Flower Challenge

I am delighted to be taking part in the Art Elements Blog Hop for July.  The theme is one of my favorites: flowers.  I’ve written about flowers on my blog many times.   But  I usually photograph flowers instead of trying to make them (unless you count my felt flowers).

I took the opportunity of the July Flowers theme to complete a project I’d left unfinished for some time.   I had fired a batch of bronze clay and had been making rings and embellishments from 10 gauge bronze wire I was annealing and shaping in my rolling mill.   I had some bronze clay flowers I made in molds that I wanted to attach to milled rings.  I have been a bit challenged in the hand department lately because of some kind of tendonitis or impaction and can’t do much with my right hand.  But I was able to finish some gentle shaping of the wire that I had previously hammered into shape and to solder it on to the flower.    Here is a brief explanation of the process:

The bronze wire is  stiff and hard when it’s 10 gauge thick but I love the look of thick wire and the versatility a thick gauge gives me.  You have to anneal it often as you pass it through the rolling mill.  I changed it to a square shape.raw materials Bronze Clay

The bronze clay behaves very much like ceramic clay in its unfired state, so I was able to push a bit of it into a silicone mold to make the flower. I had to let the flower dry and refine any cracks and sharp edges before firing it in activated carbon.  The firing was successful and I got metal which I then soldered to the bronze wire ring I had previously made.Flower

 

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The ring is fun to wear.  Not too flashy and it looks at home next to the stack of bronze and silver rings I wear every day.

 

terra cotta flower magnets

 

And here are some fun flower magnets that I made from Terra Cotta clay and a press mold.  I painted them with underglazes and finished with a glossy clear glaze.

If you are interested here is some of my flower  photography from past travels.  Mendocino, and Singapore,

Please visit all the artists participating in the Art Elements Blog Hop for July:

Visiting Artists:
Alysen
Cat
Divya
Evie and Beth
Jill
Kathy
Linda
Martha
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarah
Sarajo
Tammy
Alysen
Cat
Divya
Evie and Beth
Jill
Kathy
Linda
Martha
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarah
Sarajo
Tammy

and the Art Elements Blog contributors:
Caroline
Cathy
Claire
Jenny
Laney
Lesley
Marsha
Susan

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Finally!

It happened while I was at Clayathon.  Dark chilly days and then POW!  I was sneezing and blowing my nose.  The allergy fairy took hold of me and fairly rattled my teeth, even though I usually don’t suffer from Hay Fever, the pollen levels were off the charts!

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Spring has come to Philadelphia and to my neighbor Bob’s sidewalk garden

 

Flowers are popping out all over my part of Philadelphia.  The tree  blossoms are only blooming for a few days before they fall from the tree limbs and collect on the sidewalk.  until then, every walk is glorious Spring.

This Week

A bunch of pictures from this week

Wind Challenge Matthew
Matthew Borgen

Caught the  Wind Challenge Exhibition at Fleisher Art Memorial

Took pictures of the many mushrooms that have popped up in my neighborhood after last week’s rain.

Flowers are beautiful even when they’re dying

Helped kids paint pumpkins at Palumbo Recreation Center

Some Pottery in Progress

Saw some new (to me) Murals

And met some incredible artists and makers at Philadelphia Open Studio Tours at the Bok Building.  This deserves its own post.  Stay tuned,

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Last week, a reader warned about the application of a  toxic herbicide called glyphosate to wheat crops rendering all but organically grown wheat safe to eat.  I decided to read up on glyphosate.  The Food Babe blog  pointed out the dangers posed by this chemical, citing a report by a group called Food Democracy Now.  (Read the report here.) But the Snopes.Com site argues that the report’s information is false.  I am not a chemist and cannot do my own tests.  I will say that the discussion of the scientific methodology used in the report seems vague, (compare the testing done to determine the link between smoking and lung cancer), but I do not know whether this comes from an intent to deceive,  poor writing, or an editorial decision that the reader would not understand a more thorough discussion of the testing procedures used.    I have not come to a conclusion.  I am presenting this information so readers can draw their own conclusions.    

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Boris does not care about any of this apparently, 

Say it with Flowers

I had intended to write this week’s post about Beading Yoda’s lovely beaded flowers.   But that will have to wait.

What a week this has been.   Boris is almost recovered from the Benjimonster and is much less stressed.  I cannot say the same for myself.  It all started so innocently.  My health insurance company decided to give its customers a discount on their premiums if they enrolled in a program called Active Health to learn about healthy habits,  adiet, exercise, and so on.  You get points for each module you complete. Collect 100 points and you get your discount.   Easy, right?  Wrongo Bongo!

I logged onto the program’s website and managed to enroll after numerous calls to customer service to learn how to navigate a website obviously designed by Dr. Mengels.

In the weeks that followed, I duly entered my blood pressure, my cholesterol,  completed questionnaires, and studied health topics.  As I completed each module, I was awarded a certain number of points.  I was on my way to my discount.

Nor so fast.

Yesterday, I foolishly downloaded the Active Health iPad app for the program and completed more tasks.  As I tracked my progress, I noted the app was not saving anything.  And there was no option for me to save. I tried to contact customer service online.  There was a place to write a message but no way to send the message.  So, I called customer service.

I was referred to another number.  Then a third number.  Then I spent almost an hour  with a service rep who tried to guide me through the website.  But, as I repeatedly reminded her, I was using the app, not the website.   Alas,  she could neither help me nor refer me to someone who could.  “And yet,” as the saying goes, “she  persisted.”  As I hung up I wondered where she got her stamina.

Later that evening, I decided to try again on the website instead of the app.  I ran into the same problem.   I called customer service again.  As the conversation with a different rep wore on, I realized that he knew that the website did not work,and that tech support was non existant. But the rep was  creative-I’ll give him that-he suggested that I abandon the online health education module altogether and opt for phone counseling in order to get my points  So I agreed. We scheduled an appointment with a health counselor.  Then the rep started to rattle on about the Philadelphia Eagles.  Time to say goodbye.

The health counselor called the next day at the appointed time.   “What health issues would you like to work on? ” she asked.

“Stress,” I replied, “I really need to work on my stress.”

“What gives you stress? ” she queried.

“I was doing pretty good before I enrolled in the Active Health program,” I admitted, “but broken website coupled with service reps who don’t have the resources they need to do their job  has caused me a great deal of stress.”

“Oh.”

The counselor suggested that I meditate and gave me a number I to call if the stress became overwhelming.  “There are counselors there to help you,” she informed me.

“Is this covered by my insurance?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she responded.  “Let’s schedule another session.”

“How’d it go?” my husband asked me later that day.  “Not as bad as I thought it would be,” I admitted.  “In fact, I’ve decided to start smoking again so at our next session she can give me advice on how to quit.”

Only two more counseling sessions to go.

And now, to keep myself honest, here are pictures of flowers taken on my walks around Philadelphia.

 

Has Spring Finally Sprung?

It certainly looked like it in my neighborhood.  I took these pictures today on the walk home from the pottery studio.

 

And here’s one of the cacti from Bob’s garden.    I know it looks like a bunch of deflated balloons now, but its cactus pads will be stiff as soldiers come summer.

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I have been busy making mugs and  I’ll post a few pictures in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, here are some of my favorite pieces from the Fleisher Student Show.

Summer Walks, Summer Flowers

  One of the things I love most about Philadelphia is the unexpected little streets and alley ways that stretch from Queen Village to Point Breeze and all the neighborhoods in between.   Here are some flower pictures I took on some walks around the city.1.SummerFlars0728_1417522.SummerFlars0728_1418043.SummerFlars0728_1418204.SummerFlars0728_1418235.SummerFlars4526.SummerFlars5077.SummerFlars5368.SummerFlars556

Bob’s Garden, Summer 2016

Bob’s Garden has really taken off this year! Three new turtles are swimming in the pond and a new banana tree has taken root in one of the wooden barrels sitting out on the south Philly sidewalk. The cacti have come back to life and are are throwing off scores of yellow blossoms.  The water lilies are doing swimingly (pun intended) and Barbra the Macaw is keeping a watchful eye over it all.  Here are some pictures.

 

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Flirty Flowers and Macro Lens Mischief

Bob’s garden is growing full force this summer. One of the Koi fish is as big as a whale but refuses to be photographed.

Copy13 copyFortunately, the flowers are not so shy.

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I didn’t have any problem getting them to open up for the macro lens

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I don’t know what this flower’s called – it’s from Seger Park down the street and I take pictures of it every year.

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Even Plumpton got into the act despite the fact that he is now a grumpy old cat of 19.

Flowers of Mendocino




The flowers in Mendocino are incredible and the colors are wild. There is no bee shortage here. I’ve seen more than one hummingbird too.

We went to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens yesterday to see the fuchsias and the dahlias. Some of the pictures below are from that trip but I took most in the little town and near the shore of this idyllic place.

 

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Here’s the view from our hotel.

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The Secret Life Of Flowers

I love to walk around my neighborhood with my camera and I spent some time this weekend taking pictures. Flowers were blooming in beds, patches, window boxes and containers. The tulips were dying off and the irises were coming out. As I happily snapped my way around my bit of South Philadelphia, I started concentrating on flowers that were still in the bud stage, those emerging from the bud stage, the insides of flowers in bloom and the ones that were on the decline. It felt a little like I was peeking into their undies or seeing them without their makeup or their hair combed. I felt a bit like an intruder. Here are some pictures you will never see in the National Enquirer.

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