Tuesday, September 13, 2011

chocolate, like temptation...

I told myself when I started THIS blog I would try to steer clear of all things personal, but this is has become a font of frustration. My institution of higher learning doesn't offer bus passes to students. They have a shuttle which goes to one area in the city, which you have to purchase a pass for every semester. i have, ahead of me just this semester, a 30 hour field experience, and the check engine light came on in my car. I already can't afford to fuel/park my car or take the bus, since my workable hours are now consumed with course work. Dear Administration - what am I supposed to do, exactly? Even if I moved on campus, it would not solve the work issue - I have to earn money to pay for the tuition and fees my scholarship and loans already aren't covering. Would you like to pay to keep my car going so I can get to class and continue to pay your salary and support your lifestyle? I didn't think so. Bus passes. Please.

Thank you, reader, for staying with me, and I apologize. If I knew where to hold a sit in and launch a peaceful protest, I would have done it yesterday, and would probably still be sitting there. Moving on.

We are in the middle of my favorite time of year. Labor day is passed, and suddenly wearing a tee-shirt doesn't feel like a lead weight. This is the time of year when the temperature doesn't spike 90 or 100 in certain pockets of the city [due to excessive amounts of surface concrete and asphalt]. Suddenly, we're at a comfortable 70. Well, except in the paint your own pottery studio I work in. Our A/C has been on the fritz all summer, and with a kiln that reaches 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, we can get a little toasty. In addition to phone calls about what, exactly, it is that we do at a PYOPS, I'm always a little saddened to admit that there really doesn't seem to be any non-specific art creation venue in the city. 

What city? Oh, yeah,

I'm so not a yinzer. I wear proudly wear brown and orange to church two Sundays every fall. Yes, I know, you don't need to tell me, this is not the right city for me to be habituating. Artistically speaking, there are quite a few options. There is a monthly gallery crawl in Lawrenceville along Penn Ave, always the first weekend of the month, however it happens.

There's Natural Stitches, also on Penn Ave, but much further down in East Liberty - near Trader Joe's. They are a fantastic, full service yarn shop. They offer classes. 

There's also (and this is the worst picture ever, my apologies to the proprietress) Needlepoint Breeze, which isn't terribly far from Natural Stitches further into the East End. The Make Your Mark Artspace is a vegan/vegitarian cafe. No makings going on there, I checked their website.

And there's KnitOne, which is in Squirrel Hill, and very near the 376 Squirrel Hill Tunnel (For those of you that don't know, 376 is referred to as the Parkway - Parkway East, in this section of town). I've never been there, but their website indicates that they do offer classes. I was extremely excited to see that they were offering a free class for a no-prior-experience knitter... but it was from last year. Here is their blog. The website said they had a knitting group on Tuesday afternoons at one, and I have a hat that needs finishing... 

Also in Squirrel Hill is the Artist And Craftsman Supply. Where you can buy things like paints, brushes, canvas, charcoal pencils, fabric dye. They're at 5603 Hobart Street, Pittsburgh PA. I've never been there either. Maybe it's time for a field trip...

These establishments are all well and good, but are product specific.

No, the sort of thing I am talking about would be more of a make-it, take-it lounge/studio, working in partnership with other local, small art and craftsmen supply businesses. Ideally, the space would have two separate classrooms - a "wet space" [with plenty of appropriate sinks] where one could paint, construct and grout mosaics, or hold ceramics and pottery classes. The other class room would be dry, catering to fiber arts where one wouldn't want to discover acrylic paint on the work surfaces. In the front would be a little drop-in sitting area with comfortable chairs, plenty of natural and appropriate artificial light, where one could sit down and work on a small project with out worrying about the sugar residue on the table surface or someone else accidentally knocking over their mocha latte on a project. And a list of events and potentially other classes being offered in the area, organized by activity. Because if they're really that interested, and can't take it at my studio, they're probably going to go elsewhere anyway. 

Maybe you, reader, are the one to put this plan into action. Places like this are springing up across Europe.  Here's a report from decor8 about such a place in London, England, called the Make Lounge. I, I have a graduate degree to complete, and I have one and a half years to do it, so I'ma be a little busy. But if you need a crafty employee...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I never would have thought of making this except that I actually made it to my parent's house this weekend, and they had some gourds kicking around. Now that I've made a small one, I'd love to make a larger one. I used wooden beads and cotton string such you would knit with. Eh. Next time I'll go for nylon cording and try to find some different beads, maybe even some cowrie? The instructions I found on YouTube from StanfordTaiko that pretty concisely explained how to make one of these instruments from scratch.

Anyway, here's what I'm handing in for class tonight