Tuesday, February 28, 2012

an exercise in the absurd

Yesterday, at our request, we received all our work back from one of the galleries. They had had these 8 pieces for over three years and it was past time to remove them. I'm planning to 're-do' three of them.

I like the pieces OK as is but I really have no where to hang them and I don't want them to just sit in a box on a shelf. They are wall pieces. One I could probably find a place to hang as it's small and not so heavy but already in my mind I have deconstructed and reconstructed it. The other two have two components each and I am separating them and doing some recombining of parts and adding new cast pieces to other parts. Maybe these reincarnations will find a more ready audience and new homes. But I need to work faster or smarter or more hours or something.

I've been meaning to start a new series of models for the botanica erotica but other things get in the way, not the least of which is working on which the images I'm going to use. I've been looking at pictures and working on drawings. I've got 7 so far. Now I need to start making the blank wax blocks.

But once again another whole day slipped by yesterday with the delivery of the 9 very large boxes from the gallery. Having recently had three beautiful works that they sent out by another artist arrive broken to pieces, they seemed have erred on the very far side of caution with ours.

Each piece was wrapped in copious amounts of tissue paper, wrapped in mountains of bubble wrap in a box stuffed with foam in another box stuffed with foam and peanuts. One piece that measures 8” x 6” x 6” arrived in a box 22” x 22” x 22”. And this was not the exception but rather the rule. The biggest box was 22” x 22” x 58”.

Just the boxes alone filled the space between our living room space and the dining room space. Once the unpacking commenced, it spread out and filled the big room where I work as well. 8 artworks inside 18 boxes.

Here's 4 of the returned pieces.

After everything was unpacked, the repacking for storage of all those packing materials began.

Here's the tally:

2 boxes of bubble wrap
6 boxes of mattress foam
1 box of peanuts in bread bags (some of my original packing material)
2 boxes of loose peanuts
1 box of tissue and unprinted newspaper

I even included the measurements of some of the boxes in case you can't tell how fucking big they are.

It was 12 boxes worth of packing material out of the 18. The other six I flattened for recycling. The peanuts will get recycled as well. I'll take them to one of those 'we pack it and ship it for you' places. They're always happy to get free packing material.

Monday, February 27, 2012

spring chores

Last fall I sprinkled a lot of poppy seeds plus some larkspur and a hodge podge of other seeds in the spot where the burn pile was until I moved it further back. We have sort of encroached on the 13 acre field as have several of our neighbors, at least those of us without a fence behind. Well, that might just be us and Alan and Frank. We keep it mowed along with the rest of the yard and since it is just a fallow field that sometimes gets hayed and is owned by a group of family members in an area where nobody ever sells land, why would you do that?, it's not really a big deal.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, I moved the burn pile further back which left this big burned spot where it used to be. I tried to turn as much of the charcoal and ash into the ground as I could but it still looked pretty black. It's back there at the back of the property in the last 5' feet of our proper boundary at the end of the drain field. Weeds and field sunflowers have been growing in it.

The poppies and other seeds came from a couple of members of the garden club who had collected seeds all year long from their gardens and had way more than they needed. It was actually the acquisition of these seeds that made me look for someplace to plant them and that old spot out in the sun seemed the obvious place so I decided to impose a bit of order on it this year.

Because some of the poppies started blooming last week, I got in there Saturday and cleaned out all the weeds that had taken hold and hundreds of sunflowers that were crowding the poppies (don't worry, plenty left) that are already crowding themselves since I didn't do any thinning.

You can see the new burn pile behind the poppies and despite having burned it to the ground two weeks ago, it has already started to grow again.

Sunday I started on the garden. It needs to be turned and we want to enlarge it and straighten it up this year. This is all I got done, about an 18” - 20” wide strip before my hands started complaining. It is hard, clayey, grass had encroached as well as roots from the tree. It didn't get turned last fall after the long hot dry summer. If I was smart, I'd go rent a tiller instead of using my hands, a claw, and a shovel but I'm not sure I could manhandle the thing.

Besides, I like to dig. I like to feel the dirt in my hands and crumble it, picking out the grub worms and roots and nut grass; getting it all friable, or as friable as possible in this dirt, smoothing it over getting it ready to be planted.

It's satisfying somehow.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

short stories 10

a few fun facts

I looked at my stats today via StatCounter and out of 171 visits to my blog via search engines in the last three days, 79 had the words 'sex', 'nude', or 'naked' in the query. 40 had the word 'rain' leaving only 52 for things like bird, flower, turtle, juke box. Only 4 queries used the word 'glass'. And then there were these...

'dog's uterus thicken walls'

'sunsets stars earth's soda milk betters shop pets'

'ancient hieroglyphics of star beings with dog-like ears'

Unsurprisingly, a great many of the queries for 'sex' come from the repressive muslim middle east and asia but good ole America and Europe has it's aficionados too. And because I get so many hits from muslim countries, the Department Of Homeland Security has checked in a time or two as well.

That I could do without, especially considering they are not averse to whisking you away in the middle of the night never to be heard from again and if the republican front runners get their way, talking about sex and nudity, having sex and engaging in nudity will be enough to justify it.

embracing the machine

I love getting up in the morning to a clean kitchen but I hate doing dishes at night especially because we eat dinner late.

I never had a built-in dishwasher until we moved to the country house. Our city house is very old and the counters are not high enough for a built in dishwasher unless we tear out the bottom cabinets and counter and completely rebuild them and that's just not gonna happen. When the kids were dish doing age we opted for one on wheels that you hooked up to the faucet. With four in the family it got filled up every night. When it died, however, we didn't replace it because it took up valuable real estate in our already too small kitchen.

Now the kids are grown and there is just the two of us out here in the country house. A whole day's worth of dishes, though, is not enough to fill the dishwasher so, as a general rule, I have not used it.

Until recently.

I've decided to embrace the machine.

I still won't run it until it's full and since we still have just a minimum of pots and pans, sometimes what we have for dinner depends on what's clean. Hee hee. Not really. I'll wash the needed pan.

truth in advertising

We had some Spinach and Artichoke Hummus for lunch the other day. Later, looking at the ingredients list: chickpeas, water, soybean/canola oil, tahini, red & green bell peppers, spinach, cucumber, salt, garlic, onion, artichoke, citric acid, natural flavors, lemon juice, seasonings & spices, potassium sorbate.

Artichoke, the last 'food' ingredient coming even after 'salt' and yet that's what they advertised on the label.

resident wren

The little loud mouth was back again the other day, going all around the shop, on and poking in everything, screeching out it's alarm call the whole time. It visited the old nest again, about the only time it was quiet. It didn't seem particularly upset by my attempts to photograph it and at one point it got quite close to me, maybe 5'. I wonder if it's the wren baby from last spring?

If I want to know where the cat is in the morning or evening all I need do is follow the sound of the wren taking it's job seriously keeping vigil, letting all birdkind know there is a cat on the premises.

tree hopping

That crazy fucker that flies the crop duster has been buzzing the neighborhood this week. He's been spraying something on the agricultural field across the road and when he gets to the end he pulls up and banks around right over our house for another pass over the field.

He has to fly very low over the field when he releases whatever it is he's releasing so that it goes on the field and not have the wind dissipate it. In the past he has flown over the houses at a higher altitude but this past week I swear he's brushing the treetops and skimming the houses, very loud and kinda scary to see that little plane coming right at us.

This morning he was at it again only this time he was spraying perpendicular to the road and flying right at the tree line along the road, pulling up and banking around over the 13 acre field behind us.

We stay inside when he is out doing his spraying and it is the only part of living in an agricultural community that I don't like.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marc makes a bird

My last post was about Kari Russell-Pool and her demo on lampworking. Today I am sharing Marc Petrovic's demo. He works out of the furnace instead of with a torch to create his beautiful pieces and birds are a big part of what he does.

© Marc Petrovic
Bluebird Preserve, 2010
blown, hot sculpted
26" x 10.5"

Marc Makes A Bird

shaping the first gather of clear glass from the furnace

sifting blue powdered glass onto the gather

melting the color into the gather in the glory hole

shaping the gather on the marver table

gathering a layer of clear glass over the blue from the furnace

shaping the gather (that's wet newspaper in his hand)

starting to define the head from the body

reheating (a lot of this goes on)

defining and shaping the wings and tail

back in the glory hole

working on the wings

reheating with a torch (a lot of this went on too)

transferring the bird to a punty rod

starting to shape the head

adding glass for the beak

making the eyes

positioning the head

almost done

the finished bird off the punty and headed for the annealer to cool off

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kari makes a flower

We had a great time visiting with Marc Petrovic and Kari Russell-Pool and their two daughters who were in town for the opening of their show at Hooks-Epstein Gallery here in Houston. The work at the show is really beautiful and on Sunday they both did demonstrations of their techniques at Dick and Kathy's glass blowing studio. Monday evening we gathered at our friends' house for dinner and socializing before we headed back to Wharton and Kari and Marc head home.

©Kari Russell-Pool
Blue and Pink Cylinder - Tacoma Series, 2011 

lampworked glass

14.5" x 12"dia

Kari Makes A Flower

making petals

building the base

assembling the flower

tomorrow...Marc Makes A Bird

Saturday, February 18, 2012

hob nobbing

We are heading in to Houston for a few days in a little while. There is an art opening tonight which I want to go to. Marc Petrovic and Kari Russell-Pool are having a show at one of the galleries down the row from the one who shows our work.

©Marc Petrovic

©Kari Russell-Pool

I really like Marc's work and Kari's too. They are married but each does their own work and sometimes they collaborate. Anyway we met them at one of the glass art international shows about 5 years ago,back when galleries were taking our work to those shows, so it will be fun to see them again. They are also doing demos at our friends the glass blowers' studio on Sunday and on Monday we are doing a quick little etching job plus finishing and delivering samples for the two big 20' long walls we have a proposal out for.

Last weekend I spent three days filling the molds for the three larger botanica erotica series pieces. You might remember that I did those waxes first. I had so much time in them and wasn't sure really how I was going to layer in the colors so I decided to do some of the smaller ones first. Of the six of those I have done, I am happy with 5 of them and I learned from the 6th. So week before last, Marc made the molds and I have been busy. They came out of the kiln last Thursday and I just now got around to getting them cleaned off. None of the finish work, just all the plaster residue washed away.

I am really very pleased. They each came out mostly how I planned, hoped. Here's a little peek at the rough castings though they don't seem to be in very sharp focus. These are each 6” x 6” x 1.75”.

Well, that's the last of the waxes I had made during those months when I was model making. Now to start the next two boxes and the next six of the small bot-eros.