an alarming echo of childhood

I’ve been learning a new cement sculpture method taught in a very fine book, Sculpting with Cement.  The book’s author, Lynn Olson, starts out with a small project so we students can get a feel for the mixture, which is called ferrocement.

(I have looked and looked for a website for Lynn Olson, but have only found incidental, but elucidating, links.  If you’re out there Mr. Olson, please wave your arms around madly and leave a link!)

Here’s a pic of the cover of the book.  Kinda gets your attention, huh?!

Sculpting with Cement,
Lynn Olson

The little project is a human figure, about 6 inches tall.  I made two of them today, using white cement, to try to get a feel for differences in the mixes I’d made.

In grade school, I made a little man figure outta clay.  Even I grin a little ruefully at my artwork.

So, my childhood and adult interests collide, and perhaps not prettily!

sculpture echoes

Every so often, I find his missing arm in some odd place in the house.  I really hope it’s out in the studio, filed carefully under “sculpture materials.”  His foot is long gone!

 

Brrrrrr in the workshop!!!

Dang!  I wonder if the Big Mister would build me real walls so I can work out here and have the temp climb well about 53 degrees?!

Brrrrr .... !!!!

keeping out of trouble

I could never ever in a million kajillion years be bored!

Yes, I’m unemployed and looking for suitable work.  Yawn.  Here is what I’ve been doing that excites me:

copying a Roman mosaic

more pics…  More

Color Pencils

Right after I put away my drawing tools, of which there are many, I needed them again!  Just not for garden design.

In one of my first posts, I showed a picture of the stones I’m making to serve as the patio for our pergola. 

Peony leaves and fish gravel!

Right now, the first 3 are in place by the fountain so that one of them gets splashed on one side, changing the effect of the embedded leaf patterns.  The last 5 stones are still curing, and they will all be able to come out and play by the end of the month.  The consistent theme is the embedded peony leaves; to each stone, I added different bits of glass, marbles, cut-marble, and even a string of tiny blue beads.   (The Big Mister asked me if that string was from Mardi Gras, and if so, how did I end up with them?!  Harumph.  The answer is no, they didn’t and I didn’t.)  All of those bits came from my long-collected-at-garage-sales supply of mosaic pieces and parts.

Which brings us back to the drawing tools.  I decided 8 stones were enough for now and that I needed to move on to something else.  I cast a shallow 15-inch-diameter bowl in white concrete and sand with the intention of mosaicing the inside.   I pored over my mosaic books and found a design that seemed to fit the idea of a shallow bowl that will live outside, gathering rainwater, and probably turn out to be yet another water bowl for the cats. 

Buddy Cosmo Scooter: he gets called many things! He adopted us through Calpurrnia's kitty door.

Not because I deemed it so, but because, well, they’re cats and they choose what they choose and we have little control. 

Calpurrnia

I digress. 


Out came the color pencils and oil pastels, along with the circle template. 

Didn’t need the drawing scale because I knew I’d be eyeballing pencil to paper.

architect scale

Modified the design as I sketched.  The colors were harder to decide upon, but once I parsed the artist’s intent I knew what to do next.  My usual jewel tones are missing from this outing; instead there are unusual pastels, the darker shades rather than the ubiquitous pinks and blues.

The colors remind me of the Tuscan landscapes I will soon experience in person:  sandy white, even celadon green (my favorite color), a burst of deep sky blue, and burnt Siena.  All those years ago with my box of crayons, I’d marvel at that name, burnt Siena, and wonder where that name came from.   I figured it was some kid who had charred a town!(Blaming a kid was logical because with my brother, my partner-in-crime, as kids we were playing with matches in the woods and, um, accidentally set those remote woods on fire.  Fire trucks.  Hoses.  Mom looking at us and knowing, which means the firefighters knew it was us.  I’ve never been the same after torching Mother Nature.)

You must see a photo of the town of Siena in Italy to understand perfectly.

Siena, Italy

See the "burnt" Siena?

So, it’s off to the mosaic tile store to choose and price (I am unemployed still, after all!) the colors I talked over with my Mom.  (Oh, my Mom!  How many posts could I make about my fabulous Mom?  She is a huge part of the inspiration of the post called Fan-Fare.)

Ah, the creativity and inspiration that arise when the tired recedes.


© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gypsy

A long time ago a friend called me, in Spanish, gypsy.  Other people from time to time, in English, have also referred to my spirit that way.

I have viewed myself as a gypsy, but thought I had more in common with a quixotic search than a roaming life.  Life is an enormous search to feel the breeze of the bits and pieces of existence against my brain.   Because of this internal wiring, I can’t have a sedate life, a life full of predictability and assumption.  I want to be like the other kids, sometimes, but I’m not.  When I was a kid, I would beg the Universe for a boring life.

Accepting limitations is anathema.  Again, I try to fit in, but that internal wiring jolts me.

When I follow that roaming instinct, I feel joy and fully alive.  Parts of my brain feel connected to the parts of the world I’m tasting.  As if the wiring circuits become complete and I’m functioning on all 4 cylinders.  (Can’t be 6 or 8 cylinders because that’s just too much!)

It’s time to make a list of those Taste of the World experiences.  Just for grins.  Just to remind myself that I really am having a good time even though the daily grind does grind.

Time to dash (!) into Big City along the repugnant, incomprehensibly-wrong freeway (free?  hahahaha! huge price to pay to be among humanity that way) to pick up my design drawings from the last class.  Which is another thing.  Hokey-smoke, Bullwinkle!  Do I really have to make a 40-mile trek one-way to go to a class where I am taught for 2 hours, then for the remaining 3  I am teaching myself??!!   Don’t get me going!  I’ve had lots of formal education and this new piece is sposta be preparing me to get back into the workforce, from which I was forcibly ejected because of the economy 1-1/2 years ago!  Yeah, right.

However, those attempts at preparing to return to work have shown me my roaming-ness again.   I prolly need to have a bunch of income-producing activities rather than one job, even though that one job I had was pretty darned good.

How about concrete art?  Garden design?  OK.  >:-D

©  No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ah, weddings…

So, I can’t decide which I appreciated more:  the Standard Poodle being dragged down the aisle by two 5-year-olds or the bride who had to watch that unplanned spectacle, as well as the dog’s leisurely return UP the aisle, and then, on HER trip down the aisle, rather clearly and audibly expressing her dismay:  “F***in’  A!”

We had a lovely time anyway, probably partly because of, and I snagged some bridal flowers to press into the concrete stone I’m making for them.  The stone could be called a stepper, but it is 24 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick!   I’m making a bunch right now that will serve as parts of a patio under our newly finished pergola room.  (Click on the pics to enlarge if you want.)

The Manly Man of the House finishes the pergola room

The finished room

I have five of these stones curing right now.  Into each, I’ve embedded a foam and chicken wire sandwich to lessen the weight–sand is very heavy in this quantity!  [Construction math:  volume of a circle = (2*pi*r) * depth.]

Peony leaves and fish gravel!

See the foam and chicken wire? It's almost covered with the final layer of mix.

Out I go to unmold the fifth stone and see what’s what!

©  No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Collecting rocks

Concrete and cement seem, in hindsight, to be part of the natural evolution of my life.

I’ve always collected rocks and other bits of life seen at my feet.  One time, a 70-year-old friend was helping  me on my 25th move and he lifted one box, groaned, and said, What do you have in here?  Rocks?  I am honest, so said yes.  At least some of them were volcanic from an Alaskan adventure.  I think I wasn’t sposta to collect because I was in a park.  Oopsie.

In college, I tried to stick to the course of study prescribed, but it should have been proscribed because it was a poor fit.  I wandered anyway and took classes I wanted to take like human anat and physiology, Latin, and a class called Greek and Roman Private Life.  Turns out that those pesky Romans knew all about concrete and even used it underwater!  Who knew?   Our puny minds right now think we’ve invented EVERYTHING!  I gather more humility as I age; do you?

So then concrete seeps into my life a hundred and five years later–I can’t remember how–it has been almost 5 years and my brain is filled up with other stuff now.  Probably had something to do with Gaudi’s work in Spain and my desire to mosaic a mansion!

Rats!  I have to go now, but it’s for something fun–meeting and eating with a group of community gardeners and being introduced as someone who is going to present a new design for their work area.  This is unpaid work in the form of an internship and finally a real-life situation for design.  It’s hard to make up designs in class; I do really well listening to other people and hearing what they have to say.  (And that is related to my former career (read:  bad economy) as a technical editor!)

(Finished the gardening meeting–gardeners are a swell bunch!  Now, it’s off to a wedding to watch young people say I Do!)

©  No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rockin’ the Purple

Playing with concrete creations, learning garden design, puttin’ purple in my hair, and that’s just this year.

I’ve had an interesting life so far and have had a richness that I appreciate only now, at 54.

I want to tell how it feels to remove myself from chronic injury, pain, and illness as I work with concrete.  How mixing the concrete reminds me that I understand it a little because I’ve been a baker most of my life.  It helps to be fearless and to have a constant How hard could it be? attitude.

There’s a reason I studied Chinese in college and excelled at it.  It plays directly into garden design–the Chinese characters have life and meaning, rules, and art.  Garden design is like that–understand the language of design, be artful, work within prescribed limits, and take joy in the expression of the intricacies.

©  No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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