Monday, January 31, 2011

Soft Hearted

I have been felting and cutting up old sweaters (jumpers to the Brits) and making many things...some necklaces, oh I am having fun.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Shampooing the Angel

Skellig: The Owl Man is film based on a children's book by David Almond - Lucky Brits got it on television, but it's available on netflix. Did you rescue a baby bird when you were a child? I know I did, fed it raw hamburger in the garden shed. It disappeared one day, the cat may have gained access.

I'd recommend this film for anyone with kids or without. A certain gross factor, but worth it.

Oh! forgot to put in a link to the trailer (but my sister says it's blocked in the UK for copyright reasons)
Skellig Trailer

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three Wise Men of gotham

Found a little blank space in Clarion alley, posted these three items I found on the ground.

Three Wise Men of Gotham
Went to sea in a sieve
I appeared to have conflated the old nursery rhyme with Edward Lear's "The Jumblies", the three wise men of Gotham actually went to sea in a bowl, it was the Jumblies who went to see in sieve.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Scarlett Yarn*

Above, a mural at 16th and Mission in San Francisco

I have been reading the latest book by Scarlett Thomas, Our Tragic Universe. Her breakout book was The End of Mr. Y, which had as its central character a disaffected but infinitely curious female writer/academic. The new book has as its central character a disaffected but infinitely curious female writer/teacher, otherwise it is a sort of mirror image of the earlier book - instead of having minimal attachments, the heroine is grounded (even mired) in connections with her friends and extended family. Instead of a somewhat forced transcendent ending, we leave the character in the midst of a morning walk, a little clearer about what she wants from life. I remember years ago a review of a Kurt Vonnegut book in which the reviewer described feeling toward him as one would feel toward a beloved, curmudgeonly uncle. Scarlett Thomas seems somehow familial if you are the sort of person who relates to a constantly questioning companion. She is most definitely not among those who believe that everything happens for a reason - she likes her universe unfathomable. Recommended for those who prefer questions to answers.

*Knitting is among the subjects explored in this book

Thursday, January 20, 2011

States of Mind

I wish I felt a bit more dogged and focussed, like Winston, but I actually feel confused, like the tiger. These are a couple of new t-shirt designs.I continue to be somewhat buried in felt.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Another in the Altered Ancestors series, I'm going to enter it in a juried show with theme of "landscape". I'm all over the place right now, as you can see...just a common thread, I guess...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Felt buttons (crafty)!

Or beads for stringing, or items for applique/decoration...take some felted wool from an old sweater (or you could try it with unfelted). Cut sets of three circles (or you could cut flower shapes). Draw yarn with a knot on one end through a stack of two only (important!), then put the third one on top, hiding the knot. draw the yarn through the center, back up, and bisect the stack, divide that in half again, and then in half again to make this eight-segmented vaguely Buddhist sort of button. be sure to keep the yarn tight to bunch it all together. I used felted sweater wool, but I think I will put these through the wash to mash the materials together further. This is a fun little craft  project which takes little room and time. The wool came from the bottom of a long sweater which had developed holes in it- I may replace the original buttons with these, or I may make a necklace.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fragrant Land

Above, the inside of one of the bins at the Milan Spice Market in Berkeley, these are miniature  landscapes in intense desert colors.  If you live in a good-sized city, you might be able to find a spice market in the Indian area. Oh, okay, it's also an economical way to buy spice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Visionary

Monday morning inspiration:
Arthur Ganson's TED talk here .

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Victorian Lady's Knuckledusters

Here's a very quick craft project, arm warmers made from sleeves cut off an old sweater felted in the washing machine - I just sewed thin black yarn (could be thread) across the area between the thumb and the fingers - took twenty minutes or less. Buttons (from original sweater) added afterwards in case of trouble.
This one, though - two sweaters- both felted unintentionally - sewed together by whip-stitching the raw edges- took in excess of twenty hours (enjoyably spent streaming stuff like The Storyteller on my computer - is John Hurt's coat to die for or what?) The collar, where I inset the gold-colored wool where there was no space for it (I didn't remove fabric from the red, it's just a straight cut) has interesting sculptural qualities, I think. It takes a lot less time if you have a magic machine like Urbandon

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Home is Where

Some say a feeling more than a place, yeah. What is the fascination, I wonder, with buckets of bolts in space- Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Farscape, The Tardis - creaking, asthmatic machines in a huge indifferent universe. No matter how decrepit, it feels safe inside them, somehow more homelike than the surrounding of home. I've said it before, how we all long for escape but to be welcomed safely back, in the words of T.S. Eliot: arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Stories to be told around a campfire in a distant universe?

Ed: Jasmine at Nature's Whispers brought this petition about the sale of forests in England to my attention. I signed it using my sister's English post code as it rejected my zip code. Yes, I'm agin it - I want to see those trees next time I visit.

More about kinds of home:

the watercats

junk thief

Oh, I just have to put in a link to the firefly theme, cause Joss Whedon is holding a gun to my head (metaphorically speaking):


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Scarlet Street

Comparisons are odious, but here goes anyway. If you want to see if a terrific melodrama about art, watch Scarlet Street, the 1945 Fritz Lang film. Wonderful script and performances, too. Edward G. Robinson is very touching as the archetypal little man bedevilled by not one but two she-wolves. Dan Duryea is enormously energetic as a cad. The script is both thoughtful and witty. Eventually, The Robinson character is revenged on both women, but it costs him. The film also works as an examination of art and commerce. Unlike the film I'm comparing this one to, it lets the audience think. Also I must mention, the studio apartment in which the plot advances is to die for - apparently there was a time when studio apartment meant, you know, an apartment with a studio IN it. The Hayes commission makes an appearance by forcing the director to stick a bed (referred to as a couch) in the living room to imply goings on. Excerpt on Youtube here

You have a problem with perspective, dontcha?
                                           - Johnny Prince