Saturday, August 1, 2015

MIA again

Last July I was MIA all month for no good reason other than I had just checked out. This July I've been here workin' away on a show we installed this past week at my friend Melanie's gallery in North Adams, MA and phew! We made it! 
The show looks amazing. Four of us at work used a 1763 manuscript describing how to set up a sun dial in Philadelphia as our jumping off point for the work in the show.   
As you know I've been researching a book on sun dials at Harvard and Dumbarton Oaks. A reproduction of the original with all of the pop ups is one of my pieces for the show.  The other piece, Luminary, new for the show, is actually one I made a sketch of nearly 8 years ago. 
I've always wanted to revisit it and this project was a good reason to.  I'm really pleased with the result. 
While the results are very positive, the path there was very rocky indeed. I had plenty of time to finish everything, but no time for hiccups. I must remember to include time for those. It sure would have made my life a little less crazy.
What happened?
Oh boy - everything. On Wednesday evening I sat down to my computer to work on things and my power cord melted.  Just - fizzled - done. No more charging for my computer. This meant I could do absolutely nothing. Everything I needed to do was on the computer. So I tidied, did the fewest things I could do, and called it a night. At 3am I sat bolt up right from an anxiety dream, knew I could not go back to sleep, so headed down to my studio. I discovered I had 11minutes of time for my computer left, which was just enough to print out a few images of the "La Pratique" book I needed to hand draw for the pop ups. After printing them, I busied myself with a few other housekeeping things.
I trimmed at least one of the signatures I was able to print, after having a negotiation with Jacques first. He was leaning on the blade of the board shear, and then finally, begrudgingly agreed to lean on the square, but with his back to me. That'll teach me.
I went to work early, very early, the earliest the building opened, so that I could just be done for the day, go to the computer store and buy a new power cord and get back to work. While I was there, my eyes landed on the "magic mice". These are cordless mouses for your computer or laptop. Over the last few months I have developed something awful painful in my right elbow. I'm guessing it's something like tennis elbow - or carpel tunnel of some kind. I originally thought it was from knitting, but now I'm pretty sure it's from using my track pad too much on my lap top.  The day I spent in Washington DC a few weeks ago, without my computer all day, really helped my arm.  That weekend I pulled out my old mouse and used it instead of the track pad and it helped even more. But the old mouse isn't really very good. I decided to treat myself to a new mousy and oh boy, I love it. :) I especially love the cordless part. It doesn't get caught on anything. 
I came home all ready to work on my books. I had to leave in the evening to go to the West Philly Tool Library to pick up a mitre-saw and a table saw for the heavy duty table I wanted to construct with my intern on Friday morning... more on that later. When I got back home, I returned to printing the sun dial book on my ink jet printer. And wouldn't you know, my faithful, reliable, printer, suddenly decided not to cooperate anymore. It would not print on the (very expensive) paper I purchased for the books. (big frowny face). I tried everything after an hour I had managed to print two more of the nearly 100 prints I still had left to do.  Little bit of panic? Yes, a little bit. I did everything I could before hitting the sheets. Friday morning up bright an early, worked some more before intern Sarah came.  
Fabulous Sarah! When she showed up,  I attacked her with this project.
She was so helpful! In two hours we (almost literally) threw the table together. It is not a pretty table, no sir! But it works. We got my super heavy foil stamper up off the floor and I know it made a HUGE difference on Sunday night, when I was using it for my other book.  
After we finished the table, I kicked Sarah unceremoniously out of the house so that I could go to work and use the printer there. Thank goodness it worked! There were a few tense moments, and with the exception of the fact that I completely forgot any extra paper (to cover mistakes) everything went smoothly and I was able to print all the pages.  I also think I sort of figured out what my printer didn't like about printing my paper... but that is a boring technical story for another day.   

Saturday and Sunday were spent sun printing the other piece I was working on, Luminary.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out as well.  
Jacques was ever helpful. 

He kept an eye on things outside,
 Especially when things were developing
 and even a little bit when they were drying. 
I just kept working and working and finally it all came together. 

On Monday we all drove up to Massachusetts and on Tuesday we started installing our show.  
We were also in charge of installing something in the front windows.
 The Erin's and Charissa thankfully took over that job. 
In the meantime, I was frantically finishing things up. Mostly just the sun dial book which still needed all of its pop ups as well as a vellum binding. 
Working with such a view though, sure makes things easier. 
The week went by in  a blur. Quickly. I am really happy with the results of the show. It is really nice. Hopefully we can put together a few proposals for other places. Especially now that we have some installation shots. 

 And now? What do I want to do now?
I want to clean and garden. Desperately. It all got neglected while I was working. And my garden is begging for some maintenance.

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