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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

Posted in Beads, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery

Where Have All The Downtowns Gone?

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

Do I have enough stuff made?

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

Will people like my work?

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

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

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

Will people buy my work?

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

Will people like my pots? 

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

Did it have to be tomorrow?

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography, Pottery

My Brain Has Settled Down, But Not Yet Calmed Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Above is using one strand of worsted weight yarn.

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

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

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

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

Posted in Photography, Pottery, Quilts

Are We Being Taken Seriously?

I got to chatting with an art student yesterday. We were talking about designing a quilt and she told me she couldn’t sew in a straight line. No problem…. work with art quilts. She asked what happens when you sew the pieces together. I explained quilts don’t have to be geometric. I explained that an art quilt was sort of a cross between a painting and a quilt.  I sketched out the Tree of Life Quilt and explained that I used water color pencils and oil paint sticks along with fabric. That’s when she became intrigued.

This reminded me of a conversation Jim and I had with one of his art teachers. This particular teacher taught painting, and I don’t think he put quilts into the category of art. While he liked and accepted Jim’s art, he didn’t seem to think my art was Art.

Why is it that when it comes to Art, fiber and fabric are considered merely utilitarian? Ceramic teachers don’t discourage functional pottery. Design teachers don’t discourage combining functional and beauty. Painting teachers don’t discourage painting merely because it’s not functional.  What is it with fiber and fabric?

Is it because fiber and fabric have traditionally been limited to women? Think back about 15 years when male quilters were an anomaly. In some quilting circles, they are still an anomaly. A friend’s husband was ridiculed for taking a quilting class. The ridicule came from some of the women in the class. Now think back about 40 years when female and artist were words rarely used together. Women artists weren’t taken seriously. I suspect vestiges of that remain. The art classes I’ve been in have all had more female students than male students. Will Art become art if Art is practiced by women? Sexism is far from dead.

Maybe what we need is another Art Deco movement where we concentrate on combining beauty with function.

I’ve been playing with photography again. Here’s the original shot.

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The sun was getting low and the light was getting weird. Perfect time to take photos.

Here’s how I played with the shot.

And my favorite result:

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I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by her blog and see what a number of artists have been doing.

Posted in Pottery

Preliminary Underglaze Experiment Results

After discovering that the unidentified clay was definitely not cone 6, I decreed that all pieces made of unidentified clay would be deemed low fire. I decided to use the pinch pots as experiments.

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I used two different brands of underglaze. There are some pots that appear to have a shiny glaze on them. They do. Those underglazes do turn into a regular glaze when bisque fired.

The other glazes require a coat of clear glaze and then a glaze firing.

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I particularly like this pot. The outside has an underglaze that is glossy after  being bisque fired. The inside is one of the Designer Velvet underglazes.

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I’m pleased, so far, with the pointillist pots. I’ve got five mugs slowly drying beneath two lays of plastic. When the mugs are dry, I’ll be doing some pointillist experiments. I want to see what happens when I let the colors progress from light to dark or from dark to light. Because these pots will be fired to cone 6 (mid-fire range), some of the underglaze colors will change.

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This one almost worked out the way I wanted. I used several layers of assorted blues for the sky and several layers of assorted…. blues? greens? both? for the ground. I think took a very wet brush and painted water over the underglaze. I was hoping for a blend of colors to give the piece depth. I suspect some of the colors will change when I glaze fire this piece.

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This pot is going to be a surprise. It will be coated with clear glaze and fired to about cone 05 – low-fire range. The discoloration of the clay comes from that part of the pot being in the flame path. I’m curious about whether the discoloration will disappear or become more prominent when the piece is glaze fired.

I’m having fun working with this particular shape and want to play more with it. The not yet dry mugs are made in this shape.

All of my work is coil built. I do know how to throw, but I don’t enjoy doing it. That’s why I stick with hand built. There’s something zen like and meditative about hand building that doesn’t happen for me when I use a potter’s wheel.