Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tags, Girl Germs & Random Thoughts...

I'm somewhat giddy, as I've been tagged (in my blogger infancy), by the funniest woman this side of a rye and pastrami (that's fake pastrami for all you vegetarians out there)--Sarah (that's her middle name folks) Hornik...of course in usual "Elaine"-style she practically knocked me over! Anyway, the retired high-heeled shoe aficionado thinks it's funny for an over fitty year old to try and link this to that and plink this to plop...i will stumble forward queen of lyzards!

Okay, what's next? eight random meanderings about meself? easy...

1. I had a crush on my fifth grade teacher and put one of the class project white rats on her shoulder while she was explaining details of the project to the class. The scream expelled from her lungs through her lips was something to behold! Hours of sitting in the Principal's office didn't diminish my infatuation...

2. My father was an intense fellow (he played juniour hockey in Canada, boxed, and ran around a soccer field in little shorts--a bit of a brawler), and didn't allow any foolishness from my older brother or myself. When my older brother was given his first bike, my father admonished us to never give bucks or be bucked--he was quite firm on this! At the first opportunity I asked my brother for a buck, and of course he complied...the mirthful proceedings came to an abrupt halt, when I somehow got my leg entangled in the wheel spokes. To my brother's credit, he didn't keep pedaling...the break was only a green-stick.

3. Once while our family was returning to Minneapolis from visiting relatives in Winnipeg, Manitoba (I was probably about eight or nine)--my brother and I were sitting next to our father in the front seat of our old Chevy--my father decided that I was being too silly...stopped the car in the grassy part in the middle of the highway, and made me get out, "You can walk home..." As I stood in the middle of the highway and watched my family drive away, I began walking in the same direction...

4. I've read the Gulag Archipelago, War and Peace, and the Brothers Karamazov...all I remember is something about keeping your nose above water?

5. My wife remembers me from a speech-making class at Rosemount High School...I did a presentation on in-grown toe-nails with big posters of toes (all ethnic personalities accounted for), showing the procedure for cutting the in-grown part out.

6. I worked part-time as a pizza delivery man for five years...gaining ten pounds each year. Many mad-cap adventures, hi-jinx galore, and hair-brained schemes ensued--but that's for a different blog.

7. My grandfather emigrated to Canada from Germany when he was twenty five, and worked for years at the small town high school in Saskatchewan as the janitor/custodian. When they built a new high school they named it after him.

8. I can't wear watches, or even put them in my pocket--they will stop and can't be repaired! Eventually the cars I drive begin to have strange electrical maladies, and computers tend to eye me apprehensively.

Well Sarah? are you happy?

...that's all folks...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Leaves Cut From The Sides Of Beer Bottles

This is a poor-man's slumping technique, actually cutting the leaf design from the curved sides of beer bottles giving the leaves an appearance of floating, twirling and a three dimensional falling quality without a kiln. The leaves bring together a bunch of my favorite activities--meandering through my neighborhood collecting leaves, emptying local and exotic brews in order to reclaim the amber and green glass, and listening to music while cutting glass, copper-foiling and soldering the pieces together.

So far I've rendered a few elm leaf designs in different states of decomposition using a Mesabi Red from Lake Superior, a Golden Monkey and an Old Horizontal from Victory, an oak leaf from a Pilsner Urquell, and poplar and aspen leaves from Old Horizontals.

What I'd like to see happen, is an interactive art piece, where you collect interesting leaves that you especially enjoy, grab a couple of your favorite brews--send (or drop-off, if you're in the neighborhood), and I'll render the leaf from the side of your selected bottle. Interact, anyone?

Here's the nuts and bolts of the proceedings for the Pilsner Urquell oak leaf: after drawing the shape and lines of the leaf veins, you drink a Pilsner Urquell paired with a couple of left-over fried tacos from El Norteno--prepare a jar of ice-cubed water and begin boiling some water while you traipse down to the basement to score the bottom of the another and continue nibbling chips and salsa...immerse scored bottle in ice cold water...wait for boiling water--pour this into the bottle and listen for the crack of glass while shouting--"Wally!" back downstairs with your cylinder of beer bottle glass...score cylinder down the center...tap, tap, tap, tap...break--two halves of cylindrical glass.  Then you place your pattern on the outside of the curved bottle side, score, tap, break...and eventually copper foil the individual pieces and solder them back together!

These leaves have all fallen into my etsy shop...I'm quite pleased with my latest rendering of a large elm leaf with bits and pieces missing and a lovely curving profile...I listened to Papa Noel and Papi Ovideo's Bana Congo and a smattering of hot violin solos from Joe Venuti and Stephane Grappelli during parts of the process.

Eventually I will combine a handful of leaves into a mobile which would look especially nice hanging from your porch on a cool fall night while you sit back with a Belgian Chimay, some funny smelling cheese, with Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in Em with Kyung Wha Chung on the fiddle wafting in from your hi-fi...aaahhhhh.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Freshwater Fish Mobile

Minnesota to the Bronx A grand collaboration between two newly acquainted fellows, with an instant connection to some sort of cosmic primal buddy-system. A conversation with Lawrence, from the Bronx, New York---the idea man for this concept--is like sitting in with Dizzy Gillespie and Django Reinhardt at one of their celebrated jam sessions back in the mid to late 40s. The ideas come fast and furious, bouncing off of each other with little metallic clicks and whooshes of contemplative jazzy ethereal phrases--cheeks filling with air with the unfurling of fantastic collages of seemingly endless layers of thoughts. I'm the slightly rumpled fellow from Minneapolis, Minnesota letting the words inform my senses (art)--in realizing the dream Lawrence wants rendered in stained glass. An enjoyable journey from start to finish: Fish Mobile from Minnesota to the Bronx.

The main concept was to make a mobile with fish in motion--organically designed, and to avoid the sterile qualities of Lawrence's perceception of the modern man in blue dungarees. A very enjoyable journey for me, with false starts and stops--a deep sea diver, various bug costumes, improvised phrases, humorous detours...and eventually this.

Two walleyes (4"x5" and 4.5"x5"), a northern pike (4"x6"), a largemouth bass (3.25"x3.5"), a rainbow trout (4"x5") and a sunfish (4"x2.5")--made from Kokomo blue/purple/amber textured iridescent, Wissmach creamy white iridescent and clear ridged’s an iridescent production.The eyes and mouths and other assorted details are hand painted with a vitrea 160 permanent glass paint by pebeo. After taking an Amy’s Spinach Pizza out of our Acorn oven, I popped the painted glass pieces in. While waiting I paired the pizza with a Duvel’s ale, watched a bit of Truffaut’s the 400 Blows, et cetera, et cetera. Eventually each piece of glass is carefully and at the same time exuberantly copper-foiled, fluxed, flummoxed and soldered with a lead-free solder. Then the fun begins, as copper rods of varying diameters, swivels with ball bearings, rings and solder are ceremoniously plopped onto the work bench for the balancing act of assembling the fish into a mobile. As a general rule, accordion music accompanies this process.

The swivels that connect the rods together have split rings, which (with some finger gymnastics), enables the mobile to become two separate mobiles with three fish each, or each fish can potentially be removed and hung in all the windows of your adobe hacienda, and later reassembled into the fantastic six fish mobile.