Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

Archive for April, 2021

Art All Night 24

Posted by C Scheftic on 2021/04/24

It’s the last weekend in April, so once again it’s time for Art All Night!

Here’s what I posted on Facebook about it:

I just found the specific page for my entry. Both that, and the show itself, should be visible for a mere 22 hours. Then, poof!, the only way to see my entry again will be through one of my posts. (Of course, the piece is for sale … should you wish to look at it any time you want!)

I am really hoping that the show will be able to return to an in-person event next year!

ADDENDUM: Congratulations to Debra for your winning bid on this piece! I hope you’ll enjoy it for many years to come!

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As things start to return, several at once!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2021/04/07

So here we are at the first Wednesday in April of 2021 and this evening I’m not going to be able to meet with other members of the Penn State Master Gardener of Allegheny County at the first regular Wednesday work-night at the lovely Edible Teaching Garden, and not because I’ll be at the opening of always-interesting Quantum Theatre‘s latest story-walk, 10 for 21 (10: based on the Decameron; 21: another year, still in pandemic…)

At the same time, instead, I’ll be at the (virtual) opening of the Cranberry Artists Network‘s spring show, Reawaken, Rejoin, Rejoice, where two of my pieces have been accepted for display!

Yes, while the reception will be virtual, this will be my first, actual, in-person show in a year!

Exit from the Vault is a fine silver (.999) pendant (hung on a sterling silver chain, not shown here) from my Doorways series. What can I say: I just hope it’s an appropriate metaphor for much of the world right now…

Leaves and Tendrils–As Spring Returns! is a fine silver (.999) reversible hollow bead (the other side has a similar but less-deep texture) suspended from Argentium silver (.930) round and square wire “tendrils,” with all of that hung on a sterling silver (.925) chain. This one just seemed highly appropriate for the season.

The reception tonight is from 6-8 pm. You can view the show at the Cranberry Township Municipal Center, 2525 Rochester Road, Cranberry Township, PA 16066. It runs during regular Municipal Center hours through May 6, 2021.

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If you would like to purchase any of my pieces but are unable to get to the show itself, please just let me know and I’ll be happy to review your (all very easy!) options.

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Artists Choice IV: the Spring show at WSCC

Posted by C Scheftic on 2021/04/05

Like so many of us over the last year, I have missed getting together in person with a lot of my usual people although, except for the worst of winter, I have been able to share outside activities with many of the local ones.  In another way though, I have missed even more all the different, random people I would interact with at the Wilkins School Community Center (WSCC) where I have my studio.   

Still, I am very happy to have two pieces in WSCC’s current exhibit, Artists Choice IV, even though is yet another virtual show.  It looks as though I have the only 3D entries in this one! There are two pendants and, once again, I was able to make both of them reversible!

I Will Always Hold a Piece of Your Heart in Mine has two golden-bronze (“brilliant bronze”) hearts, one nestled inside the other, and hangs on a gold-plated chain.  It is fully reversible: you can wear it with the pairing facing forward, or you can turn the chain around to keep the little one snuggled in, closer to your own heart.  To me, the difference in the size of the hearts indicates a visual illusion, a sort of perspective, where the smaller one represents the heart of someone at a distance, for the moment at least, but the two are still firmly anchored together.  

What do you see in it?

Spring is Peeking Out at Last! is another reversible bead, this time a hollow one made from fine silver (.999).  One side is textured with an array of cute little spring blossoms.  The other side shows a different flower eagerly peeking out through an opening in the ground.  Like so many of us, all of the flowers are ready to get out into the sunshine and to get on with their lives!

What are your plans for this spring, and beyond?!

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Both pieces are available for purchase, so do let us know if you’re interested!
There’s info on the show page, or you can simply get in touch with me directly and I can process it for you.

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Three Hairpin Lace Squares for The Violet Protest

Posted by C Scheftic on 2021/04/04

Another creative yet meaningful thing I did in 2020, one that just happened to end up taking place during the pandemic shut-downs, was to volunteer to make three squares for the Violet Protest project.   Personally, I am not happy with the way “politics” is handled by “social media” (and by others, but all that is for yet another discussion) so I don’t tend to say much about political topics online.  (I am not apolitical!  It’s more that only occasionally do I wear politics on my social-media sleeve.)  But this seemed like an idea that people from either / any side could support, which is why it interested me. Because I do believe that we have to stop talking at each other and re-learn how to converse with each other, to stop emphasizing our differences and start making progress for the future via the interests and goals we do share…

So what is the Violet Protest?

In short, makers from across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all American territories—without regard to their own political inclinations—are joining together in using their time and talents to make 8” x 8”  fiber and/or fabric squares using equal parts red and blue. These are, first, being exhibited in Phoenix, AZ; after about six months, the show will be taken down and the squares will be distributed to all members of Congress, of all parties, to ask them to find ways to come together too.

“Focused on the values we hold dear as Americans, rather than any political beliefs, the color violet symbolizes the literal combination of red and blue, long held as symbols of our nation’s differing ideologies. Our common goal is to send a physical message of friendly protest through this … visual expression to demonstrate that if we as citizens are willing to come together, so then must our elected officials.”

For more detailed information, you can check the project’s website, at violetprotest.com

Why did I decide to make three squares?  

Some people volunteered to make just one; others, scores!  The website is set up for you to easily choose to make one, or else multiples of five, but it was possible to assign yourself a different number of contributions.  I offered three.

Since the idea is that, at the end of the museum exhibit in Phoenix, the squares will be packaged up in groups and sent to each of the current members of Congress, I figured that, even though the pieces given to each recipient would be assigned at random, the fact that there were three people supposedly designated to carry my voice to congress (one regional state representative and two state senators) meant that three would be a good number to make. 

(Also, I made that commitment early in pandemic, when some supplies were scarce and lots of stores were closed to the public.  I did have a few small skeins in appropriate red and blue colors (among several I had “inherited” when the mother of some friends died a few years ago). I knew those skeins would provide enough to make three squares, but I really wasn’t sure if I could squeeze any more out of that stash!)

What Is Hairpin Lace?!

Before I explain the why of my design choices, let me show you a little bit of the construction process.  

The technique I used is called hairpin lace because, in the past, delicate, lacy designs were made by looping and then crocheting very small, fine threads on actual hairpins!  While I do dabble in a bit of miniature artistry at times — various kinds of clay, both ceramic and metal, being my favorites — I am not into working on mini fiber projects (though I have seen some made by others that have been truly stunning!)

I’ve used a larger-scale hairpin lace process to make, for myself and as gifts, a number of winter scarves and hats, and even one large blanket (with a second one that’s turned into a perpetual UFO…).  Most often, I will choose three complementary colors, or three different shades of a hue, and work with them in various pairs.  So I’ll use a big crochet hook and two strands of yarn at a time for each “row.”  I will make each one just a little bit longer than my final goal (because I find it easier to pull out a little bit if it seems to be shaping up to be longer than planned than it is to add a little more at the end.  The latter is possible, just not as much fun!)  Then the individual strips are hooked together to create the final piece.  Picking up an equal number of loops from the strip on each side will yield a flat piece, while differing counts will produce curves.  (And for more advanced designs than I’m showing here, you can also vary the width and counts within and across strips.)

What the process photo shows is this:  five complete rows already woven together, and a sixth complete strip that’s ready to be taken off its hairpin-substitute “loom” and added to those.  

The weaving together is what will tweak the size, both length and width, of the final piece.  Not a problem with a scarf where exact sizing is unlikely to matter, but trickier when your goal is to end up with a square that is exactly 8 by 8 inches!  The photo shows Melting Pot where I did hit it exactly at the 8-inch width but, yikes!, this first of my squares ended up being only 7 inches long.  

I set it aside to make the other two.  Lessons learned, I got those to come out to just the right size from the start.  In the meantime, continued forced closures of public gathering spaces meant the the exhibition dates for the Violet Protest show were pushed ahead by a few months.  Instead of opening just before Election Day in 2020, the museum show would launch soon after Inauguration Day in 2021.  I had plenty of time to fix up the size of my third piece and, when complete, I sent them all in!

My Thinking with These Three Designs

But why the three designs I chose?  Now that you have at least a little idea of how the rows are made, and how they interact, let’s take a look at my three offerings, from left to right, and I’ll describe the symbolism I feel in each one:

Top, left: How can anyone imagine simply staying in their own red or blue lane (even if they try to do so with civility and respect) when ALL OUR LANES ARE CONNECTED?

Center, bottom: Rather than divide by red vs blue, why not combine creativity, courage, compassion, and compromise as we all aim our efforts to be for THE COMMON GOOD?

Top, right:  Can politicians from across our country model, not selfishness and division, but consideration, collaboration and compromise … for all people but especially for the children of our great MELTING POT?

Would you like to join the Violet Protest?

As I write this, you still can!  A few photos from the exhibition can be seen online at https://www.violetprotest.com/vp-at-phoenix-art-museum.html.  It has been open for in-person viewing at the Phoenix Art Museum since March 10, and will remain open though September 5, 2021.  Squares can still be registered (in advance, to get the required exhibition tag!) and sent in.  Submissions will be accepted and added to the display through August 1. 

After the show ends, all the squares will be evenly (and randomly) divided up, packaged, and sent to every member of Congress.  I sure hope that some of them get the message!

Do you think any / many of them will?!! Please leave a comment!

(Well, that is, please leave a comment that (even if it is controversial) shows respect, kindness, compassion, candor, and, perhaps, also creativity; any that do the opposite will be removed.)

Posted in Diversions, Events, Misc. Musings, Visual Triggers | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Well, it’s been a while…

Posted by C Scheftic on 2021/04/03

So … I haven’t posted here in a while, have I?  Then let me start with a question: How “creative” have you been during the pandemic?  

Background

Back when I retired from working full time at a university (plus taking on a range of consulting gigs), I was so thrilled to have more time for creative adventures.  I could keep all my other “outside of work” activities going, still do a bit of consulting and/or tutoring,  but start using what had been my regular work-time for new projects.  Wonderful!!!  

Though I had done some things like art-jewelry and gardening when working full time, I really appreciated having more time for those in particular and, through them (as I’d had as a faculty member), more outlets for continuing to meet and interact with new people.  So when so much shut down, instead of seeing it as an opportunity for more creative activities, for me at least it felt more like it shut down so many of the reasons I had expanded those areas.  I didn’t drop those balls completely, of course, just some.  But I went sort of back to the pace of when I’d been working full-time-plus.

(I’ve always done a lot of “creative cooking” and for the past year I have done a lot of very “creatively inefficient” cooking!  That is, instead of cooking “in bulk” to make food for dinner parties and several meals at once, I was making just enough for each meal.  I set the table each time too, with nice glasses and dishes, my good flatware and fabric napkins, etc. (I did often use my smallest plates so it would feel simpler to not over-eat!)  I tried new recipes and re-worked older ones (especially early on, when we were contending with various shortages) which I found to be easy when I didn’t have to worry about timing … beyond all those zoom-calls!)  

One Fun, New Creationf

Ah, but other types of artistry… With this post, I include a photo of one of the jewelry pieces I did make this past year, yet another in my “doorway” series, this one in brilliant bronze.  It was a combination gift for a friend “out west” when she: retired from her (self-employed) job; celebrated a decade-turning birthday; and, by coincidence, had just completed her 2-jab covid-vaccine sequence!  

When looking at a different doorway pendant I’d made on commission a while ago, she had asked for one (rather insistently, I might note) and it did seem a good choice now as she was stepping out into the next phase of her life.  

We don’t normally exchange gifts at the price-level of what I’d’ve normally charged for one of these.  Until now, I’ve always made these in silver.  During the pandemic, the price of silver has gone up even more … sigh.  The relatively few sales I have managed to make were fine for covering fixed costs like rent but didn’t leave enough extra to splurge on more up-priced silver…. But I was happy to see this as a chance for me to explore what it’d take to make doorways in this lovely golden bronze color.  Bronze does take more time than silver at several points in the process so, after balancing the cost across both materials and time, the final retail price would still be close to that of a silver one.  But in this case, I had plenty of time to spend on a gift for a dear friend while both saving myself the cost of more silver and testing for any issues in trying to make these in a base metal alloy.  I’m happy with this result, and she seems to be too!

Have you tried anything new, or modified any previous interests, during the shutdowns?

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