Archive for March, 2013

See A Penny Jute Border

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Before adding the jute border.

See Penny Before Jute Border

After adding the jute border.

See Penny After Jute Border

Corner Detail.

See Penny After Jute Border

Need to add some more jute stitches to the corners and then the piece will be ready for aging.

My New Favorite Tool… a thimble

Friday, March 29th, 2013

I always had one of those metal thimbles in my sewing box. Never used it. I liked the look of it, but it didn’t really fit and felt bulky.

I recently ran across a silicone and metal thimble. Since I have been doing a lot of stitch work I decided to try it.

Thimble View 2

The thimble is comfortable and is great for pushing the needle through my work.

Thimble View 1

After several hours of work, I went to the kitchen for a snack. Started washing my hands and there it was. Had actually forgotten that I was wearing it.

It sure beats using pliers to pull the needle through my work. I suspect using the thimble will also extend the life of my needles.

Clover Protect and Grip Thimbles

Potentially Dangerous Can Be Beautiful

Friday, March 29th, 2013

I recently snagged some Oleander pods from the parking lot of a neighborhood restaurant. In California it is common to have plantings in parking lots.

Oleander has a reputation for killing people and animals. Some stories have a valid science component, others lean toward myth and urban legend.

The pods I snagged have dried and opened exposing their lovely seeds.

Oleander Pod with Seeds

Why did I snag the seed pods? I use poison plant bits in my work. Some of the bits that I use are from plants banned in a few states. The reason for the ban is reactionary. A couple of kids decide to get high, use too much, have a bad reaction, and the plant is held responsible.

Each of the cups in my Poison Cup series has a small bag of bits from poisonous plants. These are a few of the bags included in the series.

Seed Bags

The title of the series is actually Preservation. While the cups refer to the tea ceremony and poison goblets, the cups have been perforated making them a nice vessel for seedlings.


Treat with Respect contains the seed bag in the upper right corner of the above graphic.
The bag contains 11 Castor Bean seeds.

Additional image of the series can be seen on my website.

Nerium (Oleander)

Fatal Wienie Roast

Oleander Poisoning


The Poison Garden Website

The Merck Veterinary Manual

See a Penny… I will finish this piece?

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

The following quote from François Truffaut’s film Day for Night comes to mind when thinking about the Penny piece.

“Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive.”

I have been living with the penny piece hanging in my studio. Before I wax the piece and construct a cedar box/frame/crate for it, I must be happy with the border.
See A Penny

It is not substantial enough so I decided to make an I-cord to bind onto the edge.


When I finished the I-cord and placed it next to the piece it didn’t work for me. Too many different stitches and too many colors of cotton. The wax application will help integrate the materials, but the I-cord does not add what I had hoped.

I-cord with piece

Decided rather than the border as just the edge, it will include the few inches to the edge. Added jute and coconut fiber to the piece to define the “new” border and to add some color.

Jute and Coconutfiber

If you haven’t used coconut fiber, be prepared to wear safety gear—mask, goggles, and gloves. The fiber is quite sharp and dirty. Actually it is a good idea to wear a mask when working with jute and some other fiber.

This is how the I-cord looks now.
I-cord on Piece

The current plan is to insert jute rope through the I-cord and then bind the lot to the piece with a combination of cotton and jute.

Jute Rope

When I bought jute rope the blurb stated it was treated to prevent rot. I asked the representative from the company what that meant. He said the rope was treated with kerosene. I knew it was a bit dangerous using a hot wax technique and torching the lot, but the word kerosene gave me pause.

Why hadn’t I set myself on fire?

When using hot wax and a torch I always keep a fire extinguisher at the ready. I was using bamboo as part of the structure for some pieces and apparently the interior of bamboo can be in flames before the exterior. Rather exciting to see it happen.

La Nuit Américaine (Day for Night) is a film within a film, the director is the actor playing the director, and there are loads of bits about filmmaking. And day for night is a technique for shooting film during the day to give the illusion of night.

François Truffaut
Hack Writers
François Truffaut – the man who loved actors
Day for Night

Aphids, Lichens, Rust, Mold…

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Aphids and Lichens

Aphids and Lichens

Yesterday I found a few of my Hellebores were covered with aphids. How does that happen? I had just purchased a bottle of peppermint castile soap and decided to give the plants a washing and a cutting.

The lichens were seen on stones in the mountains behind our house. I have taken photos of loads of lichens but never red.

Aphids and Lichens

Rust and Mold

A rose bush very near the Hellebores has small orange splotches. I didn’t know it was rust until I did a google search. According to the Royal Horticultural Society what I found is probably the parasitic fungus, Phragmidium tuberculatum. More cutting will be needed.

The rose bush, actually more of a vine was here when we bought the house. We keep digging it up, attempting to move it, apparently never getting it all because it keeps coming back.

The mold is growing on a container of tomato and basil hummus. The container was hidden behind a large dish of couscous.

Why did I take photos of such things? It is interesting to see surfaces transformed in a natural way. There can be beauty in things that are opportunistic and even a bit destructive. Something small can make a difference.

Lichen on Fence

I had lovely gardens that took a lot of care. Recently I decided that I needed to spend less time in the gardens and more time in the studio. There isn’t enough time for everything. Strong plants should survive. Since I have found multiple things to damage the existing plants and trees, I suspect it is time to clear out everything potentially damaging and tend to the plants and trees that remain.

We finally did take down a tree that had been sick for quite a few years. Tried to save it because it was being grown for a source of art material. It is a sad day when a tree must be removed. Trying to think of the future and that we can use the space to grow dwarf citrus trees. I do love a good orange, but I am sure going to miss the tree.

Seeping Tree

Sad Plant Update

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013
Sad Plant

26 February 2013

Sad Plant

2 March 2013