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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

25may2018

cropThis french beaded flower page is yet another of those posts dug out of the archives, though as it's only 2 years old, it very nearly counts as fresh—& served up for your delectation because I will be teaching a class in this technique, starting in about 10 days, and with any kind of luck, will be leading into pages documenting the various techniques for my would be victims er, students. Starting next week. Or else.

24may2018

cropvia BB, a fun and fairly fast vid on women's 14 ca dress in 2 versions, a servant and somewhat wealthier woman's outfit: in both cases, these things were basically long, rather shapeless dresses that nevertheless appeal.

This led to this sped-up version of Victorian dress which actually deserved the BB commentary of being highly layered, impractical and unfriendly to women—but even I will admit, fun to look at and/or play dress-up in once in awhile.

At the opposite end of the scale, derby clothing allows maximum freedom of movement, and is pretty brief, as derby-skating is a pretty warming exercise! —Speaking of which, here's a mouse in WFTDA (women's flat track derby association) colours. Enjoy.

23may2018

cropI loved figure skating and ice dancing from the get go—gorgeous, graceful movement, not to mention the costumes which not only show off the skater's figures as well as the ones they're making, so when the wizard took up roller derby reffing, I realized that perhaps, someday, I could get him to skate dance with me, his excuse of being “too unco-ordinated to dance” now being off the table, since roller derby refs have to be co-ordinated not only enough to skate—and if they're outside refs, skate faster—sometimes backwards all the while tracking and calling penalties. All that multi-tasking is good for someone who claims they can only do ‘one thing at a time’.

Back in, um, the early 90s—or perhaps even late 80s!—I got a pair of rollerblades, because I had enjoyed ice skating as a child (though we only ever did it casually, and I never really got very good at it). Since our local league has an excellent & very reasonably priced training program for learning how to do roller derby, and the winter rink is about 5 or 10 minutes away I figured this would be a great way to learn a) how to fall b) how to stop and c) how to skate in close quarters—all necessary skills for would-be dancers.

I learn pretty slowly, and the first time around, I flunked the skills assessment. I was on track to do better this yest, except I concussed myself (need to practice more falling, obviously) but one of the things that amazed me was that I wondered if I had low-grade flu through a lot of the first round of training, I ached so much.

Nope. I was just out of shape.

Because skating is a super low-impact sport (excepting, of course, when you fall) you can get a really hard workout. Even with the constant breaks to teach & review the material, skating really pushed my physical fitness, both strength and aerobic. (I depend on yoga for flexibility, though we do stretch during practice, before and after.) Our particular league prides itself on being a very welcoming culture, accepting failure (you fail a lot) while yet pushing us to work our hardest, and that combination still amazes me.

It probably helps to have skated yourself, so you can more easily appreciate what top level skaters are doing when they play, but if you're looking for a new sport to try—or even just watch—this is one definitely worth checking out: there are leagues all over the world.

Skaters’ careers are typically fairly short, and our trainer is retiring to do other things. Having taught myself, I could recognize just what a fantastic one she was, so I wanted to give her a token of my appreciation. This is the outside.

22may2018

cropSo my neighbour gave me her collection of ribbons, tissue paper and other goodies, presumeably on the advice of her friend who was helping her pare down a house's worth of belongings to a room, and also because—after all—if she needs any such, she merely has to walk a 100 yards or less to take advantage of mine:)

This meant I ended up with some absolutely splendid gold lace buried in the bottom of the box, which I wanted to spool around a plastic (rather than acid-y cardboard spool). Well, after figuring out that the 100’ tigertail spools wouldn't hold all the lace, I decided to transfer the last of my tigertail from a 300’ spool. Mounted it on a spade bit, with the hole of the spool somewhat tightened with electrical tape aaaaaaaand the tigertail promptly looped itself horribly.

When using a bradshaw winder or the like, you typically wind multiple strands together in the opposite direction of the S or Z twist that the string itself has; but it turns out, whichever way tigertail is wound, what matters is the way it's wrapped on the spool: if it's coming off the spool counterclockwise, then it needs to wind onto the new spool the same way. As luck would have it, I picked (50-50 chance, after all) the wrong direction, and went back to the drawing board (i.e. did some research on the internet) finding this helpful video for avoiding this problem. Should you ever need to transfer cable, thread, etc from one spool to another.

Speaking of fibers, today's offering is 3 more stab bound journals.

21may2018

cropHi all—what is it about Thursdays that derails my blogging? (Um, the fact that if I don't queue up all the posts for a week, I tend to run out about then...)

Anyway. Today's page was supposed to go up Thursday, but it didn't, so we have it today. As it turns out, the travelling paint kit I used to make these pages—which I purchased in Miami Florida, while at a kumihimo workshop, so I could make sketches at Fairchild Botanical Gardens, and which I've been fairly happy with, excepting wanting to squeeze more colours in a flatter box (so it would fit in my travelling easel drawer) was lost when I left it on a neighbour's fence after painting some of her flowers. The 4" or so of rain we've had in the last week washed the paint away, and, thinking the empty container useless, she pitched it.

f2tE, to whom I gave my old painting kit after getting this one, kindly loaned it back, but I've become spoiled, so I did some research on amazon to see about getting a flatter, slimmer tin I could fill with tube W&N paints bought on sale when our last, local art supply store bit the dust. Well. There are indeed empty pans and tins available, and I've learned a few things about watercolour, frex, those little cubes into which they dispense the paints are called ‘half-pans’ and standardized, throughout the industry. Also, pan pigment is denser than tube pigment (which I hadn't realized). Also, that one doesn't have to spend $200 or $400 on paint, W&N is quite good (and I already have an assortment).

And, finally, the point of this rambling conversation, other artists have already done—and documented—just the sort of comparisons I was looking for. (Btw, a trick that works fairly well for me when researching a topic: try to find a personal blog, as opposed to a generic ‘rating’ website: the person will certainly have strong opinions, but will also explain their biases, rather than attempting to hide a commercial, i.e. paid, preference behind a bunch of vague blather Quite often, if you're really lucky, they'll even point out other, equally useful resources: exactly what happened here, in that, in one of those rare luck-of-the-draw, I got two top links on the first try.)

So, when oh when is ze going to get to the point? Well, the motherlode (or load, as my eggcorn would have it) of info is this blog by a watercolourist who has tried them all and whose recce for thorough discussion was my second choice for research, handprints which has an exhaustive comparison of everything out there. Be still my beating heart.

In the meantime, however, Ms. Sutherland is achieving exactly the sort of thing I aspire to, so's I can just cheat and copy her palette. Easy peasy! —Well, getting the paint; getting the technique is gonna be quite a bit more work, but in the meantime, some quick sketches.

16may2018

cropWhen I went to visit Frances in NYC with the f2s, I took this journal with me, with the idea of filling it up during my journey. I had several inspirations for it, one of which is mudhound's found object pieces. Unfortunately she doesn't seem to be updating this blog anymore, but has kindly left some of her older work for us to enjoy.

Which is what I hope you'll do with my little effort as well.