Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On Sunday

I spent Sunday learning about solarplate printing at Joe Peller's studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I studied painting with Joe for several years and he taught me most of what I know about it. I miss the painting classes, but his show schedule has heated up so he doesn't have tons of time for private classes anymore. He still teaches at the Art Student's League, but it isn't for me.

ANYWAY. I used 2 photographs to create my solarplates that frequent readers...are there any of those out there??... have seen, but the look of the output is SO different when you are inking a plate and running it through a press.

These are made .. Reader's Digest Condensed Version.. by exposing a transparency created from an image to a solarplate under UV light. You could do this with the sun, but Joe has an exposure box that let us do it inside on a cloudy day. It is a vacuum box so it assures that there is good contact between the negative and the plate.

Then you wash the plate, harden it and use it like you would an etching plate to create a print on the press. Sounds a lot more complex than it actually is, and a lot of fun. I am going again next week, and maybe by then I will have something aside from straight photos to do, though I love the look of these. I also have a ghost print of each one so I can attack it with pastels.

The plates are sturdy, and you can run upwards of 50 or more prints from each plate as long as you have access to a press.

More later on when I color the ghosts!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Briefly among the missing

I had company all last week, and they were just too entertaining for me to have time to post. My son and his friend came from Texas to New York, and there was WAY too much to see and do, so blogging sort of fell by the wayside.

Now I am cleaning up, sleeping up and generally trying to get back into sync, which seems to take longer as you get older, or maybe it is just me?

But there are now some Spring sunsets over the bridge and for that I am very grateful.

SO, if you check out the picture blog, you will see a lot of what we did, and there may be one or two more before I am caught up.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

book club tonight...

We read 3 Junes by Julia Glass and everyone there really liked the book. It was a National Book award winner in 2002 and I remember wanting to read it back then, but I never did. I am glad I finally got around to it. The characters are complex and interesting and I found myself stealing time to read it when I should have been doing other things. That doesn't always happen to me with National Book Award winners, so this was a real treat.

I also finally finished the blasted heel on Jacobean sock number 1. I think I may do a different heel on sock number 2. I have always felt that matching was overrated. It looks good after 3 tries but it just doesn't interest me as much as a shortrow heel sock without the wrapping and I also enjoy the eye of partridge heel for its extra protection where socks can wear. The current heel looks like this.

Looks good, and I am loving this yarn, it is Sheepaints and though it is a little splitty, it is a great colorway. I am really liking that it is not highly disparate, more subdued.

Cute sock (singular)...Huh??

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Reading your knitting

I am mentoring my friend Nicki, who is dashing along learning to knit. She has been at it for 1.5 years and has made a shawl, several pairs of mittens, a couple of scarves, a baby sweater and is now working on an adult sweater. Obviously, she already knows HOW to knit, purl, increase and decrease, bind off and cast on. She has done feather and fan, garter, stockinette and a variety of little riffs and flourishes.

I was thinking about the next step. For me, that is learning to read your knitting. Learning what the stitches look like and what they are "supposed" to look like, and how to do that while you are knitting so that you don't need to keep staring at the paper pattern. When you first learn to knit you are so in love with creating fabric that the individual stitches can get away from you. You suddenly look down and you have this huge THING that is not what you thought it was while you were blithely knitting along. Then you have to face all those issues, frog it? tink it? toss it? start again? blame the pattern? cry?

I just frogged the heel on these socks. I have been knitting socks for years. I have a heel that I love and that I know how to do, but this pattern (Jacobean) has a wrap and turn heel that I thought I would try. Oopsed it pretty good, in large part because I inexplicably could not read my knitting. I am working with size 0's because I have small feet and the 1.5's were making it too big, and the yarn is fine, but I just couldn't tell if I had wrapped the stitch or not, so some got wrapped twice and some not at all.

On the second try, I am reading it better, and counting certainly can help...(math has never been a strong point) but it makes me think about reading all the knitting that I do. Reading the discussions with the people I work with, reading the twinges that my old knees are giving me lately, and most especially, reading the voices of my friends over the phone. My move to the Northern reaches of Manhattan has made the phone a more frequent mode of contact than it used to be. Remembering to step in close and read the knitting, not just look at the fabric.

I love to see people's eyes when they talk to me. I miss that more than anything when I am on the phone. It is harder to read their voices than their eyes. I am still trying to learn to read the knitting, see the stitches, step back and see the whole fabric. It is one of those things you don't think about when you uproot your life.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Once more, with pictures

Company coming all week, so I may be among the missing for a bit, but one more quick trip through the Gertrude Stein apartment filled with art hung in salon-style that I now am living in and loving.

The wall over my desk holds Japanese wood-block prints.
There is the view out the window of the GWB with the sky turning turquoise.
Down the entry hall are cyanotypes and hand colored versions of my photographs. Two of my collages, with another over the shrine, above.

Black and white photography.I think the nicest part of this is that most of the art is my own creation, except for the Japanese prints. They have always had a big influence on me and now they are all out where I can see them. When I get the next spurt of energy, I am going to hang my big pastel paintings of figures in the bedroom.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stage Two


At the very beginning there was that post. It drove Pauline to speculate about how long it would take me to get them all hung up..

As of lunch on Tuesday, Joey and Aaron had 16 pictures up. After lunch, the pace picked up a LOT:

In the end, Sienna approved and this part looked like this.

There were two sections of the entrance

The kitchen... are you exhausted yet?

And finally, since they were at 38 pictures and they wanted what is probably a world record of 40, they added 2 more to the living room.

Tomorrow, the overall view.

What a great Birthday!! Thanks guys!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It was Joey's birthday and I got the presents

Tuesday was Joey's birthday and he and Aaron gave me a huge present.
It started like this:

They had a lot of help from their friends.

There was a lot of testing and trying things out.

This was the end of Stage One - 16 Pictures off the floor and onto the wall.

We thought that the molding hooks look like musical notes up there playing a tune.

Then we took a break for lunch. I cooked, which is a good thing because I am WAY too short to help hang pictures unless there is a really BIG ladder.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mags should know what this is....

I just found out Mags is doing this too..
I got a late start on the journal class, and it is going slowly for me.

I have an ancient Kenmore sewing machine, and I do love it, because it does everything I need and has a lot of decorative stitches.

Best of all, it can be fixed without dealing with anything computerized, since it predates computerization for sewing machines. (I did say it was ancient, right?)

It is acting up a little lately, and I just had it tuned up, so I am hoping it is still an operator error issue. I haven't used it in a while, and I have forgotten a lot of how it works...sigh

In any case, I have finally gotten a bit started, so Mags eventually I will put it up in the group site, and hope that by then I will have some better color. Now to trim it out and sew on a button.

I have LOTS of buttons to choose from, so that is going to be fun.

Friday, April 4, 2008

And just so you know

that my whole life is not jaunting around the universe to see the Yarn Harlot at the Time Warner Center. This was what my refrigerator looked like yesterday. You are NOT, I repeat NOT supposed to be able to see the frost on the coils of a frost free refrigerator. All the cold was trapped in there somewhere, and none of it was getting out to keep the milk from going all icky, so there was also this...

The vitamin waters were delivered by accident from Fresh Direct and they told me to just keep them... But they are a million calories each, so all they do is help me to keep the rest of the refrigerator cold......or not, as you can see. The wine is another story. That one is all mine and as soon as it gets cold again I am going to drink it!

As a final piece of entertainment, this was my darlin' Clementine when she was a baby. She liked it in there and I had to drag her out whenever she found an entry.

We have a long and tortured relationship with refrigerators in this family.

The Yarn Harlot comes to NY to distract me from my other travails

That (the arrow) points to where Nicki and I were standing.......My bad.. I was late. But there we were, WAAAAYYYYY back there in the nosebleed section. Of Course, if we had gotten a nosebleed there was plenty of yarn around to staunch the blood.
It was great that the Yarn Harlot was able to get us in the picture, though, this is from her eye view from her website... If you go there you can see the other side of the group and see how her sock saw Times Square.

This is Her Harlotness waiting to be introduced by some folks from Borders who did not quite see what the excitement was all about but played along fairly well anyway.
And finally two other shots, one so she can look and see how she looked from our end of the universe, and another to show what the rest of the row was doing while she was talking. I will show you what she managed to distract me from in another post, this is getting too picture heavy..

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Before and after .. Or .. Why we are going to bed early tonight

This is the girl, who knew someone with such pretty eyes was hiding behind all that hair!!

Actually, after 3 years, I knew it, but it is exhausting if you cut it away yourself, though she is SUCH a good girl that she sleeps through a lot of it.

This is the first time I did it myself, and since I have not bought clippers yet, I did it with scissors. Not a good idea, but once you are on your way there is really no way back.

I have no idea how many little nicks I managed to give her but she is so tolerant that even when I nick her and wake her up she just sort of stares at me and then goes back down again.

She put up with me struggling through it for about 3 hours. She looks a little ragged close up, but this was half the hair I cut off and we shall see how it looks in a couple of days. I gave her a bath and

we both lay on the couch for a while to recover. It is exhausting for both of us, and we just collapse.

Too bad I don't spin.. it looks a lot like fleece, and I saw a woman at Rhinebeck once spinning hair from her Great Pyrenees. I used to give some of it to the guy who used to live across the hall. He was a wigmaker for Broadway shows and he used the slightly curly hair to aerate mustaches. I swear! I'll hang on to it for a little bit, if someone wants to try spinning it, let me know and I will put it in an envelope and send it. I'll bet it will dye well also. It is hair, not fur, which is why she gets sheared.. otherwise it would just grow forever, I guess.