Friday, February 27, 2009

sugar, have you seen that nice curved fold-up pruning saw?

(shhh. it's in the shed. it carves damp plaster like nobody's business.)

and: plaster left outside under the shed windowledge with rain dripping off the roof makes the plaster look like coral. so I could set some of the molds out and let the rain carve them, and manipulate that with moving them, covering parts, carving, staining. waxing some parts, maybe. what would leaves from the cherry tree do if they were left inside one? (they stain things the loveliest lushest pink-rust-red.)

I've packed some with moss harvested from the bottom of the alder tree. I wonder if the dirt and moss will stain the plaster. and if I brought the molds inside, with the moss, would it dry and keep its shape. or I suppose I could keep it moist and have a nice indoor moss garden. how cool would that be?

last night I almost couldn't sleep thinking, oh what if I set some of the molds in the creek. with the water rushing over them and let the water carve them that way.

life is so good some days. it's days like this that I think the bleakness and despair is an illusion, a delusion. but of course in the middle of sorrow and anxiety the possibility of possibility seems unreal. I don't know why I have such an either-or personality. it's certainly a challenge to learn to live with.

but enough about that.

the sun is shining on the shed, wet and sparkling from last night's frost. the moss is everywhere, soft and gorgeous. little violets are blooming at the feet of the cherry tree. and the whole sky is blue.

Friday, February 20, 2009

my camera's back!

it's been away for two weeks. hence the uncharacteristic exclamation point.

and I have candles. lots of jam and pickle and various other sorts of jars. so I'm going to make some tea, go light some candles, and take some pictures. and next month some of the molds will be on display in portland at an international women's day event; I got the confirmation email today.

(and last night I lay in bed and couldn't get to sleep thinking about - knowing, in advance of the act - how it would feel to cut into a piece of plaster the size of a refrigerator, how the chainsaw, or the hedge trimmer, or the pruning saw would feel in my hand. and then stain made from the rust of something or other, to glaze it, and then wax. and to polish it, silk pulled and pulled again through the cut out holes.)

but at the moment I have supper dishes to attend to. so I'd best go and do that, because if I don't get up and get moving and get it done now I won't be able to laze around in bed tonight. the magdalene sisters is tonight's movie. the last one in my netflix queue was rabbit-proof fence, it was very good. king of masks I liked as well, turned out I'd seen it before.

oh yes! ( it's a two-exclamation mark day. I might break out into initial capitals at some point.) another exciting thing. I've decided I'm going to take some classes this fall. haven't decided what yet. no sense rushing. I'm sure something interesting will present itself. the important thing is that I know I want to do it. so what it turns out to be - painting, tai chi, flower arranging, budgeting, square dancing, what does it matter. welding, carpentry, how to tile a floor, how to make chocolates.

Friday, February 13, 2009

the plaster isn't content to be scratched at anymore.

it wants to be hacked at, with a piece of metal bent like a bow, the sharp edges wrapped in a piece of an old skirt.

I have resolved the question I have been wrestling with in relation to the ethics of rendering the molds unusable as molds. there are more than enough paint-your-own ceramic bowls resting on shelves all over the world. the loss of the bowls this particular mold might have made is balanced by the joy I am taking in making the mold into something I haven't yet decided, driven by impulses I don't stop to question as long as the chips of plaster are falling, are flying.

so I've decided this year to call myself a sculptor. and I have dreams of summer days, plaster I've mixed and molded myself, and handmade tools with handles of bamboo, or wood gleaned from the beach. of faces dug in the damp, firm sand along the river, and plaster mixed with riverwater poured in, and whatever messes might result from that.

and then the faces, left to weather.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I've decided to think of myself as prolific rather than obsessive, as far as making things goes.

it seems more positive.

at the moment, I'm in love with plaster. the molds are coming along. I've made prints off some of them, given some of the carved painted waxed molds away as gifts, or in exchange for things, but most of them are still pale and patient, in the garage.

the plaster carves nicely. especially when it's damp, on a foggy morning, just after the school bus has gone down the hill and the birds are promising sun later on in the day. I was doing more scratching at first, learning the tools. so a lot of the first ones are very complicated, all sorts of confusing mishmashes of strokes, but I'm teaching myself so it's mostly trial and error.

and there are fine differences I'm enjoying learning about. that, for instance, damp plaster rubbed with a dry cloth gives a different effect than dry plaster rubbed with a damp cloth. and who could have predicted - well. someone could have, I suppose. but I didn't. the lovely surprise when the black food colouring turned the white plaster verdigris and the most luscious shade of peach, or salmon maybe.

(that reminds me of the time my husband called from the hardware store to say the only light mis-tinted - and therefore cheap - paint they had was a salmon colour. cooked or raw, I asked him. he and the paint guy had a fine laugh at my expense, but I was quite serious. and just so you know, they were both wrong, it was definitely cooked and not raw.)

for the carving I'm using my craft store niji wood carving knives, the ones I dulled carving the old bedframes that still haven't been turned into something. a cabinet, that was the original plan, or maybe not the original one, but the last of the original ones, that was months ago. I still have the pieces, and the sketches and notes I made. all I need to do is drill the holes and combine the pieces, like a puzzle. and then put the little shelves in, and set the jars on it. the jars are waiting, in the shed and on the windowsill, full of various and sundry things.

(twisted electrical cord cut into pieces looks like black licorice whips. there's your useless art tip for the day.)