school archives | Main
July 07, 2008
well, hello there.
For those who only come here for the hot sticks-on-string action who may be about to quit me for lack of a fix, here's proof I do still partake occasionally:
Half a Noro Kureyon knee sock, the product of a lazy Saturday spent with good friends and a few hours of car travel on Sunday. This Noro sock yarn is the last yarn I bought, pre-ordered in early December and delivered to me in February. I didn't ever get around to writing about it in much depth here, but I decided to knit from stash in 2008 and not buy any yarn or spinning fibre at all this year. It's been rather easy, as I've had to take a lot of time off to rest my wrist and recover from the damage I inflicted on myself in the frenzy that was the end of grad school. I think I'm ready to dive back in though. My stash isn't all that extensive compared to some people's and I got rid of a lot before moving back from school, but I've still got more than enough to keep the ol' RSI busy. I haven't attached a bunch of complex conditions or exemptions to my knit-from-stash guideline, I'm just not buying yarn, period. Yesterday I bought a secondhand sweater to unravel (if you ever find yourself in Arlington Heights, Illinois, there's a pretty good Goodwill there) but even that was the first time all year I've done so.
Speaking of the end of grad school, we arrived home from a 4th-of-July trip to visit friends in Illinois to find this in the mailbox:
Here's something funny and frightening that we saw on the weekend, at the Naperville Ribfest. This advertising image is not what it appears to be at first glance:
Do you see it?
Also, I don't know what the "exchange club" is but somehow I always thought exchange club was more about spouses than kids, and that it didn't really get going until after the kids were in bed.
May 15, 2008
last goodbye to my old studio
So, comment moderation is a pain in my arse. Movable Type is no longer e-mailing me the comments, so I have to log in all the time and check whether or not there are comments awaiting moderation (even though I still have the "e-mail comments" option selected). However, when I did check it this morning there were eleventy-jillion spams in amongst the handful of real comments, and since those spams weren't able to ugly-up my site I'm going to keep the moderation on until I get a chance to upgrade my Movable Type. It means I can't reply to comments in e-mail for a while, but I'm sure we'll all live.
May 09, 2008
don't cry for me, athens georgia
file under: leaving
I'll be happy to finally head home for good tomorrow, but I will miss some of the people here in Georgia terribly. This week has been one long drawn out goodbye, with more social engagements packed into these last few days than I probably attended all this last semester: supper with school chums, lunch with the Athens knitbloggers, supper with Hockey Mom and family, and more lunch with some of the same school chums just to drag the goodbye tears out a little more. It's excruciating. For three years I've thought of this part of my life as temporary and have craved my home so much, but it's going to be so strange on Monday morning to make my breakfast and carry it out to the porch (will it even be warm enough to eat breakfast on the porch yet? I doubt it) and watch the neighbour children get on the school bus knowing that I'll be doing that every school day for the rest of my life, not just grabbing time at home before heading back to Athens. There won't be any back to Athens. And yes, despite all of my bitching, that will make me sad. So, Georgia friends, consider this your open invitation: come to Windsor any time. We're good cooks, and we have a fold-out couch.
file under: durrow
I've received a lot (a lot a lot) of e-mails and ravelry messages since the demise of Magknits from people hoping to still have access to my Durrow pattern that was hosted there. I'm pleased to announce that Durrow is now available, still and always for free, over at Knotions Magazine. Thanks, everybody, for your continued interest in the pattern. And I promise that now that I'm done with the nuisance of grad school I'll soon have some brand new stuff for y'all.
May 02, 2008
may 1, 2008: last day of grad school
things I will miss about Athens, GA:
-the fact that it's warm right now while still cold back home (I know, shut UP, yes I bitch and complain that there are no seasons here and that the "winter" isn't cold enough. Whatever. Everybody's a hypocrite about something).
-the close proximity to Hockey Mom and all of the other fabulous internet people I got to meet and hang out with while here (not nearly often enough, especially in this last year)
-tofu fried in nutritional yeast. be still my heart.
-the north Georgia accent, which has grown on me these past three years (after initially driving me up the wall)
-Lamar Dodd School of Art people, some of whom are leaving Athens when I leave, some of whom are not
-red iron oxide coloured dirt
-pints of imported beer that are about half the price I'd pay for them back home
-walking through the woods to get to the studio
-all the crazy decorated cars, and old trucks that never die because the roads here aren't salted
-how every restaurant has mac 'n' cheese listed as a vegetable side. Still funny after all this time.
April 28, 2008
April 26, 2008
while waiting to hear if i'd passed my oral examination
April 21, 2008
in the business they call this a reversal
I said I'd be back to talk about yarn and stuff, but y'all should know by now that I can be a tad unreliable when the pressure's on. My
thesis written report is due on Monday. It's coming along just fine, and I'm not too worried. But I have a tensor bandage on my right wrist right now (the old RSI, a movable feast that flits from one arm to the other) and want to save all of my typing for getting this document finished. My oral defense is on Friday afternoon. Even though I decided that I wasn't going to be able to do any of my own printing until I get home (because of the move to the new building our presses are being taken away early and our students are, quite understandably, freaking out) there is still quite a bit of obligation printing to finish up as well. I teach tomorrow, then again on Thursday, and that's it. Final critique for my students next week. I'll be back soon, I hope on the weekend but possibly not until next Thursday, to show you the yarns I've spun recently (some of which will be knit up by then, another thing I need to finish up before I leave here in order to fulfill a swap), a more than halfway finished Straight Outta Brompton sweater, studio pictures and some better slides of my exhibition. Until then, wish me productivity and pehaps a small time warp.
April 04, 2008
georgia museum of art. tonight, y'all.
Having the show installed has certainly not meant much of a break in activity for me. The very next day after that was done, it was off to Richmond, VA for the Southern Graphics Council conference. It was fun but I'm a little too tired and too behind in my work to talk about it now; you can see a set of photos here, but it's mostly stuff from around Richmond rather than actual conference stuff. I did a bit of stealthy sweater idea research at the registration desk:
I loved this sweater-vest-tunic; it looks like it would be easy to make something similar by just adapting the length of Grumperina's Picovoli pattern, with perhaps slightly less curvy waist shaping and an a-line to the hem. I'm going to make myself finish one thing in the pile first (Alice/Bridie, Straight Outta Brompton, or the half-finished skirt I haven't even shown y'all yet) and then start on this for summer.
One of the major highlights was on Thursday night, when Mildred walked up to me at one of the gallery openings and said, "hi, Jodi, I read your blog". I asked, which blog? and she said, both! I was beyond excited to find another crossover between my knitting and my printmaking worlds. Later in the week we remembered to take the obligatory photographic proof for the blog:
What I've been working on since I got back:
Spinning prints, knitting a little wrap to wear to tonight's opening reception. TONIGHT'S! Opening reception! Can you believe it? After tonight, it's really going to feel like my time here is over (except for the one more month of work part, but the light at the end of the tunnel is so brignt now that it'll fly by like nothing). So, for anyone remotely close to Athens GA, y'all should come on over to the Georgia Museum of Art tonight at seven. We've got the best caterer in town, and the best MFA show in years. I just have to hem my dress, put a button on my little wrap and get a haircut and I am ready to graduate.
Also at SGC (my mind's all over the place today, can you tell?) I had a chance to hang out a bit with one of our new incoming grads for next fall, Janie Askew. This is the worst part about graduating and going home: seeing these talented and fun new grads coming in that I won't be here to work with (and seeing the School of Art move into a brand new facility whose construction has hung over our heads since we got here and we're leaving just at the right time not to get to enjoy it). I'm trading a print to Janey for this awesome drawing:
March 10, 2008
that kind of day
The first day that Peter leaves here always feels like a write-off even if it's actually semi-productive. I see him off in the morning and immediately head to the studio to try to overcome the empty feeling by forcing myself to work. And I did do quite a bit of work, printing a layer onto six dresses and eighteen prints, but I've got my system down so well by now that this is less than two hours of work, after which I was back at home on the couch, watching Sopranos, knitting, feeling empty. I managed not to totally fall apart and eat popcorn for supper (like last time), but I felt like I could have gotten more out of my day.
This is the last such day I can have for a while, because my installation has to be delivered to the museum on the 24th (yeah, so the other day when I said I had 24 days? I was in denial, it was really only 21 days. Don't talk to me about it). The list of things yet to be done is actually not that daunting, I just need to have good time management. Here's the list:
-finish two large prints (really only an hour or two of work, tops, just a few more layers of solid colour for the most part)
-print a map legend (letterpress);for this I still need to get downtown and buy paper and carve a couple of little lino blocks (or make photopolymer plates if I can remember how to use the platemaker)
-silkscreen 20 tags, then fill them out (with typewriter and date stamp)
-clean out cabinets, sand, paint
-build a little table for the cabinets to rest on (not as big a project as it sounds)(still need to pick up materials)
-assemble hanging system for prints (need to buy pvc pipe, dowel)(can't finish this until book cloth order comes in)
-make 20 books (again, not as big a job as it sounds, probably two full days work)(need to buy paper for this too)
-and of course continue to print, wear and document dresses until the last day, March 23 (last day before delivery of work)
I also have to make one more new dress, which will be a transitional garment that I'll wear for a week, starting on the day I deliver my work to the museum. I think that's everything, though. For those of you who know how this installation is coming together, if you think of anything I've forgotten, please don't bother to remind me. I can assure you I'll think of it at 4 in the morning and it'll be enough to keep me awake until the alarm goes off, but for now I'd like to believe that this is all of it.
I did manage to get Miss Henry blocked today, a mere three (maybe four) days after finishing all of the knitting. I've all but given up trying to get a decent photo of the colour.
I'm now trying to avert my eyes when I walk past the blocking towel in the middle of the floor, ignoring how small she looks while I use all of my mental powers to will her to fit. I wanted the fit to be trim and close, less blowsy than the pattern photo, but now that she's laid out there the old fear is upon me, that my belly will be hanging out of the thing in an unsightly manner. We shall see. For now I'm pretending to have faith in my mental powers, and if those fail, well, it's not like I ever button a sweater over my gut anyway.
I also finished the back of Alice, who has been enjoying a turn out of the cupboard now that every other sweater I'm working on is too big to carry around in my satchel. I'm well on the way to having one of the fronts finished as well; a few more episodes of Sopranos ought to take care of that.
March 03, 2008
That's how many days left until I go home. And on the 70th day, I'm going to Green Island Centre (corner of Wyandotte and Louis, if you're ever in Windsor, and highly recommended) and having a grape leaf sandwich for lunch. I may even have two.
Days until my installation has to be delivered to the Museum? Twenty-four. Let's not discuss that again, hmm?
In knitty news, Miss Henry (Ariann) is so close to completion I can taste it. I've just started on the collar, which is a four-inch garter stitch walk in the park, and have only about four ends to weave in (oh, spit splice, how I adore thee). Even though yesterday afternoon was t-shirt weather here in Georgia, there was still frost on the grass when I first went out in the morning, and tomorrow it's supposed to rain all day long (100% chance, they're saying, which hardly makes one want to bother getting out of bed), so I have confidence that I'll still have a few cool mornings on which to wear her after she's blocked and be-buttoned. And once I've triumphantly shown her off, I'll finally get around to writing about stash, and the busting thereof.
Speaking of busting stash: one of the nicest things that yarny friends can do for you when you're on a self-imposed full halt in stash enhancement is send you yarn in the mail. Just before our departure to Baltimore a box full of awesome arrived in the mail from Stacie:
Not only did Stacie send me some lovely handspun yarns, there's also fancy little dish (which I'd pretty much already filled up with safety pins before I'd gotten it all the way out of the box) and two hand bound books: a gorgeous limp vellum (a binding I love but have never tried myself), and another soft binding whose name I can't remember but which is totally cool, with two paper cover pieces that weave through each other. I joked to her that I finally understood how those people felt, the ones who would look at my blank bookbindings and say "oh, they're so lovely, I'd be afraid to write in them" (to which I would reply that I used mine for grocery lists, and frequently tore pages from them), because I don't think I've ever had a book bound by someone else before. But don't worry. They're lovely, and I'm not afraid to write in them.
As I was about to get on a plane and my near-finished sweater was too cumbersome to knit on the go, I immediately cast on for a top-down raglan using one of Stacie's yarns for a contrastey yoke against a dark gray alpaca/wool/acrylic blend (how well do you guys know me by now? of course it's recycled). I cast on too many stitches for the neck ribbing and will have to remove and reknit that later, but here's how much I managed to finish during travel time over the weekend (in between bouts of filming and rehearsing at Jacey's I worked on Miss Henry instead, because monogamy is for boring people).
Since returning home I've put this aside on waste yarn in order to pick up Straight Outta Brompton again (as they're forced to share a circular needle); this sweater's going to be lovely but two gray projects on the go is a bit of a downer, and SOB's Georgia-dirt-red is much more appropriate for the current Project Spectrum fire theme (at least, I hope it's still fire theme; I had a dream that Lolly blogged how excited she was that the theme was about to change from "fire" to "pink", and I freaked out that I wasn't ready for pink) (and then when I went looking for links I saw that pink is included as a fire colour anyway). (Yes, I'm a big enough stressball that I dream about stuff like that, but isn't that better than lying awake at 4:00 a.m., heart racing, worrying about my thesis? Yeah, I thought so).
January 13, 2008
pretend you saw this last month, because that's when i meant to post it
Another student, Tyler Jackson, made a stop motion animation for his final project. You can watch it here: The Reef on youtube.
Here are a few of my favourites from earlier in the semester:
September 29, 2007
i can't stop writing punk rock because i am stuck in a ghetto of folkies
Still here. The thesis weblog is sucking away most of my blogging energies these days, and the three-year mark of my writing here came and went without a whisper. Tonight's no different, I'm afraid: I printed for six hours today and then came home and cut and half-sewed five dresses, and I've got just about enough energy left to sit here on my arse watching a video while I turn four sets of spaghetti straps right-side-out.
I had studio visits with three of my four committee members this week, and it left me feeling pretty confident that I'm on the right track with the work that I'm doing. I have struggled a lot during my time at UGA with feeling like maybe I don't belong in grad school, like I'm too attached to craft to be taken seriously here, and I've taken some shit from a couple of people here about the way that I work (while I work constantly and make a lot of stuff, my work doesn't always resolve itself quickly, but rather grows and evolves out of itself almost while I'm not paying attention, absorbed in the doing of it). I'm realizing now that there's nothing wrong with the way I work, and that I do belong in grad school. And the path by which I'll leave here, degree in hand, and get back home where I really belong is pretty straight and clear before me now.
I've also had a couple of exciting exhibition and publication opportunities come my way in the last week or so, which I'll tell y'all about as they become more solid realities. And my thesis project was featured on Whipup.net last week, which has brought a lot of new people around the blog and generated a lot of great dialogue in the comments.
Here are some of the things I've been working on lately, with little comment and in no particular order:
Oh, look. I meant to just toss up a couple of pictures and I ended up sticking around chatting. I guess I miss this place.
September 13, 2007
there once was a teacher of great renown
Tonight we attended an opening/auction at the Lebel Gallery in honour of my former professor and beloved mentor, Daniel W. Dingler, who has retired after thirty years of teaching lithography and drawing at the University of Windsor. This event is the reason I flew home this weekend. It was wonderful to see Daniel and his wife Susan again after too long. It's really only been recently that I've begun to realize just how much I've been influenced by Daniel, and how much of his personality and his classroom manner I've absorbed; I often find myself saying things to my students that sound so much like him that they take me aback. Daniel was a wonderful teacher, an unflagging supporter and a great friend, and it's one of my greatest hopes that there will be students for whom I can fill that role, and fill it as well as he did for me.
From the looks of this photo, Daniel and I even make the same funny face:
(all photos in this post courtesy of Peter Zimmerman)
Before leaving the art building I was able to pay an all-too-brief visit to my dear, cherished Griffin press. All y'all printmakers out there* might think that Takach is the shit, but I'm here to tell you that my precious Griffin is worth twenty of those pieces of crap.
We had to have a moment alone. . .
And look! That's my tabouret!
*just keeping the dialect police on their toes, eh.
September 01, 2007
shop updates (go dawgs, or whatever)
Today was game day madness here in living-on-campus land, the first game day of the season. For some reason parking services didn't block access to the parking lot behind our studio like they usually do, so I got to wade through tailgate parties on our loading dock to get in and out of the building. After two years here I'm still rather baffled at the football culture; I don't give a rat's ass about football, and where I come from most others don't either. Here the stadium seats nine times the student population and they fill it, every time. From early morning the air is thick with the stench of lighter fluid, charcoal briquettes, and charred flesh. All day long red-flag-bedecked cars whip up and down the streets, hordes of drunken teenagers squeeze into and flop out of the backs of speeding pickup trucks, young women in red and black dresses hobble up and down the sidewalks in spiked heels, and there are people older than my parents out on the loading dock at nine o'clock in the morning setting up a television and satellite dish so that they can watch football-related programming all day long while they wait for the real game to start, and they are all wearing red, their tents are red, their folding chairs are red. And they are everywhere and they are in the way and they will follow you and try to force you to shout "go dawgs" at them and THEY ARE WATCHING SATELLITE TV OUTSIDE, PEOPLE. And drinking beer on campus. I want to take pictures of them but something always stops me. They're too easy to make fun of, maybe.
I've been working away on some new items for ye olde etsy shop, because y'all know I had almost enough saved up for that Lendrum wheel and then spent it on other things. Fabric and living expense-type things, but still.
There are five different style of wee notebooks, with more to come just as soon as I get the edges trimmed on the next stack:
Today I printed up a batch of brand-new shirts, crazy multicoloured ones using some of the motifs that show up so often in my sketchbooks. I'm hoping to photograph and upload the new line to the shop tomorrow night, and in the meantime have knocked a third off the few remaining of my older designs in order to clear up some space. Here's a sneak peek of some of the new shirts in progress:
These are some crazy-ass shirts. I will be wearing one tomorrow (isn't it a nice surprise when the one whose shoulder you blob ink all over is one that's your size?), so if you're so inclined you'll be able to see a picture of that over on my other blog.
May 02, 2007
"Blog more, blog more!" they keep saying (I hate that word as a verb, but I'm quoting here, y'all). It's the last week of the semester and I've been sliding obligations into free hours like a giant sleep-deprived game of tetris. I've got a print to finish up this morning for a collaborative project of the thorn-in-my-side variety, then an art history exam tomorrow morning (last exam EVER!), assembling said collaborative project, final critique with my drawing students and one more studio visit with a professor. Then I'm breaking out of my body and flying away like a bat out of hell.
(on a not-really related note, here's something Peter said to me a while back that's somehow still on my mind, because that's the kind of geek I am. We were in the car, both lunging to switch the radio dial on hearing the opening strains of some dreadful Elton John song or other, and Peter said, what would the world be like if Bernie Taupin and Jim Steinman had switched lives? And mashed up versions of their songs have been entering my brain unbidden ever since).
Some events of these last few weeks have left me feeling frustrated and hurt, and quite honestly wondering why I ever came here or whether certain people would care if I just quit grad school altogether. I can really use a few months away from this place to concentrate on rebuilding my life with Peter and making my work without all of the extra bullshit that grad school brings. And when I come back here I hope to be in a different mindset, ready to let it all roll off my back like water off a litho stone.
Peter is on his way to pick me up and should be here within a few short hours now (with luck, just enough hours for me to get this damned print done before he arrives). There's light at the end of this tunnel and I can almost reach it now.
Here's a picture. Because words are always better when they come with pictures, and free coffee makes everything okay.
January 11, 2007
an edition a week
CONTRACT No. 00000000001
AGREEMENT BETWEEN JODI LEE GREEN and JESSICA ANN MILLS
THIS AGREEMENT, made on the 11th day of January 2007 between Jodi Lee Green [hereafter referred to as “Affiliate #1”] and Jessica Ann Mills [hereafter referred to as “Affiliate #2”] covers the period from January 11th, 2007 to May 7th, 2007 [hereafter referred to as “Spring Semester 2007”].
WHEREAS Affiliate #1 and Affiliate #2 agree to complete one edition of prints each calendar week for the duration of Spring Semester 2007.
WHEREAS each calendar week is defined for the purposes of this agreement as beginning on Monday and concluding on Sunday.
WHEREAS the first calendar week for the purposes of this agreement begins on January 15th 2007.
WHEREAS the week of March 19th to March 26th is not to be considered a “week” for the terms of this agreement due to expected attendance of Affiliate #1 and Affiliate #2 at Southern Graphics Council 2007 Conference [hereafter referred to as “SGC”].
WHEREAS Affiliates #1 and #2 agree, in lieu of completing one edition between March 19th and March 26th, to take part in Open Portfolio at SGC and to otherwise avail themselves of any and all marketing and networking opportunities offered therewithin.
WHEREAS “edition” is defined for the purposes of this document as consisting of no fewer than five  prints of any acceptable print medium.
WHEREAS “print” is defined for the purposes of this document as being a reproducible work on paper of any size.
WHEREAS “acceptable print media” include intaglio, lithography, relief, digital output printing, silkscreen, trace monotype, xerography and collagraph. Drawing will be accepted for the purposes of this agreement if used in combination with any one or more of the above media and every attempt is made to maintain consistency throughout the edition.
WHEREAS if either Affiliate fails to meet the terms of this agreement for any given week that person will be mocked mercilessly and be forced to listen to the other Affiliate’s music without complaint for the calendar week immediately following the transgression being punished, and further must purchase for the other Affiliate one  slice of Vegan Chocolate Death Cake [hereafter referred to as “the Cake”] or a suitable substitute if the Cake is not available that week. Acceptable Substitutes will be agreed to by the parties concerned at the time of the payment. If the Affiliate receiving the Cake prefers to have pudding instead even if the Cake is available this is at the discretion of said Affiliate.
Signed on this day, the 11th day of January 2007, in the presence of witnesses.
December 05, 2006
I haven't really got any new work to show y'all. But my students have been working their butts off.
And look! I've put up some images of their work in a new flickr set.
Go have a look and comment and tell me what you think; I've been looking at their work for so long that I'm afraid I can't quite look objectively anymore, and am falling into the trap of the proud parent who thinks her child is smarter and handsomer and more talented than the other parents' children. But I can say with confidence that most of them have improved greatly over the last 4 months. I hope that my gentle guidance and hardass knuckle-rapping has contributed somewhat to that.
This is something I stole from Daniel Dingler: at the beginning of the semester I had them make a self portrait drawing as their first homework assignment, so that I could haul it out at the end and compare it to the self portrait they did as their last assignment. Tomorrow, in our last class, I'm going to put them all up so we can talk about how much they've grown; they'll hate me for that, I'm sure, because most of them are kind of embarrassed of those first drawings. But the new ones are awesome. In my not-quite-objective opinion.
November 20, 2006
there were children crying and colours flying
Here's a few of the pieces I showed:
Woodcut and letterpress on Japanese paper; the paper has been folded and re-folded numerous times to fit through the letterpress, giving it a soft, supple texture. I'm going to do a lot more prints like this, I love working this way with this paper.
The t-shirt I made to wear to my review; silkscreen and embroidery. It's a little hard to read but it says "breathe" down there amongst the raindrops. This was to serve as a reminder to me, and was inspired by a set of stitch markers that Bonnie sent me a while back which carried the messages: focus, stitch, create, breathe.
You can see more of the work on my flickr page.
Also, check out this beautiful finished Gatsby Girl pullover. I want mine in that colour now.
November 19, 2006
Holy cow, look at the time.
Also: look at my calendar! It's a good thing I didn't do anything foolish like sign up for that posting every day for the whole month thing; at least there's one area in which I've saved myself from being a miserable failure.
Tomorrow, friends. My Very Big Deadline is almost upon me, and that means it's almost slacking time. After my review tomorrow afternoon I'm going to go and gorge myself at The Grit and then get an early night; most of my colleagues go out drinking after their 30-hour review is over, but I'm really, really looking forward to paying off some of this sleep debt. And other than teaching my class, I'm not planning to do much work for the rest of the semester.
All of the work I'm going to show for the review is done, I'm sleepy as hell and just putting the finishing touches on the t-shirt I'm going to wear tomorrow (because, sleep debt or no, that's where my priorities lie). And then, to bed. Goodnight, all.
November 01, 2006
I've decided to participate in NaBloGAH!Mo this November. You know, that thing where you try desperately to keep up with reading the weblogs of all of your friends who are crazy fool enough to be composing blog fodder every single day for the entire month. And, you know, resist the temptation to skim it all, and actually read, all the while cheering on those other friends who are writing novels (y'all are nuts).
I'm not sure who I'm trying to kid. My continuance examination is scheduled for the 20th; I'm not too stressed about how it's going to go, but here's a list of what I need to have finished for it:
* finish this dress
* make a second dress of woodblock and letterpress printed Japanese paper; so far I've only done the woodblock printing, and the paper will have to be folded and refolded to print a small section of text over a large surface (I'll be printing the text both in iron oxide powder and transparent ink). Then after that it needs to be cut and sewn into a dress.
* a bunch of pillows (I'm shooting for six), appliqued, woodblock printed and embroidered. I'm working on the applique now and it's going fairly quickly.
* more prints. I don't know how many, six maybe? eight? These all have several layers printed already and just need to be resolved somehow.
* a new wall installation similar to the one I exhibited last week, only different. I'll reuse some of the components and make some new stuff.
* a small grouping (six or eight) of these drawings. I don't want to spend too much effort on these because while they're quick and easy I'm tiring of them; I really like them aesthetically but conceptually they're pretty one-dimensional, and I'm sort of over them already.
Can that really be all? It's so much work, and yet it all fits so neatly into six little bullet points. Those of you who knew me two years ago know just how crazy I am, and also how much I can pull off. So, let's wait and see. At any rate, reading will be a rare luxury for the next few weeks, so if you love me, post a few pictures I can skim to, eh?
My last knit design job for this fall has been delivered, and once I've finished up the math for the sizes I've got nothing new on the horizon; I haven't been submitting designs because I have to get through this hump of studio work first. Next semester will be much easier in the studio, and so I likely will have the time for knitting work. But I can't spare the time to put submissions together right now, so I can't see myself lining up any new work in the next little while. These two jobs are tough to balance because they both use the same mental skills and the same muscle groups, so when I burn out creatively from one, or give myself hand cramps with one, it's impossible to just take a break and turn to the other for a while. So. I have a few things coming out in the spring and then, I don't know. Perhaps I'll take a break, perhaps I'll start work on some things to self-publish (looser deadline, there) or perhaps I'll spend the entire Americanthanksgiving weekend swatching new designs and line up some new work. But don't all hold your breath, just in case.
While Peter was here over the weekend I indulged in a little bit of non-deadline knitting; I finished a pair of socks for myself and a matching pair for a friend, but can't show them off until my friend's socks have been received (so as not to spoil any surprises). I started a new pair as well and am 2/3 through the first, thanks to my three-times-weekly bus ride across campus to teach my class. At the rate I'm going perhaps I can wear them to my review on the 20th, if the applique-ing doesn't chew all of the skin off my fingertips first.
April 29, 2006
Studio Saturday, at long last
First let me show you some new prints from last night, then I'll tell you about a decision I've made that has changed my whole outlook on life (or at least on grad school). This week was really emotionally draining, and I felt so sick and miserable on Wednesday that I was ready to quit school and go home; I just felt completely at a loss to define why I'm making art and why I'm here in grad school a thousand miles from home when I'm clearly just a fraud. I didn't talk about those feelings here partly because I promised a long time ago that this wasn't going to be a personal diary, and partly because I didn't want to appear to be fishing for compliments and I really couldn't stand for people to comment telling me that I'm a good artist and blah blah blah. Because I know that I've been fucking around for the last nine months, wasting my time and not growing artistically. I've made a few decisions that I think will help with that. But first, some new prints:
This one is a combination of monoprinting from a sintra plate, monoprinting from a carved wood block using paper stencils, and a life sized linocut that I carved last year and haven't really made many prints from yet. I really like this one and wish I could have editioned it, but I'm not going to; it would be too much of a pain to reproduce the monoprint background. So it'll be one of a kind.
Those of you who know me won't believe I can leave a print this minimal. Surprise! It might get a bit of stitching, but no more ink. It's hard to tell in the photo but the entire surface of the paper is embossed with the texture of the lines. The image was printed using paper stencils, from a wood block that has this pattern carved all over (the same block I was using to cover up stuff before).
Now. Remember this?
This print has become the bane of my existence. When I got to grad school I felt that my final undergrad work had been pretty accomplished, and while I felt the need to break with the past and not repeat the same work, I also felt that maybe I hadn't said all that I had to say about it. So I set about starting a huge project that I thought would be bigger and better than the work I exhibited the year before. Well, it was bigger but it certainly isn't better. It was foolish of me to start a project like this at that time; your first year of graduate school should be about opening up and exploring new ideas, not closing down and expending all of your creative energy on one huge misguided project. I had all of these other idea nagging at me for pieces I wanted to start and ideas I wanted to explore, but felt like I needed to focus on this thing to get it done, and the result has been that I now feel trapped by this project, I desperately want to work on something, ANYTHING else, and I've begun to resent it for keeping me from all of those other ideas I have and want to pursue. And because of this resentment I've let the project languish until it's become something I can hardly bear to look at, something that makes me feel ashamed and useless every time I walk into my studio and see it, ugly and unfinished, on the wall. So I've taken it down, and pulled all of the pieces of it out of my print drawer:
A hundred and twenty sheets of Rives BFK, and all for only 15 prints. Argh. It's clear to me now that I need to let this piece die and move on. I'd been moving in that direction over the last few weeks, first by finally starting to work on some of the new things I've been wanting to do (like the maps, and some other things you'll see images of soon), then by taking all of my old work (except for the wretched woodcut) down off the studio walls and putting up the map images and a bunch of other things meant to inspire me for my new projects. The last thing I needed to do to free myself and feel like maybe I do belong in grad school is this:
Turning all 120 wasted pieces of paper on their sides and beginning to print new things on them. This particular one will be torn down into little rectangles and run through the letterpress, then added to my sewing project. More on that next week. And of course, I can't throw anything away, so I'll be reworking the woodblocks and continuing to print from them, and I think it's okay that there will be little bits of a body still visible in them. I can hardly wait to begin hacking away at them, but unfortunately this week is for printing. And I'm on my way back to printing right now.
December 08, 2005
No wonder my head hurts
Yesterday I found this great drawing of an old 70s sedan crashing into a tree, on the ground near my house. It looks like there's someone's head flying out the back along with all that gasoline or blood or whatever it is.
All of my deadlines have been met, studio visits have been had, I handed in my sample syllabus for my teaching practicum and met with all my professors. All that's left is to grade the portfolios for my practicum class and tidy up the print shop before I take off to the Great White North. Two more sleeps! By suppertime on Saturday I'll be sitting in our house, in beautiful, beautiful Canada, with my one true love and my fat felines and snow outside and a glorious grape leaves sandwich from my favourite Lebanese sandwich place in my hand. I've been jonesing for one of those sandwiches like you wouldn't believe.
September 22, 2005
Frustration and close calls
Yesterday was sort of a low day. My afternoon class was the worst class I've attended in a long time. I won't go into too many details about it because I do like the professor and don't really want to complain about my program on the weblog, but everyone is pretty frustrated with what's going on in the class and yesterday was very, very tense. I made a really shitty drawing that was obviously and embarrassingly half-assed (that definitely has to stop). So. Frustrating.
After class I felt like I needed to do something productive in order not to have wasted an entire day, but didn't feel up to doing any studio work. So I stayed up late and pushed through on the Birthday Sweater, and I got it done. I had pretty much committed myself to having it ready for tomorrow (by making a date with the person who is going to model it for me), but had planned to finish it up tonight at knit night with the girls (you know, of course, that the only reason I submitted this design for publication was to give myself a deadline to work towards. And even then, now that the deadline is looming, I still had to step the deadline up a bit by arranging a photo shoot. Because that is the only way I can get anything done). And here's how much yarn is left:
Talk about tense. I was sweating all over by the end, not sure if I was going to run out. I even had to unravel my swatch, that's how close I was. I'm wearing the last bit of the yarn around my wrist today, just to remind myself of how stupid-lucky I am.
September 10, 2005
studio saturday: people who don't know how to spell the word "dog", jammed mental jukeboxes, and finally some knitting that isn't secret
Well. It's been quite a week. I'm beginning to think that "grad school" may just be French for "colossal pain in the arse". I have spent an inordinate amount of time this week running around campus trying to pick up paperwork, have paperwork signed, deliver paperwork, jump through hoops and land in a big crunchy pile of incomplete paperwork. . .
It looks like a. . . whole bunch of people! Is there some kind of parade going on, or something?
Today I decided to ignore the good advice of my colleagues and venture onto UGA campus on a home game day. I really needed to get some work done in the studio, and also take some photos, it being Saturday and all. Well. Where I come from people don't make this kind of fuss over football, and I doubt that much money could be made in Canada scalping tickets for a university football game, but here it's big business. The game didn't even start until 5:30 but the tailgate parties had started by ten in the morning. There's no bus service on campus on game days, so I had to walk almost the whole length of campus to get to where I could catch a bus home. There were thousands of people swarming all over the place, and every grassy surface was covered in tents. I should have taken some photos but I was too confounded by the spectacle; it reminded me a bit of Pennsic, except that all the tents here were red and white and said Dawgs all over them. Also, although people were walking the streets drinking, just like at Pennsic, here I doubt it's legal. These people had their barbecues out there, and duelling sound systems, and I saw some with full bars set up under their tents. And everyone was wearing a red shirt, except for the sorority girls in the little black dresses (I'm serious!). It's nice to know that so many people have enough pride in their school team to party down all day long for one football game, but not enough pride in their beautiful campus not to drop their empty beer bottles all over the ground. The whole thing was a nightmare, but also pretty funny to watch. Are all American universities like this about their football, or are these people just totally crazy? The grossest thing I saw was on the way home on the bus, we passed someone who was selling bulldog puppies, real live ones.
studio saturday happened, despite the dawgs
I did manage to get some work done, and since everyone else is smart enough to stay home on game day, I had the shop to myself. First here are some examples of yesterday's press run, a big piece of unravelled knitting inked up in a minty-limey green (I told you I was going to do my first press run in the same colour as my Thai green curry) and printed on top of all those whitewashed prints.
The green looks amazing on this one, which is the only one I covered in red instead of white:
I cut a new linoblock last year, a second life-sized figure (from a photo taken a year later than the one I used for these works; it's a way of keeping track of the changes in my body over time, and in the newer image I'm a little fatter as well as having a new tattoo). I never had a chance to print it, though, so I'm finally doing so now. I printed it in a transparent pale yellow on top of some of the whitewashed prints with the green knitting pattern on them; here's a few drying in the rack:
This week I did the first stage of cutting on one section of my woodcut, just the whitest white parts:
Guess what, I still knit! Really!
Yes, that is an American flag patch on my quilt. Shut up! That quilt, and the one folded up under the stereo, cost me less than five dollars for the two.
After Peter's sweater got to be too big to bring on the bus, I started something else I can't tell you about, a gift for someone who reads this weblog. Now that's too big for travel too, so I had to start some socks. I haven't made socks in years (I did start the graduation socks, but stalled on them around the heel), but the bog-standard top-down plain sock with a reinforced heel is like a bicycle: you never forget how to ride it. Or something like that. This sock-and-a-half represents about three days of waiting for and riding the bus, including the first half-sock that I had already turned the heel on when I noticed it was way too big and had to frog. Clearly my commute is too long, and my bus too often late. Which brings me to my next bit of news. . .
Your what? Tin roof, rusted!
The commute to and from campus is already becoming way too stressful for me. There are no buses after suppertime or on Sundays, which means I can't work in my studio on campus at those times, because the apartment is way too far to walk to, and the Atlanta highway has no sidewalks anyway. So I found a place closer to campus that I'm going to move to in October. I'm really sorry to have to move out of Jenny's place, because she's a really sweet and fun person, and there are kitties here. But already my work is suffering because I live too far from the studio, and I'm here to work, after all.
The place I found is dirt cheap and truly grotty. It's half of a shack in a little shack-village that one of my colleagues in printmaking lives in, and it's a twenty minute walk from campus. From the outside this place looks like a run-down little shanty, but inside it has hardwood floors and the ceiling is at least ten feet high. And the clawfoot tub is red! I wish I could disconnect it and drag it into the middle of the big bedroom for a photo shoot.
Anyway. Ever since I moved here my mental jukebox has been caught on the same damned B52s song every day (yes, you know which song). Every time I think it might be gone, I go out to catch the bus and head down the Atlanta Highway, and there it is, stuck in my head again. I'd like to think that maybe once I'm not traveling to school that way anymore it will stop, but for the last two days, the part that keeps going around and around in my head is the part where the guy goes "funky little shack! FUNKY little SHACK!". Aaargh.
Peter, write this down
In the background of the sock photo above you can see another project that I did some work on today: when Peter and I were here in June we went to Wuxtry Records, and Peter said that once I started getting paid by the school I had to go there and buy one record every week. We're trying to build our collection a bit, and Peter the librarian geek is putting together a database to keep track of what we have. So here's what I bought today:
I know, it's more than one. But I have absolutely no control in a used record store. I can control myself better in a yarn store, believe it or not. The Cowboy Junkies one we looked at the last time we were there and I would have bought it then but Peter has more self control than me and he insisted we only buy one thing. But they still had it. It was the most expensive of all of these, I guess because it's "imported" (someone brought it down from Canada and traded it in).
Peter's sweater is oh! so! close! to being finished, and I'm going to go work on it now. I have to get it done soon, and there is no way I'm letting myself cast on for this, this, this OR this before his sweater is assembled and blocked.
August 20, 2005
So I managed to haul my arse in to the studio to do some work and get my mind off the thought of Peter driving down the interstate, farther and farther away from me every minute. Mostly only because I knew he would be disappointed in me if I just stayed home to mope. I did some puttering around in my new space, artfully arranging all my grubby ink cans on the shelves and sorting through the five-inch high stack of journal articles I have to read. Then I dug into the big folder of half-finished prints I brought down with me, all of what was still in my print drawer in Windsor when I graduated. I pulled out one of the Green Lady of Hay Swamp prints to keep (for now) and stapled it onto the wall, then ripped up some truly terrible ones to recycle into new paper and started doing this with the rest:
Don't adjust your monitor. I know it looks like muck. I mixed up a transparent white and rolled it all over the prints with a small brayer to cover them up. I always prefer to work on top of old images, on paper that has a history and that I've already established a relationship with. I hate printing on a new, clean sheet of paper, and have to force myself to print a few of each press run I do on new paper just to keep from running out of surfaces to work on. But I decided that I didn't want to just bring all of my Windsor work here and continue printing on top of all those old images; there's too much baggage in those bright colours, those shreds of knitting and glassy bird eyes. I needed to push them back, into the past. Now they're ghosts, and I can start building new life on top of them. It felt good to cover up all that stuff. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as they say.
Some more things about Athens: it isn't flat. I thought that if I chose the University of Wisconsin-Madison I would wind up with better legs because of all the hills and stair-climbing. How could I have neglected to notice the hills in Athens? After Windsor, Ontario's little pocket of prairieland, I'm not used to all the up and down. Hopefully my calves won't get too big for all my favourite trousers (that's what happened six years ago when I started working out. I've since stopped working on my legs, because they were freaking HUGE).
Speaking of environment-induced body mods: I'm really looking forward to all the weight I'm sure to lose from all this SWEATING. My god. Waiting for the bus this afternoon, I looked down and realized that I had never been this sweaty in my life. Really. I'm not talking armpits and inner thighs and upper lip here; every inch of my skin was sweating. My ankles. My cheeks. The backs of my fingers. All covered with a shiny layer of sweat. And on top of that, big extra beads of sweat in other areas I don't think I've ever sweated from before, like the backs of my wrists. My t-shirt had a six-inch wide band of wetness all the way around under my boobs, and let me assure you that my boobs are nowhere near big enough to sweat like that normally. Is this too much information? Sorry.
Anyway, this place is just that little bit closer to the sun than I'm used to, and I'm not sure I can hack it. Maybe I could get used to the heat if these crazy Southerners didn't crank up the AC so damned high. They just hold their breath and swim from air-conditioned environment to air-conditioned environment. I'm lucky, my roommate Jenny doesn't keep the apartment too cold, not like everyone else here. But still, I'm wearing work socks right now. On what I'm pretty sure was the hottest day of my fucking life.
Those memories of apartment living are starting to come back to me now, and I remember why we bought a house. Someone above us is very thumpy. Actually, that's the only thing really wrong with the place other than the absurdly long hike to the bus stop with no sidewalks. The apartment is lovely, there's lots of light coming in so I don't feel oppressed, Jenny is great and at least one of her cats likes me enough already to follow me around and curl up and go to sleep next to me, although she's not so big on the letting me pet her. The other cat watches me warily and doesn't get too close, which is a pity because she's got the funniest tongue, it's constantly hanging out, and I'm dying to touch it and see if it dries out. Ah well, all in good time, I'm sure she'll warm to me.
Already I miss Peter like crazy. We've been doing nothing with our evenings all week, sitting entwined together on the couch in front of the tv (we don't have one, remember? It's because we're reformed addicts, so when we're in a room with one it's easy for us to get sucked in, for hours) and going to bed early. I skipped knit night to be with him instead, even though I'm dying to meet all the other cool knitty Athens chicks. I figured that could wait one more week. I'm sitting by the phone right now, anxiously waiting for Peter to call. If he stops at a hotel tonight he should call soon. If he decides to push on and drive all the way home tonight it might be much, much later, but I'll be waiting. Already I'm desperately homesick.
August 19, 2005
The first day of school is always the hardest
Okay, that's not really true. The first day of school was easy. I'm all moved into my studio, and I got to meet most of my colleagues in the print department and I think it's going to be a good group to work with. What's going to be hard is tomorrow, after Peter leaves to go back home without me. Luckily I've been too busy running around doing errands and getting to know Athens a little to dwell on it as much as I was before I left home, but tomorrow I'm not going to know what to do with myself. I think I'll probably go in to the studio and do some work, but maybe I'll just park my arse in front of Jenny's telly and feel sorry for myself. Haven't decided yet.
Some things I have learned about this town so far:
-Except for on campus, it's not terribly pedestrian-friendly. There aren't many sidewalks once you get out of downtown. If I wanted to walk home (I might want to, since the last bus to my neighbourhood leaves downtown at 5:45 pm, crazy-early) I would have to go down the Atlanta Highway at least part of the way, because there's a river that there is no other way to get across. And the Atlanta Highway has no sidewalks.
-I can buy tequila, Guinness in bottles (yay!) and a frightening variety of good wines in my local chain grocery store, but I can't get Arabic pita bread (only Greek), and they only have one kind of creamed honey.
-People drive like idiots here. I'm sure once I've experienced my first game day I'll realize that I never knew idiot-driving before, but still. We've sat behind a lot of drivers who go into the left turn lane so timidly that they'd rather sit and wait through another light than assert themselves and pull out. Ontario drivers are far more impatient.
-Athens is kind of like Windsor in that it looks bigger than it really is; on the map it looks like my apartment is way out on the edge of town, a hopeless distance from campus. When you drive it, though, it's not that far. Athens is a lot prettier than Windsor, though, and it smells better. Back home in the heat we've been having I'd be waking up with the stench of Detroit seeping into my bedroom. The campus, of course, is far more beautiful than homely Windsor, but of course Canadian universities don't have the billions of dollars that this school has.
I have a pretty good studio space, and got my hands on a couple of really excellent litho stones; since there seem to be only two of us who do stone litho, I can take what I want. I'm used to being in a place where stones are more scarce, especially good ones. And since Pete keeps telling me to accentuate the positive (every time I get pissy about the labyrinthine campus or not being able to find everything I need), I'll say this: at least the cockroach that was in my studio was dead, and it wasn't the biggest you can see here (although it was far bigger than the ones we get in Canada, like three times bigger). I wish I'd kept it to take a picture; my first enormous Southern roach. Gah.
The thrift stores are definitely better here than in Windsor, and I got some great chairs today that will look great in our old house. In the ongoing quest to replace my special tea mug that the fats so heartlessly broke, I bought this dorky Star Trek mug at the Sally Ann to use in the meantime.
I'm not even all that much into Star Trek, but I thought this was too cheesy to pass up. And look what happened when I put my tea in it:
Such fun, and for twenty-five cents.
This is the first big chunk of time I've been able to spend online since I got here, so if you're waiting for an e-mail from me I promise I'll get to it after Peter leaves, either tomorrow night or Sunday.
July 22, 2005
Forget grad school. Why don't I just go join some shake-a-rock and roll band?
Warning: long rant ahead. Lots of tiny frustrations, all snowballing. A snowball this size is liable to crush me.
In order to be able to register for my courses, I have to prove that I've been immunized against measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus and chicken pox. I knew that I'd had the MMR as a child and the tetanus five years ago, and I've had chicken pox, so I started calling around to find my immunization records, which turned out to be an almost complete waste of time. My mom managed to find an old record from 1973 that I'd had a shot for measles and rubella, but not mumps; the receptionist at my old doctor's office, where I had my most recent tetanus shot, pretty much refused to give me my records. And I couldn't prove I'd had chicken pox, since nobody goes to the doctor for that, so I had to get a blood test.
Since it's impossible to get a family doctor in this town I've been relying on the university health centre for the last four years, and now that I've graduated, they have cut me off. So I went to a walk-in clinic near where I live to have the blood test ordered. Apparently I chose the wrong clinic, because when I got to the blood lab and handed over my form, they all looked at it and started rolling their eyes and sighing and saying they'd had nothing but problems with this clinic. . . the doctor didn't fill out the request properly AND they couldn't read his writing, and where he had meant to write "tetanus" it clearly did not say tetanus. Of course, the clinic wasn't answering their phone, so the lab drew my blood anyway but had to wait for confirmation from the doctor before sending it away, delaying my test by several days. And, of course, now I'm stuck having to rely on the crappy unprofessional nothing-but-trouble clinic to get my results, because the lab won't just send them to me or forward them to a different doctor.
That was a month ago, and the MMR is the only test for which I've seen any results. The others are things they don't often test for, and one was sent to Toronto and one to Hamilton, apparently by bicycle courier or possibly pony express. Because, hello? I could have taken all of my blood to Toronto in four hours. It has been four weeks. And I have been panicking because there's a special course I want to take that I was convinced would be really popular, and I really don't want to be shut out of it.
I called the clinic about a week and a half ago and was told my results were in, so I walked over, and found that only the rubella was back (my levels were just on the borderline). The doctor was able to call the lab and find out that I had tested immune to measles but not to mumps, so he went ahead and gave me the shot. I asked him to just give me all the shots but he refused and told me to wait another week for the lab results (he said they don't give a chicken pox shot to people who have had it, but the test was going to take a long time because they don't often test for it, so how the hell else are people supposed to get proof of immunity, for fucksake?). So I waited. And when I called back in a week the clinic was moving to their new location and the phones were not working.
After trying to reach them for three days, finally yesterday I stormed down there, and was told that the tetanus and chicken pox were still not in and that their phone was down but they would call the lab as soon as it was fixed, or I could call the lab myself. I said, but the tests were sent to Toronto and Hamilton, and she said, the lab in town will have the results. So I went home and called the lab, knowing full well that the results would go directly from Toronto to the clinic, not to the local blood lab. And I was right. Just for fun I asked the woman at the lab, do you think the people at this clinic are assholes? would I be better off never going back there, and just getting the shots at some other clinic? and she said, uh, maybe?
In the meantime, I thought I'd better call the school and make sure that this was indeed the last hoop I had to jump through before I could register, and after having to dial the admissions office and go through the labyrinth of recorded options six times, I finally reached a human being who was able to tell me that my transcript had arrived and that restriction had been lifted, but the art school hadn't processed my advising form thing yet (the thing I did in early June when I visited the school). Because apparently the art school can't clear me to register until graduate admissions does, it all has to be done in a particular order, you see.
Finally, in a complete tizzy by now, I called Andra at the art school, and can I just say, Andra? My favourite person. She took care of the advising thing, helped clear up a few other things regarding course registration and my assistantship job, and also checked on the class I'm worrying about and told me there's still room in it for me. I wonder if the school has already flagged me as high-maintenance? There's probably a note in my file, this is the girl who was so stupid she had to come all the way down from Canada to get help filling out forms. File under "high-strung". Shit.
So last night I went to the after hours walk-in clinic to get immunized. After a (remarkably short for health-care deficient Windsor) 40 minute wait, the doctor told me that he could give me the tetanus but chicken pox isn't something they normally give to adults, and hadn't I ever had it? I said, yes, but I need proof and I can't get proof so just give me the damned shot, please. He asked me why I needed proof and I told him, and he reached for a blood test request form. And I FREAKED. I seriously freaked. So the guy gingerly put the form back, leaning away from me a little, and wrote me a prescription to take to the pharmacy next door. And assured me that when I came back I wouldn't have to sit in the waiting room again.
Well. My drug plan doesn't cover the chicken pox vaccine. I had to pay eighty dollars to be immunized against a disease I have had. And I'll tell you this: if the clinic calls today to tell me that my blood test results are in, I am going to go down there and smash their window. I'm that high strung.
But all restrictions have been lifted, and I'm cleared to register. As soon as the fucking online system decides to play nice and allow me into my classes; the only one it will let me into is the one I was afraid of being shut out of, but it won't actually put me down in the class until I've selected a full course load of classes, and it keeps saying I still don't have the department's permission to take the teaching practicum (I do so) and that printmaking is full (AS IF I can be shut out of printmaking. As if). Gah. So now I'm calling Andra again ("hi, Andra? It's me again, the moron. Can you hold my hand?")
Oh, and I woke up with some intense throat pain this morning, after sitting for 40 minutes last night in a waiting room next to a woman who had some kind of infection in her throat and sinuses. So, back to the clinic (a different one, as if I'm going back to the asshole place, no way!). The doc says maybe it's just a virus but gave me an antibiotic anyway, and I'm just going to take it. Fuck it.
April 14, 2005
School's been blown to pieces
Last night I attended my last undergraduate class ever (except for the ones that I will one day be teaching). I also handed in one of the most embarrassingly bad papers I have ever written; I thought it was going along pretty well and then when I printed it out to proofread it I realized that what I had thought was an okay paper was actually a whole bunch of pretentious garbage, and I didn't have time to change enough to make it not be garbage anymore, goddamn it. Since it was my last undergrad paper ever, I'm just trying to take a deep breath and let go of the fact that it sucked out loud. Next week I will write two exams and then sit back and wait to be handed my degree, and then I can get on with my life. And maybe look for some kind of new job, so I don't have to carry on
sucking the marrow out of living off Peter for the rest of the summer.
Here's a little bit of serendipity: as I walked to the front door to check the mail today, I was thinking about how unpleasant it will be when I have to ask Peter to pay this semester's school fees for me so that I can graduate (because I have no money). And guess what I found in the mailbox? Notification from the school that I've received a small bursary that's enough to cover those fees. There will even be a little left over to pay the six dollars I owe the National Student Loans Service. Whew!
Okay, as promised, I now present my final interview. Crumpet, I'm sorry it took so long; I blame it on my lack of organizational skills. I only checked the comments on the one post for interview requests, and yours was on the following post. So, better late than never, here are your questions:
1. What exactly is the difference between a crumpet and an English muffin? The way you described a crumpet on your website sounds just like what we call English muffins here in Canada.
2. The obligatory question for people living in countries I can't get to by car: when I come to visit you (because you just know that's gonna happen soon when I can't even come up with a six freaking dollar interest payment for the government), what fun places in your neighbourhood will you take me to?
3. When I was in high school we had a teacher come from New Zealand on exchange. One of her kids told me that in New Zealand everyone hates Australians. Is there some kind of rivalry between the two of you? Do you hate people from New Zealand, or do you think it's like Canada and the US, where we engage in anti-Americanism in order to protect our national identity because there's so many more of them than there are of us, but then we still drive across the border and hang out with them all the time?
4. Tell me about your knitting and embroidery habits. Which have you been doing longer, what were your first projects and your biggest failures?
5. There's been a lot of talk about the Pittsburgh Salad here at jodi's weblog (so much so that my site comes up second on a Google search for "Pittsburgh Salad", scary, eh?), and of course my country has its own gross french fry-based snack. Is there any sort of disgusting regional way of eating french fries where you live? Or is that just a north american thing?
March 31, 2005
I don't really like peaches any more than I like cheese. But at least I'm not allergic to peaches.
Which is to say, I think I'm going to move to Georgia. NOT because Carrie went outside in a bikini top in Athens the other day, although that's a pretty good reason too; I bet those guys in Wisconsin are still pulling fish up out of the ice (eeew).
The reason, of course, is money. UGA is offering me an assistantship, which comes with a stipend and a tuition waiver, and they want an answer in the next few days. UWM is offering nothing, and I know that there are only a few department jobs there, and really I'm only qualified for (maybe) two of them. The deadline to apply for those jobs isn't even for another month, and if I wait that long I'll lose my place at UGA. So the decision is easy after all.
Georgia was my number one school all along, and any time I indulged in fantasies about grad school, I was picturing myself there. But then when I got accepted at Wisconsin (a month before my Georgia application was even due) I thought for sure there was no way I'd get into both schools, and started to shift my thinking, and imagine myself in Madison. Then I visited Madison and it's (of course) amazing, and there are certainly some things I like better there than at Georgia, but to be honest most of those things have to do with the town and the campus, not the programme or the people. I'll be happy in Georgia. I'm going to put that acceptance form in the mail tomorrow and have done with this indecision.
So! On to more interviews.
Cece, here are your questions:
1. I've seen a remarkable number of ponchos in your archives. How many ponchos have you knitted, and which is your favourite?
2. How do you feel about the nasty backlash against ponchos that's going around the blog world right now? Does it bug you that the bitches couldn't give the poncho knitters one more freaking year to enjoy their ponchos before declaring them passe? How many knitbloggers do you reckon there are publicly declaring they'll never knit a poncho while secretly frogging the one they never finished last fall?
3. I see you make a lot of quilts. Do you have a huge stash of unfinished quilts? Do you have boxes of quilts in progress that have moved to more than one residence with you? Have you ever sewn an entire quilt top by hand, or do you think that's a dumbass waste of time? (read: should I just break down and use a machine, or let that one moulder in its box forever?)
4. You're turning 30 soon. . . how do you feel about that? Are you ready to kiss your 20s goodbye or do you want to hang on?
5. Someone I love dearly (except for his gross, unhealthy obsession with fish) used to breed crazy ornamental goldfish, and loves to freak me out by telling me how he would gently coax the eggs out of the fish BY HAND. Do you love fish this much? Could you ever milk a goldfish of its eggs with your fingers? Isn't it disgusting?
And for Rachel:
1. You talk a lot about historical costuming on your blog, but the stuff you do doesn't seem to always be from the same period/culture. Are you some kind of reenactor? What kind of reenactor are you?
2. Have you ever made a sarafan? How about a ghawazee coat? And would it be any cooler to walk around in the summer in a ghawazee coat than a sarafan (keeping in mind that I have lots of one and none of the other, so your answer could make work for me).
3. What kind of cake did you get for your birthday? Is it all gone yet?
4. Which do you like better, peaches or cheese, and why? Which would you rather have on your Pittsburgh Salad, assuming you'd eat one?
5. Do your feet hurt when you run? Do your boobs? What kind of shoes do you wear, and how often do they need to be replaced?
1. Over in your sidebar you have one project on the needles. Do you really have only one? Seriously? Aren't you addicted yet?
2. What inspired you to start a blog? Now that you've been at it for a few months, are you settling in, or is it still hard to find your blog voice? Is it taking over your life yet?
3. Who gave you that Christmas present sweater you unravelled? Aren't you afraid that person might find out?
4. I know someone who went down to Weight Watchers and told them that she had signed up as a member online and just wanted to buy a copy of the book, just so that she could get the book without having to join and pay for a membership. Would you do anything this dishonest? Had you thought of it already?
5. Is it true that Kansas is flatter than a pancake? Do people make jokes to you all the time about not being in Kansas anymore, and does it drive you nuts? Which band would you rather listen to, Kansas or Toto?
March 13, 2005
. . . I gotta wear shades
Yesterday I promised some exciting news and then like the teasing skank I am, almost forgot to follow through. I've been accepted to the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia for a printmaking MFA. Since it's all about me here, I'll risk pissing off my harassing stalker commenter (who hates the blog but for some inexplicable reason still continues to read it) to tell you that they are only accepting three people. Somebody get a pin! and pop my swollen head.
I pretty much had my heart set on Georgia the whole time I was putting together my applications, partly because I had been to visit the campus in October of 2003, and it's a strong, well-respected art department on a beautiful campus in a very cool town, and the printmaking area has great facilities and talented, friendly people. Then I got accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and visited there and guess what? --it's a strong, well-respected art department on a beautiful campus in a very cool town, and the printmaking area has great facilities and talented, friendly people. Aaack. It's nice to have Options, but I want this decision to be easy and it's not going to be.
It's been a year and a half since my visit to UGA, so I think I'll need to go back again to refresh my memory and hopefully meet some more people; then I can be sure the decision I make is the right one for me. I'm not sure that Peter will be able to take any more time off work to drive me down though, so it might be difficult, since I don't drive. I've taken the Greyhound from Detroit to Atlanta once before and it is a long and painful trip. I may need to appeal to the knitblogging community in Athens to give me a place to shower in between the bus trip and visiting the school!
Of course, money is going to have to be a big factor in my decision. I don't have the money to pay my own way, and won't be able to work legally in the States except for within the school I'm attending. So I pretty much need to have an assistantship or I'm not going anywhere. I have a (Canadian) friend who was accepted to UWM for a printmaking MFA and they were not forthcoming with an offer of money, so she ended up going to another (American) school and it was a crappy experience for her there. Peter thinks that I may have to take a chance and accept, hoping the money will come, but I don't want to make a commitment and end up being screwed. Ah well. I'm applying for assistantships, so we'll see. So far it looks like the procedure is a lot easier at UGA; I've submitted an assistantship application but wasn't asked to apply for any specific job, so I guess you must get approved first and then apply for the available positions. At UWM it seems that I'm required to apply separately for every assistantship position I want to be considered for and hope for the best, and I can't figure out where I'm supposed to find the information I need to do this. The university's website is hard to navigate, and all roads seem to end up in the same useless places.
In knitty news, only three more to go! I've finished this, although ends still need to be woven in:
And for your viewing pleasure, you also get a nice look at my ueber-sexy underarm hair. I think hairy armpits are hot hott hottt on girls, and haven't shaved since I was about twenty. In fact, all through my twenties I had hairy legs too, but last year I decided that as feminist statements go, it wasn't that meaningful to me anymore and besides, it pokes out of the fishnets and that looks stupid. Hairy legs feel a lot softer and silkier that waxed legs though, and sometimes I regret getting rid of it.
Okay, project specs on the top: it's the Girl from Auntie funnel top, super easy and quick to make provided you don't knit 8 inches and then throw it in a drawer for six months like I did. It's worked on 5.5 mm needles in Stahl Portofino, a super soft cotton blend that I like so much I bought a tonne more in blue at the same time. It's the kind of cotton that you can wear without a bra and not chafe your nipples off. I did mine in two colours because while I love the lime green, the lime green is not so fond of me; I keep relative peace in my relationship with the lime green by following a few rules, like not forcing it to hang out too close to my face.
I also did a little more Kool Aid dyeing this weekend, with less than stellar results.
The top skein is Icelandic Lopi and the other two are more of the "Emerald Irish Knit" stuff. The only one I like is the green/purple one; I'm not sure why I even use purple so much since it's about my least favourite colour, but what I'm hating here even more than the purple is the turquoise. Blue Moon Berry, never never again. In the green and purple one, there is one tiny spot of the most gorgeous, cobalt-y blue. I'm going to do some mixing with the colours I used and see if I can find it again. Actually these skeins all look a lot prettier wound up into balls, but I'm not going to swatch any of them until after my WIP deadline. So expect to see an extremely swatch-heavy post coming in the first week of April. Admit it, you want to see it as much as I do, we're all geeks here.
February 25, 2005
Wisconsin welcomes you
Here we are in America's Dairyland, having a wonderful time. Wish you were here! Don't worry, we'll bring you back a cheese hat.
So we visited the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison yesterday, and I like it a lot. The art department is on the top two floors of a crazy building that's like a doughnut, with lots of concrete and lots and lots of stairs. The whole campus is on kind of a slope; I can see that living here I could develop some pretty ripped calves really quickly. The campus is right on a lake, and look:
These people are ice fishing. In the four years that I've been living in Canada's Sun Parlour (yes, they really call it that!) I have become somewhat of a wimp about the cold weather. This town is a little farther north than the part of Ontario I grew up in (in Huron County, about 20 minutes inland from Lake Huron). I would really have to harden myself to the cold again to be able to live in a town where ice fishing happens right next to the campus. Ugh.
I liked the people I met in the art department, and the facilities look pretty good--the ventilation is much better than what I'm used to (I'm currently in a school where up until last year people smoked cigarettes in the litho studio, and we only had press high ventilation put in a year ago). The graphics area supports more types of printmaking than I currently have access to; it just occurred to me now that I didn't see a papermaking facility--I'll have to look into that. They seem really open to cross-disciplinary practice, which is important to me; printmaking is my main area but I certainly don't want to be limited to that, especially now that I've begun incorporating prints into larger installations and bringing textiles and sound to the work: I need to be in a place where that kind of work is supported and it looks like this is that kind of place.
I spoke to the secretary, who painted me a rather bleak picture of the funding situation. I'll need to apply for jobs in other departments to increase my chances of getting one that comes with a tuition waiver, as this is the only way I'll actually be able to go to grad school. Since I'm a "foreigner", it will be illegal for me to have a job anywhere other than the university, and I don't have the money to pay my own way. But I'm not going to worry about that just yet, I'll just start applying for teaching and project assistantships and hope for the best.
I want one.
Merouda has joined the WIP challenge, so I'll have to make her drag out all of her WIPs for me later. Maybe after the two year grandson goes home would be best.
Here's one more picture from UWM:
February 14, 2005
The Magic 8 ball says. . .
I've been accepted to the printmaking MFA programme at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I've known about it for a little while, but have been holding out on you guys until I had it in writing, on letterhead. So now it's official, and I can tell.
Since I've never been to Madison before, I'll be visiting the campus on the 24th to meet people and see if it's the right school for me, but won't be making any decisions until I hear from the other schools; I seriously doubt that NSCAD will accept me (their programme is tiny) and Georgia's deadline hasn't even passed yet, so I won't likely know what I'm doing for a while yet.
If I wind up living in Madison, I will be only an hour or so from these fabulous friends:
Michael, Elyse and Sock Monkey. (don't worry, I know it looks like Sock Monkey is being cricified on the Shenango Bowl-a-way sign, but really he's just climbing it; he's a crazy daredevil)
Speaking of monkeys, here is the valentine I sent Peter in honour of Monkey Love Day:
And here's what he sent me back:
And that's about as mushyromantic as we're likely to get.
February 02, 2005
Getting my priorities straight
Okay. I know that Carrie lives in Athens, Georgia, and she assures me that there are plenty of knitters and bloggers there. What I need to know is: does anyone know any knitters and/or knitbloggers in Madison, Wisconsin?
(yes, there are other factors in choosing a school. but. . . already knowing some knitters would be nice).
January 31, 2005
The knitting has been finished for a week, and it's taken me this long to weave in the ends and put the sleeves on. Lazy cow.
The pattern, of course, is Rogue from Girl from Auntie. The yarn is a recycled mystery wool, unravelled from a pale gray Value Village cardigan and dyed three times to get the perfect red. I first dyed it with cherry Kool Aid (ugh! I can hear the purist dye snobs groaning) then again with some other red Kool Aid flavour. It still wasn't perfect, so I overdyed it with red Tintex. I know, that stuff is crap! but hey, it cost me three bucks to get the perfect red, and if it fades I'll just dye the whole thing again.
My row gauge was way off, which I didn't realize until I got to the end of the sleeves and they were too short (I added about three inches), and by then the body was done. I don't think it looks too bad, except that I don't think the pocket is supposed to go all the way up to my boobs like that. I might be able to block it out a little longer, but as this is used yarn, don't count on that. In fact, because it's used yarn I didn't block the pieces before putting it all together, and now she's draped over the chair in the bedroom and every time I go in there I can hear her shouting "block me! BLOCK! ME!" in that Exorcist-kid voice. Maybe tonight.
(special bonus points to anyone who can name that wrestler up on the shelf behind me, and his tag team partner who got cropped out on the left there)
If you want to see how fab Rogue looks when you don't make her too small, go check out Claudia's, it's gorgeous. I think later on I'll make a cardiganized one, like hers.
This morning I sent in my last online application form for grad school. I'm just putting the finishing touches on my portfolio package so that I can put it in the mail tomorrow, ahead of the deadline for a change. (I'll spare you all the photos of slides in sheets or a plain black binder; I know I'm more excited about these things than most people are).
So. All my grad school applications are done. Will any of them want me? The Magic 8-Ball says
January 24, 2005
I love the snow
It hides the junk in my backyard, so no-one knows that Sanford and Son live here. Yes, we have only half a deck. The deck on this house is huge and oddly shaped (to accomodate the nasty old above ground pool that used to be here, which we removed pretty much as soon as we'd closed on the house). We're taking the deck off so only the original porch will be left, which means more garden! This is the year we're finally going to do some work putting in the garden back here, because next year I *might* be away at grad school. So expect to see lots of pictures of dirt coming up this spring (whee!).
The fatties got their first taste of snow yesterday. They are almost 11 years old, but only go outside in good weather, under supervision. I let them poke their heads out the door while I was taking pictures:
This is how far they got.
Because I know you guys love the exciting photos of slides in sheets, here's what I did this weekend:
These are going to Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
I only have one more package to do, for the University of Georgia. I've decided to only apply to three grad schools instead of the original six. I have a pretty good reason for this, but I'll have to tell you later. In the meantime, today I'm going to London to teach papermaking! It's a two hour bus trip each way; how much knitting should I bring?
January 06, 2005
First of all, go and check out what Stephanie's up to; the running total of donations she's solicited for MSF Canada is past eighteen grand--woo hoo! And all from knitters and knitting bloggers. I guess we're not just a bunch of geeks wanking about our craft in public. (woops, I almost wrote pubic, but hopefully most of us don't wank that in public either).
I'm chugging away on Rogue's hood, a little slower than I'd hoped because of pain in my right hand (the knitter's curse). I started to feel it while trying to knit while watching Canada whip Russia's ass the other night, then it got really bad while knitting last night at a meeting. So I'm taking it in smaller bouts for a while. But hey, wanna see the hood?
Here's what I'm doing today.
Putting together some of my grad school applications, because deadlines are coming up pretty fast. Thankfully I only have one set of slides to send out this week, but you can see that I still haven't even taped these off yet. I have to put the knitting down and hurry. Ugh.
December 06, 2004
Up to my armpits in glorious red stuff*
I'm dying to start Cathode right away, but Rogue is chugging along so nicely that I'm not sure I can push her aside just yet. When our relationship descends into the Seventh Circle of Sleeve Hell then maybe Cathode and me can have a little talk. Dinner, maybe, a few drinks. One careless night of passion.
How's Rogue coming, you ask? Well, as promised, I haven't been showing boring pictures of every inch of progress, but today she's
finished up to the armholes! She opted to pose in the potted plants instead of the cold, wet garden.
Now. I promise, no more pictures until I'm knitting the hood. If I make it that far; I may be showing you a finished Cathode first.
Just so as not to have you think that I took a picture of those works in progress and then shoved them back into the chest of drawers and forgot about them (okay, I did shove them back but they're still on my mind, honest) I put this skirt on waste yarn and tried it on.
I've learned the hard way, repeatedly, not to assume that I know what I'm doing and that things are going to fit. I'm trying to train myself, when designing on the fly, to always try things on. So now I know that I'm about four or five inches from being done (I guess that sliver of kittycat underpants showing means this is no longer a family blog; good thing my Grandma doesn't have internet access). I think I'll do some dramatic decreasing in the next row, then switch to a 2 x 2 rib for a nice deep waistband. If I could just put Rogue down, this could be done tonight, not that it's warm enough to wear it. The effect of the generous amount of thigh exposure would be kind of lost with thick winter tights, I'm thinking.
Believe it or not, since I decided to stay home today, I'm NOT going to devote my day to knitting in front of the computer while watching my music downloading program in action (uh, this would be how I spent my whole weekend). Instead I'm going to do some real work, filling out online grad school applications (while knitting and downloading music, duh).
So far, these are the schools I'm applying to: in Canada, NSCAD (Halifax), maybe Concordia (Montreal). In the States, the University of Georgia (Athens), the U of Louisiana (Baton Rouge) and the U of Wisconsin (Madison). I'm starting to think, though, that maybe that's not enough. I want to go to the best school, but I have to remember that there's a hotshot like me in every printmaking department on the continent, and they'll all be my competition for these places. On the one hand, I'd rather wait an extra year or two for the right school to want me rather than settle, but if I only apply to the very best then I'm setting myself up for waiting, hmm? So, I don't know what to do. I guess for now I'll just work on applying to these places, then talk it over with Peter later.
*better than being up to my armpits in not-so-glorious pig manure. Once was enough.