Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Clay, Cognitive problems, Fiber, Jewelry

Why is life so complicated?

I’m still having withdrawal from the antidepressant. While I know this is part of withdrawal, it doesn’t feel like any previous withdrawal I’ve endured. Physically, I’m pretty much okay. I get tired a lot, but I don’t feel as if I were jumping out of my skin any more. I am finding my brain is working better. But my brain feels….squishy??? Things aren’t quite right. I have moments of utter stupidity. I was bouncing off the ceiling the last court appearance. Ceiling bouncing doesn’t usually happen in court. I couldn’t concentrate in my writing class on Tuesday.

About a week ago, I had to read a story for my writing class. The story was about a sexual assault, but the story was written as if the breast grabbing was just boys’ behavior. I had a visceral reaction and said so in class. Subtly is not part of my skill set. I told the writer than what he described was a sex crime, a felony and requires registering as a sex offender. I then plopped my sexual assault quilt down in front of him, pointed to where it said “For the woman who said no and got fired,” and told him that was me. Oddly no one else in the class was disturbed by the story. That is disturbing. I haven’t decided how I feel about my teacher refusing to look at the quilt. It’s the quilt with the more or less life size and more or less anatomically correct 3-d vulva in the middle and the words: If you touch this without my permission, I will break your fucking arm. Sometimes, I wonder about this class.

Next, I had a court appearance where I was in the same courtroom with the jerk who has been stalking me. That had more of an impact on me than I expected. I had a deputy walk my client and I out to my car after the hearing. The jerk was waiting for us in the parking lot and didn’t leave until he was sure the deputy wasn’t going back into the courthouse. That’s both scary and infuriating. The next batch of stories contained a story written from the point of view of a pedophile. This was accompanied by #Me Too and an episode of Law & Order SVU about rape, hazing and bullying. Plus I watched an old episode of Roseanne and was deeply offended. The episode was about Dan’s mother having to go into a mental hospital and about mental illness. The writers made mental illness sound so horrible. I wouldn’t recommend being bipolar, but it’s hardly the end of the world. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s a disease to be treated just like any physical disease.   And I wonder why I’m exhausted.

I had to take one day this week when I worked on art just for me. Not art for sale. Not my novel. Not writing for a class. Not healing writing. Just art for me. I had reached an interim weight loss goal while I was on the Broken Tooth Diet, and my reward was to buy me Swarovski crystal.

Reward set 10-20-17Reward set 2 10-20-17Reward set 3 10-20-17

I’ve worn the earrings from each set, but I haven’t had a chance to wear the necklaces.

I fired the kiln. Twice because I misread the cones and didn’t get the kiln hot enough the first time.  I’ve been working on some chili ornaments. IMG_4134IMG_4130IMG_4126

I used a copper wash on these to make the texture stand out. The chili on the left is Amaco Jade Celadon over copper wash. The other two are clear glossy over copper wash. I’ve go to make more pieces with copper wash in the texture. I like the effect.

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I can’t remember where I read this, most likely on Facebook, but a fellow clay artist wrote about putting a piece of plastic wrap over a slab of clay before using a cookie cutter to cut out ornaments. I like how the edges are rounded over. I had a piece of eyelet fabric and I rolled it on a slab of clay to make texture.

Scrub Top 10-18-17Detail Scrub Top 10-18-17

While I was making art for me, I decided to use fabric I bought a couple months back. Yes, those are alligators and ducks in the fancy stitching. I couldn’t find my ribbing for the cuffs, so I grabbed some spandex that coordinated and used that. What a PITA to sew onto the bottom of the sleeve! But I got the scrub top finished. I wanted something funky and arty to wear when I set up at the local Farmers & Craft Market.

Ring 10-20-17

I bought some memory wire for making rings. And I bought the BIG bag of it. It’s hard to get the ends bent around. I ended up making a ring that is too wide for me to wear. My hands look funny when I try to wear large rings. I’ll take it with me to the Farmers Market and see if it gathers any attention.

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

Looking for a gift? Stop by my web store, Deb Thuman Art, here.

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Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Clay, Cognitive problems, Photography

Pain Sucks

I saw the neurologist on Thursday and demanded to know what caused the neuropathy, the extent of the damage and how this can be reversed. I’m having a nerve conduction series next month. I was in pain from 3:00 AM on Saturday until Tuesday afternoon. Then I had a reprieve until about 2:00 AM today. The pain was bad enough that if I could have been sure I wouldn’t have gotten caught, I’d have bought something on the street. You might think that after 23 years as a criminal defense attorney I’d know where to buy street drugs. Nope. I haven’t a clue. Probably just as well….I couldn’t stand to hear the cop laugh when I got arrested. Plus a felony conviction gets me disbarred from all my law licenses. 

The problem with neuropathy is that there’s nothing causing the pain. The pain doesn’t even exist. What feels like horrible pain is damaged nerves sending a scrambled signal to the brain.

It takes an hour and a half for the gabapentin to take effect, so I went outside and did some night photography. We’re at about 4000′ elevation here and when we have a full moon like last night, it’s BRIGHT. Everything had sharp shadows. So I played around with ISO and exposure length.

Adjustment 2 10-7-17Stars 1 10-7-17Stars 3 10-7-17

I got maybe four hours sleep last night; I’m exhausted, and I can’t fall sleep.

Every time I think I’m done with withdrawal, I find out I’m wrong. I stopped taking Wellbutrin completely last week Friday. I was bouncing off the ceiling during my class on Thursday. It was embarrassing. I thought I was okay, provided I didn’t have to be around people, until yesterday. I experienced severe anxiety. I tried art. I spent a couple hours in the mud making another large planter. I listened to my relaxation music. That helped, but not enough. I finally broke down and took a klonopin. For some reason, I feel like a failure when I need to take meds. Silly, I know. I still feel like a failure. I’m making progress, the feelings of failure used to be a whole lot worse.

Meanwhile, I’m having difficulty spelling. I know how the words are spelled, I type 72 words per minute, but I can’t get the words typed correctly. I’ve no idea how to solve this problem. I think I’m just going to wait until the withdrawal is finished and my brain learns how to work without Wellbutrin.

I’ve been experimenting with earrings.

Yellow:green leaf earrings 10-7-17Rootbeer earrings 10-7-17Purple & crystal earringsMulti purple earrings 10-7-17Irridescent purple earrings 10-7-17Greens earrings 10-7-17Clear & crystal earrings 10-7-17Black earrings 10-7-17

This is the necklace I made to go with my amethyst earrings.

Amethyst necklace 10-7-17

These are necklaces I’ll be selling. I was going to set up at the Farmers Market this morning, but that’s not something I can do on four hours sleep. Next week, God willing! 

Green leaf necklace 10-7-17Green fan necklace 10-7-17Green circlie necklace 10-7-17

Monday, I get the prep work done for the crown to fix the tooth that broke in half lengthwise. I’ll be glad to be able to eat food that isn’t either liquid or really soft. I’m so looking forward to eating crunchy food again.

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

Looking for a gift for someone special or for yourself (you’re pretty special, too)? My web store is here.

Posted in Beads, Pain

Ouch!

Art heals. It’s 5:03 AM and I’ve been up since 2:49 AM. I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and right now, the pain is horrible. I’ve taken gabapentin. I’m using a TENS unit and still the pain in my left foot is unbearable. And so I write this in the hope that writing will make the pain go away. The sky is covered with clouds so I can’t do any night shooting. It’s too dark to work with clay. I don’t have any bead ideas. Writing is all I have left to try.

After being on ½ of my regular dose of Wellbutrin for two weeks, I decided not to take any Wellbutrin and see how that made me feel. I was a bit growly, by no signs of withdrawal. I don’t have to be around people until Tuesday so there’s 4 days to see if I can function without Wellbutrin. I came off of it because I was getting hallucinations. Since retiring, there has been little stress. I’m off blood pressure meds. The back pain is only when I don’t do my back exercises for a week. Perhaps I only need a mood stabilizer now. I hope.

I’m taking a writing class and we all read each other’s stories. The story I read yesterday disturbed me. It’s written by a male student but the story is told by a female character. There’s a sexual assault. The story doesn’t treat the sexual assault – in this case unwanted touching – as an outrageous act but rather as a act that is almost expected. The female character doesn’t call the police although she does slap the male character. My first response was to tell the writer to stand up and I’ll grab his crotch so he can understand what unwanted touching is like. At the moment, I’m considering saying that while it’s possible I completely misunderstood the story (yeah, right), that kind of story in this kind of political climate is not acceptable. I’ll also explain that the unwanted touching described in the story is a felony in New Mexico and upon conviction, the male character would have to register as a sex offender. While I am vehemently opposed to censorship and banning books, one can’t write this shit right now. Or maybe ever. If nothing else, the sex offender in chief has caused women’s fury at unwanted touching to be taken to the street and demonstrated against. Why else would a reasonably intelligent woman wear an ugly pink had and call it a pussy hat? It’s not okay to touch me without my permission. I was a cooperating attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union for five years. I’ve read a number of books for no reason other than someone wanted the books banned. I’ll defend this student’s right to write a story like this, but I won’t sit quietly and give the illusion that I’m not deeply offended.

It’s 15 hours later and I’m still in pain. I worked with clay this morning experimenting with a mug design. Then, because I didn’t feel like making another mug but I also didn’t feel like cleaning up, I started making hollow beads from clay. It’s an interesting experiment.

I’ve been working on jewelry. Here are some of the latest earrings. I’m thinking of taking them to the Farmers Market for a couple weeks and if they don’t sell there, put them in my online store.

Yellow Button Earrings 9-25-17White Leaf earrings 9-25-17Teal & White earrings 9-25-17Small Green Filigree earrings 9-25-17Silver heart earrings 9-25-17Green filigree earrings 9-25-17Center Stage earrings 9-25-17Bronze chain earrings 9-25-17Heart & Leaf earrings 9-25-17Gold button earrings 9-25-17

These are some experiments. I haven’t decided if I like them enough to make a second one.

Experiments 9-25-17

I see the neurologist on Thursday, and I almost pity the guy. I’m going to tell him – again – that I want this cured, reversed and gone. When he tells me – again – that can’t happen, I’m going to tell him that just because he doesn’t know how to cure neuropathy doesn’t mean it can’t be cured. There wasn’t supposed to be a vaccine against polio, but Jonas Salk refused to listen to that nonsense.

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

If you’re looking for a gift for yourself or another, please stop by my store here.

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Jewelry, Photography

Mental Illness Is Not For The Feint of Heart

I was going to correct the spelling error in the headline, but I kind of like it. It matches how I feel. I am going through withdrawal. Wellbutrin stopped working and started causing me to have hallucinations. Because the hallucinations were not interesting and were annoying, I decided to go off Wellbutrin. I went down to ½ my usual dose. This worked great for a few days. On Monday, I felt as if I were trying to climb out of my skin. I downloaded anti-anxiety music which did help. By Tuesday, the climb out of my skin feeling was gone.

I had a couple good days, then on Friday, I was walking into walls. I thought it was positional vertigo, so I did my ear exercises. Eventually, I looked up the symptoms of withdrawal from Wellbutrin. Nausea – which had developed by then, and dizziness. Saturday, I was better.

Today, I did fine until I fell onto the counter that holds the bathroom sink. Landed on the corner of the counter. I’d have been fine if the room hadn’t moved. Now, the nausea is back.

This is what life on psych meds is like. First, I feel bad enough that I know I have to go back down the rabbit hole and have tea with the Mad Hatter. Then I have to go through med adjustment which lasts 2-3 months. During this time, I walk into walls and I get to feel my brain change a little each day. Then, for a period of time, the med works properly and life is great. Then the med stops working and starts causing enough problems that the problems are worse than withdrawal. Withdrawal lasts 4-12 weeks. I’m in Week 2. I get to repeat this process for the rest of my life. It’s not easy being mentally ill. I’ve had clients bitch they don’t want to go off methadone or stop using heroin because they’d go through withdrawal. If withdrawal from psych meds were like withdrawal from heroin – puke and poop for three days – I’d be thrilled.

Meanwhile, I popped a crown off on Tuesday while simultaneously breaking another tooth in half lengthwise. My dentist was on vacation last week, and the earliest appointment I could get was for this coming Thursday. I’m on a liquid diet and wishing I could eat something that required chewing. So far, I’ve lost 3 pounds – all of which will return when I can once again eat solid food. With a liquid diet, liquid in means liquid out. The last time I had to pee so often, I was on lithium. Lithium is processed through the kidneys and I had to drink lots and lots and lots of water each day.

I’ve been working on earrings, but I haven’t gotten them photographed. I finally managed to do a decent job with a brick stitch and made dangly earrings with long fringe. At the moment, I’m learning Russian Leaf earrings. I ordered beads from Lima Beads and my order arrived on Friday. I put together some earrings – which also aren’t photographed. I bought a number of pendants and now have to make necklaces. I can’t find my crimp bead covers. I’ll have to order some of those.

I have been doing some photography. Considering the dizziness, I’m amazed that I can hold the camera still.Moon smile 9-17-17

I’ve been wanting to take a smily moon photo for a while now. I finally got the chance a few mornings ago. I had the camera on the tripod when I took this shot.

Stars 2 9-24-17

The neuropathy acted up last night and it takes an hour and a half for the gabapentin to kick in. Nothing to do but grab the camera, pop it on the tripod, aim at the sky and play around.

Sunset 2 9-23-17

Sunset a couple nights ago facing east. The western view wasn’t that exciting.

Sunset 1 9-24-17

Tonight’s sunset facing west. I am really liking that graduated neutral density filter. The filter darkens the sky so I don’t have blown out sky when I’m taking landscape shots.

Nasturtium 2 9-24-17Nasturtium 1 9-24-17Nasturtium 3 9-24-17

When I was taking shots of the nasturtiums, I was intrigued by the bright white lines in the leaves. So I took a leaf shot. I’m not sure if that was an art moment or a withdrawal moment. I’ll be fine in a couple months.

Zinnia 1 9-24-17Zinnia 2 9-24-17

I like taking the shots other people ignore. So here are a couple darned near dead zinnia shots.

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

Looking for a gift? Check out my web store here at DebThumanArt.com.

Posted in Beads, Bigotry, Clay, Fiber, Photography

I Think I Found A Good Antidepressant.

And it doesn’t cause suicidal ideation. No prescription required. Maybe shopping therapy really exists. I’ve been depressed, angry and anxious since last weekend. My birthday is next week, and I got a 25% off whatever I buy that’s not on sale coupon from a local sewing machine/quilt shop. I also had 3 60% off coupons and 2 40% off coupons for JoAnn’s. I needed some jewelry findings, so I went to JoAnn’s. I must have counted my coupons wrong, because I was a coupon short. The lady in line behind me had a 60% off coupon she couldn’t use, so she gave it to me.

After that, I went to the sewing machine/quilt store. I had intended to buy fat quarters, but there weren’t any. Almost not any. If I wanted to let someone else pick out my fabric, I could buy a bundle of 20 fat quarters all folded like stars. I decided to buy half yards of assorted batiks. I have a sewing room full of medium value fabrics so I focused on light and dark. I picked out 16 batiks. What amounted to 32 fat quarters cost less than the 20 pre-selected fat quarters. I’m happy. In fact, I’m no longer depressed, and I have no idea what I’m going to make from these half yards, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

My writing class started yesterday and I was a bit anxious about going on campus. New Mexico State University has a large student body, quite a few international students – many from Arab nations, and a number of women who wear what I call traditional Muslim dress. I don’t the correct names for the garments. I will not let haters force me to hide so I wore my Star of David earrings and a necklace that has my name spelled out in Hebrew. Nothing of note occurred.

I’ve been working on learning brick stitch because I want to make earrings with dangly fringe.

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At the moment, I’m playing around trying to get good at brick stitch. Design will come later.

Yellow Mexican bird of paradise bushes grow like dandelions. They bloom like dandelions, too. The red variety is finicky. Just getting it to grow is an accomplishment. Rarely does the bush ever flower freely. We’ve had enough rain lately to cause the red variety to bloom.

Red BOP 8 8-16-17

Red BOP 7 8-16-17\Red BOP 6 8-16-17\Red BOP 1 8-16-17

R BOP buds 1 8-17-17

R BOP 4 8-17-17

R BOP 2 8-17-17

A reader had asked that I post photos of the house when it’s painted. I can’t do that. I take great care to keep my address a secret. My driver’s license lists my post office box. I am required to keep an address on file with the New Mexico Bar Association, the New York Bar Association, Federal District Court and the Supreme Court of the United States. The only address on file is my post office box. Many years ago, before I started keeping my address a secret, someone tried to burn down my house. It wasn’t difficult to figure out who did it and why. It was because of something that had happened in court a few days earlier. Since then, I’ve been diligent about not letting people know where I live. I won’t post a photo of my house, but I will show you the colors I chose.

Color corrected house color 8-17-17

Jim is almost finished painting the house. Next will be painting the front door red-violet. Then the blue-violet on the garage doors.

The semi-precious gems I ordered arrived, and I started making earrings. Most of these are in my store here.

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I did a bisque firing on Wednesday. It took me 8 hours, but at least I didn’t have any destroyed pieces. Next: spend lots of time glazing and do a glaze firing. While I was doing the bisque firing, I worked on bowls using a slump mold. I’ve got three sizes and I’ll be glazing them glossy black. I used a clay that doesn’t thrill me because it fires brown and all of the glazes are dull and uninteresting on brown clay.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  See what some other great artists are working on.

Posted in Beads, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Jewelry Photos Are Tough

I wonder if my new glasses are affecting my ability to focus the camera. I needed new lenses because my prescription had changed. My glasses finally came in and I’m working on getting used to them. I’ve worn bifocals for 23 years and I’ve always had a line in mine. I don’t want the progressive lenses because I know way too many people who have them and don’t like them. Anyway, every time I get new frames, the line in my lenses is in a different spot. It’s a tiny difference, but it takes my eyes a couple days to get used to where the line is.

I have spent the last couple days photographing jewelry and I’m not happy with the results. I have beads out of focus in nearly every photo. I’m going to have to reshoot – for the second time – the earrings and this time try having more space between the camera and the earrings.

Here are some of the earrings I’ll be putting in my store, DebThumanArt.com, over the next day or two. Yes, I know these photos aren’t the best. That’s why I have to reshoot almost everything. Thank God for digital! I’d be spending a fortune on film and developing otherwise.

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I tried putting together a necklace from a pattern I found. I must have ripped it out a good half dozen times. Now, I hate what I made. It will not lie flat.

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I’ve been hiking. It’s a getting healthy thing. I need to lose weight. I need to increase my endurance. I’m hoping the weight loss will help with the neuropathy. I’m not sure why it should, but that’s what I’m hoping.

Jim and I went hiking on Thursday. Remember how Jim hated my Canon DSLR and only wanted to use the Nikon point and shoot? He refused to learn how to use my camera. So there we were walking up the mountain when Jim appropriated my camera and refused to give it back. I did get a couple shots.

Marching trees 8-3-17

Every time I reach this spot, it looks to me as if the trees were marching up the mountain.

There are several abandoned buildings along the path to Dripping Springs. I’d love to be able to go inside this building, but it’s roped off. The Bureau of Land Management maintains this part of the Organ Mountains. No going off the path – it’s a fragile ecosystem. No playing in the abandoned buildings. No picking the flowers.

Abandonded building 2 8-3-17Dripping Springs 1 8-3-17

Notice the cactus growing out of the top of the wall in the background.

We did get to where the water was flowing. It’s called Dripping Springs, but this wasn’t dripping. Too much water and way too noisy for dripping. This may not look like much of a waterfall, but for the desert, that’s a huge amount of water.

Dripping Springs 2 8-3-17

And we made it to the end of the trail.

Dripping Springs 4 8-3-17

We set up at the Farmers & Craft Market on Saturday. Finally, we had a Saturday without rain. I’m selling my art each time we set up, but I’m not making a whole lot of money. I’ll keep at it, though.

Jim is painting the house. We discovered the windows leaked because the stucco paint had failed. New sealer and new paint solved the window problem. The house is a soft, almost mint green. It’s going to have peach trim, a marine green/blue metal roof and a purple door. I haven’t figured out what color to paint the garage doors.

I’ve been taking photographs of the zinnias, cactus and nasturtiums that are blooming.

Zinnia 8-4-17

Zinnia 3 8-4-17

Nasturtium 8-4-17

Nasturtium 6 8-6-17

Nasturtium 4 8-6-17

Nasturtium 3 8-6-17

Nasturtium 3 8-4-17

Nasturtium 2 8-4-17

Nasturtium 1 8-6-17

Cosmo 8-2-17

Cactus 3 8-2-17

Cactus 2 8-2-17

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

Posted in Beads, Photography

Ups. Downs. Sideways.

My website store at Deb Thuman Art has had it’s first sale. Thanks Delores!!! I’m still working on the learning curve for the store, but the order is in the mail and on it’s way to Delores. And I discovered I can text the tracking number to 28777 and get text updates on where the package is.

I’ve been working on bracelets and earrings. I’ll be taking good photos in the next few days but here’s some quick shots.

This is my first time working with memory wire, and I really like it. I played around with semi-precious gems, glass beads and copper beads.

Glass Cube bracelet

Glass and aluminum beads.

Copper & Glass bead bracelet

Glass and copper beads.

Amathyst & Rhodochrosite bracelet

Amethyst and rhodochrosite.

Pyramid bracelet

I wanted to try these pyramid beads. They’re a bit pricey, but fun.

Triangle Bead Bracelet

And I wanted to try using triangle shaped beads. There’s some with the pyramid beads, and here’s one just triangles.

I bought more glass beads.

Black Bead earrings

I bought some Swarovsky crystals in shapes I hadn’t seen before and in colors I haven’t used before.

Wild Heart EarringsTriangle Earrings

I’ll be taking the jewelry to the Farmers & Craft Market in Las Cruces on July 8. Whatever doesn’t sell there will go into my website store. If you’re interested in any of the pieces, please email me at debthuman@zianet.com.

I’m still working on learning Affinity. I had used PhotoScape X so often that I was almost automatically picking ways to edit photos. Last night, I took some moon shots and did a bit of playing.

Blue Moon 6-29-17Bubble moon 6-29-17Moon 6-29-17 blinds

I love taking sunset photos. In the desert, sunset can be quite subtle. Below is sunset behind Mexican bird of paradise bushes. The pea pod like things are seed pods. They pods split open making a sharp, cracking sound and the seeds fly off in all directions.

Evening 6-25-17

I noticed the sunset was reflected in a window one evening, and I’ve been working on getting a decent reflected sunset shot. I’m not thrilled with the one below. Even though it’s an improvement over my earlier attempts, this one is too grainy for my taste. I also don’t like the angle of the window. I needed to be shooting straight on and I must have been at a slight angle.

Sunset reflections 6:17

I looked out one evening and saw something I’d never seen before, sunset color in the north. The shot below is facing due north.

Northern sunset 6-19-17

I’ll be firing the kiln tomorrow. In this load will be the planter and planter stand, two bird baths and stands, four lanterns, a few rattle rocks and a few soap dishes. I’m looking forward to glazing using some new-to-me glazes.

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

Posted in Beads, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery

Where Have All The Downtowns Gone?

I start a new adventure tomorrow. I’ll be setting up my booth at the Las Cruces Farmers & Craft Market for the first time.

Do I have enough stuff made?

I’ve got earrings hung on a display case Jim made for me.

Will people like my work?

Photographs will have to wait for next week because the display case is loaded, closed and ready to go.

Do I have enough small bills and coins to make change?

I’ve got photographs slipped between a plain mat and a cut mat then put into an archival bag and sealed. I’ve got boxes to display the photos.

Will people buy my work?

I’ve got a few mugs, bowls and soap dishes.

Will people like my pots? 

Digital Photography School Facebook page is having a world-wide event tomorrow. Those who participate will take a photo of sunrise, submit the photo along with the time and place the photo was taken.

Did it have to be tomorrow?

I’ll have to get up extra early to take a sunrise photo.

I’m working on a new project. When I was at the Farmers Market a few weeks ago, I looked around and saw how dead Downtown Las Cruces is. Downtown across the US is dead. I decided to photograph the dead downtown. Then I thought a bit. I plan on photographing the empty buildings on the major streets that were supposed to be the new downtown. I’m also going to photograph the empty stores in the local shopping mall. There’s a very old section of Las Cruces near what is now downtown. I think that’s where downtown used to be before downtown was downtown. I’d like to photograph that as well.

Downtown 2 5-17-17

An empty walkway between two old buildings. The building on the right used to house the Public Defender Department when I first came to work for them. The toilet in the ladies’ room in the back isn’t attached all that well to the floor. In the kitchen in the very back, you can look at a corner and see the street. No, there’s no window in that corner. There’s a bad joint between two outside walls. The building should have been torn down 30 years ago.

Downtown 1 5-17-17

On the left is the rest of the front of the old building where the Public Defender Department was. To the right of that is the Rio Grande Theater which has been restored and movies again play there.

Downtown 3 5-17-17

This used to be a restaurant. Now it’s just space. I hope whoever takes over the space keeps the front doors. They have gorgeous metalwork.

Downtown 6 5-17-17

Main Street looking west down Las Cruces Street. Where are the people? Where’s the hustle, bustle and life? Gone.

Downtown 5 5-17-17

A few years back, Main Street was revamped and this is where the Farmers & Craft Market is held.

Downtown 14 5-17-17

Another very old building trying hard to keep tenants. This is the corner, more or less, of Las Cruces Street and Main Street on the west side.

Downtown 16 5-17-17

When I was very little, the doors of my house were never locked. Now, windows have bars. I’m not lamenting….I like having a gas line, a water line, a sewer line, and garbage pickup. When we had unlocked doors, we had an artesian well in the basement, a cistern to hold “city water” because the well water was seriously hard, we heated with oil, the sewage went into a septic tank that regularly needed cleaning, garbage was burned in an old, 55-gallon drum, and I spent quality time sitting on a branch up in the cherry tree because we had no neighbors and there was no one for me to play with.

Downtown 18 5-17-17

This is the dumpster in the parking lot behind the building pictured above. It’s a mural that has been adorned with graffiti.

What happened to Downtown? And to the major roads were Downtown was supposed to move to? And to the mall that was the New Downtown? Some is because of people like me who do almost all shopping on line. I don’t remember the last time I walked through the local mall.

I also want to photograph the Old Mesilla (ma-see-ya) Plaza. In New Mexico, the town plaza was the original downtown. The plaza still exists and thrives in Mesilla. But it thrives because of all the funky, weird stores surrounding the plaza. I think it’s the funky and weird that make survival possible. Although we haven’t been there in nearly 20 years, there’s a section of Portland, Maine where the dead spaces were turned into funky and weird shops.

I’ve no idea what I want to do with this series, but it has taken over the creative part of my brain and now, I have to do the series.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what other artists have been doing.

Posted in Beads, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Life Cycles and Beads

I’ve been working on photography and designing jewelry. The photography is going better than the jewelry. This week, I learned how to adjust the white balance so my yucca photos have creamy flowers rather than green flowers. I’ve got the white balance on the Canon set for sunlight, but the Canon doesn’t seem to understand white flowers.

Yucca 1 5-18-17 use this oneYucca 6 5-18-17 use this oneYucca 15 5-18-17 use this one

I’m also working on taking the shots other photographers don’t take. Blend that with an undergrad degree in biology where my work was concentrated in botany and microbiology, and you get plant photos that you won’t ever see in a seed catalog. This is a red yucca that is nearing the end of blooming.

Red yucca 5 5-18-17 use this one

This is from a Mexican palm tree. It’s the cross section of a leaf that closely resembles the cross section of a blade of grass. Palms and grass are in the same family.

Cross section 5 5-17-17 use this one

I’ve also been looking up at the sky in the mornings and I’ve gotten a couple good partial moon shots. If I get the moon in sharp, the sky gets dark. If I get the sky closer to what I saw, the moon isn’t so sharp. I like both of the shots.

Moon 1 5-18-17Moon 2 5-18-17

I’ve been working with two-hole beads and trying to come up with designs. It’s not as easy as I thought. I keep getting bad color combinations and having to remove all the beads and start over. The problem is there’s no way to know how the bracelet is going to look until I get a couple rows done. I’m working with some beads the color of watermelon, and I’m having a hard time figuring out colors. I thought flat black would be nice. It’s not. It looks like tiny mouse turds. Probably not something someone wants hanging on her/his wrist.

Bracelets that may or may not get finished. I need to decide if I like them enough.

Coral & blue bracelet 5-18-17Yellow & slate bracelet 5-18-17Green & White bracelet 5-18-17

Earrings that are complete and will be sold.

Blue earrings 2 5-18-17Blue earrings 1 5-18-17Bamboo tile earrings 5-18-17Copper square earrings 5-18-17Green & Crystal earrings 5-18-17Green rondell earrings 5-18-17Teal & Crystal earrings 5-18-17Teal star earrings 5-18-17

The agave has moved past bloom and is now in seed production. Eventually, the pods will split and the seeds will come flying out.

Agave 4 5-18-17 use this one

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what other artists have been doing this week.

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Garden, Jewelry, Photography, Quilts

Life Force – The Real Super Power

The desert has a life force. I’ve been photographing the progress of the agave in the front yard as it sent up a stalk and began to bloom.Agave 3 4-24-17

We have been having WIND the last week. The agave couldn’t withstand 60 mph winds, and sometime Wednesday before dawn it blew down. I tried to dispel my sadness by photographing the flowers up close, something I could never do while the agave was standing.

Agave 2 4-25-17Agave 3-4-26-17

Yesterday, I noticed that more of the flowers were open.

Agave 1 4-27-17Agave 2 4-27-17Agave 3 4-27-17

The agave is going to bloom, produce seed, and die – even lying on the ground. In that way, agave life is like human life. Knock a person down, and even damaged, the person gets back up and goes on.

The cacti are blooming.

Cactus Flower 4-25-17 use this oneCactus flower 5 4-25-17 cropped use this one

Prickly pear.

Cholla flower 4-25-17 use this one

Cholla pronounced choy-ah.

Red Yucca 11 4-21-17Red yucca 9 4-21-17

Not a cactus, but a red yucca. It’s smaller than the more common soap yucca that produces larger white flowers.

Bird 4-24-17 cropped

As I was photographing the agave, I saw this bird land in a tree. One of my Facebook friends identified it – Black Vented Oriole. It’s native to Mexico and Central America and, according to the map I found on line, is roughly 100 miles outside of its habitat.

I’ve been working on the sexual assault quilt I started a couple months ago. I’ve finished quilting NO in assorted spots and I’m now quilting around the letters of the words. I used a variegated cream thread for NO and I’m using a variegated purple thread for around the letters. The horizontal stitching with dark thread is temporary. It holds the layers together while I’m quilting. Once I get the quilt squared up and the edges sewn down, I’ll remove the lines and put on the binding.

Fucking Arm - use this one 4-26-17

Some of the rage has dissipated, but I’m still furious. This past week, Law & Order Special Victims Unit had an episode loosely based on the crap that has happened to women who work for Fox News. The ending, where there’s a criminal conviction and the jerk goes to prison, was wishful thinking. Maybe. Someday. Until then, and forever after, it’s my body and it belongs to ME.

I’m also working on bracelet designs although I need to give that a rest. The thread keeps getting tangled. I keep missing a bead with the thread. Beading is becoming more frustrating than satisfying. There will be photos when I am satisfied with what I’m making. Although it does occur to me that I should keep a photo record of the duds so I can see my progression and improvement.

Last week, I had orientation so I can sell my art at the local Farmer’s & Craft Market. I had to show the organization that runs the market samples of my work. That’s when I discovered I can get better photo prints from Walgreens than I can get from my printer at home. I want to sell my photos in which I played with editing. These are some from the past week.

Agave 3 4-24-17 water color grunge 2 tiny planet underwater 2Agave blossom 4-25-17 watercolor, HDR, vintage light, vignette erodeRed Yucca 11 4-21-17 edge vintage 2 light grungeChives 2 4-12-17 light, saturateMoon 4 4-21-17 crop use this one light leak grunge 2 edge 3

There are mundane aspects of my life. Pieces that defy art. I developed an allergy which caused itching. I thought it might be to gabapentin which I had been on just long enough that I’d go through withdrawal if I came off of it. Then I realized the itching was where my underwear was. I “washed” some clean clothes, including underwear, in just water. When I put those clothes on, the itching immediately stopped. I bought some detergent that is for sensitive skin and then laundered all the towels, all the bedding and all my summer clothes. I stopped counting loads at 12. Living in a desert, I was able to hang nearly all of the laundry on the clothes line.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what the other artists have been doing.

Posted in Beads, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Immersing Myself in Art and Healing

Thank God for pasta! I got side tracked taking photos and processing them and didn’t put anything in the crock pot. So dinner will be pasta.

I’ve been making art and feeling a whole lot better. I’m calmer. I’m not depressed as I was a couple days ago.

I wanted to take some photos of a partial moon. When I got up this morning, the sky and moon were perfect.

Moon 6 4-21-17

Moon photos can be boring, so I played around some.

Moon 9 4-21-17 light 2 vintageMoon 6 4-21-17 leaksMoon 4 4-21-17 crop use this one light leak grunge 2 edge 3

The agave blooms aren’t all that spectacular, but I took a few photos anyway.

Agave 6 4-21-17 vintage 2Agave 4 4-21=17

The only thing to do with a boring photo is to play with it.

Agave 2 4-21-17 vintage edge 2 vintageAgave 4-21-17 cropped edge 2 vintage grungeAgave 5 4-21-17 edge vintage textue use this one

The red yucca have only a few days when the blooms are worth looking at.

Red yucca 10-21-17Red yucca 8 4-21-17Red Yucca 5 4-21-17Red Yucca 11 4-21-17 edge vintage 2 light grunge

I’ve been working on jewelry designs. So far, I’ve come up with ugly earrings, an unwearable bracelet, and I’m sort of stuck where I am making the current bracelet. I’m using two-hole beads and it gets tricky when I add rows. You think regular beads are addicting? Try two-hole beads. Even more addicting!

Yesterday, I went to orientation for the Farmers & Craft Market in Las Cruces. One can’t just pull up and set up. Vendors have to be residents of Dona Ana County and show proof of residency. Everything I get mailed to me comes to my post office box, and that wasn’t acceptable for proof of living in the county. My driver’s license lists my post office address. The tax bill, which has the physical address, comes to Jaworski, James and Deborah. Thuman is missing. Fortunately, they accepted my voter registration card.

The people who run the market have to see what it is that each person intends to sell. I showed a pair of earrings and was told when I’m ready to sell bracelets, I have to show the people who run the market my bracelets before I will be allowed to sell them.

I won’t be setting up at the market until May. The people who run the market are trying something new starting in May. The market runs on Saturday morning and Wednesday morning. That will continue. The market will start running on Wednesday night. The thought is people who can’t make it to the market on Wednesday morning because of work schedules, will be able to make it to the Wednesday evening market. It’s going to be an interesting experiment for me.

At the moment, I’m performing another type of experiment. I know I’m allergic to something. Figuring out what the something is can be frustrating. I thought I might be allergic to medication I’m taking which would be tragic because the medication is working really well. Then I started to think about where I had the worst itching…..right where my underwear is. Hmmmmm…… Wonder if I’ve developed an allergy to my laundry detergent. Fortunately, I did laundry the other day. Now, I’ve got laundry in the washer and I’m not using any detergent. The clothes are clean and I’m hoping to wash the detergent residue out of the clothes. Sure would be nice if that solved the problem.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by her blog and see what some great artists have been doing the past week.

Posted in Beads, Clay, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Growing

I seem to be suffering from spring anxiety. No, I don’t need more medication. I need the weather to warm up enough and the wind to go away so I can open my Summer Studio and play in the mud on the back patio. This time of year, we have WIND – gust up to 50 mph, dust fog, and my allergies are activated. When it’s 60 degrees, the wind is howling, and the dust is filling the air, it’s tough to work with wet hands and wet clay while sneezing every couple minutes.

I’ve been unsuccessfully working with beads. I’ve managed to design a multitude of ugly earrings and one beyond ugly bracelet. No, there will not be photos. I’ve tried following a pattern, but what I created didn’t look anything like the photo. Perhaps it’s time to give the beads a rest.

I tried getting a shot of a partial moon and almost succeeded. One night, the moon was high in the sky making it difficult to photograph. There was light cloud cover and the moon was gorgeous with wispy clouds sort of partially covering the moon. By the time the moon had progressed enough that it was low enough in the sky to photograph, the cloud cover and become complete. No moon shot. The next night I got a moon shot, but it came out blurry. I used a tripod, there was no image stabilization, and I used a 2-second delay on the shutter so there would be no camera movement. I think I made an error when focusing.

I did some shopping on ebay and now have UV filters for both lenses, lens hoods to avoid those nasty circles that show up, and a dandy cleaning kit. Yesterday, I cleaned the lenses, filters and the sensor. I think I’ve eliminated the dust that was causing two spots to show up on each shot.

The agave looks like it’s about to send out “blossoms”. Unfortunately, I didn’t get Jim to stand next to the agave last night. When I do get a photo, it will be on my Facebook page.

Agave 2 4-7-17Agave 1 4-7-17

The agave is almost to the point where I will need to do the photo in two halves – upper and lower.

The garden is starting to come alive.

Peppers 1 4-7-17

Little pepper plants that did go to the bottom of the photo. I don’t know why that black line is there.

Parsley 1 4-7-17

Italian parsley, a perennial, is starting to come back.

Oregano 1 4-7-17

Oregano, another perennial is growing nicely.

Nasturtiums 1 4-7-17

Nasturtiums. They won’t last once it gets really hot, but they should look nice for about a month.

Iris 4-7-17

The iris show is over until next year.

Crops 1 4-7-17

Buckets of tomato plants and a  couple peppers. The peppers got hammered by the wind and we’re seeing if they will bounce back.

Chives 1 4-7-17

This is the second year for the chive plant. I should probably remove the buds before blooming, but I’m not going to. The flowers are pretty and the seeds will self-sow.

The sage is blooming.

Sage 2 4-7-17 use this one

Chocolate plants are blooming. They bloom in the morning, and by late afternoon, the flowers are dead.

Chocolate plant 1 4-7-17The red yucca is starting to send up a stalk and bloom.

Red Yucca 1 4-7-17

The Mexican bird of paradise is starting to have buds. The Mexican version bears no resemblance to the Hawaiian version.

Mexican BoP 1 4-7-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Check out her blog and the blogs of some other terrific artists here.

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Photography

Sometimes it goes right, sometimes it goes wrong

I’ve got an idea for an art quilt floating about in my head. In order to map out the idea, I need to get the perspective right. To that end, I put the telephoto lens on the Canon and went for a walk. I did get several helpful photos. While I was shooting, I took some shots that I could play with.

Yucca 2 3-30-17

Shadows 1 3-30-27 grunge x 3

Shadow 4 3-30-17

Shadow 3 3-30-17 vintage grunge

Shadow 2 3-30-17 adj

Power pole 3-30-27 played with

 

Grass 1 3-30-17

The NMSU Art Gallery has an exhibit of photography by a photographer whose name I promptly forgot. The exhibit was equally forgettable. I was hoping to be able to study some of the photographs and pick out what was good about the shot and how I could apply that to my photography. I did learn a few things, but not what I expected.

I learned:

      1. Bad shots taken by a brand name photographer aren’t any better than my bad shots. Crap is crap.
      2. It’s not necessary to put the subject in the center of every photograph.
      3. If there was a reason why about a dozen photos contained every person, pet, graffiti, building, power line, and anything else that was nearby into the photos, I haven’t been able to figure it out.
      4. Whoever curated this exhibit didn’t know very much about photography.

I found a free crochet pattern for a cat bed. I thought it would be nice to make such a cat bed. I grabbed my Jo-Ann’s coupons and headed for the yarn aisle. I spent at least a half hour picking out yarn. The cats like green. They refuse to even get in the cat bed. Yes, I did know this was going to happen before I started the project.

IMG_7412

I’ve gotten more beads and I’ve been working with them. Alas, I’ve been managing to make lots of ugly earrings and an ugly bracelet. I’ve been cutting apart quite a few pieces. Eventually, I’m going to know how to use two hole beads.

I’ve been looking at Art Deco jewelry online in google images to get some ideas for designs. Useful, but I’m not sure how I’m going to translate diamond jewelry into seed beads.

If you’re keeping track of the agave bloom, the stalk is now about eight feet tall.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. To see what Nina Marie and other artists have been working on, click here.

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Photography

Photos and an etsy store or What I Learned At The Farmer’s Market

I’ve been documenting the progress of the bud on the agave that is about to bloom. Jim & The Agave 4 3-25-17

Two days earlier, the stalk was only as  tall as Jim. He’s 6’2″. Soon, if I want to get Jim and the entire stalk in one photo, I’ll have to be taking Where’s Waldo shots. You know the ones – there’s an itty bitty person in the enter of the photo and way too much stuff surrounding the person. Agave, sometimes called Century Plant, only bloom once. Then they die. Yes, there will be a photo record of the bloom and death of the agave.

IMG_6925

I took that photo about 7:45 PM and had problems because the only way to avoid getting a house in the background was to put Jim between me and the sun. That’s why the sky is blown out. I got some great advice on how to avoid this and I’m looking forward to testing out some of the suggestions.

We were going to go hiking yesterday, but it was a touch too cool and too windy, so we went to the Farmer’s Market instead. Las Cruces has a Farm & Craft Market every Saturday and Wednesday morning. I took some street shots and some shots to play with.

Agave are my favorite subject to turn into art.

Agave 4 3-25-17 grunge edge 2 grunge neg vintageAgave 5 3-17-18Agave 6 adj neg grunge 3-18-17Agave 4 3-25-17 grunge edge 2 grungeAgave from top 3-25-17 negAgave from top 3-25-17 neg vintage grunge edge grunge dehaze use this oneAgave grunge x 2 vintage erode vignette 3-18-17

Some scenes from the Farmer’s Market:

Sun catcher 1 3-25-17Sun catchder 2 3-25-17

I found a couple dogs who were willing to pose for me.

Poodle 3-25-17Black dog 1 3-25-17 vintage vignette

This one was intrigued by the camera. Note to self: carry a cloth to wipe the dog nose prints off of the neutral density filter. At least I had a filter and the lens was protected.

What is this? 3-25-17

I played around a bit with a few shots.

Tree 2 3-25-17 grungeTree 1 3-25-17 grunge vintage watercolor texture

Lots of flower venders on Saturday.

Flowr booth 3-25-17 vintage grunge watercolor pencil edge

I have some new photography equipment – a light cube, four LED lights, and a dandy mini tripod with a fast release. After turning the tripod around to get the Canon screwed to the tripod, and taking several photographs, I wondered what this little lever was for. Oh. So that’s what a quick release is.

I also got a shipment of new beads and I’m working with two-hole beads. I tested out the new photo equipment along with the new beads.

IMG_6932

I’m keeping this pair of earrings and I’ll be making another pair to sell. Because I only make one of each kind of earring, the next ones will be with very different colored Swarovski crystals. Or maybe small pearls. I’ll have to see what fits.

IMG_6938

I’m ambivalent about this pair. That’s why they aren’t on earring hooks yet.

I’ve got earrings listed in my etsy store here.

I love the new photography equipment.

I’m feeling more calm and centered each day. It’s amazing how interesting life is when one is bipolar.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what other artists have been doing.

Posted in Beads, Clay, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography

Feeling Calmer This Week

My chiropractor warned me this would happen. He told me about golfing with a friend who is retired. He asked his friend what time it was. The friend not only didn’t know what time it was, he didn’t know what day it was.

I didn’t know today is Saturday.

Some of this might be from being able to do the things I want or need to do when I want or need to do them. Some might be side effects of medication. Taking a muscle relaxer and pain pill makes sleeping easy. Taking a muscle relaxer and pain pill makes thinking difficult.

I feel more calm this week and this calm has a solid feel to it. I think, but can’t promise, that I’m back to normal for me.

I’m still working on texture tools for clay. This week’s project is a larger than usual piece of Tunisian Crochet. I want something large enough to texture an entire plate or platter. It’s almost warm enough to move the clay back onto the Summer Studio conveniently located on the back patio. We’re having patches of 70’s warm alternating with patches of 60’s WIND. Cold, wind, and wet hands aren’t a good combination.

IMG_6793IMG_6794

The wood you see in the background is the top of a coffee table Jim made in the late 90’s.

The more I think about using this texture, the more projects I want to make. This could be a great box or vase. I want to try slab built mugs using the texture pieces I’ve made. Mostly, I want to play in the mud again. Soon. I hope.

I’ve been working on my photography more. The claret cup cactus in front of the house is blooming. I realized this morning that the light was perfect for shooting the cactus. Fortunately, I live at the top of a hill on a dead end street. Clad in my PJs, robe and slippers, I grabbed the Canon, lay down on the flagstone walkway, and took photos. It’s amazing how cold the flagstones are. These images are straight out of the camera. I shoot in RAW so I can edit better. No need for that this time.

IMG_6790IMG_6789

These two above were done with the macro feature. One of these days, I will treat myself to a macro lens. The macro lens is on the list with a new light box and a slab roller.

IMG_6788

Above, using aperture priority, f/18. In this shot, that setting works.

IMG_6787

That setting, f/18, is way too small an aperture for this shot. If I’d used a larger aperture, the house and the ugly shadows would have been blurred. By the time I got the shots downloaded, it was too late to go back out for more shots. The light had changed for the worse. I’ll try again later.

It’s tough to photograph a cat who refuses to pose. Here’s the best out of the lot.

IMG_6797

She’s a bit blurry because she moved faster than I could focus. Eventually, I’ll manage to get a decent shot of Cohen.

I made myself a pair of earrings using a new color Swarovski has. It’s called Cantaloupe and it changes colors depending on the light source. In natural light, the beads are a pale cantaloupe color. With fluorescent or tungsten, the beads are either a pale purple or a pale green. I forgot which color went with which light source. I’ve ordered more of these beads and I’ll be making earrings to sell using these magic beads.

Cantelope 3-9-17

I’m hoping to get some earrings into my etsy shop this weekend. I need Jim to take photos of each earring on my ear. This should be interesting. He’s a point and shoot kind of guy and I’m a play around with settings kind of woman.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what some terrific artists have been doing this past week.