I take a deep breath and relax into the beginning of this post. It has been quite a time so far at Casa de Verano Griffith. In the spirit of Glass Incarnate, I'll start with the glass news first. But, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say that glass business takes a back seat to loads of other things in the Montana summer.
A couple of weeks ago the J and I drove up past Kalispell to Whitefish and hand-delivered a big order to a new gallery (new for me) called the Purple Pomegranate. It is a lovely little shop on the main street in Whitefish--a quintessential summer and winter (lake and big ski area) resort town. I am looking forward to continuing my relationship with them--they're my first Montana gallery!
Spent the first weekend after arriving in Missoula where I took a class in hand spinning from Janet Sullivan who owns Joseph's Coat Yarns and Fiber. It was a GREAT class as it was really a private lesson for the day, and I was able (finally) to get the feel for drafting (preparing the fiber to slip through your fingers and be twisted into yarn by the turning of the wheel).
I ended the class by renting a wheel for the summer for her and hope to purchase one before going home. Gave Janet a ride home after class and we dropped a spinning wheel off at a friend of hers who is a rug weaver. She showed me her rug loom which she might be selling in the near future. Even I with my lust for new tools can't wrap my head around where to put this loom and how to use it. It's 16 feet long and you weave by walking back and forth across the front. You need a 32 foot side to side clearance for it just so you can get the hardware all in!
In addition to the spinning class, we loaded up on supplies not easily found in Polson including two new shower-heads for both bathrooms; semi-permanent hair dye in cobalt, fuchsia, magenta, orange, lemon, and teal (the pic at the right shows the first pass with magenta, fuchsia, teal and cobalt); fabric and thread for summer sewing projects for the J along with a sewing table and cutting mat; summer books for the J; a hand-sander for a couple of wood-working projects I have; a rented cello from Morgenroth Music for J--and while we were there we picked up a used Yamaha keyboard in pristine condition for a song.
The projects for the sander include a bit of grading-stamp removal prior to sanding my share of the new deck boards for the house and removing the varnish off the flat surfaces of a vanity I bought at a garage sale around the corner here in Polson right after we got here. It's a gorgeous little waterfall style laminated wood vanity with the original Art Nouveau brass handles from the 20's and it was only $10. I messed up a little on the sanding and went too deep into the laminate, but I got some retouching pencils and I will draw the grain back in before I finish it. Though we are having a contractor tear out the old deck and put in the new one, I am doing part of the staining to save a little cash and get the project done faster.
To make sure I had enough going for the summer I picked up some origami paper in Missoula and have been busily making paper cranes when my hands aren't doing anything else. I am going to turn them into a hanging sculpture--or maybe a light fixture. I also brought up the cotton crochet afghan I have been working on for Jessie's room for a couple of months. It's a great project for in the evenings while we all sit around and listen to an audio book (currently Mom J and I are working through Jim Butcher's Furies of Calderon series and are in "Captain's Fury".
Dave--who is here with us for the next couple of weeks before heading back to Austin--got me a jeweler's bench for Montana and I spent a day putting it together. It's SWEET and I am going to be able to get to it to use it as soon as I have finished staining deck boards and refinishing the vanity (which will be a desk for the J). Between the staining set-up, the furniture that normally goes on the deck but which is stored in the garage while the deck is being rebuilt, the vanity, the 13 alpaca fleeces I picked up from RuthAnn at her Racka Paca Alpaca ranch in Kila, and the glass/jewelry studio set-up, the garage is pretty full.
Though alpaca is my new favorite fiber as it is so silky, soft, warm, naturally beautifully colored, and clean (alpaca don't have the lanolin in their fleece that sheep do so the fleece doesn't hold the dirt in the same way), I have been preparing George Edmund's and Irma Amelia's fleeces for spinning too. I washed them, and now I'm picking and teasing them so I can card them. I haven't decided whether to try to blend silk, merino or alpaca with them to create a nicer yarn, or just to make up sock yarn with them. It will definitely be fun to experiment with dyeing and blending their fleece (during carding) before spinning it. And speaking of carding; looking at all of it that I need to do, how long it takes to hand card, and how hard it is on my wrists, I am thinking I may need to invest in a drum carder.
But back to alpaca for a minute: they are adorable, gentle, not too big, and make great pet/fiber animals. Best of all, they are not denied by City of Atlanta code. So what is stopping me from getting a couple? (You can't just get one--they need company.) While it would be fun to say something like "marriage is a compromise" or "my spouse", the reality is that I don't need to do anything to tie us down more geographically than I already have: it is difficult enough to summer in Montana with the chickens and bunnies back in Atlanta. I can't even imagine what 2-3 alpaca would add!
I end this very long post with a thank-you to the universe for a truly lovely July 4th. I got to see good friends from grade-school on with their families, Dave performed his annual marriage proposal ritual (I said yes again), and we got to set off a whole boatload of fireworks--and we still had the baby display here in Little Baghdad on the Flathead.
Happy Summer, everyone. Peace, Love and Joy.