Posted in Photography

And Sometimes, It All Goes Right Even If It Starts Out Wrong

I prefer to shoot when no one is around. I don’t want people asking me questions or getting in my way. I want to be able to get down on the ground to get a good shot if necessary. I don’ want to be tripping over people and I don’t want them tripping over me.

I wanted to get some shots of the the Christmas lights in Las Cruces, so I went downtown, and discovered half the town was there. There were vendors set up on the plaza although the only ones selling anything were the food vendors. I had to dodge children and adults. I was sure my shots weren’t much good. One, that I was going to delete, kept talking to me until I agreed to really look at it.

Downtown 3 12-20-17

Not wanting to go home without taking photographs I could play with, I started shooting with no firm idea of how I wanted to play with the shots.

12-20-17 Lens flare no flare

The original shot.

12-20-17 Lens flare no flare overlay

Playing with an overlay.

12-20-17 Lens flare

Playing with a lens flare.

Lights w:leaks 12-20-17

Overlay on a close up of what made up the lighted ornament in the first photo.

Lights w:leaks 12-20-17 kaleidoscope

Turning the above photo into a kaleidoscope.

Downtown 2 12-20-17Downtown 4 12-20-17

Some of the lighted decorations. The bear’s “skin” was the plastic stuff used to wrap items for shipping.

Pizza time 12-20-17

Wood fired pizza made to order.

Rio Grande Theater 12-20-17Downtown 6 12-20-17

City streets.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.

I have new items in my store, Deb Thuman Art, here.

Posted in Clay, Judiasm

The Subversive Menorah and Other Stories

 

I used to work for the New Mexico Public Defender Department, a state agency. Per the US Supreme Court, state agencies cannot have a religious display. So the office got decorated for Christmas every year. According to the US Supreme Court, employees are allowed a “small, personal display” in their work area. This does not mean the reception area can be decorated as if it were Rockefeller Center. Which is how the reception area was decorated each year. One year, I objected and got snarled at, growled at and yelled at by nearly every other employee. I was amazed at the number of attorneys who were clueless about the separation of church and state. I asked about having a menorah in my office during Hanukkah. Note that the menorah is a “small, personal display” that would be confined to my work area. Nope. Can’t have a menorah.

So I made the Subversive Menorah. We couldn’t have lighted candles per the fire codes, so Jim made me wooden candles to put in the holders. I designed the menorah to fit on the windowsill of my office window. I played around with the design of the candle holders and my teacher helped me to get the menorah dried and fired so it would lay flat. This meant gluing on the candleholders. I didn’t bother asking about having a menorah again, I just brought it into my office and put it on the windowsill.

Menorah

Hanukkah is a celebration of a small band of Jews defeating the Syrian army. The Jews had been ruled by the king of Syria and were told to pray to the Syrian gods. So a tiny band of Jewish soldiers led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated the Syrian army. The king of Syria decided to let the Jews go back to Palestine. The Jews cleaned out the temple which had been desecrated by the Syrians and found only a small amount of oil. All Jewish temples have an eternal light, usually an electric light now. Then, the lamp was fueled by olive oil. Although the oil was only enough for one day, the oil lasted for the eight days it took the Jews to get more oil.

I think about that during Hanukkah. I think about how for nearly 6000 years, assorted groups of people have tried to remove us from the earth. Every last one of them has failed. God promised us we would never be wiped out. We are still here.

Jim decided to sort out the Tupperware in the pantry. We have a lot of Tupperware. Mostly because we had a friend who sold Tupperware. Anyway, Tupperware has a lifetime guarantee. So Jim rounded up all the dead lids to take to the Tupperware dealer yesterday. She will send them back to the company and we will get new lids.

Jim sorting Tupperware

And the result:

Pantry

We set up at the Farmers & Craft Market yesterday for the last time. We won’t be setting up again until April. January through March are difficult months here. Everyone is broke, no one has a tax refund yet, and it’s cold and windy. Once the weather warms up, we’ll set up at the market again. I ran the numbers for this year, and I made more than I thought.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing. If you’re looking for unique jewelry, fiber art or photographs, please stop by my store, DebThumanArt.com here.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Clay, Judiasm, Photography

A Different Kind of Stress

Christmas looks a bit different when you’re Jewish. I don’t face Holiday Hell each December. Used to be, I’d drop into a deep depression starting the third week in November and lasting until New Year’s Day. Jim and I used to escape by planning to be a few states away from the family over Christmas. I knew there was a problem when I found myself eating a leftover sandwich in a hotel room, watching Christmas Story, and thinking it was a pretty good Christmas day.

That was before. Now, no family misery – fighting, screaming, crying and that was just what happened before desert. It got worse as the day ground on. There were Christmas cookies before, but I have no idea where they came from. They were home baked, but I’ve no idea when or how. I’ve never understood Christmas cookies. I asked a woman who thought cleaning the bathroom was exciting about Christmas cookies. She told me she started baking in October and froze cookies. Why would anyone do that?

Now, after finding out my family were Polish Jews cleverly disguised as German Lutherans and reverting to Judaism, (the rabbi called it conversion), I have no Holiday Hell in December. I do have a different type of stress. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I had one of my best days at the local Farmers & Craft Market. I had made little ceramic trays and the customers nearly cleaned me out. So I worked like crazy to have a new batch of little ceramic trays for this past Saturday. I had my best sales day ever and the customers nearly cleaned me out. I don’t have time to make another batch of little trays.

Large tray 1102Large tray 1099Large tray 1100Large tray 1101

Big little trays.

Small tray 1122Small tray 1124Small tray 1125Small tray 1127

Little little trays.

Tray 1110Tray 1109Tray 1107Tray 1103Tray 1096Tray 1094Tray 1093Tray 1091

Medium little trays.

Needing to fill the table, and reading about rice pillows on the Mildly Offensive Fiber Artists Facebook page, I decided to make rice pillows. I have some black rice that I discovered I didn’t care for so I’ll use that for rice pillows. Jim said the rice pillows would make nice gifts – and he wants to send the gifts out early this week. I dug through my stash and found fabric that I could cut out 12.5” squares. I folded the squares in half, sewed around two raw edges using a 3/8” seam allowance, folded right side out, folded over the top, not yet sewn edge so I’d have a nice edge. I drew a line down the middle of the pillow so I’d have two channels running the length of the pillow. I used an empty spool from a cone of thread for a funnel and filled the first pillow 2/3 full in each channel. Then, I sewed the neatly folded under edge closed. And I was out of black rice. I’ve got about 15 more squares to sew into rice pillows and another two already sewn and need to be filled. I’ll have to stop at Sam’s Club tomorrow to buy some cheap rice. I’ll sew bags in the morning, go to the gym, pick up the mail at the post office, then stop at Sam’s Club. I’ll come home, fill the rice pillows, and try to remember to make something for dinner. These rice pillows had better sell well when we set up on this coming Saturday.

I’m having bipolar misery. I let myself get working way too fast today. When that happens, I wind up and can’t wind down. Worse, I try to do more than one thing at a time and don’t do anything very well. Yes, I know, you don’t multi task well, either. Take your experience, multiply it by a factor of at least 10, and you have how I feel when I’m wound up and well medicated. Multiply your experience by a factor of 25, and you will have how I felt wound up and unmedicated. Mental illness isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift? Check out my website, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in bipolar disorder, tattoos

Endings & Beginnings

My last modeling assignment was on Thursday. I’ve been modeling for the same art class all semester and watched the students develop their styles. I got to sit in on the critiques and I learned how to improve my art by listening to what was said. I got to design temporary tattoos to wear while posing. This was a whole lot harder than I anticipated. I got my designs worked out, then realized that the students were working with charcoal and I needed to be careful about value. Then I remembered that the parts of my designs – some were eyes – that I wanted to be white, weren’t going to be white. The printer would “read” white space as vacant space. White fill in a temporary tattoo has to be done by a commercial temporary tattoo vendor. Then I realized the design was going on skin and I needed to consider how the colors would look against skin. It was an interesting experiment. Maybe someday I’ll have a a company print up my temporary tattoo designs.

Tattoos 1 12-2-17

Tattoos 2 12-2-17

This is the photo copy I did to make sure the colors were what I wanted. The dark lines are the edges of the pieces I cut out. I had drawn designs on several pieces of paper. When I found the designs I liked, I cut them out and taped them onto a piece of white paper.

I’m now setting up at the Farmers & Craft Market every Saturday. I did well this week although not as well as the week before. I’ve decided I really like taking credit and debit cards. Why? Because I don’t have to make change. People get their money from an ATM, and the ATM only hands out $20 bills. So every person who wants to buy something from me hands me a $20 bill. I anticipate setting up next Saturday and the Saturday after that. The following Saturday is two days before Christmas. By then, people have done all the Christmas shopping they are going to do so I’m skipping that week. Then, I’ll take time off until April or May. Few vendors set up during January through March. The fewer vendors, the fewer people come to the market to shop. It’s not going to be worth it to me to sit in the cold for 7 hours just so I don’t sell anything. The market lasts 5 hours and the other two hours are set up and tear down time.

I had a bit of a manic episode. Nothing serious, just me deciding I HAD to get my bellybutton pierced. I had it originally pierced 15 years ago. After 10 years of no problems, I started developing infections. My doctor convinced me to give up my bellybutton ring. By now, the hole had started to close over and I needed it re-pierced. It’s hard to explain, mostly because it’s hard to understand myself, why I have these episodes where I have an impossible to resist compulsion to do something. The last episode I had like this was more than a year ago and I woke up with a compulsion to crochet a bed spread. I’ve got probably half the squares I need made. The change in meds has made the compulsions less compulsive.

I’m considering making a video for youtube to promote my web store. I’ll take any advice anyone has to offer.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

I’ve got new work in my store – take a look and see if there’s something you like for yourself or for a gift.  www.DebThumanArt.com

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