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.

IMG_4123

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, 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, 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 bipolar disorder, Clay, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

An Interesting Brain Is Not A Boring Brain

Life is never dull when you’re bipolar. Sometimes, my moods are a reflection of what’s going on in my life, only instead of moods, I have MOODS. Sometimes, my moods have nothing to do with my life. A couple days ago, I was the most depressed I’d been in a long time. Not suicidal, but severely depressed. Jim asked if I had a pill for depression. Who, me? I got all sorts of psych meds. I took one of my emergency psych meds. Twenty minutes later, I was back at center and I’ve stayed there. Sometimes, I feel like a hockey puck after a slap shot. Sometimes, I wish I weren’t bipolar. Most of the time, I try to make something good of it. Like telling people what a bipolar brain feels like. The more we talk about mental illness, the less mental illness will be stigmatized.

Jim and I got senior passes that allow us to get into National Parks, National Monuments, and Bureau of Land Management areas for free. The pass is available to any US citizen or legal permanent resident 62 or older. Now, it costs $10. On August 28, the price will rise to $80. The passes are good for life.

I took my camera and went to Dripping Springs – a BLM area in the Organ Mountains. Having a senior pass, I didn’t have to pay the $5 entry fee. I wanted to get to both the abandoned, falling down building and to the spring at the end of the trail. I didn’t make it. I got about 1/3 of the way there and turned around. I seem to be out of shape, and there’s only one solution – go hiking more often. Jim and I have plans to hike Baylor Canyon and Dripping Springs next week.

Dripping Springs 1 7-23-17

I haven’t been able to figure out why I like this photo. When I took it, I was concentrating on the line of trees leading to the top of the hill. It looked as if the trees were marching to the top.

Ever the suppressed botanist, I found something blooming that I could shoot. Dripping Springs 4 7-23-17

I’ve no idea what plant this is.

Dripping Springs 8 7-23-17

Photographing fog on the mountain isn’t easy. This is the best out of a number of fog/mist shots I took. I really should have used the telephoto lens for these shots, but I didn’t bring it with me. Switching lenses outdoors in the desert is a great way to destroy the camera’s sensor and I have only one camera body.

I’ve been working on experimental ceramic pieces. Here’s a bird bath that’s low to the ground. We have quail, ground squirrels and rabbits who can’t reach a traditional bird bath. I used a styrofoam wreath base as a slump mold and made a hollow base.

Bird bath 1 7-28-17Bird bath 2 7-28-17

The design needs a bit of work, but the critters aren’t critical. Or picky.

I’ve also been working on lanterns. I considered the size of the pillar candles sold by Pier 1 and added an inch. I haven’t tested the lanterns yet. For the first efforts, I used a hole cutter to poke holes into the lantern. Then I bough a set of tiny cookie cutters and cut animals out of the second lantern. Yes, that lantern is an ugly color. Jim took all the glazes that had only a little bit left and combined them. I cut out little animals and put them in the bottom of soap dishes. This dish will go in our bathroom. Look carefully and you’ll see a crack in the side.

Lantern 1 7-28-17Lantern 2 7-28-17

Soap Dish 1 7-28-17Soap dish 2 7-28-17

A friend sent me 20 pounds of buttons and I’m in the process of turning some of them into earrings. I haven’t finished them because my sewing room is a disaster. We have a stucco house, and when the stucco paint fails, it rains inside the house around the windows. We’ve got 4 windows where water was leaking in. Two of the windows are in the sewing room. Things got moved in a hurry so that sewing machines and the serger wouldn’t get damaged by the water. Storage boxes got moved. I want to make sure that the paint Jim put around the windows solves the problem before I move everything back.

Earrings 3 7-28-17Earrings 2 7-28-17Earrings 1 7-28-17

Sunrise, sunset.

Sunrise 2 7-22-17Sunset 7-25-16

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

Photos and jewelry are for sale in Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Clay, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery

Look Me In The Eye

I’m terrified.

What the republicans want to do to health care will literally kill me. I have health insurance now only because Jim is still working. Without health insurance, I can’t afford to see my doctor. I can’t afford my prescriptions. I can’t afford the blood tests to see if my thyroid medication is the proper dose. A couple months ago, I got a bill showing the original charge for touching a big Q-tip to the medium in a petrie dish, covering the dish, putting it on a shelf, and checking it in a couple days to see if there was bacteria in the sample (there was) was $675.00. Without insurance, the antibiotics for 10 days would have cost $85.00.

I have hypothyroid. My thyroid doesn’t work properly. This is a simple matter to treat – I take thyroid medication. Without the medication, I will die. My copay for Armour is $103.00 for a 90-day supply. I’m pretty sure the HMO we have is jacking prices so that we will order our meds from off shore pharmacies. That way, the HMO gets all the money and I get nothing for my insurance premiums.

I cannot afford my psych meds without insurance. My mood stabilizer, which is a generic, is $128.00 a month without insurance. Without my psych meds, my only hope is to sink into a depression low enough that I would have to feel better to kill myself. Yes, depression can go below Jump Off A Cliff level. Been there. It sucked, but I did live through it.

Once we are both retired, we will not be able to afford any decent health insurance. It will cost us at least $20,000.00 a year for decent health insurance. That’s nearly 2/3 of my pension. Doesn’t leave too much for luxuries like utilities and food.

What I would like to say to the republicans in congress is: If you motherfuckers want to kill me, at least have the decency to use a gun and have the balls to look me in the eye before you pull the trigger.

Maybe I should put that into a quilt.

I’ve been working on art. I need a better photo editing program than the free app I’ve got. I tried Affinity. It was on sale for $40.00. That’s the entire price – it’s not a subscription like Photoshop. I had serious problems with Affinity. It’s NOT intuitive. The instruction manual us nearly 700 pages long and it explains everything except how to edit a photo. The Youtube videos Affinity puts out are impossible. Everything goes by so fast that I can’t see where the demonstrator is clicking. Finally, I found a video that Affinity doesn’t put out but does explain what I need to know. So I bought the program. I’m now working on learning how to use it.

I played around with sunset photos a bit. As I was walking back to the house after photographing a sunset, I saw the sunset reflected in my kitchen window. I wanted to take the shot straight on; but when I tried, the sunset disappeared.

Reflections 6-20-17 JPEG

Reflection 3 6-18-17 use this one

I’ve also gotten back into playing in the mud. I’m working on lanterns. First, I used a hole cutter to pierce round holes in the lanterns. On Wednesday when Jim and I went to Albuquerque to buy clay supplies, I bought a set of itty bitty cookie cutters and used a couple of them to make cat shaped and fish shaped holes in the lantern. The itty bitty cutters fit into a round tin. But they only fit in that tin one way and I’m not fond of jigsaw puzzles. After much consternation, I got all the cutters in the tin.

Lantern 1 6-23-17 jpeg

Lanterns 2 6-23-17 jpeg

I’m also working on bird baths. I bought some styrofoam wreath bases and I’m using them as a slump mold to make the bowls of the bird baths. I’ll make pedestals for under the bowls. Jim wants to grow succulents, but the rabbits eat everything. I made the bowl part of a planter to hold succulents today. I’ll make a pedestal base for it in a few days.

Suculent Planter 6-23-17 jpeg

Just for fun, I’m working on rattles shaped like rocks. I’ll be using these for test tiles.

Rattle Rocks 6-23-17 jpeg

I put some jewelry into my store – Deb Thuman Art. You can see more of my jewelry here.

Wild Heart earrings - 1Copper 2 6-18-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Oregano, another perennial is growing nicely.

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

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The iris show is over until next year.

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

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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, 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.

Posted in Emotions, Jewelry, Photography

Anger & Earrings

I’m still angry. This week, something from 50 years ago came back and demanded to be thought about. When I was in junior high, I had to take an art class. Seating was assigned and I got stuck next to a boy who thought he was clever. He kept singing, “Hey baby won’t you take a chance. Spread your legs while I drop my pants.”

After several weeks of this, I found the courage to tell the teacher. She asked why I hadn’t said something before. Because someone else had asked to have his seat moved and she didn’t let him. I spent the rest of the classes sitting somewhere else. I was happy that she moved my seat. I’d have been better served if she had told me how unacceptable his behavior was and how wrong it was to treat women like pieces of meat.

Some of the boys thought it was wonderful fun to pull up a girl’s skirt. I expressed my displeasure – an inkling of who I would eventually become. The response from one boy, “You’re not the coolest.”

It would take another 10 years before the boy’s behavior had a name: sexual harassment. It would take 10 years beyond that before women could begin to really fight back. Now, 50 years later, I see how damaging that boy’s behavior was. I see that my worth then was embedded in a part of my anatomy I couldn’t see without a mirror. It didn’t matter if I was smart. It didn’t matter if I had any sort of talent. It didn’t matter what goals and dreams I had for myself. All that mattered was if I was pretty. If I let the boys tease me and pull up my skirt.

Now, I understand. I think. I have worth and value. My worth isn’t concentrated in my bra and my panties. My worth is intrinsic. This is my body. I decide who touches it and when. I decide what behavior I will tolerate and what I will not tolerate. Treat me with dignity and respect or get away from me. I wish I had known this 50 years ago. 

I’ve been working on my photography because I need to assemble a portfolio and I need the portfolio to be really good. A friend gave me a gray scale, and I’ve been using that as a backdrop for my jewelry. I posted the photos on the Digital Photography School Facebook page and asked for suggestions. The result? Think outside the fishing line. I had been stringing fishing line across the light box and dangling earrings from the fishing line.

Nice, but I’m still having problems getting the entire earring in focus. I posted my photos on the Digital Photography School Facebook page and asked for advice. One poster sent me to Pinterest to see how other earrings had been photographed.

I did a little playing.

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I put the earrings on a piece of granite. This will work for some earrings, but the stones get hidden with some of the earrings.

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I suspended a piece of plexiglas over the granite to see if that would help with the color contrast. Nope. Showed off all the scratches in the plexiglas, though.

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Next, I tried putting the earrings on a quilted piece. I like that the best, but it does show off uneven free motion quilting.

Eventually, I will get this figured out.

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

Posted in Jewelry, Photography

Trying to Stay Sane

This inauguration has caused me serious misery. I went to the Women’s March in Las Cruces, but details and photos from that event will be in another post. I need to put some space between me and what’s happening in Washington.  I’m having stress pains. Pain in a perfectly healthy tooth. Pain in a perfectly healthy chest. I’ve been to dentists and cardiologists. They can’t find anything wrong. I’m taking my anti anxiety med regularly as prescribed. I had been taking it only as I needed it. I’m worried about becoming addicted to my anti anxiety med and it’s easy to build up a tolerance to this med. I’m now taking the full dose of my antidepressant. I had been taking only half. When I’m able to go back down to the half dose – and that’s what I’ve been taking successfully for two years – I’m going to have to cut pills into small pieces to avoid as much of the withdrawal as possible.

Art helps. A lot. I’ve been working with beads.

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A friend kindly gave me a gray scale to use for a background when I photograph my art. I’m so thankful for her gift. I belong to the Digital Photography School Facebook page and I’ve been getting wonderful advice. I need to retake the above photos, set my ISO for 100, turn off the image stabilizer because I’ll be using a tripod, and try again.

I took the Canon to school with me and looked around for different kinds of subject matter for shots.

I looked around for anything that looked interesting or that I thought I could play with.

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That was so much fun that I decided to play with the jewelry.

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I’d love to figure out how to make my jewelry look so swirly. Guess I’ll just have to spend more time playing with beads.

I’m linking with NinaMarie. To see her blog and links to other fantastic blogs, click here.