Yeah: getting out from in front of the computer

So, I ended up signing up for an LIS class, for Summer.  There’s a weird story behind it, but basically…I found out at 2 AM last night that I could register at 7 AM, and picked out a class.  When I got up…whenever I did (?) I was able to grab one of the three seats (out of 30-something) left in it.


This class is on User Experience, which I hope will be engaging.  It’s also a 10-week class, so it shouldn’t be too compressed.  Why am I taking it?  Web Development is my aim after and if I attain the Master’s.  At least now, that much is clear; and UX should help with that aim.  At least, I’m hoping.  I don’t know the intricacies of the different job titles surrounding Web Publishing, yet.

In other arenas, I also forgot to take medication until 2 AM last night (I was reminded at 9 PM, but forgot), so I was fairly wiped out, today.  I did listen to two lectures today — er, yesterday — anyhow, and got a good survey of what needs to be done before next Monday (it just keeps coming).  The major problem is that I have days when I do a lot of schoolwork, and then days following where I don’t want to even think about schoolwork.  The dynamic then states that the work gets backed up and the cycle repeats (when, that is, I don’t miss an assignment entirely because I stubbornly refuse to acknowledge college at all — it wouldn’t be as possible at a traditional school).

It’s magnified as things are now because I do have one significant assignment to do (I can’t just let it slide like the Discussion post; it’s worth 15% of my grade), the material for which I’ve forgotten:  so I’ve just got to re-do some readings (these were readings I did in Hawaii, and I was so burnt out from Hawaii after getting back, that I couldn’t do the corresponding work on time [my brain was not functioning adequately.  I guess you could say it was off-balance]).

So today has mostly been spent in front of the computer — like yesterday — and I know that’s a recipe for depression.  I probably shouldn’t even be awake now; it will soon be 1 AM.  Because I seem to have cheated myself out of the relaxing art class I wanted to take during the Summer, I’m also now a little irritated with myself.  I have a couple of weeks to back out; but it was necessary to reserve a space in this class, if I wanted to take it.

My major issue is that on one hand, I have a limited amount of time to fit all this training in; on the other hand, I’m a bit…angry that I have to grow up?  Finishing the Art AA did give me a sense of completion; on the other hand, if I had dropped everything to re-enter the MLIS program as soon as I thought of it, I’d have a bit more wiggle room.  Right now I should be taking three classes per semester until graduation.  If I had started a semester prior, and worked through Summer Session, I would only have to take two.

I’m also a bit irritated that the Art degree seems relatively worthless, although I obviously invested in it and enjoyed it, and respected it.  I still respect it.  It’s just really…it feels not-right that Art can’t be a way of life.  My valuations and broader society’s valuations do not match; I might be wrong, but it seems like, at least in the U.S. — and at this point in history — the only thing that’s important is money.

Tonight I did do some reading in the book on mokuhanga — which might be interesting even if I don’t intend to make woodblock prints.  It’s much more specialized knowledge than I got from either of the books from the Honolulu Art Museum.  One of them in particular…it’s kind of like, “Japanese Art for People Who Know Nothing About Japan.”  But I didn’t have time to read that deeply into it, at the Museum.  It’s just weird that there’s this cultural divide where I can’t really see how a lot of the information in that book would be new to anyone.  But then, there are people who think that the only kind of ramen that exists, comes out of a $0.90 package.

Anyhow:  mokuhanga.  I’m not sure if the book is topical enough to my interests to buy (although it is indeed beautiful), but it would make a nice companion to Shin Hanga, depending on the content.  But then, why would I have it, if I wouldn’t use it?  (or is it just that I don’t actually want to mix rice-starch paste?)

Yeah…I’m a bit concerned about bugs eating the colors…

Right.  Anyway, I also did go looking through my (art) archives, if they can be called that — they haven’t really been organized.  I found my good markers, as well (the Copics, along with some Staedtler Lumocolor drawing pens).

So I was looking through that stuff and thinking back on what drew me away from fantasy storytelling:  there is a lot of work building up to a graphic novel project there, which was abandoned at one point or another, for reasons I can guess at, but which I don’t fully recall.  Chances are that I was thinking about it too much, or it was getting too real for me…or I realized just how big a workload it would be to write and draw a comic.  Or, it could be, I began medication and it quieted all of that.

I did want to say something about how I don’t know how learning works.  Particularly, reading.  I know that my life is a lot better in quality because I read, but that doesn’t mean that I know how information gets into my brain and stays there.  That, though…could just be me tripping out, like I trip out over being embodied, and why anything exists, and this.  I just don’t entirely “get” why or how language works.  I’m sure that studying XML may do that to a person, though.

So now I have some old drawings to work through — I’m not starting from zero, I had to remind myself.  Particularly interesting to me are the possibilities in abstraction, and what might happen if I use full value ranges (almost possible with markers, but not quite:  it’s hard to get a very “black” black, but I do have some jarred ink which may work…it’s also possible to use a carbon black watercolor, which I might try on hot-press watercolor paper and/or Bristol board).

I decided to hang back from the sumi ink and watercolors, for now…I’m going to try drawing again.  At least, that’s the plan.  (Even my Neocolor II and Prang drawings looked nicer than I remember them, but I’ll try and stick with dry media, for now.)  After that, I’ll work back into sumi and the soft-hair brushes, and then try watercolor again…maybe.

Maybe something will strike me, in the next two weeks…and cause me to maybe drop UX…it’s just that it seems so much like it was meant to be, though…

Yeah: getting out from in front of the computer

The attempt to relax…well, I did actually read for pleasure, today…

I’m not sure I’m going to make this post public, so if you’re seeing it, apparently I didn’t get into a bunch of…what I’ve been writing about previously, today (in a paper journal).  Yes yes, I can rant and curse all I want in a paper journal…

I have been having problems concentrating today.  Much of this, earlier, had to do with the fact that I was having so much internal “noise” that I could not focus on my (assigned) reading.  This isn’t literally stuff that I physically heard (i.e. hallucination); this is thinking about things that…had little to do with what I was trying to do, except for the fact that I was doing reading for the grad program and didn’t want to be, but felt I had to.  Then I started thinking about the idiocy that is one of my classes and how my standing in the program may be jeopardized by not sufficiently learning some outmoded obsolete overly complex archaic system from a person with his own issues…which I want to drop, by the way, but I’ve gotten Financial Aid, which kind of makes that a bit more complicated.

Anyway.  I’m trying not to think ahead to Fall.  I also have something to write…for which, I can consider this practice.  That is, it’s difficult for me to jump right in to answering questions in an essay format when I haven’t warmed up.  I suppose one can consider what I did earlier to be a warm-up, as well, but it feels different to write by hand, as versus to type.

In any case, M had me writing earlier to try and clear my head.  It worked to an extent — I did get seven pages out (I used a bold pen, so that’s double-spaced), though it doesn’t solve the problem (which should resolve itself in several weeks).

I also read through the text portion of Shin Hanga, which was a nice break.  The text is only Part I of the book; the second part is made entirely of reproductions of these woodblock prints and their associated metadata (artist, year, accession numbers, etc.).  Shin hanga were like an updated version of ukiyo-e, but not…the only branch to spring from that.  Sosaku hanga (“creative prints”) were another offshoot, with one person controlling the entire artistic process — whereas shin hanga and ukiyo-e more often were the result of team collaborations.

I found a webpage (from MIT) which goes over how woodblock prints were created — well, more than one, actually; I also found an article on bokashi at Wikipedia (that is, how color gradations were made in this form of printing, used extensively in the prints reproduced in the book Shin Hanga) — and it is very clearly…complicated.  Enough so to make one seriously consider digital printmaking.  I mean…really.  The prints had to be highly labor-intensive and exacting.

The possibility of, say, applying a color gradation in an outline…is possible in digital printmaking, and from my experience, I would say it is likely seriously easier than carving a negative of that linework and then applying a gradated ink wash to it and then lining it up and printing it.  On doing a Google search and then following a Pinterest link, I also found a link to the following blog post (by serendipityartist) on WordPress, from 2007.  This makes it seem less…unclear, but still, the author mentions needing to “season” the wood block and getting just the right amount of water mixed in to avoid artifacting…(I don’t know if that’s the right word when used with non-computer-generated art…)

M wanted me to write more, to clear my head further, but I found it essentially very peaceful to just look at the prints and try and analyze how they were working, from the viewpoints of color, line, and composition.  In this sense, the prints are very…sophisticated.  The reason I got the book, Shin Hanga, in the first place was to study composition:  a subject which is different depending on the cultural origin of one’s training.  I had found this first through the book Chinese Painting:  Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors, (excuse me while I shift back to a common form of title capitalization) by Lian Quan Zhen.  There are a couple of sections in that book, if I’m recalling right, about composition…which leads me to wonder if the compositions of some (or many) of the prints in Shin Hanga (the book) were invented or idealized, and not as they appeared in nature.

But that goes off on a fairly different avenue than what I’ve touched upon, tonight.

I think I’m about ready to start my essay, now…

The attempt to relax…well, I did actually read for pleasure, today…

Thinking on ceramics as a realistic preferred medium?

What I’m about to get into is going to make me sound really Asian, which I sometimes get in trouble for, because I don’t look the part (I’m hapa — that is, racially, half-Asian).  I have a tendency to feel most at home in A/PI communities, though.  I’m not even sure why — maybe it’s just familiarity?  A feeling of fitting in?  Culturally, I was raised with my Japanese-American side of the family, so…well, it’s comfortable for me.  M has told me that sometimes there aren’t reasons for the things we like (I mentioned this tangent one or two posts ago).

There has been so much happening, recently, that I’m not sure where to start.  The major problem that I’ve been having is…well, 1) stress, and 2) confidentiality.  The first just makes things harder across the board; the second causes me not to express why I’m stressed…adding to the stress.  Not to mention, people around me being stressed, doesn’t help.

As regards art…I pretty much haven’t been doing anything freehand, though I have been doing a lot of observing.  I think it’s OK this way.  I do have photos to work from…though it’s difficult in the respect that I’ve never taken a digital photography class…and so I have only gut instinct and fairly minimal knowledge about composition, to work from (my Art degree is only an AA).

As regards the classwork (for the Master’s program)…I still haven’t gotten around to doing that Discussion Post that I never did.  And right now…well, it’s been a while since I read the sections in question, so the longer I wait, the more work it will be to respond.  The positive point is that I’m all caught up now, except for that.  I’m not sure if it’s worth it to go back to at this point, however, and I know I don’t want to just repeat what others have said.

Right now I’ve gotten some quiet, which has not been an easy thing to come by recently, and allows me to…well, relax a bit.  Maybe I should read or do some research or something, and see if that helps.

I could do some art, too, but…I haven’t been in that mode, for a while.  I have been thinking of taking either Ceramics or Printmaking over the summer.  Ceramics would probably be easier to access, given that I have a small college not so far from where I live, which teaches it.  The Printmaking class — the one that I know about, anyway — is at least a 45-minute trip, one way.

However, one of my friends from the Art program was in the Printmaking series, last I heard of him; and unless I’m mistaken, he did like it.  For my part, I’m more interested in the old-style manual printmaking than Digital Printmaking…although the latter seems like it’s where we’re headed.  The drawback seems to be that Digital Printmaking may emulate the style of manual printmaking…without the process or limitations of printmaking, within which the style makes sense.

I also did just see an exhibit on woodblock prints…which was inspiring, to say the least.

Ceramics, though:  I went to a tea shop recently and purchased a small porcelain tea cup…which got me thinking about three-dimensional work, again.  Ceramics would enable me to work sculpturally, and also integrate color into my designs.  There is also that element of randomness which causes …well, it helps one let go of control, a bit.  So far as I know, there is no really accurate way to tell what a glaze will look like once it’s out of the kiln; bisque firing (the first firing after the clay is formed, before the glazing) also takes a chance, as pieces can explode if there are any air bubbles within them.  If they do this, you want them to do it at the bisque phase, not the glazing phase — the latter can cause fragments of a work to stick to everything else in the kiln.

At the tea shop…this is a relatively upscale tea shop…I paid either $15 or $25 (I’m no longer sure which) for a beautiful tea cup in a common Chinese style (where it comes to shape) with a modern twist on blue glaze (or is it something else, like paint?) over white clay:  it’s a linear pattern, as versus figurative.  I don’t believe I’ve taken a picture of this, yet, though that would be something to do.

There was also a red-on-white version of the same style, but for some reason, the red stripes were somewhat in relief, as versus the blue ones, which were smooth.  Texturally, the blue-on-white was preferable to me; I just wasn’t sure, either, that the beautiful red was not cinnabar (mercuric sulfide).  The latter has been widely used as a pigment, historically — though I wouldn’t take that as an indication of safety.

What I realized, though, is that as I have gotten further into tea drinking, I have begun to collect teacups (Asian teacups, more precisely) and teapots.  And I realized this is a niche market which I both might enjoy producing for, and participating within.  One of the Japanese gift shops relatively near me has a section just for pottery; it’s also common to find these sections in Asian supermarkets.  As each piece is unique…and one only has to buy one cup for their collection…price, as a barrier, decreases in importance.  The main thing that I’m concerned about there is lead exposure (most stores don’t mark whether pieces have lead in them or not), though I think that as long as the cups or pots are not exposed to acid, it should be OK.

(And I just now have realized that I can take my skill at painting and do so on ceramics!  I don’t know why that never came to me, before!)

I did enjoy Ceramics when I took the classes in high school (I took Ceramics/Mixed Media twice, then); the main issue I had with the class is that I had untreated OCD and would wash my hands until the skin cracked (which was easy, as clay will dry out one’s skin…think of facial masques made of primarily kaolin [a transparent {or translucent?} Chinese clay], and you’ll see what I’m getting at — these masques are primarily used to treat acne and oily skin, so far as I know).

Otherwise…I picked up a book on Shin Hanga, or New Printmaking (although it’s called “New,” the art movement seems to have declined in the mid-20th century — kind of like how Modern Art was followed by Contemporary Art, but the title makes it sound cutting-edge [I suppose it was, then]), at a museum store (same museum that had the woodblock prints); it appears as though it will be very inspirational.  I passed up a book on manga to purchase this one, though.

Although I have plans, at the least, to begin Japanese language review and new practice and language acquisition during the Summer…I still can’t read most untranslated Japanese graphic novels or comics, now.  I’ve just realized that maybe this lack of content delivery may be why I am more drawn to color and Fine Arts — I mostly don’t receive any content that’s written in Japanese language.  Add this to the sparing art which constituted examples in the text I was looking at…and Shin Hanga was more exciting.

There’s also the fact that I knew a good number of the authors and manga series referenced in said book…and I don’t necessarily want to duplicate knowledge I already know.  Plus, even if I do or did want to create a graphic novel as an endpoint (which I am not sure still holds as much weight as I’ve considered it to, in the past; given my reluctance to enter into generating narratives [something I’ve mentioned before, here, I’m fairly sure]), it would be best to study what the people I admired, studied — not to study and emulate their styles.  The latter of which, by the way, seems to be a path particularly looked down upon by Western artists.  Though, I’m fairly certain that competition from Japan in the U.S. comic book industry also has something to do with it, at least when we’re dealing with people from the U.S.

I’m going to try and relax, now.  I haven’t gotten to just chill for a while, and I probably need it…

One other thing:  I have realized very recently that a lot of things considered as “crafts” had useful, utilitarian functions, at some time.  Particularly when it comes to things like basket weaving and cordmaking and papermaking and knotting…at one time, these were very useful crafts.  I did take a look into the Western Art wing of a museum recently, and found a lot of “flat art”…and I’ve been wondering about the legitimacy of the valuation stating that arts (particularly the Fine Arts) are more valuable than crafts.  What I’m beginning to think is that this might be the popular viewpoint in this era, but that is by no means an absolute and accurate reflection of reality (and in fact it may have to do with colonialism…and sexism…)

Well, the reasoning behind the valuation of Fine Art is probably something that most people don’t even consider, either…

Thinking on ceramics as a realistic preferred medium?

Kind of down…but I have been doing something.

It’s been kind of an off day (though I have been having more of those than usual, recently)…though it got better when I stopped even trying to concentrate.

I lay down around 7 PM last night, fell asleep, then my alarm went off at 9 PM (medication time).  I got up at 10:30 PM, took medication, then couldn’t fall back asleep until at least 1-2 AM.  Then someone woke me in the morning to let me know they were leaving, and I fell back asleep.  I got out of bed exactly 12 hours from the time I lay down the second — no, third time (I got up and ate something at around 1 AM).  So I was out of bed at about 1:30 PM.  Then I tried to read again and found the cataloging textbook to be so incredibly boring (it’s an instruction manual more than a textbook) that I went back to bed…(it doesn’t help that the Cataloging professor still hasn’t let me know if I’m reading the correct chapter).

After people returned home, I got out of bed and started studying someplace which was not my bedroom…still couldn’t concentrate.  Watched one and a half episodes of African history, during which time I decided just to stop trying to concentrate, and started in on beadwork (which is what I actually wanted to be doing).  I have a photo of how far I’ve gotten, tonight (note that the ladder-stitched sections that trail off the right side of the photo are nearly long enough for my wrist, in themselves):

Inspired by Beaded collars by Julia Pretl.

I cannot totally claim credit for this design; it was inspired by projects in a book of M’s:  Beaded collars, by Julia Pretl.  Though I found the collar patterns in that book to be a bit large for my taste, the basic idea of rows of ladder stitch joined with netting, and using picots on the turns, comes from that book.  However, as I’ve mentioned, these rows of ladder stitch aren’t joined by netting, but rather peyote stitch.  (The joining rows are so short that it disallows netting.)

The entire thing is also rather small — something that doesn’t quite show up, here, except in the relative enormity of the weave in the tablecloth.  The entire thing is narrower than the diameter of a quarter, I think.  The copper-colored glass bugle beads are less than ¼” long each (I think they are Size 1), with most of the other beads being Japanese size 15ºs.  The larger beads are Japanese size 11ºs, which are still pretty small.

I still have trouble deciding which beads to use in combination; the matte 11ºs are “raku”, a relatively expensive finish.  On the other hand, the teal fringe beads are colorlined (that is, there is a color lining the holes), and as such are prone to fading on exposure to the elements (particularly, I am guessing, light).  However, the beads don’t tie together as well when I use my teal silverlined 15ºs.  This is a bracelet which is made to go with another one which I haven’t made, yet…same color palette, but different color placement.

I wish I could tell you the thread path I was using to get the little peyote joins lined up and also the edge picots (I’m using double needles, which is as much as I can coherently say)…but the thread path is so complicated and haphazard that I don’t think I could give directions for it, at this time.

And…I’m either really tired or really low-energy, right now; I can’t think really well.  I’m probably just in a depression.

What I can say is that I averted a minor disaster by taking the time to untangle at least two or three large snarls (which required close work with needles and awl)…and have remembered the trick of storing presently unused needles in my clothing (pant leg, shirt), to avoid the lines of thread being tangled.

I don’t know how long this episode is going to last.  I’m not even sure I’m cut out for Master’s work in this field (right; for those of you new to this blog, I’m studying Library and Information Science)…I mean, I’m 35; I should be moving ahead in the job market rather than in grad school, I feel like.  But I only have a limited amount of years in which I’ll have the luxury of being able to do grad school and still have help from parents.

Which, then, calls in the mortality bit, and maybe I should stop thinking about that, right now.  I’d make an appointment with Psych, but I’m fairly certain all they’re going to tell me is to increase my medication and eat well and sleep…and the medication is sedating (and causes weight gain), so it’s like either sleep 14+ hours a day from the depression or sleep 16+ hours a day from the medications.

It wouldn’t be so bad, but I have deadlines to meet…and I hate having to actually use accommodations…

Kind of down…but I have been doing something.

Reflexive creativity

I am obviously not being creative enough, because last night I got the urge to do something I haven’t done in a long time:  I attempted to visit a forum which caters (or catered — it’s now mostly abandoned) to people with marginalized and controversial identities.  Then I realized that I was falling back into the pattern of reflexive creativity (that is, turning my creativity back upon myself, as happens when I don’t use my external creative outlets [drawing, painting, writing, beadwork, jewelry] enough), and instead of writing about what I wanted to write about online (where negative attention would be much more likely than positive attention, and may make my online surroundings unsafe), I went back to one of my paper journals.  Particularly, the identity journal…which I hadn’t used for about a year.

With things going the way they are now, it will likely be safer for me to do this when these urges come up, instead of publishing under any unique user account like WordPress or Facebook.  It will also be easier to keep things straight where it comes to my particular perspective (that is, I won’t have to play along with the groundrules as I basically had to, when I was dealing with talking about this in groups [for the sake of inclusion] — thing is, without the groundrules, it sounds a lot more sane, and can probably progress much further than it was originally taken).

Part of what prompted this was some input I’ve been getting from a blogger or two on WordPress.  Nothing direct, just indirect, “it’s OK to think and say things others wouldn’t,” type of support.  I don’t feel safe enough to do that in public, let alone connected with a traceable identity, but then I realized that paper journals preceded blogs and may be superior to them in at least one sense, which is privacy.

I could only stand writing for about twenty minutes, last night…then, I think, I lost sight of what I had originally intended to write (I need to make a habit of making quick notes when I start…how am I supposed to remember why I started writing when I’m off on my third tangent), or I had encompassed the reason I started to write, and reached a natural breaking point.  The second sense in which paper journals feel superior to blogs (to me) is in the ease of drawing and easily adding visual input and notation into their pages.  It isn’t as easy with a lined journal, but I looked into my art journal after having written the entry in my identity journal.

I was…seriously…that stuff still blows me away.  It’s like, how can I have this talent and not be using it (and the answer is that I want to use it for good, not evil, therefore my options are limited and I need to find a secondary route of employment).

In addition, I have the seed of a story (at least its beginning) in the art journal, and was reminded of it when I looked over it again.  In turn, I had been building up to that seed, for years.

It seems that when I’m either 1) off medication, or 2) in an active phase of illness, I’m much more creative than I am when I’m stable.  I don’t really know what lies behind that — if it’s an impetus thing (something, for some reason, causing me to work things out creatively), or a coping thing (whether I’m really coping with the outside world or with some distortion of it which my imagination has made), or a brain-chemistry thing…I really just don’t know.  I know that it’s generally harder for me to function in society when I’m less-medicated, but then I gain the ability to shift back toward a generative stance where my thinking is more free than seems to be tolerated…at least, online.

Anyhow, I also asked someone today for help with finding books on creativity where someone could be trying to write, but something like trauma keeps coming up every time they try to.  Yes, there are a couple of designations in the Dewey Decimal system for that!  (I figured that if there was a cookbook specifically on seaweeds, then maybe there was a chance that there was a book on being creative while mentally ill, and how to do it without making things worse.)

I’ve basically been avoiding creative writing for a really long time…since I graduated with the degree, I think.  I had noticed that since I began the second medication I’m still on, writing was much harder for me; my mind just got a lot quieter.  In addition, and I’ve said this before, it engages part of my brain which makes up what it sees to be the most likely scenario for a given incomplete data set, which doesn’t help me in real life.  Mostly because my core beliefs are skewed because of years of peer abuse, and then the illness that kicked in (probably because of the abuse), magnifies that.

Because of this, I’ve been thinking about Dialectical Behavior Therapy…which doesn’t sound fun, but does sound as though it could help me function better…and maybe get off of some of these medications (particularly the ones which aren’t related to anxiety, though it would be a trip if I could lower that one, too).  …Though I am not sure I would still be functional off of the medication which quieted my brain:  it takes care of multiple symptom classes.

I’m trying to think of how long I lived with overt symptoms without recognizing them or treating them with meds…I really can’t remember how old I was when I began, but I had to have been at my latter University in undergraduate work.  My memories from that time (of noticing my brain working differently) are from inside college classrooms…and I know that my judgment was flawed before then (although I couldn’t tell, at the time [actually coming to recognize that I had substantial cognitive impairments took about 10 years down the line…or it felt like that]).

It would probably be clear from the above, but I just realize now that I only implied that I would like to write, again:  I didn’t actually say it.  (Show, not Tell?)

Ya huh.  In any case, one of the books we found at the Library, I already own, so I can take a look in there…and see if I’ve read it already.  My ultimate goal would be to be able to write creatively again without making myself sick, in the process…

Reflexive creativity

attempting to preserve my health (…so I say)

Yeah, that.  😉  Right now I’m dissolving a zinc lozenge in my mouth before going back to bed; I lay down at 8 PM or something, basically slept until midnight, then took medication.  In addition, I also took B-complex and Vitamin C supplements.

I feel kind of bad doing this instead of homework…but sometimes you really need to care for yourself, you know?  Emotionally, mentally, and physically.

I did spend about $20 at the hardware and craft stores today, though D picked up the tab at the latter.  So now I have two feet of 14g copper wire, and three feet of 16g (as I said before, the higher the gauge number, the thinner the wire).  My flush cutters can take two mm of copper wire, max., but I also have heavy-duty cutters lent me by D.

Right now I am wondering how I’m going to polish this stuff — we do have a Dremel, and polishing equipment to  go with it — but I forgot that hardware store wire (the kind one can torch, pickle, and patina) generally isn’t sold, polished.  I’ve got to figure out what to do with that.  I can’t do wire wraps around an unfinished clasp…nor should I polish anything that isn’t soldered down.  Plus, polishing compound sprays everywhere, and I’ll need to wear work clothes and a face mask + goggles.

It’s not that it’s difficult to use a pick-soldering technique to secure wirework, it’s just that I’ve never used a small butane torch, before (as versus acetylene) — and heat requires chemicals to get the oxidation and flux off.  And, well, we have silver solder, so the silver color is going to show up unless I grind it away while polishing.  And the polishing compound may get stuck in the wires.  Maybe that’s why people patinate with liver of sulfur and then polish again?

(Or maybe that’s why people buy their wire from jewelry suppliers instead of hardware stores…craft store wire brings in a different set of elements where the metal may not be [assume it isn’t] safe to heat.)

It would probably be OK, though, to file the pieces smooth with needle files and then wire-wrap…it will just look like a brushed/faceted finish.

Maybe I do need to invest in some polishing tools…I can make heavy chains, then.  (Never ever polish a chain with a rotary power tool!  You could lose fingers.)  There’s the possibility of a rock tumbler…which honestly sounds like the most economical way to work, but it’s an investment.

I did also make a little thing, yesterday.  It didn’t take too long:  it is a bracelet made with (what I think is) waxed cotton (I got it from a craft store and threw out the wrapping a long time ago), and ceramic beads.  The beads I got, surprisingly, don’t work all that well with this…twine? yarn? cord? (I guess the latter fits) — I had been hoping to put two strands through the holes, but the holes — even though they’re about 2mm wide — are only large enough to accommodate one strand.  I had been hoping to find this cord in a color other than black (maybe mauve), but honestly I’m not sure where I found it in the first place…was it with the hemp, or the perle cotton?…

I was just looking through a book and got lost for a second…this is a book that I think I got from Kinokuniya Bookstore, called Macrame Pattern Book, by Marchen Art Studio.  It’s actually a really kind thing they put together…it has pictures of finished patterns and then written and visual instructions as to how to knot the patterns.  As I’ve said before, starting in on a pattern and working it leads to a number of different possibilities for derivation from the pattern.  This book does say that the patterns are for personal use only; on the other hand, they also show some really common (public-domain) patterns, in addition to the more specific ones like the numerous “Buddhist Treasure Mesh” panel patterns toward the back of the book.

One of the patterns I really want to retry is on page 39, Double Spiral Knot.  I worked out how to do it a long time ago, after a bunch of errors.  It did, honestly, take work to learn, but now I know how to do it.  I’m curious as to how it can be combined with small beads, or if that will destroy any structure that was there in the first place.

I do want to break into one of the books by Joan Babcock — she’s published three paper books, the third of which was recently gifted to me (I’ve tried doing a knot pattern that I think I really need help on — I know I can find it, there).  Then, there is the wireweaving angle (which is why I picked up a coil of 26g round copper wire today, though if I’d known we had some already, I would have saved the $4).  Micromacrame and wirework really seem kind of parallel in aesthetics, to a point.  I think they may have the potential to work together…

And, there is one photo of a project I made, floating around the Web; I’m curious to see if I can rework it and make it into a printed and drawn pattern, which I can distribute.  For free or for pay?  I’m not sure, though I don’t think it would be wrong to ask for compensation…I probably wouldn’t charge a lot.  (Well.  Of course.  Me.  The person who has experimented with putting Creative Commons licensing on their uploaded work and works in a library.  Right.)

Okay, I’m…really getting tired, about now.  It’s about 2 AM here, so I should be getting back to bed — especially since I do really need to clean up before sleeping.

Logging off…

attempting to preserve my health (…so I say)

Career self-help books

I am about 1/3 of the way through What’s the alternative?:  Career options for librarians and info pros by Rachel Gordon, which goes over some nontraditional avenues for utilizing Library & Information Science skills.  I have just made it to the chapter where the author talks about cobbling together multiple income streams to make a living (which is, unfortunately, looking like it’s something I’ll need to do — given my job interests).

I’m glad the tone of the book has picked up; the first two chapters, in hindsight, feel relatively…inapplicable to my situation.  I’m not a highly social type, and that is what makes most library positions I know of appear distasteful to me; but Gordon seems to assume that I’m a typical Library person, and…I’m not really, from what I can see.

I have high ethics; I like to help people; I see the flaws in capitalism (though it would be a mistake to suggest that I don’t like to buy things or that I see money to be worthless; the major issue is that the system does not work ideally for a very large number of people).  What I’m not is someone who can easily look forward to routinely dealing with difficult personalities and being in charge of disciplining patrons, or leading a group Storytime.

What’s weird is that Gordon mentions another book that I had picked up at a different time, then sold back, I think; but I must have bought it again because it’s on my shelf and it isn’t the original used copy I had, which someone had tried to rip in half.  This is Refuse to choose, by Barbara Sher.  (It looks like I stopped at Chapter 5, for the latter.)

Not bad, for someone who majorly started reading this text, today?  On top of these two, I still have You majored in what?:  Mapping your path from chaos to career, by Katharine Brooks.  I still haven’t made it all the way through You majored in what? (it’s a workbook, not really a straight reading book), though it has helped me a good deal.  I should probably finish What’s the alternative?, hopefully before the week is out, and then start in on something else, now that I know that my mind needs to be stimulated to stop it from imploding (I get mood and anxiety issues along with embodiment issues, when I don’t think enough).

Now that I look back on that Sher book…I’m wondering if I’m even in the target market (something I learned in Business courses is that one has to self-select themselves out of any marketing blasted to the world; it isn’t necessarily directed at them, though from the perspective of a viewer it must seem like it’s all directed at them).  On a cursory glance, it talks about “Scanners” (as a personality type) and aims to further define the subtypes of “Scanners.”  This would surely have fit me just out of college (the copyright date is 2006, right after I graduated), but…growth can happen over a decade.

And, right, there is that book by Susan Cain, Quiet:  The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, that my counselor wanted me to read, which I’m not reading so much right now because I have an appointment coming up in two days and…Gordon’s book may be more applicable, right now.  Quiet is more of a background- or self-knowledge book (though with vastly more credibility, to me, than Refuse to choose, the latter of which is based on…what knowledge?); What’s the alternative? is more of a handbook for people who have Library and Information Science skills who are unhappy in a library setting (although it seems to be aimed at people who would fit well into a library setting…).

I wonder if my Research Methodologies class is going to call into effect the fact that the book I’m currently reading references other works I have experience with and don’t consider fully reliable…

Ha!  There’s a way to work-in that graduate skillset!  Though Research Methodologies doesn’t start for about another three weeks, maybe I can utilize this time to do some preparation for the work I will almost certainly have to put in…

And now that I have arranged my post-coordinate indexing (i.e. tags and categories), I’m going back to reading, for now…

Career self-help books