Monday, October 20, 2008

What I'm doing at work

I thought I'd just show you what I've had the privilege to work on for the last two days. I'm working on putting an Alphons Mucha print back together.
Alphons Mucha was born in what is now the Czech Republic around 1860 and he is often referred to as the father of Art Nouveau. This particular print is of Job Cigarette Papers. I've looked online, but couldn't find this particular one. I haven't search by printer yet, a Paris based printer.
We recently received the Plastic Club Archives. The Plastic Club is the oldest club in the US organized by women for women in the arts still in existence. In fact they are right around the corner from us on Camac street in one of those cute little three-up houses. They decided that they could no longer care for the their archives properly seeing as how most of their things were falling apart. I assessed them last spring, a very generous donation was made and now we will be conserving and archiving the collection. We had a little shindig tonight to sort of inaugurate the process with the members of the Plastic club, and I was asked to finish something fabulous. We think that Mucha came to the Plastic Club and gave lectures to help them fund a permanent building. He was in the US from 1906 - 1910. Perhaps he presented the plastic club with this print? So I pulled out these dusty disastrous looking things that just literally crumbled in my hands. It was awful. This beautiful poster that is approximately 41" x 60" was folded up so that I wound up with about 16 separate squares by the time I was unfolding it, with a lot of crumbs to boot. I've been mending it on the back, which is also beautiful, by the way, since the ink has burned through the paper.

I'm really close to finishing piecing it together. The paper is in such bad shape though, that when you practically breath on it it splits apart.
But it was the highlight of the evening, and there is another poster in the same folder that I'm dying to open to see what it is. But I shall refrain so that I don't mix up the crumbs.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Long Entry

Well, I've been busy.
I've got lots to say so let's break this up into chapters:
Chapter 1 - Board Shear Acquisition
Chapter 2 - Working Outside
Chapter 3 - Fall
Chapter 4 - Jacques' New Perch
Chapter 5 - Stardust
Chapter 6 - Melanie's Eyeball
Chapter 7 - My Work

Chapter 1 - Board Shear Acquisition
Yep - bought a board shear. I've wanted one for some time and I knew that something would work itself out. About two weeks ago, Fantastic Jessica called me from New York and said, "Hey there's a board shear here for $850! (compared with $4000. - other places) I said, "Hot Diggity! Where?" She gave me the info and I called and had a nice long conversation with Jonsey from Trinidad with the wonderful accent.
I decided to switch my day off to Tuesday because they were closed for Yom Kippur (my regular Thursday off) and drive up there. I finally found parking (illegal, which I of course didn't realize and promptly got a $115. ticket - oh well.) and went into one of those wonderful shops in New York that has been there for 50 years. The owner, Arnie, your basic Dustin Hoffman character in his 70s, came up to me and told at me to "speak up 'cause I don't hear so good!" So I shouted at him that I wanted to look at a board shear before he finally heard me and said, "Oh you're the girl from Philadelphia!" Yes, well, . . .
The Center for Book Arts is right up the street and Arnie convinced me to go and ask them for a piece of scrap board so that I could try out the shear for myself. I did, and in the mean time Jonsey showed up, he'd been out for lunch. He was a gorgeous as his accent. He also said, "oh you're the girl from Philadelphia…" hmmm…
Arnie and Jonsey had to pull the shears out to put the weights on so that I could try them out properly. And from this moment on I had hope for the world.
I don't know if they have some special mental telepathy bond or what because Jonsey was not shouting at Arnie the way I was to be heard, he just talked normally. When he needed to get Arnie's attention he would whistle, Arnie would turn around from what he was doing and know which tool Jonsey needed! It was incredible. A mutual respect, and if Arnie got on Jonsey's nerves, because let's face it - having to repeat myself and shout at someone all day long would really test me - Jonsey never let on.
I decided to buy the thing, and shlep it home that same day. But to get it in my car we had to take it apart - all the way. Arnie was impressed, "you mean, you can get this thing back together when you get home?!" Sure - piece of cake. Well, not for Arnie's wife - as the story went - she would have shrieked and melted. Since I don't have a husband, whaddayagonnado? Ya gotta do it ye-self.
They got the thing in my car. Jonsey told me to put the ticket back on my window, and sure enough, two more ticketers came up and one of them checked the ticket thoroughly to see if it was really from having parked there or if I had put a fake one up in hopes of not getting one. Sheesh! They are ruthless.
The thing in my car, my car riding very low, I said goodbye to Arnie - who gave me a big kiss and a hug and made me promise to send him a picture of the board shear all put together. Ach, ye of little faith.

I got the thing home and hauled what I could of it into the house. I was going to ask Mr. El if he could help me, but he hurt his ankle and so wasn't able to help. He had some guys coming to help him, maybe they could help. But I was impatient. I called Fabulous Jessica and said, hey thanks for the tip-off, but can you help me get it in the house? She was busy but she offered her boyfriend, Mario. Thank goodness!
Between the two of us, and Joe (a guy in a bright green shirt walkin' past us and asked us if we needed help - and we did!), we got the whole thing into my studio, AND put together. Mario is one of those strong silent types, so he waited until it was put together to ask me what this thing was. Not realizing that, of course he wouldn't know, I said, "it's a board shear! - you cut paper with it." I handed him a sheet of paper and it cut it like butter and I got the huge emotional outburst - a very quiet "wow" and a big smile. "That's cool!" Uh-huh! Thanks Mario - couldn't have done it without you! And thanks to Joe - wherever he is, because I think the table top would still be on the sidewalk if he hadn't walked past at that moment.

Chapter 2 - Working Outside
I don't know why it took me so long to realize I could work outside. It's been so beautiful the last two weeks, and on my days off and at home Jacques wants to go out, and I'd like to be outside too - and why can't I sit outside and write or draw or work on my computer until the juice runs out. Lots of interesting things happen in the back yard. Jacques loves my being out there until I lather up in anti-mosquito stuff. Then he won't come near me. I can't believe I still have to, they should be dead by now, right? Well, if there is a mosquito in Philadelphia, it will find me.

Chapter 3 - Fall
Being outside also helps me keep in tuned with what's going on in the garden. Fall has come. The first thing turned bright read in the garden. Fall is going very quickly this year. Already most of the leaves are gone from this vine. As I was riding my bike home on Friday I passed some bright yellow trees, this morning most of the tops were gone and bare branches reached for the sky.
Chapter 4 - Jacques' new perch

Yes, the shed has been conquered. I'm not sure what the draw is. It must smell very strongly of squirrel. And he might feel like he is closer to the birds. Jacques also has always had a thing about be up. Even in my apartment - he preferred to be up, but not on the tables. He's not allowed and he knows it.

Chapter 5 - Stardust
I have a new favorite movie - I watched it twice. I've never done that with a Netflix movie. Ever.Oh, this one is so good. A young man is in love with the village's most beautiful girl, who is , of course not in love with him, but with the pompous most handsome boy in the village - and they deserve each other! But the young man promises to bring her the falling star they see when he convinces her to have a midnight picnic with him, complete with champagne. Thus begin the adventures of Tristan who must find the star and bring "her" back. The celeb cameos in this film are fantastic. Ian McKellan is the narrator, Michelle Pfeifer is the evil witch, Rupert Everette is one of the kings' (played by Peter O'Toole) seven sons, named, Primus, Secondus, Tertious - well you get the idea. Oh, and the highjinx are fantastic. The seven sons are all competing to be the next king, and so they bump each other off in fantastic ways. Then their ghosts show up to watch the rest of the show, in their bumped off states, of course. One is burned, the other pushed out a window and is smooshed - etc. brilliant. Robert De Niro plays Captain Shakespeare - a surprising character - in charge of a vessel that flies through storms and captures lighting. Ah, it's wonderful. In all seriousness - this movies is very well thought out. The plot is sound, loose ends tied up, it is complex with several exciting story lines, but fully complete, everything seems well developed. If you are a fan of The Labyrinth, or Willow, or The Princess Bride - this is a film for you. Be warned it is a bit on the violent side - although the blood is blue - but best heed the PG -13 warning for little ones.

Chapter 6 - Melanie's Eyeball
Miss Melly sent me an eyeball! A felted eyeball. Last Christmas Melanie made one of her nephews a jar of felted eyeballs. On her way down to Delaware to spend the holiday with her family, she stopped to visit me. As soon as she opened her suitcase Jacques moved in. He found all of the eyeballs and began dragging them out of her suitcase. For my birthday - Melanie sent Jacques his very own eyeball. Oh boy. This was the favorite toy for a while. He would pick the tennis sized thing up by the iris and proudly walk it to a new area of the apartment. It's pretty shredded now but he still brings it to me every once in a while to play fetch with him.
This spring I decided I needed one too - I asked her for one over the summer and yippee! As busy as Melanie is with her new job, residency in Alaska, possibly moving? - she made me one too. :) Yeah! :) I'm going to use it as a pin cushion.

Chapter 7 - My Work
Melanie's eyeball came at an appropriate time. I've been reading some metaphysical stuff and finding different quotes and writings by very different people. One of the threads, or connections I'm finding is that the universe is tiny. Julian of Norwich (1343?) noted one of her visions as receiving a hazelnut sized object in her hand, and a voice saying, "It is all that is made." Yun-men(949?) said, "Let me take the whole universe and put it on the tips of your eyelashes."
I have a show that opens on Nov. 6th. I thought I'd experiment. What do you think?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Puttin' stuff on the walls

Well, here it is, my living room:
I haven't talked about this room much, mostly because there's not much to talk about. I need to do the floors, and take out the "closet" (not pictured). Maybe I need to decide about the fireplace… I decided to put somethings on the walls for now. I put up my dad's drawings here. These are my graduation and two birthday cards. I love them all. PS: this wall will probably come down at some point. My kitchen is behind it. (birthday 2007)

graduation (2005)
(birthday 2005)

In my bedroom I put the prints Anne-Maree sent me as a house warming gift. We met in Korea at the Seongnam Book Arts Fair, and I think we bonded, even if she is in Australia. She's fantastic and her work is amazing! She's google-able, until I can post a link - which won't be tonight. Anyway - here are the two prints she sent me on my bedroom walls, and closeups.

I also bought a Board Shear on Tuesday! Yippee! This will be a longer post later. Suffice it to say - I bought the board shear from Arnie, (Dustin Hoffman with a comb-over in 20years, and deaf,) and Jonsey, a beautiful Senegalese man, so kind to Arnie. I swear they had mental telepathy going for them.
I bought the thing, they dis-assembled it, got it in my car, and I hauled it back to Philadelphia. Half of it is in my house and the other half is still in my car, because I can't move it by myself. sigh. I will get in in here, and I have to send Arnie a picture of it re-assembled. I don't think he believed that a woman could deal with it. :) He is so sweet! Anyway - the entire saga still to come . . .
PS: The Phillies are playing the Dodgers. I'm hearing a lot of cheering in my neighborhood, this must mean the Phillies are winning. :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Because I have NOTHING else to do…

And I talked to Melanie today - here's my new collar. It's actually a bit greener, but I couldn't resist photographing it against my orange wall.
I used the leaf pattern in "Knitting on The Edge" by Nicky Epstein, then picked up 100 stitches (#5 needles) and knitted around for about 7 inches. If I did it again I think I would knit two purl two up near the top because it stretches out when you pull it over your head. I used Patons Silk Bamboo yarn. This is the softest stuff you've ever felt in your life! I got it at ACMoore for $4? each skein. I needed 1.5 skeins, so I guess you could make it longer if you like. I really love this thing, can't wait to make another one. I like it better than a scarf, especially at work because a scarf is always falling off and landing in my glue. Well, now, problem solved!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jacques made a friend and solidified an enemy

Yes - on Thursday Jacques made a friend and solidified an enemy:
Remember these two?Thursday is my day off, and it was a relatively cool day, high 65°. :)
So I did laundry and Jacques came outside for a while. He loved it. He still stays in the yard but he loves being outside. His favorite thing to do is take dust baths. He might be part chinchilla. He loves rolling around in it especially until he's not black anymore, sort of a light brownish color - and when I pet him the dust just poofs off of him. At any rate…
Late in the afternoon, I went out to check on him, and there was the black and white kitty in the yard. They did their posturing, and I didn't want to miss it so I didn't get the camera.
First Jacques came over to me and showed off, that he belonged to me. He snuggled up to me, and rubbed himself against me, a real ham (as I've said before). Then, with tail, poofed out, back arched, off he went to intimidate the b&w kitty - who hissed back at him from a foot and a half away. Nothin' scares that kitty. And pretty soon they were "stalking" each other, one would pretend to stalk the other, hoppin' along in the grass and then they would chase each other. :) - I'm so glad Jacques has a friend. However…
Baby Boy - (Miss Mary's (Mr. El's wife's) alpha dog) is not a fan of the cats. Every time Jacques comes out he has a little conniption fit, or as Mr. El put it - he fusses. So Miss Mary and I were talking about the upcoming election, and the VP debate - (sigh) we talked for a long time about everything, the debate, her wacky tenants in the barber shop, racial issues, her grand daughter, etc. and since we were talking, Baby Boy came over to make nice, and then Jacques decided he could be brave and he came over to me.
Then Jacques decided to walk up to the fence, sniff at Baby Boy, and then he reached through the fence an bopped Baby Boy on the nose with his paw! At that point BB had ENOUGH and went ballistic - scared the heck out of Jacques who took off like a shot to hide under the shed. I told Baby Boy is was a good boy - because he was, he didn't bite Jacques paw off like I figured he would have. But it was really only because Miss Mary was there - if she wouldn't have been there - Baby Boy would have lost it much sooner. Well, I hope the dogs never get loose and I hope Jacques learned his lesson.
And since some of you are, maybe, wondering what I thought about the VP debate: oooh, she's hate-ble. She's an idiot. She's only been in office for, "like", five weeks? And she's part of Main Street???!!! What the heck am I??? chopped liver? or did the bar of the lower class just move over six figures?! That woman has NO idea what Main Street is - oh, she so hate-ble, plus she's not going to answer the moderator questions because she doesn't want to ??? elch, yuck - what is she going to do when she has to really answer real questions from her constituency!!!??? is she going to say to the voters, "I'm not going to answer that question because I don't want to ???!!! are we really seriously considering this???- she's like the head cheerleader, doin' a heckuva job!(And trust me, I know!) Uch, since I'm about to barf on my computer, I think I'll call it a night.
Good night y'all - may peace and brains prevail.