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I have everything cast for World Fantasy Con. Lots of polishing and other design work left to do before I leave. Always a bit intimidating and I always get everything done. So expect that will be true this time.

I've been writing off and on about a Saguaro cactus design that I've been working on for a long time. It involved carving a bas relief three dimensional enough to give a sense of the cactus enormous size. It was very challenging and time consuming to work out. I think the pendant really expresses the sense of space I wanted. The stones are emeralds and antique Hungarian garnets. (The emeralds show up well in the photo. The garnets are far more red and brilliant then they look here.)

Actual size is about 3.75" wide. From the collection of Wendy Czarnecki.

Lots more work to do tonight.
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This is cross posted from Body Impolitic.

It's amazing that Debbie's and my book, Women En Large: Images of Fat Nudes, is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this month. The work continues to be displayed internationally and the book continues to sell.

And unfortunately it is as relevant now as it was then.

Tracy Blackstone and Debbie Notkin

To look in the mirror and see yourself, all of yourself, and to be pleased and satisfied. Should it be an impossible dream? Or is it something we all, each and every one of deserve?
‑‑ Debbie Notkin

Chupoo Alafonte

When I think of what it means to be a fat black woman, I think of my ancestors, women at the lowest rung of society, who were forced to serve, nurture, and give birth to a nation that hates and fears people who look like me.
-- Chupoo Alafonté

Queen T'hisha and Robyn Brooks

I decided that I was never again going to allow someone to victimize me because of my size. Furthermore, I decided to enjoy myself the way I was. I have a voluptuous body and a very sensual nature. I'm creative, intelligent, charming, and lush. What's not to like?
‑‑ April Miller


Rhylorien n'a Rose

I am not what others think of me. I am what I think of me. My body may be fat and physically challenged, but I am strong and beautiful ... Right now.
-- Rhylorien n'a Rose


Edna Rivera

I didn't grow up with the belief that fat women were to be despised. The women in my family were fat, smart, sexy, employed, wanted, married, and the rulers of their households.
‑‑ Queen T'hisha


Debbie Notkin, April Miller, Carol S, Queen T'hisha, and Robyn Brooks

After a lifetime of hiding, you can imagine how hard it is to come out and say, “Hey! Look at me,” in a way where no one can fail to really see me.
‑‑ Cynthia McQuillin
laurieopal: opal (Default)

I've finished the fire agate and emerald design with seaweed and star fish and it should be cast within a week. I have a group of bronze pendants ready to polish. I can't wait to put up a photo of the bird with opal chips but it will have to wait til the woman who commissioned it sees it and that won't be for a week or so. A lot of work that I've been working on for a long time is getting close to finished and it feels great.

I have a new bronze chain that looks very coppery. I really like it and it has interesting design possibilities. You can see it on the pendant below. The stone has copper ore as part of it. The setting is dark sterling silver. It's about 2.5". From the collection of Tracy Schmidt.

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This is a cat on a branch with a yellow cats eye opal (yellower in life) that I made a number of years ago. I photographed it when I was on the east coast this spring. I like being able to take photographs of work that wasn't previously recorded.

It's a cat with a lot of attitude.

I've been polishing all week and am finished for the moment. Set stones for rings for World Fantasy with stones I found on my eclipse trip. Have a new group of pendants (not yet set) for World Fantasy as well.

The Saguearo cactus pendant is finally polished - still needs to be set with the 6 small emerald and the two antique Hungarian garnets. It's a dimensional bas relief that took a lot of thinking and I hope it photographs well.

And I have a knapped obsidian that is going to make a glorious pendant.

I've been feeling really inspired lately.
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I've been working very intensely in wax and have been both starting new work and finishing older designs. I'm casting a group of designs this week. I just put down a new design with a hyalite opal that will have a dark bronze setting with some translucent highlights after it's in metal.

And I finished one of the waxes for an exquisite knapped pieces of obsidian that I got on my trip. It's going to be a pendant with twisted textured silver ropes.

And the Saguaro Cactus pendant will be cast this week I hope.

Below is a cat pendant with obsidian that I made for Bayla Fine a long time ago. I photographed it when I visited her in June. It's in sterling and about 2.5" wide.

And I may have put this Irish setter pendant with Laramar up before. But it seemed right to put them up together. It's in sterling about 3" high. From the collection of Wendy Czarnecki.

It's been along day. If there are typos...oh well
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Travel Scenes from Oregon on the Way Back From the Eclipse

Laurie says:

I was obsessed with my eclipse shadow photos and those will be done in a few weeks. These are photos that I like that I took on the way back while trying to avoid the smoke

This was taken in the stunning Malheur River Canyon.

And this textured image was taken in the Trinity Alps in California.

This image was taken in the eastern Oregon desert.

I didn't think i would be able to capture the levels of smoke in the atmosphere. I took a lot of photos when we were stopped for road work. (Except for art I would not have willingly breathed that air.) I didn't have much choice about where I shot. I took a long time to sort through all of them. This one really works.
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The opal bird is completely finished in wax and ready to be cast.  There will definitely be a photograph.

I've also finished 2 new rings from stones I bought on the trip. A small lovely ruby in zoasite that is more ruby then zoasite. and a large softly white striped lavender chalcedony.

I've been working on a beautiful patterned and clear Montana agate. I'm carving patterns and shapes in the desgin that both complement the stone and set it off in a striking way.

It is feeling really good to be working so well!

The photo is a blue opal necklace in sterling silver. The center design is about 1.5"

I photographed it on my trip to the East Coast. I made it (probably) 10 years ago. From the collection of Bayla Fine

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I'm back from the eclipse and it was amazing. At the totality I was able to see "diamond" shaped flares between the mountains on the moon and the sun. Totally serendipitous choice of location in far east Oregon.

Very intensely took some photos of the shadows at different stages of the eclipse.  I'm excited about them. It will be a while but I'll post them when I'm ready.

Also found some very off the road lapidaries, who were really good and had unusual  and interesting stones. I'll put up photos of some of them later in the week. I'm still catching up. I came home late Friday night and went to the Unite Against Hate Rally in San Francisco on Saturday.( I'm posting the photos on Body Impolitic later tonight.)

Expect to be mostly working in wax tomorrow. Looking forward to quiet working time.
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I've been working on the saguro cactus design - lots of detail on the cactus itself.  I've figured out the perspective. The cactus is huge and I have mountains in the distance.

I'm going to see the eclipse and then hopefully to collect some obsidian and some lava pieces. Maybe some photos. (I am very lucky in my cat sitter. George adores her.)

The pendant below is one I made along time ago and photographed when I was on the east coast. It's sterling silver with beautiful opals about 2.25 inches high. The matching opals were collected over several years. From the collection of Bayla Fine.

I'll be writing more when I get back.
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The wax of the bird with opals is finished. That feels great. I'm going to photograph the wax and then the finished design and put them both up together.

I'm working on several designs right now, including a complex pendant landscape of Saguro cactus against a mountainous background. It's going to be set with lovely emeralds that I got on my last trip to New York.

And I have a group of new designs polished and ready for setting.

This a a Cheshire Cat pendant from "Alice in Wonderland" that I made along time ago for Bayla Fine. I shot it when I was in New England in June.

It's sterling silver and black opal.
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Stone is exceptionally beautiful fossilized coral. The design is a prehistoric snake with feet. It seemed appropriate for the stone. And the pendant, as you can see is reversible. It's in sterlins. Actual size about1.5". From the collection of Marsha Jones

I photographed this pendant just before a trip. Photo is only OK but I think it gives a sense of the work. I'm working on my challenging shore bird with opals tonight. Actually as soon as I post this. Good night.
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I've working on an amazing fordite, large and interestingly shaped, that is progressing beautifully. And on several other pieces including a grackle style bird with an opal beak.

My cat George is very persistently trying to keep me from posting, bur he now seems to have given up. I was just out having dinner with my daughter Shayin and he is probably feeling neglected. 3ê (his mark)

The pendant below has two stones that were cut by Lloyd Eshbach many years ago.

The stones are an exquisite quality carnelian and a beautiful plume agate.  The design is in sterling and the size is about 4". I took this photo in a hurry before I left for the East Coast.  Since I was fitting it after I got there it lacks a chain. It's from the collection of Bayla Fine

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I've been putting the next to final work in carving  two designs. One is beautiful gem quality chrisophrase that I got years ago from Lloyd Eshbach. Its also set with a lovely small emerald that I got on my last trip to New York. The color of the emerald is perfect for the chrisophrase.
The other is a stunning stick agate. The material it was cut from comes from Turkey. They are very different designs - conceived to both reflect and contrast with the stones.

And I have other pieces in various state of development.  As I've said before, sometimes I like to take a lot of working time and reflection when I'm designing.

And George, my cat, is being very good about only contemplating my work while staying an appropriate distance away.
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I've been back working for about a week after a wonderful but exhausting trip to New York City.

Just got some new and beautiful stones - I'm clearly helpless before stones. I'll put up some photos of them soon.

This photo is of earrings that I've made for Cynthia Gonsalves (and Emma Humphries).

The stones are garnets and particularly lovely peridots. They are sterling and about 1.5" The scalloped shapes at the top are large post clip backs.  I only get to do earring commissions occasionally and these were both a  lot of fine carving work and a joy.

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I'm back from Wiscon and more or less in the world. The Memory Landscapes panel ("Art, Writing and Resistance") was not only fascinating it was inspiring for my work.

And now I'm getting ready for a trip to New York. Life is a little too intense. I'm lucky my cat adores my car sitter.

Nancy Cobb commissioned the pendant below. She saw the shattuckite in my stone collection and it looked like Van Gogh's "Starry Night" to her. I agreed and made the design below reflecting my feeling about the concept as jewelry. I've never had interpreting a painting come up as an idea before and it was really exciting. I grew up in the MOMA in NYC and probably first saw the painting when I was 5. It's part of my essential visual bones.


Stones are shattuckite and yellow sapphires. Sapphires are more vivid in life then in the photograph. Size is about 3.5 inches.
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I’m almost ready. Most things are packed and tonight and tomorrow I’ll be finishing up.

I finished my guest of honor pendant for this Wiscon. It’s a steam punk prosthetic hand from Nisi Shawl's remarkable novel "Everfair". It's in dark bronze and unfortunately doesn't photograph well, but people can see it there. I'm really happy with it. I did an experiment with gears that worked!

I've made one each year since I first decided to do it. Pendants so far are from the work of Ursula LeGuin, Lois Bujold, Vonda MacIntyre and now Nisi Shawl.

The necklace below is from the collection of Tracy Schmidt. it's sterling silver and diamonds with silver fresh water pearls. The stones came from a number of traditional pieces she inherited, all of them quite small jewelry with stones of varied sizes.

The necklace was challenging because each piece was designed both to stand along and to work with the other necklace components in a way the complimented all of them. It was complicated and I loved making it.

Photo is by Mano Marks.

I'm looking forward to Wiscon and seeing so many people i like!
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I just finished this necklace for Wiscon. The coral beads are white with pink flecks. They're carved roses and are vintage from the 60's. Pearls are fresh water. the "patchwork" chain has both new and vintage sections.


Pendant in close up.

I set the last group of stones for Wiscon in the new work today. Still have some more metal work to do but it's going well.

My cat has been complaining that he isn't getting the attention he so clearly deserves because I'm working too much,

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I'm working really hard getting ready for Wiscon and looking forward to it. I've been working on my new guest of honor pendant. It's being a little complicated so I'm not ready to write about it yet. I'm polishing this evening. And i just set some ring stones.

This is a magnetite and bronze necklace that I made for Beth Zipser. (She took the photo.)

The pendant is about 2". I really liked designing  this reflective bronze with this stone.

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I met Tory Ferrey last summer at the Kansas City Worldcon. She was there with her father Jon Arfstrom’s art. He did fantasy and science fiction art and some of his work is remarkable. I bought a print from her that is hanging in my studio. It’s brilliant piece of art and evokes for me, a sense of my grandmother, who taught me her art.

She bought a sheep pendant from me. It’s a very detailed 17th century archaic sheep that’s from “The Ram Rebellion” by Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce. It is, in part, about a people’s resistance movement with the ram, “Brillo”, as the symbol. (Virginia was good enough to point me at exactly the right sheep for the model.)/

This all feels particularly appropriate right now.

She herself does beautiful felted work.Tory was familiar with the variety of sheep and appreciated the care and detail that has gone into my work. She told me she had done these sheep in felt and later sent me a photo of them.

This has me thinking about art and symbols of resistance - fictional 17th century and very real 21st.
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Cross posted from Body Impolitic

Bob Guter

I am especially delighted that my portrait of Bob Guter from Familiar Men is included in the “Ryan Gander -These wings aren’t for flying’’ exhibition opening today at the National Museum of Art, Osaka. I admire the complexity and uniqueness and diversity of Gander's work and the way disability consciousness is woven and not woven into it.

His work is so diverse that there is no way that only four choices give a sense of his scope

This solo exhibition will present approximately 60 important and new works by Gander, who is now regarded as a standard-bearer of new conceptual art. As the mysterious title suggests, the exhibition promises to escort us to an unknown world.

At the same time, Gander will curate an exhibit made up of works from the museum collection. Using the instinctive human ability to think in terms of comparisons as a premise, Gander will present the works in numerous pairs. Though based on a physical resemblance, the fact that the pieces are derived from different genres and eras will inspire a host of fresh perspectives. And the exhibition, held throughout the entire museum, will allow us to experience the limitless potential of the visual arts. - from the Museum description

He describes this: "It is a self-portrait in the worst possible position".

His work is formally diverse and has included, "a chess set, a new word, a children's book, jewellery, customised sportswear, glass orb paperweights and maps," as well as photography, films, and drawings. Considering Gander’s work, "Appendix", art critic Mark Beasley said: "It’s an unwieldy yet fascinatingly open account, somewhat like lucid dreaming, which shows the artist at his most arch, open and revealing ... an attempt to discuss practice in a form sympathetic to the work in discussion."
… most of Gander's art is completely removed from the hand of the artist and carried out by a team of technical specialists. He is often physically incapable of carrying out the making of the work himself. Wikipedia

I’m fascinated and impatient to see what art work my portrait will be paired with. I’ll be writing more about this after the exhibition is up. Meanwhile I’m excited.


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