Thursday, January 31, 2013

Moving, Moving Pangs

Life Goal: Everything I own can fit in my car, or is my car.
Ongoing, increasingly grueling performance piece: Everything I own does not fit in my car, and has to fit in my car.

Okay. I have been tied to a storage unit for the last year, but I moved away from it, and organization experts say that if you want to get rid of something, box it up and don't look at it and a year later you won't know what it is or care. But that didn't really happen to me, since my stuff is all my clothes, art supplies, and art (like my car). I just felt incomplete in my East Coast sublets, like where are my oil paints? Where is my yarn? Where are my paintings? Where are my shoes? I found that I have gathered my things as tools to be myself.

I have a bit of an aversion to storage units. I have a friend who told me a couple of years ago he feels overwhelmed by his stuff since he moves all the time. He said his ideal would be a totally clean, minimalist house (and this would fit his aesthetic and interests very well I think), with a storage unit for everything he wanted to hold onto. Now he has a remote storage unit that's huge and totally full, and also his house is one.

So, right now nearly all my stuff is in my car. But some of it is on the floor of the room I'm staying in because it wouldn't fit in the car, and some of it-cello, brick barbell- is at my Dad's house, and a tiny bit of it is in my mom's storage unit, and a lot of it is in my mom's storage unit but designated for a trip to the dump.  Oh no, and some of it is in the fridge and freezer.

I think this happened because I didn't do my idea of lining up everything I own in order of what I would save in a fire and then when I got to the first thing in the line I wouldn't save, the rest of the line is gone forever.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Scanners are amazing! I got to use my brother's CanoScan to document a couple of old projects, and then I had fun trying to "paint with light" with them, making little arrangements. The scanner works best with things pressed against the glass, and renders things with depth as shadowy and blurred. I tried to exploit that but I don't have the hang of it yet. I used to be really good with a photocopier, though. 
This might be the background for a greeting card.

I tried to take a picture of the process I used to make the scan above, but my camera was super dead so I flipped over my assemblage and scanned it. It's a sweater, scale, mouse balls, chain belt.  The scale and mouse balls are pressing the sweater down to prevent shadows, and the scale is also helping the chain stay in place instead of getting dragged around by the sweater.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oil Pastel Resists for Watercolor

Today I discovered that oil pastels can be used as a resist for watercolors. This opens up a lot of possibilities because I am really bad with pastels, I feel like they just make smudgy impressions that get grayer as you work. I was excited to use my new technique to copy this blurry photo of the Jefferson Monument that I love:

Oh. It's not masking fluid. Once the pastel resist goes down that part will never be water colored. I put this pastel down very loosely, obviously, because I couldn't see it (white on white) and I usually put my fake masking fluid (rubber cement) down generally where I want it. 
 So I did a whole work up with layers- pencil sketch, ink pen, pastels, paint, ink. I think it looks perfect, exactly how I'd hoped, but the fact that it photographs so badly makes me think it needs a little more attention.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Two Wool Necklaces

I made some necklaces last night to sell, and I got really attached to them, so I made one for myself. 
 This is one of Nick's two forays into drop spindling. I happily upgraded it a little bit with some soft colored stones. It's so dreamy and foggy.
 Part of my process when I'm making things for myself is leaving them room to grow. I like feeling that I can scratch a phone number into the side of my car with a key, glue horns or fins to my phone or camera, deconstruct clothes, and ruin umbrella after umbrella. I like that my stuff is a bit thrifted and shabby, so I don't have to be afraid of pouring resin through it. It's hard for me to switch from getting things finished enough for me to use them, to making things with an appropriate lifespan for strangers to buy. I made some gorgeous collars last night with that in the forefront of my mind.
 I cut apart a scarf I'd been knitting, ironed it into a nice shape, then used loads and loads of silver thread to give it some weight and structure.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Business Card Stamping Bust

I wanted a stamp business card so that I could make cards in batches on the backs of failed watercolors, or in this case retired card catalog cards. I set the stamp into the bottom of a little bust of myself. 

Rainbow Sketchbook Pages

I like to see a rainbow when I flip through my sketchbook, or when I open it somewhere dreary.

 Casey gave me a book of Galway Kinnel love poems, and I transcribed part of one on an ultramarine wash. The stamps are a handcarved moon, and Casey's Baby Lenin signature stamp. I stamped them forever ago with Imperial Blue and Cyan pigment ink, and I found the page when I was cleaning out my briefcase.
 This watercolor ground came out ugly. I glued on a platypus skeleton and a tardigrad, transcribed the beginning of the Doctor Who wikipedia page, and drew stick figures of some stretches that work really well for me.
A color-blending plaid overlaid with shapes I found on a computer flowcharting stencil. Also a photo of the top of one of the dining halls at my alma mater.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Through My Window, a Zine

A meatspace web crossover zine! The expensive parts, the color photos, are free at flickr. It is a bit rough. I made a couple dozen of these to leave at the same site I took these photos and spent all these hours thinking of how this project could work, with the result that it took me three years to get started and only several hours to put it together to my own satisfaction.

I took photos from every bedroom on the 6th floor of a vacant dorm. Then I uploaded those to flickr, There's a transcience to student life, in particular dorm living. As a Student Maintenance worker I spent long summers cleaning and painting and repairing the empty dorms. I felt a connection with the students as I threw away their forgotten earrings or took their garbage poking stick back to the woods or helped repair their dismantled water fountain. And, I didn't want the connection to be so one-sided. So I took a photo from each bedroom window on the sixth floor. The paper zine tells that link. One of the things that bothered the student workers most is the idea that no one would care about our efforts, so I shot this video of how long it takes me to clean part of a hallway.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Prosthetic Razor Nicks

I love opposite gender performance! It's so fun and challenging, like brushing your teeth left handed is supposed to be. But I have drawn and knitted and glued on enough false beards for a lifetime- I think I tried each of these things once, and they were itchy and difficult. So, I made these false razor nicks from paper towel (toilet paper, while authentic, disintegrates in water), water color, and double stick tape. Because, a man's face only has one or the other, unless he has a finicky beard. And because I was going to a party, I made enough to share. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Grandmother's Yarn

My grandmother died last year and I inherited all of her knitting things. She didn't have a will or anything, but I'm the only knitter in the family so they went to me. She would never teach anyone to knit because she knit "backwards," but she made me sweater after sweater my whole childhood. After the funeral I spent some time casting off and finishing a gorgeous, squishy blue sweater, and I gave it to the only one of her daughters who was the right size for it. A few weeks later, I used some of her collection to knit my first sweater. It's wool/cotton, and I have been wearing it all year and it's in good shape. 
Then I moved and left the yarn with my Mom. I was happy to use my grandmother's knitting needles and tapestry needles, but I stopped using her yarn. But now, my Mom is moving so I went through the yarn and I found three VERY nearly finished scarves, that just needed casting off or weaving in ends. I don't know who they were intended for but I think I will give them to my aunts or her sister. (We all still have a lot of purses and coats and clothes that she bought for us, because she was a dedicated shopper and a generous gifter, but I think something handmade is special.) Figuring out their construction made me feel close to her, and to her Swedish forbears. The photos are terrible because it was raining and then it was dark, but it was really good knitting weather. She was born in Seattle and lived in Washington for much of her life. And now that I think of it, she was a terrible photographer. 
 Beaded suede-esque scarf
 Berroco Mosaic FX scarf
 Then I cast on her French cotton yarn for a pair of arm warmers. My grandma preferred cotton yarn, but it is too hard on my hands. That's why I only knit her one thing- a pair of cotton socks- but I'm very glad I did.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mystery Antarctica Stamp

My Antarctica postcard got a mystery stamp on it! I weirdly couldn't find anything about this stamp by googling. It says 
All Paths Lead NORTH 53
South Pole Antarctica
What is it? Why do I have it? Is it a souvenir or necessary? Maybe the postal worker really liked my postcard, which is a map of the oceans around Antarctica. 

Antarctica is my favorite philatelic subject.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Eve and Day!!!

I love putting everything in order for New Year's Day. I like it even more than any festivities on offer. My usual tradition is to deep clean everything and make resolutions, but when I read the superstitions a knitting writer observes I got excited. I equipped the young men in my life with salt and instructions to return home before I do, which felt kind of like a tradition because I've had housemates arrange it before. And I put out a bowl of silver coins (and since they aren't silver I added charm that had to retire from my charm bracelet) to catch the 2012-2013 moonlight. Day-to-day proscriptive superstitions don't interest me but I love them for NYE/Day.

I did a good job meeting last year's super involved and fussy resolutions. I can tell that's not what I need this year. In December 2011 I set a year's worth of monthly goals, and then each month I spent some time thinking about the goal and sent a postcard out into the world with the goal on it, and then getting it in the mail would help me keep on track. I sent all of them out, but I only have 9 of them. I attribute that to moving 4 times.