Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

Restacked Mantel Wood

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

Our neighbor gave me a pair of columns that she had been using as part of a table. Each column is 29″ x 8.5″ x 9″ and solid concrete.

Columns

Columns on Hand Truck

Before placing them in the garden I made a couple of decisions. The first…the bottom should be the top.

Columns

Left Side Was How The Columns Had Been Used
The Right Side is the Proper Orientation

The thin section at the bottom will not be visible. So, the only thing that bothers me is the tulip-like doodad. Just too fussy.

Column Doodad

When I began converting the courtyard form exotic plants to drought tolerant plants, one of the first decisions was to remove the wallpieces and to paint the walls grey. It is difficult to tell from the photos taken in my studio, but the columns were too stark, too bright even in the shade.

Column

The Whiteness of the Columns is Emphasized When Placed Next to the Grey Wall

Originally I wanted to break off some hunks before aging them, but thought I would wait to see how they looked with a found wood mantel. I snagged some ash from a friend’s actual fireplace to use, if I decide to fix the columns up a bit more.

Column Fixed Up

For 4 days, I had 3 pieces of wood stacked on top of the columns to help me decide if three boards had enough visual weight to work with the top of the columns.

Mantel Wood

The boards are not quite as wide as the columns. And they could not sit against the wall because of the wallpiece/trellises. Each layer will have two pieces of wood to make the proper width, with a 2″ overhang in the front.

Planning to strap the wood together with metal…aluminum or copper shim. I can patina copper, but the current appearance of the materials is a bit too clean for my typical gritty surface work. The width of the metal will probably be two thirds of the section at the now top of the columns.

When I was making my morning cocoa, thought I would take one last look before cutting the wood.

This is what I found–

Mantel Wood

The wood is nicely stacked in the opposite order it had been stacked on the columns. Lucky that the stack did not break plants or the stone defining the space for the hearth.

I phoned my husband to inquire if he had moved the wood. He had not. He seems to believe that an animal could have been responsible for the restacking. His best guess–opossum. We did catch a couple opossums over the years in our humane trap when we were attempting to catch squirrels.

This was the most recent captured opossum.

Opossum in Trap

And after it was released–

Released Opossum in Trap

Opussum

Opossum After Release Stayed in the Wisteria for Several Hours

I restacked the wood on the columns and attempted to reproduce what I found this morning. Every time resulted in a messy stack.

Mantel Wood

So what did happen? Did an animal (opossum) drop down from the oak tree and cause the restacking?

Curious…

Mullein

The reddish brown stalk is from a volunteer that I think is a variety of mullein. It is nearly ready to harvest.

I have been fond of mullein since I used it in my Greta piece, part of my MFA exhibition.


An additional note…the garden was sloping when I began planning for the faux fireplace. I leveled it by adding soil that I removed from the now rock/succulent garden. I also added gravel under each of the columns. I had to build up the right side with nearly 4″ of gravel more than uncer the left column.

I leveled the garden area, each column, and the columns together. Then I placed a single piece of wood on the columns and leveled the lot. Pretty sure the faux fireplace will appear level and straight when it is completed.

Can’t wait to see it with snake plant (Sansevieria) inside for faux flames. I have wanted to use snake plant for flames ever since I viewed Blue Velvet.

Blue Velvet Snake Plants

A Quick Screenshot From the Film Blue Velvet

My plan is to plant the snake plant directly in the garden inside the faux fireplace. The weather is so mild, for the most part, on the California Central Coast. And since they will be protected, they should thrive.


More Ants on Flowers

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Tadpole

Ants on a Pandorea jasminoides Flower

Noticed a few pods, so I snagged them.

Pods

Previous posts on Pandorea jasminoides pods use as an art material–

Accustomed to Being Invisible

Invisible Stitched

Changes

Changes


Casemaking Again

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

I am in the process of making a trellis for the courtyard wall. It will be similar to the trellis on the wall that wraps around the corner. I needed a piece of 1″ fence to use as a support for the vertical bamboo pieces.

Trellis

I found a piece of fence that was to have been used in a project with cotton twine. The cut bits are sharp unless they are ground down, so the edge was taped until a border was attached.

Taped Fence

When I flipped the piece of fence over, I noticed casemaking moths attached to the tape. For insects that are supposed to be particularly fond of animal fiber, they sure seem to show up on loads of surfaces.

Casemaking

Not sure if they are alive. Seeing them did remind me to try placing items that may have been exposed to casemaking moths in the trunk of the car. An entomologist that I met while hiking, mentioned exposing the casemaking moths to the heat in the car over a period of a couple of weeks. He seemed to think the exposure should kill all forms of the casemaking cycle.

I do not like killing anything, but the casemaking moths can’t seem to stay outside, away from my studio work and sweaters. Frustrating, but not the bane of my existence.


Fish Tank, Cassia and Tecoma stans Blooms

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

While visiting my brother-in-law and his very cool wife, I checked out their room divider fish tank.

Unfortunately, I only had my old iPod with me. So, photos are lacking. The colors are so vibrant and the movement was mesmerizing.

A bit like watching succulents in movement… Yep, I have succulents on my mind.

Tank

Tank

Tank

Tank

Tank

Tank

Plan to go back to take photos.

Noticed the Cassia tree is blooming.

Blooms

This is a photo I took of the same Cassia tree one evening in December, 2014. The tree is larger and the branches are full of buds and blooms that are nearly covering the bird of paradise.

Cassia Tree

Detail of beautiful pods from the Cassia tree I collected in 2014.

Cassia Tree Pods

Also noticed the Tecoma stans was in bloom.

Tecoma stans Flowers

Snagged another handful of seedpods.


Bound Bulb Leaves

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

The large draping leaves of a bulb that isn’t quite done yet, were shading some new additions to the garden. Since binding is a component of my art work, thought I would give it a go in the garden. Plan to move the bulb with the bound leaves to a different location.

Bound Bulb Leaves

This is the same type of bulb that was recently relocated from another garden space.

Bound Leaves

This is another type of bulb with braided and bound leaves.

Bound Leaves

I used jute cord for binding knowing that the leaves would eventually turn shades of golden brown.

I am liking the bound verticals in the garden. If several were together it would be more interesting. When I began converting the garden to larger drought tolerant plants, the bulb was blooming. It had numerous white flowers. Lovely flowers, so didn’t want to move it.


2017 Anniversary Piece

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Each year I make a piece for our wedding anniversary. This year marks 34 years. Crazy, where does the time go???

This year I used hardware cloth and self striping sock yarn to make 35 squares, one for each year. Each square has the same background stitch of gray yarn. The dots of the code are in orange and the dashes are in yellow.

2017 Anniversary

Left side was original design.
Right side is the stitch layout used for each square.

2017 Anniversary

Detail of 2017 square and how the piece is attached.

2017 Anniversary

Square for each year of anniversary bound together.

2017 Anniversary

Completed and framed piece.
Chalkboard paint and purple chalk application for an aged appearance.

Usually I make my own frames. This year I ran out of time so I purchased a frame. The frame is too deep for the piece. Also, it was difficult painting the frame. The glass was fixed in place and could not be removed. I taped it up, but the internal frame that holds the glass in place was white and could not be painted. And it could be seen. I used a black permanent marker on the glass. Definitely not good craftsmanship.

Making a frame with the proper depth will be necessary.

Placing pieces in frames, rather than directly on the wall changes how the pieces are view. I like the idea that you can see and touch the pieces, but a bit of protection might be in order. It has been difficult keeping pieces free of dust and in some cases insects.

Framing pieces, if done properly, just might give the feel of artifact. Need to think on it and make some frames for some of my work in progress. Live with them for a time and then decide if framing is a good for the work.


Courtyard Wallpieces

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Over the weekend I made two wallpieces for my courtyard garden. The wallpieces will break up the wall while acting as trellises for vines.

Courtyard Wallpiece

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wall has a step design that makes it difficult for spacing. I tried equal spacing between and around the wallpieces, but the edge of the right wallpiece hit a step in the wall that visually wasn’t working.

I moved the pieces to 3 feet from the corners. Still didn’t feel right.

Courtyard Wallpiece

I am leaning toward placing the wallpieces centered with the wall steps. In the center of the wall is a Cordia boissieri (Texas Wild Olive).

Cordia boissieri

It is small now, but should eventually fill the space.

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wallieces were made using simple Bargello embroidery stitches. Materials List–1 inch fence (41″ x 31″), coconut fiber rope, and sisal rope.

Courtyard Wallpiece Rope

Safety when working with fiber–wear a respirator, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt.

Coconut fiber is beautiful, but it is extremely prickly, dusty, and dirty. This is part of what I swept up.

Courtyard Wallpiece Dust


What is it?

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Cooktop

It is not solder on metal.

Cooktop

It is burnt sugar on a glass cooktop. Burnt sugar is quite beautiful.

Cooktop

It appears that the pan had come in contact with the strawberry pie dish. Why was the bottom of the pan left unwashed???

Previous post on sugar and its possible use as an art material.

Burnt Sugar


Again With the Casemaking Moths and Possible Easy Solution

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

I am in the process of cleaning and clearing my studio in order to have enough space to begin a new project.

While cleaning my work bench I found casemaking moths.

Casemaking Moths

Casemaking moth in a small bowl of cold wax test pieces.
The casemaking moth is in the center on the penny bound with wool.

Finding the casemaking moths brought to mind a recent conversation I had with an entomologist. I specifically asked him how to address the casemaking moth problem.

He said that an easy solution was to put my work in the my car. What would that accomplish? One of the ways to kill casemaking moths is to use heat. He also recommended tossing the stuff in a plastic bin with a few moth balls. I don’t recall which moth balls he recommended, naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. I would prefer not using chemicals.

But, it never occurred to me to use the heat in the car. That would be an easy fix, especially since most of my work will not fit in the freezer.

He mentioned that his wife had success killing an insect infestation in the wood horn of a recently purchased used saddle.

Previous Posts

It is Not a Pod…

What Happened?

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking Moth Damage–Alpaca yarn embroidered on harware cloth.

Tinea pellionella

A Perfect Environment for Moths


Would the interior temperature in a car kill moths?

American Veterinary Medical Association

AVMA Temp Chart

The AVMA credits–Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University,
for creating the estimated vehicle interior temperature chart.

Alternatives, A Washington Toxics Coalition Fact Sheet, Clothing Moths-Prevention and Control by Jennie Goldberg states–“High heat (in excess of 99”F for one week) will destroy all life stages of the moth.”

It appears that the interior temperature of a car will kill moths.
Need to perform some tests to find out for sure.


Dropped Leaves

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Plant

Succulent

The color of the leaves is definitely not right.
I took the photo with my iPad in my studio.
The color of the leaves should be a grey green.

Succulent

Flip side of the small leaf.
When I gathered the leaves I noticed that they felt soft and very warm.
Like a thick bunny ear.

Succulent

The leaves collect everything.
It is common for earwigs to live all cozy in the top leaves.
I give the leaves a weekly cleaning with a soft bristle brush.

Four leaves fell. I am drying two and the other two are sitting in a glycerin solution, just to see what happens.

Art material? Molds or stitching?