Thursday, November 5, 2009
As I type, a pot of pumpkin is brewing on the stove. Usually, I pop them in the oven for an hour or so, then remove the guts and peel. I can then cut up the soft flesh and turn it into a puree with my Vitamix. Unfortunately, the consistency is way different from the canned pumpkin I buy at the store, so my pie takes longer to cook and is not very firm. I asked Mike to help me carve one up last night (it takes some strength!) and we cut it into pieces to get it ready to boil. I am hoping that I can puree the boiled flesh and get a thicker consistency that will work better with my recipes.
This weekend, friends will be coming over for a "Pumpkin Celebration" where we will all share pumpkin-oriented dishes and recipes. I'm hoping this will help stave off pumpkin overload, which is already setting in.
While we are having a remarkably mild Fall so far, it is always colder in my studio than it is outside, and I'm finding it more and more difficult to get an early start each day. My toes and fingers get chilled out there, and cold fingers are clumsy. My work suffers. I have a propane heater out there, but it smells awful and gives me a headache, so I try to work in the cold unless temps are really low.
I'm about halfway done with the project I'm working on for an Olympia Pediatric clinic. My friend Heather Taylor-Zimmerman is painting extensive, amazing murals on the ceilings and walls of the clinic, depicting jungles and oceans. Feltmaker Janice Arnold is making vines, animals and clouds that will be integrated into the space. I am creating glass-on-glass mosaic panes for the entryway and vines that will decorate pillars on the exterior. The idea is to make it a fun place for patients to go and to offset the anxiety kids feel when going to the doctor. It is going to be fantastic. One thing that amazes me is to visit the clinic and see how much Heather has accomplished with paint compared to my own progress in the studio. Mosaic is just incredibly painstaking.
In the meantime, I have holiday bazaars scheduled in Olympia in early December, so I'm working in the evenings to make inventory for those. Lately, it has been harder than ever to keep up my stamina. I've been exhausted, and all I want to do is relax and read or take a bath. But, I feel that I must keep making things every spare minute because we are counting on that income. Last night, I was cutting out stockings while making dinner, and we couldn't eat at the table because it is covered with fabric pieces.
Also, I am trying to get my books in order and apply for public art projects and keep marketing myself so that I have another commission after this one is finished. It usually takes most of a workday just to submit for a call for art, and I have only had success one time (in 2007 for a $600 stipend.) I know that I need to hire a photographer and spend a day going around to all of my former job sites to photograph the work in context and with that professional touch. When I finally do this, I might have a real shot at a modest public art project, but it is expensive.
I have found this to be the busiest time of year for me. I seem to get commissions in the Fall, at the same time that I need to build a stash of holiday stuff to sell. I should be posting items on Etsy, but that is yet more time photographing, formatting, and typing descriptions. I need an assistant!
I think my pumpkin is burning...