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Monday, December 28, 2009

Jim's Sculpture in Progress

The photos were taken in the scene shop at NMSU so you have to ignore the background. These are some of Jim's extrusions. Even the people were extruded and altered. Jim's going to be doing some carving on the wood base and the sculpture is meant to be on the floor. He calls it "Family Outing."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

For the Birds

I've been feeding the birds for the last few months. Jim took some metal, his welding skills, and made a lovely little house for the bird seed offered in one of Jim's plates. We've been getting finches, dove and quails. 

My Work In Progress

I wanted to try my needle and hand on square beads. I think these are roughly size 8. Having deep seeded magpie tendencies, I was immediately attracted to the shiny copper beads. 

More Beaded Cuffs

Latest Cuff

The last time I went to the bead store, I found beautiful ice blue beads and deep blue beads. I thought they looked great together. I tried working a pattern, but the deep blue beads are smaller than the ice blue. Why on earth can't there be standard sizing with beads? Anyway, I played around and this is what I came up with. It needs a clasp, but neither Jim or I can find the little buttons I made in clay class. 

Dyeing And The New Bathing Suit

I hand dyed some cotton lycra and turned it into a two piece bathing suit. I used a sports bra pattern to make the top (which has a bra built in) and an exercise wear pattern for the bottoms. Alas, I neglected to remember that greens are adversely effected by sun screen. I don't tan - I just turn bright red. Oh well. If it is really bad, I can always over dye. 


Rhodochrosite, which is also called Inca Rose, is the national stone for Argentina. It took me a while to figure out just how I wanted the necklace to be, but I finally got it done. I'm not sure what the black and white stones are. There are small, square, copper colored beads between all the stones. 

The Painting Progresses

Jim's painting is progressing. Here's another interim look at the painting in progress. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009


A few years ago, I discovered my maternal grandmother’s horrid German was really Yiddish. My grandmother had learned those words from her maternal grandmother who spoke Hoch Deutsch. This part of my family is from East Prussia and all business in East Prussia was conducted in Hoch Deutsch. But at home, they spoke Yiddish.

There’s a direct maternal line from East Prussia to me. I am Jewish. Even though I was raised Catholic, Jewish is what I always was and always will be. It’s who I am and it’s encoded in my genes.

Neither Jim nor I grew up in a happy home. Both of us were raised in a violent, alcoholic environment. I don’t recommend this. We survived, but not without lasting wounds.

I used to go into a deep depression from the third week in November until New Years. Holidays in my home were horrible. There was fighting, yelling and crying. And that was just the holiday meal!

Jim once got a Christmas present from his father; an IOU for a present.

We now live two time zones away from family. Christmas was easier, but it still brought back a sack full of bad memories for both of us. I tried new traditions and made Christmas Knishes. The bad memories still came and haunted us.

Hanukkah is a much nicer holiday. It comes without stress and without horrible memories. It carries no emotional baggage. It is not Christmas and I hope it never is. We went to a public menorah lighting during Hanukkah. It was wonderful to hear Hanukkah music and to celebrate being Jewish instead of hiding behind a smile.

I am surrounded by clerks who wish me Happy Holidays, Christmas music, and people who assume I celebrate Christmas. They mean well; I must not snarl at them no matter how I feel. I remind myself of the joy of the public menorah lighting and return the good wishes.

Sometimes, I can use the moment for education. I was asked recently if I were ready for the holidays. I said I was already having my holiday, it’s Hanukkah.

At work, I handed out Hanukkah cards and Hanukkah gifts rather than Christmas gifts.

If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you the joys of the holiday. I wish for you the erasure of all sad memories associated with Christmas that you may have.

For all of you, I wish you shalom – the peace that goes far deeper than the absence of hostility. I wish you the peace that permeates your soul and heals the hurt inside of you. 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Latest Beaded Cuff

I started combining beads in a specific order and something interesting happened. I now need to figure out the clasp for this one. 

Jim's Painting In Progress

Jim decided he wanted to work really big this time. He paints with oils and I think we might have to install this one on the ceiling.  

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hanukkah In Mesilla

Yes, that's a large Catholic church behind the gazebo on the Mesilla Plaza. The large star is from the Mesilla Christmas Tree. It was so much fun to be out in public doing something Jewish and listening to Hanukkah music. Jim went with me and he had great fun eating the wonderful latkas. 

Beaded Work In Progress

Yes, I know those are threads dangling. It's not done. I started playing with beads and had one pattern in mind. Then I though... I wonder what would happen if I did this..... And this is what happens. Can't wait to get it done because I have another experiment in my head. 

Maybe This Bowl Isn't All That Bad

I found a free pattern for fabric bowls online and gave it a try. I did fine up until I got to the part where I used the serger for the top edge. I think I have a major tension problem and I should have serged a test piece. I was going to give up on fabric bowls, but the more I look at this, the more I kind of like it. I will need to do tension adjusting for the edge. The orange on the edge is the fuzzy type thread that one uses in the serger. I like how it works. 

Art For Kids

On this one, the waterfall brown ran a bit. I used slips on the bottom with clear glaze and I used a commercial glaze and waterfall brown n the top. It's made in two pieces, but they sort of glued themselves together in the firing. I'm about done with this project. I like the colors on the bottom. I like the shape. It's nearly 3' tall. 

Art For Kids or Why Won't This Glaze Run?

You'll have to turn your computer to the side to see the top photo. For the life of me, I can't get the sucker to rotate when I post. Oh, well. I used waterfall brown, which is supposed to run. I put it on thick. I did all the little tricks. It didn't run. That's me and runny glazes. Glazes that will run like Jesse Owens for others stays put for me. Sigh. 

I used a fiber clay with this piece and did clay "appliques" in places, carved in others. The waterfall brown was supposed to run and do fun things around the sticky outie parts of the piece. 

Perhaps next time. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Gas Kiln Firing 12-5-09

Here's what came out of the kiln. I did a lot of experimenting with glaze and glaze combinations. I also experimented with designs for three tile installations I want to do. This was a pretty successful firing. I like what the clay did and I like what the glazes did. I tried a bit of a reduction starting at ^02 and ending at ^1. Then I fired in oxidation to ^6. 

The Pig Snout

As much as I like the idea of this sculpture, I'm not wild about the way it turned out. This is a fiber clay and this is the second large sculpture that cracked in the glaze firing. 

Pinch Pot Experiments

Shots are looking down into the bowls. Some are large enough to drink from, some are tiny and some will make wonderful M&M bowls. 

Tile Ideas

I played with design and with glazes to see what I liked. I want to do a tile installation in the powder room, the master bath and behind the stove.