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 Clay, Cognitive problems, Fiber, Photography, Pottery

Someday, I’ll be able to fire the kiln again

 

We’ve been getting some rain each day for about the last week. Nice for anything growing, but bad for pottery. The kiln house has to have ventilation which means it’s not waterproof. Rain on a hot kiln is bad. It could cause the kiln to explode. So I’ve got a load to be glaze fired and can’t fire it for a while. In this load are two experimental bird baths and an experimental planter. I’m also testing out a glaze Jim “made.” He took leftovers of commercial glazes and mixed them together. I’ve no idea what I will get.

I’ve been working on still lifes and I have to think differently to photograph them. Still lifes don’t move, aren’t subject to wind, and aren’t as easy as they look. I started with a white background but didn’t like what I got.

Thread 7-9-17 adjSewing tools 7-9-17Sewing feet 7-9-17 adjButtons 1 7-9-17

Then I tried a black background. Nice, but the light was all wrong.

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Then I tried no artificial light. Much better.

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I played with Sharpies, with thread, and with bobbins.

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I tried telling a story with the shots. What do you see these shots saying?

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Jim put a quail block and watering contraption near the sliding glass door so the cats could watch critters feeding.

These were taken through the door. Not the best approach, but it was all I had.

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This morning, I tried taking the yoga mat to the patio, setting the camera up on the mini tripod, and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. No diners.

I’m reading Eric Clapton’s autobiography. Because Eric battled alcoholism, drug addiction and had a toddler son die after falling out a window, I figured the book would be interesting. He’s a great blues guitarist, but he’s not much of a writer. The book badly needs an editor.

The cognitive problems are less, but still evident. Several weeks ago while making a pair of earrings using Swarovski crystals, I dropped a crystal snail. I searched. Jim searched. No snail. Earlier this week, I was searching for a sewing pattern and found the crystal. It was stuck between boxes of patterns. I put the crystal on the cutting table thinking that I should put it with my beads. I really should have, because I lost it again. I found it on the floor yesterday when I was ironing 4 yards of fabric I had washed. All fabric goes through the washer and dryer before I do anything with it. If it’s going to shrink, I want the shrinking done before I cut into the fabric.

Jim picked out a pattern for pajama bottoms and boxers. He needed pajama bottoms, so I dug into the stash and made a pair.

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I had some tension issues. It may be time to take the machine in for a deep cleaning and tune up.

The crotch depth was too deep, but they are pajama bottoms so he’s willing to wear them. I adjusted the crotch depth for the boxers. Crotch adjustments are tricky because a tiny adjustment makes a huge difference. I guessed right, and the boxers have the right crotch depth. I used leftover fabric for the boxers. The original yardage I used to make a blouse.

Jim's boxers 7-14-17Fly detail 7-14-17

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

If you’re looking for a gift for yourself or someone special, please stop by my on-line store Deb Thuman Art.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Cognitive problems, Fiber, Photography, Pottery

I’m pretty sure it’s Friday

It appears to be Friday. I’m concerned about the cognitive difficulties I’ve been having lately. I have difficulty at times finding the word I want – something that started when I first went on psych meds. I have to really concentrate if I’m going to a destination via a different route. My short term memory is failing. I went online and looked up the early signs of dementia. The signs sound just like bipolar disorder and side effects of psych meds. I’d have to come off my meds to determine how much is psych med side effects, how much is a normal part of the aging process, and what, if anything, I should worry about.

I’m not going off my meds. I’m on the best set I’ve ever been on – lamictal and wellbutrin. Going off either would cause withdrawal. Never mind the “discontinuation syndrome” horseshit. It’s withdrawal. I say so. The Mayo clinic says so. Harvard Medical School says so. When I’m laying on the floor trying to figure out how to make the wall stop undulating, then have to drag myself to the toilet so I can throw up, it’s not a syndrome. It’s withdrawal and it lasts anywhere from 1-3 months. Sometimes, withdrawal comes with hallucinations. I learned to roll with the hallucinations. That removes the scariness. Doesn’t everyone wake up in the middle of the night and see a strange, underwear clad, translucent man standing in the middle of the bedroom? When I realized I could see through him, I stopped being scared.

Sometimes, withdrawal comes with nausea and vomiting. Sometimes, withdrawal comes with dizziness and walking into walls. Coming off meds doesn’t mean I can automatically go back on them. People who come off lamictal sometimes can’t ever take it again. The withdrawal is too miserable and the risks too great to come off my meds.

I’m taking gabapentin for peripheral neuropathy. It helps. A lot. I’m not going to stop taking it even though it makes me walk into walls. I take it at night so I can function during the day.

I’ve been doing a bit of sewing – no small feat when my brain isn’t working well. I made Jim a shirt – it just needs to have buttons. I thought and thought and was as careful as I could be. Then I sewed the collar on upside down. I always put the side with the interfacing on the bottom and the other side on the top. Not this time. Then I decided to do a row of topstitching and used a fancy thread. I sewed the topstitching on the bottom of the collar.

Jim's shirt 7-7-17

I found enough leftover fabric to make myself a blouse. It’s a simple blouse, front, back, sleeves, and bias binding on the neck. The pattern instructions didn’t have instructions for the bias binding for the view I made. That wouldn’t have been a problem, but there’s a button at the back of the neck. I had to figure out for myself how to make the ends neat and allow for a loop for a button. Let’s just say it’s not couture sewing.

Deb's Blouse 7-7-17

Perhaps a part of the cognitive problems come from having a holiday during the week. Being retired, days aren’t all that specific for me. Jim is still working. If he’s not here, it’s a weekday. If he’s here, it’s a weekend. He took last Thursday and Friday as vacation days, worked on Monday, and was off on Tuesday for July 4th. I’ve been struggling to remember what day it is. I’m told that’s common for people who are retired. We now work on a different schedule. We can do the things we want to do any day of the week. We no longer have to wait for a weekend.

Earlier today, which I’m pretty sure is Friday, I did some glazing. I did a bisque fire last weekend. That’s when I learned there’s a problem with the thermocouples for my pyrometer. For some reason, it took me 6 hours to figure out a temp of 125 degrees at the top of the kiln when the bottom was at 1800 degrees was an indication of a problem. Jim tightened the wires and it may be fixed. I hope.

I was shooting the sunset the other day and noticed something in the cholla (choy-ah). It was a bird’s nest. No, I didn’t hold the camera wrong. It’s a vertical rather than horizontal nest.

Bird nest 7-5-17

We have a not quite full moon, so I did a bit of playing.

Moon 7-5-17

Need to buy a gift for yourself or someone else? My online store, Deb Thuman Art, is here.

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

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.

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

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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.

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Prickly pear.

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Cholla pronounced choy-ah.

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

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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.

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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, 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.

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Shadows 1 3-30-27 grunge x 3

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Shadow 3 3-30-17 vintage grunge

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Power pole 3-30-27 played with

 

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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.

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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, 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery

My Brain Has Settled Down, But Not Yet Calmed Down

My brain has settled down, but not calmed down. I’m still in Manic Mode, but I have more control and I sleeping through the night. I’m functioning fairly well, but I’m still angry. Memories keep flooding back. The latest is from the early 1980’s. I was in the press box covering a hockey game. The man sitting next to me asked if I had any children. No. Then he offered to sleep with me to get me pregnant. I declined. Looking back, I wish I could have slapped the snot out of him. It’s the narcissistic, bully attitude that women have no bodily integrity, no worth, and need not be consulted on little things like sex.

I’m starting to put together a portfolio of photos of my art, and I’m making progress getting good shots. Someone on the Digital Photography School Facebook page suggested hanging earrings on a twig. My writing class is on Wednesdays, and when I parked my car, a nice twig was lying on the ground. Must be a sign from above. After much playing around, I got the following. As soon as I get additional shots, these will go into my etsy store. I’ll let you know when they are listed. I’ve also been playing around with different beads and different bead combinations.

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Meanwhile, I’m playing around with texture tools for when it’s warm enough to work with clay. Cold, wet, and windy isn’t conducive to great ceramics. At the moment, the temperature isn’t getting much above 60 degrees F. Couple this with wind gusts of up to 60 mph – 100 kph, and you get the worst of conditions for playing in the mud.

You have to look past the colors of the yarn. I grabbed leftover bits and experimented. These pieces will be pressed into clay for texture. I may use the impressed clay – which is a negative – to make stamps so I can stamp a positive version of the texture. I found my special crochet hook for making Tunisian crochet. The hook looks like a cross between a crochet hook and a knitting needle. Then I played around with stitches.

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Above are photos of the same piece but showing more of the texture. I like the basket weave flavor and I think making a positive stamp of this will make for some great pieces. I love shinos and glazes that do something. This texture will give lots of nooks and crannies in which glaze will pool.

I wanted to see what would happen if I used a yarn that had multiple thicknesses. Result is below.

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Here’s what happened when I used different combinations of yarns.

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Above is using one strand of worsted weight yarn.

Below is what happens when I used two strands of worsted weight yarn.

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And here’s what happens with I used one very light weight yarn and one worsted weight yarn.

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The texture changes with each yarn combination and I’m curious to see what the texture looks like when pressed into wet clay.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Check out her blog here and see what others are working on.