Day one of the after challenge: a long day with little to show

Taking the #YourTurnChallenge drove home something that I think I knew, but had never confronted directly: this blog is heavily dependent on photos.  Since I’m writing about my visual arts activity, not childhood memories or current events, I generally need to illustrate my posts with photos.  And when I don’t have appropriate photos, it limits what I can write about.  (I hope to break out of those limitations by reviving my other blog this week.)

After blogging daily for the week of the challenge, I decided today was going to be a day devoted to catching up in other areas.  I got some good feedback on the beads I made last week, but I hadn’t posted any of them to my Etsy shop, so that was one item on the list.  I’m a dedicated follower of David’s Allen GTD method, and Monday is my weekly review day, so I needed to spend time on that.  I needed to pay bills, and backup my laptop, and wash clothes, and some other household duties.  And (cue the minor chords of fate intervening) I wanted to continue my work in the studio: I had more dichroic cabochons to cut out, but I also wanted to work on simple fish beads for my wife Amy’s “Salmon of Knowledge” book series.

I turned on the space heaters in the studio (it’s rough working with sharp glass when you can’t feel your fingers), and then did my weekly review and took care of some of the other logistical tasks while the studio heated.  It was noon before I knew it, so after a quick lunch I rushed out to the studio to get in some torch time.  I made some simple fish (Amy wants fish beads for the ends of the ribbons she uses as closures on her accordion books) and then I started blending colors to make a Pyramid Butterflyfish, an pacific reef fish that I saw while learning to dive in Hawaii.  Don’t ask me why I picked that species: I’ve been wanted to make some tropical marine fish for a while, and for some reason today seemed like the time to try.

pyramid butterflyfish photo

Photo courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan,

You can see in the photo that the fish is flattened laterally, with a fairly square profile, and a prominent triangle of white bordered on the front and back with yellow.  The yellow on the front half shades to brown as the fish matures.  To match the front I built a few stringers of yellow encased with dark amber (they didn’t turn out dark enough), and also encased white in clear to make it stiffer (white is notoriously runny) so that I had more control when doing the fins.  And finally I pulled stringers of stiff black encased in clear to use for the eyes.

I don’t have a photo of the bead (it’s annealing now), but I was fairly happy with the fish when I put it in the kiln.  The sad thing is that I got so into doing the fish that the afternoon evaporated, so I only had an hour or so to take photos for Etsy.  I’m going to post new items first thing in the morning, I promise!