Initial Post: Friday, January 13, 2017
I’ve written in Blogger before, but lost interest because it was a site outside of my site. It meant I had to log into yet another site to write. I want to keep my remarks germane to my website with a few personal asides thrown in for good measure. One cannot create a great meal without some spice and condiments nor can one write about their experiences without personal insights.
As this is my first post on my own site I will give you some background on who I am. I am the elder daughter and have one sister. We were raised in an Air Force family. I have lived in the Far East, the US Southeast, and the West Coast from Travis AFB, California to Anchorage, Alaska. I was born to a loving couple who raised us with lots of lectures, a little of the switch, and tons of love. My father told me that I could do and be anything; and put his money where his mouth was when in 5th grade my teacher, Mr. Thompson, said to the woman 5th grade teacher, that he’d teach the boys architectural drafting and the girls could get practice with shorthand. After two days of shorthand I whined to my father that I had no interest in shorthand and why couldn’t I take drafting? He went to the school and talked with Mr. Thompson, who had not even thought a girl could be interested. The two teachers opened the classes up for anyone who wanted to trade. I jumped ship quicker than a dog moves when he hears food hit its dish. Dad made me my T-square, we drove into Spokane to an engineering supply store to get and architectural ruler and a couple of triangles and a mechanical pencil. I never looked back. I loved it. Yep, I had a special Dad. He taught me to tie flies, as he was a great fly fisherman; to use his table saw when I was about 9 and to work on cars. It was always about doing things that interested me… learning how to do them.
Today I am happily married for over 46 years and have spent about 45 1/2 years working on either our homes or rentals. I can lay hardwood, laminate, tile. I can hang sheetrock, trim and windows. I do electrical things, plumbing and painting. I’ve built eight foot retaining walls, by myself, and created remodels at rentals. So that drafting skill comes in handy. I love working with my hands. In college I was a foreign language major for the first three years then I walked through the Industrial Arts building… There I saw architectural drawings with models made to scale from them. I said to myself I didn’t know this existed at college; I went that day to the administration building and changed majors. I graduated as a shop teacher for junior high. I was told that I was the first licensed woman shop teacher in Washington… in 1969. Today I still work on rentals, but also enjoy more artistic endeavors such as bead jewelry and metal work. I also work with glass.
I believe you are seeing a trend here. I love to create and work with my hands. I like to do things that not everyone else is interested in. I began sandblasting glass in 1984 when my sister showed me how. I have been doing it ever since. I also created inventive ways to get my work done. After the internet there have been many who have begun sandblasting; but not too many stick with it. It is pretty dirty and there are some major costs with getting it set up: compressor, reclaiming box, and pressure pot for machinery and then the resist and aluminum oxide can be pricey, too. So not too many folks just dabble in sandblasting. Sandblasting brought into my life, Irene, who became a close friend. We created a group called NWSandcarvers. We had meetings three or four times a year and did a self-help type of workshop, where each of us shared what we knew with the others. It was a generous group and I have appreciated knowing all the people that I met though it. It was through Irene that I met Becci Bergsma, a glass artist in Monroe, WA. She had huge glass kilns and generously opened her shop to all of the NWSandcarvers for a workshop. That sparked my interest in “warm glass” or “kiln glass”. Most people think of hot glass when you say you work in glass. Hot glass is the Alfa Romeo of glass. It has all the bells and whistles. But kiln glass has many challenges and is much easier to get into at home, as a furnace for hot glass is very expensive to keep running. One only uses electricity with a kiln when firing a project. Hot glass requires the furnace to be hot most of the time so the glass stays liquid; it isn’t effective to turn off the heat in the furnace and have the glass get cold, so that to heat it up again takes away from productivity while people wait for the glass to get to temperature.
When in high school in Charleston. SC I bought my first calligraphy set. It had and edged pen, but I didn’t get how to hold it to create the letters, so I drew them. Then in 1983 I met Jan Bradshaw who took me under her wing and helped me learn all about lettering. She had been a student of Amanda Adams. Amanda was a well know calligrapher in the South Puget Sound in the early 80’s. She moved to Catalan and is still well known, just by more people than in the South Sound. I joined the Seattle calligraphy guild until I tired of the 40 mile one way trip in rain or shine, dark or light, traffic or not… it became an effort, so I put an ad in the paper and had 50 people at the first meeting to form a group in Tacoma. (That was about 35 more than I expected.) For the next 25 years we changed meeting places every few years. But because when we founded the guild I got us a 501 (c)(3) and with us being a bona fide non-profit educational group we now meet on school property. The group depended upon me a lot in the early years, and I wanted it to be strong, so I stepped down to let others lead. It is still going strong with a loyal and talented group of people. It was through the group that I began to attend International Calligraphy Conferences. I went to about 15 of them where I studied figure drawing, watercolor, uncial and half uncial, carolingian, gothic, italic, foundational and pointed scripts, as well as etching glass with hydrofluoric acid; learned sign painting techniques, and in the early 90’s learned to create fonts with an application called Fontographer. As you can see calligraphy brought me into proximity of a lot of new ideas, techniques and skills. TCG benefitted from conferences, as members learned a broad spectrum of topics that helped their lettering. We decided to have our own retreat to study a topic more in depth, we called it Rendezvous and until 2005 or so we held it annually. It is where I learned to make beaded jewelry and that opened yet another door. I feel this is getting way too long and have not touched on many of my art interests, but I don’t have to write about everything now, do I? I’ll save more of my early years and the beginning of some of my interests for another post. I welcome you to my blog. I will be tweaking it with software that will allow you to comment, but that will come… hopefully sooner than later.
Knowledge is power and understanding. Keep learning…