Sunday, January 31, 2010

chickening part 1: what I got

If you're not into the chickens, you should skip this post.

I was waiting for a sunny and non-muddy day to sort birds. Today was sunny, but still muddy, but I decided to go ahead and start the "what to do with the chickens" process. See, I can't really figure out what to do til I know what I got, right?

FYI, C= male over a year, K= male under a year, H= female over a year, P= female under a year

Here's what I found:

4 large hens in egg layer flock (all will stay)

10 "pet quality" Rosecombs to either take to auction or sell as pets, mostly young, various faults make them non-breeder birds (all will go)

Of the following listings, at least a dozen will be kept, the rest sold. All are cream of the crop birds, my breeding pens, the best stuff I have.

4C (two are 100% my line, 2 are 50% my line)
3K (all 75% my line)
5H (2 are 100% my line, 3 are 50%)
6P (all 75%)

3C (two are sentimental old "keepers" that have faults that should not be bred from)
(I hatched no pure BBReds last year, only BBRed X Black, see next list)

(this was done to improve type, all are "Black Red" in color and need to be bred back to BBRed, or to each other)

2H (1 is "keeper" due to being extremely old)


BLUE (not purebred, he is from Blue Brassy Back X Black):

BLUE SPLASH (may throw brassy genes?):

1H (high % Old English)


So.... now I need to figure out how they would best be paired/penned for breeding (can do this on paper) and then figure out what I want to keep, and what to sell.

Here's everyone getting sorted (no they don't normally live in little cages!)

Oh yeah, and I went down to what used to be my "home" poultry show yesterday for a couple hours to drop off some birds. It was weird. I enjoyed visiting with a few good friends (who I seem to be able to count on one hand these days) but over all really didn't feel comfortable. I was amazed how many unfamiliar faces are there! Wow. Thank goodness for a few friends, and a good dinner and conversation after leaving the fairgrounds. :-) To REJ, I'm sorry I forgot the cream puff!!! You were sweet to save it for me, unfortunately I didn't remember it til I was halfway home. :-(

Friday, January 29, 2010

Upcoming Art Show!

Come visit me at the opening reception of "Among Animals." I am the featured artist in the month of February at the "First Friday Art Hop" in Lodi, CA. The reception is held in the Thomas Theatre Gallery at Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins Street, Lodi, CA. February 5th, 6pm til 8:30pm. Hors d oeuvres, wine, and desserts provided!

My show will feature 30something art pieces: drawings, paintings, and hand-pulled prints. I will also have a few scrimshaw pieces for viewing on the night of the reception.

Stop by and say howdy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Tee hee!

I'm not even going to caption these, they speak for themselves. :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reno recap, and a mind full of stuff

I'm never sure how to begin trying to recap the adventures of a weekend in Reno at an engraving show, but words that come to mind are: amazing, inspiring, friendship, competition, determination, and intimidation. There is some of each of those things.

Every year I stay longer, for one reason or another. This year I was there for four days. I thought it might be overkill, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It made the trip feel relaxing, like I didn't have to rush around to see everything but could take my time perusing the items on display and chat with people in a more leisurely fashion. And of course it helps that I had a very sweet roommate, big shout out here to Emily from Tennessee who said she would read this... so I won't say anything embarrassing about her other than I got a kick of her accent (or "ack-see-uh-int" as she says). Emily, "we are here." ;-)

I took the bus again this year, not the greyhound but the casino bus that picks up in Elk Grove. Love it! Can't beat a $32 round trip ticket, plus it's warm and comfy and I can take a nap and let the driver mess around with tire chains! Plus I had some company on the bus, as fellow engraver Rod C caught it in Auburn to avoid having to drive Donner Pass.

Pretty pic from the ride to Reno:

Baby it's cold outside! There was snow on the ground the whole time:

You can't tell from this pic, but it was snowing when I took it. Emily and I were walking back from In N Out burger. They don't have those back east, so I had to introduce her to it. As a person who doesn't live in snow and has nearly no snow experience, I'm completely enthralled with it and had to resist the urge to run and jump and roll around in it. I know that in much of the country they get rather tired of it though...

So what did I do for four days? Well, three of those were the show itself, so I talked to a LOT of people, enjoyed catching up with old friends, enjoyed meeting new ones, and spent a lot of time ogling the amazing guns, knives, jewelry, and other items on display. I wish I could take some of those things home to study (note to self, forgetting to buy castings was really stupid). The fourth day was seminars and show-and-tell, and that's one of my favorite things, educational and enlightening!

If I could, I would exhibit there in a heartbeat, but unfortunately under the rules of the organization I cannot do that. Best not get me started on that subject. I had a great time anyway. ;-)

Mirrors mirrors everywhere! It actually got a little confusing with all these mirrors...

I finally got to meet Mike D! We've done a couple of collaborations on Colts in the last year but had never met, so this was a real treat and honor:

Carl B, me, and Roger B. These are two of the nicest and most helpful guys ever. They rock my little world:

On Saturday I had the surprise opportunity to go see the Safari Club Internation show over at the convention center. Oh. My. Gosh. I have wanted to see this show soooo much so it's pretty awesome that I had the chance to go there, even though it was a scant three hour tour and I didn't manage to see everything. I tried, but it is sooooo big. There are guns, knives, fine art, amazing taxidermy (how are there any animals left in Africa? I think they were all stuffed in Reno!) and of course LOTS of people selling safari trips all over the world. It was seriously amazing, the kind of place I could have explored for days and still not seen everything. The art was pretty impressive. And the prices blew me away. Man I'd love to show in a place like that! Thank you Scott for the chance to check it out. :-)

This is the sort of thing you see at SCI:

Okay yeah I'd like a few of those...:

I actually went to the banquet this year. That was definitely the most expensive dinner I've ever had, but it was really good, I haven't had steak for ages. I didn't stay for the auction afterwards though, because evenings at the show are all about the jam session. I'm musically inept, but I sure enjoy hanging out with the crowd and admiring the musical talents of others.

One of the important parts of this show for me is getting to talk to people who are experienced engravers, who have been doing this since before I was born, and asking them for advice. Sometimes it's hard to hear it, not because it's bad in some way, but because it's hard for me to believe in my own abilities. That's why it always feels so important for me to attend these sorts of things, it inspires me, and I seem to need those pep talks, even if the pep talks make me feel a little bad at first. The big question at these things is always when will I engrave metal, and my answer always seems to be that I will, but this, but that... I have a lot of excuses, some of which are better than others. My bench was not set up right. Now it is. I didn't have sharpening equipment. I kind of still don't. The old bench grinder is in bad shape and won't do the job, so I will get a new one very soon (how many women want bench grinders for their birthdays?! Lol).

I think the big hangup comes down to some sort of intimidation, like there's a million miles of distance between where my abilities are (with metal engraving) versus where they need to be, and it feels like an unreachable distance. People are so confident that it will be an easy transition for me, but I have a hard time feeling that confidence myself. I am really really bad at engraving metal right now, I have practically no tool control and get very discouraged. Now the bulino dot thing, that's a different story. I can do that. But I don't like the Italian style, where you can only see the engraving if it's angled just so, in just the right light. I don't want to do that, even though I can. I want my work to be visible, and that is something I have yet to figure out how to do, though I have things to try and new tools on the way. There just seems to be this giant mountain of tool control that I need to get over, and I have to plow through it without getting discouraged by it. This'll sound weird or snotty probably, but I'm not used to being bad at art stuff. I pick things up easily most of the time. There was one time, one thing I never could do... throw pottery. I tried and tried, it shouldn't have been that hard, I knew how to do it but it just didn't work and I'm not sure it ever would have. That is what I'm afraid of. But... I have to keep trying, otherwise I'll never find out if I can get through that mountain. :-)

I DO want to engrave metal, if I can get it to look how I want it to look, I really do. I love the scrim, and I don't want to give that up, but I definitely see the need to do the metal work. It commands a better price than scrim, and an increase in income would be a very good thing! That's unfortunate that there's such a discrepancy, but it seems to be the way of the world and the perception of scrim. Why do I pick the hard things? You know, it's like colored pencil versus oil paint. Galleries want oil paintings, some of them won't even look at colored pencil.

I digress. :-)

I have the potential. I know it, and a whole lot of people reminded me of that this weekend. Thank you to those people, I needed to hear it and I need to get to work so that I have the confidence to do the work that people want expect me to do. I'm sure I'm going to ruin a lot of practice plates before I get there.

Determination will beat intimidation.

To my friends in the engraving world, you are awesome. I wish this happened more than once a year!

Now, I know you want to see more pics than this, so check out Rod's photos here.

And Sam's photos here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

really, I am still alive

I'm running on only a handful of functioning brain cells tonight, the rest are asleep. I have been in Reno at the Firearms Engravers Guild show/convention since early Friday morning. I had a great time and will have lots to talk about but I'm sure it will take me some time to get my thoughts organized. And photographs too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

scrimshaw initials on Colt pistol grips!

I do like a good ivory pistol grip, yes indeed!

My most recent pistol grip job was putting the client's initials on the grips. Though much faster than scrimshaw that involves "drawing" animals or figures or scenery, lettering certainly does present its own challenges! I have to say these turned out great. Like the other grips, these were for a Colt .45 SAA. These have the screw hole though, just a different method of attaching them versus the other ones I've worked on. I don't know enough about them to tell you why some are one way and some are the other.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

rethinking the chicken thing

This is going to be a long post, and very rambly I'm sure. I've been kicking this around in my head for a long time. Maybe it will help me to air it out.

I have been raising and showing chickens for twenty-two and a half years. That's nearly as long as some of the "old timers." For many years, it was my life. My world revolved around it. It seems weird to say that now, but the shows were the absolute highlight of my existence. I used to raise hundreds of birds per year. I got into tinkering with color genetics in the early 90s and bred to a pretty high level several colors in Rosecombs that either never existed or hadn't been seen for a long time. I sometimes feel uncomfortable when someone says it, but I know that I have made major contributions to the breed. I have awesome chicken coops, and have raised some amazing birds. And I've made friends with some of the best people in the world along the way.

My level of involvement started to change when the Exotic Newcastle Disease outbreak struck CA in the early 2000s (2003 I think?) The shows voluntarily shut down for an entire season (some never started up again) and I didn't hatch more than a handful of birds that year. I started to see that there was life outside of poultry shows. I got more involved with horses. I devoted a lot more time to art (you know, like my job and stuff). I allowed weekends to be taken up by other things. At first, I had every intention of getting back into it with full enthusiasm when the shows started again. And I tried, but something had changed. A little bit of the spark had gone away. It wasn't quite what it used to be, it seemed more subdued to me. But I carried on, hatching under 200 birds per year, showing as much as I could, doing my best to perfect my birds.

In the last couple years I've approached hatching season with a sense of duty but also one of... not dread, but resignation. Like, okay I need to do this but I kind of don't really want to. I love the chicks, they are so darn cute and adorable, and I could sit by the brooder and watch them all day. But raising them, finding the space to raise them, keeping them in condition over winter, it's hard. If chickens are the focus of life, it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy, and in the year off I had channeled that time and energy elsewhere. I never really found enough spare time to devote that much of it to the birds again.

And then things went downhill in the club I used to be heavily involved with. I saw some bad politics and some nasty personalities and a lot of disrespect. I didn't want to be part of a group that worked that way, so I resigned and I no longer show with that club. That really changed things. It soured the show experience for me. I don't think that will ever go back to how it was, I've seen the dark side and I can't forget it. It changed the dynamic of my relationship with a lot of people. There are several I really would rather not see again, but of course I will and do run into them. I was pretty public with my resignation, and I think that was the start of my feeling somewhat distanced from the main crowd. But, one door closes and another opens, and though I severed my ties with some people, I became better friends with others.

I used to show eight times a year, back when my life revolved around it. Between October and February, there were stretches when I would be gone every other weekend. Last year I think I showed twice. So far this season, once. I went to a show this weekend for the first time since last February (unless you count State Fair, but I really don't, it's not a normal show). When I pulled into that old familiar parking lot early Saturday morning, I didn't feel excited. I felt apprehensive, nervous. Who would be there, what would they say, would people be happy to see me, had anyone even noticed that I haven't been around... Well, turns out a lot of people really have missed me and really were genuinely happy to see me, and I'm getting all teary-eyed writing this because that REALLY means a lot to me. I had a good weekend, my birds did well (Best RCCL on a Black pullet, nice to know I still got it, lol!) ;-) I had a great time hanging out and chatting with the people I did hang out and chat with (you know who you are!) and yet I left there feeling sad that I barely talked to some of the people I miss the most, people I used to talk to all the time, or perhaps I should say people who used to talk to me.... I'm sure some of what I feel is all in my head, I'm pretty prone to reading way too much into things and taking people the wrong way, but I feel a distance there that I think isn't entirely imagined. I don't feel like part of the old crowd anymore (I mean the old crowd of friends, not the old crowd of people I don't want to hang out with), I feel like an outsider. Not that they wouldn't graciously accept me if made the move to put myself in with the group, but something has changed, some subtle shift I can't really put my finger on. I want things to be the same as they used to be. I stood at the door of the "chicken party" last night, hearing my old friends laughing and having a good time. I couldn't knock, I felt like I didn't belong. I don't know if I'm imagining that or not, but it's weird, and it pains me how much I miss a few people who I have known for most of my life. Sigh.

So I guess the big question is what to do, and there's a long term and a short term aspect to that. What to do the rest of the season, and what to do with the birds. I REALLY want to go up to Eureka for their 50th anniversary show. But what used to be my poultry show travel budget is now my art/engraving show budget, and I'm likely going to be making some BIG trips this year and simply find myself unwilling to spend money going to poultry shows. I can't do it all. Honestly I probably should not have shown this weekend, but it felt important for me to do it anyway. I have an idea for how to get to Eureka, I just need to ask someone for a favor, and of course it might not work. Fresno, well, that's an easy enough day trip, I can do that. I don't want to lose my connections with people I have known so long.

The friendships and social connections are just one aspect though, and perhaps the bigger question is what should I do with my birds. For the last few years I've been cutting back little by little, trying to avoid what seems to be inevitable, but I can't really put off any longer the fact that things need to change. I can't devote the time and effort to raising and showing so many birds anymore. Even with half of what I used to have, it's still too much. I can't do it. I don't do it. Don't get me wrong, they are well cared for, but I don't put the time into training or conditioning and I don't see that changing back to how it used to be. I keep going back and forth about what to do and I still don't know. I thought I had it figured out last year, I was going to sell all the Brassies and Blue Brassies, and keep the BBReds and Blacks. But I couldn't do it, so I backed out and kept them, but raised very few birds. It still feels like more than I can deal with.

I guess I kind of don't feel like I'm doing them justice. I have awesome birds, rare stuff that you won't find anywhere. But if I only show once or twice a year, and don't hatch in large numbers, I'm NOT helping the breed because I'm not promoting or selling any. I think it's time that they be in the hands of people who can show and raise a lot. And yet the thought of selling all my years of hard work, well, it's scary. There's no guarantee as to what would happen to them if they leave my hands, I don't want the bloodlines to be lost. I want fewer birds, but I'm scared to make that leap, which is why I have put it off for the last few years.

I've talked to a handful of people about this, and the immediate response is always concern that I won't show anymore, that nobody will see me again. That's not the case. The lack of showing... that has already changed over the last few years. I already only show once or twice a year. I'd like to keep doing that. I'm okay with that number, I don't think I could show eight times a year anymore. Two is okay. That has already changed, the bird population just hasn't caught up with the drop in showing.

I DO want to keep some birds. I love them. They are beautiful, I enjoy seeing them, and in smaller doses they are a lot of fun and can get quite friendly. That is what I miss. I miss them being fun. Now, they are work. I don't know them, there are few that stand out as individuals. They are the flock, and I want few enough to know them individually.

I've tossed around a lot of options, trying to decide how to handle this. These are all the options, even the ones I don't like:

1) Sell everything. I don't like this, I want to keep some (15-ish sounds good to me, I have somewhere around 60 or 70 right now).

2) Keep everything, and do one of the following:
-same as the last few years, hatch about 75, show once or twice, not have many to sell, just keep doing what I've been doing. This doesn't really help anybody though
- hatch a few hundred again, everybody wants them, I could sell a lot of babies if I raised them. (Ugh, I don't want to do this, plus it's become really hard for me to raise the babies since I have out-of-town obligations in spring and summer, and to raise chicks I really can't ever leave)

3) Sell one or two varieties. I have Black, BBRed, Brassy Back, and Blue Brassy Back. I tried to do this last year, I planned to sell the Brassies and Blue Brassies but it broke my heart because the Blue Brassies are my favorites, and I couldn't do it. The Blacks are the most competitive, they make sense to keep for showing. The BBReds are my pride and joy, how could I think about not having any of those. But to raise BBReds I still need the Blacks for occasional crossbreeding to improve type. See, it's really to the point where they all work together and I can't have one without the other.

4) Sell some of each variety, and keep a small number of each, still keep them purebred and raise a small number. This is a definite possibility, but I sort of feel like I've already reached the point where I have as few of each as I can without running into problems inbreeding them. I don't think I can cut back each individual variety much more. Plus the whole breeding pen thing is kind of a pain in the butt, I really don't have any desire to do all that this season.

Side note here, but I guess I need to talk a little more about my show goals. I don't feel competitive anymore. I'm not in it to win. Yeah, it was very very nice to get a bird on Champion Row this weekend, but I didn't expect it and wouldn't have cared at all if it didn't happen. I really don't care about winning anymore, I just want it to be fun and enjoyable and a relaxing hobby. I think that right there was probably the most important sentence in this ramble.

5) Keep my favorite birds, assorted colors, 15-ish of them. No more breeding pens, no more purebreds. This is Random Rosecombs after all. Keep them all together, or maybe in two or three groups (mindful of what colors are together and what colors they could produce, but keep them MIXED). Hatch some, maybe let them go broody and do the work themselves, who knows what I would get! That was one of the fun things early in the development of the varieties, I never knew what I would get. Could be fun. I am leaning toward this very strongly as my favorite option. Even in mixed flocks they are all the same breed (body type) and can still produce showable offspring in assorted colors. This allows me less birds, a potential for showing, and a little mystery. I would sell the rest. How exactly to sell them is also a pickle. Because of their rarity and the work I've done, I want to be sure they go to reputable homes. But, well, I'll just say it, I want to get a good chunk of money for them. If this is the final sale, they aren't going to be cheap.

So... it's not easy, and I keep waffling. But I think something needs to change, and if I'm going to sell a bunch that needs to happen soon. It's hard to let it go because it's been such a huge part of my life for such a long time. But I'm hoping that it can remain a small (but important, and fun) part of my life for a long time. After all, they call me the chicken lady. :-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'

Okay, I gotta gives props to Remington!

Right before I went off to college (1997) I got a watch. Nothing fancy. It came from *cough cough* Walmart. It was $30. Made by Remington, mostly silver, kinda western looking. It's been through a lot of batteries and I think it's on the fifth leather band by now. I love this watch, I'm very attached to it.

Today I was washing chickens in preparation for a show, and I didn't want to get water on my watch (remember this fact) so I took it off and put it in the pocket in my sweatshirt.

There's nothing like the smell of wet chickens, so upon finishing the chicken-washing, without thinking, I tossed my clothes in the wash with the dirty towels.

The washing machine did its thing. But I'd stuffed too many clothes in there and it didn't rinse well, so I put it through the rinse cycle... again. And then threw everything in the dryer.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought it seemed particularly clunky sounding, but I didn't pay much attention since there were some jeans in there, and you know how jeans are kinda clunky against the sides of the dryer.

An hour later I took the clothes out, and there, forlorn in the dryer, was my watch. I said some expletives, and then I cried. My watch, my beloved and trusty watch! I had killed my watch!

And then I looked at it. There was water inside, but... it was still running! The plate with the numerals on it was askew (12 was in the 10 position!) but the hands were moving! It wasn't dead!

Taking a watch apart is something I NEVER do, I let the jewelry shop replace the battery. But this was an emergency situation, I had to get it dried out, stat! I'm sure a needlenose pliers is not the right tool for unscrewing the back, but in a pinch, it worked (just a few more scratches on the back now!). I let it air out for a while, painstakingly moved the number plate back into position under the microscope (that thing is so handy!), put the rest of the parts back in, and closed it up. The glass looks like it's been through a hail storm, or maybe it's residue from what got inside the watch. It'll never be crystal clear again, but by golly it works!

Here's to you, Remington. Thirteen years, one wash cycle, two rinses, and an hour on tumble-dry-high later, your watch lives on.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An almost matched set of Colt .45 SAA guns

Oh my goodness, I was going to post these weeks ago! How did I forget that, hmm.

These were the "turkey grips" I was working on months ago. The guns were given for Christmas, so I'm allowed to show everything now.

This project included two consecutively serial numbered 2nd Generation Colt Single Action Army Revolvers - .45 caliber 5-1/2” barrels. The client’s objective was to create twin Colts for his daughters that reflected evocative images of personal and family history.

In the case of the father, an oil producer, the image of an oil derrick signifies a successful and rewarding career. Oil Derricks of his design and particular to his company are inlaid in 24 K raised gold on the leading gates. For the recoil shields the father choose 24K raised gold inlays of the athletic logo of The University of Kentucky, (Wildcats - circa 1970-78) his Alma mater. The daughter’s names and birthdates are engraved in script lettering on the backstraps and shovel heads.

The engraving is classic Colt style scrollwork with background removed and dot punched. All borders, factory lettering and the Rampant Colt are inlaid in 24K gold. The Colts are presented in individual custom Oak and Glass Museum cases.

Scrim Subjects: The father is an avid wild turkey hunter and a fan of the artwork of John J. Audubon. The goal was not at all to copy the work of Audubon, but to depict the toms in a similar manner; non-display pose and in their natural settings. On the other sides of the grips the images were more personalized to each daughter. One daughter plays softball in school, and this is her portrait. The other daughter loves horses and has shown and competed in horse sports. This is a portrait of “Little Red,” her beloved horse who died while she was away at college.

The Artists:

Mike Dubber, Master Engraver
Katherine Plumer, Scrim Artist
Jim Aliamo – Ivory Grips
Reliable Plating – Gold Plating
Turnbull Restoration – charcoal bluing
Les Yoder – Museum Cases
Photography – Michael Wheatley

Grip photos by me:

Professional photos by M. Wheatley:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

checking in....

I'm still here, just haven't had much to say lately. All is well, things are good. :-) I'm working on three scrim pendants (one for me, reworking an old one, and one commission), and tomorrow I will start a new pair of pistol grips.

It's been very gray and foggy lately. I haven't seen the sun for a while.

I'm obsessed with getting a cell phone again. I go through this more or less yearly but never managed to break down and do it, but it's on the list of things I absolutely must do this year. Because:

- I need to be able to post a phone # on my website so clients can call me. It's really bad to be unreachable by phone and I can't post the home # up there. This is probably the most compelling reason to need one.
- I lose serious cool-points by not having one
- it's awkward when dudes call me and get my mom on the phone (this is very infrequent, dudes don't call me much)
- it sucks not to be reachable when traveling

I do have serious iPhone envy, I'd like to be able to do all that nifty stuff too, but the phone plan needed to use one is more than I want to spend. Besides, ATT coverage is pretty spotty around here, and my older-than-dirt emergency phone on the older-than-dirt zero-minute plan it shares with Mom's phone is with Verizon, so maybe they could make me a deal.

Every time I get into researching this I pretty much just get frustrated and give up on it. And that doesn't get me anywhere!

I kinda want to wait a while longer and get a really GOOD plan and a really COOL phone. Eh. [throws hands in air and walks away]

Friday, January 08, 2010

art show postcards

Just a quickie blog for now, but if you would like to receive a printed postcard (you know, like through the postal service) for my show next month in Lodi, let me know ASAP. I need to tell them how many I need. I will post ALL the information here anyway.

Monday, January 04, 2010

out with the old?

I have a lot of my own art. Sometimes I find that some of it is no longer very representative of the work that I do. What to do? In some cases, I give it away. At other times maybe I'll sell it at a deep discount. Or I'll decide to keep it. Or I might destroy it. It's not always an easy decision, but sometimes there are things I've done years ago that I no longer want out on the market representing me.

But sometimes I can make them better. :-) I was sitting at the engraving bench tonight working on something, and I happened to take out the dragon pendant and look at the under the scope. Yikes! I scrimmed the dragon pendant a little over two years ago. It was my first color scrim, and the fourth scrim I ever did. It's a nice piece, a very cool image, but hoo boy have I come a long way since then as far as technique and tools are concerned. So suddenly there is a decision to make: keep it and don't have it available for sale, or make it better. I have mixed feelings about working back into a piece that was done years ago, I've never done that with my drawings but sometimes think about it. This feels different though, more okay somehow. I can really improve it, a lot, and feel really good about having it up for sale. I think I'll do that, I want to make it awesome.

So, what am I working on? Well, a few things:

1) something (top secret, it's a scrimshaw of something, I can't talk about it because someone commissioned it for someone, and someone and someone both read this) ;-) That's right, no WIP pics while I'm working on it
2) upcoming soon, scrimshaw lettering (initials) on a set of pistol grips
3) upcoming pending approval, a knife collaboration
4) reworking the dragon scrim
5) a pendant for me
6) there are a few other things "in the works" but far from being confirmed

For me? Yeah! I want to make myself something. I need a show piece, something I can wear to shows that's really nice but that I don't feel obligated to sell. I wracked my brain for a while trying to come up with good subject matter before I realized the choice is obvious. A subject near and dear, and orange and fuzzy. :-) It's going to be VERY difficult, and there are a few things I want to try that are kind of experimental, and that's why it's destined for me. I want to try some stuff on my own before tackling it in commissioned work.

I still need to post all the cool things I made people for Christmas...

And I need to set up the bench grinder so I can use all my nifty new sharpening stuff!

cursed by links

Arg! Ever since I've had the scrimshaw website set up, I've had a links page on it. While updating the site with new images yesterday, I realized that none of the pages actually linked to the links page, so probably nobody was even aware of it. D'oh!

So I added the link to the links page, and then (I thought) linked it to the links page, and then copy and pasted that onto ALL the other pages.

Are you confused yet?

Just right now I happened to be looking at my site after making another small update, and I realized that I didn't link the links button to the links page, I linked it to itself, the "links" jpeg. OMG. I can't believe I did that. That means I have to go through every darn page again and fix it.

I know that probably didn't make a lot of sense to a lot of people but I'm annoyed!!! And what are blogs for but to express that sort of thing.

I think I'll rummage for lunch first.


(EDIT) And then when I fixed it I managed to somehow link it to the index instead of the links page, on every page. What the????!! Did my brain fall out? Aaaarg!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

poultry shows

Oh my, 2010. I am still having trouble writing the 10, I keep making it an 09. I feel as though I ought to write some lofty post about resolutions, but I'm not going to. I have some big goals for this year, and a really good feeling about things. :-)

A few people have been asking if I'm going to be showing this year. I still need to explain what's going on with the chickens, but the short answer is yes. A little bit. I am planning to go to Hollister with a few birds. I don't think I have much in show shape.

I no longer show in Stockton but someone has requested my presence to discuss some art business, so I'll be down there that Saturday afternoon. Gulp. I can't quite begin to explain how weird that's going to feel. Friends, are any of you going to be there without banquet plans? Want to meet for dinner or something?

As for February, well... I'd love to attend the 50th anniversary show in Eureka but I don't see that as being likely. I might do another day trip to Fresno like last year, but I don't know what the bird situation will be at that time.

Big changes this year...