Friday, November 20, 2009

Autumnal Musings

It's November. The trees have almost shed all of their leaves. Crisp weather hints at winter to come, as our daylight hours become few and far between. It's that time of the year when we think of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, family and friends. Some of us have begun Christmas shopping, while others would rather pretend we still have months and months to go. For some of us, we anticipate parent/teacher conferences, vacations from school, the end of fall sports, and the beginning of winter ones. November is a month of transitions.

This time, last year, our building was purchased, and a dream began. We walked through hallways with weathered carpet, staring at walls that had seen better days. Cosmetic, we told ourselves. We knew it was all cosmetic, a little bit of sanding, some uprooting of carpet, some tearing down of walls, some paint, and the space would serve our purposes well. Optimism is always best when tackling a minor project. It becomes an absolutely necessary commodity when facing a major one.

Melanie began with her space, tearing up carpet, sanding the floors, painting, painting, painting. From there, the kitchenette, and then our office space, a studio, and the back hallway. In between, Floyd worked in the basement, painting walls and cement floors, installing sinks, and fixing up bathrooms. Next came the gallery space. Walls and ceilings came down, fixtures and hanging systems went up. Most recently, the hardwood floor in the entry is being restored. Our first and third floors are nearly complete, only minutiae remains. Behind the scenes, Rebekah has been making connections, marketing, and putting together our logo, business cards, and website. Together, we’re planning our Opening, March 13th and 14th. With all that's left to do, sometimes it feels as if we're attempting the impossible. But then we look back, and see how far we've come, how much we've already achieved. We are transitioning from dream to reality.

We hope you'll join us for our Opening Exhibition. As the weeks progress, we'll be posting tidbits of information here and at our website, currently under construction: You can also become a fan at our Facebook page where you can see photos of our space: before, in progress, and afters of our renovations. In the upcoming weeks and months, we'll be listing the events of our Opening weekend, details of the exhibition, and our Open House.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What ever happened to puce?

What do kiwi splash, turquoise mist, and alpine valley all have in common? They're all on this paint card I picked up from the mega-monster warehouse hardware store. And they're all blue.

I've often wondered how they come up with these names. Is there some team of people in the paint manufacturing world who sit around and toss names back and forth?

"What do you think of Celestial Seasonings as a name for this bright orange?"

"Uh, Fred, that's a tea bag company. They make sleepytime tea."

"Hey! Sleepytime! That sounds like the perfect name for this neon yellow!"

Kiwi Splash is blue. Um, the last time I peeled open a kiwi, it was green, not blue. Besides, doesn't that sound more like a super sugared, ultra-food colored kid's drink? There's Blue Bayou on this other card. As if bayou is going to make the blue seem more, I don't know, blue. And Frivolous. I'll buy that, it's frivolous, but I've just got to have it. Just exactly what color IS Frivolous? Oh, look at that! It's also blue. No? How about Gulf Grandeur or Astral? None of those? Well, how about Free Spirit or Galactica? Yessss...Galactica, as in Battlestar? Maybe I should just stick with Just Jazz, or Safe Harbor. Teal Zeal sounds fun, but maybe just maybe, when I look at my walls, I want a Caribbean Holiday. Personally, I'd think a Caribbean Holiday color would not be midnight turquoise, but a bright flashy orange or hot pink. But that's just me.

Now I am an artist, and I do differentiate between light blue, dark blue, turquoise blue, versus a green blue. There's warm blues and cool blues. Blues that are on the verge of purple (a.k.a. blurple). There's navy blue, blue black, blue grey, and earthy blue. I understand blue sky, ocean blue, periwinkle blue, cornflower blue, bright blue, aqua, and blueberry. But I don't think I can conjure up a greenish/bluish ocean blue when I hear the words Alpine Valley. Maybe that's just me.

Most of the time, I ignore the names, and well heck, the color cards, and put my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree to some actual practical use! I mix my own paint colors! My family ribs me for this, but I hate waste. If I have a little of this, and a little of that, I make my own color that is only marginally off the mega-monster warehouse hardware store's paint palette, but for considerably a lot less. Most of the time it works out pretty well. Sometimes I have to go back to the drawing board. The verdict is still out on the kitchenette.

My studio is yellow. Why? Because I had a lot of different yellows in the basement and one really bright orange. I mixed some of the yellows, a spot of the orange, and dumped two cans of bright white in. I ended up with five gallons. I used three and a half gallons of the yellow to paint the studio, so I decided to use that color as a base for the kitchenette.

A survivor of the seventies, the kitchenette stove is a lovely olive green (not Party Time, nor Flower Power, nor Mexicali, nor Pretty Paisley, but olive green). Most of these mega-monster warehouse hardware store paint centers will sell two to four ounce samples of paint so a person can test Melodious Strain on their walls to make sure it harmonizes with Candlewood Lane. So, I bought two different DARK yellowish greens, Avocado Surprise and Jalapeno. Hey at least those names sound like something green. I mixed those with the yellow and added a bit of the earthy grass green Floyd painted in the office on the first floor. He uses Premium-Super-Expensive-Paint that us mere mortals can't really afford. I have no idea what the name was, but I'm sure it had nothing to do with green.

I must say, on one level, my yellowish green does match well enough with the seventies oven. However, I'm not sure it's really all that attractive. If I can pull it together with some other colors, it will be either brilliant, or a total flop.

Hannah, my youngest child and owner of one unhappy tummy, came to work with me today. She wandered up to the third floor while I was painting the kitchenette walls. "OOOOOoooh, PRETTY!" she exclaimed.

"You think so?" I asked, standing on the step ladder. "The jury is still out on this one for me. I dunno yet if I like it. Don't you think it looks like boogers?"

Hannah giggled, "Yeah, it kinda does. I still like it though."

"You know what?" I looked down at her sweet little face.


"I think I'll call this color: Sinus Infection."

"Mama, you're silly." Hannah called over her shoulder as she descended the stairs.

Maybe. It's either that, or the paint fumes. I'll just wait until tomorrow after it dries, and darkens up. Who knows? I might like it after all.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Attack of the killer...

I've had a frustrating couple of days. Yesterday I dropped, broke, spilled, dumped, anything and everything...including the rabbit pee that was lying in wait in the bottom of Oswald's (my angora bunny) cage tray. Isn't the kitty litter supposed to absorb that stuff? After about the umpteenth millionth mishap (and no I'm not exaggerating) I gave up hopes of getting over to the studio to do yet more manual labor. I set out to get there by eleven. It was one thirty in the afternoon, shortly after cleaning up rabbit pee, getting into the van, and having to turn around because now I could add "forgot to bring paint" to my list of: dropped, broke, spilled, and dumped. I figured Fate was out to get me yesterday. I don't tempt Fate. I figured the forgotten, needed paint was a sign. Heeding the warning flag Fate was waving my way, I curled up on the couch with a fluffy book. (It was terrible. I don't remember the title, but it was bad, so it doesn't matter).

This morning I thought, surely, whatever curse hovered over me yesterday would be lifted today. I was feeling more rested. I hadn't had a mishap. Surely, I was in the clear.

I began tearing out the carpet in the kitchenette. Why anyone would think carpet in a public kitchen is a good idea, I don't know. Like a gluey fly-strip collecting it's prey, It was a nasty combination of stains, dirt, and old food particles. I wrestled it into a roll, and began hauling it down the three and a half flights of steps to the first floor. Half way down the first flight, the carpet began to unwind, slowly. I got it to the landing and tried to remedy the situation. I wasn't going to fit it down the stairs if I didn't somehow make the carpet more compact. Even now, I have no clue how I managed it. But before I knew what had happened, my petite frame was swallowed whole by a carpet. Like a low budget horror flick, I, the heroine of this dastardly tale, discovered I was in the bowels of the monster with little hope of escape, my predicament revealed too little too late. I slowly turned three hundred and sixty degrees: carpet, carpet, carpet and more carpet.

I imagine I must have looked pretty silly standing there, or if anyone could have known I was standing there, in the middle of the nasty jelly roll of floor covering. My father was working on the basement floors, happily singing off-key with his earphones in his ears, hooked to his blackberry. There would be no rescue from that front, unless he just happened to check on me. Pondering the situation for a minute more, I decided standing there in the middle of a seven foot high roll, contemplating the riddle of how I got there in the first place, wasn't going to get me out. So, I fought my way out of the carpet maze, then kicked the menace down the remaining two flights of stairs. Ha! Take that you killer carpet! Setting it near the front door, I re-rolled it nice and tight.

I only wished I had something to tie it up with. You never know who its next victim might be.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Should I die this week, I bequeath my...

I'm finished painting the studio, minus the kitchenette and the bathroom. Which means, I can now pack up my little bedroom, and move it over to my new place. I'm shocked and amazed how much I managed to stuff into one small bedroom. It's like the never ending pit of yarn, fabric, paint, weaving tools, various and sundry supplies! So far, I've filled about 30 boxes with no signs of letting up. Looking into my former 'studio,' no one would know it was in the process of being moved. And it will probably be a few weeks before I get everything unpacked and settled over there. I still have shelving to put up, closets to finish, doors to put on. In other words, I'm a long way off from being able to work there.

Last night, Joshua and I loaded the van, twice, with my stuff and took it over to the building. My new place is at the very top of the building. It takes three and half flights of steps to get to my new digs. My old studio is on the second floor of my house. That's another flight of steps. And my house is on a slight hill, which requires someone to walk up about ten steps to get to my porch. Hauling boxes, heavy and light, we went up and down and up and down and up and down more stairs than I care to count.

Halfway up the second flight of steps with the umpteenth box, Joshua said, "Man. (huff) This is (puff) like using a (gasp) stairmaster. Uhhhh."

"Yup. (wheeze)"

"Why (huff) on earth (puff) do you have (heave) your studio (gasp) on the third floor? (PFfffffff)"

"I don't (phooosh) know. (gasp) Some (pant) crazy lady (wheeze) thought (ahhhhh) it was (huff) a good idea (wooooooof) to (gaaaaaaaaaah) have (ehhhhhhhhh) a studio (whaaaaaaaaaaaa) on the (pant) third (heave) floor. (wheeze)"

Sigh. I haven't even begun to move all the equipment that doesn't fit into boxes. Not to mention, the actual furniture, looms, a dresser, benches, a couple of shelving units, my sewing machine table, and the television.

Could someone notify my next of kin, please?


Friday, February 20, 2009

Hans und Franz go to New York

(names have been changed for protection)

It all started with a loom I found on an online fiber equipment page. We were on vacation last weekend when my mother and I trolled the 'net looking for looms for our studio. The ad looked good. We made contact. We negotiated a price. We picked a travel date. We drove to New York.

The seller indicated we'd need several people to move the loom. "It is heavy. Bring people who can haul," She wrote in her email. So I did. My father drove, and my sister tagged along. Or rather, I was the one tagging along, since I know what looms look like. I'm such a girl when it comes to hauling and lifting. I'm a weakling of the highest order. My sister, Sara, on the other hand is strong as an ox. Maybe that's not flattering for a female, but I have always been in awe of her superior strength. I knew we were ok.

We drove the three plus hours to New York, traveling through the town of Sleepy Hollow where there was a cool statue of the Headless Horseman. Along the way, my father and sister started joking around. "I am Hans," he said. "Und I am Franz," Sara replied. "Und we are hear to haul a loom." "Hey you. Girly-man...can't you lift that?" "Yah, Vee need to pahmp you ahp, you girly-man." They amused themselves in this manner for a good ten to fifteen minutes, laughing at themselves.

Arriving at the seller's house, she greeted us in the drive with her husband by her side. He might have passed for a shorter, weaker, thinner, Tony Shaloub. She showed us the loom on the second floor, and Dad and Sara began contemplating the best way to carry it down the stairs and out the door to the trailer.

"I dont want to sound sexist," Tony said. "But I guess I'll have to be the other man." Dad picked up on end, and Tony tried to grab the other. He grunted, and groaned and maybe, just maybe got the loom off the ground half a millimeter. Sara gently pushed him aside, hauled the loom up over her head to get it above the barrier at the top of the steps in one fell swoop. She bore the brunt of the weight walking backwards down the stairs, and with Dad's help, carted the loom out through the garage and proceeded to help load it up.

"Boy, Sara," Tony said. "You're strong. Really strong." She gave him a look like, uh, yeah. I know. You Girly-mahn.

We piled back into Dad's Explorer, waved good-bye, and broke out into laughter.

"I dont want to sound Sexist..." Sara said.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Studio 301, 302, in progress...

The week between Christmas and New Years was a tough one. Not only was my Grandfather ill, and dying, but I was trying to get my studio painted. Unfortunately, we didn't get as far as we'd like. For one, the place was filthy nasty dirty. The whole building is, as a matter of fact. It took us an entire day just to scrub it. Then it took another day to sand everything. The rooms are rather decent in size: 12x16x9.5 ft, and 11x13x9.5ft, so it was time consuming. And it was not a huge sanding, just enough to prep so the paint will stick. Joshua, my son, did most of baseboards using his mouse sander. I went in behind him and got the curved edges by hand. I also sanded one of the windows in the second room. Jeremy, my husband, sanded the two huge seven foot windows in the front room.

Josh tore up the carpets weeks ago, revealing baby poo brown painted wood floors. Not nice wood floor, as in I could sand it down and refinish into hardwood floors, no, these are rough hewn planks that are typically painted. Very common in this part of the world in homes/buildings from this era. My own house has this same kind of floor in the attic, where we have our bedroom. So before we primed the walls, we figured it would be best to sand the floors a bit, since the baby-poo brown paint had a high gloss to it.

After Jeremy sanded the floor, we painted a layer of primer on everything, except the floor. We'll take care of that after we paint everything else. Then we painted the first coat of color. It's a mixture of a bunch of different colors I had leftovers in the basement. Yeah, I know...maybe I'm crazy mixing up my own wall color, but it worked. I do it all the time.

As of this writing, I have put the second coat on the walls. Next time I head over there, I'll prime the closets and painting the interiors an accent color. Then I'm going to paint the trim (bright white) and finally the floors, an off-white with a yellow undertone. I'm not certain about the floors. I might end up re-painting them. The color cards looked good with the wall color, but you know how that goes.

Until the next update...