Posted in Beads, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography, Quilts

How to Get From Here to There

Sometimes, fiber art starts in an unexpected place. When I’m shooting, I look for interesting patterns. The original shot might not be scintillating, as this shot isn’t.

I took the shot and had fun in editing.

It’s an improvement, but I took the photo as the sun was going down and I didn’t want a shot that looked like it was taken during the day.

First, I used the surrealistic feature on PhotoScape X.

Then I used an overlay and a texture. I like the result and I may have this printed by Spoonflower and turn it into an art quilt.

I wanted to play a bit more, so I used the underwater feature and made extreme bends in the shot.

Next, I played with the tiny planet feature.

Then, I used the kaleidoscope feature.

It reminds me of a tile floor and it could make for an interesting quilt if I had the design printed by Spoonflower. It could be a contemporary approach to a pieced quilt.

Because of the delay in shipping caused by the vile pandemic, Spoonflower sent out coupons for a discount on a future order. I need to put together a list of all the fabrics I want printed up both for art quilts an for garments. Some of my designs would make great yoga pants. Others would be good for garments. Some would be printed and turned into little quilts.

I’ve been working on product photography and put some new jewelry in my store.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here:

My store, Deb Thuman Art, is here:

My Spoonflower shop is here:

Posted in Beads, Jewelry, Photography

Flames both Wild and Political

Prepare to bow down to the god of Political Correctness. 

There was an article in this morning’s New York Times about a quilter. The article was accompanied by a number of photos which showed sloppy sewing, bad quilting, the artist grabbed every doodad in her home and slapped it on the fabric then called all of this art. 

No. This is not art. I think about the quilts made by Faith Ringgold that I’ve seen. Beautiful pieces that tell a story. Nothing extraneous. Nothing badly sewn. No horrid quilting. Ringgold’s quilts are art. 

I made the mistake of saying the above publically and a shit storm ensued. Why? Because the artist who made the ugly quilts is black and criticism of work done by a black person is now labeled racism. It’s not. It’s fair comment. I’d think those quilts were badly done no matter who made them. 

There’s an attorney in town who has never impressed me. I’ve been present when he clearly misstated the law in a particular instance. I’ve seen this attorney present evidence in such a way that I wondered if he knew what the evidence showed. I’ve been present for a hearing he did that any first-year law student would have done better. The local attorney made no effort to prepare for the hearing which left me scrambling to make up for his lack of preparedness. I can’t say any of that publically. The attorney is black and to mention his failings as an attorney is racism. It’s not. It’s justified criticism based on his actions. 

Yes, there is racism in the US. There was also a civil rights movement in the 1960’s that tore down barriers, integrated schools, integrated neighborhoods, and made educational and occupational opportunities where none existed before. I was more than old enough to understand what was happening in the US during the 1960’s. I’ve seen the before and the after. The after, while imperfect, is a major improvement over the before. 

In other news……. Although I live far enough away from the wildfires in New Mexico and Arizona that I’m in no danger from the flames, the particulates in the smoke which blow by are causing problems. I can’t go outside today because the air quality is bad enough to trigger an allergic reaction. I had the same problem on Sunday when my allergies were so irritated that I had to take 5 decongestants to be able to breathe. Today, I took an antihistamine. I’m breathing well. My nose is only trotting rather than running. My eyes hurt. Rather than blue, the sky is gray and has been for several days. 

This was taken Monday morning. That’s not a cloudy sky; that’s a sky filled with smoke particulates.

Wednesday was a tough day for me. My sister died on June 24, 1997. I’ve had a difficult time on the anniversary nearly every year. To counter the sadness, I put on fancy clothes, my favorite jewelry and we went to Chili’s for lunch. New Mexico is only partially open so dining options are a bit limited. After lunch, we went to Starbucks for fancy coffee. 

Quail photos have to be done through the sliding glass door. Any movement or noise, and the quail scatter. Every year, we look forward to seeing thumbs. Baby quail look like thumbs with feet. The thumbs are now nearly adults although still accompanied by adults when they visit the yard. There may be a second batch of thumbs this year. 

Quail stopping off for a drink before going home. Ideally, this shot should have been taken at ground level. Realistically, it was take the shot standing up, or cause the quail to run if I got down on the floor.

I did venture out to photograph the sunset on days when my allergies were calm. About the only thing smoke particulates are good for is vivid sunsets. 

I like how the landscape looks like a collection of different, solid colors. I may need to make a quilt from this photo.

I’ve been making jewelry again. I’ve taken some product photos, but I’m not happy with them. I’ll try again in a day or so. 

I used focus merge to combine several photos into one. Each photo is focused on a different bead. The result is all of the beads being in focus.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here:

My store, Deb Thuman Art is here:

My Spoonflower shop is here:

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography

The Art Cure

Anxiety shows up in one of three places – right on top of my sternum, lower left quadrant of my abdomen or last molar on the bottom right. I’ve been to cardiologists, dentists, had a colonoscopy, had ultrasound, and every time I’ve been told my tooth is healthy, my heart is healthy, there’s nothing in my abdomen that shouldn’t be there. I take an anti-anxiety med. I munch on edible pot. I get some relief. 

I’ve had chronic insomnia for about 10 months. The insomnia got worse as soon as the governor shut down New Mexico. I’ve got a prescription for a sleeping pill. I munch on edible pot. I don’t go to bed until I’m sleepy. Lately, that’s been around 3 AM. I get up around 8 AM. I’m living on 4-5 hours sleep a night. My sleep is mostly light sleep. There are some dreams, and almost no deep sleep. I can’t remember anything for more than a few seconds. I can’t think clearly. I’m moody. I read that pink noise will induce deep sleep which is when a whole lot of healing goes on. Pink noise sounds like fuzz looks. I tried listening to pink noise while I slept the night before last. For some reason, the 9-hour Youtube video only lasted 15 minutes. I did sleep better than usual, but still very little deep sleep. For last night, I downloaded a noise app onto my cellphone. I slept soundly, but still very little deep sleep. I’ll keep experimenting.

Some of the anxiety and insomnia is likely from bipolar disorder. Most of the anxiety and insomnia is from being in the middle of a pandemic. Because of my age, I’m high risk for a nasty outcome if I’m attacked by a tiny virus. I over eat. I under exercise. Yoga doesn’t help. Getting on the elliptical machine doesn’t help. Art helps.

Yesterday, I decided to refrain from Facebook which is filled with politics, knee-jerk reactions, and misery. Instead, I made jewelry. Art cures everything. A few months back, I bought peace jade beads. I bought them because I liked the color. Now, I like the name as well. I need some peace. I made earrings. By the time I was finished, the outside temperature was 100 degrees. Way too hot to go outside and do photography. I prefer shooting outside in natural light. The colors seem to come out more accurate when I shoot outside.

Today, I was able to shoot new masks and earrings outside before it got unbearably hot. 

Peace Jade and Pearls
Peace Jade and Carved Shell
Peace Jade and African Jade
Peace Jade and Blue Goldstone
Peace Jade and Swarovski crystals

All of the above can be found at my store, Deb Thuman Art

All of the masks are made with fabric I designed and is available in my Spoonflower shop here

Our 48th wedding anniversary was Wednesday. Jim bought me flowers and I worked on focus stacking. I put the camera on the tripod, and took several shots each focusing on a slightly different part of the flower. Then, when I edit the photos, I use the focus merge function in Affinity to make a final photo with every part of the flower in focus. 

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

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Cognitive problems, Depression, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography, Psych meds, Quilts

Art, Depression, Poppies & Starbucks

I have the parts all drawn out. I know what I want this quilt to look like. Now, I’m auditioning fabric. I’m not sure about the fall print. All the other fabrics I auditioned today don’t look right. I wanted one fabric to be muted and the other vibrant but the original muted fabric I thought I would use looked terrible against the teal background.. Maybe if I borrowed from the movies and had sex with my fabric I could find the right fabric.

This is for a quilt about suicide. A year ago, someone I knew committed suicide. Since then, I’ve written my feelings, I’ve quilted my feelings, I’ve lectured about suicide, and I’m still trying to find reasons why. What was happening in this person’s life that was so horrible that death was preferable? I want the universe to make sense. I know from all the biology classes I’ve taken and all the times I’ve stared into a microscope that there’s a phenomenal amount of order in the universe. I can’t find the order in suicide. I know it’s there; I just can’t find it. Maybe suicide is the entropy all things are rushing towards.

Every personality test I’ve ever taken has shown I’m equally introverted and extroverted. That goes along with bipolar disorder. When I’m manic, everything is magnified. I can talk to anyone about anything. I have no social anxiety. When I’m depressed, I isolate. Isolation seems to be my default. Maybe that’s because for a huge chunk of my life, I was depressed. The introverted part of me is having no problem with staying home, not dealing with people, and only venturing out occasionally to go to Starbucks. The artist part of me went to Baylor Canyon to photograph the Mexican poppies. These flowers only bloom if there’s sufficient precipitation in late winter. It’s a spectacular show of brilliant color and the show doesn’t last long. 

Covid-19 has made me exceptionally anxious and that much anxiety causes physical pain. Yes, I’ve had the pains checked out. Every doctor, with the exception of my dentist who suggested I may be clenching my jaw, has found nothing physically wrong. I’ve decided to increase the dose of my mood stabilizer. My doctor knows I do this. The extreme anxiety is gone. I’m not in pain. Instead, I have Zombie Brain. This will be helpful in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse. 

The increased dose of my mood stabilizer doesn’t seem to be helping with depression. I find I’m being hit with rolling depression. I’m not suicidal, but I am depressed enough that I want to curl up into a ball and cry. When this happens, I need to immediately start making art. Then, the depression goes away. 

I have an online store that I built with the help of Wix. Something is wrong with the site because I can’t upload photographs. Without photographs, I can’t upload jewelry that I want to put into my store. It took quite a bit of internet searching to find a way to contact Wix. I got an email back saying they couldn’t help me because they weren’t employees of Wix but here’s the secret phone number. I have to wait until Monday to call. 

I learned how to do focus merge in Affinity. I take several shots of a necklace and focus on a different spot for each shot. After downloading the photos, I merge all of the shots into one shot where everything is in focus. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie

My online store, Deb Thuman Art, is here

My Spoonflower shop is here

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography

Art = Sanity

My anxiety is close to out of control. I’ve had anxiety pain for a week. Yes, I’ve had the pain checked out – three times over the years. Three doctors said there’s nothing physically wrong with me. Klonopin isn’t calming the anxiety. I’m scared. I’m tired of being at home. The university admits some of those who tested positive for covid-19 in the county where I live are students. HIPPA mandates the person’s name and sex can’t be given out. But what classes these people were in can, and absolutely should be given out. People shed this virus for up to 14 days before they become symptomatic. They infect others who infect others who infect others and so on until we’re all sick. My age and a health condition put me at high risk. I need to know if I’ve been exposed. 

Yes, I washed my hands – soap and water – when I used the restroom at school. Here’s how this works. Hold onto handrail to get downstairs to the restroom. Open restroom door. Open stall door. Close stall door. Do what I came to do. Touch handle to flush toilet. Open stall door. Touch tap to turn on water. Touch soap dispenser. Touch tap again to turn off water. Touch paper towel dispenser to get paper towel to dry my hands. Touch the restroom door to get out of restroom. Hold handrail to get upstairs so I can leave the building.

I made Jim and I masks although I don’t think they will protect us from a virus. They might protect us from something else. Spring in southern New Mexico features intense wind. Pollen, spores, dust, small children left unattended, and desert detritus blow around and eventually enter our noses. We both have allergies that get irritated in the spring and I hope these masks can help. 

Bipolar disorder magnifies everything. I’m scared and I have severe anxiety. Klonopin doesn’t help. The insomnia is back. I listen to relaxation music. I meditate. I do yoga. What seems to help the most is art. I’ve been working on fabric design. You can see my latest fabric designs here   My Spoonflower store is here I’ve ordered proofs of another 30 designs. The proofs should arrive in a few days. I’ll put the best of the lot into the store.

I’m learning how to do focus merging. My macro lens is a great lens, but it’s tough to get a large depth of field. Consequently, my jewelry photos have a couple beads in focus and the rest is blurry. I got out the tripod, attached the Canon 90D, laid out jewelry, and took several photos of each piece of jewelry. Focus on the first bead, take the shot. Focus on the next bead, take the shot. Repeat until all of the piece has been shot in focus. I use Affinity for editing and it has a nice focus merging function. I’ll need to take a few more shots of each and I’ll be ready to list them in my store

I’ve also been working on making boring shots more interesting by using creative editing.

I’m linking with Nina Marie

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Jewelry, Peripheral neuropathy, Photography

Life In The Time of Coronavirus

My age puts me at high risk for death by coronavirus. I haven’t gone anywhere since March 14. The university shut down at close of classes on March 13. That gives us an extra week of spring break. Not that we can go anywhere for spring break. I had planned to go to Truth or Consequences for a day and do some shooting. Fear has kept me home. When the university “reopens” on March 30, all classes will be online. Students who left the dorms for spring break will not be allowed back on campus. Commuter students aren’t allowed back, either. Jim has to go in to work every day. We don’t know why. There won’t be another play this semester. There are no sets to build. He’s been cleaning and organizing the scene shop.

At the moment, the New Mexico Department of Health is telling us that there are 65 cases of coronavirus in the state. That number is dangerously misleading. For two weeks, testing was only done in the northern part of the state. Dona Ana County where I live has more than 100,000 residents. Las Cruces, the state’s third largest city, is about 40 miles north of the US/Mexican border. Apparently we don’t count. Testing wasn’t done until March 20, and the testing site ran out of kits in less than two hours. The Department of Health sent another, more generous supply of kits for Saturday. 350 kits. We’re told we can’t be tested unless we’re symptomatic and that results won’t be ready for 7-10 days. Why bother with testing? By the time the results arrive, the person is either dead or better. How many people around me are carriers? Isolate the carriers and stop this virus.

I’ve made Jim and I masks. I’d photograph them, but Jim has them. This is good. Provided he’s actually wearing one. Spring in New Mexico comes with WIND. Lots and lots and lots of WIND. Pollen, spores, dust, desert crap blow around and enter our noses. Both of us are having allergy attacks. I’m thinking that perhaps the mask will keep out pollen, dust and desert crap while I’m outside.

My excursions now are walking around my yard photographing the progress of the claret cup cactus blooms.

Oddly, each clump of claret cup cactus seems to have its own blooming schedule although all the clumps are in full sun.

I’m still working on playing with photos and using them for fabric designs.

I get a lot of mileage out of a boring shot.

My Spoonflower shop, with photos of fabric designs that are for sale, is here

I’ve been making jewelry as an antidote to peripheral neuropathy pain.

I still need to learn how to use focus stacking in my Canon 90D. One of the reasons I wanted this camera is to do focus staking in the camera rather than trying to figure out how to do it in editing. The problem is I’m having a neuropathy flare up and I’m not sleeping at night. Last night, I woke up in pain at 2:00. By the time the pain subsided enough that I could go back to bed and get some sleep, it was 4:30. I woke up promptly at noon. Mornings are generally wind free. Afternoons we have WIND. I’d prefer to do photography outside when there’s little or no WIND.

Once I learn how to do focus stacking, I can list the jewelry I’ve been making in my store, Deb Thuman Art

I’m linking with Nina Marie

Posted in Beads, Clay, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery, Quilts

The Little Writer Has Evolved Into An Artist

Some miracle happened, and I can now list my designs for sale at Prior to listing designs for sale, Spoonflower requires designers to have proofs made so any color tweaking that may be necessary can be done.

Here are some of the proofs.

You can also see the designs for which I haven’t yet had proofs made so they aren’t for sale. Eventually, they will be for sale. If you see something you like that isn’t yet for sale, let me know and I’ll have a proof made right away. It takes about a week for me to get proofs back and then a couple hours to list the fabrics that are for sale. 

Every few weeks, I’ll be listing more of my designs for sale. I’ve been having so much fun playing with photos, making abstract designs and figuring out how best to translate the abstract photo to fabric. The designs for sale can be ordered in an assortment of fabric ranging from cotton to silk and even upholstery fabric. My designs can also be ordered in wallpaper. On that page, you can see how the design looks as fabric, as wallpaper and as kitchen décor, as living room décor and as bedding.  

In other creative news…… I was thinking last night about where my art has led me. I started out writing short stories when I was still in high school. I knew I was a good writer when a teacher handed back stories we had written, handed me my story and said, “Wow!” This was also the time I learned a lawyer was in me. The assistant principal thought I had drugs in my purse and asked to search my purse. I didn’t have drugs, but without thinking I looked him in eye and asked if he had a warrant. Fifteen years old, and I sounded like William Kunsler. It would be 23 more years before I would go to law school. 

I wrote a lot when I was in college. One teacher told me she always put my work on the bottom of the pile because she knew I was a good writer and she had my work to look forward to as she read the other students’ work. Then I became a reporter and later an attorney. I went from fiction to fact to weird, stilted legal writing. I was good at all of it. One day while sitting in a mandatory, boring seminar, I began writing a novel. The novel isn’t finished yet and I’m amazed at the changes the novel has gone through. In a weird way, writing a novel is like getting to know the characters that exist only in my imagination. I started writing short stories again. Little things at first. The last two short stories are serious and I’m working out my feelings about suicide through these stories. 

During the return to creative writing journey, I learned to work with clay, and to work out my feelings in ceramic sculpture.  I learned more about working with fiber, learned about art quilts, and played in my sketchbook working out abstract designs. I learned I loved working with beads and began making jewelry. Now, I’m designing fabric. It’s been a wild art journey since I got my first thesaurus when I was 14. 

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

My store featuring fiber art and jewelry is at

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Jewelry, Photography, Psych meds

Good Stuff, Hard Stuff, Pretty Stuff

This wasn’t supposed to be complicated. I ordered proofs of 30 fabric designs I had made from Spoonflower. I got the proofs back this week. I attempted to list a design for sale, and couldn’t. I verified my address. I followed the steps to verify my email address. I tried to fill out the W-9 form. After much frustration and swearing, I accidently managed to get the vile form signed electronically. Hint: you can’t sign the thing using an iPad and iPencil. Thinking I had everything worked out, I tried to list a design for sale. I can’t because I’m in an infinite loop. As soon as I try to list a design, I’m told I have to follow the verification process. When I try to follow the verification process, I’m told my address and email have been verified. The problem is the W-9 form for which there’s no way to submit. Why can’t I just have a form to print out, fill out, sign, scan and upload? Why do I have to be stuck in an infinite loop? Yes, I have sent an email to Spoonflower. No, I haven’t gotten an answer yet.

I’m having a bad bipolar day. I’m snarling at Jim. I get impatient over nothing. And this episode is coupled with introversion. Every personality test I’ve ever taken shows I’m both introverted and extroverted. This makes sense. The extrovert comes out when I’m manic and the introvert comes out when I’m depressed. No, there is no specific reason for being depressed. If you know someone who is bipolar, if you love someone who is bipolar, if you live with someone who is bipolar, spend time learning about bipolar disorder. It’ not easy having a brain that has a mind of its own.

I have ordered beads from Lima Beads. Lima is the only online store with semi-precious gems I trust. What I see is what I get. With Firemountain, the semi-precious gems are C and D quality. In my opinion, they aren’t worth buying. I’ve been buying pearls from Lima and I’m amazed at the quality. First rate at extremely reasonable prices! I had run out of amethyst beads, was running low on sodalite beads, and wanted to have some goldstone beads. I also splurged on pearls of assorted colors and sizes. 

Larimer used to be affordable. Gem prices float just as gold and silver floats. At the moment, Larimer is expensive and I was surprised to find these so reasonably priced. So far, Larimer has only been found in the Dominican Republic.

Feldspath is something I bought a while back. I liked it more than I thought so I bought larger beads this time. 

Goldstone. I have magpie tendencies and I love things that sparkle. Maybe because they reflect the extroverted manic part of me.

When I was picking out beads, I concentrated on size, color and price. I didn’t think about the name when I ordered peace jade. Now, I think about having beads that are both pretty and a political statement.

When I was a kid, I had nightmares about the hydrogen bomb and skeletons burning. The nightmares are back. This time, the nightmares aren’t about gut terrors of an unthinkable event as when I was a kid. Then, we had a Cold War and the certain comforting knowledge that if both sides had nuclear weapons, no one would be silly enough to start a war. Now, there is no comforting knowledge. Now, I have nightmares about a narcissistic sociopath president who thinks starting a war with a dangerous, fanatical, and likely mentally ill leader is a great way to get re-elected. Long ago, I decided if ever there was a nuclear war, I would kill myself. I’d rather die fast than die from radiation poisoning. Even if there were an antidote, there would be no medical care available. Doctors and hospitals aren’t immune from nuclear attack. Don’t kid yourself; hospitals will be, as they are in all wars, a major target. Thoughts of suicide mixed with bipolar disorder is terrifying. Do I need an extra antidepressant? Do I need a permanent adjustment to my psych meds? Am I having an abstract conversation with myself? Or am I suicidal? I don’t have an answer. Instead, I’ve decided to be extremely careful what I read in the New York Times each morning. I can’t stop what’s happening. I can’t change what’s happening. I don’t have to make myself physically sick by reading about what’s happening. Instead, I’ll make beautiful jewelry with peace jade beads.

It took about three years, but I finally filled up my external storage disk. When I do photography, I shoot in RAW. A lot of my work is outdoors, and I want the most amount of digital information my camera will give me. I have more and better editing options if I shoot RAW. However, RAW files are HUGE and it takes almost no time to fill up the space on the laptop. I’ve been putting RAW files on the external storage disk, then changing the photos from RAW to JPEG, dumping the RAW version from Photos and replacing that with JPEG version. That way, I have a portfolio of photos without using much space. Once photos are edited, there’s no visual difference between a RAW edited photo and a JPEG edited photo. I also backup my laptop to external storage.

Yesterday, I bought a 5 TB storage disk for less than the 3 TB cost me when I bought it on sale. Storage is becoming remarkably cheap. Today, I’m busy creating folders on the new disk and transferring files and photos from the laptop to the storage disk. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie

Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography

Piles and Piles and Piles

The fun just keeps coming. The washer is broken. Jim did some research, ran diagnostics on the washer, and ordered a part to solve the problem. He paid extra for expedited shipping that was supposed to take 2-3 days. It’s taking longer and I have a mountain of laundry. According to the tracking, the part is supposed to be delivered today.

I wear fleece socks because my feet get so cold. A couple years ago, I made five pair. They are all in the laundry basket waiting for the part to arrive so the washer can be fixed. I bought a yard of five different fleece fabrics when I made those socks. A yard of fleece makes 4-5 pair of socks. 

I dug out my fleece and made five pair of fleece socks yesterday. I wanted to be able to differentiate between the original pairs and the new pairs, so the sole of each sock doesn’t match the rest of the sock.

Tomorrow, I’m going to have to make me more panties because I’m running out of those, too. No, I can’t just go to Walmart and buy new underwear. I intensely dislike buying something that I can make. 

I’ve been working on jewelry and finished a number of necklaces. I’m not wild about these photos. Fortunately, I’m not buying film and paying for developing. 

This one, and the one with the green pendant below, is made mostly with recycled glass.

I belong to the Digital Photography School page on Facebook. One of the members suggested I use spot metering. I have a Canon T3i. I went to the menu, chose metering mode, tried to change the mode from evaluative to spot, and the camera refused to cooperate. I looked up the manual and, according to the manual, I was doing everything right. What the manual fails to mention is that the camera must be in manual mode in order to change the metering. Having the camera in aperture priority isn’t manual enough for the camera to understand what I want. When it warms up a bit, which is supposed to happen over the weekend, I’ll take my jewelry outside and see what happens now that I’ve changed the metering. 

When I bought the Tamron 150-600mm lens, I bought it as a bundle which included two very good filters – UV filter and polarizing filter. The filters run about $90. They filters were on back order, and they arrived today. We need to schedule a trip to Bosque del Apache so I can shoot wildlife. Because I live at 4000 feet above sea level, I need a UV filter in order to get color that isn’t washed out. The polarizing filter will help with swimming duck shots and sunlight bouncing off the water. 

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

Please visit my store, Deb Thuman Art to see the latest additions to the store.

Posted in Beads, Emotions, Jewelry, Judiasm, PTSD

The Many and The Few

It’s Hanukkah.

I took this shot the other night. The menorah is next to the window, as is traditional, and I liked the way the flames were reflected in the window.

Tonight is the final night. I’ll light candles and think about a tiny handful of fighters who banished an entire army. Just one of the many times someone tried to wipe out the Jews. We keep bouncing back. The title of this post is also the title of a Woody Guthrie song. His mother-in-law was a well-known Jewish poet. The song is one of her poems and Woody put the words to music.

I made latkes yesterday. I only make them once a year. After I made them, I remembered why I only make them once a year. The entire house smells like a latke. To remedy that, I made a batch of chai tea. Now the house smells like cinnamon and cloves. 

My great-great-grandparents left Dittersdorf, East Prussia in 1888. They were Jewish, but arrived in New York cleverly disguised as German Lutherans. By the time my grandmother came along, the family thought they really were German Lutherans. I grew up Catholic. When I discovered my grandmother’s really bad German was actually Yiddish, I returned to my Jewish roots. 

I grew up in an insane house run by a violent, drunken narcissist and her violent, drunken husband. It was not a good way to grow up. I’d go into a depression in mid-November and the depression would last until New Year’s Day. Holidays were hell. The fighting. The screaming. The drunken bigot spewing hate. That was just the first hour. The celebration went downhill from there. I no longer celebrate Christmas. The Jewish holidays, Hanukkah and Passover, hold no baggage for me. Except this year. The flashbacks started Christmas day and continue haunting me. I thought I was done with this kind of misery. Apparently PTSD is a forever condition. It gets easier to live with, but it never goes away. I’m convinced children should be able to sue their parents who should be made to pay the never ending therapy bills.

I’ve been working on making necklaces as an antidote to psychic, seasonal misery. It’s not called art therapy for nothing. Eventually, I’ll get the necklace, featuring Swarovski crystals, pearls, Adrian opal, agate, yellow opal, onyx, African jade and gold stone, into my store, Deb Thuman Art

I’ve been working on taking macro shots and still getting used to a shallow depth of field. I’m playing with color, texture, and wild editing. Eventually, I’ll be turning the photos into fabric designs. This process is taking longer than I thought. Meanwhile, my laptop is filled with wildly edited shots. 

My cookie scoop died so I bought a new one. I haven’t tested it out yet, but I did use it to take a self portrait. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie Take a look at what other artists are doing.

Posted in Beads, Jewelry, Photography

Designing Woman – Because I love Annie Potts

I’ve been working on jewelry, photography, and designing fabric. My Tamron 150-600 lens arrived this week. I’ve done some experimenting, but the best use for that lens will be when we go to Bosque del Apache and I can shoot eagles. 

I never knew there was so much growing on top of that mountain. Those are part of the Dona Ana Mountains.

I made two necklaces for me using pendants I bought from an artist who does wire wrapping. 

I’ve been playing with editing in photos to see what wild designs I can create.

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

Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography

90 Degree Learning Curve

We were at Bosque del Apache on Monday and Tuesday getting in some shooting and a little tiny vacation before Jim’s surgery. 

Jim’s surgery on Friday went well. 

I’ve been playing with the macro lens to learn what it will and won’t do. The portrait of Jim was taken with the macro lens. I focused on his face rather than his eyes and I didn’t pay attention to the background. I’m working on eliminating my tendency to take snap shots and concentrating on taking photographs. Some days are more successful than others. 

Still working with the macro lens, I took some extreme closeups. Then, I played around in editing to see what I would get. I’m working my way towards designing fabric. I’m not sure I’ve gotten the fabric I want yet. 

Original photo

With an overlay.

Original photo

I worked on some jewelry this week and spent a moment photographing the jewelry. I like the jewelry more than I like the photos.

I’ve got another necklace laid out, but I’m not sure I like how I have the beads arranged. I’ll leave the necklace alone for a day or two. It’s amazing how different a design looks after leaving it alone for a day.

Like my jewelry? Stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art, and see what I’ve been making lately.

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Jewelry, Pain, Peripheral neuropathy, Photography

Art As A Pain Killer

I’m having a neuropathy flare up. Meds aren’t helping. CBD oil isn’t helping. Art is the only thing that reliably kills the pain. And so I made more necklaces. 

I did a bit of experimenting when I was shooting the necklaces. I took the photos a couple hours before sundown. One set was shot in the sun, the other set shot in the shade. The photos shot in the sun suck. Horrible orange cast. Horrible shadows even though I used a flash. The second set of photos I shot in the shade. Still not quite what I want, but a whole lot better than the first batch of shots. 

Shot in the sun.

I finally finished the quilted laptop totes and took photos. I’m not wild about the photos. The original version of these quilted totes was designed so I could carry my 15-inch laptop, charging cable, and computer glasses to and from Starbucks. The totes are practical for a whole lot more than just transporting a laptop. As soon as I get decent photos, these will go in my store. 

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

Looking for cool art? Stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art, 

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Jewelry, Photography

Art To Calm By

I’ve been in better shape this last week, but I’m still manic. Some days are better than other days.  I had to tweak my mood stabilizer. It helped, but I’m now noticing more than brain fog than usual. Psych meds interfere with my ability to think. At least I’m not a zombie and I can still drive myself around town. Taking Uber from my home to class would be $30 one way. Plus tip. Assuming there’s an Uber driver willing to come this far out of town to pick me up.

Art is a way I can calm down, so I’ve been making necklaces.

Recycled Black Glass Pendant

I’ve been fascinated by the recycled glass beads I’ve been finding for sale. I like the idea of recycling. Why should glass go into the landfill when it can be turned into jewelry?

The iridescent blue beads are also recycled glass.

Impression Jasper Pendant

Impression Jasper is a default name. Someone dug up a rock, said it gave the impression of jasper, and the name stuck. This is a piece that was enhanced by heat treating the stone. Without enhancing, Impression Jasper is more subtle.

The above necklaces are for sale. I’ll eventually get them into my online store once I figure out the price for each. Jewelry prices are a function of cost of materials, time to make and how much I have to swear at the piece while making it.

This one I’m keeping for myself. The pendant is a fossil.

I put fancy stitches on the straps for the quilted laptop totes and wanted to serge the ends. The first end got caught somehow in the serger and I spent quality time swearing at the serger while trying to coax the threads off the finger. It’s still stuck. I’ll try again later. These quilted laptop totes are taking way too much time to make. Eventually, they will be finished and they will go into my store.

Tinker Helps With The Laundry

Usually the cats hide when they think I’m going to photograph them. I had to sneak up on Tinker, zoom the cellphone camera as much as possible, and hope for the best. The shot is backlit and I could have overcome that with the Canon. The cellphone doesn’t allow for that kind of tinkering. The cats don’t allow for me to take the time to use the Canon.

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

Looking for one-of-a-kind jewelry or fiber art? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography, Quilts

There’s A Reason It’s Called Art Therapy

I tweaked my mood stabilizer, and I’m feeling better. At least I’m not getting slammed by moods. Rapid cycling is having four or more episodes in a year. I had four in a week. The insomnia is still with me but Ambien is helping. 

I started working on jewelry and I like what I came up with. I don’t like how I photographed the pieces. Natural light wasn’t enough light. I added two LED lights, one on each side. That made for nasty shadows. So I kept the LED lights and added on camera flash. I’m not wild about the results although I did get the colors accurate. 

I worked a bit more on the suicide quilt. I don’t think that quilt should have a border, so I did a pillow case finish. Never did one of those before. Using Razzle Dazzle threads for hand quilting meant that the back of the quilt was nasty looking. The pillow case finish hides all that. I need to draft an eagle wing, get the wing drawn on the quilt, and quilt the wing with silver thread. 

The university is having a symposium in November and, being manic, I thought it would be a great idea to propose doing a talk on suicide from the perspective of one who nearly killed herself and one who is left behind by someone else’s suicide. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I have two nightmares about this: no one will show up, or 500 people will show up. Rather than power point – something that’s guaranteed to have a technical problem no matter how much you practice – I’m using two quilts. 

This is the quilt about when I nearly killed myself. It has a catchy title: Get Back Here Motherfucker, Sit Your Ass Down In That Chair, Shut The Fuck Up, And Listen To Me. That should explain why I don’t enter this quilt into a juried quilt show. It’s from a time when the neurologists were patting me on the head, smiling, and handing me prescriptions for useless drugs. They refused to answer any of my questions.

This is an axon with neurotransmitters represented by beads, coming out of the end of the axon and not being received by the dendrite.

The quilted part is an action potential. It’s a representation of the electrical impulse that goes the length of the axon.

There was another rape on campus. This time, the campus police actually did something. They temporarily banned the rapist from campus. Although I asked, the police refuse to give out the rapist’s name, photo or description. I’m so tired of being afraid. There’s probably a quilt in there somewhere. 

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

Looking for a great gift? Stop by my store