Thursday, September 30, 2010

Videos from the weaving cooperative

Some vids to make you feel like you're at the weaving cooperative.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Block-print carving

In the government weavers' and dyers' center, the master block-print carver sits at a small table and practices his craft.

The dusty, decorated doorway to the block-print storage room.


Back home in Boulder, and sick: persistent Delhi belly and the same bad cough I get every time I go there (a cough which develops within an hour of arriving in India); an Ayurvedic doctor I consulted said it's an allergic reaction to the vehicle-exhaust pollution and construction dust that fills all the big Indian cities. I can't believe how bad the air is, and it grows worse day by day as construction increases and vehicles on the already jammed roads increase at a daily rate. The air quality in Hyderabad is approximately twice as bad as what are considered acceptable maximum limits.

We scrambled like crazy, didn't get enough sleep, got a lot accomplished...and now it is time for me to try to recuperate. Seeing the Rumi monster blissfully napping helps immensely.

More art on my website:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More pics from the small Indian weaving center

Okay, I know "y'all" wanted to see some more photos from the weaving center. (Note the bicycle-wheel spooling equipment!)

I saw this guy on a break, smoking, and went to take a photo of him. But when I got there, he had already stopped. Then his buddy there in the white T-shirt noticed what I wanted, and told the guy to start smoking again for me to take a photo. He started smoking so fast that right after I took the pic, he started choking and that made him and his buddy crack up. Funny guys.

More art on my website:

Friday, September 17, 2010

At a small Indian weaving center

A very long car ride through a maze of traffic, noise, pollution, and rough outskirts of the city of Hyderabad, India, will (if your taxi driver can find it) bring you to a handloom weaving center run by a proud man with only a first-grade education, who impressively invents and maintains all his own equipment from scrap parts and whatever else his astonishing ingenuity can come up with. (Those are his hands in the top photo.)

Leaving tomorrow for Patna to visit relatives of The Husband, and then Bhagalpur to visit a rural natural-dyeing center. Wish me luck to continue to survive the traffic.

Thank you all so much for your comments and support on my last post!

More art on my website:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Untitled 27...and a difficult topic

10" x 20." Oil and cold wax.

The fire seems to be getting under control, and we've been very lucky. Last night it got really windy--that's normal for Boulder, but since the wind here only comes from the west, it was very worrisome and our neighborhood was given a "pre-evacuation" warning, that we should be prepared to evacuate at any moment. Somehow the firefighters kept it all under control and I think it's safe to say we're out of danger now.


I may regret doing this, I know, since things live forever in cyberspace and there's still so much discrimination out there, both overt and not, both in terms of personal relationships and professional opportunities, but I've decided to "out" myself here, in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day. I have Bipolar Type 2 Disorder. My mother had Bipolar Type 1 and was not much present or functional during my life. I have had my own experiences with suicidal ideation and attempts. I'm currently on medication and have been since my diagnosis 15 years ago, but the medications are far from perfect, and side effects are what keep most people from staying on them or perhaps taking as much as they may need.

It's a whole other topic--and one that has me perpetually enraged--but due to the health insurance situation in this country, I had to declare bankruptcy due to health care costs, and then lost my job due to the illness (under a very common kind of contract, where it says you can be "let go" for any reason; if you don't sign these contracts, you don't get the job). Were it not for meeting The Husband at just that time, well...let's not go there.
I have heard that in Europe, things (jobs, health insurance, being able to afford to live) are not as difficult for people diagnosed with these conditions (I'm sure they're still difficult, but here it's absurd). It's ironic that my father left Germany to come to the United States, and now I'm wishing I had been born in Europe (or Canada) because of the insane health-care situation in the U.S.

I know many people who are taking antidepressants and have been diagnosed with mood disorders, whether bipolar or unipolar depression, or conditions such as ADD or OCD, and I bet by now everyone knows someone who is affected by these disorders. I've thought for a long time about whether to actually "out" myself or not, and am just so disgusted by a society in which one has to keep everything hidden and pretend to be just fine all the time, in order to hold onto jobs which allow one to (partially) afford meds in order to be able to keep the job in order to be able to (partially) afford's a vicious cycle and one which is most often suffered in silence.

There's an interesting CNN article today about someone else who decided to speak out. I would also like to write a memoir someday about the experience.


It's been a while since we've visited the beautiful, shy, stripey Lynx creature.

More art on my website:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Trip delayed, life drawing, and fire

Well. Trip has been postponed 'till the 12th or 13th. So I got one more life drawing session in tonight. Posted in reverse order tonight, just for kicks: top one was 1 hour, the one below was 20 minutes, and then the warm-up sketches. (Posted in reverse, but drawn in the normal order.) 18" x 24" paper.

It's been a harsh couple of days, as there's a big fire (7000+ acres) raging just a ten minute drive from here. They're calling it the Fourmile Fire, because it started in Fourmile Canyon. I assumed it was a wildfire--it hasn't rained for a few weeks--but supposedly a vehicle hit a propane tank.

I'm grateful we haven't had to evacuate or lose anything. When I was 16, our house burned down and it was the kind of traumatic event that never leaves you. I've had a real fire phobia since then. (Not such a terrible phobia to have, I suppose. I do have other phobias that are less useful.) The air here is terrible, full of smoke and it's "snowing" ash. Just breathing feels really uncomfortable. Not sure why my lungs are taking this harder than, say, The Husband's. I'm coughing a lot. Maybe it's because my breathing apparatus has already been partly taken down by allergies. The combination is pretty nasty.

One thing that feels odd is that a few years ago, The Husband and I almost bought a house right where the fire is now. Apparently, so far, over 90 known structures (houses and other buildings) have been destroyed. I can't help but wonder if that particular house is suddenly gone. Amazingly, no one has been injured during all this, so far as I've heard.

And now for some comic relief...
The Husband decided to try to fix the leaky pipes under the kitchen sink. It wasn't funny to me (though it's okay with me if you laugh) that we couldn't use the sink for two days and there were parts strewn everywhere and it was extremely obnoxious of The Husband not to listen to me and call an actual plumber, even when it became apparent that we really needed one and he instead made four separate trips to the hardware store...

But the gem in all this chaos was that The Husband found an Assistant Plumber, albeit a little guy, wearing his spotless white coveralls.

And a video of the plumbing action, below (remember that Rumi is deaf, so his hearing is not being hurt even though it looks bad):

More art on my website:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Life drawing

The last life drawing session for a while...
Leaving Tuesday for India.
Above, the quick warm-ups.

Below, two sessions of about 20 or 25 minutes each.

And below, probably my favorite drawing since art school. 40 or 45 minutes.
These are all pretty big (18" x 24")--I finally got myself a large drawing board and a big pad of charcoal paper. So this one really has some presence.



More art on my website:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Untitled 26 (oil)

12" x 12". Oil and cold wax.

Can I just say that my allergies are killing me? (Hayfever, aka ragweed-pollen allergy.) With all the extra rain and humidity this year, the plants are mutants. Even on allergy meds, it's worse than it's ever been.

I will be leaving on Tuesday for India, strictly a business trip this time, but hopefully amidst all the chaos I'll be able to get some more photos for "y'all." Really, in India, all you have to do is take the cap off your camera lens, turn it to "on," and start shooting. Hard not to get interesting photos.

Trying to figure out why this is so cute...maybe because he looks like a furry fetus?

More art on my website: