Stick Bug Came to Visit

April 19th, 2015

A stick bug came to visit. It hung out on the screen door most of the day.

Stick Bug

I kept hoping that there would be a magical transformation like the one that occurs in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. But, it didn’t happen. The next morning it was gone.

Fun Find Growing Next to Brugmanisa Seedling

April 19th, 2015

Fun Find Growing Next to Brugmanisa Seedling

Agave Next Door

April 19th, 2015


Agave March 24th


Agave April 19th

Agave Teeth

Agave Digging Into Itself

Agave Teeth

Agave Scrapes and Scars

What happens after an agave blooms? According to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum this is what happens to most agaves after they bloom–

“In all but a few species the rosette dies after flowering and fruiting, having spent all of its life energy to produce a huge quantity of seeds-a monocarpic (once-fruiting) life cycle. The plants literally flower themselves to death.”

Prayer Flags in San Luis Obispo

March 15th, 2015

Today we hiked a trail that we haven’t hike in several years. And at the top of the hill we found this–

Prayer Flags

I have been thinking about using the idea of prayer cloth/flags in my work. It would be a different way to display my coded messages. I have used the idea of prayer beads in previous series.

My series From Evil has several objects that refer to prayer beads.

From Evil

Bad Habits–The Seven Deadly Sins,
Each tin contains a rosary with the sin and Forgive
Yourself in code. There is a mirror for viewing yourself.

I also made a series of cast soap cups and soap filled vessels as part of my Cleanse Your Palate series.

Cleanse Your Palate

Cleanse Your Palate Series
Forgive Yourself. Forgive yourself is coded into the beads.
Soap, Cloves, Wood, Metal, Fiber, Salt, Wax

More images of the prayer flags:

Prayer Flags

Prayer Flags

I like that the flag bits are in the bottle.
Prayer Flags

Some information on prayer flags can be seen here:

Prayer Flags

Tibetan Prayer Flags

The Prayer Flag Project

More images of my work:
From Evil series

Cleanse Your Palate series

Plant on Mountain

March 10th, 2015

Plant on Mountain

New Seed Pod Find

March 3rd, 2015

Familiar but can’t quite place the plant.

Unknown Seed Pod

Broken Seed Pod

And what are the bugs?

Is the poor focus a result of my vision, the age of the camera, or both?

I tossed the broken pod bits into my garden.

First Harvested Palm Nuts

February 18th, 2015

On January 25 I was given some palm cuttings. This is one of the small cuttings.

Palm Cuttings

Over the weekend I harvested the first of the palm nuts.

Palm Nuts Detail

Palm Nuts

So many possibilities. I could use them for coding. I could stitch them together. Have want to try using a water soluble stabilizer to hold bits together for stitching. Or I could use straight pins to attach them to a surface to make fabric.

Work In Progress–One and a Half Years

February 18th, 2015

I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia several years back. Each month I receive an injection of B12. I have been saving my B12 vials and syringes thinking that they might become art materials. Now, maybe some of the vials have found a place.

I was working on a design for a woven piece to cover a bathroom window. I looked at several materials that would be the least likely to mold. While looking through my materials I ran across the B12 vials. Unfortunately, I did not have enough for the window design. Got to thinking about the importance of those little vials, each vial represented a month in my life.

For whatever reason I tend to use certain numbers: 3, 5, 9, 11, 18, any grouping of 3 or 9. When I looked at coding the word life, I could use 18 vials. Each vial would be bound in a square that 9 spaces by 9 spaces.

One and a Half Years Layout

Recently ran across the Medieval Mosaic embroidery stitch and liked it quite a lot, but it is four long, 4 short. Not one of my numbers. I added an additional to each.

Slightly Altered Medieval Mosaic Stitch

The stitch would cover nicely if I had not planned to use waxed linen. This is a work in progress using waxed linen.

Waxed Linen Stitches

Waxed linen didn’t feel right with the vials. so, got out a skein of cream wool. I laid in a background of a zig zag stitch, then added the Medieval Mosaic stitch over it. This is the result–

One And A Half Years In Progress

And a detail–

One And A Half Years Detail

There needs to be more of a difference between the yarn color used for the dots and dashes. I have some lovely bamboo yarn that might work better.

I suspect that when the border code is completed the current yarn binding the vials will be more apparent. The border code will be: One and a Half Years. The code will start at space 17 on the top, and procede clockwise each space a dot, dash, or spacer. The rest of the border will be stitched in cream wool. There is also a 3/4″ border that will either be bent and stitched to become a frame or bent the opposite direction to elevate the piece from the wall.

When the stitching is finished, it will be time to age the piece.

Some information on pernicious anemia:

Johns Hopkins Medicine

National Institutes of Health–National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

New Potentail Art Materials

January 25th, 2015

My neighbor trimmed his palms. The cuttings were on the way to the dump. Instead, some will become art material.

Large palm nuts:

Large palm nuts

Stored in my greenhouse:

Large palm nuts bunches in greenhouse

Small palm nuts:

Small palm nuts

The palm nuts will be a great new material that I can use for coding.

Lichens found on an olive branch:

Lichens on Olive

Interesting information found here:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Corporate Document Repository: Date Palm Products

Brain Injury and Donation

January 21st, 2015

Yesterday The Fussy Librarian and BookGorilla had an offer for a book written by a person who wrote about their brain aneurysm experience. I read the chapters posted on Amazon. Then I read the reviews. One reviewer recommended My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. is the author.

The first person I knew who had a brain injury was my nephew. He was 18 months old and while in a diabetic coma sustained brain damage. The second person was a woman I worked with who had a brain aneurysm. Members of my family have been diagnosed with dementia. Whether it is an unexpected injury or the gradual loss of function with dementia, brain injury does change the person. Their family and friends are altered by the injury as well.

Last night I started reading Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. In the introduction she stated,

Within four brief hours, through the eyes of a curious brain anatomist (neuroanatomist), I watched my mind completely deteriorate in its ability to process information. By the end of that morning, I could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of my life.

That scares the hell out of me. The thought that people can be aware, but not to be able to do anything about it.

Scientists are researching how brain injuries occur, how to reduce the effects of the injuries, how to treat the injuries, and perhaps even how to prevent them. Brain donation, as part of organ donation, gives scientists the material they need to conduct their research.

In an interview with Jill Bolte Taylor, she was quoted as saying that when one becomes an organ donor the brain is not included. Special arrangements need to be made. The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center was mentioned in the interview.

There is a list of brain and tissue banks available on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website.

Two members of my family donated their brains for research–one was for dementia, the other was for restless legs syndrome.