Saturday, October 3, 2009

Raisins on the Stairs

This has been a week to poke ornaments. I’m now in full holiday show mode, with thoughts of sugar plums dancing in my head amid the red, green and white patterns of my latest ornaments. I’m closing in on sixty for the holiday show season, which is good, but now they need names. My family usually helps me with deciding on names, and they have come up with some great material. With that many ornaments though, on top of the hundred or so that I made last year, I need more naming help. I’ve learned that if you want creativity, my seven-year-old’s multiage classroom at Rogers elementary is hard to beat. Some I really like and will use, like “Green Bean Casserole at Night.” Wow! Others didn’t speak to me since we’re not into Sponge Bob or the Transformers, but I still appreciated the effort.

The rains and humidity also let up this past week, and that meant I could get on to my project of urethane treating the Community Art project from the Fourth Street Festival. The fairgoers glued thousands of plastic toys, beads and other treasures onto four panels representing the four panels of the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD) logo. To waterproof the project and help secure the pieces I planned to treat the panels with urethane, but I discovered a new problem. The water-based urethane I chose has a slight pink tinge. I decided it would work on the red panel but not the others, so I set to work pouring the two half-gallon coats of varnish on the red panel and letting them dry. I decided that I would go with the yellow-hued organic based urethane for the yellow panel and just wear my gas mask. I’m a little sensitive to organic solvents, so that wasn’t my first choice, but the art has to come first here. Yep, that’s quite a visual—an earthy artist wearing a gas mask pouring varnish over a bunch of plastic toys glued to plywood in the backyard.

But if you really want the image of the week you’ll have to hear the story of my handy-dandy hand-held sander. This is the time of year when I need to finish frames for the long winter, which means I have to take advantage of the last warm, dry days. I was out sanding frames with a passion last week when it became clear that I had no choice but to install a new piece of sand paper. I had worn the last piece down to the pad in some places. To have any success at all I had to work in specific zones on the surface where any sand was left. It’s kind of like harvesting the zest from a lemon—you get most of it in the first few shaves, then you really have to focus on the little slivers that remain. Anyway, when I took off the paper I unfortunately ripped off the soft underpad. Yikes! Luckily I remembered the HoA (husband of artist) and Grandpa using JB weld to fix the broken faucet. I got it out, carefully mixed it up and splatted it on, and voila! It held tight. I’m so excited to have a big, fresh surface of sandpaper where I don’t have to remember which parts are worn out! That reminded me of a card I got back when I was in graduate school studying fungi. The picture on the card showed a stairway with raisins laid up the center of the walkway. They were there to remind the person to walk up the sides and avoid wearing out the carpet in the middle. I still laugh when I think of that picture.

Until next week…

1 comment:

  1. Martina, the ornaments are beautiful, fun, professional, handmade - basically "perfect".

    I love them.