Sunday, 30 May 2010

Ridiculous and sublime

Falling down

Ever have one of those days where everything goes wrong?

Yesterday morning was like that for me.

When we got up, the temperature was hovering around the freezing mark, there was some scattered snow on the ground and our truck, and it was precipitating both rain and snow. And windy.

In other words, a thoroughly nasty day, built for staying home with my knitting and the odd nip of brandy poured into my tea.

But I was looking forward to going off for a day of paper-making at a friend's studio, so I roused myself, collected my lunch, thermos of hot tea, and a change of clothes and headed out to the truck, where my (mis)adventures began.

Couldn't find the snow brush, so I started to clean the windshield off with my gloved hands, and promptly stepped into a large, deep puddle. No problem thought I: I'm off to go make paper, and my feet will get wet anyway.

Started up the truck and turned on the defrost. This was a very Bad Move, as the next thing I knew, there was a loud squealing sound and smoke started to come out of the hood. Our air conditioning unit had seized, and the master belt that runs the electrics had fried. Instead of driving over to paper class, I would now have to take transit.

Well, crap I thought -- OK, there were a few well chosen swear words in there too, but this is a family-friendly blog. I removed all the stuff I had loaded into the cab, took them into the house, and tried to call to say I'd be late.

No dialtone on our landline phone. None.

Dug out my cellphone. It had run out of charge, but worked fine once I plugged it in. Called to explain the situation, apologized, and said I'd be there as quickly as I could (and, in fact, made it within an hour).

Old and new

Decided that I'd skip taking my camera and a bag of leather scraps, and while repacking, dropped the thermos. The glass-lined thermos full of pomegranate/raspberry tea. With the tinkle of glass shards ringing in my ears, I quickly picked it up and tossed it into the kitchen sink, leaking hot tea through the dining room and kitchen.

By this point, I was close to tears, but was determined to go anyway. Grabbed my purse and pack, and headed out the door to get to our nearest bus stop. When I got there, laying in the door of the shelter, was a dead sparrow, who had obviously, and unsuccessfully, tried to take a shortcut. I knew how he felt, and again seriously considered just turning around, throwing myself back into bed, and pulling the covers over my head.

Amazingly, I had barely a five-minute wait for the bus, and although I just missed the train downtown, the bus I would have transferred to was the next block away, and so I had a nice, warm ride the rest of the way.

By the time I arrived, I missed the history of paper part of the program, and most of the let's tear these cotton linters up and whizz them in the blender section as well, but quickly started pulling sheets of paper with everyone else, finishing with a nice collection of small abaca and kozo sheets, some large sheets of cotton, one small layered cotton paper with flower petals, and a small cotton sheet with pulp painting.

Much to my amazement, nothing else terrible happened the rest of the day, except that I now have found yet another hobby I could really immerse myself in (hey, I need paper to make books out of!).

But since I didn't take the camera with me, I don't have pictures of the papers, although I will once they are dried and I pick them up next weekend.

And the truck isn't totally doomed: a quick trip to the part supply store will provide a new belt (this is a recurring problem, so we know what needs to be done) and five minutes of installation later, we'll be back on the road. That's tomorrow's grand adventure.

Four months old

But I do have happy pictures to show from last weekend's walk through our neighbourhood park, and am thrilled that my big accomplishment this week was finally organizing the studio and computer area. I'm not done with the latter, but it's now much more useable than it was.

For today, it's time for some knitting, a few sketches for a new book and an installation, a little French Open tennis, and the finish of the Giro d'Italia.

And maybe a tot of brandy in my tea....

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Knock, knock

Is it too early for the studio tour?

Who's there?
Just your friendly neighbourhood hare.

We live about a mile away from a large park, and it's not uncommon at dawn and dusk to see wildlife either coming along the front walk or in our back yard. (Sadly, we also have a large number of cats without collars or licenses as well.) This happy fellow found good browsing right outside my studio window.


As well as wildlife, this is a very artsy neighbourhood, and I was able to go check out Bee Kingdom's really fabulous work at their open house the beginning of the month. I love hot glass, and have taken a few courses: I'm no Dale Chihuly, but I'm more competent in front of a glory hole than I am seated at a sewing machine. Shooting at Bee Kingdom gave me some practice in capturing artwork that I hope I can translate into taking better pictures of my own pieces.

Since I'm now down to the last half-dozen or so boxes from the move, I've started doing more work in the studio, even though I need to spend a full day organizing it so that I can work efficiently. The computer area will be done at the same time, as I've got things sitting in each area that need to be moved to the other end of the hall.

In the interim, however, I've started going out and shooting more photographs: the last two Saturdays have been spent with Cat Schick and other locals, prowling around downtown Calgary. I've adopted a decidedly "art" approach to these trips, as opposed to my usual "documentary" view of shooting. It's been fun, and I've had the opportunity to visit some places I've not been, either "ever" or "for awhile," and shift some internal perceptions.

Which way is up?

Sometimes I'm not sure where I'm going, and it might look a little confused, but it's all starting to sort itself out. I'm working on a new book, figuring out the wording, building models of some different bindings, and thinking about what's important.

Books for Sale

The shop is currently empty.