“Daylight-saving-me” Time

daffodilsSpring has sprung!

I can hardly believe the daffodils are up and blooming, the almond and plum trees are blossoming and the pears are starting to bud. Ahh, Spring, how I’ve missed you!

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Though we’ve hardly had a winter, with little to no snow (we’re now preparing for a major drought this summer), I am always happy to see the sun returning to my life a little more everyday.

I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which means in short, no sun no fun. I don’t function at normal capacity at best, I don’t function at all at worst. This year hasn’t been as overwhelming as some, but I do still struggle with trying to do anything useful when the clouds have rolled in… so though it’s spring, I still struggle. Just sayin’. It’s almost like someone waking me in the middle of the night and saying “okay-time to be productive now”.

It ain’t happnin’.

So if I seem less than cheery on a cloudy day, now you know why (or at least part of why). I don’t just love sun. I NEED sun. I cannot function at more than 50% without sun.

This is what keeps me from moving to Portland or the Bay Area, not enough sun! Before moving out here to Southern Oregon I consulted weather records and discovered Seattle has far more sunny days than my former home of St. Louis, in a year. What a shocker to me! And yet it explained so much about why I struggled so hard there. Southern Oregon is a much better environment for me, but really I still think I’d do better with a winter home in a sunnier local like Costa Rica or Santa Fe. In my dreams… So here I am. Trying to make the best of things while waiting for daylight savings to really kick in. Soon I can get on with my life and rev it up a notch.

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Body Health:

So, an update on the getting healthier front: I have been going to the gym between 5-6 days a week for the last 8 weeks. I do weight machines for 30-45 minutes, and 45 minutes of cardio every time. So about 1.5 hrs a day,  or an average of 7.5-9 hrs. a week. So far I have lost a whopping…. wait for it…

…1.6 pounds.

That’s like, maybe three apples. Geez…I mean I know my metabolism has slowed down, but WTF? If I keep this up I may get to my target of 30 pounds in 3 years figuring in that I’ll lose less each year and be able to do less… not very motivating.

But I’m going to keep going at least for the next 3 and half months, because I’ve paid for it and can’t stand wasting money. And I’m sure something good will come from it, I just wish it was a little more obvious and a little quicker.

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Vision:

One positive thing I am trying to do right now is work on creating a “vision” for myself and my life, a place of focus and purpose that keeps me on track and brings me back when I fall off the track. I’m reading a book (recommended to me) as a stepping off point, discussing and getting support with some artist friends, and working through some of my hurdles, one of the major ones being general wrong-headed thinking (see most of the above), the other being my bad relationship with money.

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Money:

I don’t know about you, but I have developed a deep sense of feeling I don’t deserve to have money, because somewhere along the way I was taught to believe that having money made you a bad person. Ungenerous, uncaring, unconnected to what really matters in the world- that’s what having money seems to mean to me. And having money means not having a job that makes you feel fulfilled, not having time to spend with friends, and not spending time doing what you love in general.

On some level that means I think people that do have money are bad people, though I KNOW this to be untrue. Some of my best friends have money, but I’ve never felt like I’m “on their level” as a result. They are good, caring, generous people, but I can’t seem to convince myself that we are equals. So that’s my work for the next while here, and maybe a long while, as it’s a deep seated belief that I desperately need to get rid of in order to move forward in my life.

As my old boss (an Italian grandmother) used to tell me, “it’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is to fall in love with a poor one”. Oh if only this were so for me! I am put off by men who make money but then expect to find stability and security with men who don’t?! Something is wrong with this equation! Any help in unsticking these screwed up perceptions is welcome. I am seriously going to have to undo my whole belief system to get past this, but it has to happen! It’s like being reverse prejudiced. So ignorant.

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Time:

I am also working on my focus and vision by setting simple goals for myself. Just by creating a calendar of “work tasks” for myself in advance (I’ve laid out the next 4 months) has significantly helped keep me on a positive trajectory.

Knowing what task I’m working on for any given day takes the pressure off somehow. I don’t have to create a new plan every morning. I just get up, look at the calendar, and get going. Amazing how simple yet how effective this is for a self-employed person. It’s so easy to get off track or flop around in the unknowing.

Now I go to bed every night feeling like I’ve accomplished something, and knowing I’m “earning my keep” somehow. Even writing blog posts is now part of my schedule. Once a month, whether I have a plan for one or not, I will be coming at you with a new post, a new musing, a new update on the state of the arts in my neck of the woods.

I hope you’ll stick with me and give me some feedback. I often feel like I’m just doing this alone, yet I know we are all struggling to keep it together and it’s good to acknowledge that and keep encouraging each other in our journeys.

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Positive forward motion:

For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to get back to my wheel work and creating new bowls and such. I had to relearn how to throw- even struggling to center a piece of clay. It’s amazing how I can manage to “forget” how to do something I did less than 3 months ago. I mean, I must be the only person I know who actually forgot how to ride a bike, who forgot how to swim, and regularly forgets what I just did a few months ago. I think there’s a disconnect of synapses in my brain. How else to account for this weird behavioral defect? But it’s finally starting to feel better again, it’s just frustrating to have to constantly have to relearn.

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New fun stuff:

I am also working on a newer endeavor in mosaics, wearable art! I bought two bezels as an experiment and sold them both in a week, so I decided there must be a market for these tiny works. They’re fun to do, low pressure, and a nice break from some of the larger more time consuming tasks I often get involved with. Keep your eyes peeled for some of these in the next two weeks!

And I will be traveling to Davis, California in early April for my first Community Built Association conference! I think this will be a great way to meet some like minded folks doing what I love to do and learn some new skills to bring home and put into action. I’ve always loved public art and the way it can affect our communities not just in their existence, but in their creation. I hope to contribute some more in the future and also get paid while doing it!

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Upcoming workshop:

I’m also teaching another class over at the Ashland Art Center on Mosaic Cutting and Laying Techniques. April 19th from 10-3 with an hour for lunch. More information and registration at this link: Ashland Art Center.

Hope to see you all out and about this Spring (once it stops raining!) Keep in touch!

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This week with MissMosaicGirl

I started off the week getting all of my bowls sprayed with a clear glaze. This is what they look like after spraying with a clear top coat- all snowy white and matte looking.P1000471

But then comes the glaze firing!

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 Temperatures of over 2100 degrees are reached to achieve a “high fired” product safe and durable enough to survive the dreaded microwave, the dishwasher, and even the oven if you’re careful.

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The colors really POP once the glazes have developed in the intense heat. It takes about 8 hours for the temps to get up to cone 5, and another 12 plus hours for the kiln to cool enough to open up and take out the treasures. So cheery! Loving these!

Only had one fatality, but it was one I really liked 😦P1000476 But it’s to be expected, as it is ceramics after all…

1385698_664801226872564_1643781070_n Things continued to go really well as Friday night found me at Illahe Gallery for the Mosaic Invitational and I had a chance to catch up with other mosaic friends and meet new ones as well.

My friend Julia Janeway showed up with her lovely family and her daughter Josephine was convinced she could hear sounds coming from Mosaic Town! 1377318_664801276872559_489237443_n

We decided “Totoro” was playing in the cinema building… but I’ll let you decide.

I spent a few hours on Saturday helping to install the mosaic medallion I created almost a year ago for my friends Pete and Carol here in Talent, Oregon. Pete had already installed the handmade tiles on the risers as well as putting in lovely slate on the steps and porch.SAMSUNG

The install went smoothly and we’re just waiting for the thinset to cure before removing the clear adhesive film I used to create it. I think it looks great with the multi colored slate, and the small border Pete added really adds the finishing touch.

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I’ll post final photos once everything has been grouted, but Pete and Carol seem pleased and I think it looks fantastic at their place! You can read about making the tiles here and here.

In addition to the install, I also was working on a new platter for the Clayfolk show coming up next month. I’m experimenting with new patterns that relate to, but are different than, my bowls. What do you think? Keep in mind- the colors will change. Gray will become white, blue will be a deep turquoise, and the black will get blacker once fired.SAMSUNG

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Whew! I’m tired just looking at everything that went on. Time for a long nap.

Fabrication of Astoria Mosaic Complete!

Session three had finally arrived for me. After a busy start to my week, during which we held the first Talent Art Forum for the Talent Public Arts Committee, I arrived in Hillsboro two weekends ago at 10 pm to find an almost completed mosaic.P1000413

These were the last 3 sections that remained to be done.P1000420

The first morning I was there, Sandy and I quickly knocked out the first section, with Lynn’s  help.

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Lynn is here, with the first section, and the second, prior to fitting into the mosaic.P1000421

With only one more section to go we are feeling pretty good, as we still have 2 days of my visit left.

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The mosaic after sections one and two are added. The excitement is building for the final bit.

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The final section well on it’s way while Lynn and Bob celebrate their anniversary out on the town in Portland.

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And finally the last piece goes in.

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Next morning, we fitted the final piece, and here is the mosaic with all the main work done!

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Lynn does some finessing in joint spaces to make sure everything looks good and fits well.

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Me adding the last of the outside edge to the medallion.

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Here’s a closeup of one of the sturgeon’s whiskers.P1000438

Lynn with the completed mosaic, ready for installation after her return from Italy.lynnadamo-rickpaulsonphoto-sep-2013-8504

The whole team who helped create this masterpiece.

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Celebrating completion with a bottle of wine on one of the prettiest days of the weekend-a last hurrah before fall sets in.

The mosaic is scheduled to be installed in late October. Can’t wait to see the park completed! If you visit Astoria don’t miss it, the Garden of Surging Waves, and be sure to let us know what you think.

Mosaic sturgeon will be brightening up Astoria- Part 2

Back up in Hillboro this past week for more work on the Astoria project with Lynn Adamo and her faithful minions.

When I arrived the fish were all completed except for a little eye surgery (later) and the watery background was begun.P1000376

Lynn’s order of blue smalti from Mexico had been delayed by U.S. Customs and had just arrived in the middle of last week when artists’ Richard Davis and Jennifer Kuhns were just leaving.  So Lynn was anxious to get going with the background and cover some ground (literally).

However, we had a limited amount of certain blue colors we were using as accents. The only way we could figure out to evenly distribute them throughout the piece was to scatter them loosely across the template, then bag them up and label them according to the sections they would end up in. The system may look weird, but it was fairly quick and effective.

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Layout of fish with accent colors evenly distributed.

Notice the eyes of the fish in the photo above…somewhat ghostlike…

As I lay more of the blue field, Lynn began her “eye surgery”.

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“Eye-ectomy” being perfomed on the first fish.

We decided the eyes needed more of a true pupil to make them a bit more animated and alive, so we trimmed out the existing center,

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P1000401 …and voile! A much more lively fish.

In addition to these minute tasks, we also decided to make a new template that was fully laminated and protected from the weather, as our previous one was getting a bit soggy in the rain, and shrinking as a result (!) making it difficult to get an accurate measure and fit for our MANY sections of mosaic on mesh.

That took up some of my evening and half of the next day to do- working on the kitchen floor and in the front room in sections until I got it all done. We then moved it out onto the back porch and transferred all the completed mosaic sections to it and taped them down so they wouldn’t shift – ensuring a better fit later when it’s installed.

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Taping the sections together to avoid shift during fitting.

Lynn was very meticulous with keeping things organized and clean during the whole process- and you have to! One little sliver of misplaced smalti can throw off the whole thing.

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Cleaning up the shards of glass, bits of dirt (no shoes here!), and other detritus blown in from the yard.

By the time I left Friday morning we had fitted all the mesh for the next sections, gotten a little further on the blue field, and had the planning behind us so Lynn could move forward more quickly and easily to completion. (Or so I like to think!)

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Slowly but surely…and looking beautiful!

I’ll be going back up at the end of next week for the final push…and will keep updating as we progress…

But be sure to keep up with the progress of this project for the Garden of Surging Waves in Astoria, Oregon on Lynn’s blog at www.lynnadamo.com/blog/ too!

Mosaic sturgeon will be brightening up Astoria- Part 1

Hello good peoples of the internet! I would like to introduce you all to a wonderful mosaic artist, a fabulous pie baker, and an all around awesome human being- and they all exist in the person that is Lynn Adamo of Hillsboro, Oregon.

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Lynn enjoying her pie and ice cream

It’s hard to believe, but Lynn is all that and more.

She recently won a commission from the City of Astoria to do a 10 foot diameter mosaic to be placed in a new park in the heart of Astoria.
The premise of the park is to honor the immigrants who helped build our great Northwest as well as honor a bit of the natural history of Astoria to boot.
The sturgeons depicted in Lynn’s mosaic are representing the fish canning industry that helped make Astoria prosperous.

Mexican smalti “tortillas” (thick, richly colored slabs of glass) were created specifically for this project and are being laid by many hands under the direction of Lynn.
She has created a veritable hive (or swarm?!) of worker bees from which to draw on when the projects get large, and/or the time window for completion is short.

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Janie prepping smalti “B” cuts for installation

I am lucky enough to be one of the happy drones working on this gorgeous endevour.

I first went up to Hillsboro (home of Intel) around the 3rd or 4th week into the project. When I arrived things were well underway with one fish completed and another begun.

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I  worked with Sandy Arbogast, Jan, and Scott over three full days-and we made some respectable progress, finishing the second sturgeon

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The meals were fantastic during my first visit too. P1000353Bob grilled us a fabulous flank steak one night and some delicious pork the next. Served with his home-brewed beer- what could be better!

And as if that weren’t enough- Lynn topped it off with one of her amazing berry pies with berries fresh from their own yard.

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I was absolutely spoiled. And I loved every minute of it.

Mosaics are time intensive- and even with the 5 of us working we weren’t able to finish the last fish before I made my way back down the trail to Talent.

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Luckily she had some more great workers with her the next week-Richard Davis and Jennifer Kuhns. Both experienced mosaic artists in their own rights, they whipped through the last of the fish and moved onto the water before their three days were up.

In addition, Richard whipped up some fabulous gourmet meals using his culinary background as a chef. The photos I saw on Lynn’s blog looked good enough to eat!

Now I am geared up for my next mosaic session with Lynn. It’s round two and I’m determined to just “knock it out of the park”-as Lynn might say. You who know her know she is a HUGE baseball fan. It warms my heart just thinking about her checking the scores throughout the days-keeping tabs on her Giants on the laptop as she toils away 🙂

Mosaic Town is growing

Mosaic town has been growing steadily over the past week, and is almost complete. I have added three new buildings and created several montage photos so you can see the process as well as the various views of the new buildings.

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This is the 2 Story House made of handmade ceramic tile with a glass mosaic tile roof.

I created the texture on the red tile by rolling the wet clay onto a sheet of deeply textured fabric, then lifting and repositioning the fabric and rolling it again. The glaze catches in the different depths of the texture, causing some areas to have deeper colors than others.

The little yellow swirls are left over sun-centers from my History Underfoot mosaic. They make me happy, and I wanted a happy home- so there they are!

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The next building to be created was the Mod Building. Not sure where this came from in my head, though the Price Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright, in my hometown in Oklahoma, has always been a big influence. It might be a residence, it might be an office, it’s up to your imagination.

This one is covered in three colors of handmade tile, sea foam and clear with a touch of green for the walls, and forest green for the roof areas. The windows are made of a painted glass that adds great depth, as well as suggesting an interior light source.

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The final building I see as a Theatre of some sort. Cinema probably, though could be a regular theatre too.

It is covered in a huge array of colors and textures I have had sitting in my studio for a couple of years now. The front and sides are in a bright cheerful yellow, with the back being made of a combination of red and textured red handmade tiles.

The decorative tiles around the doors and windows are bits from tiles that warped or cracked in the kiln, but I didn’t want to throw away. The roof is made of orange tile and orange/brown tile from a failed attempt at a platter. I used the platter edges to edge the front of the roof. Oh, and the gingko leaf on the back is cut from the same failed platter. Happy it found a home here.

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So the town is now complete. I grouted them today, and as soon as I can find the appropriate garden setting I’ll photograph them to post here, and they’ll be up for grabs by some lucky new owner. Of course they need to live indoors in the winter to prolong their lifespan, but what a fun way to decorate your home!

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Progress on Mosaic Town

Just a brief update on my little town project.

Today I completed another building I think of as the Office Building-with a striated copper tiled roof of glass and seafoam green handmade ceramic tile for the walls.

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Again-this is ungrouted to date.

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I am starting on the 2 Story House tomorrow, but have already deviated from my original drawn ideas.

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I loved these little yellow spirals I had left from a previous project, so decided to use them here.
The doors/windows will be of glass tile, while the main house siding will be a textured red ceramic tile I made a year or more ago.
I’ll keep you all updated on the progress.