Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Too pooped to post, snail mail rant, and the case of the missing wheels

Sorry, no picture today. Actually I forgot to take a pic during the intimate, but fun polymer clay class today where I had a few dedicated charges. Those who were there know they were there, and they have the bad jokes in their memories to prove it.  In all, it was a fun day and there was a lot of good claying going on, but after it all got put away and the dishes were done, I am pooped.

My schedule has been soooooooooo hectic this summer, I fear I have missed one or two deadlines for sales, and am going to be begging tomorrow to try to get in one of them.  Missing the deadline was due in part to this danged computer breakdown we had a couple of months back which lost all the emails and attachments.  I sort of remembered many of them and had haphazardly copied some of them manually into my date book, and others I had imprinted the show dates on my mind, but without my screensaver calendar (lost) and the email attachments for the applications, I have been in a dither trying to collect all the application forms etc.  So, I am going to spend much of tomorrow backtracking and contacting by email and phone to try to  get all the pieces back together. 

Now for the rant part.  (If you'd rather not read this, I give you persmisison to hit the exit key now.) I am getting really disgruntled with snail mail.  I have been waiting for so many things to arrive in the mail, and for things to get to people and places.  I fear that there is some WICKED FORCE out there committing subterfuge to prevent me from getting payments, sending checks and cheques, and all other sorts of mail-gone-bad stuff.  It's like there is NOBODY working in the post offices any more, and they've left all the work to malevolent little gremlins who live in the  boxes on the corner of the streets.  Seems those critters are eating up all the mail or at least the envelopes.  It's like they are on a gummy feast and they open the envelopes and party away by sucking all the gum/glue off the envelopes and then just leaving the interior bits, the stuff we the "mailors" are interested in, to fend for itself having no destinations and no return addresses.  And another thing they do, those dastardly gremlins, {and this thing I can attest to, not just surmise,} is that they wedge the envelopes in between the hardware that keeps the actual mailbox together, so that when the HUMAN BEING (aka Post Office Employee) comes to dump the mail into his big bag to take it to the post office, the wedged mail just stays put in the box.  For how long, I don't know, but I do know that I have seen with my own eyes, (and they don't lie...like my hips), I've seen the same piece of mail wedged in there on two consecutive days.  Don't those mail collectors ever LOOK inside the boxes?  Sounds like they need to take an advanced class in Mail Collection 302 where the syllabus reads 'How to really collect mail from those multicolored boxes'.  When the mail boxes were blandly colored worn-out-red, it never used to happen, the collectors collected the mail.  But now, now that the boxes have gone all colorful and decorated, I guess the collectors (who are being paid I bet, snicker, snicker,) are so taken by the chaotic and colorful decorations that they forget what the boxes are for.  Another tale of Just Another Pretty Face. 

And OH YAH!  Something I should have posted a while ago...The Sad Tale of the Missing Wheels.

Nearly a month ago, when we returned from our little hiatus/(I love that word except when it introduces hernia) busman's holiday, I espied a  nice bike attached to the Stop Sign very close to aforementioned prettily-decorated mail box.  It looked expensive...I dunno.  I am not a bike groupie.  But,  it was there one day.  It was there the next day.  And the third and oh, for at least a week. Maybe even longer since we were gone for about a week prior.  Even though I didn't mail something each day, I would see said Bike attached to the stop sign.  All shiny and tapioca colored; a Shimano I think it was...never looked that close.  And then, this week when I went to said mailbox, the bike was gone.  It wasn't until I looked down, while the divine Miss M (MOLLY NOT MIDDLER) was doing a dainty little curtsey aka pee, I saw it!!! The lock from the bike.  On the ground.  In two pieces.  One the curved part and the other close by, which someone had obviously hack-sawed off.  Guess they saw the bike there day after day as I did.

What I am wondering is this:  Did the person who locked up the bike in the first place FORGET about the bike?   Was he/she parking the bike there for some geocache search to do the rest of the search on foot?   Or, was it, heaven forbid, something sinister....Oh I don't want to go there.  Why was the bike there for over a week?  And who hack-sawed it off?  Perhaps it was the little gremilins from the mail box, who, having had one too many envelope frappés, decided to live outside the box and take off on the bike.  In any case, not a happy ending.  Except of course if it means that the gremlins didn't return to the mail box and the mail will go through from now on.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lighter than light

Not much time this week to post.  After the tentlake and hurricane wind problems last weekend, I vowed that this weekend's Festival will be better.  Sounds a little Scarlett O'Harish I know, but that's where determination, or is it plain ol' stubbornness reigns.  I did make a few more sets of buttons the past few days, since the area I'll be in is replete with quilters, and added these few light switch plates to my inventory.

They have a very earthy feel, as you can probably tell.  I went pretty heavy into the texture and hope they end up in some room where there's a wall space just waiting for them.  I could have spent more time on the clouds in the beachy one, but since it's Thursday and I have to leave early tomorrow a.m., I once again, decided less is more.  The ivoryish one is a little cave-like and the soapstone-y effect on the double looks like the entrance to my fantasy secret garden.  I always loved the carving in some of the old soapstone vases we used to have...wonder where they are now?  If they don't turn up, maybe I'll tackle making some as a fall 'spare time' project.  Like spare time exists.  Spare tire?  Yes.  But time?

Off to the Morden Corn and Apple Festival.  I'm as corny as Morden in August....la la la. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some things are fishy...

Well, I am posting again.  Same picture.  I want to describe the polymer clay now.  I did a little line drawing a couple of weeks ago of a partial school of fish.  Then I reduced it on the photocopier (toner based) and made about twenty little printouts.  In the focal area of this book is the faux ivory clay with the drawing.  It is not a transfer, but a tear-away.  I was so happy that it turned out so well (not the drawing, the tear away.)  The etching accepted the antiquing umber paint very readily and I purposely didn't sand all of the paint away.  It is soooooooooo smooth.  I only used 600 grit sandpaper on the ivory, and it feels so delightful, that I didn't bother to buff it.  I wanted to just run my fingers over it over and over. 

After the ivory piece was done, I added a little gold piece using liquid polymer as a 'glue' and then more liquid polymer between the book board and the gold. I had sculpted a few other little fish and used some for beads.  A few of the fish got filleted and were used as adornments atop the gold on the book.  (More adhesive liquid polymer.)   I baked the entire cover  45 minutes (or maybe an hour) and then placed the painted book boards between two larger tiles to cool them and make sure they were flat.  The baking really helped to set the paint ... I had used Jacquard Liquitex (I think) in a mixture of antique gold and bronze, and then did a little feathering with some other acrylics.  You can't see much of it on the front cover, but the feathering is more visible on the back cover and inside the covers. 

As for the side features, I didn't have too many beads and my selection of bronzy colored fibres is rather limited, so I put in some variegated/recylcled Silk Sari Yarn and a few other textury-type bits.  And yes, the little fish are bronzed with Pearl-Ex, so I did put a little sealer coat on them. 

Ya gotta love doing this stuff.  When I sit and describe it, I realize that there are so many steps involved in making something work.  Luckily, I don't have to describe it to myself when I do it.  I just DO IT!

Hope you all have a great weekend.  Wish me luck...it's going to be very warm in the tent and I am not looking forward to that.  Methinks a little spray bottle of water and a thousand fans might help.  (Both the kind you hold so I can keep my cool, and the kind that come up to look at the work, lol.)

Something's Fishy?

With this Friday comes the final 'edition' of the Lockport Preparations.  I made four new hardcover journals for this weekend's market event and hopefully with the fish theme someone who wins the $20 000 will step into the art tent.  Of course this journal won't take up much of that; but perhaps the winner would like to record the event.  Even if the winner isn't into journal keeping, there's a lot of use for a book like this.  It measures about four and one half  inches high and is not quite that wide.  I may make a simple little cloth cover for it, just in case, so that the fronds don't get tangled with other things if one is carrying it in a fishing creel or other carrier.

I am really enjoying my art journal activities.  I used my sample book at last weekend's Victoria Beach Festival, and had a lot of interest.  Someone actually inquired about purchasing the partially finished book... Of course that book wasn't intended for sale, but the person said it would help her 'get started' on a book.  I agree that getting a journal going is one of the most difficult tasks, but if you make it a daily thing for a specified amount of time over your morning cup of tea or coffee, it can be quite an engaging experience.  I have been a follower of several magazines that encourage this type of activity, so I can imagine how difficult it would be for someone who is a complete novice who has never seen those publications to know how to begin.  After seeing the collages, the cut outs, the drawings, the 'scribbles' and other elements, a lot of the folks seemed to want to do some art journalling on their own. 

I also chatted with an English teacher who thinks she may use the idea in her classes.  When I taught, I never minded if kids 'doodled' on their pages and encouraged it if it helped to bring home a concept...As a matter of fact, it was mandatory in several of the subjects that I taught that kids incorporate drawings, colored and not, in their notes.  I especially remember doing French vocab in this way, as well as more intricate features like illustrating the  logs being positioned at right angles to each other as an example of how the early settlers built their log homes for Social Studies.  For the kids who said they "couldn't draw" it didn't matter.
Any and all attempts were worthwhile.  

That is how I feel about  doing the art journals.  I am no great artist, and have a good deal of trouble with perspective etc. Once the line drawing gets done,  some careful positioning of dropped leaves, or snippets of phrases strategically placed, lots of obvious 'mistakes' can be skilfully masked.  And there are so many acceptable things to go into journals...My box of journal ephemera keeps getting larger and larger and soon may engulf my polymer clay workspace.  But no...that would not do!!!  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tagged Fish

Wowsa!  The Lockport 100th Anniversary starts tomorrow and hubby tells me they released the three tagged fish into the river on Tuesday so they're swimming around somewhere.  Evidently, there is a $20 000 prize for catching and verifying the release of the tagged fish...only one of which is the twenty grand one.  I couldn't resist this little pun and believe me, no bait, minnows, hooks or any other type of fishing tackle was used in securing this little guy.  He has a 'waggly tail' (sort of like that doggie in the window) and is much cuter (imho) than the real ugly catfish that will be the contest winner.  I'll be having a few of these at my booth in the Tent at the Locks Market this weekend as well as a lot of other items, several of which will be fish-related.  I am at the finishing stages of getting it all together.  Since this is a one hundredth anniversary event, there's never been a market associated with the Locks, it's hard to tell what size the crowds will be, but should I have an excess of inventory, I can always use it for next week's Corn and Apple Festival in Morden.  That's a bit of a longer drive and it goes on for three days, but it's a first time for me to be in it.  Looking forward to both of the events. 

Yesterday our book club went to see Eat, Pray Love and then went for dinner.  In keeping with the theme of the 'Eat in Italy' we tried to go to The Olive Garden (the closest thing to an Italian Restaurant in the area of the theatre) but there were no parking spots; needless to say that it was over an hour wait for a table for five.  Instead we hopped over to Moxie's and each of us chose something close to a Meditteranean dish/drink.  I had a Bellini and then had Caesar Salad and Calamari.  I know traditionally that Calamari is a Greek dish, but didn't opt for a pizza since I had some the day before.  We discussed the movie and agreed that it was good, even though it deviated from the book just a little, embellishing and adding here and there to make it a little more theatrical.  Too bad it wasn't in smell-a-vision to add to the sensual intensity of the Margherita Pizza in Napoli or the fragrant blossoms of Bali.  I could have done without the smell of the cows in India quite frankly, so guess I should be thankful that s-a-vision hasn't hit the screens yet. 

Now, back to getting items finished in preparation for the Market.  Hubby has relayed that they are still in need of more volunteers for the weekend...so if you're not too busy, can be in the Lockport area and have a couple of hours to spare this weekend, then by all means drop him a line at anglerdan@mts.net to volunteer your services.  I know it's late, but every little bit helps.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Can't Catch Me, I'm already caught up in everything!

Am I EVER caught up?  Now depending on how you look at this, I could be 'caught up' as in all my work is done and I have loads of time on my hands.  Or, as this fish in the net, I am tangled up in all the things that have to be done.  Or, I could be trying to get caught up in a big event next weekend.

My upcoming schedule is about as busy as it ever could get.  The next four weekends are loaded with sales, anniversaries, festivals and of course getting ready for back to school during Labour Day.  Intersperse those commitments with meetings and a couple of demos and throw in a class or two for good measure, and you can see why this is one busy fish! 

This Saturday (the 14th) is the second of the summer's Victoria Beach Art Festival (it seems like the last one was just yesterday).  I believe it runs from 10 am to 4 pm. The previous one was at the Sports Club, and this one may be at the Senior Scene (which if the weather is like it is today, will be a plus since it's cool in there!) or it may also be at the Sports Club.  I am certain that the Northern Lights Committee will have signs posted as you drive in the community telling you where to go...now there's a job, lol. In any case, the two venues are in the same general area so not to worry if you're not sure where to go!

Next Tuesday, the 17th, I'll be doing a demo at McNally Robinson (Grant Location) as part of the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library organization.  I believe it will be around 7 pm and there will be other Guild members illustrating their art work as well.  For those who are unaware of how polymer clay is done, I'll be doing a brief demo.  It's very casual and relaxed...great format for asking questions.

The following weekend, the 20th to 22nd of August, will be the 100th Celebration of the Lockport Community http://www.lockportmanitoba.ca/  .  The event is not only a celebration of the historic site, but has all sorts of events associated with it.  Hubby of course is helping out with the Fish Catch (a whopping $20 000 to anyone who catches the tagged fish) and I'll be in the big tent along with lots of other local artisans.  Our tent is near Gaffer's, to those who know the area, and I'll have fish like these and lots of other polymer clay stuff there.  Parking might be a bit of an issue, but there are shuttle buses organized so access shouldn't be too much of a problem.  Hope to see lots of folks there!

On the weekend after that, August 27 to 29th, I'll be at the Morden Corn and Apple Festival.  That is a festival that's been going on for decades and even though my work won't be as 'tasty' as their delicious pies and food offerings, I will have some fun things there too.  It'll be my first time there, and I can already smell the corn on the cob!

I have a couple of class dates scheduled after that (during the transition from August to September) where I'll be doing introductory techniques in polymer clay.  It might be a two day continuum, or two one days separate classes, depending on the needs of the individuals.  Anyone who is interested, please get in touch with me by email, fishwife@mts.net   I have a sign up list at home here, and if you get in touch with me, I can let you know more of the details.

Finally to wrap up the summer, on Saturday of  the Labour Day Weekend I'll be near some lake or river north of Winnipeg.  Nope.  Not fishing.  Hopefully, relaxing, but YOU NEVER KNOW!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mixed Media Journal

Finally a few minutes to post. We were on a Road Trip (Yay!) and made our  journey to the Sioux Narrows Art Festival and then followed that with a few days visiting relatives in Wisconsin.

Of course the weather was gorgeous, as was the scenery.  The Shield and lakes of Western Ontario were outstanding.  Due to circumstances I won't go into (none of which were our doing) we had to stay about 25 miles from the event, but the extra driving was worth it just for the view from our lakeside room.  The mist on the first morning we were there covered the entire lake and I wished I'd had more time to savour it, but duty called.  The show was good, not as good as in previous years sales wise, but most people said that, so I am not complaining.  Once again, the show was very well hosted and aside from the accommodations aspect one couldn't ask for better.

When we got to Wisconsin, we played, went for pontoon rides and I got to 'shop'.  (More about that later.)  As well, I demonstrated how I did my Coptic Binding on the books that I've been making recently.  I didn't go overboard in decorating this one, as my main purpose was to show the binding, and only added one polymer element (so far) to the cover.  Since I was 'describing' the Coptic technique (should coptic have a capital??), I somehow got my pages turned topsy turvy about half way through.  Since I don't feel like ripping them out, I decided to keep this book for myself.  I also promised I would do a page a day, as in Marlene Brady's blog "Do art every day" and since I returned, have kept up.  I'm not a journal artist by a long shot, and I have lots to learn, but I gave it the old 'collage' try.  Mostly so far I've used my own 'stuff', pictures I've drawn (and photocopied) or wording I've done.  That brings to mind a million questions, and a few answers I've figured out.  Does one acknowledge sources of images in a private book?  What does a title page in a journal look like?  Does one even need a title page?  I mean it is not like I am ever going to be organized to have a table of contents in the thing...

On one  page I did a take-off on the word 'type'.  I was tickled during my shopping trip to  find an antique Smith Corona in great shape.  I had sold our old Underwood upright in a garage sale many years ago, and when the gal accepted my offer (the same amount I sold the Underwood for) I sealed the deal.  After sharing a little secret about my high school typing experiences with her, I decided that the word needed to be exploded a bit.  I didn't do much exploding.  I only linked it to a few phrases, but since I have a tendency to [overdo] things like that in my work in general, I hoped in this case that less was more. 

The colorful rainbow background for the page (I'd gesso'd it up first) was from an old painting kit I purchased at Mall of America kiosk about ten years ago.  I'd love to be able to do that effect in other colors and maybe when I have time I'll try to recreate another way of doing it so I am not confined to the colors of tempera that are in the kit.  I glued the little typed excerpt into the middle of the opened page, and thank goodness for that feature of coptic binding I love so much.  The remainder of the page is some journaling in every which way direction using a purplish-mauve gel pen.

Now that I've completed another page (it's still drying) I'm off to work on polymer clay and replenish stock.  Also have to make some butterfly pendants for my sister's friend in SK...BTW, she returned from a three week stay in Australia and brought me back a scarf done in the traditional Aboriginal dot style.  One day I am going to try my hand at that.  When one of the exchange teachers from Adelaide (I think) was at our school, she had the kids emulate that style and their paintings adorned the hallways for weeks. 

I rather like that technique, but need to do a little more research on it before I attempt it on my own.  Perhaps one day a page of it will get into my art journal.  In the meantime, I'm letting it sit open on a book stand.  Drying.  Although on this sticky humid day here it may take longer than usual.  Now if I were in Phoenix...it'd be dry before I finished the page!