Celebration 50th Birthday Piece In Progress

Sometimes when I begin a project I make a layout in Flash. By making symbols for each letter and number I can quickly compose a layout while preventing errors in the code.

Vertical Layout 1963

Vertical Layout 05111963

Horizontal Layout 2013

Horizontal Layout 05112013

1963 and 2013

Horizontal 2013 Over Vertical 1963

1963 and 2013

Layout With Dated Pennies

The piece is composed of wool, cotton, pennies, hardware cloth, burlap, and starch.

Piece in Wool

The knotted piece connects two pennies (1963 and 2013) is to be hung next to the woven piece. There is a sentiment in Morse Code substituting knots for dots, dashes, and spacers. Grey knots represent dots, cream knots represent dashes, and rust knots are used as spacers between letters of words and larger spaces between words.

Detail 1963 and 2013 Pennies

Detail of component to hang next to woven piece.

The next part of the process is to construct a cedar box/frame. The woven piece will probably be attached with brads. I haven’t decided on the hanger for the knotted component.

Celebration–A Mixed Media Piece

I am in the process of completing a personal project to celebrate the 40th birthday of a family member. I saw an image of nautical flags used for code and liked the idea of each flag representing a letter of the alphabet. I decided to make my own alphabet of stitched pieces for each letter of the alphabet, numbers from 0 to 9, and two types of spacers. I have included images of the actual stitched blocks that I used for this project. The blocks are composed of a piece of 1/4″ hardware cloth, a piece of starched burlap, and cotton embroidery floss.

I attached the blocks vertically together with jump rings just to get a notion of how they would look. Each block is approximately 1.5″ x 1.75″ and the spacers are .75″ and .5″ in height which makes the pieces if stitched together approximately 1.5″ wide and 63″ in height.


While the jump rings are a visual distraction, I do like the the vertical arrangement. When I decide for sure, I will build a narrow cedar box/frame to house the blocks. Currently the plan is to wax the blocks and attach them to the inside of the box with brads.

Block 0

Block Number 0

Block 1

Block Number 1

Block 2

Block Number 2

Block 3

Block Number 3

Block 4

Block Number 4

Block 7

Block Number 7

Block 9

Block Number 9

Block A

Block Letter A

Block B

Block Letter B

Block C

Block Letter C

Block D

Block Letter D

Block E

Block Letter E

Block H

Block Letter H

Block I

Block Letter I

Block L

Block Letter L

Block O

Block Letter O

Block R

Block Letter R

Block S

Block Letter S

Block T

Block Letter T

Spacer 1

Spacer 1

Spacer 2

Spacer 2

Custom Fragrance

My backyard garden has the most amazing fragrance in the morning. It is the combination of the fragrance of Brugmansia, Wisteria, and the blossoms of a lemon tree yet to be planted.

Lemon Tree

Don’t be too quick to remove weeds from your garden. This “weed” has a lovely flower that I would never have seen if I had removed it from my garden.


Unexpected Connections To The Past

Tim and I went to grad school at WSU in Pullman. Friday He rang me to say he was on his way to Pullman. One of his former students was having their thesis show. We caught up and reminisced. I can’t believe that it has been 20 years since I had my thesis show.

On Saturday I received a letter and the following newspaper clipping from Mark, my friend from my days at Ohio State. He saw the article and remembered how excited I would get whenever I opened a kiln to see what the kiln gods gave me.

Soda-Fired Article

Hearing from Tim, reading Mark’s letter, and seeing Dustin Harris’ soda-fired piece brought back memories of my own past firing experiences and my year as a research assistant working for Ann Christenson on her vapor glazing project.

Phone call and letter, coincidence and connections. I am fortunate to have such thoughtful friends.

Ann’s Work

More of Ann’s work can be viewed on her website.

Tim’s Work

An image from Tim’s Figures in Landscape series. You can see more on his website.

Dustin Harris Piece

More of Dustin Harris’ work can be seen here.

Cracked and Melted Glass

I subscribe to several craft blogs so that I am never short of ideas for craft projects while visiting my niece and nephew. Occasionally, I will read about a technique or material that might be reworked for a project that I might want to make. A few days ago I read a post about cracked glass stones on the Dollar Store Crafts blog. The instructions were simple–oven temperature 425º for 20 minutes and then an ice bath.

I liked the idea of it, heating glass stones and then immersing them in ice water for a rapid cooling. This is not all that different from raku firing, remove work from a hot kiln, then cooling it quickly in a bucket of water. Quenching after raku firing is more dramatic, but a similar notion.

I thought that I would give it a try. Picked up a bag of glass stones at the local Dollar Tree. Surprised to find 100 stones in the bag.

Glass Stones Before

I lined the baking sheet with paper and spaced the stones a finger width apart.

Glass Stones After

The paper liner came in handy to lift and pour the hot stones into the ice bath.

Glass Stones in Ice Bath

Stones in the ice bath.

Glass Stones Cracked

The result is some nice and at times subtle fractures.

What are my plans? I was thinking about the possibility of using fractured glass bits as part of code in some of my work. I could use the color of the stones or the method for binding them to act as an aesthetic element which is also code.

I got to thinking about some tests that I did in a kiln firing with metal tins and glass beads. I had a bunch of beads left from some craft projects and thought might be able to somehow use them.

Glass Beads Fired in Kiln

Glass beads with a bit of metal mesh in tin fired to approximately cone 015.

Glass Beads and Pins Fired in Kiln

Glass beads and straight pins in tin fired to approximately cone 015.

I was hoping for some slumping of the glass over the metal bits. That didn’t happen, but there is always something positive with every test. Something to use in a different way or to build on. Sometimes I may not integrate the results into a project for several years. It is important to keep records. It saves a lot of time and testing in the future.

Roger Ebert, You Will Be Remembered

My nephew was born on April 11th, 1973. When he was 18 months old he was admitted to the hospital. While there he was given an injection of insulin that resulted in coma and brain damage. He died after surgery in 1990. When his birthday comes around I still celebrate his life. I have baked cakes, made sculpture, gone for hikes, whatever seemed appropriate for remembering him.

What does that have to do with Roger Ebert? On April 11th last year Roger wrote a blog post about the recent losses of family and friends.

“Memory. It makes us human. It creates our ideas of family, history, love, friendship. Within all our minds is a narrative of our own lives and all the people who were important to us. Who were eyewitnesses to the same times and events.”

My memory includes watching Roger talk about film, reading his books, and over the past year reading his blog. If I read reference to a film and wanted to know more I would read Roger’s review. He was like the professor who exuded so much passion about the course, you never wanted it to end.