Friday, October 28, 2011

busy days

Let's see. Where was I? 

 Or maybe the better question is, where am I?

We received a commission to make 100 fused glass crosses for a church in Houston so for the past week or so, my friend Gene and I have been cutting up thousands of tiny pieces of glass as each one of these crosses is composed of 34 separate pieces that have to be assembled. While we were in the city to do our two small etching jobs, I spent a day over at Gene's while we assembled crosses and got 35 in the kiln.

It's always weeks between visits to the city since work has been so slow and driving in this time past Memorial Park was just heartbreaking. It looks like nearly every single pine is dead and many oaks and other trees as well from the drought which is still ongoing. I didn't get a picture this time, got these of the park via google, but now there is one lone green tree surrounded by dead ones instead of the occasional dead tree starting the middle of August. Passing by on the West Loop maybe one in ten trees is living. Maybe. I think that's optimistic.

Today was the presentation to the Garden Club on the various glass techniques and how they could be used architecturally or as a stand alone sculpture. They decided on the carved glass for the side lites and transom around the double doors that enter the library. Now I need to do sketches and a formal proposal, so that went well.

Marc and I spent the rest of the day getting stuff packed, five boxes and a stack of books, for our workshop this weekend. It's basically a repeat of the one we did earlier in the year only students will make their models out of wax instead of clay. In the clay workshop they got to make two or three pieces. In this one they will make one piece but it's larger and they will have all day to work on it doing the mold making and mold filling on Sunday.

We're having our coldest weather to date since summer finally ended. It even rained late yesterday afternoon as the front moved in. A nice rain but it didn't last long. It's supposed to get down to 45˚ tonight. 45˚? Really? It hasn't been that long since we were having triple digits every day. I'd like to have more than a month between air conditioner and heater if you weather gods don't mind.

That big cloud on the left is the backside of the storm edge of the cold front moving in.

So, a working weekend ahead, one day off and then three days at Miss Hattie's Place while my sister is in Lubbock. Our aunt, our father's sister, died about a week and a half ago and my sister is the executer of her will. She was the last living member of our parent's generation making my sister the oldest living person in our family. We are now the altacockers.

Our aunt had one child, a son who is one day younger than I am, but he falls into the autism spectrum and although he functioned well enough day to day as long as his mother was alive, even has a job, he has always lived with his parents/mother and she always took care of everything so we are a little concerned about his ability to live long term on his own. He seems to be handling the death of his mother well enough and my sister keeps in touch.

Hopefully by the end of next week I'll have the time to look around me and think of other things besides the task at hand or the next commitment.

I might even finish my post for the letter S.


  1. Those crosses look as if they were a monumental task. I would have screwed up and put a tile in the wrong place. Gee. Maybe there is a reason I tend toward water color and collage. I cannot control the tears completely, nor the water. It frees me.

    The drought must be heart-breaking to see. And worse than that for people whose livings are tied to the land.

    I do so enjoy reading about your days, your art... your life.

  2. Love the crosses! I am glad your presentation went well!
    We finally got some rain here...officially we have had 3 inches of rain since January!!!! Awful!!
    Lots of dead trees and shrubs here too! It is so sad!
    Your pics made me cry!

  3. It's sad to see how parched the landscape is. The weather seems like it's been so extreme lately. Here in CT we're expecting an early snowstorm today, VERY early, bringing us 6-10 inches of snow! Instead of a white Christmas, we're having a White Halloween :)

  4. my condolences to you and your family. i hope your cousin will be able to adjust/manage on his own. scary.

    i noticed the pines here too were the worst affected by the drought/heat. SO many on the way to town are dead/dying. we have/had two ornamental evergreens at our front gate and both look like they're almost dead now... sigh...

  5. Hopefully those trees will resurrect.You are real busy. Being the oldest family member was an honor for me until I realized I might be the next to go. LOL

  6. ellen, is it possible that the trees have life beneath the surface? that perhaps they go dormant. steven

  7. The east had a plague sized infestation of catepillar moths ten or fifteen years ago. Driving through Pennsylvania and Maryland was heartbreaking; the mountains were a grey haze of dead trees for several years. But the mountains are green again, not sad. It will change.

  8. Love the crosses - and don't like the poor brown trees. Sigh.

    I hope your cousin continues to do well in the wake of his mother's death.

  9. Sorry to hear about your loss.

    Seems like you will be busy for awhile. Hope you can find a moment or two to catch your breath.

  10. The crosses are very beautiful!

    The dead pine trees make me want to cry. I saw on the Weather Channel that the meteorologists don't see a break in the drought. I hope they're wrong!

    Hope also you're having a wonderful weekend.

  11. Impressive art work. I've been to Houston many times, but can't remember seeing any churches. Where are they?

    As a Satanist, I would go with the upside-down crosses >:D

    Cold As Heaven

  12. The crosses are beautiful - such painstaking work.

    When I drove up to Iowa this month, the entire stretch through East Texas and Oklahoma was awful, filled not only with evidence of drought, but of fire.

    On the other hand, a week later on the way home, there had been that rain while I was gone, at at least there was obvious new growth in grasses and smaller shrubs. I simply will not think of what could happen if the winter forecast verifies. Xeriscapes, anyone?

  13. I love the Mondrian-esque crosses. But wow, a lot of painstaking work. (I didn't know until recently of Mondrian's landscapes.)

    Altacockers! There's a new one for me. I love it.

  14. Gotta say, crosses give me the willies- it is such an unfortunate, rather boring shape. Your talents do them well however- making a silk purse out of a sow's ear, sort of thing.
    Sad about the trees, wish I could send the rain your way. we are so wet!
    Cheers! Good luck with all of those crosses.

  15. I'm sorry about your aunt.

    Goodness, the last time I was here, you only had one cross pictured. That's gotta get tedious--doing that many.

  16. How sad that the land is so parched and dry. Hopefully, the roots are remaining healthy as the trees are not falling over. My condolences concerning your aunt. May her son continue to survive well and it is good of your sister to keep tabs on him. When you have assembled all of the crosses and installed them in the church, perhaps the rainbows of light they create will inspire nature to don a more colorful pallete outdoors. In any event, the rain will come eventually and your crosses will create brilliance throughout the church. Thank you for sharing your busy days, Ellen.

  17. All of those dead trees is so sad. We have the same problem here sometimes. Nevada is the dryest state in the nation and there is nothing worse than one that drags on and on.

    I hope your Aunt's son is okay. It must be a big transition for him.

  18. Great crosses - hope they all come out well. Also, I hope the trees are dormant not dead. May you get some moisture soon!


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