Tuesday, March 31, 2015

more work from the Bayou City Art Festival

I don't wear scarves and I can't see myself in the diaphanous gorgeous hand painted silk clothing by Mary Sly but oh, so beautiful.

Brianna Martray works in resin clay and cast resin. This wall piece caught my eye.

I was totally entranced by C. J. Bradford's illustrations, hand colored (some) whimsical pen and ink drawings.

Mike Bose works in clay and creates these very cool 'territorial' pots and sculptures.

The handmade furniture by Thomas William was so elegant and beautiful.

The clay sculpture by Pat and Ken Larson drew me in. I particularly liked their raven pieces.

I was happy to see my friend Thomas Irven at the show. I have always loved his turned wood acorn boxes.

I really liked these great yard totems by Cliff Matyszczyk. He also does some kinetic art but I liked these better. I have no contact information for him as his truck had been broken into the night before and he did not have any business cards but my friend Kerry tells me that he does not ship and does not use the internet.

There were 25 glass artists at the show and most of the work was predictably the same but there were a few stand-outs...a large display of very Chihuly-like (and I'm sure they would be horrified to hear me describe their work as such) sea form compositions, another booth with a few exquisite torch work paperweights (wish I had gotten a picture of those and they aren't on his website), and then these little cast boxes by Amanda Walker and Tom Beach. I did not get a picture of their work at the show either so I have taken this off their website. She does the glass work and he does the woodwork. I didn't care for the plate glass top, though, and think it detracts from the piece.

These impossibly delicate and beautifully embroidered pieces by Yan Inlo were not small. She would not allow me to take a picture so I took this one off her website.

I also really like these etchings by Marina Terauds. Again, I did not get a picture at the show so this is off her website.

I hope you enjoyed the little tour of the show.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

a day trip to the Bayou City Art Festival

It's been a long time since I was at a quality art and craft fair so Friday, my sister and I headed into the city for the first day of the Bayou City Art Festival. This year the show included 450 artists working in 19 different categories (photography and mixed media have 2 categories each, mixed media/3D is a separate category than sculpture/3D, and then one for functional art, and of course the traditional clay, glass, wood, metal, jewelry, etc.). I wonder with so many categories, how an artist selects one. Some would be easy like jewelry. But what if you do sculptures in wood or clay or metal? Or the three people who made musical instruments out of wood?

Anyway, it was a great show on a beautiful spring day and by going on a week day, there weren't so many people that you couldn't even get in the booths to see the work or lines so long at the concessions that you had to wait an impossibly long time just to get water. By the time we made it all the way around the loop we were just in overload. I quit looking at the jewelry about halfway through because I just don't wear jewelry and especially not expensive jewelry no matter how gorgeous it is. And I stopped looking at the painters and photographers works because most of it didn't appeal to me however well crafted and so many of the canvasses were huge with huge price tags. In fact, there was lots of very expensive art there.

I purposely left my camera in the car because I didn't want to have to carry it around all day. After asking my sister for the third time to take a picture of something for me, she handed over her iPhone for the duration. The quality of the pictures is not always great but these are some of the things that really caught my eye (all the artists' names link to their websites).

As soon as we entered, to the left, was a metal artist with a fun and quirky flair, Fred Conlon, and his work immediately drew me over. He must have had hundreds of pieces spread out under the trees there. It didn't take me long to find the one I wanted and then I dithered over spending my money on the very first thing that I saw before seeing anything else of the show. So, I just took a leap of faith and forked over my money. He held it for me til we left.

Venus flytrap with spark plug dragonfly

The man directly across, Andrew Carson, did kinetic sculpture out of metal and glass. You can't tell it from the photo but these were in constant motion.

Further in, I thought these strumsticks by Bob McNally were elegantly beautiful even though I don't play any musical instruments.

These gorgeous beaded 'heritage' purses by Jacqui Uza were stunning. They not only looked beautiful, they felt good in your hands and what is even more amazing is that they are knitted. The beads are knitted in as she goes and she knits them all of a piece. She showed me the one she was working on where she had already 'turned the corner' and was working back up the other side.

Brenda McMahon was showing these beautiful softly colored vessels with natural materials adorning the tops. She uses a saggar fire form of raku which produces the soft colors.

These baskets by Cindy Killgore (who, unfortunately, does not have a web site or FB page so I can't give you a link besides her email address) are woven using pine needles and raffia. She had a set of shallow round forms on a wall that were based on butterfly wing colors and patterns but apparently I didn't get a picture of those.

Another potter whose work caught my attention is Cathra-Anne Barker. Her vessels are highly decorated with wax resisted glazes that she makes herself.

These beautiful obsidian wind chimes are made by Deborah and Richard Bloom. The shards of obsidian have the sweetest tinkling sound and are ornamented with all sorts of natural materials...bits of wood, dried seed pods and berries, bone and thorns, antlers and shell.

I loved the sweet little watercolors of leaves and bugs and fungus and feathers and moths and so on by Katie Musolff.

The enormous metal sculptures of cactus and palm trees by Richard Turner were wonderful. We were a little amused when he told us he was from Kansas...because they have so many cactus in Kansas?

These very cool birdhouses by David Boone stopped us in our tracks.

More gorgeous stuff continued in the next post...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

roof and spring stuff

I was back up on the 12' ladder yesterday. I've got the art work done for the two commissions still to do and it wasn't wet or rainy or overcast. I thought I could work in the yard or I could start the cold work on the Botanicas or I could work on the roof of the shop more. It's going to be pretty brutal over there before too long so the roof won out.


I worked on the worst of the leaky areas yesterday. Mostly all I did was to scrape away and brush out as much of the built up rust and dirt that had collected in the channel at the end of the roof panels as I could and opened up the slots so that the water can drain out instead of collect. Of course, doing that exposed all the totally corroded away areas where the water was leaking in. I figure I either helped by allowing the water to drain off or made it much worse. It's raining today (what a novelty) so I guess I'll find out.


Since replacing the roof is out of the question, the next step, I think, is to see what kind of stuff there is that might stop or reduce the rust. Then maybe some kind of paint? Ultimately though, I'm going to just caulk the shit out of it with the roofing tar stuff. And I need to get it done so we can start insulating and putting up wall board in the big bay which we need to do before we can get air conditioning in there. The thing about the metal building and no shade that makes it tolerable in the winter with no heat is the same thing that makes it unbearable in the summer.

Other happenings in the yard:

The bluebonnet patch in front is coming into full bloom. I tossed some seed from last year in a couple of spots in the back and now have two more smaller patches coming along.

All the trees are leafing out except for the pecans which are always the last to be convinced it's really spring and the rain storm that we are having today has blown in some chilly weather. The acorns have really liked all the rain we've been having, though, as I have oak trees coming up everywhere. I imagine little pecan trees will follow soon after.

I've been trying to keep the squirrels off the tea cup because they are total pigs. They are totally unimpressed by my waving frantically and yelling at them through the window. They won't run off unless I actually open the back door and holler at them which never intimidates them for long.

Who me?

Monday, March 23, 2015

summer cut and blue sky day

So, I got my summer hair cut. I've been pulling it back with combs for weeks, a sure sign it has gotten too long. I cannot abide having my hair in my face and my hair naturally wants to grow forward and I have spent the last 45 years combing it back, away from my face. It's really short! Always a shocker for me since I let it get so long between cuts.

You might notice a sparkly glint on my earlobe. That's because I did find my diamond studs a couple of weeks ago purely by accident when I decided to wear a particular necklace to work that day. Obviously, I did not put them in my pocket that morning and they did not get washed away in the washing machine like I supposed and I did not put them in any of the usual places I put them when I take them off. What I did do was put them in the little bag that I keep a necklace in that I hardly ever wear. Apparently, I took it with me when we were in the city for the open house last December, though I ended up not wearing it, and when I took my studs out in favor of another pair of earrings, I slipped them in the bag with the necklace for safe keeping and never thought about them again until 5 weeks later.

Yesterday after raining most the day Saturday, it cleared up and stayed cleared up. I actually got to see the sun set for the first time in weeks, maybe even months. And today dawned clear blue sky with not a cloud in sight. Everything is loving the sunshine. Especially me. I have a full size drawing I need to get finished but I keep getting drawn outside.

The wisteria has exploded into bloom and is so busy with bees of all kinds that you can hear the buzzing long before you can get close enough to see them.

The dewberry (our wild blackberry) likewise is blooming and busy with bees.

The first poppies opened

and the azaleas are in full bloom.

It was so nice to be able to stroll around the yard in the sun and see what there was to see.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

gloomy and wet, but warm

All of a sudden 5 days have gone by. The days have been dawning overcast but the sun manages to break out in the afternoons for a couple of hours until it clouds up again around sunset. There's a mockingbird sitting out there somewhere just singing away. I can hear him through the open front door. I got up to rain yesterday morning but it cleared up by noon, and more rain this morning and while it has stopped, it is very gloomy out.

Last Friday I drove into the city sixish to pick up my grandgirl Jade who wanted to come spend the weekend. We poked around antique and junk stores in Wharton and outlying towns. We stopped in a new place that I thought was a small building and turned out to be a huge building full of stuff. Overall, the whole weekend I came away with two pressed class coasters, a blue glass salad plate, a little sock foot bunny for my daughter, and a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I also found a present for my sister for her birthday, no mean feat let me tell you. Jade had her own cache of treasures and gifts.

Monday I spent the morning digging up walking onions in the Little Back Yard. They are edible and totally invasive and come up thick every year. I didn't plant them, they were here when I got here but all they want to do is reproduce. Tuesday, I dug up my flowering senna which was not thriving. It's been planted there for two years I think but it has steadily declined and I finally decided to pot it and see if I could get it healthy again. Poor thing had been planted in thick black dirt/clay (and is in serious wilt right now). We have terrible dirt here. Sticky sticky stuff. Plants need new dirt and raised beds or really working an area with sand and compost and good topsoil. Yesterday it rained in the morning so I didn't get any outdoor work done. I've been trying to get some outdoor time before lunch and then work on art work for the commissions we have in the afternoon.

It's been a blah spring here. The flowering trees aside, things aren't blooming like they should be, late or lackluster. The overcast and wet days of winter have continued into spring. It did warm up but we haven't had our glorious sunny days with no humidity and flowers and buds busting out and busy bees and butterflies. The birds are chirpy but that's about all. I spent about an hour this morning pulling up clover from amongst the bluebonnets in front. It's been a banner year for clover at least. It's knee high everywhere and crowding out the bluebonnets. Marc finally mowed for the first time over at the shop and our little 'lawn tractor' was having a hard time of it. Our neighbor, Jimmy, was also mowing and took pity on him and came over with his big powerful 'lawn tractor' and mowed down all the clover for him and then went back and finished the yard he was working on.

The climbing roses in the crepe myrtle are doing their spring thing. As you can see, overcast and wet.

All right, off to get my hair cut.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

wait, what is that fire ball in the sky?

This last bout of rain and overcast and cold lasted 6 days after only a day and a half of sun after another week of rain and overcast and cold. And that's how our winter has been. This has been the most overcast and wet winter that I can recall. But today it is warm and mostly cloudless and sunny even if the ground is so wet it's mushy. I've got the door open listening to the birds who are just as happy as I am. I had been holding my own as far as mood went all winter but waking up yesterday to more cloud cover after a heavy rain the night before when it was supposed to be clearing just finally tipped me over the edge into grumpy. All it took though to lighten my mood was that first ray of sun that finally broke through late yesterday afternoon.

I'm supposed to be working at the antique store today but I got the Friday guy to work for me. Grandgirl Jade called yesterday afternoon and wanted to come spend the weekend. They are out for spring break next week and she and her twin have to work all week, as does the grandboy, but she got this weekend off. This is the first year since we have had the country house that we won't have all the kids. In the past, all four would come for 4 or 5 days during spring break but this year the three oldest have jobs. Whether Robin wants to come by herself is up to her. I've told her all she has to do is call and I'll come get her. Well, I told all of them that.

I spent nearly this whole week it seems in the car. Drove into the city Sunday, ferried kids to and from school and work for two days and drove back home. Drove back to the city and back Thursday for an appointment and then again yesterday to pick up Jade.

And, I'm happy to report that I have been very good about doing my 5 Sun Salutations every morning and sometimes I even throw in a few other Asanas. Already I feel stronger, my arms a little firmer. Now if I can just fit a walk in every day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

feast or famine

Same as it ever was. We've had one etched glass job since we finished all that work last June and that was in the fall. We don't usually get work in the summer as everyone has kids home or are on vacation and it usually picks up in the fall only last year it didn't. Nor in January or February neither. Now, here in the first two weeks of March, we have received three deposit checks and a fourth client is ready to get started and I got another inquiry yesterday from a repeat designer so that will be coming up also. Each job only consists of one piece of glass so it isn't an overwhelming amount of work for a change and it will still allow me time to work on the cast glass.

the final approved design of the cabin and mountains

And speaking of the cast glass, the last four Botanicas came out of the kiln last Sunday. I returned from my cook and chauffeur stint yesterday afternoon and washed them in vinegar so now I need to get the cold work done and get the frames ordered. One casualty though. Sometime during the night a crack appeared in one of the 6” x 6” ones. You can't see it unless the light hits it just right but it is definitely there and I can't, in good conscience, send a piece out for sale that I know is cracked. It may be stable now or it may continue to to spread. So, bummer. I'm not through. Now I have to do another big one. I won't re-do this one. Still have lots of good flower pictures to choose from but I have lost my enthusiasm. I may go for the simple anthurium.


poppy seed head


don't know what this is

It rained the last two days, enough to see if my roof leak repair worked and I'm happy to say it is holding though I know that it is only temporary. Eventually, given the heat and humidity here, it will fail. I have a couple of other products to try on the next section which, I imagine, will also be temporary because the only real solution is a new roof. Especially if the weather continues the way it has been.

It's been a very disappointing spring so far, constantly overcast, wet, and cold, even though all the flowering trees are in full bloom and others are popping out in their spring green. I put my silk long johns on today! It's nearly mid-March, that should not be happening!