15 February 2008

Trying the New Photo Set-up

Originally uploaded by MysticSpiral
The pop-up nylon light cube that I ordered arrived the other day and I had a chance to set it up and try it out. I grabbed a hand-full of finished shawl pins and some decorative paper that I had sitting around the studio.

The shots turned out ok, but I think that they'll be better once I get the stuff I need to set up better lighting.

14 February 2008

Orange Wool

Orange Wool
Originally uploaded by MysticSpiral
I've found a great deal of enjoyment lately in pulling apart sweaters and watching the Complete Jane Austin from PBS. I ordered, and received, a pop-up light tent for photographing my work for the Etsy shop. I've finished my first sock and the cuff & heel of the 2nd are finished and all I have to do is knit the mile and a half of foot before I can begin the toe decreases.

Tonight I went to my depression support group to find that I was the only person there. It's a small group and last time I had the grad students who lead the group all to myself. Tonight, however, I had the whole room to myself. I knit for a while (I'm telling you, a mile and a half before I can do toe decreases... this is what comes of having giant feet...) before leaving. This could easily be seen as some sort of cosmic joke at my expense. Instead, I'm choosing to view it as a much needed period of quiet reflection. Today was a good day and I'm not sure what I would have talked about if I'd been expected to participate in any kind of discussion.

I had a brief brush with fame earlier in the week. One of the ceramics tips that I submitted to Ceramics Monthly was published on Ceramic Arts Daily. It's like confirmation that I really am a ceramic artist, just when I needed it.

08 February 2008

I'm Committed, or should be

Andi's CHUMtoiral Socks
Originally uploaded by MysticSpiral
Knitting socks is an excellent metaphor for recovery from an illness. It takes patience and represents a large investment of time and only someone who has actually been there can really appreciate what you have in it. These are the socks that I blogged about back in October. I've not constantly worked on them all this time, and the progress on the other sock isn't quite as satisfying. I can see, however, that they will eventually turn into real, wearable, socks.

I feel much the same way about other areas of my life. I've updated my Etsy shop. The new shop announcement says that I'll be posting new items in the very near future. I'm hoping to have stuff for sale in the shop by March 1st.

I know that I'll be posting a couple of wrist distaffs, some shawl pins, and maybe some loose bead sets. I can feel spring in the air. The cold clay hurts my hands but once the weather improves some, I'll be able to get to work on some new clay pieces. I'm asking that people drop me a note in email or leave a comment to help keep me accountable and on task.

06 February 2008

MysticSpiral Update: All the news that's fit to print

The health problems which prompted me to close the MysticSpiral Etsy shop are still unresolved. While frustrating, this fact has also encouraged me to try to look at what I can accomplish within the limitations that I'm forced to work with. What it comes down to is, I am not capable of spending extended periods of time *NOT* making things. My production rates may be way down, and it may still be a challenge for me to get things down, but I'm slowly building stock that I'd like to be able to send to new homes. This means that I will be re-opening my etsy shop sometime in the near future.

The image above is a bronze and ceramic wrist distaff. It's a spinner's tool to hold the fiber from which you are working. When you're spinning on a drop spindle, you're not tied to one place the way that you are with a spinning wheel. For a lot of drop spindlers, walking and spinning go hand in hand. There are different ways to manage your working fiber. Many spinners simply wrap the length of top or roving that they're working with around their wrist and wear it like a bracelet. (I've always found that this is itchy for me... I have some weird sensitivity in the area around the scars from my hand/wrist surgeries and even things that don't bother me anywhere else drive me nuts there.) Others make a wrist distaff from yarn and beads that they can wrap their fiber around. (I find the clicking of the beads distracting and I've managed a few times to get my active spinning close enough to the fiber supply to grab a bit which isn't really helpful.)

For most of the winter, I have tucked my spinning fiber into the cuff of whatever long-sleeved top I've been wearing. This works great in cooler weather but prompted me to think about how much I was *NOT* looking forward to going back to the trailing fiber getting entangled with my work, or working with short lengths and an endless series of delays caused by grabbing more fiber and joining it to the spinning. Joining is an important and valuable skill but that doesn't mean that it's so much fun you want to do more of it than really necessary.

All of this prompted me to start trying to figure out a wrist distaff design that would work for me. Then one evening, as I snuggled with Sprout trying to get her to sleep, I started to visualize exactly what I needed. Once Sprout was asleep, I headed downstairs and out to the (unheated) studio to sit at the torch and make the first prototypes of my wrist distaff.

Wrist Distaff - with fiber (Prototype)