07 September 2006

Catching up on Studio Stuff

The image at left is of a needle felting project that I'm currently working on. This is actually very early in the project. After choosing the colors for the piece, I spun a thick/thin single on a drop spindle and then pulled it off into mini hanks. I've drawn the motif that I want to felt onto my base fabric in chalk. With the spun single, I'm tracing the outlines of the motif onto the fabric and tacking it down. I start with a single needle to tack the fiber in place. Once I've got it laid out in a section, I switch to the clover multi-needle punch. (Link is to a tutorial from Betz White which features this wonderful tool...) Once the section is well secured with the clover tool, I then take it to the needle felting machine which gives the whole piece a much better work out than I could by hand. The one thing that I'm learning from working on larger projects is that if I'm going to do larger projects (like the Ruana, embellished clothing, shawls, wraps, etc) I need bigger guns...

I'll be posting more images of this as I get closer to completion. I'm looking forward to talking about the inspiration for the project and the source of the motif. But it will just have to wait a little while. I've got a lot going on in the studio right now, and I'm trying to get ready for my first fiber festival. ***Sigh***

I have several blog entries that I've written and saved as drafts over the last few weeks. Most of them are about depression and therapy and will probably never see the light of day. It's not that I'm particularly depressed at the moment, I'm in about the same place that I've been for the last few months. Therapy seems to be working out well for me. I still haven't decided whether I'm ready to try a higher dose of my medication yet. I'm just not sure if the problem is the dose or the medication and I don't feel like I know how that determination will be made. I have a vague fear of gradually climbing doses until I experience adverse side effects and then have to start the whole process again with a new drug. (I suppose that this is something that I should talk to my psychiatrist and/or therapist about... how odd that because of modern American insurance these are two different people...)

My therapist has given me a homework assignment. I have been instructed to get to work, and that's just what I'm trying to do. Part of it is going out to the studio every day to get something done whether I get my hands dirty or not. I haven't quite succeeded in getting out there EVERY day, but in the last 2 weeks I've only missed 3 days, so that's progress.

I did get a little caught up in the idea of having results to show for my efforts and loaded a kiln full of bisque that I ***KNEW*** wasn't dry. I thought that I was being so clever by setting the kiln on its lowest setting for an extended soak. The problem is that even on its lowest setting, my little kiln gets hot, Hot, HOT!!! The moisture in the clay turned to steam before escaping the pieces and the pressure of all of that expanding water created quite a mess. This is the real cause of explosions in the kiln... Air bubbles don't cause them, it's the moisture trapped in those air bubbles that is the real culprit. I'll have to vacum shards out of the element coils before I can fire any of the stuff that I've made since the explosions. (yes, plural, I lost several items because I was in such an all fired hurry...)

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