Acacia Bloom

November 18th, 2015

Just when I thought my dollar find Acacia was not long for this world, it started to bloom.

Acacia bloom

Slat Book and the Bead Loom

November 18th, 2015

Last night I was looking through some work in progress and saw a bead loom. It was a gift that I never used, but thought it might come in handy for something, some day.

Bead Loom

A bead loom is basically springs attached to a wood frame. In my limited use of springs, it makes sense that a larger spring would work when weaving thicker fiber.

Something that did occur to me when removing the piece from the loom, it would be a good idea to place a rod next to the spring and wrap the fiber around the rod before placing in the spring.

Bead Loom With Rod

After quickly trying my idea, I found that there was a need for clamps to the hold the rod in place.

Back to the weaving experiment: I strung the bead loom with some nettle and started weaving. I used cream wool, nettle, and Tecoma pods.

Bead Loom Result

The result is exciting because it might be the solution to my slat book problem. I plan to use Pandorea jasminoides parts, stitched with a letter in code.

Plant Bits

Slat books typically use regular shaped pieces for each of the slats. The Pandorea jasminoides parts are a variety of widths and lengths. I really like them because they bring to mind shields.

If I were to use a similar weaving process, I think it just might work. I plan to try using three strand of nettle on each side leaving the central section of the Pandorea jasminoides parts open for easy reading of the code. Well, maybe not actually easy reading. It will be code.

Slat Book with information about the plant materials and code posted on September 17th, 2015

Slat Book with information about glycerin and code posted on October 11th, 2015

Serendipitous events can result in great ideas.
Or, discovery makes making art so much fun.

Agave Update

November 12th, 2015

This is a photo of the agave next door taken on November the 9th. Often there are a dozen or more doves perched in the top. And the agave has quite the tilt.


This is how it began. One of the first photos taken of the agave on March 24th.


Potential New Art Material–Tecoma stans

November 12th, 2015

I have been watching this plant for a few months.

Tecoma Leaves

Tecoma Flowers

When I first saw it there were thin bean-like green pods. I thought that they would be a possible art material. Curious about the pods. How would they change with age?

Tecoma Flowers and Pods

Tecoma Seeds

Tecoma Parts

The reddish-brown speckled pods bring to mind young birch branches.

Tecoma Pods

Hope to weave them with wool and cotton fiber. Unfortunately, they are quite fragile. In the past I would have used hot wax to make them more usable, to give them strength to withstand the stitching and weaving processes. Thinking about giving them a soak in glycerin.

The Agave After the Chain Saw

October 19th, 2015

Yesterday our neighbor had someone in to clean up the agave. The fellow used a chain saw to remove the bottom leaves.

Agave and Chain Saw

Agave Base

Agave Puckered

Agave Debris

Agave Debris

I snagged some of the fruit. I plan to let it dry and see what happens to the seeds.

Agave Fruit

This is how the agave looks today.

Agave Now

After the agave is removed, we will need to clean and paint our wall.


Glycerin Test Results

October 12th, 2015

I removed the plant parts from the water and glycerin solution after 4 hours.

Test Water Glycerin

The next morning after they dried, I noticed they were definitely more pliable.

Test Water Glycerin Bend

Not easy taking a photo with an iPad of your own hand while holding something.

I removed a test from the denatured alcohol and glycerin solution after 16 hours. It was inflexible and snapped.

Test Alcohol Glycerin

I suspect the alcohol solution would be better for preserving the plant parts, rather than for my purposes. The jar does not take up much space so I will check them daily for improvement.

Sticks and Stones

October 12th, 2015

Yesterday I hung Sticks and Stones, but immediately realized two things: the piece is far too small for the space, and the lower right corner tends to bow out a bit.

Sticks and Stones

It is nice having something in that space. Need to start planning a larger piece.

How to fix the bow?

The piece is constructed of two pieces of hardware cloth bound together.

Sticks and Stones Back

Sticks and Stones Front

Bending should be an easy fix for the bowed out corner, but when I gave it a go, it did not change how it hung.

It really should be bent a bit toward the center, but I do not want to risk breaking the sticks that make up the code.

Sticks and Stones Code Detail

The plan is to let it hang until I figure out the bow problem.

Slat Book Progress…

October 11th, 2015

I have been planning to make a slat book using the middle bit (ovary) from Pandorea jasminoides seed pods. I planned the code, “accustomed to being invisible” that will be stitched onto the plant bits.

Invisible Code

Holes in Pandorea jasminoides

I used a needle tool to make holes in one piece. The piece fractured in half.
I then used a Dremel to drill holes. When I started stitching, with nettle, part of the edge broke away.

This is what the nettle twine looks like with the Pandorea jasminoides bits.

I decided to give glycerin a go to soften the pieces and to make them able to take the stitching. I am trying to solutions–one with hot water and one with denatured alcohol.


The jar on the left is a solution of 1 part gylcerin and 2 parts hot water.
The jar on the right is a solution of 2 parts glycerin and 1 part denatured alcohol.

It is interesting that many processes do require waiting. Sometimes a process can be sped up, most of the time patience is required.


October 2nd, 2015

Agave Leaves

Current State of Many Agave Leaves

Top of the Agave

Top of the Agave Has a Tilt

Agave Seed Pod

Inside of an Agave Seed Pod

There are loads of critters living on and around the agave. The spider in the following photo has a huge web between sections of the agave. When the spider saw me, it tucked in its legs. When I moved in for a closer look, it skittered to its hiding space among some seed pods.

Agave and Spider

Spider Living in Agave

Bird of Paradise Seeds: Planting Day

September 19th, 2015

Seeds Poured Into Screen

Seeds Poured Into Screen

Removed Orange Spongy Cover

Removed Orange Spongy Cover

Seeds and Removed Orange Spongy Cover

Seeds and Removed Orange Spongy Cover

Removed Orange Cover Left to Dry

Removed Orange Spongy Cover Left to Dry

Seeds Prior to Rinsing

Seeds Prior to Rinsing

Rinsing the Seeds

Rinsing the Seeds

Scarred Seeds with a File

Scarred Seeds with a File

Planted 36 Seeds in Cactus Mix

Planted 36 Seeds in Cactus Mix

Used a clothes pin to label the plantings because the blue jays living in my garden like to remove any type of easily pulled out stick label.

Planted the remaining 25 seeds directly into the garden.

Now I wait.