Craft books, and priorities.

The last two days (prior to today) have been spent going through my personal library. I hadn’t realized how many books I had. Nor did I realize the content of all of those books. When we move, no matter where we move to, I’ll have to pack some of this stuff up.

The task is reminding me of my Collection Development class, though much of what I’m doing now is basically what we call, “weeding,” in the Public Library sector — more of a Collection Management thing than specifically a Development thing.

The surprising thing is how many of my beadwork and jeweling books are still of use, though I was able to find duplicate content from many of my older and introductory books in later, newer and more complex publications. I can also tell from the collection, how much I was looking for books which would assist me in the “design” portion of jewelry-making.

There are a few things I do really well. One of these is beadweaving. I’ve also found silversmithing to be something I’m competent at, though it’s not something I’m overall drawn towards. However — I can use basic pick soldering skills to work at silver filigree.

It’s something I haven’t tried yet, mostly because it does require the use of a torch, now outside of my past studio environment (though it uses a smaller flame than heavy-duty hard soldering). It also requires a way to polish the final product…which, to the best of my knowledge, can only be accomplished through a gentle method like tumbling (tumblers are expensive), or the use of 3M rotary discs with something like a Dremel or Foredom flex-shaft.

I mention filigree, as a lot of what I’ve wanted to do has to deal with the use of specific shapes I want to emphasize (and right now I’m still used to working in 2-D). It shouldn’t be difficult to make a shaped frame, if you know a bit of wirework and how to pick-solder. The rest of it requires bending wire to fill the frame, and soldering or fusing those pieces into place. I know I bought a book on wire filigree, but right now I have no idea where it is, or if I had it and got rid of it.

The main drawback would seem to be the fact that filigree is usually flat, though with the right shaping tools (like a dapping block and punches) and some creativity, that’s not necessarily how the final piece has to turn out. I’m thinking about things like flower petals, and arcs…though the first seems as though it would be difficult to do cleanly if it’s a hot connection instead of a cold connection (such as wire-wrapping).

That’s mainly because a connection has to be flush, clean, hot, and in-contact to solder; I’m not sure if the same is the case for fusing. All of this also requires some specific start-up costs, though…I’ve had handmade filigree earrings, basically from a street vendor before, and they were (are) pretty much, beautiful. (I actually bought them at a table in the Student Union, in my undergraduate University.)

I did realize, though, that I also wanted to deal with sewing and embroidery: it’s just a newer thing to realize that I can alter and change patterns. I also realized that not all patterns are stereotypically excessively feminine, even though the main companies like Butterick’s and McCall’s, I remember as…not made with myself in mind. I’m not sure that’s accurate, though, because it’s been a while since I looked in either of their catalogs.

The main issues I have are restrictive and constricting patterns, and the lack of masculine wear. However…in my mid-thirties, now, my clothes are kind of encouraging me to move on into skirts and dresses, because they just fit better and are more comfortable. As long as I can move enough to fight or escape, I’m fine. The issue arises when I try to run in a pencil skirt and clip myself; or lift my hand above my head, and my shirt exposes my belly; or lean over, and others can see down my collar; or my dress is made to stay up only by clinging to my breasts. That’s when I have issues.

But the first time we went to Oahu, we went to a muumuu factory…and I got some really nice, comfortable, lightweight dresses that fit. It’s amazing to me. If I lived in Hawaii, I would without question be wearing skirts and dresses. It’s just really sticky, otherwise.

Both beadweaving and sewing are methods of fine hand-work that can have a lot to do with color, but they aren’t the same thing. In one form you’re working linearly; in the other, with joining two-dimensional flat pieces.

In sewing, I just need to learn when to use which stitch, and when it’s actually smart to switch to a sewing machine. I’m interested in hand-stitching, which came from manipulating a needle and thread in beadweaving. After a while, you just get used to sticking yourself; but for some reason, I get pleasure out of manipulating a needle and thread.

The other tangent I intend to continue on is working with beaded micromacrame. I’m just not certain which of these — sewing, embroidery, wirework, beaded micromacrame, beadweaving, or beadwork more generally — I’ll end up dealing with most (maybe I should rate how far I have progressed in each, in my Bullet Journal?). I do realize now, however, that all of these skills will likely be in-demand if I become a Public Librarian. I know enough to be able to teach or co-learn, and I have the interest.

I should get some rest before I stay up into the early morning again: I have work tomorrow, and need to pick up some fresh produce, afterwards. Luckily, I don’t have to stay there long, and the work should already be underway by the time I get there; the tough part of resuming work after a holiday closure, should be either done or in-progress.

I’m also considering getting a lucet (for interlooping) tomorrow. Like a crazy person. But we’ll be in the area…

If I ever get these interlooping things in hand (har har), I can show you what the chains are supposed to look like… (Hardly anyone knows what interlooping is, like hardly anyone knows what tatting is. Don’t feel bad…)

Advertisements

Complexities

I’ve been thinking about my last post. I don’t think it’s the case that I literally want to hurt people who want a heteronormative relationship with me. Saying that was a quick way to get across my frustration, whereas if I were to write out what I really feel, it would take a great deal of thought and deliberation to seek out words I could say which might be understood.

Now that isn’t to say that I haven’t broken up with others who had dreams of my being their wife and mother of their children…but the case I’m thinking of was a special one, and it was extremely frustrating. Not least, because the person in particular knew I didn’t see myself as a woman, and that I had no interest in participating in their erasure of my identity.

Growing up, I never bet on being legally able to marry anyone I wanted. Nor did I feel any sense that I controlled my own sexuality or my own identity. As I’ve aged, I see the care my parents have put into raising me, their continued support of me, and the hereditary problems I likely carry which have made my own life more difficult. I kind of don’t want to pass those problems on to a child of mine. And just because I can bear a child, doesn’t mean it’s anything I’d want to do. There are too many unwanted children; and particularly, everything else remaining the same, I’d be okay being sexless.

So…I want to revise what I said, last, but I don’t quite have the words for it, yet. I did find a book on asexuality, today; according to that I may be “graysexual.” This means that once in a very (very) long time, I may find someone I’m attracted to. That also often means not only that my attempting to communicate this is stilted, but that I’m just not attracted to most who are attracted to me. That’s on top of the gender issue, where I’m often assumed to be something I’m not.

Writing that out helped clarify something to myself. I guess it’s a trait of the written word that I can express myself here without the pitch of my voice or the appearance of my body intervening in the communication.

It’s funny; earlier today I was talking with a coworker about how writing here the other day (and getting back into beading with natural materials) got me to remember that one of my core beliefs is best described as Panentheism. I don’t consider myself Christian (and have no need to be), though I can see the significance in seeing myself as a spirit first, and a person second. (Most of the information I’ve found on Panentheism is based in mystic Christianity…which I don’t follow.)

It might indeed be weird if I became strongly Panentheist (the belief system states that the Universe is the body of God, but God is also more).

Aww, am I going to have to go to the crystal store, now? πŸ˜‰ (HA! I have too many. I just need to get back into contact with what’s here, maybe…maybe.)

Nerdette

So…last night I got an alert that there is another local Librarian I position opening up, this time in a Public Library sector. I have until two weeks into January to submit an application, whereas the Academic Library application is due the first week of January.

Is it a good thing that I didn’t narrow my focus between Public and Academic Libraries early? I guess I’ll find out.

I still have to confirm my references and find out who to address my Cover Letter to for the position I’m working on now, but other than that, I think I’m good.

Today…well, we didn’t do too much celebrating, though I think we’re all happy that the Sun is on its way back. To my surprise, I actually did get a few gifts, the cutest of which is a…really big Rilakkuma plushie. With a zipper in his back, and everything. πŸ™‚

(Google it!)

Last night I realized what a nerd I was. (Wait, is it, “nerd,” or, “geek?” “Dork?”) This has been confirmed tonight by the fact that I fixed a computer issue on my own…and it was easy (!).

Then there’s the fact that I work in a Library. And the fact that I’m trying to learn Japanese (for heritage reasons, tho’!), and that I used to be into video games and anime/manga. And am trying to learn coding and Web Programming. And that it’s easier for me to communicate with other people through text as versus speech. Not to mention the arts/crafts/graphic design/literary arts angle, and the fact that I actually aspire to making a webcomic. And have assembled enough resources to make that possible.

I could go on; I just probably shouldn’t. πŸ™‚

I’m not totally sure that the arts angle is nerdmaking, but the fact that in the past, at least, I would be associated with, “books,” is likely notable, and distinguishes me from some…other people, I know. Who live in an entirely different world, one which I have no interest in being a part of. To those people, “nerd,” “geek,” and, “dork,” would be words of condemnation, which means I take it as a mark of pride.

(Of course, now our books are interactive…and, I’m thinking, more of that is coming, as electronic media become more ingrained into society. Does this mean I should be learning video and animation rather than comics? I really don’t know.)

I guess it would be different if I actually did go back to school for math (it would be Calculus) and learned advanced statistical analysis…I just don’t want to do that. I mean, seriously, Database Design was enough. I don’t even want to do the Big Data class, out of fear that I’m just going to get lost, again.

So the plushie is kind of funny/weird, because in Japan at least, Rilakkuma is supposed to represent a bear suit. Rilakkuma isn’t really a bear. He just puts the bear suit on on top of himself…so you don’t really know his true identity.

But arguably, he could be wearing the suit because he likes the way he’s treated when he’s wearing this adorable suit which he intentionally puts on (like being held against young women’s bosoms, which I have done much of, and which Rilakkuma’s flat head encourages). Rilakkuma roughly translates to, “relax bear,” which kind of suggests that he’s setting an example for you to relax with him.

I’ve thought about his design as an extension of a mask, or, “face.”

Yeah, I don’t know. It’s just my interpretation, and I can’t read Japanese well enough yet to get the entire backstory. But I guess that’s what you get when you have adult-themed plushies, as an adult: existential anxiety over not knowing what it is you’re cuddling. Which someone intended.

I’m not even going to get into Gudetama, though that one is kind of funny, if you can muster up the schadenfreude to laugh/worry (and then self-reflect) at the pathos of this apparently clinically depressed egg that wants to go back into its shell…

Though I believe that’s a more common sentiment than some (most?) people would want to acknowledge.

I just realized that I’ve gotta get up early, tomorrow. Rilakkuma’s waiting for me.

πŸ˜›

Hibernating?

For some reason, I slept through most of the day. I’m not entirely sure why, though looking forward to getting a computer back into operating condition is not really my idea of a great time. (I’ve also been having issues with heart flutter, likely related to caffeine sensitization; but neither does it speak well about my level of stress.)

So…let’s see, I was offered an interview to become a Library Assistant, but I’m not too hot on the position — it’s a Substitute/Floater position, just like the one I was offered from a different county. The benefit is that it will give me experience: the drawbacks are many, but primarily the first few weeks to months will be hell, as all the creeps in the area introduce themselves to me.

I must have checked something that said I was interested in this…which I shouldn’t have, as three declines get one kicked off the list. I don’t know if that’s for a year or a lifetime, though.

And actually…I’m not really interested in that position. Kind of like I’m not really interested in the class I was offered for Spring semester…I mean, I really need a rest!

For now…well, it would be nice to take some time to calm down. I know that I’m looking for an entry-level position in an Academic Library, ideally. I want to spend the next few months reviewing HTML and CSS, then moving into JavaScript.

The class I was offered by Open University is a Tech course, but until I learn a Programming language for real, I don’t even know if I want to be in this path. I know that Database Management (DBM) was not where I wanted to be; I suspect the others of these classes may be like DBM.

I initially intended to go into Digital Services, but didn’t realize …just how technical it was going to be. And that I get intimidated by learning technical stuff, even though I’m drawn to it. (And yes, there is a gender component, here.) I’m thinking, why be in school unless you are learning something you can’t learn any other way?

As well: there is the matter of my Japanese-language study, which I’ve had to lay off of totally in order to focus on my schoolwork. I need to get back to that. And I want to take Cataloging and Classification, again. (I also want to read the various materials I’ve collected but did not have time to read!)

I mean, what if I actually am better off being a Cataloger or an Academic Librarian (or a Collection Developer?), rather than a Techie? What if I actually want to go back for an MA or MFA or PhD in something I love, and become a Subject Specialist in it? I’ve been afraid to limit my options, but if a specialized option is the best one…?

Talking to people isn’t so bad! It’s just when they push your boundaries and start dealing with you personally, that’s hard. Librarianship is a Service position, and along with that goes dealing with people you would rather not. It’s just that in an Academic Library, the service community is not necessarily, “anybody who walks in the door.”

What I had been looking at with Digital Services, though: that’s merging into an Information Sciences field. I chose this majorly because of having been ticked off in Cataloging & Classification, and not wanting to deal with the public, but still wanting to help a Library.

The major scare of this for me is the tough time I had in (Honors) Math, the distaste for math I’ve had since then, and my lack of having practiced it in any regular sense, ever since my Undergraduate work.

That, I think, is where the actual sticking point is: I’m an Arts and Humanities (and minorly, Social Sciences) person with interest in how Technology can further these; more than a Hard Sciences, Math, and Engineering, person. I do think, though, that I could handle talking in front of a group more easily than I could handle applying algorithms to Big Data.

Hmm. Maybe I should write to the person I spoke with recently, about this…

Anyhow, the following are my ideal priorities for the next six or so months:

  • review HTML
  • review CSS
  • learn JavaScript
  • review and extend Japanese Language
  • review/retake Cataloging & Classification
  • gain Entry-level position/experience in Academic Library
  • Read

I mean, that is basically, what I want; and I have time to deal with getting a job I’ll actually like, rather than one I’m forced into because of monetary concerns…

Natural flow from drawing to painting?

The couple of days since my Term Paper was due have been spent…basically, cleaning things up. There is now much more usable space on my craft table; a bunch of my storage has been cleaned and consolidated; and I’ve realized the disadvantage of having a watercolor palette with fixed wells.

Aside from this…

I’ve realized that when I went into the Art program at first, I took Color Dynamics before I took Painting. Consequently, I learned about color relationships before I learned about composition or image-making within painting (as versus drawing). It’s kind of evident, now. Do I want to take another Painting class?…Kind of. Will I have the time to? Not sure.

Could I learn it another way? Not sure. I’m pretty sure that by trial-and-error, I could learn, but that might be the scenic route. Of course, after college, the scenic route is the only route; it just helps to be on the right path, in the first place.

For me, painting is a natural outgrowth of drawing: monochrome bridges into color; markmaking bridges into broad swaths and washes; use of single colors and glazes, shift into color mixing. It largely came for me when I realized the limitations of using a single (narrow) point of contact (pencils, pens, markers: the extreme of which is Technical Pen, Mechanical Pencil, or Micron), a single color at a time, and not being able to shade the colors of my tools in the way in which I wanted.

The bridge here may be charcoal, which merges into pastel. By using the broad side of a stick of pigment, it’s possible to get closer to the feel of painting, as versus drawing. Pastel pencils can also provide that markmaking experience common to drawing, while providing some of the malleability of pastel.

The major reason to avoid pastel work is dust, which is something I haven’t quite reconciled, yet. I have not had a Drawing teacher who did not caution against breathing pastel dust. I do have an area where I can draw and not depend on a vacuum to pick up this dust; it is fairly necessary to avoid the vacuum. You want to wipe up pastel dust with a wet rag (what’s called “wet-mopping”), not blow it into the air or brush it away. This is for health reasons.

The brand of soft pastels I find myself most attracted to are Rembrandts. I’ve mentioned these before; the largest hazards in these seem to be white pigment (Titanium Dioxide), and black pigment (Lamp Black). Titanium White makes tints of colors, while Lamp Black makes shades.

Titanium Dioxide is a mechanical (not toxic) cancer risk. However, this is according to Proposition 65, a law passed here in California which relates whether tiny amounts of anything carcinogenic is in art supplies or foodstuffs (though I don’t think it applies to cosmetics). Prop 65 is kind of being overused, but I know enough art teachers who have battled cancer to take basic precautions against inhalation.

Lamp Black (a.k.a. Carbon Black) poses a slight toxic cancer risk and also may stain, meaning some kind of barrier, like gloves or barrier cream, may be useful here. However, when you work with art supplies…you kind of get used to slight cancer risks. Gloves or barrier cream, a mask, and basic caution not to get this stuff airborne, is the caution that I would ideally (but possibly not actually — in the case of skin protection) use.

I still have never used my jar of barrier cream, so I’m not certain if it rubs off on the image or stains the paper. I should try it and see what happens.

The biggest drawback besides this, is that it’s hard to mix colors when one wants to make intense marks of a certain shade that isn’t provided pre-blended. This is a drawback common to drawing supplies (markers, pens, colored pencils, chalks), more than painting supplies. However, it does pose a potentially useful limitation: more colors are not always better, if one gets so paralyzed by color choices that nothing gets drawn.

Right now I have a bunch of ContΓ© crayons, a basic set of NuPastels, and a basic set of Sargent Art pastels, in addition to some monochrome soft Rembrandts I got about two years ago (before I went back to Library School). The thing about Rembrandts is that they do have a shelf life. At first, they’re creamy, soft, and smooth, to the point that they draw on your hands when touched; later on (after a number of years) they turn into what feels like dried-up Air Dry Clay, and can shatter if dropped. (They even tinkle like dried clay when they are dropped; which I suppose they basically are; kaolin [the material porcelain is made from] is a common base for these pastels.)

I did have a set of half-stick pastels around here from 2015 or something, but I can’t locate them at this moment. I did do a mass purge of pastels, though, after I got scared by the Prop 65 warnings so many years ago. At this point, though, there are Prop 65 warnings for seaweed, coffee, potato chips, ginger, etc…it’s really getting out of hand. (Though I do wish that people would stop putting lead chromate into turmeric…I mean, seriously.)

The problem is that the consumer warnings are based on law rather than science, and that we are warned about the contamination of products, but it seems that nothing is done about it. The system relies on pressure from consumers not buying the goods to encourage the manufacturers not to sell toxic products, rather than actually regulating the toxic products, or not bothering us if the risk is minimal or the exposure is unavoidable (I probably still have more soot in my lungs from having grown up next to a freeway, than I would be likely to inhale from using pastels). At a certain point, a person gets desensitized and just accepts that their world is carcinogenic and the only way not to be exposed is to live in a bubble…

But, I suppose, the upshot of this is that someone is paying attention to toxins in food, drugs, and art supplies. If Prop 65 didn’t exist, I most likely wouldn’t know about this.

So…I guess this post turned into a Pastel post. Hmm. I do know that I want to play with my charcoals, again, even though it’s dirty (maybe because it’s dirty?). Well, not only that, but charcoal is fairly noncommittal…

I have also wanted to do something with ink, and have a new bottle of “waterproof” ink. I’m not sure how it’s going to perform, but I know I can use it with brush and dip pen…(I wonder if I still have my reed pens?). I have used it once before, and at full strength, it’s very black, which is nice. The issue is whether it’s truly waterproof, and how well it dilutes.

It’s possible that I may need to edge myself back into painting through using ink and wash, and pastels, plus maybe graphite sticks and the woodless colored pencils. That place where drawing organically grows into painting…I don’t think I’m there, right now. And I don’t think that’s a reason to give up entirely. It’s not like I’m back at the beginning where I’m using mechanical and colored pencil…but I am not all the way to seriously using watercolor, or acrylic, right now.

That’s gotta be okay, that I’m not at my apex after not practicing for most of two years. It also means there is someplace to grow to…

What I began this post thinking about was the fact that I think I’ve devalued my own style (with pen and watercolor, which has been relatively illustrative) because of the fact that it comes easily to me. It wouldn’t necessarily be easy for others, though…

Maybe I should take the chance on getting outside and doing some sketches…


Whoa! Unanticipated!

I’m actually done with my Term Paper! I’m done with this semester! I’m done with my Master’s! And a nearby County is hiring for Librarian I positions!

!!!…

Okay, for one thing I don’t think it’s set in yet that I’M ACTUALLY DONE and I ACTUALLY QUALIFY. The other thing is that I’ve kind of got a rush because OMG IT’S DONE. I CAN BE A LIBRARIAN NOW.

I mean, seriously, a couple of hours ago my biggest plan was to clean the house, tomorrow.

Of course, having the Master’s is only one component of the work. I also need experience, meaning I may need to take on jobs that aren’t particularly ideal (especially as I am not sure how well I would do at conducting programs, in a Public Library position), in order to move up in the system.

But ooh, sh…I just realized that I have most of the qualifications to be an Academic Librarian. Which may be where I would be most comfortable…considering my study over this last semester.

If I can get a better job, as well (say, an entry-level University job)…I’m seriously considering taking one class a semester for both Professional Development and to maintain access to my University Library.

Do I have a plan? It’s certainly looking like it…



Literary magazine perusal

Last night I was looking though Granta (144) and the Iowa Review (48)2. This issue of Granta is fairly heavy for me; I didn’t read the beginning of it before picking it up, but patriarchy is the theme of this issue (as stated in the Introduction). Apparently, Granta has a theme every issue, if I were to take UlrichsWeb as authoritative (which is a fairly safe bet).

UlrichsWeb is a database of information about serials, though I have mostly used it for academic work. I had thought it was free to access, but it looks at this point like it is a subscription database.

As I’ve found to happen often, sexuality goes along with gender concerns, in this issue ofΒ Granta. I’m not sure why the two are so often linked, unless sexuality is what gender is about, for some or most people. As I’m kind of unmotivated on the sex portion of that and also gender-nonbinary, I suppose that it wouldn’t be something I would necessarily know a lot about, except as an observer.

I think I’ve just spent so much time dealing with gender issues that I kind of miss the stuff outside of my own context. Sometimes all of this just gets overwhelming.

There’s something different about reading a printed paper copy of the literary magazine (litmag), though, as versus a digital surrogate. It’s something to keep in mind if I ever get to the point of publishing, offline. Depending on the publisher, though, the articles may be available anyway via digital access.

The most obvious point of the difference between digital and print, is the lack of a nearby dictionary. (I didn’t bring my phone with me for a period, today.) Just like the old days…

Over the course of investigating periodicals for my Collection Development class, I’m kind of getting more insight into…well, serials publishing. I probably don’t have the time or patience to go into all of it now, but digital surrogates of print journals (including peer-reviewed material, magazines, trade publications, etc.), so far as I can tell, are becoming almost the norm. Then again, I’m biased, not having easy in-person access to my own Library.

The thing is that the growth of the cost of licensing these resources (for libraries) — at least had been increasing at unsustainable rates in the recent past, leading to novel funding schemes from pop-up vendors, publishers, and the Open Access movement. I’m kind of holding back some information here, which I didn’t start this post intending to share. Maybe later I can come back to it, or maybe after I do more research, I can come back to it. Before I endorse anyone, I should be sure they’re actually legit, that is.

Publishing online is just a method which enables wide distribution at relatively little cost, as versus paying for printing and binding and shipping, in addition to editing, promotion, and design.

I almost started getting into this big thing about database licensing (when the databases carry journal articles or links to such), but I probably shouldn’t go there right now.

At the beginning of this post, I was intending to write about having connected some ideas last night. The good part is that I have a feasible story concept. The thing about it is that it’s basically literature/speculative fiction. I’m not certain I have it in me to make that story, in specific, and in full, into a graphic format; it’s just so rich in detail that I feel it may be beyond the level of my current art skills.

Of course, that provides me with reasoning to practice my art skills, but still. πŸ™‚ I’m wondering whether concept art might be of more use right now than attempting a webcomic, or maybe I could sketch out some (not all) sequences into webcomic format (for its own sake), and let the literary narrative (likely to be much more extensive) stand on its own.

I had thought of making this an episodic, speculative-fiction slice-of-life, possibly paranormal-incorporating webcomic series…but to understand the whole of it would take knowledge granted in multiple installations.

But that would add interest, and an episodic series would mean I only directly work on one part at a time. Maybe I can do it?

Right now, I don’t have an idea of how long this story will run, largely because I have a premise, my own background to draw from, and one subplot. It’s also tough to develop this and keep it relatively offline: right now, it’s just on paper.

I also need to stop writing about it, and start writing it.