Monday, January 28, 2008

Marduk vs. Tiamat

I do hope the allegorical title will please the Title Quality Editor. (See, they're better when I have time to ponder them.) ;)

The week off was not restful, as I ended up schlepping stuff all over my apartment and repiling it in different configurations. I no longer have a living room; the battle for chaos control has just begun. But my work area is significantly improved. (Is there a law of conservation for entropy? All the entropy reduced in one area reappears somewhere else, and entropy can be condensed into a smaller area if the degree of entropy increases geometrically as area decreases?)

Here are several entries written over the course of the week, including several illustrations of things more or less flat enough to scan with some degree of recognizability (so, no pictures of the cat).

Vacation Process Report.

21. January, 2008 (Monday)

Here is the doubleweave sample I wove a couple of years ago. (I happened to mention it while visiting with Sarah on the phone, and realized I could show it to her!)

22. January, 2008

Organizing is very very tiring.

The idea for today was to clean out some of the extra stuff in the “studio” and to reclaim the “living room.” With the departure of one of the utility shelves (yay) I have been left with Stuff that has no place. Drat. (But not a surprise.) I didn't end up buying the drawer units I thought I would, so there is now, after much carrying, EMPTY SPACE in my work area!!! For now I am relieved by emptiness but I hope that tomorrow's pilgrimage to Ikea will help relieve the living room of its chaotic congestion. At least I moved the stuff that was precluding door access to any but perhaps a weasel. Amidst the lifting I eventually found myself muttering ow ow ow almost enough to take some Advil. I still might, the final straw being inadvisably but stubbornly heaving my unemptied, solid oak spice cabinet up onto the file cabinet.

Must now eat—I am way behind on nourishment. Then a lamentably short shower (until I moved here, I never dreamed that hot water heaters came in such a small size—plus it is now really cold, for Portland at least, so the hot water gets “diluted” by the cold water being excessively cold). Then I will SIT DOWN and have tea while it's hot. And if I've regained some energy I will draw or something.

At some point during the week...

I finished the little one of these embroideries, inspired by reading a couple of really interesting books by Mary B. Kelly (Making & Using Ritual Cloths, and Goddess Embroideries from (of?) Eastern Europe). I made the first one over Christmas:

It's odd that they don't show at all to scale--the second one is a leftover from the first!

23. January, 2008 (Wednesday)

The trip to Ikea didn't happen, but I did do other things: took the car for a check up (verdict: it needs to have something done) and did a quick run to two fairly close-by potential furniture sources. (After the failure-to-purchase of the drawer units on Monday I had checked three other places.) Help me oh Ikea, you're my only hope.

I have forcibly reclaimed most of the living room, at least of the half of the living room that performs the living room function. (The loom, spinning wheel, reel, and boxes of fabric constitute the normal occupants of the other half of the room, with the futon acting as a room divider.) Yesterday's moving included moving the loom so that I could “conceal” the boxes I was displacing from elsewhere.


There are probably 16 cubic feet of boxes, and the heap is, er, noticeable. :( I have so far restrained myself from evacuating the bedroom closet, which is poorly configured storage-wise. If I emptied it & reconfigured it I would have leftover boxes, and I can't bear to make the pile behind the loom any higher.

I didn't particularly want to spend my whole week off heaving boxes all over, but I shudder to think of how long this would have taken during an ordinary work schedule. Organizing is important. Once I get through this part of it (hopefully it's the worst) I have to remember that even tiny, incremental steps are progress. There is no use having Hoards of Cool or Interesting Stuff if I can't browse easily or if I can't lay my hands on a particular thing without a lot of rummaging. Using up the finite amounts of after-work Creative Power to deduce where something is—instead of using it to MAKE STUFF—got old a long time ago. Maybe 2008 will be the year I get my act mostly assembled.

Organizing is also very tiring for cats. Activity by the human is tiring under any circumstances, so a nap is necessary to recuperate, and then everything is different when you get up, and you have to explore it and see if you still recognize it. Then there is the socializing with the human (if the human is relatively sedentary) and then it's time for another nap. The nap starts sooner if the human is still active, because that is too tiring to keep up with. It is hard work being a cat.

Speaking of which, the cat is now telling me it is time for Balcony Patrol. Arctic Kitty prefers Balcony Patrol in the dark, especially if the wind is blowing interesting scents around. Balcony Patrol in daylight has been out of favor for several months. Nocturnal Balcony Patrol is most excellent, and Arctic Kitty checks everything out very thoroughly, returning inside when her human telepathically knows that she wants to (she keeps working on developing her human's powers of telepathy). She comes in all super fluffy and fresh smelling, and shortly has to have a nap to recover. After a bit of a snack.

(I do spend rather a lot of time with kitty, yes.)

25. January 2008, Friday, early afternoon.

Yesterday I went to Ikea. After the initial excitement wore off & I got down to the serious business of looking for specifically-dimensioned furniture units, it actually got kind of depressing, because my spots are so small nothing was fitting. For example, I need a narrow bookcase—but it has to be short enough to fit under the thermostat. I found one that was the correct width & height, but way too deep (it would stick out 5 or 6 inches too far) and one that was the correct width and depth, but way too tall. And then there was one that was just ridiculously small.

At least I have ended up with a work desk that I think will be very satisfactory. I bought two little file cabinet-like things with 6 drawers each and found one tabletop that was the right dimensions. The little cabinets are nearly assembled. They are marvels of engineering, really, and extremely admirably packed—plus the assembly instructions are commendable: no text, just pictures, with plenty of “magnifying bubbles” so you could tell what to pay attention to.

I am, however, about DONE with assembly. It is extra hard, I suspect, because I am increasingly sore as a result of an intense workout yesterday, in the form of quarterstaff drills. So far it is neck/upper back and forearms, but I expect it will be spreading across my back like it did last time, except probably worse, because we did more. One of the reasons I've tried to keep moving all day...but now I really must be still for a while. I think I will sit in my bedroom (free of chaos, sun now shining in) and watch an episode of Torchwood. Maybe Princess will come out from under the bed and join me.

27. January 2008, Sunday.

Today spiraled rather out of control, between sleeping through the alarm and Mom calling when I'd barely been up 20 minutes, and then we talked for ages (it might be for the first time since Christmas) which was good except it was way too long & the timing was not good. I eventually got a few of the main things done, except for the sitting around sewing/doing fun stuff part which I have pretty much not done all week. I managed to sit down a little bit early this evening, and read part of my book on Moroccan textiles & carpets (a recent acquisition) with Princess curled up against my leg.

Yesterday I finally mounted an embroidery I had 97% finished by late February. It didn't scan particularly well because of its puffiness (as Muriel Baker pointed out in Stumpwork, it is impossible to block it to remove wrinkles; I resorted to tautly stretching it and padding it with quilt batting). I do believe the recipient was entertained. He nearly didn't get it, as I developed quite a fondness for the monkey and was really close to keeping it. The picture is based on an image in a book of emblems I bought earlier this year (currently missing in action, or I'd include the title; I just checked a bunch of places—I remember where it used to be, but I've shifted everything several times since then).

Yesterday I also took an encaustic painting class with Amy Stoner. Something else to buy art supplies for! You can do collage with wax, too. In the Sept./Oct. 2007 issue of Fiberarts there was a neat article (pg. 20-21) by Daniella Woolf (she also has a blog about her work). She incorporates paper, silk, etc. into her layered encaustic works.

My initial experiments (once I get set up, I'll mess around with them some more) (usual web-picture caveat--in real life they don't quite look like this): Time to make the final preparations for tomorrow. After today, I think I really really need to get a shiny sticker.

Today, Monday January 28:

Snow everywhere this morning! :) Very pretty. I suffer from snow deprivation, but I'm just as glad to not have to drive in snow with inexperienced people.


Phiala said...

Award to Laura: One week worth of multicolored shiny stars. Plus an extra for the title: the Title Quality Editor is pleased.

I do like the pomegranate - I think encaustic is very cool, though I've never tried it.

And the doubleweave is, as promised, very bright!

Kim Switzer said...

Ooh! I completely forgot to tell you how much I like the embroidery! I've hung mine above my desk upstairs so I can see it when I am at the computer.

And I love the Arctic Kitty stories. I can just see her now! :)