Friday, December 3, 2010

My brother's artwork



These paintings were all done by my older brother, Tim.

Tim studied film at the University of Kansas, then worked as a video photographer for the network news business, and now he's studying to be a polysomnographic technician (person who tests for sleep disorders). He does these paintings on the side and I think he has a truly unique style.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

One last thought from The Craftsman

"Both the difficulties and possibilities of making things well apply to making human relationships. Material challenges like working with resistance or managing ambiguity are instructive in understanding the resistances people harbor to one another or the uncertain boundaries between people."

--Richard Sennett, The Craftsman

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Day of the Dead--or Election Day, whichever.

I'm almost done reading The Craftsman by Richard Sennett (it's sort of dense, so I'm taking my time). And here are a few more notable passages:

"You can teach a man to draw a straight line; to strike a curved line, and to carve it...with admirable speed and precision; and you will find his work perfect of its kind: but if you ask him to think about any of those forms, to consider if he cannot find any better in his own head, he stops; his execution becomes hesitating; he thinks, and ten to one he thinks wrong; ten to one he makes a mistake in the first touch he gives his work as a thinking being. But you have made a man of him for all that, he was only a machine before, an animated tool."
--actually a passage by John Ruskin, quoted in The Craftsman.

Regarding job retraining:
"Artisanal craftsmen have proved particularly promising subjects for such efforts. The discipline required for good manual labor serves them, as does their focus on concrete problems rather than on the flux of process-based, human relations work. For this very reason if has proved easier to train a plumber to become a computer programmer than to train a salesperson; the plumber has craft habit and material focus, which serve retraining. Employers often don't see this opportunity because they equate manual routine with mindless labor."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hotel San Jose







On November 2, N and I will be celebrating 3 years of marriage. We wanted to celebrate by staying at the ultra-cool San Jose Hotel in Austin, but they were booked on our actual date, so we stayed there last weekend.

It was sooo nice. I mean, how cool is a hotel that tacks a little poem up in the bathroom?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back this up!

N and I just supported this project on Kickstarter. Sounds like a great project.

Rolling along

N and I are participating in a holiday show at the Craft Alliance and the theme is "on a roll." I made this rolling razor for it.

Here's the video:



Those are fake eyelashes where the razor blades would be.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Playing Around at Craft Alliance Gallery

Probably should have posted about this on September 10 when this show opened, but N and I are featured in a 2-person exhibition at the Craft Alliance Gallery in St. Louis through the end of the month. So if you're in the St. Louis area before Halloween and looking for something to do, check it out!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nice view


This was the view from our first Houston studio. I say 'was' because the building was sold and we have to be out by October 24. Bumps in the road. But we'll figure something out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Obscene? Really?


So I entered this piece in the faculty show at my school and apparently someone complained that they find this "obscene." Really? Evidently, they see some relationship between these brushes and tools used for "female pleasure." WTF? One friend's response was, "well, they're plastic and have brushes," but that sounds more like a female torture device to me. I guess I have some things to learn...

Friday, October 8, 2010

A dying breed?









As a person who makes and occasionally sells holloware, I have often encountered the prevailing attitude that making holloware is not a practical way to make a living in this day and age because it is too time-consuming to produce and people will not pay for it. But today I received the most recent edition of Goldsmith Magazine and it included a link to British Silver Week-2010.
This is evidently a show entirely of people making (and selling!) silver holloware. There were some really lovely pieces and above are a few of my favorites.

I guess there are still people out there doing the hard stuff!

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Video, as promised.

More from The Craftsman

Sooo, it's been a busy couple months around here because N and I just moved to Houston, Texas!

I accepted a teaching position at Houston Community College and I am very excited to be here; though adjusting to the heat and the traffic has been a challenge!

In any event, I had to take a break from reading The Craftsman by Richard Sennett while we moved. I just picked it back up and I am ready to post more tidbits of wisdom that I've gained so far.


"Inarticulate does not mean stupid; indeed, what we can say in words may be more limited than what we can do with things. Craftwork establishes a realm of skill and knowledge perhaps beyond human verbal capacities to explain it..." p. 95

"The desire to do something well is a personal litmus test; inadequate personal performance hurts in a different way than inequalities of inherited social position of the externals of wealth: it is about you." p. 97

"The machined object, like the parent, makes a proposal about how something might be done; we ponder the proposal rather than submit to it." p. 103

"...only someone who accepts that he or she is likely to fall short of perfection is likely to develop realistic judgments about life, to prefer what is limited and concrete and so human." p. 104

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pedi-pistol




Newest rattle. Video forthcoming.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nearly perfect lunch

Locally made sourdough toast with butter, fresh heirloom tomato from the farmer's market, fancy cheese from Whole Foods and a special treat of chanterelle mushrooms--Delicious!

The Craftsman

I'm finally getting around to reading Richard Sennett's book The Craftsman. Since I checked this book out of the library, I have decided to record some of the more interesting (at least, to me) segments from it here so I can refer to them in the future. And maybe someone else will find them useful, too.


"'Craftsmanship' may suggest a way of life that waned with the advent of industrial society--but this is misleading. Craftsmanship names an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake. Craftsmanship cuts a far wider swath than skilled manual labor; it serves the computer programmer, the doctor, and the artist; parenting improves when it is practiced as a skilled craft, as does citizenship."
p.9

Another treasure






My job gave me a gift certificate in honor of my 6 months of service, so I used it to buy this sweet little vintage beaded bag.

Now, if only I lived in Hollywood in the 1930s so I had someplace to take it...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Treasures

I just got a great work table with metal drawers--the kind with the butcher block tops, such as would be seen in any metal or wood shop from the 1950s or '60s--from the Little Shop. Inside one of the drawers were all these cool keys. I mounted them on a scrap piece of wood so I can hang them on the wall of my studio.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mm-mm good, and easy

Tried my hand at homemade chicken tikki masala tonight. It was a fairly straight-forward recipe and pretty darn tasty, though I would cut WAY down on the salt the recipe calls for.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Prep Time:
30 Min
Cook Time:
50 Min
Ready In:
2 Hrs 20 Min

Original Recipe Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

* 1 cup yogurt
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
* 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
* 4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
* 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
* 4 long skewers

* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 2 teaspoons paprika
* 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste (I only used 2 of these 3 teaspoons, but it was still too salty)
* 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Preheat a grill for high heat.

3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.

4. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Christmas in July


N and I just returned from spending the 4th of July in Texas with his family. They have a tradition of giving white elephant gifts for a Christmas in July exchange. I picked up these two beauties at the Little Shop Around the Corner. They were a pretty big hit.

And yes, those are real frogs.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Fruit of my Labor

All of this has finally resulted in my first tomato of the season.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Last Class


My last class at Mobot was the Victorian Garden walk. Very interesting to learn about the origins of Victorian Gardens and the plans that went behind making our own version. This is the most traditional spot in the Victorian Garden and features a statue of Juno from the days of Henry Shaw.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Distraction


Made a big silver jewel ring, instead of working on what I should be doing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New ring

Available in the shop!

Perks of the job.

At the Botanical Garden, I also work at the Little Shop Around the Corner, which is an upscale resale shop that raises money for the Garden. It's an interesting place because we get such a variety of things donated.
The best part of working there is that I can get first dibs on some cool stuff, like this fun quilt. I love the kitschy embroidery and it's entirely hand stitched!



Junebug likes it too.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Trails and Tribulations

I mentioned in a previous post that I tried a new display at my most recent craft show. I have struggled alot with craft show display for several reasons. First, my work is small, but not jewelry so I can't display it like jewelry, and copper can be kitschy if one is not careful. I also have some requirements for my displays, which are that they must be inexpensive, versatile, easy to transport and store, and easy to set-up/tear down. Of course, I would also like it to look good.

The first thing I tried were these folding screens that I bought from Store Supply Warehouse. They were inexpensive and easy to store/transport.

But they fell over in the wind too much. My main problem with them is that they simultaneously made my booth look cluttered, because you can see through them, and empty, because you can see through them.

For my next attempt, I used the screens in combination with pedestals and wall panels we built. This looked better, I thought, but the pedestals were a pain to assemble at the show and they were tippy. It was also difficult to hang the panels from the tent sides.

So this time I tried probably the most obvious solution that for some reason, I had never considered before. We used folding tables on risers, covered them with fabric and built small pedestal-like shelves for the table top to create levels. It was inexpensive, easy to set-up and take down, versatile, and the booth didn't look empty. I was pleased.

There will always be room for improvement, but I feel like we got alot closer to a solution with this display.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Circus Flora!

Last night N and I went to St. Louis's own Circus Flora, a not-for-profit, locally run circus that has been going on every June in St. Louis for 24 years. It was fantastic!

Above are the St. Louis Arches, a group of acrobats that run the only circus school in St. Louis.

This year's circus has the theme of Don Quixote. It really was everything a circus should be! If you live in St. Louis I hope you will help support this fantastic event.
*All photos taken from the Circus Flora website


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More Awesomness


The other cool thing I got at the craft show this weekend, though this was not a trade, was this cute and funky bud vase by Pennsylvania artist Jake Johnson. I put some dried lavender and globe amaranth in it and it makes me happy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Awesomness

So the craft show this weekend didn't break any sales records, most likely for anyone involved. But I did get to try out my new booth display and met some great people, including the super-adorable jewelry artist Janice Ho of Hannibal, Missouri. The best part is that she and I traded and I got the awesome earrings you see above and this fun necklace:


All in all, a successful weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Craft Show!

I will be selling my copper metalwork this weekend at Webster Grove's Art and Air.

It is FREE to attend, begins Friday evening from 6 to 10 p.m., then Saturday 11 to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. There's music, food, art and again, it's FREE!

Hope to see all my St. Louis friends there!