Posted in Fiber, Photography, Quilts

While Still Trying To Figure Out How To Quilt The Suicide Quilt

I’m closing in on the quilting design. I’m playing with the idea of heaven and earth, dead and alive, and how they are separated. I’ve been thinking about how there’s no communication between dead and alive. I don’t believe mediums can communicate with the dead. We have assorted beliefs about what happens to a person after death, but those are beliefs. We have no actual proof of what, or if, anything happens to a soul after death. I believe a soul is alive before conception and lives on after the body dies.

There’s no communication between heaven and earth. Maybe. Those on earth pray, but we’ve no confirmation that anyone or anything is hearing the prayers.

I’d like to put all of that into the quilting and I think I’ve figured out how to do that. If the quilting works out the way I have it in my head, I’m going to have a strange quilt. That’s okay. It will work well with my other strange quilts.

I’ve been sending short stories in to writing contests and I got a rejection email the other day. The short story that got rejected is 1800 words and four chapters. Now, I need to find another contest to submit this story. I submitted two stories to the Chicago Tribune in February. Those are still pending. As I go through stories I had written for my writing classes, I’m struck by how weird my writing is. When I was in college, my writing was normal. When I was a journalist, my writing was normal. When I wrote appeals for my clients, my writing was both normal and constipated. I don’t know when or how I started writing weird. Although I’m an avid reader, I’ve never read anything remotely like my style. That I write weird was an almost disconcerting discovery.

I’m working on a novel. Anyone who thinks writing a novel is easy has never tried to write a novel. When I was a journalist, I’d sit down down, starting a story at the beginning and going straight to the end. All in one sitting. Novels don’t work that way. At least the novel I’m writing doesn’t work that way. The story is about a woman who is my age, bipolar, a criminal defense attorney, a widow, and she’s in love with a police officer. I had to kill Jim off to write the novel. He’s taking it well. New Mexico is a community property state and any royalties I get from this novel are marital property. Translated: Jim and I will jointly own any royalties.

Because I don’t consider any book that doesn’t have at least one dead body to be worth reading, I’ve put three bodies in my novel including an officer involved shooting. My view of officer involved shootings is nothing like the views written about in The New York Times. It’s also nothing like the views held by the majority of criminal defense attorneys. I’ve never been good at conforming. In the novel, I use capitalization in an odd way. Not only am I working with a story line, I’m working with unusual concepts requiring unusual capitalization.

In the meantime, I’ve been playing with photos.

Start here.

Next, play.

Play some more.

Then, go a little crazy.

Then go really crazy.

Start here.

Eventually, end up here.

Then…

And finally…

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My online store is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower shop is here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

Posted in bipolar disorder, Photography

Of Masks, Bipolar Disorder, Aging, & Photography

Turns out, I’m not the only person who is bipolar and having problems with this pandemic. Rapid cycling is defined as four or more episodes in a year. I managed that in six days. I rested on the seventh day. The anxiety, mania, insomnia, and wild mood swings seem to be attacking so many of us. In my case, getting the dosage right is critical. Too much, and I’m a zombie. Too little and I’m suicidal. Meds don’t cure bipolar disorder. Meds dull the symptoms and the mood swings are not as extreme. The fear and anxiety caused by the virus makes bipolar symptoms worse.  

New Mexico has been having a surge in new cases the last few weeks. We’re in better shape than the southeast, Arizona and Texas, but we’re not in good shape. I don’t think we’re seeing a second wave, we’re seeing what happens when the country opens before the first wave is done. What needs to happen is the entire country closing down for a couple months. Otherwise, we’re going to be having an out-of-control epidemic that lasts more than a year. 

I’ve been doing more shopping on line rather than in person. I don’t want to risk exposure to covid. I’ve gotten sheets from Target – free shipping for orders more than $35. I’ve ordered contact lens products and ink cartridges for my printer from Amazon – free shipping with a Prime membership. I ordered spices from Savory Spice – free shipping for orders more than $49. We started wearing masks long before they became mandatory. There’s a state, city and county law mandating masks in public. Some store managers decided not to insist people wore masks. The law changed, and now store owners can face criminal charges for allowing people who aren’t wearing masks to enter. At Sam’s Club, there’s a disconcerting sign at the entry saying because of the government, everyone has to wear a mask. Right. Blame someone else for your stupidity. The state shut down one Walmart here because four employees tested positive a few weeks back. Neither the employees nor customers were told they had been exposed to the virus. Walmart waited an additional six hours before shutting the doors. Walmart managers offered excuses for keeping the positive cases a secret, but no apology.

I bought Mary Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. I read it in one sitting. The book is well written, entertaining and explains how horrible parents created a narcissistic sociopath who’s killing us. What struck me is how similar the sociopath’s upbringing was to my own. No, I don’t feel sorry for him. I’m not a narcissist or a sociopath. I think narcissism and sociopathy are created rather than a mental illness that one is born with.

When I had my eyes examined recently, I asked the eye doctor if contacts would help. I have cataracts that can’t be removed because of problems with the retina in my right eye. There’s a 25% chance of the retina detaching if I have cataract surgery. I wear bifocals and I have a pair of single-vision sunglasses so I can go hiking and be able to see where the ground is. If I wear my bifocals for photography, I’m squinting against the sun. If I wear my sunglasses, I can’t see what the settings on the camera are. That’s important because I set the ISO and the aperture. The camera sets the shutter speed. I haven’t worn contacts for 26 years. At the time I got my first pair of bifocals, contact lenses for people who needed bifocals meant one lens for distance and one lens for reading. I’m severely nearsighted and thought contacts wouldn’t be a good fit for me. Turns out contacts are now multi-vision. My eye doctor gave me a pair of contacts to try. I like them. I can go outside wearing no-prescription sunglasses, see what I’m photographing, see what the camera settings are and I don’t have to squint. 

I’m developing lines on my face and a strange indentation in my chin. I try, but I can’t stop or even slow down the formation of the lines. After age 65, the body undergoes massive changes similar to what the body undergoes during puberty. Puberty, as horrible as it was, is more fun than the aging process. I’m trying to accept the wrinkles, crepe paper like skin, and oversized pores. I’m not succeeding. We live in a culture that demands women be young, unwrinkled and anorexic. I’m none of those. 

I’ve been wanting to photograph the comet, but we’ve had rain every day and each evening we have complete cloud cover.

Because of the rain, the desert is blooming.

Acacia bush.

Desert sage. Humidity triggers the bush to flower, and the entire bush flowers at one time. These should open tomorrow.

I used the macro lens today and the above is what’s left after the flowers fall off the cholla. It’s an odd looking cactus and the spines are vicious.

A week ago, the ocotillo were dead looking sticks. Now, the plant has grown leaves.

This is a bud on a prickly pear. This shouldn’t be happening this time of the year. All the blooms have come, gone and tunas are developing.

These are tunas. Once they turn dark red, they are ripe and can be eaten. Or turned into wine.

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My store, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower store is here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

Posted in Fiber, Jim's Art, Photography, Quilts

Quilting Consternation

       

I still haven’t figured out how I want to quilt the suicide quilt.

I put together a quilt sandwich and proceeded to audition quilting ideas. 

I had thought quilting lightening would be a good idea…..until I saw what it looked like. 

Next, I thought some of my fancy quilt stitches would be a good idea.

Stitch #79 has possibilities. I like how it looks when the stems of the “T” are squished together. I thought stitch #191 would be a good option until I saw how it looked. The stitches where there is heavy stitching don’t seem to work well. 

I had thought quilting horizontal lines would be an option and I auditioned assorted widths, but I’m not thrilled with how that turned out.

This is a quilt where the applique needs to stand out and the quilting be subtle. So here I sit with still no idea how I want to quilt this piece. 

Photography this week was more successful.

The barrel cacti have started to bloom.

I don’t remember the last time it rained and it’s been even longer since it rained enough to matter. Even the prickly pear cactus, a cactus that is hardy in deserts, is withering. The prickly pear cacti will perk up once it rains. Global warming has caused the desert to be hotter – we have had 100+ temperatures, a few of them record breakers, for the past couple weeks – and drier.

Jim, DH, has been busy making seam ripper/stilettos.

The brown one is mine, and the teal one is for a customer. Jim is working on more seam rippers and when they are ready, they will go in my store, Deb Thuman Art.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here: http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My store, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower shop is here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

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: http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My store, Deb Thuman Art, is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower shop is here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

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: http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My store, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower shop is here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

Posted in Fiber, Photography

Pass the Decongestants, Please

Fires in Arizona, the Gila Wilderness, and abut 100 miles north of where I live are causing Jim and me allergy misery. The fires are too far away to be a danger, but the smoke particles in the air are causing misery. The DEA has made it difficult to buy decongestants, and has forced drug companies to lower the amount of pseudoephedrine in decongestants. Claritin-D used to have 750 mg of pseudoephedrine. Now, it only 240 mg. That means I need to take 3-4 pills to get relief. But one can buy only so much pseudoephedrine at a time, only so much per month, show ID and sign a statement that one is complying with federal law. I wouldn’t bitch about this if the laws had achieved their stated purpose: slow the production of meth. That experiment has been a resounding failure. As a criminal defense attorney, I’ve represented a multitude of drug addicts. I’ve seen no decrease in the number of people using meth since the feds have made purchasing decongestants so difficult. I once asked a client why he was using Sudafed with a mere 50 mg of pseudoephedrine to make meth when he could be using Claritin-D which at that time had 750 mg of pseudoephedrine. The extraction methods are different and it’s too difficult to extract the pseudoephedrine from Claritin-D. 

It was cool this morning, so I opened the sliding glass doors. I wanted fresh air. I got a bushel of allergens. Bleah.

I’m still trying to figure out how I want to quilt the latest suicide quilt. I thought about lightning bolts, but quilting experiments on a quilt sandwich were less than exciting. I tried FMQ with a twin needle. That resulted in a broken needle. So much for that experiment. I know what I want to say with this quilt, but I’m having a hard time speaking in free-motion quilting. I’ll keep experimenting until I find something that looks like I feel.

I’m still photographing whatever is blooming in the yard and still playing with special effects. 

I took this photo because I liked the lights and shadows.

Here’s what you can do with one photo and special effects.

There’s a whole lot to be gotten from one photo if you focus on patterns when shooting.

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My Spoonflower shop is here https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

My store, Deb Thuman Art is herehttp://www.DebThumanArt.com

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 http://DebThumanArt.com

All of the masks are made with fabric I designed and is available in my Spoonflower shop here https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

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 http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com Stop by and see what other artists have been making.

Posted in Fiber, Photography

Macro, Yucca, and Thread

I need fancy threads and I need fancy stitches. I use most of the 300 different stitches my sewing machine will make. My thread collection has at least 200 different threads. Variegated. Single color. Shiny. Matte. Metallic. Thick. Thin. Silk. Cotton. Polyester. Skinny spools. Fat spools. Small cones. Large cones. Really, really, really large cones. Very old thread wound onto wood spools. 

I had a coupon for 25% off from Superior Threads. Superior makes King Tut threads, and those are my favorite. Today, my thread arrived in my post office box. 

I’ve been battling chronic insomnia, and read that going out into the sunshine in the morning can help reset my circadian rhythms. If I’m going to go outside, I might as well be doing something so I take my camera with me. Yesterday, I worked on macro photography. I am getting better with this lens. It’s a prime lens and the last “prime lens” I had was a Kodak Instamatic when I was in high school. All my other lenses are zoom telephoto lenses. With a prime lens, I can’t adjust the lens to accommodate the subject. I have to move the camera farther from the subject. 

My first macro lens was attached to a Minolta SLR which I bought used. I got a decent SLR and the lens I wanted for less than the cost of a new macro lens. I used that lens to photograph antiques when I wrote for Antique Week 25 years ago. I learned to use my lens by photographing marks on the back of china pieces. The mark gives both the manufacturer and the approximate age of the piece of china. I was happily photographing a flat mark on a flat piece of china. That didn’t require a whole lot of thought. 

Now, I’m using my macro lens to photograph flowers and that requires a whole lot of thought. I’m photographing round objects, and a macro lens has a shallow depth of field. Even at f/14 I can’t get the entire flower in sharp focus. It was suggested I use focus stacking to solve that problem. Focus stacking requires a tripod and involves taking several shots of a subject and focusing on a slightly different part of the subject with each shot. My editing program then blends the shots into one sharp photo. I’m not about to take the tripod into the yard, find a relatively cactus free space, and fight with adjacent bushes for space to put the tripod legs while being careful not to step on a rattlesnake and hoping the wind wouldn’t move the subject flower around. 

Instead, I set up the tripod on the patio, put up a neutral background on the table, set out the spools of thread, and started shooting. Because these were just practice shots, I didn’t bother to remove the labels on the spools. When I was editing the photos, I started playing around with the photos. Swirls. Kaleidoscopes. Waves.

I liked what happened. I can’t sell fabric designs if I’ve got a label showing unless I have permission from the thread manufacturer. Tomorrow, I’ll work on focus stacking thread shots after I removed the labels from the spools. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My store, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower shop is here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

Posted in Fiber, Pain, Peripheral neuropathy, Photography

Masks, Quilts, & Photos

I am having a neuropathy flare up. Bleah. The pain goes away when I make art. The pain comes back as soon as I stop making art. 

I’ve been making face masks using up leftover fabric. I make many yards of binding at a time. Each mask takes two ties 34” long. Making binding isn’t my most favorite thing to do, so making miles of binding at one time means I only have to burn my fingers once every couple days. 

These are in my store, Deb Thuman Art http://www.DebThumanArt.com

I’ve been designing fabric which can’t be sold in my Spoonflower shop, https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman  until I have proofs of the designs. What to do with 90 proofs? Make reversible face masks. One down and 14 more to go. As I finish them and photograph them, I’ll be putting them in my store, Deb Thuman Art. This one is in my store now.

Reversible Face Mask

I’m still photographing spring in the desert. 

Yucca
Seed Pods.
Prickly Pear

I’ve been working on the suicide quilt. I’ve gotten the appliqués sewn on. Now, I have to figure out how I want to quilt it. This piece is larger than my usual quilts. Most of the time, I am making art quilts the size of a fat quarter.

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Posted in Fiber, Photography, Quilts

Quilts, Flowers & Choices

I started working on the suicide quilt. Art is a way for me to get the feelings I don’t understand out from inside me. Sometimes, the feelings start to make sense while I’m working on the piece. It has been more than a year since someone I knew committed suicide; I still haven’t worked through all the feelings. 

I inadvertently hung this upside down so I flipped the photo.
My hand reaching for answers.
The hand I can never grasp.

I’ve been documenting spring in the desert as it appears in my yard. Cheap gas, and no place to go. 

Cholla. The spines are vicious. Using pliers is the only way to remove a thorn if you get one stuck in you.
This is a strange prickly pear. The flowers are peach in the morning and evening, and yellow during the rest of the day.
A normal, full-time yellow prickly pear.

Now for a few words about a day I dread each year. I detest mother’s day. I grew up in a house run by a pair of violent drunks who thought they were adults. The most appropriate gift I gave my mother was a Venus flytrap. The most appropriate gift I gave myself was to eliminate that woman from my life. I refuse to lie to myself and celebrate having her for a mother. 

I chose not to have children and I’ve never regretted that choice. It’s not easy to swim upstream. I spent 20 years listening to people demand I have children. I could never bring myself to tell these people something pithy like: I can’t have children. If I did, ignorant people like you wouldn’t be able to make disgusting comments like the one you just made. I did tell one ignorant person that there’s more to life than changing diapers and wiping snotty noses. I did finally tell someone that I have worth and value but I could win the Pulitzer Prize and she still wouldn’t think I was successful merely because I didn’t produce a child. Turning 40 was wonderful because they finally shut up. Mother’s Day accompanied by flowers and syrupy poetry is horrible if you don’t have children whether it is by choice or by uncooperative biology. It’s even worse if you had a horrible mother. Combine the two, and the day is nearly unbearable.

What to do to survive Mother’s Day? I can celebrate having the courage to make an unpopular choice. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My store, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower store is here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Photography

The Composed And The Uncomposed

I am not handling quarantine well. The anxiety is constant and is now starting to feel normal. The insomnia is killing me. I turned in a paper for a class today. In a page and a half, I blatantly told my teacher she was full of shit. It took a page and a half because I wasn’t quite that blunt. I sent another teacher a terse email about a major error intended as propaganda for the coal mine owners that I found in the textbook and backed up what I said with case law.  I’m not eating a healthy diet. I’d get on my elliptical machine, but I don’t have the energy because I’m not sleeping. I’m eating too much because I have no energy and my brain keeps thinking if I eat, I’ll be able to stay awake. Other than that, everything is dandy. 

I’ve been doing photography and working on composition. Some experiments are better than others. 

I may decide to crop this a bit, but I like how the light comes through the flower.
Cohen in a rare moment when she chose to pose.
Tinker guarding the TP – not a great composition.

I’ve been designing fabric, and I sent for the third set of proofs from Spoonflower. When I get the proofs, I’ll be putting new designs into my Spoonflower store, https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman  

I listened to the suggestions and comments made when I asked about fabric combinations for a quilt about suicide. I took one comment and ran with it. Here’s the semi-final, maybe final combination. The splotch print represents the emotional mess left after someone commits suicide. The other print represents how rational, logical and normal it felt when I was deciding how, when and where to kill myself. Except it’s not logical, rational or normal. I’ve got to let that combination sit for a bit to see if I still like it. Then, it’s time to trace the pattern, cut fabric, and figure out how I want to apply the appliques. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My on-line shop, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://DebThumanArt.com

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 http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My online store, Deb Thuman Art, is here http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower shop is here https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

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 https://www.spoonflower.com/collections/379032-playing-around-3-27-20-by-deb_thuman   My Spoonflower store is here https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman 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 http://www.DebThumanArt.com


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

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Posted in Photography

The Process or How To Stay Sane While in Isolation

While we’re waiting for this damned virus to die, I’ve been going out into the yard and photographing spring unfolding in the desert then playing with editing photos of patterns.

I broke down and bought the rest of PhotoScape X. It’s an editing program for both Mac and Windows. There’s a whole lot in the free part of the program and that’s what I’ve been using for a few years. Today, I spent the $40 USD to unlock the entire program. Below is the progression from start to finish.

The original photo. I look for patterns that I can play with. This is a huge agave that grows in my back yard.

Some of the overlays in the program. I look for wild colors and getting as many colors as possible into the photo.

The kaleidoscope function gives me some wild shapes.

I reverted to the photo just before the kaleidoscope, and used twirl. I repeated twirl a few times to move the colors around.

This is what happened when I used Tiny Planet and mirror after a few twirls.

Next, I played with light leaks.

I played with bokeh.

Then, I made a second kaleidoscope.

Eventually, I’ll take these photos, upload them to Spoonflower and make fabric designs. You can see my fabric designs here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

You can see my other art in my store, Deb Thuman Art here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

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 https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

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 http://www.DebThumanArt.com

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com