Friday, December 31, 2010

First Night 2010

I will be performing tonight with The Columbus Community Drummers at First Night. This event takes place at Vets Memorial. Come out and watch us drum in the new year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year Feathers

3 more feathers in time for New Years. I hope that people like these and will buy them. There is a lot of work that goes into making them. They represent tearing down and setting up my studio, as it would be impossible to make them without the set up. It is always a heartbreaking event to tear down a studio. I usually lose something important in the process. It is the least favorite thing I have had to endure. It is my hope that the new year will bring many more projects like this my way to help sustain me. I am not sure I can survive here without that sort of purpose.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Feathers

The last of the scrap silver are going towards two more feathers.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scrimshaw Lettering

I am doing a set of personalized drum sticks for a friend. These are inlayed with ivory piano keys that I obtained when we junked an old piano. I use India ink to make a scrimshaw letter design. After etching the letters I apply the ink, let it dry, and then sand off the ink. In theory, all that would be left would be the ink down in the etch. Cross your fingers for me. This is the last step.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dumb Ass Don't Tell

Don't ask don't tell policy...Hmmm....Republican Eugenics program for gays? I am sure they think of this as a win win LOL. Am I the only one out here that sees that this is no victory at all? This is a way to get gays killed on the front lines. Bubba right wing will be very happy to know which of his comrades are queer so that they can fall to "friendly fire". How about let us bring all of our troupes home instead? How about we stop pretending that Iraqi Freedom means anything other than the Iraqi people not having running water or electricity while we guard "their" oil during our occupation of their country.
Republicans don't want to go into any more debt....except for war! How stupid of us to think they have given over one little piece of ground in this "don't ask don't tell" policy. 40 million Americans on foodstamps, but the war machine is in tact. Two wars that we can't afford...but how wonderful that gays can now serve in the military machine. Excuse me but I am underwhelmed!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Make This Better

This is a story that caught my eye recently.

Ripper’s Valley
is visible from the Riverfront bike path, which happens to be how I first became interested in it. As an avid cyclist, I very frequently ride down this section of the Riverfront path and quite often see a bustling community of families, a diverse range of cultures, a balanced number of mothers and fathers, grandparents, babysitters and children using the play equipment and nearby benches during the day.

However, within feet of this area is a dead-zone. The entrance to the railway cut is dark, looming, and segregated from the Riverfront Park. In my experience, children venturing toward the entrance are most often called back by their parents and reprimanded to stay within the direct area of the play equipment.

I discovered the slang term used for this location by asking around within a group of peers about the space. Many of them called it Ripper’s Valley, referring to the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper. The temporary installation of these letters attempts to counter that experience and reference. The act of existing in this space after sundown, providing lighting, watchful eyes, and perhaps deterring illegal or harmful activity from manifesting for the duration of our stay possibly subverted the current condition and environment of the park. We wanted to ask ourselves: How could you make this space better? What about other city residents? What could we do as a community to make it better?

Click here for the whole link to this story

Friday, December 24, 2010

Foxfire Series

I received a wonderful start on my Foxfire book collection. I used to have one of these (Foxfire 3) but decided to sell it in a yard sale a couple years ago. I know that was a mistake now. So I'm collecting, hopefully the whole series as I learn a few of these lost arts and relearn what I used to know. Thanks Aunt Sue. I will treasure these and you know I will use what I learn in them...for real!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Story Of Mistletoe

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I got this info from The Holiday Spot Dot Com site that I found by googling Mistletoe.
The Plant :
Mistletoe is especially interesting botanically because it is a partial parasite (a "hemiparasite"). As a parasitic plant, it grows on the branches or trunk of a tree and actually sends out roots that penetrate into the tree and take up nutrients. But mistletoe is also capable for growing on its own; like other plants it can produce its own food by photosynthesis. Mistletoe, however, is more commonly found growing as a parasitic plant. There are two types of mistletoe. The mistletoe that is commonly used as a Christmas decoration (Phoradendron flavescens) is native to North America and grows as a parasite on trees from New Jersey to Florida. The other type of mistletoe, Viscum album, is of European origin. The European mistletoe is a green shrub with small, yellow flowers and white, sticky berries which are considered poisonous. It commonly seen on apple but only rarely on oak trees. The rarer oak mistletoe was greatly venerated by the ancient Celts and Germans and used as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans. The Greeks and earlier peoples thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs.

The Mistletoe Magic :
From the earliest times mistletoe has been one of the most magical, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore. It was considered to bestow life and fertility; a protection against poison; and an aphrodisiac. The mistletoe of the sacred oak was especially sacred to the ancient Celtic Druids. On the sixth night of the moon white-robed Druid priests would cut the oak mistletoe with a golden sickle. Two white bulls would be sacrificed amid prayers that the recipients of the mistletoe would prosper. Later, the ritual of cutting the mistletoe from the oak came to symbolize the emasculation of the old King by his successor. Mistletoe was long regarded as both a sexual symbol and the "soul" of the oak. It was gathered at both mid-summer and winter solstices, and the custom of using mistletoe to decorate houses at Christmas is a survival of the Druid and other pre-Christian traditions. The Greeks also thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs. In the Middle Ages and later, branches of mistletoe were hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits. In Europe they were placed over house and stable doors to prevent the entrance of witches. It was also believed that the oak mistletoe could extinguish fire. This was associated with an earlier belief that the mistletoe itself could come to the tree during a flash of lightning. The traditions which began with the European mistletoe were transferred to the similar American plant with the process of immigration and settlement.
Kissing under the mistletoe :
Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. They probably originated from two beliefs. One belief was that it has power to bestow fertility. It was also believed that the dung from which the mistletoe would also possess "life-giving" power. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. Later, the eighteenth-century English credited with a certain magical appeal called a kissing ball. At Christmas time a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons, and ornaments, cannot refuse to be kissed. Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill. If the girl remained unkissed, she cannot expect not to marry the following year. In some parts of England the Christmas mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under it never marry. Whether we believe it or not, it always makes for fun and frolic at Christmas celebrations. Even if the pagan significance has been long forgotten, the custom of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many European countries as well as in Canada. Thus if a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe, it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as well as a prediction of happiness and long life. In France, the custom linked to mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day: "Au gui l'An neuf" (Mistletoe for the New Year). Today, kisses can be exchanged under the mistletoe any time during the holiday season.

The Legend :
For its supposedly mystical power mistletoe has long been at the center of many folklore. One is associated with the Goddess Frigga. The story goes that Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga, goddess of love and the mother of Balder, the god of the summer sun. Balder had a dream of death which greatly alarmed his mother, for should he die, all life on earth would end. In an attempt to keep this from happening, Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. But Balder had one enemy, Loki, god of evil and he knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked in her quest to keep her son safe. It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. It was lowly mistletoe. So Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , striking Balder dead. The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the sun god. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother. It is said the tears she shed for her son turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew. The story ends with a decree that who should ever stand under the humble mistletoe, no harm should befall them, only a kiss, a token of love. What could be more natural than to translate the spirit of this old myth into a Christian way of thinking and accept the mistletoe as the emblem of that Love which conquers Death? Its medicinal properties, whether real or imaginary, make it a just emblematic of that Tree of Life, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations thus paralleling it to the Virgin Birth of Christ.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solstice Cerimony

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The Columbus Women's Drum Chorus played with The Columbus Women's Chorus last night at Summit On 16th. It was a lovely ceremony perhaps the finest ritual I have ever participated in...and I have attended and participated in many! It was a good fit for us, and I hope to do more with this chorus.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Yule

There hasn't been a total lunar eclipse that fell on Winter Solstice since 1638 and the next one wont be until 2094.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tuba Christmas

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I used to play tuba in high school. It was an extension of trombone. I figure it is what moved me into playing Djun (West African Bass Drum). One of these days I am going to get my hands and lips on one again. Until then...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Feathers And Sticks

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I got an order for another feather yesterday, and I am working on my inlayed drumstick project today as well. So I will be busy in the studio today trying to finish these up and hopefully deliver them. The ivory inlay is from a scraped out dysfunctional piano. Ivory is a banned substance that is for the most part restricted.

There is still time to order feathers before Christmas...but you will need to contact me time is upon us.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Finished Feathers

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After a 3rd and final acid bath, my feathers are finished. I am ready to move on to my other Solstice projects. We didn't get our grant from Greater Columbus Art Council as I had hoped. But I am going to proceed and continue building the Linden Metalsmithing Guild anyway. It will just be a little slower is all. These feathers were made out of scrap silver. Imagine what I could do with non scrap materials.
We received our first donation yesterday...or I should say a pledge for the purchase of a tumbler and some steel shot. That is what these feathers really need to make them shine. It is one of the things my partner had that I made use of, that now I don't have. So thank you Sandy for your generous donation. I can cross that item off my list of things I was going to get with the grant. I can't really open my door to students without some basic things. Be patient my young apprentices, I am preparing to open my shop to you soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sterling Feathers

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Yesterday I started etching my silver feathers. In this picture I have etched lines with a scribe where I want the Nitric Acid to bite into the metal. I didn't get started till late in the day as I had other obligations. Hopefully today I will be able to finish this project and get on to the next.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back In The Game

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As you may have read two days ago in my blog, I had to stop working on my silver feathers because I didn't have the right kind of acid etch. It turns out that Werkhaven And Son have Nitric Acid in their inventory. So I am back in the game, and planning on etching my feathers sometime today. I am so lucky to live close to Werkhaven!

Monday, December 13, 2010

My View

Blogroll Me! My view of the world yesterday morning! It looks pretty much the same this morning as well. Nice to know that the snow plow does not visit my road. Drum practice tonight. Sure hope someone comes to fetch me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finishing Touch

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I picked up a single roof shingle at the Habitat Re Store. I am cutting the shingle into pieces and making roofs for both my bat house and the nuthatch birdhouse. I had some time in between processes while making my silver feathers. Rather than completely shutting my shop door, I decided to tidy up some loose ends.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Process Of Making My Feathers

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Yesterday, I took my pattern to the studio and cut out two feathers based on the model I posted yesterday. These were hand cut with a jewelers saw out of 22 guage sterling silver. Today I plan on firing up my acetylene torch and fastening the 20 gauge sterling silver wires that will be the feather shaft. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I have enough gas in the tank. If I don't, I can try a regular propane plumbers torch. Plumbers torches are hard to keep going because they are designed to be used upright. I have to turn them upside down to put the flame to the pieces which causes the torch to go out in most cases. I learned on a propane torch, but it was difficult and somewhat counterproductive. There is still time between now and Christmas to knock out more of these so keep me in mind. It is just as easy to make two as it is 10. These will be etched next to add the lines. Email me if you want to buy one of these.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Silver Feathers

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I am working on my sterling silver feathers this week. I am only doing two at this point, as they have been requested. But if anyone else wants one, they are $20 each in advance. Email me for the details. When I get these done, I will be making a trip to Newark. Maybe I will be able to fill up my acetylene tank and visit my Grandma the same day. If you order these now, I can guarantee they will be done by Christmas. They are approximately 1 AND 1/2 inch long. Each one is different. The picture is not the actual feather you will receive...but a close approximation. They are etched this year, signed and hopefully sell like hot cakes. They would also make a great valentines day gift if you have a valentine. I thought I did. I thought I had found my beloved. I just can't seem to get used to that. So valentines day this year will suck! Guess I just need to stay busy and make things.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bad Cold

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I am down with a cold this week. I just don't seem to be able to stop sneezing. It is harder to deal with illness when there is just me. The cats still need to be fed. Bird feeders still need to be filled. Someone needs to step up to the plate and make a meal once in a while. It is all up to me these days, and I really just want to sleep.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Got Rain 2010

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For those of you who do not know; I took over the Got Rain site. Lori wanted no part of it since two summers ago when the barrels went up in price.

I had designed the website and assisted her on most of the rain barrel purchases, assembly, and delivery. I loaned her money to buy the empty barrels on at least one occasion. I went to the hardware store and bought the parts on many occasions. I have changed the contact information on the site and this spring I hope to continue assembling, selling, and delivering rain barrels. Check out the site Got Rain.
Keep me in mind. I am always trying to do the next best first right thing. Rain Barrels are a very good investment. I have no outside spigots at my new house, so the 3 rain barrels I have set up are placed in spots that I will use next year for my gardens.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Projects On The Bench

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I am making a set of Black Walnut drum (Djun) sticks this week. I hope to get to some silversmithing by the end of the week. The month is flying by. Time flies when it's not dragging.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cold Frames Delivered

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My friend from Up North brought me her old windows that I can make into cold frames and start my winter garden. I am hoping by the next time she comes for a visit we can have something yummy to munch on from this garden. I still need to come up with something creative to block the ends. Otherwise, they won't hold the heat that is needed.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


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I got an honest to goddess free cell phone in the mail today that has 250 free minutes a month. It is based on income and teenagers don't think it is cool enough. But I will have a phone when I am on the road or house sitting. Call me and I will give you my new cell number. If you need a free cell phone and don't have a "coolness factor" to consider contact and see if you qualify.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Habitat Store

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There is not too much going on in my new neighborhood as far as shopping lures go. It pretty much looks like any subburb. We have the usual strip mall complete with Thrift stores, lots of tire places, and places to get your hair and nails done. I have lost count of the dollar stores that feature junk from China. I do spend a good bit of time in the ReStore. If I can shop at this store instead of the hardware store, I can save a lot of money. I have a lot of hardware holes in my life since moving away from Clintonville, and fewer resources to work with. My game plan for places like this store is to go in with a list and try to keep an open mind for the things that didn't make the list. I am always willing to leave any store without spending a dime. Most of the time though, the restore has what I am looking for. I have been able to take items back to the hardware store and get my money returned during times when ends are just not meeting. During these winter months, I am going to be looking for rain barrel parts which can be quite pricey bought new.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Favorite Empty Bowl

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Here is a bowl I constructed at The Ohio State University when I was pursuing my undergraduate degree in the 1980's. We were to combine throwing pots on a wheel and sculpture. I use it for a candy dish and I get a lot of compliments on it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


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SHE is a sculpture I created in 1995 instead of doing a hysterectomy. I drove to South Bend and worked in the clay studio of a woman named Georgie who I had met at The Michigan Women's Music Festival several months before my diagnosis. I had taken part in a healing ceremony at the festival led by the late Kay Gardner. As far as I was concerned I was healed. If I had went ahead and had the hysterectomy, it would have negated the healing that had already taken place in Michigan.
My deciding not to have a hysterectomy set things in motion in my little town that caused me to see the medical racket that normally goes unnoticed. Women are just supposed to do as they are told and obediently go under the knife. I did not follow the herd and therefore I still have my female parts. I have never regretted my decision and I resent the whole process that would use women for financial gain at the expense of their organs.
SHE is composed of terra cotta clay, deer antler, grouse feathers, sea shell, a metal concho belt, and lightening bolt sterling silver ear rings. SHE has been packed away precariously for 6 years and only recently resurrected. SHE is a powerful reminder of women's power to choose and make decisions about our own bodies. SHE is possibly my greatest example of Art Therapy which I pursued in classes at Columbus College Of Art And Design and The Ohio State University. SHE saved my life.