Grass Piece

April 24th, 2016
Cut Grass

Cut Grass

Cut Grass Prepared for Piece

Prepared Grass for Piece

The grass is similar to velcro. It sticks to itself, to fingers, to clothing, and to the bamboo crochet thread that I am using.

Grass Piece in Progress

The first grass was bound to the bottom of the hardware cloth covering 5 rows.

Grass Piece in Progress

Next, five rows of grass were bound horizontally from right to left.

Grass Piece in Progress

The piece in progress.

Grass Piece in Progress

The cut grass project has 150 bound pieces:
75 (5 bound pieces over 15 columns) and 75 (3 bound pieces over 25 rows).

Grass Piece in Progress

Cut Grass Piece Detail

This is what the grass looks like in the garden today. Unfortunately, the grass that I used does not seem to be changing to the gorgeous colors like the grass left to dry naturally in the garden.
Grass in Garden


Find in Garden

April 24th, 2016

Pine Top

Pine Middle

Pine Bottom


Unidentified Sprout

April 17th, 2016

September 19th, 2015 I planted Bird of Paradise seeds.

Bird of Paradise Flats

I have been watering the flats, patiently waiting for some sign of life.

Then I found two very small plants emerging. Should be interesting to see what they become. Well, if they survive.

Sprout 1

Sprout 2

Can’t believe that they could possibly be Bird of Paradise. So what are they? Volunteer plants and oak trees pop up in my potted plants and gardens, thanks to the blue jays.

Now I wait. Gardening does require learning to be patient.


Brachychiton Seed Planting

April 17th, 2016

Brachychiton Pods

Brachychiton Pods

Brachychiton Seeds With Fuzz

Brachychiton Seeds With Fuzzy Coating

Brachychiton Seeds Fuzz Removed

Brachychiton Seeds, Fuzzy Coating Removed

Bottles for Soaking Seeds

Bottles for Soaking, Seeds, and Smoke Primer.

Removing Smoke Primer

Removing Smoke Primer Paper

Pods and Seeds Soaking

Empty Pods. Seeds Soaking in Smoke Water. Seeds Soaking in Hot Water.

Seeds in Planting Mixes

The Seeds Were Soaked for 24 Hours Before Planting. Seeds in Planting Mixes.
One Tray for Seeds Soaked in Smoke. One Tray for Seeds Soaked in Hot Water.

Planting Mixes

Planting Mixes Used

Brachychiton Empty Pods

Brachychiton Empty Pods


Easter is Coming–Make Mine Chocolate

March 24th, 2016

Easter is coming and House Rabbit organizations have a campaign–Make Mine Chocolate. The purpose is to inform and the hope to prevent people from purchasing a bunny for Easter. The majority of Easter bunnies end up released or sent to shelters or worse. People need to be aware that a rabbit is at least a 10 year commitment.

If you are thinking about purchasing a cute bunny for your child, choose a plush, stuffed rabbit. Real rabbits are sensitive and fragile creatures. They do not live on carrots or cabbage or ice cream that some authors put in children’s books. Rabbits need an appropriate diet of hay and greens, not crackers and chips.

Rabbits are never to be picked up by their ears. They can startle and be harmed easily. And without proper care and veterinary check ups, rabbits can die.

It should go without saying, Never, Never, Ever release a rabbit. They can be killed by predators, hit by cars, or worse. They can starve or become wounded, and die a painful death.

This is a photo of Nora. She lived for nearly 14 years.

Nora

She had surgery after she was attacked. She had several bouts of gastrointestinal stasis that required veterinary care. Later in life she had problems with her teeth which required treatment that included anesthesia. Anytime a rabbit is given anesthesia, complications can occur. And finding a good veterinarian can be difficult.

How cute is all of that???

Buy a plush bunny. They are cute and make great companions. They do not need to be feed. Litter boxes do not need to be cleaned. They do not need to see a veterinarian. And they will not die from neglect.

Plush Bunny

Or buy a chocolate bunny. Make bunny cupcakes or cookies. But don’t buy a Real Live Rabbit. They are not toys. They are lovely sensitive creatures who should be treated with love, care, and respect.


Make Mine Chocolate!

Make Mine Chocolate, UK Rabbit Welfare

House Rabbit Society

The best rabbit veterinarian on the California Central Coast is Dr. Susan Choy at Bear Valley Animal Clinic.


Found Pods

March 23rd, 2016

I went to Home Depot to purchase some hardware cloth. On the way to the car I found some gorgeous seed pods just right there on the ground. A little crushed, but still beautiful.

Seed Pods

I looked around to find the source. At first I couldn’t locate the tree, but then I found loads of pods on the ground beneath a tree. Still find it odd that trees are planted in parking lots. They seem so lonely.

Seed Pods

I did a google image search to find information about the pod. Pretty sure the tree is a Brachychiton. It may be Brachychiton populneus. Need to see the tree in bloom.

Here is a little closer look at the pods.

Seed Pods

The cool thing is that I have had this pod for several years. Can’t recall where I found it. And for some reason I never identified the source of the pod.

Seed Pod

I liked the bark, boat-like pod right off. And inside there are golden seeds covered with fuzz. While reading about Brachychiton populneus, I found this information:

Wear gloves when handling the seed pods to avoid their skin-irritating fuzz.

For a few years, I was an avid gardener. Avid, as in growing most plants from seed, working in the gardens everyday and most of the weekend.

During that time I did not make much in the way of art. I kept thinking that I could not make anything as beautiful as what was growing in my gardens.

I have gotten over that. Now I spend most of my time working in the studio. My gardens have been changed, plants have been removed. And here on the California Central Coast we are still dealing with the drought.

So, how will I use the pods in my work? Don’t know. Need to spend some time with them.

Definitely, considering adding a Brachychiton populneus to my gardens. And of course I will attempt to grow one from some of the seed that I have collected.


More information about Brachychiton populneus–

Brachychiton on Wikipedia

Australian National Herbarium


Work in Progress–Accustomed to Being Invisible

March 21st, 2016

Have you ever been standing in a shop looking at what is on the shelf a few feet away, suddenly someone walks in front of you, and in between you and the shelf? You step back, out of their way, because you were not seen. Have you ever walked up to an automatic door and found yourself standing there waiting for the door to open? Your presence was not recognized by a sensor. How many times have you touched your iPad screen to open an app and nothing happened? Could you be invisible?

Got to thinking about, well being invisible. And since most of the time I don’t really care if I am noticed, I started thinking about things of substance in nature that are hidden or invisible. Things that have an important function, but remain hidden to the casual viewer.

I am in the process of using plant parts that are typically hidden in my invisible series. The parts are beautiful, often with patterns imprinted on them as the result of their function in the life-cycle of the plants.

Interior Bits

These are the interior bits of Pandorea jasminoides. I collected some pods that I thought would be fun to use. When I opened the pods and removed the seeds, I found these beautiful shields.

I recently purchased a Pandorea jasminoides, specifically to harvest the pods, seeds, and other interior bits. This is the first harvested pod.

Pandorea jasminoides pod

Glycerin Mixture

The Pandorea jasminoides bits were soaked in a glycerin solution to make them more pliable and easier to stitch.

Invisible Code

Code to be used on Pandorea jasminoides bits.

Invisible Stitched

The Pandorea jasminoides bits were stitched with Alpaca Lace yarn. Each piece was stitched with a letter of the quote–accustomed to being invisible.

The current plan is to make a page with the coded pieces on one side and a bound small round mirror of the other side. I seriously thought about making knitted and fulled pages, but I am not pleased with the results, yet.

Decided to try using some embroidered pieces for the pages.

Front Page

The right side has–take notice in code. Not sure that I like it.

Back Page

Each embroidered piece is 45 squares (11.25″) wide and 58 squares (14.5″) high. The openness of the stitches is one of the reasons for using the roofing felt in between. I love roofing felt–the way it feels, smells, and looks. I started using roofing felt when I was investment casting. Some of the roofing felt that had been used in the casting process had lovely plaster stains. I liked the used roofing felt so much I used it in my Headbox series.


Blooms and Fragrance in My Gardens

March 21st, 2016

Brugmansia

Blooming and Fragrant Brugmansia.

Original plant was grown from seed that I purchased from seedman.com .This plant is a cutting from the original plant. The plant needs to be pruned often because it tends to want to grow 15 feet or taller.

Solandra maxima

This is my first Solandra Maxima. It has large gorgeous flowers that smell delicious.

I have taken numerous cuttings from the plant. There are Solandra maxima growing in several locations in my gardens.

Brugmansia

Brugs in the Garden

I removed several Brugs because of water rationing. These look slightly wilted, but the majority of the time, limited watering does not seem to be a bother. A large part of the day they are in filtered light.

Bird feeder Growing

For whatever reason this bird feeder is not attracting birds. After the rain I found sprouted seeds.

Bird feeder Sprouting

The bird feed has been taken down and cleaned.


The Agave Still Stands

March 9th, 2016

Agave

The Agave Today, 8 March 2016

Agave

First Photo of Agave Taken 24 March 2015


Books and the Book Series

February 2nd, 2016

Books have always been a part of my life. When we were children, my mother would take us to the library. When I was in college I would spend part of a day each week wandering through the stacks. After grad school, I started my library. I have nearly 1,500 books. There are books on art, artists, film, graphic design, gardening, horticulture, novels, children’s books, textbooks, and miscellaneous books on random topics.

I love reading, the way books feel in my hands, turning the pages, the fragrance of paper and ink. I was taught to respect books, but then something happened. I found that I really liked underlining. That grew to writing in the margins and using any white space to record ideas for possible work. Then I started folding corners and pages.

Books

When I open one of my books to locate a quote or some notes that I have made, it is quite enjoyable to revisit the story, to read a few pages or several chapters. To remember the first time that I read the book.


I resisted reading e-books. My iPad is thin, slippery, and has a bit of glare. How would I dog-ear pages, write in the margins, underline…

I tried reading a few books on my iPad and in doing so found that I could customize the text. I could make the text large enough that I no longer needed to wear glasses. I also found that I quite like reading light text on a black background. And I could read in the dark.

Then I found how easy it was to highlight, bookmark, and make notes. I could download the lot from amazon. A few adjustments to the downloaded file and I could import the text into my database of quotes and phrases. Yep, I have a database of words, phrases, quotes.


I have thought about making books, but one thing always stopped me. What will be on the pages? The thought of an empty book, seemed incomplete. I actually attempted constructing a few books over the years.

Twig Books

A couple of books constructed of materials collected from nature, fabric, paper, copper wire, and waxed linen cord. I saved a couple to remind myself why they did not work.

I also made a series of small books constructed of hardware cloth covers coated with Egyptian Paste. The covers were fired to cone 016. Hot enough for the clay to mature, but not hot enough to melt the hardware cloth. I cut copper and aluminum flashing for the pages. I bound the pages and covers together and fired the lot.

Egyptian Paste Book

Egyptian Paste Book Open

The pages have a lovely surface, but they are still empty.


The past several years I have used coded messages in my work. It is quite enjoyable to figure out ways to put text in my work that cannot actually be read as text but is seen as pattern. Well, the text could be read if the code is deciphered. And since I am not a cryptographer, it isn’t too difficult to figure out.

Dont Detail

This is a detail of code in a work that I have since completed. I used Morse code with rust yarn for the dots, gray yarn for the dashes, and cream yarn for the spacers. The bottom left corner has gray, rust, gray which is dash-dot-dash or a k.


I have decided to revisit books again with the idea of including coded text. Each book will have a theme: connection, grief/loss, invisible/visible, kindness, memory, nature, perception/seeing, power, reflection, self, truth…

My plan was to make wool knitted and fulled pages, with stitched coded messages, and dried and stitched plant bits. I knitted all sorts of stitch patterns to see which stitches would work best.

Then something unexpected happened. I had a dream, an epiphany. In the dream rather than making books I was making pages and framing them as artifact. Framed fragments of pages would be more compatible with my body of work. Was my creative self giving me a message or was the dream a mash up of a bunch of things that I had been thinking about throughout the day? No matter, I like the idea.

I began to approach knitting differently. Rather than knitting rectangles for book pages, I wanted the pieces to be odd shaped.

E wrap Purl Cable

The top portion was knitted. The piece was removed from the loom, rotated 45º, returned to the loom, and then the cable pattern was knitted.

Top Portion
Row 1 E-wrap (each peg twice)
Row 2 Purl (wrap)

Bottom Portion (Cable)
Row 1 Knit
Row 2 Purl
Row 3 Knit
Row 4 P,P, Twist Knit, P,P, Twist Knit…

This is the back of the above piece. It is important that the back is interesting because both sides of a page can be visible.

E wrap Purl Cable


This combination of stitches is quite nice. There does seem to be some consistency in my choices. It appears that I like knot-like stitches.

Figure 8 with E-wrap

Row 1 Figure 8
Row 2 E-wrap

If after fulling, the fabric still has holes, I plan to either weave in yarn or an i-cord.


Linen Stitch

The idea was to knit a long piece, full it, and fold it in half to create a signature. Then bind several signatures together.
Row 1 K all
Row 2 K, S… K
Row 3 K all
Row 4 S, K… S

It will be fun to see how the series evolves.