Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tales; introducing Ivy

I'd like you to meet Ivy:

Ivy (monkey)

A bit reckless, Ivy likes to flirt with danger. She is a competitive rock climber and loves the thrill of an authentic challenge. Unconventional(she gets that from her dad), dramatic, intense, she hates to be ignored. Ivy is a high achiever who is obsessed with efficiency and prioritizes well. She is attracted to art, ritual, and scandal. She only wears clothes made of cashmere or organic cotton. Like any monkey, she gets into mischief and loves to break rules. Highly intuitive, she resonates with the feelings of other people and makes the perfect confidant. With her ability to energize people, she is the one to rally the group. And I won't describe how very very cute* she is, you can see that for yourself...

*she gets that from her mom

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tales; Gwendolyn Fig comes home

Gwendolyn Fig is home from college in Massachusetts for winter break.
Little is so happy! She has missed her every day.

(p.s. I told you the Tales characters were trying to take over the blog, I'm trying to reign them in but they are clamoring!)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tales; Jam is cold

gets cold and burns everything he can lay his hands on. In his fervor, he accidentally burned a present Lucy gave to Bear. He feels terrible about it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tales; Lucy is baking cookies

Lucy is baking cookies and making candy.
Spritz, rugelach, pecan fingers, fudge, and toffee!
Eek! It's Christmas Eve! We're snowed in!

Monday, December 22, 2008

the best things about winter are

Baking cookies and grandma's linens
Goofy dog getting goofier.
Untidy areas looking neat.Pretending to be snowed in.
But I don't like actually being snowed in.

And I don't like my outdoor bed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter

Season's greetings (for whatever you celebrate this time of year) from Yeti, Lucy, Arturo, and Little.
We like Solstice best because it means that the days will getting longer from now on.
Yay, sun!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tales; this week

Yeti builds a table. It is a profound table.
Yes, tables can be profound.
Bear goes shopping. The big one is for Lucy!
Okay, no its not.
Little really gets into wrapping presents, she's the family expert.
She loves to buy presents and is better at it than anyone else.
Boise breaks his elbow skateboarding. He refuses to see a doctor. He won't take anything fo the pain. Yet he expects to be able to play drums with his band on New Year's Eve. Hmmm...
Arturo got straight A's for the first term of his senior year in college. He took really hard classes, too. He been on the Dean's List every term so far. Yay, Arturo!
Lucy is careless while stacking firewood and the entire row collapses on her. Yeti and Arturo rush to help her with damp cloths for the blood and ice packs for the lumps. Lucy is stoic, but when they leave her alone she cries and cries.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Open Studio

I made new signs (finally).
That's Lucy pointing the way (above) with Arturo and Little (below)

We set up the dinnerware on the new table in the house.
It was a glorious sunny day on the first Saturday.
I made apple cake, pumpkin spice bread, and spinach feta bread.
We had hot spiced cider and cranberry sangria to drink.
We always have pots set up in the studio.
I like to put out a selection of work on sale too.
A table full of plates (below)
A row of bowls.
We love seeing our friends and meeting new people at our open studios. We never get huge crowds, so there is always time to hang out, snack, and chat with our guests. It's pretty cozy.
I was sure that predictions of snow on the second Saturday would keep anyone from driving out (we are in the hills), but it was just a tad slushy and drippy so most folks came out anyway.
I send out a black and white postcard to announce the show, but I just realized that email invitations can be a lot prettier. I want to build up my email list so I can use both methods; leave me a comment or email if you would like to be on my list.
*I don't send out more that one to three invitations a year and I promise not to share your info

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

art from our trees

A well stacked woodpile is definitely art for daily life; just look at how gorgeous this is! It makes me feel secure to have the shed filled with wood for the winter. I love to stack wood.
Our usual assortment of tables collected together to seat a crowd at Thanksgiving takes up most of the circulation in the room. Mr. Cranky came up with a fabulous solution by cutting posts from a big log that has been sitting around for years and pulling two 12" x 4" x 14' wood planks from the wood stack. He used the stumps as a base and set the planks on top, they are so heavy and thick that it is perfectly stable with no nails at all. We left a gap between the planks which turned out to be a perfect place to drop in a 2" x 6" to form a sunken trough. On Thanksgiving I lined it with about thirty votive candles; it was really pretty.
We sawed the planks (years ago) from trees we cleared from our house site. Much of the wood was used in building the house, but we have a few beauties left in storage. It has been sanded and the edges chamfered, but it is a little dry. We might seal it (or oil it?) with something to make it softer.
I think we should each sit on opposite ends for dinner and feel fancy.
Those hanging leaves are more art from our trees. Sadly, I had to collect them all by myself for the first time this year because my kids were too busy to come with me (sniff...)

We are having an open studio* on the next two Saturdays and I am excited to put the pots out on this table.

*leave me a comment (or email me) with your address and I'll send you an invite, everyone's welcome to come.

Monday, November 24, 2008

JSC Boggs

JSC Boggs is my kind of performance artist. He creates elaborate, creative illustrations of money and then 'spends' them. He challenged himself to survive for an entire year exclusively by trading his art for what he needed.

Here are his rules:
*don't sell the drawings, exchange them at face value for goods and services (a $10 drawing~face value~ for $10 worth of goods)
*during the transaction, don't reveal that there are collectors all over the world trying to track down the 'Boggs Notes' who are willing to pay many, many times the face value on the piece
*wait at least 24 hours before selling the receipt and change from the transaction to a collector
*don't give the collector any extra information; they have to track down the piece on their own and negotiate a purchase

He was once arrested for counterfeiting in England and later, in Australia. As he sat at the table during his trial in England, he spent his time drawing English Banknotes. (Hahahaha, perfect!)
I first heard about Boggs in the New Yorker (3/1992) in an article (*this link might not work, the New Yorker archives are accessible to subscribers only) by Elizabeth Wurtzer. Read it, it's remarkable.

The US Secret Service once raided an exhibit and his home and confiscated most of his artwork. He was never charged with counterfeiting in the US, yet his work has not been returned.* Yeah, that's Boggs in the middle
He draws francs when in France, dollars in the US, yen in Japan. I suppose he has mastered the Euro by now too.

Isn't it just *amazing how people use their talents?
*this applies to both artists and government officials; right....amazing

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tales; Ruby, Jam, Gwendolyn Fig, Woodrow, and Robberbear

The characters in Tales are becoming rather aggressive. They want to take over my blog. I told them they could have every third post, but they want in all the time. And they are multiplying! There are fourteen of them now; and more are struggling to get out. It might get out of control soon, but I am resisting their importuning. They are so insistent; it is not easy. Anyway here are a few more graffiti additions from scraps of sketches unearthed from the bottom of my bag...

Ruby (dachshund)

Ruby is a daydreamer, rather quiet and shy. Although she nurses a silent wound that you will never find out about, she is in no way a tragic figure. Tango is her passion, she goes out dancing five nights a week. She is currently unemployed, but aspires to be a vegan chef. She knows how to yodel and loves Woody Allen films. She keeps a pet parakeet that she spends hours each day training to talk and perform tricks. Her roommate surreptitiously teaches it swear words, which thoroughly confuses Ruby. A willowy beauty, she has the sweetest, most generous and selfless nature of anyone you will ever meet.

Robberbear (tiny bear)

Abandoned by her dysfunctional family at a very young age, Robberbear's growth was severely stunted by a chronic lack of food. Consequently, she is quite petite for a bear (and disarmingly cute) but I would suggest that you avoid eye contact. She never sleeps because an inky bitterness seeps into her brain when she lets her guard down. Sometimes she does drift off and while sleepwalking, commits heinous acts of violence. During her waking hours she has a most pleasant demeanor and poses no threat whatsoever. The trick is to know the difference because she sleeps with her eyes open. It is best to beat a hasty retreat if you encounter her.

Jam (toast)

Jam drinks red wine (lots) and smokes Lucky Strikes (and lots) and is chronically late. A master of ikebana, he teaches at the Chinese garden. He is addicted to Moon Cakes and after classes he swipes them from the Tea House. He is generous to a fault (he won't ever let you pay him back) and has the most endearing grin on the planet. Suspicious of modern technology, he listens to music by playing records on a turntable, writes all correspondence longhand, and uses a medium format film camera for his photography. He needs glasses but refuses to wear them and thus is constantly bumping into things. Which explains all the bruises. Well, that and the drinking...

Gwendolyn Fig (white cat)

Gwendolyn Fig aspires to a career in writing and is a stickler for good grammar. She cannot abide the improper use of quotation marks or the way most people use the word 'hopefully'. Her favorite snack is a soy nut butter sandwich smeared with a mash of condiments that she mixes on a plate with a fork. She has a ferocious cowlick and, unlike most cats, rarely bathes. Academically competitive and extremely bright, she has always been at the top of her class. She spends her free time making clothes for her paper doll collection while listening to terrible rap music (the Ying Yang Twins!). You will find her in the forefront of humanitarian causes, where she serves selflessly and energetically. Her patience is legendary and beauty unsurpassed.

Woodrow (owl)

Woodrow is very observant, noticing the most subtle interactions between people. He will act with a gentle kindness to assuage hurts he perceives, even if he had nothing to do with it.
An avid hiker, he is passionate about fungi of all kinds, especially Oregon white truffles. He collects plants and has an uncanny knack for finding new species. Bright, but unschooled, he exchanges cuttings with botanists all over the world. He is a huge fan of Star Trek and, anticipating fulfilling a life long dream of attending a Trekkie convention, he practices Klingon and the Vulcan salute day and night. He regularly loses his voice for up to a week from singing screamo music with his band, the Blackfoot Attack. Somewhat lax about nutrition, he has a tendency to tremble constantly.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart

Cold flower heads are raining over my heart. ~Neruda
Well, not really on my heart, at least not this minute. But I have started a series of platters with phrases, poems, and snippets of evocative prose that I am pretty excited about.
The opposite of a profound truth is also a profound truth. ~Niels Bohr
Let the beauty you love be what you do. ~Rumi

My inital plan was that these plates would be chargers, looking very cool and interesting on the table before the dinner plates were set. I started out simply writing freehand, in the border, nice and loose. It doesn't always come out symmetrically balanced, so I ad-lib the rest with leaves or scrolls. I like the rustic vernaculalr feel of this.
But now I am thinking they might be used more often singly, as platters, that might hang on the wall when not in use. And that makes me think I should be more intentional with my lettering and spacing. So, stay tuned for the next interation.
Don't let your mind go outside your heart. ~Papaji
A life without passion is no life at all. ~Madgesdig

I keep a notebook going to record things I come across in my reading that might work on a platter. I also put single words that I like on the back of my dinner plates as a little gift to the dishwasher(that's the only person that would normally see them). But I think most people use a mechanical dishwasher. Which is fine, it does use less water than the way most people wash dishes by hand. But I think you lose part of the experience of having handmade pieces if you don't take every opportunity to actually handle them
Thich Nhat Hanh is eloquent in describing washing dishes:
"There are two ways to wash the dishes. One is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash dishes in order to wash the dishes. If while washing the dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not 'washing the dishes to wash the dishes'. What's more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact, we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either...we are sucked away into the future and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life." ~The Miracle of Mindfulness

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tales, half of them don't feel well

Ranger is 3rd out of 940,769 tetris players worldwide. He should probably get out a bit more.
Lucy has the sniffles. She allows herself to watch tv during the day.
It actually makes her feel worse.

Arturo finally gets a haircut. It makes him quite happy.Yeti has the sniffles. He takes it very hard.
Bear moves into a big house. He wishes they could afford to heat it.

Boise has the sniffles. Little comes over to watch movies with him while he stays home from school.

The advice nurse wants Little to go to the hospital for pain medication, but Little avoids another ER visit by toughing it out.
Malone waits on a bench. He is on another one of his secret missions.