Thursday, November 29, 2012

Working Wire and Stone, Teaching the Basics

We talked with the people at the RV Park here and decided to offer a wire wrapping class. It didn’t really matter if anyone took the class as I needed to work some stones for our classes in Texas. So we were pleasantly surprised when six people signed up for our class on making a wire wrapped cabochon pendant.

Of course we had to run all over to find a set of tools but we did find good flush cutters and some really good flat nose and round nose pliers. I also was able to saw and grind some more pretty stones into tear drop and oval cabochons and so we set up at the recreation hall and students started to show up.

We have learned a lot since we taught our first class and so we had the students pick their stones and wire. I had also brought different shaped stones and of course most of the students picked free forms, which are not so easy, and so we were in for it.

Luckily we had also brought some of our own wrapped free forms and each person found an example of the shape they were trying to wrap. It gave them a pattern for the frame and bindings and that helps a lot. Quickly they had their wire cut and twisted, ok not so quickly, and the next step was to teach them how to make precise bindings.

Our students were quick learners and they all did a really great job! Framing and capturing the stones also went great and the time flew by as noon approached. Everyone was proud of their pendants and as others stopped to watch we soon had another class scheduled for next week. Oh and this week’s students want to learn how to make rings!

It was really nice to have a class of such talented people and teaching a class is a great way to meet your neighbors in the park. It’s also important for crafters and artists to share their skills and pass them on to others but it’s really about making friends. Clear skies

Monday, November 19, 2012

Treasure Island Sand Castles

We took some time off from our busy schedule,(don’t laugh to hard about that), and headed off to Treasure Island to attend the Sand Carving competition. Our plan was to watch the artists work on Friday and then to return to see their completed works on Sunday.

There were ten artists who entered the competition and ranged from locals to artists from all over the USA. Among the contestants, one was from South Padre Island and another from Washington State. There was even an artist from the Netherlands, and so you could say it was an international field.

By the time we arrived on Friday the sand had already been prepared and the artists were all busy, using trowels, paintbrushes, and wooded carving sticks to create their ethereal masterpieces. We walked around and took lots of images as each seemed to be locked into their own private world as they ignored the gawkers and the constant photography from cameras, tablets, and cell phones.

Of course we also had to visit the vender booths, however the first vender got into a tirade about the election and so we shook our head and moved on,(We have tried to adopt the Escapee rule, which is to avoid discussing politics or religion, as nothing is ever solved and people usually seem to get upset). There were some booths that actually had local art and one booth featured unique shadow boxes with butterflies and dragonflies, all made out of locally collected sea shells.

The weather was a lot nicer, when we returned on Sunday. Parking at Jenny’ house we enjoyed a nice walk along the beach and found quite a few more people at the carvings. Prizes had been awarded and it seemed so subjective as I couldn’t see a lot of difference between the works. They were all beautiful and you wonder how they kept them together as the sun and wind dried them out.

Two of the carvings were somewhat political, but I suppose that is to be expected. The first place carving depicted bulldozers destroying the rain forest and had a characature of a rich person guiding it all as he breathed oxygen from his own private  and enclosed terrarium forest. Money stuffed his pockets, need I say more?

I really didn’t have favorite but the Mermaid was clever as the back side suggested she had walked away from her image, or at least that’s what I thought. Several depicted human hearts and another depicted a beautiful woman, with her backside showing the devil inside. I never thought of a beautiful woman, as necessarily being a devil,  as evil seems to me to transcend sex.

So we enjoyed the walk around the carvings and we even looked for the shells artists but they were closed up, maybe they sold all their works. Returning home we passed a huge flea market and we made the mistake of stopping, but that’s another tale for another entry. Clear skies


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The First Week In Largo, Florida

It doesn't seem possible that we have been here a full week and it also is hard to believe that we are going to be here for almost two months. So its Jenny time, our daughter, and its time to fix some of the many problems that developed during our time in Alaska and Canada.
Our first order of business was to see Jenny and she invited us to an Alaskan salmon and hog fish cookout, Of course we supplied the salmon and her friend Eric, the hog fish. Cooking over a charcoal grill was kind of different for me but the fish turned out great .
It was so nice to meet her friend Brandi and also to meet her family as Brandi has been a huge help during Jenny's first year as a RN here. The young people are all new scuba divers and it almost made me want to get certified, but I think I will just stay with the snorkel.
So the second thing, being in Florida, means beach time and so we have spent two of the seven days lazing on the sand. Of course its not just sand time and we have also found some places to fish. It then created somewhat of an ordeal in trying to find a place to buy a fishing license. The online Florida Game and Fish site crashes and is one of the worst state sites I have been on. Luckily a Walmart was able to connect,(the other Walmart couldn't), and I was able to buy a salt water license.
The rear stabilizer jacks on our fiver have jammed and so I spent a frustrating day removing the whole assembly. Of course I can't find anything but a full new assembly and at six hundred bucks, that's just too much. So my next order of business is to find a welding or metals shop that can replace the worm gear or at least clean up and repair the part.
The final thing has been to work on more of the mammoth ivory and Alaskan and BC jade. I have actually made some earring sets that match some of our ivory pendants. Earrings are really time consuming but we get asked for matching sets and so we are going to try to increase the number we carry.
So its been a busy week and today we should do some more work on repairs, or maybe we should go to the beach. I know, I will flip my two headed coin. Beach it is! Clear skies