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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

29jan2020

cropChroma socks. Hey, riffing off yesterday's colour scheme, here's a pair of socks I made a couple of years later in an almost identical one.

Not sure where I picked up this article in defense of public knitting —I didn't know it needed any, and I've been doing kumihimo, a somewhat similar portable craft, in public for years, and the only standout reaction I recall is some Japanese being a little intrigued by an obvious foreigner doing a craft associated strongly with their culture; but most spent their train time as everyone does, reading books, messing with their phones, or, on rare occasions, chatting with companions.

The bit that particularly interested me was the author's analysis of WWII wartime knitting. Both of the wizard's parents served, and knit. I think they particularly knit while in sanatorium for TB (after the war), but it was something of a feminist point of pride to the wizard that both his parents knew how to knit, though his father had given it up for crosswords by the time I met him.

Enjoy.

28jan2020

cropToday's post is a one-of-a-kind, an experiment playing with computer art. Ironically enough, I probably did the most computer-aided drawing...on my phone. I purchased some cute little program for a couple of bucks, but was annoyed that the program couldn't be moved to the next phone when that one died, and never got back to it. (Really, the things I do to shoot myself in the foot.)

Well, it's not as if there aren't lots to choose from.

On a much more skillful note here's a delightful collaboration of a pole dancer and animator, with similar rainbow-happy colour schemes. —Via one of Alas's many link roundups

In the meanwhile, some primitive computer art.

27jan2020

cropO hai, something slightly different! Some day I'll get the second stocking in the poinsettia series done, but it's pretty low on the list, especially now that holidays are over and I've almost got my xmas decorations back in the attic, hallelujah. I do honestly enjoy all that seasonal decoration, food prep, gift giving well, the wrapping part, at least, but I'm very happy that the only vestige is the poinsettia, which is still doing pretty well, right beside my computer. Heh, it can keep me company as I prep for taxes, my usual end-of-January activity, doesn't that sound like fun?

Also on the graphic front, a couple comics, one about losing one's sense of dread via bust reduction, and the other, iCthulhu, that involves pursuing it.

Now if only I can get my studio tidied up by the time my xmas cactus reaches peak bloom (which will, hmm, probably be right around Valentine's Day, I'm guessing) I can have some fun tidy studio pix. In the meantime, here's a poinsettia. Enjoy.

24jan2020

cropIt may be an old intro and an old page, but it's a fridayfugly old page! And the intro has a new conclusion (which is where these things tended to stall out, btw. Friend of ours has a charming family term for these projects, be they software or knitting, that end up in these cul-de-sacs: what my crafting community calls UFOs, they say are in ‘time outs’. I kinda like that, because unlike the connotation of being forever in limbo, the projects have a chance to get out of purgatory. —Which, I guess, is what I'm doing here, letting old stuff out of the back of the closet. (I know, it would probably better be left there, but then I have to look at it. Now it can disappear tidily into the aether of completed and never-read-again pages:)


When I was a child, I disdained dolls. Despite my parents’ egalitarian efforts to rear their half-dozen offspring the same regardless of sex, it was perfectly clear to me that only girls played with dolls, and girls, particularly the sort that played with dollies, were second class. I had more self-esteem than that, so I wasn't about to play with dollies, especially not the infant sort, which was like being a miniature mommy, a task I had no desire to take on at all—with all those younger siblings, I knew just exactly how much work that was.

I did, however, collect all these model horses, which I arranged into complex social groups, dressed in scraps of fabric and/or painted, acting out elaborate stories of their various adventures—in short, I treated them, as my mother astutely observed, “just like dolls”. I didn't like her assertion very much, but even at the time was forced to concede its accuracy.

So I don't have religion, because of the not-believing-that-gods-exist thing. (I'm not at all sure how you could do religion without a belief in god(s), but evidently, it can be done.) What I do [is creating] art, and in many ways, treat it just like religion: art is my reason for getting out of bed, the source of joy, the driver to be as good and true and real as possible, because one must be those things to make good art.

So I totally get why folks might wish to evangelize the source of their joy but here's the thing I've had to accept pretty much from childhood on (I started drawing when I was three): other people manage perfectly meaningful lives without any interest in creating art whatsoever. This sad lacuna in their existence baffles (and somewhat saddens) me, but I think it's fairly clear that preaching to innocent bystanders that their lives are silly and meaningless without art would be very rude. Artists, therefore, have to be a little sneaky about evangelizing: look, you'll make this beautiful thing! (Art doesn't have to be beautiful, though it often is.) Look, you'll make this useful thing beautiful! (Which snotty artists disdain as mere craft.) Look, it will help with your mental health! (Zentangles and the like are a form of doodling, and why yes it is a form of meditation that helps my mental health, but it doesn't even get to be called craft in most people's book...and it surely hasn't got much status. Which is kind of my point: the arts have not the status that other activities do, so we have to be accommodating.)

So I don't think that's too much to ask, that we allow non-practitioners of religion or art to live their lives as they see fit, without proselytizing that those lives will be utterly meaningless and/or they will be irreparably evil without our one, true, pure way to live.

Okay, finally, we're to the end of my vintage rant. Congratulations, here's a vintage fridayfugly to enjoy along with. You poor thing.

23jan2020

Oh, look, last Thursday I did a review of a fantasy novel, so let's slot this week's review of a fantasy novel on Thursday, too. So tidy! (My brain is weird.) This one is of Lee & Miller's Balance of Trade, a novel set early in the internal chronology of their Liaden universe. Also...

Today's linkie, via boingboing, is the incomparable Jay Smooth (scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the video) who discusses, a bit, what institutional and structural racism are. The thing is, most people think of individual racist acts (‘I'm gonna make white ladies clutch their purses in the elevator no matter what I do, so I may as well enjoy it’ —Um, the racists in this situation are the white ladies, not the frustrated black guy, btw) are the biggie, (That person said or did Racist Thing!) whereas the systems (Funneling people into the prison-industrial complex, or out of home ownership via redlining) are the real culprit.


Why yes, I've dug yet another unfinished post out of storage (that was created six years ago to the day—did I mention my brain is weird...?), and while all the points above are still cogent, and I'm happier than ever that Jay Smooth is still making videos (however erratically) I note, skimming the most recent ones, that he, like so many on the progressive end of things, is doing a lot more daily whack-a-mole than these deeper, substantive conversations to move things forward. (Le sigh.)

Yet, as he notes in his Cosby video progress, however subterranean amongst the daily surface froth of outrages, is being made. That's what I hold to: we've had turbulent times—my friend Patricia B cited the Civil Rights movement, whereas I think of the agitators during the dawn of the Industrial Revolution—before that seemed like a mess to the people living through them, yet, their hard work, like that of Cosby's accusers, did eventually make a difference. So: hope. Gotta maintain it.

Or you can check out my meandering, two-year old complaints about a minor sf&f series.

22jan2020

cropI have been following the work of Marina Bychkova for some time, now.(1) She seems to me to live very nearly the perfect artistic life, making absolutely stunningly gorgeous porcelain dolls with exquisite detail, documenting these efforts in beautifully produced books and living in a luscious studio.

More power to her. Mebbe this will be the year that I finally start sewing/quilting/even doing breyer repaints. In any event, I continue to tidy up, as for this post illustrated with images from early days of setting up my studio (& which, I feel, I ignored far too much the past couple of years.)

(1)That was true in 2014 when I wrote those first two sentences, and I'm happy to see that she is, as 2020, still creating.