The tree pendant is in the investment cabinet awaiting next weeks pour when all of the students are done.   It's time for me to create a bail for the pendant and go back to working on a set of ravens I have.  In the meantime I managed a tree full of possible earring parts.  They're flirty to me - a suggestion of spring.  I wish I had my equipment here to finish them but it's in NC waiting for me to unpack it.  Soon little tool shop...soon.

These are my spunky earring parts.  Waiting to be parted from their sprues and get cleaned up and polished.  That wax work is keeping me moving in the right direction while I continue on this quest to get all things packed and moved in a reasonable manner. 
I've shown these in the directions that the earrings will go.  Hard to tell this is silver before it's polished.
LOL - is there anything about packing and moving that's reasonable when you're doing it yourself?  Oh why oh why didn't I work for a big company that would send in a team of people to do this.  Experts in packing who will say, "Stand aside little woman (hahahahha) and let me get that for you!"

Thank goodness for imagination.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Finishing up a complicated wax carving.

Today I had to go and have my left eye lasered clear.  the new lens from the cataract surgery is just fine - but the capsule it has been placed in has grown cloddy and a bit like cellophane to look though.  That is so not fun when you are using needles as wax tools.  You really need to know where to place that point so you can redefine some places and gentling nudge others into position.  thank the heavens, the cloud has been in lifted in that eye - the worst.  Maybe next week we can get the right eye done too.  Fingers crossed please.

I had to say it certainly had the desired affect.  I finished the things that were bothering me about this wax.  My tree spirit was missing an eye....and personality.  Now I think it's back in order.  I still have two branches to straighten out and the left hand corner to square off again but after that I can go ahead and sprue this piece and get it cast.  Whoot   whoot.  Thursday it's back to the packing!

In this one you can see the varieties if waxes I have uses t sculpt this piece,  each, is a different color and has different properties.  Maybe I can do a blog post of why I've chosen them for this piece.

Changing the picture to black and white always helps me notice any of the little things that are "off" in the design or execution of the wax.  You aren't distracted by the variety of colors in front of you so I often stop and get a quick phone photo.

By tomorrow I should be sprueing this piece and getting it ready to be cast next week.  There is a bail at the top created with the branches but I think I need to make a different type of bail and attach that to it.  I'll be working on that tomorrow.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Feeding the Art Urge

I can't speak for anyone else but when I'm away from creating for any amount of time I get edgy.  Do you get like that?  To help stave off that feelings and keep from creeping everyone else around me out I held back my wax tools from the packing frenzy around here.  I thought of leaving back some clay but figured that would be wrought with problems without a kiln at hand to fire the green ware once I sculpted it.

To do casting you need a heck of a lot of equipment too - but to make wax pieces to cast you need very few tools.  Old dental probes or needles, an alcohol lamp, and wax.  And, in my case some Optivisors.  So it was as easy as leaving a bag back packed with essentials. 

Luckily I can still cast at the Art Center with my friends.  That was as easy as signing up for class. 

I have a few large pieces I'd like to finish while I'm packing and a couple of small pieces.  I've been making earring castings and I'd like to make a whole lot more.  Parts.  Parts that I'd like to use with lampwork or clay beads at a later date.  At least that's the plan...oh, everyone look out, Sharon might have a plan!
The earring here is actually upside down.  It's how I sprued it.  Eventually it will have a stone in it.

Three variations on the tree. 
Regardless of all the boxes it's such a release to be able to do something while this transition is taking place.  Casting more than fits that bill : - ).

Monday, January 26, 2015

You're Giving Orange a Bad Name John

Oh my goodness this has nothing to do with art.  Why is John Boehner so orange looking all the time?  Well, maybe if you love the color Orange you notice things like that and it’s hands down my favorite.  But on a Republican from Ohio!   I mean no disrespect but it’s gotten ridiculous when you look like you’ve stood in the tanning booth to long wearing that old Q-T formula.  I guess though I'm not the only one wondering why you look like this:
Pull-eze Mr. Speaker, I’m from Michigan and we’re not that much north of Ohio and you should be pasty white like the rest of us poor Caucasian’s who live north of the sunny states. 
I have been pondering your plight every time I see you on the TV so today I googled it.  Boy oh boy – it’s quite the topic – just google “Why is John Boehner orange?”  Who knew?   I’m trying hard to take politics seriously, and I should.  And I watched the State of the Union speech - the disrespect in the cheers vs. our President left me very cold - and what does that say about our system and what kind of example does that set for our children.  Maybe if they don't like something (or someone) they should be allowed to boo or heckle.   Yikes - what a standard to live up to?  Congress sure didn't set the bar to high.  Really, it’s hard to take politics seriously when that's the behavior of the elected officials we are supposed to admire and when you look so silly with that much of a tan.
Orange is coming up a lot - like Orange is the New Black - a great show and concept actually for an orange lover.  At least orange is getting some respect.  And, obviously the Speaker loves it as much as I do but one of us isn’t dumb enough to paint our face with it….only our fingers.

Hey, maybe they should come out with a nail polish in his honor.  What could they call it – Nearly Republican Red?  Oompah Loompah John?  Boehner blush?  Come on my creative friends what do you think?  I want respectful red (and white and blue too) in my politicians and I want them to be the color they are naturally.  Be it white, black, brown, yellow, or red.  So let it fade John - let it fade. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Goodbye Again U-Haul...and kiln, and torches, and....(sniff sniff)

Well, unexpectedly my youngest son had to come to Michigan so he did so in another large U-Haul truck.  So off to the races we went again with the packing, sorting, and loading.  Luckily, as you could see from the previous post, we were well prepared for this potential outcome.  We really didn't think it would happen so fast but it did. 

I actually think one last truck load might clear out the remains of our home in Michigan.  I sit here cuddling with Daisy and Brian and staring into Trudy's eyes.   She's curled up close on one of the remaining chairs.  I'm trying hard not to get reflective on Michigan.  It's a good state.  There are lots of lakes.  Drive in any direction and you'll run into them, big and small.  We are the "Motor City" state.  At my age you've had relatives who actually knew the first Henry in the "Ford" heritage.  Possibly the Dodge boys and others.  Everywhere you run into people who are either retired from the "Big Three" (Ford, Chrysler, GM) or worked in the associated industries.  There are families who great-grandparents started at the beginning of the auto age and their families continue to work for one of those companies.  Motor oil runs deep in many veins here.  My father worked for Budd Wheel.  They are now Thyssen Krupp and the plant has been dismantled.   The big presses that created things like this:

"The Budd plant — latterly, the ThyssenKrupp Budd plant — helped shape the contours of Detroit’s 20th century. Literally: in the 1950s, Budd Detroit built and assembled the body of the iconic, two-seat Ford Thunderbird."

I will miss the shared history of other children who's parents were members of that factory rat generation.  I mean how many can say they've seen these kind of presses in action.  They are monsters of manufacturing genius.  Now they reside in other countries.  They were dismantled and sold to Mexico, South America, and many other countries.  I guess in a way they live on despite the fact there will be no other teenagers dropping their fathers at work so they can use the car in Detroit.

Oh gosh - here I am getting nostalgic.  History has always been interesting to me - all of it.  And, of course, since I grew up in Detroit it's near and dear to me.
A little bit I feel like I'm part of the urban flight now.  A snowbird.  We used to laugh at the people who left Michigan in the winter - the snowbirds - they leave for warmer pastures in the fall and return in the spring.  Yup, me too now but it will be more permanent.  I will visit - I will still have two children in Michigan but I'm worried it won't feel the same. 
Life moves fast and I get I better get on the train before it leaves the gate.  Uh, and by the way - Budd made those too.  So every time you get on one now send out a good vibe for us Michiganders and think "Go Budd Go".

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Where'd the studio go...

Wow - wow - wow, things have been so busy here.   I'd like to be able to say we are all packed up and on our way to North Carolina but that's just not so.  Over the holiday we packed up that one U-haul.  It made it safely to NC and my son and his friends unloaded it into the house. 

We took about 10 days following the holiday to relax and regroup.  Now we are back to packing up.  I've just about torn apart the upstairs studio where I worked.  The soldering area is nearly packed.  A few more odds and ends and it will be down and ready to hit the door.  Here is a picture of my pile. Rolling mill, casting equipment, and boxes of glass and glass I will hand carry rather than box. 

This has been how the work is going in the basement.  That is where I lampworked.  Today Brian and I finished packing the majority of the glass.  You know - wrap the rods and pack 'em up nice and sturdy like they ship them to you.  All totaled I have six boxes weighing about 50# a piece and then there are two milk crates with downspout that have more in them - including the odd glasses and expensive ones that I want to take safely in the back seat of my car.   I kind of figure when it's all said and done there is between 350 - 400# of glass in my stash.  Uh, I'm thinking I better get back to making beads as soon as I get my studio back up in NC. 

The final "box" of glass - except the boro rods which are 3 feet long and I'm not sure I want to cut the tubing down

I've had some of that glass for a very long time.  When they used to ship glass "in the day" (LOL) they shipped it in 36" lengths.  You would nip off what you were going to use.  So when the glass came I nipped off a 12" length off of every rod to set into the short stack boxes to use.  That meant that in the long downspouts next to the desk were rods that were 24" long.  I had to go through all of that stash and cut them up.  It turned into a 3 hour project to get it all done - and I was nipping pretty fast. 

What I found when I was doing that was some pretty cool glass I had put away.  Hard to find parrot green, some great old ruby gold, and what appears to be Vetrofond black.  Could it be? I won't know until I get a chance to try it out.  Back then they didn't always put the names on things - just one tag with the number.  Frankly, it's been so long I'm just not sure anymore.  There's original coral and carnelian.  Lots of goodies to play with once I'm ready to go.

I have to say I'm both pooped by the packing and excited about having some new digs in a couple of months.   I'll be more excited when we can get this house ready and on the market and I can free up some money again.  The only untapped reserve is Daisy's hip money - she's plodding along just fine and should anything ugly and unseemly happen (it's like Murphy's law when you are not prepared) we are ready on that front.

So what's new in your New Year? 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Looking Back and Looking Forward...

The first of the U-Haul trucks is on the road.  We were lucky enough (graced enough) to have children visit for the holiday who were willing and able to pack up a 20 foot truck of our lives to head toward North Carolina.  The Christmas holiday celebrations are behind us and shortly in the new year a new life will begin.  No, the entire life didn't fit into one 20' truck.  There is at least another 20' truck in our future - maybe more - but the very first load is out of here and on it's way.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old life - except maybe for the winters here.  We are grateful for the full life we've had here in Michigan.  We've raised three beautiful children and they are moving healthily ahead with their own lives.  It's just time to move on with ours. 

My right hand is feeling better - I was truly worried that the right thumb was going to give way.  The left thumb lost the CMC joint and I had to have  major surgery on it.  If the right had gone I'd of been in panic.  I did, however find a great brace to wear so I don't over do the joint again.  It's from Mueller and I got it on Amazon.  Love it.

I'm looking forward to the day I can unpack all of my equipment and start anew on glass and metal.  To that end I've been thinking about my focus lately.  Maybe I ought to consider narrowing the scope of what I do.  I have sincerely been considering staying within the confines of more metal fabrication and finished pieces when I can finally get myself set up again.  We will see what we will see but my ideas have been along that lane for a very long maybe it's time to do that.

I truly admire people who can pick a medium and stay there.  They're happy within those confines.  Maybe I need to concentrate and be more grateful to be setting up some of my own.

I hope your holiday was a happy and grateful one and you got to spend it with your loved ones - be it immediate or extended family and friends.  In this century, ah - maybe any century - I can't help but chuckle and think of the refrain from the song, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."  In fact, better if you just love everyone!

Happy Holiday's to You and Yours!