Category Archives: studio

Gather Socks

Start­ing off with a lit­tle project that I final­ly fin­ished.

The Gath­er socks. I start­ed these in August and fin­ished them in Octo­ber — not bad for me.

gather socks

I bought the yarn (and nee­dles) from Cir­cle of Yarns in Kala­math Falls OR on the way to Eagle Lake, CA for the16th Annu­al Pacif­ic North­west Dry­side Gath­er. Great shop. Just hap­pened across it while dri­ving through K Falls look­ing for a like­ly lunch spot. Amaz­ing what you can find along the way.

edit­ed 25.june.2008 to cor­rect image links

Hand Recursive and Finger Hat.

Slack­ing on the income earn­ing front and doing art instead.

Two com­plet­ed pieces:

Hands Gothic Arch

Hand recur­sive.

I fin­ished this one a cou­ple of weeks ago. It was my first try in this shape.

Finger Hat

Fin­ger Hat

A 4X4 on heavy water­col­or paper. Images from needle­work mag­a­zines, but­tons from heav­en only knows where and a bit of type from my vast col­lec­tion of fonts.

Yellow Walls

The painters are done and I have reclaimed my space.

yellow studio walls

The move out and back into the stu­dio was almost pain­less. Prob­a­bly because I had recent­ly reor­ga­nized all the crap and there had not been much time for cruft to accu­mu­late. My office is anoth­er sto­ry.

edit­ed 25.june.2008 to cor­rect image links

Family Photographs — It’s All Grist for the Mill

I’ve been col­lect­ing up the old pho­to albums and sort­ing the pic­tures. There are a num­ber that I’d like to use in the col­lages. But of course I don’t want to glue up my only copy of great-grandmother’s por­trait so… It’s time to get scan­ning. I’ll leave the has­sles of get­ting an elder­ly scan­ner to talk to any of the new­er com­put­ers. It’s all con­nect­ed now and that’s all what counts. I start­ed with the pho­tos that the MiL put togeth­er in a frame for my hus­band. They’ve been sit­ting on the wall for too long and the col­or ones (50’s — 70’s) have fad­ed bad­ly. picture frame with jim’s family photos We had won­dered who some of the peo­ple in the old­er pic­tures were and hoped that iden­ti­fy­ing infor­ma­tion was on the backs of the pho­tos. Of course it was. Yeay Emmy! back of photos left sideback of the photos right side I got the pic­tures out and start­ed scan­ning them. I did a few at 600 dpi but it was tor­tu­ous­ly slow so I switched to 300 dpi. I think it’s suf­fi­cient for what I need. Now that the pic­tures are stored away from light (and oth­er evils) I can go back and res­can at high­er res­o­lu­tions if I want to. TBC edit­ed 25.june.2008 to cor­rect image links

Reusable Grocery Bag

Every­body is doing it. Even here in the “bub­ble.” Using those ugly green reusable gro­cery bags.

reusable grocery bag

Heart­warm­ing eco-points 8. Style points 0.

I won’t even men­tion what they chose to fill it with for this image. Yuck!

I made this one yes­ter­day.
cloth reusable grocery/shopping bag

Heart­warm­ing eco-points 8. Style points 6. Maybe.

It’s still bet­ter than some vague­ly poly­ester green thing with a gro­cery store logo on it.

I made it using the Char­lie Bag pat­tern from Bur­das­Syle. At Bur­daStyle you can also find sev­er­al how-tos about mak­ing this bag using a serg­er, mak­ing the lined ver­sion (2 ways), and a gallery of bags made by bur­dastyle fans. (There are a cou­ple of stun­ners — like this one.

This is the first thing I’ve made from a Bur­daStyle pat­tern. It was an inter­est­ing but ulti­mate­ly sim­ple process. I’ll write more about bur­dastyle and their “print at home” pat­terns soon. Right now the sun is out and it’s Fri­day after­noon and I have a date with a sports car of my acquain­tance…

TGIF — Gothic Arches

Two new/old goth­ic arch­es. I found these while I was purg­ing the work­ing projects piles. They aren’t much to look at being just a cou­ple of exper­i­ments with back­ground cre­ation tech­niques.

The birds and flow­ers was based on a piece of paper tow­el that I had used as a wiper for water col­ors in anoth­er project. I added more col­or by drop­ping left­overs from the palette onto the tow­el and then let it run and dry with­out inter­fer­ence. Instead of cut­ting the back­ground out with scis­sors I used a fine point­ed brush and ran a bead of dark brown water­col­or around the shape I want­ed and when the tow­el was damp through both lay­ers I pulled the it apart along the water line. It made a nice tonal back­ground to which I added some wall paper cutouts and feath­er from my par­rot.


The bal­loons was an exper­i­ment in using ges­so in mak­ing back­grounds. I col­laged paper and then stamped images on the back­ground. When the inks had dried I put a thin lay­er of ges­so over the entire sur­face. I put cutouts and a bit of string on the top.

Ges­so does give an inter­est­ing tex­ture to what goes on top if it. Also a good deal of “tooth” if you want to work with some­thing like pas­tels or crayons. But I don’t think I’ll be using it much. It just makes every­thing too mut­ed.

The bor­ders are metal­lic pens that I had just bought. The red is a brush pen from Pen­tel. it takes a lot of coats to get a good cov­er­age. (Red and green ones are com­mon­ly on sale around Xmas.) The gold is Krylon’s gold leaf­ing pen. This one is worth hunt­ing for. A few tips. Shake before using — a lot. Run a test line of about 4 inch­es on scrap paper to get the ink flow­ing well. You’ll get a very con­sis­tent line after that. Work in a well ven­ti­lat­ed room — this thing stinks of it’s sol­vent. (Propy­lene Gly­col Monomethyl Ether.)

The cap­tion “Stolen Kiss­es Require an Accom­plice” is by Texas Bix Ben­der. (A name I could vote for.)

WIP — The Loop Road Project (pop-ups)

Our recent vaca­tion gave Jim the chance to take a lot of pic­tures of motor­cy­cles and rid­ers on the prover­bial “closed course.” Some of them are in fact “pro­fes­sion­al rid­ers.”

I now have tons of unclut­tered pho­tos to work with. Hence the cre­ation of a new series of work, this time in engi­neered paper.

First up:

Solo Red Bike

Not a very imag­i­na­tive name I know.

I had to remove the rid­er from the orig­i­nal pho­to in order to have a clear back­ground. Now that I’ve seen the piece assem­bled I think that I could have left the rid­er on the back­ground and sim­ply built the images out from there. It wouldn’t be as dynam­ic an image but it would have saved a bunch of time eras­ing the rid­er and bike and rebuild­ing the back­ground.

red solo rider - closeup

red solo rid­er — close­up

Assem­bly began with print­ing and cut­ting out six copies of the rid­er. Tabs are attached to the fronts of 5 of the images and the base (shad­ow) is fold­ed for­ward so that it will show when the rid­er group is attached to the card.

all six rider images

all six rid­er images

Here the rid­ers are attached to one anoth­er. I used a strip under the shad­ows to give the bases some­thing to stick to while I was attach­ing all the pieces. I left the strip under the rid­ers because it made glu­ing the bases down in the right spots eas­i­er. (I should have got­ten a pic­ture before I glued it all down!)

Red Solo Rider rider images linked

Red Solo Rid­er rid­er images linked

Here’s the fin­ished pro­to­type.

Red Solo Rider
Red Solo Rid­er

It was a lit­tle con­fus­ing in Mary­hill with every­one switch­ing up the bikes and rid­ers. To the best of my knowl­edge that is Tim Keene on Rolf Vitous’ pret­ty red record hold­ing bike. I’ll ask for the details next time I see Rolf.

I have a num­ber of oth­er pho­tos that I’ll be using over the next cou­ple of weeks.

learning to work with the new serger

So it’s been a month or so since i got my serg­er. I made a cou­ple of starter projects on it when i first unpacked it but I had oth­er projects (xmas) that need­ed my atten­tion and i didn’t have a chance to get back to it until last week.

I have a ter­ri­ble time buy­ing pants and leg­gings that fit well. Big butt and big thighs. I’m not pre­pared to tack­le trousers yet but a decent pat­tern for leg­gings would be great. So I bought a sim­ple two-piece pat­tern and some cheap brown velour off of the rem­nants table and set to work.

Mea­sure, cut, pin, set up serg­er.

That last step didn’t go well. I could not get a seam to form, threads were break­ing… I think i re-thread­ed the thing 5 times and rest all the ten­sions and over and over. Then it was time to walk away for a while. Returned to the prob­lem, watched care­ful­ly as i wound the hand­wheel through sev­er­al cycles. and then it hap­pened. the thread com­ing from one of the cones hung up in the loop on the “anten­na”. Right where the blue cir­cle is…

the problem with my serger was...

the prob­lem with my serg­er was…

a lit­tle think­ing — and voila.

this is the correct position for the antenna

this is the cor­rect posi­tion for the anten­na

Yup, for­got to put the thread car­ri­er tow­er up. Doh.

And no, there is no way I’m going to show you the results of this sewing exper­i­ment. I added a lit­tle extra mate­r­i­al form the crotch tip to down just below the knees. I now have a very nice pat­tern for leg­gings that don’t wrin­kle up at the crotch and just as soon as I make anoth­er pair I’ll show you pic­tures.

As for the brown velour. It hard­ly shows the cat hair at all and Nina is very fond of her new “blankie’ in the stu­dio.


I took a PMC (pre­cious met­al clay) work­shop with Mered­ith Arnold last week­end.

It took about 8 hours to make these four pieces in a class room. They are con­struc­tion sam­ples so fin­ish qual­i­ty is low.

PMC is nice to work with. The tools can be very sim­ple and it real­ly does work like mod­el­ing clay. (Though I’ve nev­er been so care­ful to cor­ral all the scraps of mod­el­ing clay.) A good qual­i­ty fin­ish takes work from the begin­ning and prob­a­bly would have dou­bled the time tak­en for each piece. Maybe tripled for the embed­ded glass one.

You can fire pieces made only of the sil­ver using a torch or propane fir­ing cone but to fire pieces with glass (or syn­thet­ic stones, or forms) in them you have to have a kiln.

The mate­r­i­al is expen­sive and the fir­ing is a prob­lem because i don’t want to spend $400 on a kiln just yet.

I’ll do more of this but not right now.

A sim­ple die stamped piece:

I made this using the rub­ber stamp that pro­vid­ed the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the Black Dog Farm logo.

our logo in fine silver

our logo in fine sil­ver

It was fired, wire brushed, and giv­en a short tum­ble with shot. At this mag­ni­fi­ca­tion (about 3X) and in the glar­ing sun­light the rough fin­ish shows. (and i think that’s cat hair…)

A lay­ered charm:

Cut with canape cut­ters. Attached with slip. The holes are hard to get smooth on both sides.

moon charm

moon charm

There’s a lump on the back that is result of get­ting air trapped in the clay while rolling it out. I was in too much of a hur­ry.

lump from an air bubble

lump from an air bub­ble

Fil­i­gree wrapped glass bead

This is a 38″ blue glass bead that I wrapped in sil­ver paste squeezed from a syringe.

pretty blue bead with silver filigree

pret­ty blue bead with sil­ver fil­i­gree

Work­ing with this fine a tip is hard but with prac­tice the results could be quite pret­ty. You can also make hol­low beads by using a form mate­r­i­al that will burn out.

Glass beads and cabo­chon embed­ded in sil­ver

There are three green glass beads and a diachron­ic glass cabo­chon.

leave pin

leaf pin

I think the sil­ver is too built up. I did some carv­ing to get bet­ter relief but not near­ly enough. As the clay dries it hits a sweet spot where carv­ing is easy and enjoy­able. So this could be real­ly nice.


I cleaned out the top draw­er in my bed­side table. Among the detri­tus were these.



Rang­ing form a brass koala giv­en to me by a stranger in San Fran­cis­co my fresh­man year in col­lege to a bot­tle shaped pin from the Maker’s Mark dis­tillery and about a dozen zoos in between.