Thursday, October 31, 2013

of pecans

The pecans have been falling in ernest the last several days.

I read somewhere, somewhen that walking in the dew covered grass barefoot was good for your circulation so I try and get out there between coffee and breakfast.

When we get dew on the ground and even when we don't and sometimes even before coffee.

Some of the leaves on the pecan trees are starting to yellow and fall.

I have finally, over a period of the past several weeks, picked up more pecans than I had left over from last year, ones that didn't get sold or shelled.

Three previous forays today filling up my shirt bottom held up like a basket and this last time I filled up a one gallon bucket and went out again a little later and filled up another one gallon bucket.

It's like the pecans all had this day earmarked on their calendar to fall.

I have totally abandoned my orderly criss-crossing of the yard while picking up pecans in favor of wandering aimlessly.

My neighbor Frank Of The Bountiful Garden is so frail these days, I wonder who is going to pick up his pecans.

A two foot long coral snake crossed my barefoot path while I was searching under my absentee neighbor's tree.

I think our tree that lost three big branches this summer is producing most of this year's crop.

Shelling pecans will be part of my evening activity for an unknown number weeks to come.

I wonder if my son will make me that terribly rich brandied fig and pecan pie again this year.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lou Reed is really dead

Lou Reed is dead. Really dead this time and not an internet hoax. I wasn't a big fan of his. I associated his music with heroin use and my experiences with people who used heroin were all negative...eventually.

I did plenty of drugs myself but mostly just pot and hallucinogens. I learned early that speed and downers were not for me. Speed made me lose weight and I was far too skinny as it was, downers just put me to sleep and one time I almost didn't wake up and I don't even know what it was I took. Scared my roommate because she couldn't rouse me for classes.

It was a very stupid act on my part. I was 19 maybe and I was getting kicked out of college six weeks before the end of the second semester for smoking pot

which I was doing but they only caught me because they set me up using someone who I thought was a friend and she turned me in

and I had made the mistake of letting the Dean Of Women call my parents to inform them of the fact

apparently she lied to them about what kind of drugs I was taking

and I had recently gotten off the phone with my parents who were coming to get me over the weekend and I knew I was in for a world of hurt and I finally had a date with a guy in my Geology class that I was interested in and we went out that night and he gave me this 'downer', a pill he had got somewhere and I took it.

Fortunately I did get back to my dorm room before I passed out and fortunately (or unfortunately) my roommate just let me be I was still breathing and eventually I woke up and had an awful hangover and had to face my parents in a few days.

So the day comes, and they barely speak to me and frogmarch me to the car and don't let me get in the backseat but make me get in the front seat between them and my father grabs my left arm and jerks up the sleeve of my shirt and checks my arm for tracks and then does the same thing on my right arm and...

I cannot believe he just did that

I am insulted to the core and after that everything he says to me falls on deaf ears. I am, of course, their virtual prisoner so I try and make all the sounds they want to hear.

That little act cleaved me from my parents for the rest of my life. That and the year or two that followed, before I escaped their house altogether and I married the Rat Bastard to do it.

Who I divorced 3 1/2 years later.

The next time my father tried to control who I was and, basically, my life, I stood up to him and told him I would do what I damn well pleased.

Actually, I think what I said was I would sleep with who I wanted and when I wanted and if he didn't like it I would move out.

I was living with them at the time.

I know, I know.

So where was I? Oh yeah, Lou Reed and heroin. My 1st husband/ex-husband used heroin but not while we were married. I didn't put up with that shit. Last I heard he had got disability from his parent's company where he went to work after I divorced him because he didn't have anyone to support him anymore from an accident on the job site because he was probably STONED and hooked up with another junkie who got an inheritance and they were living in a trailer house somewhere in Florida doing drugs all day.

But that was a long time ago.

I had a friend once who did heroin, this was back in the Rat Bastard days, until he broke in my house when I was gone on vacation and stole from me.

Anyway, you get the picture.

I know I'm being unfair to Lou Reed. I know he was a very talented guy and very influential and I did/do like some of his stuff and we are poorer for his passing.

But I was never a big fan.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

grandkids, Halloween, and work

My daughter brought all three girls out last Saturday to spend the night (we all need a break from each other, she says) so while the youngest lost herself in MineCraft, the twins and I worked on red yarn wigs for their Halloween costumes, (twin) Raggedy Anns. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of them trying on the finished product. I hesitate to call them wigs as it's not a wig so much as a mop on top of their heads.

The grandboy didn't come this quick trip since because, as he is 16 and can get a job, he went out and got a job working at the neighborhood grocery store. He likes it. He likes having money in his pocket. Now if he would just like his schoolwork enough to graduate we'd all be happy.

I've started making some little things for the open house in December this year. I've got some pieces in the kiln forming over fiber paper to emboss the glass with the design for little garden sun catchers. Marc's going to make three of the plain small bowls and he's been working on the molds. I still have some of the little cast pieces from last year and I want to do a set of 4 tiles using clay for the models. Something quick and easy, a little less controlled.

OK, quiet out there.

I have a hard time doing 'a little less controlled'.

I also got the intermediate sized art for the next commission done and went in town last Thursday for an overnighter to get the enlargement and to help the twins finish getting their halloween costume so I hit the thrift shops and found some suitable (to me) stuff. They were supposed to go with me Thursday evening but it didn't work out.

The installation for the last etched glass job we did was on Friday morning. I forgot the tripod so my pics were all hand held and everybody was standing around watching me. I wanted to sneak a picture of the glass fronted cabinet with all her purses in it but both of them were hanging around during the whole installation so I couldn't do it.

Next week should be fairly busy.

PS. thank you everyone who commented on my last post. I do have confidence in the quality of our work. What I don't have is the thick skin or the detachment or the determination to find another gallery that does these shows...yet. It may happen.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

SOFA approaches

SOFA, Sculptural Objects and Functional Art, is coming up the first weekend in November. SOFA Chicago is an international show for galleries to exhibit the works of their artists to a huge crowd over a three day period. There are actually three SOFA shows; New York, Chicago, and Santa Fe; but the SOFA Chicago is the biggest.

We were lucky enough to be picked up by a gallery that does the SOFA shows and in fact had our work shown there for three years; 2006, 2007, 2008. It was an exhilarating and demoralizing experience all at the same time.

The level and quality of work there, that the big guns in the art world; artists, galleries, and collectors; are there is intimidating. Our first year, the biggest question on my mind was how the hell did we get in here though everyone assured us that our work was definitely worthy.

The first year we didn't sell anything. Not unusual they told me. Collectors want to see how your work wears over time. Your third year is when things take off, they told me. The second year, we sold one piece.

The third year, 2008 (which started out really good for us with our one person show at our local gallery), is the year the bottom dropped out of Lehman Brothers, with the stock market following soon after, just a few weeks before the SOFA Chicago show. Needless to say, it was a fairly dismal show for everyone and a lot of the galleries lost money.

Also needless to say, we did not get our third year bump though we did sell two very nice pieces in the following couple of months to collectors who had seen the work at the show.

I was demoralized. The gallery that had been showing our work at SOFA basically dropped us like a hot potato, stopped taking our work to the various shows around the country, which I understand. They had to scale back and focus on artists who were known sellers. And while it was not the only gallery that was showing our work, it was the only one that does SOFA and the other shows.

The economic climate that persisted for the next several years was not conducive to the sale of art. Galleries closed, some artists quit trying to make it, many artists fell back on teaching at the studios that brought in guest teachers.

We were fortunate to have three very good commission jobs in the latter half of 2008 through early 2010, work that had been funded before the crash, so I didn't have a lot of time left over to work on the pate de verre and it was just as well, as I had no interest.

And it hadn't been fun for a while, it had got us in some serious debt. Once I had decided to get in the galleries and aspire to the shows and collectors instead of doing it for my own enjoyment, I was having to work on it all the time and get the work out there, applying to all sorts of exhibitions, going to the conventions. And once in the shows, they weren't good for me. It was emotional turmoil, and like I said, demoralizing.

It was two years before I actually got in the studio again after 2008 and started to play around. I had to let go of the desire to be discovered by the galleries and sought by the collectors. I had tried, gone into the studio several times, standing in front of my model making tools thinking I should probably do something before I just turned around and walked out again.

It was a long process for me. Letting go of that desire. I had chosen at the very beginning to do commission work and I had made my living at that all my life. Now it was just too late, I think, to switch. Too late to start over.

And I also realize now, that there is no way to make a living on this obscure, difficult, time consuming, and detail oriented technique unless your work sells for stratospheric prices. I don't want to do production work therefore every piece is one of a kind and they take a long time to make. But I'm having fun with it again. I have one gallery willing to take the few pieces I make.

But that's OK. When the commission work allows, I work on the cast glass and I'm usually content with that. Except for this time of year, with the SOFA show approaching.

This time of year, I still yearn. This time of year I sometimes feel like I failed. I got my foot in the door but didn't have what it takes to stay in the room. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

short stories 13

My new confederate rose, the one that volunteered last year and is now 8' tall has started blooming. The new flowers are opening white! They turn pink throughout the day, darkening to dark pink by the time they close up. I've seen bushes around that did that my my two that were so gorgeous last year and totally diseased this year never did that.

The pecan trees started dropping mature pecans several weeks ago. So far I've picked up about a gallon. Last year was phenomenal, the best year ever, with several hundred pounds of pecans. I don't expect too many this year though as the trees are not very laden.

The 13 Acre Field behind us is looking beautiful with the fall grasses blooming and waving in the wind. I expect they'll be around to hay the field soon. They always do every time it starts to look really good.

We went to see Gravity this week. Go see it. Just...go see it if it's not too late. In 3D. There's a scene where she sheds a few tears in zeroG and the tears oozed out of her eye, balled up, and then drifted off.

I've almost finished the current model. Not best pleased with it, not through with it, still have to do the stamens and maybe that's what's wrong. Maybe it will somehow come together when I do that part. I usually do it all together but for some reason I thought it would be easier to do it separate and add it in. I'm mostly just settling. It'll do, like the pig. I really liked the picture though. I wish I could have done a better job of it.

We finished this panel last week. 47” x 23”. This is the panel that I previously wrote about that goes into the had-been-window that now looks from the bathroom into the closet. I have to schedule the installation now.

We've been getting some pretty awesome sunsets now that we are getting our fall rains. The clouds were looking like the tendrils of jellyfish the other evening (on max zoom and enhanced).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

it's far from over

I've refrained from ranting on my blog about the ridiculous antics in the House of Representatives the last several weeks though I have been very vocal about my opinion on FB.

I'm glad the stalemate has come to an end but unfortunately not without damage to the country in general, and I totally expect the Tea Party members to repeat their performance in 4 months.

I'm also glad the President and the Democrats stood firm in refusing to negotiate with them. If they had, it would have been a terrible precedent and would have been the end of democracy in this country.

Because the way democracy works is that you have elections to appoint the people to make the laws and run the country and if one person or party loses the election, they do what they can to garner support and prepare for the next election.

What they don't do is act like a petulant child and try to force their agenda on the people who rejected that agenda at the ballot box. The Republican Party, led by the nose by the Tea Party Republicans did exactly that. They weren't winning so they tossed the game so that no one could play.

Having tried over 40 times to undo the ACA and having failed every time, they did what all dictators do that have a little power, they tried to force their agenda on everyone else. And not satisfied with just demanding the end to the ACA before they would pass a funding bill, they issued a list of over 20 other demands as well, including but not limited to:

Approving Keystone XL
Eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood
Medicare privatization
Allowing employers to eliminate insurance coverage for birth control
Preserving all the Bush tax cuts
Slashing funding for food stamps
Protecting mountaintop strip mining
Stripping the EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gases
Loosening regulation on coal ash
Repealing a tax on medical devices
Eliminating Social Service Block Grants
Restricting the child tax credit

I think it's pretty clear who pulls their puppet strings.

When the President refused to give in to their demands, they accused him of refusing to negotiate and compromise when, in fact, the Republican Party had ignored over two dozen calls by the President to come to the table and talk in the weeks leading up to the shutdown.

The fact is, the Tea Party led Republican Party has no intention of compromising, something they consider to be selling out, something only 'losers' do. They do not want compromise. What they want is complete capitulation from the other side and that is the only thing they will accept. They have had five years to compromise and instead all they have done is obstruct.

President Obama is not perfect. He has done things that I am not in favor of but never has he purposely thrown democracy under the bus and if anything, he has been too willing to concede to the opposition. In return, they have voted against and obstructed every attempt to help the American people. You need only look at the congressional record for the past five years to see what their priority has been...restricting women's rights, abolishing the ACA, and obstructing every single thing the President has tried to do, even to the point of voting against things they were previously for and helped write.

And don't even get me started on the unprecedented level of disrespect they have shown to not only a sitting President, but the Office itself. Hateful and vile are two of the more positive adjectives I can come up with.

It would be nice if the Tea Party was duly chastened by the result of their unAmerican and anti-democratic stunt but don't kid yourself. They are proud of what they did (they looked pretty pleased with themselves during the press conference right after they voted to shut down the government) and you can expect more of the same from them in 4 months. They are doing what their handlers and supporters elected them to do...destroy the American government. It's not like they have been secretive about their goal. Ted Cruz alone received ¾ of a million dollars to his campaign fund in the last three weeks for their act of sedition.

And the fact that polls show that 30% of Americans support them is scary indeed. There is no one more dangerous than the person or people who think themselves anointed by their idea of god to bring about god's will in this country.

Make no mistake about it, these people are theocratic dominionists. They seek to replace the secular government, and subsequently the U.S. Constitution, and create a political and judicial system based on their perverted view of Christianity, all bankrolled by the likes of the Koch brothers.

And, like the Terminator, they will. not. stop.


Those of us who believe in equality, in compassion, in compromise, in the separation of church and state, in the rights and the will of the American people over the will of the ultra-rich and mega-corporations who buy our politicians and who continue to try and subvert the democratic process for their own personal gain; we must engage in the political process, not turn our backs on it.

Because if we do, we're lost.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

small town wine fest

Last Saturday I worked at the antique store. This was the annual Wine and Art Fest. The committee selects a different winery every year with the merchants on the square hosting the tasting in their stores. The idea is to get people to come into the stores and hopefully make more than it costs to participate. They have a big tent set up in which the vintner sells the wine and they have a stage with a band and food vendors which lasts til 10PM.

A Model A car club rolled through town in the morning, totally unconnected with the Wine Fest. There must have been at least 30 cars or more. I didn't think to take a picture until the last of them was driving off.

Fair goers follow the route on the map that takes them around the square to the different shops and other businesses that are participating showing art and/or serving whichever type of wine. This year we had a very sweet red wine. We had moments of being ridiculously busy with periods of standing around watching the parade of humanity traipse through the store (we make them walk through the whole store to get to the wine).

Apparently, last year, which was the 4th and best year as far as attendance (don't know this year's assessment yet), some people got a little tipsy and caused some problems. Well, a lot of people got tipsy because the wine was served as long as there was wine and although it was supposed to be one per customer, no one, not the servers or the tasters, paid any attention to that. Consequently, people just continued to circle the shops.

This year, the committee 'got the word' from those in charge that that wasn't to be allowed again. This year there was a $10 charge for a wristband, 8 tickets, a wine glass and some discount coupons from some of the vendors. The shops/servers were instructed to look for a wristband and get a ticket before they were to pour the wine and to stop serving at 8PM whether we had run out of wine or not.

The little display in the shop I set up of our work. A few people did actually stop and look.

I have no idea if the other shops stopped serving at 8PM. The two vendors in our store that were doing the serving are both older than me, and I'm no spring chicken. At 5 minutes to 8, Joe emptied the last bottle that was already open and then turned away the dozen or so people that came in because he didn't see the point in opening another bottle for 5 minutes. Besides he and Mignon were tired and ready to go home. The late comers weren't too happy as they had not been made aware of the 8PM cut-off.

I packed up our art work shortly after that and was out the door with Marc at 8:20 along with Donna and Bobby. Jim stayed behind to close up 'when he deemed it time'.

The party still went on til 10, but as we are the only shop and, this year, the only participant on our side of the square, once the wine stops being offered, everyone gravitates to the other side and corner where the tent and music stage are set up and most all the other shops are clustered. No one crosses over to Miss Hattie's then. I imagine Jim closed about 9PM. Had he stayed open til 10, I doubt a single person would have come in.

That's our disadvantage. All the other businesses on our side have closed. On one end of the block is a county court building and a big church takes up half the block around the corner. The shop used to get a lot more traffic when the restaurant next door on one side and the party shop on the other side were open.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

rainy day

It's a rainy day today which is good because we really need it. I'm sort of in sync with the weather. I feel tired, lethargic, unmotivated. The little dogs are in their beds. Nothing else to do.

The little dogs belong to my sister who is in Chicago to 'be there' for her daughter who is running in the marathon today. 45,000 insane people athletes running 26.2 miles non-stop for absolutely no reason at all.

I'm sort of working on this model, the current 'botera' (my personal shorthand for botanica erotica). I thought it would be the next easiest one but it is being...difficult. I'm having a hard time converting the angle of the two dimensional photo into my three dimensional form. I think I might have approached it all wrong from the beginning. I already re-did the stacking of the layers once.

I flit between browsing the internet, writing this post, and working on the model. Sometimes I think I am making progress on the model and sometimes I think I'm just moving material around.

Friday, October 11, 2013

I need...

I need a nap.

I need to finish the current model.

I need to work out in the garden and get some stuff planted.

I need to get my shit together for the wine fair tomorrow because I'm supposed to exhibit some of my work.

I need to start on models and other small stuff for the December open house.

I need to clean house!

I need to do some etched glass business related things.

I need to prepare for the little dogs that are coming to stay for four days.

I need to clean up my work station.

I need to work on my posture.

I need to go to the grocery store.

I need to go to the gym.

I need to clone myself.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

model making and other stuff

We decided to come home a day early this week, on Wednesday instead of Thursday, because we were not going to finish the little commission and would have to go back next week any way. We could have finished it but we opted to go out with friends we haven't seen in many months instead.

So that meant I didn't get the stencil finished Tuesday which meant that Marc didn't get the stencil marked up which meant that by the time I finished and he finished on Wednesday, it was too hot to start sandblasting and one day, Thursday, wasn't going to be enough time to complete the work so...

We're very good at rationalizing.

I worked on the new model Thursday,

finished yesterday.

Starting a new one today.

While I'm otherwise occupied with this work, here's a peek from around the yard this week.

a new bromeliad erupting from the base of it's dying parent

what passes for fall color around here

a mockingbird singing his little heart out

the white butterfly ginger liked the rain

zinnia so intense it almost vibrates