Friday, May 30, 2014

long week and a selfie

We are putting in a long week this week in the shop. Not by design particularly but because my daughter and her family are going to Dallas this weekend to attend their cousin's high school graduation and party. And since they have two dogs and three cats, they needed someone to take care of the animals.

So we came in Tuesday and will be here til they return on Sunday. We had planned to come in on Monday as usual but it rained on Monday and Tuesday morning as well.  Almost 6" worth! We haven't had that kind of rain since the drought years started.  And it rained again on Wednesday, though we were in the city by then.

One thing about being here six days instead of three is that we are getting two weeks worth of work done in one week.  Good on the one hand but bad on the other. Sandblasting and stencil cutting for six consecutive days is hard on the bodies. But we are making great progress and our clients are happy about that. And when we finish earlier than predicted, we will be happy about that.

Being here for six consecutive days would not be fun if we were still confined to our tiny two-room-with-a-bath apartment in the house with our single burner, coffee maker, and mini-fridge but since the Boy and Wife have moved we have access to the rest of the house and, most importantly, the kitchen. Still, I would rather be home.

The cat would also rather be home because even with a bigger place to roam, she is still housebound.

Well, I have all the first round of stencils cut and Marc will start on sandblasting the last panel today. My work is only half done though as now I have to cut the secondary stencils for the cream etched backgrounds on all 6 panels.  These generally don't take as long as I'm just cutting around all the
design instead of cutting the design.

Sorry I haven't been around this week to read what everyone has been doing.  Just too busy and too tired.

Here is me and some of the work we have been doing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

another day, another mass shooting

What has happened to this country? What has happened to the people in this country? When did the right to own guns trump the right to life?

When did the people of this country start to believe that it was their right to solve every problem with a gun? When did people start thinking it was an acceptable thing to do to threaten, intimidate, and stalk those who are protesting for stricter gun laws?

I engage, at times on FB, in conversations about the level of gun violence here and, of course, with the paid trolls who continue to extoll the virtues of guns and gun owners, most recently about the two men who brought their assault rifles into a family restaurant making sure everyone saw them and striking fear in the hearts of everyone else there.

The troll's position was that it was their right to do so in that open carry state. Perhaps so, but that doesn't count for a reason. When I asked for one reason, other than it is legal for them to do so, that they felt it necessary to carry assault rifles into a family restaurant in a civilized community I was met with silence. When other posters commented about the fear that these men caused, the troll wanted to know why people felt fearful if the men weren't acting in a threatening manner.

Seriously? How is anyone supposed to know that these men aren't going to open fire? Personally, I wouldn't wait around to find out.

They will also tell you that crime has decreased with the increase of gun sales but crime rises and falls for many reasons. What they don't talk about is the rise in gun violence and gun deaths with the rise of gun sales.

Just today, on FB, someone posted the link to the news statement of the father of one of the victims of this latest shooting. Predictably, someone commented that guns don't kill people, people kill people witness the guy who drove his car into a crowd at SXSW in Austin and the Boston marathon bombings.

Yes, people do kill people and they do it most often with guns. Do you know why bombings are so rare? Because it is illegal to possess or make bombs. But who needs bombs when you have an arsenal at your disposal?

Unfettered access to guns in this country is a serious problem and if you don't recognize that then you are part of the problem. It is easier to buy a gun in some states than it is to vote.

Here's a link to some statistics about gun violence in this country. 

But, they reply, why punish responsible gun owners. It's not punishment to restrict the kinds and quantities of guns and ammunition, it's not punishment to require extensive background checks, waiting periods, and extended training because all gun owners are responsible until that moment they aren't, until that moment they let their anger get the better of them, until that moment they forget to lock up the gun and a child finds it and commits suicide or accidentally kills a sibling or friend, until that moment it is stolen.

More statistics about gun violence as it pertains to women and children

And here, the 10 favorite pro-gun myths shown to be exactly that.

The fact is that the gun culture as promoted by the NRA and it's craziest proponents have turned this country into one of the most dangerous places on earth. They have equated unfettered gun ownership to religious observance and they refuse to acknowledge the correlation between increased gun sales and ownership and increased gun violence.

So, have we had enough yet? Will this country ever have enough? Will the politicians ever actually represent the will of the people and tell the NRA 'no'?

Oh, who am I kidding, of course not. The most warlike country on earth, this country that has been at war, one war or another, for almost every year of it's existence, will never curb the kinds or amounts of weaponry available to any Tom, Dick, and Harry regardless.

It won't matter how many innocent people are killed.

Edit: I am not against gun ownership but I do think guns should be much harder to acquire than they currently are and I am for restricting the types of guns ordinary people can buy. People who want to buy guns should have to submit to extensive background checks, a waiting period, extensive training, and a license that must be renewed every year. Guns are not toys. Any responsible person should not object to these restrictions.

Friday, May 23, 2014

some misc pictures from the last several weeks...and a selfie

The squirrels finally discovered the tea cup feeder hanging outside my window and when they leap on and off it sets it to swinging wildly. One of them finally knocked it off the hook and it fell breaking the saucer. I hung it on a hook hanging from a section of trunk on the tallow tree by the fence til I could repair it thinking that maybe they would have a hard time getting to it there. Nope.

I pulled up all the carrots yesterday because I needed the space to plant some blueberry bushes. I love all the colors of the heritage strains: white, yellow, orange, pink, purple.

About three days after Big Mama ate the goldfish, she exited the pond and dug a deep hole. The next time I looked out, she had filled it back in and was back in the pond. I haven't seen her out in the yard since so I guess she laid her eggs.

Emma likes to help me with my art work.

The pinks and purples of the larkspur and evening primrose of early spring gave way to the yellows of clasping cone flowers and mexican hats of late spring.

The elephant garlic is blooming and the bees and wasps are foraging for nectar. Spied this lady bug but she showed me her rear end just as I snapped the picture.

Several of the altheas started blooming while we were gone last week.

The altheas weren't the only things to surprise me when I got home yesterday. I was getting ready to pull the dead trunks of the lost plumerias (from the surprise very late hard freeze) out of their pots today so I could reuse them and look what I saw. This is one of the two bridal veil plumerias that I was certain that both of them had died. Out of 9 pots, I have three known survivors and a possible fourth one that is showing green but has not sprouted out yet. Guess I'll wait a little longer to re-use those pots.

I took today off and worked on cleaning the gone by evening primrose and weeds out of the long daylily bed since they are sending up scapes by the dozens.

and this weeks selfie

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

no, wait, I'm not ready

Yes, I know it's not Sunday but I did write it on Sunday.

It's Sunday and I can't believe it's already 6 PM. Tomorrow we have to pack up and head back to the city to continue the work on the two jobs in fabrication. We finished one last week and made some progress on these last two. Having two short weeks in a row and a slow start before that, we've been feeling the pressure especially with all the other stuff that was going on like...

trying to sell the house
delivering the finished panel
going on a garden club field trip
trying to decide if we wanted to drive to Corpus for the show after working all week
arranging to get the new shop cleaned (and they did a great job too)

We didn't finally decide to go until Wednesday so we packed up and came home and made hotel reservations and packed back up and drove there on Thursday. And then home again on Friday. And Saturday I worked at the store so this has been my only day off all week. I'm not ready for it to be over.

So Saturday was also the Freedom Fest here in Wharton. It's usually held the weekend before the weekend the Fourth of July is celebrated. There's a car show and a cook-off and food booths and cheap shit from China booths and community service booths and a veterans' parade which is the highlight of and point of the festival and music all day and a street dance and laser light show (new this year instead of the fireworks of the past) in the evening and activities like bungee jumping on a trampoline and a bouncy house and baby turtles for sale that I hate to see because they will all die sooner rather than later. The rock wall climbing and the walking on water in the big bubble didn't come this year. They moved it to this weekend in May because the last three years have been so fucking hot that nobody comes till evening and they are afraid all the old codgers are going to have heat stroke and die while they are being honored.

The Girl and the three grandgirls came to spend the day and go to the festival and after they looked at everything they came into the store and hung out with me til I closed. Then we came back to the house and Autumn and I went around and collected different wildflowers and she pressed them for a school project. So it was a fun day even though I didn't see any of the festival this year, not even the laser light show.

So did I mention that the Boy and Wife found an apartment? It's closer to where he works and in a neighborhood they like. So that was a weight off, to know that they found a place they like in plenty of time. They moved first tier stuff this weekend.

I'm so looking forward to getting this work completed so we can get on with the business of moving the shop. Next thing to schedule is having an electrician out to look it all over.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Target Texas: Contemporary Studio Glass

35 Texas glass artists were invited to send one or two pieces for the exhibition at the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi. I have included 34 of the 35 and only shown one piece per artist. I did not include the 35th artist because he does stained glass and instead of sending a panel, he sent developmental sketches of an installation with a photo. I didn't take a picture of the picture or the sketches but Jeff Smith really does wonderful work.

I find it very interesting that so much of the work (23 artists out of 35) is not blown, hot sculpted, or vessel oriented. I wonder how much our weather has to do with the fact that most of the artists work in different kiln formed techniques as opposed to hot glass.

Many thanks to Jayne Duryea of Coastal Bend College and Deborah Fullerton of the Art Museum of South Texas for making this show a reality.

You can see larger versions of all the work by clicking on the images.

Cathy Cunningham-Little
glass, stainless steel, white LED

Michael Crowder
pate de verre, antique cabinet, velvet

Ellen Abbott/Marc Leva
pate de verre cast glass

Polly Gessell
sandblasted glass

Fritz Ozuna
neon, aluminum

Ben Livingston
neon, acrylic

Brad Abrams
kiln cast glass

Susan Plum
borosilicate glass, acrylic, metal

Leigh Taylor Wyatt
blown glass, aluminum

Damian Priour
limestone, cast glass

Julie Lazarus
solid, blown hand sculpted glass

Jason Lawson
blown glass

Kathy Poeppel/Richard Moiel
blown and engraved glass

Christian Luginger

Jim Bowman
blown glass, copper, steel

Harlan W. Butt
copper, enamel, silver

Mary Lynn Bowman
kilnformed glass, wood

Dixie Friend Gay
glass and ceramic mosaic

Judy Jensen
reverse painting on glass

David Graeve
slumped and painted glass block

Shannon Brunskill
slumped pate de verre, steel, cast glass

Peter Mangan
glass, stainless steel, copper, brass

Bradley G. Pearce
blown glass

Michael McDougal
hot sculpted glass

David Gappa
hot sculpted glass, wood

Aaron Thane Tate
hot sculpted glass

Chad Holliday
cast glass

David Keens
cast and hot formed glass

Gail Stouffer
kiln formed glass, enamels
(my apologies to Gail, both pictures I took were slightly out of focus)

Rachel Kalisky
kiln formed glass

Jayne Duryea
glass mosaic

Bill Meek
cold worked plate glass

Robert Wilson
hot sculpted glass

Maki Hajikano
cast glass