Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LAW 132: Tesla's Revenge, a work in progress

We've 'been thinking lately about bespoke vs bought. Surrounding ourselves with beautiful, functional and other work made by people we know has always been important to us. Be it handmade clothes, art, furnishings, handmade ceramics, oh man are we suckers for beautifully made serving or dinner ware, we cherish the things that have been made for us by others, as well as what we have made ourselves.

So, we decided to use wood as our primary construction material, aiming for a pergola look.
Installing the cross members!


 I love my Nick Corso pitcher, we use it every day!

I love collecting and using hand made ceramic kitchen ware
Beautiful, handmade, great pouring pitcher.

So, knowing the maker is important to us. It is even more important to be a maker. What's the fun  buying something that a whole bunch other people have? Cookie cutters. are, after all, for cookies. Not for our goodies, not for our art, not for the food we eat. So why should we have a boat that looks like every other one on the water? That has been a topic of conversation lately. Actually it is a thread that has run through our entire life together.

It is getting hot now, time to wrap it up for the day, the carpenter is sitting down on the job.
Almost the last cross member, its getting late and real hot!

Face it, we're Aquarians, artists, iconoclasts, old hippies, if you will. It makes more sense to us to build, rather than buy. Or, in the case of Tesla's Revenge, seriously modify.

On the two hottest days to date we erected the frame of the pergola style hard top over our existing cockpit. Creating in essence another room here on TR. Talk about buckets of sweat!

Don't be afraid of drilling into your boat hull, it's only fiberglass, what can go wrong?
I love watching men work! Don especially!
By the end of day two we have 90% of the frame up, and most important, shade! It has been nearly impossible to use the cockpit, without shade the light is absolutely blinding,

We chose to use wood as a building material, trying hard to mimic the angles and curves of the original boat design
Stern, cockpit view

The addition of a 6' bamboo blind on either side of the cockpit gives us pretty much 24/7 use of this space, which to date has been pretty much a collection of whatever we didn't really have room for in the boat proper.
Bamboo blinds, a fast, inexpensive fix provides much needed shade for the cockpit.
Aah, shade! Glorious

Not done yet, but getting there.

Have to say that we are pretty unhappy with our GAS ONE dual fuel, butane/propane stove.  Butane can be hard to find, and expensive, plus it looses efficiency at temperatures below 50 degrees. So the possibility of switching from butane to propane was appealing. Except, something the manufacturer does not disclose, the pressure valve for the propane is not up to a 20# tank in hot weather. We've had two break down in the last month.
Chef's salads, those artfully composed, delicious combonations of greens, freash and pickled veggies, meat, in this case Serrano ham, and cheeses
Salad, yummy! Just because i haven't share food photos lately

We're looking into counter top(RV) technology propane. I'll let  you know.

More later,
gail

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

LAW 131:, Looking for America, part 2, ART, NOT POLITICS

It would be way too easy to slip into political rhetoric with the idea of Looking for America, but that is not what this is about.


Maps, zen doodle drawing with stream of conscious text.
Toledo, Oh, 5.14.17, page 9

This is a showcase of the second signature of my newest artist's book, Looking for America. To recap, I created the pages out of maps from the index of a 1954 Hammond Ambassador World Atlas. Text is stream of conscious, based on answering the following 2 questions, have i been here? and could i get my boat, Tesla's Revenge there, by water. Drawings are mostly zen doodle playing off the gird of the street maps.

Maps, zen doodle drawing with stream of conscious text.
Toronto, Can., 5.18.17,  page 10


I try not to let one day's work influence the next, my goal, to simply draw until i feel that the drawing is complete. The structure provided by the map grids is sufficient.

This is about as unstructured as i get with my work. My background as a weaver/textile artist/bookmaker demands huge structure and preparation for success.
Maps, zen doodle drawing with stream of conscious text.
San Diego, Ca. 5.20.17, page 11

I can get pretty OCD about pre-planning. Just ask Mungo which one of us made a 'to scale drawing' of the Floating Empire and her components(during our remodel phase); and yes, all the parts were positionable.
Maps, zen doodle drawing with stream of conscious text.
San Francisco, Ca. 5.21.17, page 12


Some times it is nice to simply let go and play. It is all too easy to get caught with producing a beautiful object, instead of simply enjoying the process.
Maps, zen doodle drawing with stream of conscious text.
Shreveport, La. 5.22.17, page 13

Maps, zen doodle drawing with stream of conscious text.
Seattle, Wa. 5.23.17, page 14



















Walt Nottingham, my first fiber professor(major hero), maintained that there two types of people, process and product. It is important to know which you are.




maps and drawing project
Trenton, NJ. 5.27.17, page 15
Any way, 8 images, 8 places i have or have not visited, 8 experiments in drawing, What do you think of this project?


Maps, zen doodle drawing with stream of conscious text.
Troy, NY. 5.28.17, page 16

More later,
gail

Saturday, May 13, 2017

LAW 130: Looking for America

So i have a pretty good start on my newest project, which i previewed in my last post. It has taken on a definite shape; i see a definite focus, and i am enjoying it! I had better, as it is looking to be a pretty big time commitment. As i currently envision it there will be 9 signatures in the book, with 8 pages per signature. Gadzooks! that's 72 drawings. I am hoping that this will be a daily process. We'll see what my hands think about it.


Personal assistant, studio cat, ship's cat, Magellan

So, the project is called, Looking for America, a tip of the hat to Simon and Garfunkel. In a weird little piece of synchronicity this very cool, evocative song was actually playing on the radio as i started the first page!
page 1, day 1, 5.6.17


I really like creating a series of work, like this one, around an internal structure; a frame work, if you will, that provides unity to the body of work. I have taken this approach to most of my creative endeavors beginning while i was in graduate school.  The rules of the road to not need to be elaborate, or even ironclad. They are simply there as a guide, or, as in this case, a road map.
page 2, day 2, 5.7.17

In the case of Looking for America I created the pages out of maps from the index of a 1954 Hammond Ambassador World Atlas. The pages are 9.25 x 6.25". Formally the text functions as a frame for the map/drawing; is stream of conscious,  and answers the following 2 questions, have i been here? and could i get my boat, Tesla's Revenge there, by water. Drawings are mostly zen doodle playing off the gird of the street maps. Or as an art friend commented recently, mapping the maps.

page 3, day 3, 5.8.17

As always i have help from my beloved personal assistant, Magellan. See photo above.

page 4, day 4, 5.9.17


An online art friend was curious about what led me to structure this piece the way i have.  Since Don and i are planning to travel extensively, starting sometime this summer, it was a natural focus for this work. We are still at the big picture part of trip planning, we still need  to work out something like a schedule for our ports of call. Tesla's Revenge, as a solar powered boat, theoretically has an infinite range, but it does require the sun, and time.
page 5, day 5, 5.10.17

So, each day before starting i usually google the city of the day, looking at water accessibility, travel time, etc and maybe if i haven't been to the city in question, basic tourist information.
page 6, day 6, 5.11.17

So the first signature is done, i have developed a rhythm, my wrists hurt, but hey, what's new with that? I'm a maker, it goes with the territory.
page 7, day 7, 5.12.17

 I have yet to decide how i am going to approach the non map pages. I have several 'tourist' shots that backed some of the maps. Well, i have time to think about, right?
page 8, day 8, 5.13,17


More later,
gail

Friday, May 5, 2017

LAW 129: The Art of Making part ?

It has been a while since i written a post just about making art. So much of my creative impulse recently has gone into disassembling The Floating Empire, and the re-imagineering of Tesla's Revenge that the daily art making has taken a back seat. You all know that some times that that is alright. Whats not ever alright; beating yourself up regarding what you promised yourself you would accomplish. You know that the thing called Life gets in the way of all the best plans.


pages 1 &2, Love Songs, March 28, 29, 2017

I'm winding up my last altered book project, Love Songs. I do need to work on the cover, and inner frontispiece. Since i haven't quite decided what is happening with the aforementioned pages, i'm willing to let it sit on a back burner for awhile. But while we all wait for my brain to kick back into gear on this one, here are the spreads from Love Songs.

pages 3&4, Love Songs, 3.30, 3.31.17

Die Minnesinger, or Love Songs was a small German edition of unknown age, but likely from the 1920's. This is the Medieval German version of the French Troubadour tradition.

pages 5 & 6, Love Songs, 4.1, 4.2.17


pages 7 & 8, Love Songs, 4.3, 4.6.17


 I cut away everything but the main figures in each of the color plates i used. I than collaged behind them; playing the medieval imagery off from advertising coming primarily from the mid 1950s, with a dose of "the male/female gaze" thrown in for seasoning.

pages 9 & 10, Love Songs, 4.18, 4.24.17


The text comes from the advertising that i used, although it is often cut up and arranged in such away to provide a whole different level of context from the original use.

pages 11 & 12, Love Songs, 5.3.17

In honor of Earth Day this year i collaged a series of city maps(from the Hammond Ambassador World Atlas, c. 1954) on to the cover of a children's book, Merry Times, along with colored pencil drawings, and stream of conscious writing.


Yes, Magellan is also a very good studio cat! Really


I've spent the last three days prepping my newest book project, Looking for America. I harvested all the remaining city maps from the index of the aforementioned atlas, cut them to size, along with two spines for each set of pages, which were then glued into a foldable 'page' for signatures capable of binding with a Coptic stitch.
"finished" signatures, ready for Looking for America

Don't know where i am going with this one yet; it could be collage, or it could be drawing. I had fun with the drawing for the Earth Day piece. Likely there will be text. You will see it here, when it happens.

More later,
gail

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

LAW 128: Ah Spring Time, Ah Pollen.

Yes, we know it is officially spring here on the water. How? Well the river is coated with pollen. At first glance it looks suspiciously like pollution, but on closer examination it is easy to see it is tree pollen.
Breathe Deep!



Yes, it could be much worse. We could live in a marina that was completely urban, or completely industrial, with out the benefit of our beautiful, bountiful, numerous trees that line the bank here at Middle River, across the river in Hawthorn and down river.

Not complaining, no sir. My sinus' are however. It is not much fun to wander around with a head full of glop.

Progress on Tesla's Revenge is coming along slowly. We are still waiting to get the mast removed. Once that happens we can proceed with the wheel house, solar panels, etc.
Next, the snake farm

In the meantime i have finished re-upholstering the foam cushion for the settee in the salon. The fabric was gifted to me by a friend, i think it might be a vintage Marimekko, certainly it is vintage.
Talk about wrestling with a dead body!

Next i will piece together the remnants to make the curtains.

That's all for today, off to run errands.

More later,
gail

Saturday, April 22, 2017

LAW127: The End of an Era, and Other Events

Thursday afternoon at approximately 12:25 the Floating Empire left her home pier at Middle River Landing, bound for a new home and new adventures. It was a very bittersweet moment. Don was scheduled to work, so could not be here to say goodbye to our beloved barrel barge shanty boat. Likely just as well, as he is the more sentimental one about stuff like this.

With a little help from friends

Still, i will miss her as well. After all, she was our home for just over three years. We designed and built her in our backyard, arguing over every square inch. She went through a major renovation last winter/spring. And now, she will provide shelter to some one else. Lucky for her new owner, he did not have to tow her very far.

Hard work, getting her out of the slip

We learned a lot building and living in her. We will definitely put all that experience to good use. Soon too, i think. We are currently living in, and rehabbing at the same time a 29' 1976, Cal sailboat; Tesla's Revenge. Soon she will lose her mast, as soon as we can find a boat yard with a working crane in reasonable proximity to us. Then we we can build the wheel house, install the solar panels(on top of the wheel house) and of course the motor. Then we will be ready to motor off, very quietly to new adventures.

Yes, there were plenty of witness'


Magellan, our beloved ship's cat is adapting nicely to the new space. He has lots of new, little nooks and crannies to explore. He loves walking the fore deck. It is quite startling to see him stroll by the galley windows. He does however, walk the dock, stopping at the empty slip where Empire was moored. I'm sure he knows that something is missing.

Magellan loves playing with his water bowl.

Boats, particularly sail boats have a tremendous amount of storage, unfortunately, almost all of it is 'dead' storage, underneath, or behind something else. It is a challenge to remember where i have stowed everything. I don't even want to talk about 'my' quarter berth. I had to seriously down size my studio space, and i do have to move at least two things to get to anything other than my current needlepoint piece, or the altered book i am working on.

Speaking of the most current textile piece, i made a design decision about two weeks ago, which has altered the ultimate over all form of the Firebird. I chose to do away with the hanging 'dags' on either side of the bottom. I felt that they were competing with the central flame and tail feathers. I also have added one more tongue of flame to the lower edge. I just finished the one on the left, next will be the new flame on the right hand side.  Of course i feel the design is stronger for these changes.

One more flame, the rest of the sky......and


We plumbed our little cooktop this morning! Yes, no more small, expensive bottles of propane cluttering my counter top.

I made a lovely soup last night, sort of a homage to one of my favorites from Anna Thomas. Her's, a vegetarian potato and corn chowder from one of her first cookbooks. Mine had sweet potatoes and fresh corn, but it had a very definite Malaysian twist. I made a sweet/savory flavoring paste(cumin, fennel, cardamon, ginger, garlic, tumeric and fenugreek), coconut milk, a little shredded cabbage and shrimp. Absolutely delish!
Really, i wanted to eat it all, but i saved some for Don.

It has stopped raining, the cat has left the boat, and it is time for me to go to my studio and make stuff.

Oh yes, Happy Earth Day! Every day should be earth day, she is after all the only one we got.

More later,
gail

Monday, April 17, 2017

LAW 126: Moving out/Moving in

We definitely have mixed feelings about leaving the Floating Empire. She has been a very comfortable. albeit, funky tiny home for the past three years.  Luckily, we found some one willing to take her; so some time this week the Empire will be leaving her home pier, traveling to new adventures.
Another victim of downsizing.

We are hoping to get everything moved out of her today; the weather, however, is not cooperating. Some how rain has developed. So much for decreasing clouds. Sigh. It does allow a little time to regroup and rearrange yet again here aboard Tesla's Revenge.

The EV Tesla's Revenge is a refurbished Cal 229, circa 1976. Next week we will be de-masting her, and will start building the wheel house.

In the meantime we are living aboard, learning to juggle the different space configurations. Sail boats have great storage, but so much of it is tucked away, under a cushion in the seating area; underneath more readily accessible storage in the galley, underneath and behind several more storage elements.

First dinner on Tesla's Revenge.

Vegetable storage, (which i think in almost all cases should be at room temperature) had to be totally re thought. We went from under counter, in wicker baskets, to the umpteenth re-working of a wire mesh frame and basket system that we have used since the mid 80's. Recycle, Reuse, Re-purpose, definitely the 3 R's in our house!
Clever coverup, i think!

The collage piece behind the wire frame is part of the bathroom wall of the Floating Empire. It covers one of the deconstruction errors of a previous owner.

pretty ugly, but hey, we got it covered.


We've had to adapt some of our old tools to the new space. The knife rack had to be mounted in a rather dramatic fashion, nothing like a good strong diagonal line to create a strong design element.
Hey, it works!

I think our hanging pot rack will be what i miss the most in our new galley space. Just not enough head space to allow it's use. Yet another element added into the 'where does it go' roulette.

old, favorite tools, new home.


Moving is one of my least favorite things to do. It is always stressful. It always feels as if i am leaving 'my only home'. Moving always uncovers my weakness; my belief that if i just keep this ...... (insert list of extremely odd and usually useless objects) i will one day, real soon now, make something beautiful out of said object. My studio space has ranged from, a two bedroom house, the entire basement, a room in a basement, a re-modeled sun porch, the back of the Floating Empire, and now,  the port side quarter berth. Well, that is actually art stuff storage, the real work will take place,  at the salon table, a very versatile object indeed. It swivels 360 degrees, and  folded in half. It also doubles as a bed.  Or maybe, most likely, in the wheel house, which has a much better view!

Sigh, it is still raining.
To many more!

More later,
gail