Trial by Fire – voices from a nonprofit

Clayworks, which i have gone to for classes, has a lovely, inspiring video called “Trial by Fire” here [Link]. I wonder if others have found similar arts organizations in their area that merge creativity with community service in quite this way. Some of the speakers are very inspiring.

If you live in the area, you might be interested in classes, or doing the Noborigama community firings if you have a wheel of your own. Their community outreach is pretty amazing, and it’s great fun to see the kid’s projects on the racks. I’m hoping that next session, I will have free time to enjoy classes again. At least I can still go to the gallery and see other people’s work while I wait for the next class cycle to open. If you’re ever in north Baltimore, MD, and you have a weekend free for a class, they do offer tastes of working with clay. I’m somewhat sad to miss the brushmaking class for clayworkers, but I think I have a previous commitment during one of the classes.

One simple scarf – grey, red, blue

greyredblueThis garter stitch scarf was made the first year we lived in the house nearer to downtown. It was knit on summer days, gazing out at the mountain in the distance while listening to the radio. I used Minerva wool, because that’s what was in my Mom’s stash, and chose simple garter stitch, so I wouldn’t forget what side I was on and purl when I should knit.

I chose grey and blue, because the scarf was for my father, who had blue-grey eyes, and then red, so it wouldn’t be too boring. The moths have gotten to it a bit, and the Minerva yarn isn’t all that soft (he didn’t end up wearing the scarf because it was too scratchy).

It’s a memory of hot summer nights, when I first started the project, then the desperate figuring near November, if the scarf would be long enough by Christmas before I ran out of stash. Of time that ticked away while I was content, alone with my thoughts — back before I was worried about Latin class and physics. For me, it’s a bit more than a simple garter stitch scarf, but it’s time for it to belong to someone else. How about you — any early projects that have grown in importance over the years?

Spring peepers – the Chorus Frog

During a meeting late this afternoon, I could hear spring peepers in the background. The chorus started as a coworker droned on into the dinner hour over his slide presentation that may have been of interest to me*, but I just got distracted.

I began mentally estimating how many spring peepers can support themselves in the drainoff “pond” in the mist of the section of the office property with trees on it. And also, what does it sound like when everyone in the office park leave and the spring peeper chorus really gets started? Their song is a true sign of spring. The crocuses are also finally blooming in the front yard, so I hope that soon it will be time for afternoon walks again.

[Link to the sound here.][Link to the Department of Natural Resources article about the Northern spring peeper here.]

*Or it may not have. I’ll leave it a mystery.

The power of more voices

Our chorus has had a sudden addition of altos, sopranos, tenors, and at least one extra bass. And so, even though we’re struggling with learning the Spring concert music… there is more sound.

But there are also more interpretations of what a dotted eighth rest is when a piece is marked in 6/8 time. Eventually it will all lock into place, but for now there’s a bit of untamed sounds hooting in places that should be silent as we learn the new stuff (including a version of Shenandoah that is lovely, but with very challenging discordant bits [Link to Mormon Tabernacle Choir of one arrangement, and to another by University of Richmond from 1971]). I’ve put both links up to the different versions of the song, because they’re both lovely.

Knitting: Teenie preemie baby beanie

tpbbUsing the last of the Flusi das Socken Monster yarn, I created a little baby beanie. Rav Link here. This was a satisfying and short project, with yarn-overs to give a lacy pattern. The picture closest to color is here, but I think I’ll have to wait until a sunny day and a better camera to take this picture with the help of Mrs. Bannister.

The pattern is out of my own imagination, with the yarn-overs chosen in clusters of 3 (one yarn over on a row being joined by 2 yarn overs above it, to make a sort of trefoil).

Reading: Martins from Mary Priestley’s Book of Birds

… walked round the place, and up and down the towpath, along which spread a faint mist from the river, and still saw nothing of my birds. Then from the barn came a single swallow, and flew steeply up into the sky. I followed its flight with my eyes, and suddenly saw why I had failed to find the martins. They were all up there in the blue, circling round in company with some barn-swallows and chimney-swifts, from which I could just distinguish them at the height they were flying. The sun had not yet risen where I stood on the solid earth; but he already reached the birds high above my head. And as the earth spun and the sun’s rays approached its surface, the birds sank with them, twittering all the time….” — Reprinted in Book of Birds  — extract from Bird-Watching and Bird Behavior by Julian Huxley.

This reminds me of the summer cottage in Lake Webster. We used to watch the purple martins swirl around their martin house, out near the dock, coming back in the evenings. As we get ready for some more winter weather, it’s lovely to think of summers of the past.

The hellebores of Cylburn Arboretum are blooming

Lovely things…

Hellebores in the small garden, underneath evergreens

Hellebores in the small garden, underneath evergreens

Yes, the day was a little bit chilly and windy. But we got out of the house, got to sniff the blooming witch hazel, and searched for crocuses and snowdrops in the grass. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, I hope winter is easing a bit for you, and you get to see some of the excitement of spring soon.


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