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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted in Emotions, Photography, Pottery, PTSD

Pottery & Pondering

On Sunday, I re-fired the pieces that didn’t fire well the first time and fired freshly glazed pieces. I’m almost satisfied with the plates.

Plate 8 9-9-17Plate 7 9-9-17Plate 6 9-9-17Plate 5 9-9-17Plate 4 9-9-17Plate 3 9-9-17Plate 2 9-9-17Plate 1 9-9-17

I like what happened with the glaze experiments on the rattling rocks.

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I gotta stop making boob soap dishes.

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Jim did a bit of glaze experimenting and I’ve no idea what he did.

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I decided to sew up a pair of shorts I had cut out a few weeks ago. When I went to attach the waist band, I realized I had neglected to cut a piece out. So I cut another piece. Still not enough waistband. I’ll give it another try later.

I’ve been working on an exercise that is supposed to allow for emotional and physical healing. I write about the crap that happened when I was a kid and the crap that happened when I was working for the Public Defender Department. This is triggering flashbacks and leaving me wanting to curl up into a ball and never again emerge. The theory behind this exercise is that I’ve buried the feelings, the feelings need to emerge, and then I can move on. I’m reading Childhood Disrupted –  I got the title wrong last week – and that’s from where the exercise comes. Sometimes, when I look back on all the years I’ve struggled with this crap, all the wasted time in my life infuriates me. What could I have become if I had decent parents?

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.

You can find my web page, Deb Thuman Art, here.

Posted in Fiber, Photography, Pottery, PTSD

Fiber, Clay and Ruminations

I’ve been working on different things this week. I am reading “Childhood Interrupted.” It’s about adverse childhood experiences, how they alter one’s brain and express themselves years later in physical ailments, and how to heal. I grew up in an insane asylum run by a violent narcissist and a violent drunk. As you might imagine, I had a lovely childhood. I wonder if the peripheral neuropathy and the hypothyroid are yet another gift from my mother and her husband. I’m slowly working my way through the section on healing. One exercise is to write about the adverse experiences. I’m doing that. No one is ever going to see these writings. The process is causing flashbacks.My psychologist told me that the nightmares and flashbacks are finite and would eventually stop. I haven’t had a nightmare in several years, but the flashbacks still happen. It’s been 45 years since I lived with the narcissist and the drunk. How long does it take for the flashbacks to stop?

Most kids only have one or two crappy parents. I get to have three. My father, near as I can tell is still alive. Near as I can tell, he still lives in Houston. I saw him once in 1988. Then he walked out on me a second time. For most kids, the absent parent only walks out once. My father walked out twice. How did I ever manage to be so lucky? I’ve been watching the news to learn the names of those who died in the storm. So far, my father’s name hasn’t been listed. I’m amazed that I’m having difficulty dealing with the uncertainty and the notion of his death. He doesn’t mean much to me alive, but I’m still bothered by the though of him dead. I wonder how long it takes to get over an absent parent who walks out twice. I’m angry because he’s a selfish prick who thinks of himself and refused to even remotely think about me. Hey! I’m your kid, you asshole! When I did see him, I asked him why he left. He had no answer to give me. I was looking for a rational reason. No. It’s not rational. It’s just selfish and self-centered. Yes, evil people become parents. It happens all the time. There will never be a rational explanation.

A few years back, I started working on Bedside Boxes, ceramic boxes designed to hold things you don’t want to leave out in the open but don’t want to have to hunt for when you want to use them. I still like the idea, but it’s expensive to ship ceramics. I have been making Toy Bags. This is storage for toys you don’t want the kids to find but don’t want to have to hunt for when you want to play with them. There’s a place for the toy as well as a place for the charging cable

On my first attempt, I used something akin to Peltex for interfacing. That was way too stiff. My latest attempt utilized quilt batting. That worked out much better. I was going to have the side seams on the inside of the bag, but that would have made the flap look odd. Instead, I used fancy thread, fancy stitches and sewed the side seams on the right side. I put a row of hearts along the flap. How to close this? A button and button hole would work, but would that leave enough space for the toy? I decided on a button and a ribbon. The ribbon wraps around the button to hold the flap closed. This allows the Toy Bag to expand a bit to accommodate a toy. The bag is about 12″ wide and about 4″ tall.

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Once I figure out a price and take better photos, I’ll be listing this in my store here.

I did a glaze firing on Friday and managed to misread the cones. I am now doing a glaze firing with some of the under cooked pieces from Friday and some pieces I had glazed that didn’t go in the Friday load. I won’t know what this load looks like until Monday evening. Here are a few of the pieces that weren’t absurdly undercooked. I sort of like them.

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I took some desert plates and used them as a slump mold. I took some of the crocheted pieces I did over the winter and used them for texture. I’m not all that happy with the glazing.Lavender Plate 9-3-17This one is an experiment. I used a cobalt wash under a lavender celadon. I’m sort of happy with the cobalt wash, but I’m not happy with the glazing. I wonder if I  got so many streaks because the load was under cooked. I’m using ^6 clay and glazes and when I looked at the cone packs, only ^5 was moving but not down yet. Soap Dish 2 9-3-17Soap Dish 1 9-3-17

I’ve been working on soap dishes and experimenting with the animal cutters I got a couple months back. I also used crocheted pieces and texture tools Jim had made me. Yes, I do realize the purple one looks like breasts. If I use that tool again on a soap dish, I’ll have to make three impressions. Rattling Rocks 9-3-17

Rattling rocks. They are hollow and when you shake them, they make a rattling sound. I use them for glaze experiments.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what other artists have been doing this week. You can find my web store at http://www.DebThumanArt.com, or click here.

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Posted in Bigotry, Photography

Speaking of Many Things

If you’ve flown over the Gulf of Mexico along the US coast between Florida and Texas and looked down, you saw thousands of off shore oil rigs. Let’s think about this for a minute. Hurricanes are fairly common in this area. Remember the BP disaster? The oil well that wasn’t supposed to barf oil into the ocean for days? The oil well that had safety measures and took a few days to cap off because the normal ways to cap off the well didn’t work? Remember that? Multiply that by a few thousand and add a Category 4 hurricane. Suddenly the Exxon Valdez starts to look like the queen of environmental safety.

Why isn’t the military helping to evacuate people along the Texas coast? We’re paying soldiers whether they work, rescue, or sit in a chair. And we don’t have to pay them overtime. We paid for all sorts of fancy cargo planes. Wouldn’t these cargo planes have been a good way to evacuate hospitals and prisons? What, you think prisoners can just leave and go for shelter in a safe place? Don’t be silly. We are judged by the way we treat the least respected among us. If we treat prisoners inhumanely, we’re barbarians.

A hurricane shelter in I forget what city in Texas is supposed to be hurricane proof. So was the levee around New Orleans. Until it broke in more than 50 places.

A friend works disaster areas doing body retrieval and identification after the disaster has passed. She said many people in New Orleans who died were found in attics. They kept going up higher, and then were trapped in the attic where they drown.

Residents of one Texas city were asked to write their names and social security numbers on their arms. That’s actually incredibly good advice. It’s tough to identify a body that’s been submerged, then baked in the sun until found a week later. Writing your name and social security number, using a waterproof marker, makes it much easier to identify your body. A tattoo is even better.

The sex-offender-in-chief pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff in Arizona. I didn’t think the sex-offender-in-chief could do worse than his disgusting remarks about the violence in Virginia caused by white supremacists, KKK, and Neo-Nazis. I was wrong.

I wanted photos of the eclipse, but didn’t want to spend $80 for a special filter. Looking at the sun damages your eyes and your camera pointed at the sun damages the sensor. One woman on the Digital Photography School Facebook page paid $177 for a top-of-the-line filter and still damaged the sensor in her Nikon.

I like Jimmy Breslin’s theory of journalism – look at where all the reporters are, and go in the other direction looking for a story. Everyone has shots of the eclipse. I have something different. I wanted to test out my new graduated neutral density filter. I set the Canon up on a tripod, focused on the mountains behind my house, adjusted the filter, and took photos about every 10 minutes from an hour before total eclipse to an hour after. Where I am, the eclipse was maybe ¾ rather than total. I had forgotten how unnatural the world looks when the moon passes in front of the sun. The shadows in the photos appear odd.

Beginning of eclipse 8-21-17

The beginning of the eclipse. Darkest of Eclipse 8-21-17

The darkest it got. Roosters crowed. Shadows looked weird. The darkness looked unnatural.

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One hour after the peak of the eclipse.

While I had set the ISO at 100 and the aperture at f/11, I neglected to set the shutter speed. Because the camera automatically used a shutter speed that compensated for the darkness, my photos aren’t dramatic. They are different from the other eclipse photos, though.

The Digital Photography Photo Event organized for today is to take a photo of your street and post it on the page. It’s hard to have a glorious street shot when you live on a boring street and need to keep every identifying feature out of the photo. Several years back, someone tried to burn my house down. I’ve been stalked. You want an exciting life? Be a criminal defense attorney. I took some shots this morning, but I’m not sure if I’m happy with them. They’re all right, but they aren’t magnificent.

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My Street 5 8-26-17

My Street 3 8-26-17

Flower 2 8-26-17

My Street 8-26-17

I did not hold the camera crooked. Look at the bottom of the sign post. The sign post was hammered into the ground at an angle.

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The original photograph. Rocks can be fun to play with in editing.

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The same photo played with in editing.

I’m having a problem getting motivated to work in clay. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe I shouldn’t be worried about it. Maybe I should bury myself in the media that hold my attention now. Beads. Sewing. Writing. Photography.

Tuesday was my birthday. To celebrate, I bought sliced roast beef, horseradish, made kummelweck rolls and had beef on weck. It’s a Buffalo, NY delicacy and I miss it. The horseradish was fairly decent but not the pungent, clear out your head horseradish I’m used to. It was old fart day at the grocery store, and I told the clerk I am an old fart. She asked for photo ID. I told her it was my 65th birthday and asked if she wanted to see my Medicare card. She declined. Who lies about being older than 60?

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

Looking for a gift? Check out my store here.

Posted in Beads, Bigotry, Clay, Fiber, Photography

I Think I Found A Good Antidepressant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red BOP 8 8-16-17

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

R BOP buds 1 8-17-17

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R BOP 2 8-17-17

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

Color corrected house color 8-17-17

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

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

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

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

Posted in Bigotry, bipolar disorder, Photography

Skinheads, Photographers & Bipolar Disorder

Jim and I went hiking on Friday. He was on vacation last week and he used his time off to paint the house. The leaks around the windows were caused by the paint failing and water seeping into the stucco. So, the house is getting painted. The white is now a soft green. The trim is going to be peach. The front door, which faces south, will be red-violet. The garage doors which face east will be blue-violet. Any paint with red in it will fade in direct sun. I’m hoping that the blue in the blue-violet will outweigh the red and the doors will stay purple longer. The garage doors get hit for a half a day all year. The front door is under a roof and never gets direct sun.

Back to hiking. We went up on the Organ Mountains. The last time I set up at the Farmers Market, a lady asked if I had any photos of the Organ Mountains. Um, no. I needed to remedy that. The traditional, and over done, view of the Organ Mountains is the view one sees from downtown Las Cruces. The mountains were named Organ because they look like organ pipes lined up. We were on a different side of the mountains and I got photos of a part of the mountain most people don’t see.

Dripping Springs 18 8-11-17 use this one

Dripping Springs 17 8-11-17 use this one

I tried getting a decent shot of a few hummingbirds, but I wasn’t successful. I have a collection of Where’s Waldo shots.

Dripping Springs 20 8-11-17

Dripping Springs 19 8-11-17

I had the 18-55mm lens on the Canon and I really needed the 75-300mm which was home. I can’t do decent close shots with the 75-300mm and I can’t shoot birds with the 10-55mm. I don’t take both lenses because I don’t want to change lenses when I’m outside. This is a desert even though everything looks green. Dust, sand, pollen, and any other crud that’s blowing around damages the sensor.

This morning, I got into a posting match with someone on Facebook. The thread was about people who just have to come up to you when you’re shooting and start talking to you. Personally, I dislike that. Actually, I detest it. Art is a way for me to return to center when I’m either depressed or manic, a way for me to heal emotionally, and a way for me to heal physically. When people come up to me and start asking questions, I want to ask them if they would appreciate it if I came up to them when they were working and demanded they stop what they are doing and talk to me. Whereupon a troll emerged. I’ll skip the truly nasty stuff although it was amusing when he told me to stop responding to him. I tried hard to point out that if I could control my moods, I wouldn’t be on psych meds. I kept telling myself to stop responding to this person because I’m never going to convince a troll of anything. Part of my brain wanted to keep posting because I had an opportunity to tell people who don’t know much about bipolar disorder what kind of struggle it is at times to get back to center.

Why not just tell people I don’t care to talk to them right then because I’m working? Because it’s not that simple. “Leave me alone. I feel like jumping off a cliff,” is not something I’m ever going to say although it is something I do feel on occasion. Such a comment would precipitate a call to 911 and the situation would deteriorate. If I think you’re trying to take me to a hospital, I’m going to try to kill you. That’s not an overstatement. Have you ever been in a locked ward? You lose all control. Someone else decides what meds you will take, and you will take those meds or you aren’t getting out of the hospital. Telling the glorious doctor the meds aren’t working doesn’t work. I’m the crazy person so what do I know about what I need? Under no circumstances will I let you take me to a hospital.

The manic version would be worse. “Look you fucking idiot, I’m working so leave me the fuck alone.” That’s particularly pithy if the person at whom I’m snarling is accompanied by a three-year-old.

I wouldn’t bother any photographer. The one time the situation came up, we were in the Everglades at the edge of a pond looking at water birds. I asked the photographer – who got there first – if I would be in his way if I stood where I was standing. He said no. That was the entire conversation. I don’t know why he was there and it’s none of my business. All I know is his equipment cost more than mine and that he knew the Latin name for the ducks we were looking at. I made a comment to Jim about the coloring of the ducks – it really was spectacular coloring. That’s when the photographer told me what kind of ducks they were.

So, if you see me and the Canon trekking about, wait until I’m done shooting to talk to me. We’ll both be a whole lot happier.

I’m deeply disturbed and frightened by the national news. Skinheads marching because a statue of Robert E. Lee was to be taken down. Counter demonstrators. Things got ugly, the police intervened and the governor called out the National Guard. Later, a bigot drove a car into a group of counter demonstrators killing at least one and injuring at least 19 others. There’s a photo in the New York Times of the car plowing through the crowd. The photographer was behind the vehicle and there’s a nice shot of the license plate. There’s also a shot, not so nice but very well done, of a black man flying off the back of the car after the car had run into him. A white man is upside down in mid air after he had been struck. The photo and article are here.

These are equal opportunity skinheads. They don’t just hate blacks, they hate Jews as well and probably a slew of other groups of people. That’s scary. That’s infuriating. That’s wrong.

Being upset, angry, and scared, I turned to art. I started making beaded Stars of David. Once I get the technique worked out, I’ll be putting Star of David jewelry in my store,  DebThumanArt.com.

Star of David 2 8-1-17Star of David 1 8-13-17

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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And we made it to the end of the trail.

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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.

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Nasturtium 8-4-17

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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 Clay, Cognitive problems, Fiber, Photography, Pottery

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

 

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

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

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

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

Thread 1 7-11-17

Then I tried no artificial light. Much better.

Rows 3 7-12-17

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

Sharpie 1 7-11-17Sharpie 1 7-12-17

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

Bullies 1 7-12-17Bullies 4 7-12-17Bullies 2 7-12-17Bullies 3 7-12-17

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

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

Dining Alone 7-13-17Breakfast with friends 7-13-17Critters 3 7-12-17Critters 1 cropped 7-12-17

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

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

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

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

Jim's PJs 7-14-17Fly Detail

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m pretty sure it’s Friday

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

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

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

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

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

Jim's shirt 7-7-17

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

Deb's Blouse 7-7-17

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

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

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

Bird nest 7-5-17

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

Moon 7-5-17

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

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

Posted in Beads, Photography

Ups. Downs. Sideways.

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

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

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

Glass Cube bracelet

Glass and aluminum beads.

Copper & Glass bead bracelet

Glass and copper beads.

Amathyst & Rhodochrosite bracelet

Amethyst and rhodochrosite.

Pyramid bracelet

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

Triangle Bead Bracelet

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

I bought more glass beads.

Black Bead earrings

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

Wild Heart EarringsTriangle Earrings

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

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

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

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

Evening 6-25-17

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

Sunset reflections 6:17

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

Northern sunset 6-19-17

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

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

Posted in 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 bipolar disorder, Photography

Bipolar Disorder Adds Something to Life

I have two undergraduate degrees, one in biology and one in journalism. I have a law degree. I passed two bar exams. Because I take a class at New Mexico State University each semester since Spring 2000, I have now spent more of my life in school that out. I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent woman.

A couple weeks ago, I set up my booth at the local Farmers & Craft Market. Yes, it’s a whole lot of work. No, I can’t do it by myself. I need Jim to help me because the EZ Up is only easy to get up if there are two people setting it up. I’m too short to get the legs fully extended. Jim does not like helping me with this. That’s because his experience trying to sell art at the Farmers & Craft Market wasn’t pleasant.  His suggestion was that I set up a website and sell from an online store. I’ve got an etsy store, but I can’t seem to figure out how to get people to visit it.

I searched on line. I read reviews. I asked on Facebook, the Digital Photography School Facebook page, the Mildly Offensive Fiber Artists Facebook page and the Clay Buddies Facebook page about websites. Two came up most often: Squarespace and Wix. Both are touted to be DIY website building sites.

After more than an hour trying to figure out Squarespace and discovering that while I can set up an online store, I cannot connect it to my paypal account, I gave up. Plus, building the site is extremely difficult. I ended up crying. Somewhere on Squarespace I’ve got two sites. If I could figure out how, I’d delete them.

It took longer than that to set up a site on Wix. And I can’t change fonts, can’t add a logo unless I want to remove my name, and I’m stuck with some of their photos. I could, and did, connect it to my paypal account. It’s been more than two hours since I went live with the site, but I’m still upset, shaking, and it’s probably not a  good idea to try talking to me. If you would like to see my website, you can here.

I had gotten some good offers from Shutterfly for photo prints. With shipping, even the free offers cost more than going to Walgreens. Plus, there’s a long wait to get my prints. One set of prints is stuck in El Paso. It has been there since June 3, 2017. I’ve sent an email to Shutterfly and might get an answer in a few days. I cannot call anyone at Shutterfly. Customer service via phone and I don’t get along. More than once, I’ve ended up screaming at the person who was supposed to help me. I think I permanently traumatized an obnoxious person at Express Scripts and a guy in Russia.  When I use Walgreens, I go online, upload photos, click on the size and number of prints for each photo, hit send and my photos will be ready to pick up in a couple hours. No lost prints. No waiting for more than a week for my prints that don’t get lost. No screaming. Other than paying the clerk, I don’t have to talk to anyone.

Earlier this week, I spent several hours getting set up with Skype. I downloaded what the website said to download. Except that was the wrong download. How was I supposed to know that? It said download for Mac and I have a Macbook Pro. Fortunately, Skype has customer service on chat so I didn’t have to talk to anyone. By that time, I was too frustrated to try talking to anyone. I need Skype only because the Volunteer Lawyers Program offers free continuing legal education seminars to lawyers who accept a minimum of one case per year. I wanted to attend a seminar, but I didn’t want to drive to Albuquerque which would require about $60 worth of gas and a stay in a hotel plus meals. For me, the only thing Skype is good for is attending a seminar. Otherwise, I’d blast the sucker off my hard drive.

Bipolar disorder makes handling frustration extremely hard. Whatever frustration you experience using customer service via telephone, magnify that by a factor of at least 5 and you get an idea of what I experience. Toss in off-shore customer service and trying to talk to someone who almost speaks English, and the experience is unbearable.

I look back, and wonder how I managed life before having an accurate diagnosis. It took 35 years for the bipolar disorder to be diagnosed and  two psychiatrists missed the diagnosis. No, I don’t know how that happened. Bipolar disorder isn’t something that can be hidden. I have a friend who is bipolar and who swears by his psychiatrist. I swear at psychiatrists. The only thing the two I saw were any good at was pushing drugs.

Art is one of the ways I can get myself back to center when I’m either dancing on the manic end or the depressed end of the seesaw. Photography is an almost instant gratification form of art. Maybe it’s instant gratification because I love all the parts of the process. I love looking for something to photograph. I love looking for the best shot. I love composing the shot. I dearly love editing and playing with the shot.

Sunset 1 6-6-17

This is the sunset as it appeared in real life.

Sunset 1 6-6-17 edge light leak grunge

This is the sunset after I got done playing with it.

Cactus seed pod 2 6-9-17

The common name for this cactus is claret cup because of the claret colored blossoms. This is what the seed pod looks like.

Cactus flower 6-8-17

This is a cactus that only blooms in direct sun which makes photographing it difficult. The light is harsh, it’s hard to show depth, and I have to be extremely careful about my shadow. The cactus are about 4″ tall, but you can’t tell that from the photo.

Cactus blossom 6-9-17

This is what the cactus looked like this morning.

Agave 5 6-9-17 color adj glass blocksAgave 4 6-9-17 edge grunge x2

Both of the above are shots of the agave in front of the house. I had fun playing with them.

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

 

Posted in Photography

45 And Counting

Tomorrow, we celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary. I feel like I’ve been married forever and that I got married just last month. To celebrate, Jim is buying me a new vacuum cleaner. No, he’s not insensitive; I wanted a new Dyson, so we’re getting one.

I’m still working on the Disappearing Downtown project. I spent one morning this week in Old Mesilla taking shots of the plaza. Because of the Spanish influence, we have plazas here rather than a downtown district. The plaza is like the town squares found in other parts of the US. I got up early so I could take advantage of the light. The good news: There was no one around so I could take my time composing shots and stand wherever I wanted. The bad news: There was no one around so the plaza looks lifeless.

Mesilla 64 5-30-17

Mesilla 9 5-30-17

Mesilla 6 5-30-17

Mesilla 98 5-30-17 neg grunge

Mesilla 99 5-30-17 grunge

Mesilla 1 5-30-17

Mesilla 65 5-30-17

There’s a Nambe shop on the plaza, and some wonderful pieces are in the display window. I wanted to play with reflections so I concentrated on shooting a large bowl that was on display. If you look closely, you can see me reflected in the bowl.

Mesilla 86 5-30-17 vintage 2

Mesilla 85 5-30-17 edge 2 vintage grunge

Later in the week, I tried taking photos inside the local shopping mall. That worked well until a security guard came running up to tell me I couldn’t take photos and that some of the merchants complained that there was “some woman taking photos.” Yes, the mall can forbid photography. Although it’s a public space, the courts see malls as private property and the mall owners can limit access and activities.

Mall 22 5-31-17 edge 2 vintage 2

 

Mall 20 5-31-17 edge grunge, glass blocks x2

 

Mall 17 5-31-17 crop for eyes

 

Mall 14 5-31-17

Mall 11 5-31-17

I had set my white balance to fluorescent and neglected to set it back to daylight. And so my first set of storm shots came out weird.

Rain 3 6-1-17

Rain 6 6-1-17

The top photo is set for fluorescent lighting, the bottom is what I actually saw.

Rain 9 6-1-17

Rain play 4 6-1-17 vintage grunge cinema x2

Playing in the rain.

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

Posted in Beads, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery

Where Have All The Downtowns Gone?

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

Do I have enough stuff made?

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

Will people like my work?

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

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

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

Will people buy my work?

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

Will people like my pots? 

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

Did it have to be tomorrow?

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

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

Downtown 2 5-17-17

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

Downtown 1 5-17-17

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

Downtown 3 5-17-17

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

Downtown 6 5-17-17

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

Downtown 5 5-17-17

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

Downtown 14 5-17-17

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

Downtown 16 5-17-17

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

Downtown 18 5-17-17

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

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

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

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

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