30 November 2010

vigilant me

It seems my life's theme over the last couple of weeks is vigilance: watchfulness; the process of paying close and continuous attention.  I've been working hard to take notice of all those little things that I tend to ignore and brush off with the thought of 'later'.  It's that ongoing feng shui-ing my life thing.   Moving through this process I just never know what's going to catch my attention.

This one amused me to no end ... I decided to finally, and I do mean finally, wash the canvas from my PMC tool kit.  This is the tool kit I bought either late '97 or early '98, one of the original PMC tool kits, and it has never, and I do mean never, been washed.  I'd kind of been enjoying it all nasty and crusty, layers and layers of lord knows what built up through the years.  But the other day I looked down and said "enough".  Behold the before ...

I won't say the result is pristine, but it's worlds better ... worlds!  Then I decided my work surface needed attention as well, so it got a good scrubbing.  Then I tossed the nasty little bit of oil-soaked foam (okay, so it was less than a year old) in my vintage PMC container (anyone remember those?).  It's quite refreshing to have a shiny and clean work surface and toolkit.  I probably won't wait another 12 years to clean up my tools.

I had to take a break from taking catalog and website pictures - it was making me crazy and I was getting really bored.  Beware of Kathy when she gets bored, she's been known to take on new and daunting projects.  But you see, I've been thinking about this one for years, and I do mean years.  I've decided to teach myself how to cast glass beads.  You see, it all started when I first saw this necklace ...

I had seen it in Ornament magazine ads and then it was in the Collectible Beads book that Robert Liu did in '95.  It was those chunky translucent blue and sea green beads that really got me - pate de verre - I had no idea what that was.  Funny thing about this necklace ... the maker is Laura Popenoe and she lives in Port Townsend and we got to be quite good friends while I was there.  Wouldn't you think I would have asked her about those beads?  Nope.  I have been thinking about emailing her and getting some pointers, but being the pig-headed sort that I am, I'm going to work on my own for a bit and see where I get.

I've bought a book ...
And what really got me going was my idea for molds - creative paperclay.  In the early days of PMC, core material for beads was a big problem.  For years I used paperclay, which was less than ideal but there weren't really any options.  So I knew that it would fire to 1650, not shrink and not burn up - it's the volcanic ash and talc.  After firing, I would just drop my beads in water and the paperclay would crumble and dissolve.  I thought it could be great for glass molds ...  the core for the center hole  made ahead of time, dried and stuck into little pinch pot molds - no bead release or worries about getting the bead out of the mold.  Plus they're very cute ...

Next, I discovered there's a rather large art glass supplier here in town.  I bought a few vials of ground up frit to experiment with ...

My first experiments have been less than stellar ...

But another one of those late night epiphanies has me trying something else - crushing up Roman glass and seeing what it does.  I'm not sure if this might be kind of sacrilegious, but I love the colors and I've got a bunch that's been sitting in a bin for ages, so what the heck.  My first attempts are cooling in the kiln as we speak ... that's the hardest part for me - waiting.  You have to wait until the kiln is bloody room temperature before you can open it!

I've also discovered that Rio Grande is selling glass supplies, who knew?  Ah, which leads me to another bit of house cleaning ... I just sent back all my silver scrap.  I cleared out a ton of old components and bits and pieces that had been sitting around forever.  I had a bunch of really early glass fired in PMC failed experiments.  I took a beefy pair of cutters and managed to extract most of the silver from the glass.  All that old stuff along with a lot of not so old stuff and with silver at $27 p/oz ... well it was a fine idea with excellent timing.  I got to do some much needed space clearing, get a nice chunk of trade-in credit, buy some regular materials but also order a nice assortment of frit for further experimentation. 

As I move forward to lord knows where, I'm back to that idea of vigilance ... staying awake and aware and heart centered.  To help with staying mindful, I've started getting the Daily Quotes from Abraham-Hicks.  I used to be a big follower, but I got kind of turned off from them for a while, they've gotten so commercial.  But I just decided that if the message resonates it doesn't matter where it's from.  An excerpt from today's quote did indeed resonate, "you cannot attract the presence of something wanted when predominantly aware of its absence." 
That's a tricky one ...

So much going on ... I'll keep you posted.
blessings - kvk

p.s.  it's almost my birthday month!!!!  wowie zowie, the downhill slide to fifty-five!

p.p.s.  270degrees is not room temperature ... drat


  1. wow, i love the two beads closest to the camera lens... very much on the right track, i'd say. xoxo

  2. well, one side looks cool, the other not so much - and they're not smooth and would be uncomfortable to wear. I'm going to re-fire them and see what happens. 167 degrees is room temperature, isn't it?

  3. hey, i LOVE love the less than perfect beads.
    that's the idea...

    i want a cone 10 kiln for Christmas or spring,

    i have a huge amount of copper, i should weigh up...

    ahhh... almost Christmas again.
    Still bright leafy yellows and red down here, hope your New Years wish comes true.

  4. my word v was coness as in cone 10

    a good omen, no>

  5. Good luck with your experiments! I had been thinking about casting glass myself. It's one of those things that Cynthia and I talk about doing and always put it on our list of experiments to conduct, but never get around to it. Sheila had some successes with it.

    Another person who is absolutely brilliant with it is Bronwen Heilmen. She did some recycled glass beads that were simply phenomenal.

    OH! And I just read about how the Africans do recycled glass beads and they use the stem of a cassava plant to form the bead holes! Fascinating!

    Good luck with everything! I need to get a bit more vigilant myself.

  6. A clean work space AND new ideas? What could be better?!? Maybe getting a big credit at Rio. I just sent my scrap back also and am making a list of things to get with my credit

  7. m - oooooohhh, a cone 10 kiln. I miss my big one terribly and my last pmc kiln fired that high, but not the new one. My dream is a wood fired one like this one http://www.monocacypottery.com/kiln.htm . And I do love this time of year, so much to be thankful for.

    Thanks for the well wishes, Andrew! I may end up hauling in some help, but I'm seeing how far I get on my own - stubborn I am.

    And Zoe, it's amazing how fast that credit gets gone - mine's already a done deal.

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