Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away." ~ Ben Hecht

Hey guys!  I have been super busy the last little while.  First I went to Oslo to visit Rosanne for a few days.  It was great, SUPER cold but a really nice time.  Today (Monday) I have been packing and saying goodbye to everyone and it is insane! Tomorrow I fly to Raleigh to spend some time with my family, then VA to see Sam and my friends up there, AND HORSE,then back to NC for New Years Eve then on to TEXAS!! Yeah, my life is a bit fast paced and insane at the moment... But I will try to keep you all updated! 

But, I thought I should do one last post from Sweden... I don't have much to say... today is very bittersweet... and wonderful.  Is that possible?

But, I look forward to getting home and being back in life... an active member of society moving forward and all that.  Sad to be leaving the glass for a bit, my great friends and teachers here and of course the complete lack of responsibilities that come along with being a student.  Don't worry, I will see them again, get back to the glass ASAP and I won't forget all that I have learned here about glass, life and myself!  

So, thank you Orrefors!  See you again one day <3

Westward I go!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

"I don't know where I am going from here, but I promise it won't be boring!" ~ David Bowie

The count down to being home in America started a few days ago but now it is really on because I am in single digits now... pretty exciting and TERRIFYING.  I guess it is the definition of 'bittersweet' right?  I am sad to be leaving school, all my good friends here and working with glass ALL the time... excited to be back with Sam, living in Austin, Tx, seeing my friends and family and having my horse again!  A lot of complex emotions are rolling around in this body... 

Well, my last few days have been filled with graals and ariels on my last blanks.  These pictures are actually stuff I did list week but somehow I have managed not to take hardly any pictures this week...

So, here I am marvering some graals to flatten the designs so as not to get any unwanted bubbles:
 This one has the penrose staircase on it... should have done it in a nontransparent color....
 This one is 3 carousel animals going around it in pink and blue.  I tried to pick it up first but didn't get it stuck to the pipe properly and dropped it on the floor! I managed to get it back on the piece after Vegard did some running around there was a lot of reheating. 
 Here is the penrose one... can't hardly see the design :(  Oh well, I guess it was a learning experience in the long run... and it had nice straight sides luckily.
 And here is the finished animals one.  Those bubbles you see at the top of the horse are the only evidence of a whole lot of cracks which resulted in the dropping.  But with some luck and a lot of heat they melted back together and all I have are these bubbles!
 I think the swan looks a bit scary... or angry haha.

 So Wednesday I spent trying to finish up everything I liked. So, here I have both of the above graals, a polar bear graal with some special northern lights effects (sort of), an ariel, a nice stripy graal which could out live almost any natural disaster (it is super heavy and big) and of course the wonderful encalmo.  Also a couple of christmas ornaments thrown in there.
Now I am packing, trying to weigh my suitcases and figure out how on earth I am going to get everything I want to home! This weekend I am going to Oslo to visit Rosanne for a few days which will be a really nice distraction from the stress of moving home and then moving to Texas and all that entails! Also, I am slowly saying goodbye to all my friends here and trying not to be too sad... just lots of little sads spread around I think Monday will be the big sad day. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

“I've got spots; I've got stripes, too.” ~ Ani Difranco

Well, this past week was the week of the encalmos.... But it was also the week of a little snow :) Finally!!
I said I wanted to try to make an encalmo plate with as many stripes as I could... I was thinking 12... My eyes were a little bigger then my stomach in that case I think.  Anyway... here is attempt number 1:
We accidently bumped one color onto the piece where it was a stripe of another color... so it got trashed at this point.  Opps!

Attempt number 2 begins:
Here I have 5 stripes on and Marianne is making my 6th and final layer of color... which will be the center most piece.
Now we've got them all together, I am shaping and smoothing and stuff.  Anyway, it was going really well, it got huge and we ended up having to run to a bigger glory hole because even with ours wide open it was still too small.  But, at the end I was exhausted and when I was spinning to open it I accidentally let it fall back.  The edge of the lip folded all the way back and touched the bottom of the plate and got stuck.  We saved it, put it in the annealer but just to be thrown away the next day.  That was Tuesday I think.

Wednesday was cold shop and a dressage lesson.  I thought maybe I could get Pia to take a picture of me actually on a horse, not another picture of me in the mirror.  So, here I am with Vaaagner!
Thursday morning we did attempt THREE of the encalmo.  This time I was going for 7 stripes!
Above has 4 and below has 6!
Putting on number 7!
Big and smooth and stripy!
It is dark purple and an aquamarine blue alternating.
Here I have gathered once over this giant pot and I am trying to cut in a neck line before it gets too huge.  
After a bunch of blowing and hard work done by Vegard, Marinanne and myself it was finally time to punty!
Getting it good and hot so it will open to a plate!  Thanks to Vegard for doing most of the heavy lifting!
And now we have an open plate!!! It is big and heavy and I am so sweaty and tired but happy :)
And here I am on Friday with my masterpiece! I am super pleased with it... it is kind of heavy and I don't know how to get it home, but I figure I can wear it like a turtle shell on my back or something haha!  I am holding it against my body, it really is wider then I am!
I have thought about trying to make another one of these plates but go for 9 or 10 stripes but doing just 7 took around 2 hours of work... and that was three of us working hard.  So, maybe 12 would take AGES!

I had a funny conversation with Micke about the piece and it went something like this:
Micke: "Oh, this is a nice piece, how many stripes is it?"
Me: "sjut!" (pronounced huwt kind of, I don't know how it is spelled)
Micke: "I'm sorry what?"
Me: "sjut, seven!"
Micke: "Ohhhh! Seven is sju! SjuT is shit!"
Me: "ohhhhhh! yes, sju, seven not shit!!! haha"

Thursday Eva came to visit me (sadly she missed the making of the giant plate) and stayed on to Friday.  I blew some graals on Friday that she got to watch also a very interesting after school session with Marianne where I think Eva was terrified that she was going to have to call Swedish 911 because we almost lost the piece!  But it all worked out and I am so happy she came to visit.  She talked to everyone and got to see a lot of different things going on.  I will show those pictures after I have taken a picture of the graals :)

Now, I am off to bed... I have ONE WEEK left of school! I don't know what I am going to do... I have some more graals to blow up... but I don't really have time to fix them afterwards if I need to... It is a bit weird to figure out the timing of things.  Oh well, I will manage I am sure!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"I have a microphone on one ankle and an ankle bracelet on the other, so I'm well balanced today." Martha Stewart

I decided to try and channel good ole Martha and make a big thanksgiving for my friends here.  I invited my classmates and a few others to come over Satruday night.  I thought it might be amusing to take you through my thoughts while cooking my turkey dinner for 12 people, I have a feeling Martha didn't have these thoughts! Most of the time each sentence is a completely new thought which took place anywhere from directly after the first sentence or 20 minutes after the first sentence... be prepared (maybe you can sing that like in the Lion King... BE PREEEEEEEEPAAAAARED!!!!!!)

Monday: find recipes for dinner... "oh god, this is going to take a lot of timing, better make a schedule.... easy peasy"

Tuesday: at the grocery store: "it does not seem like I am buying enough to feed 12 people... holy shit I can't find a turkey!!!!"  At a NEW grocery store "hmmmm, what is lbs to kilos again? Well, this is the biggest one, I will take it.... oh fuck, I can barely carry this!"  At home: "Thank god there wasn't a bigger bird... this one barely fits in my fridge!!!"

Wednesday: "What is this gross liquid flowing out of my fridge?!?!? Oh god! Its turkey juice!!!!! What the hell... no one said you had to put it in a container to defrost!!! There is turkey juice everywhere!"  Then I argued with Sam the merits of cooking the casseroles ahead of time or not... When should I boil and mash the sweet potatoes and what to do since I can't find cream of mushroom soup at the store.

Thursday: "Well shit (said mentally with a super southern accent), its a good thing I decided to boil the potatoes today... it is taking me THREE pots!!!  Is this enough potatoes?  This isn't so bad.... dear god, why did I get so many potatoes... these are a bitch to mash!!!"

Friday: Back at the grocery because of course I forgot a few things "This is Bridget Jones searching for the crispy onions for Wake Up Britian (said mentally with British accent).... At a NEW grocery store "well Nancy Drew, the case of the crispy onions has been solved! Reward yourself with a chocolate muffin!!!"  At home: "When I snap green beans I imagine long ago generations of southern women snapping green beans in the exact same way... except they are sitting on a big wrap around porch looking out over tobacco fields... not drinking Danish beer in Sweden, small details.... Oh holy crap! None of my casseroles fit into the pans they are supposed to go in!! Hmmm, smaller pans should work right?  Yes, now I will have two small pans - one for each side of the table!!  ....  I wonder how much of a difference it will make that I am using frozen tranberries, shit cranberries, for this sauce instead of fresh.... How much longer will this shit boil?!?! Oh, out of beer!"
Here we have the turkey, both casseroles assembled and the cranberry sauce chillin' out, relaxin' and amazingly I have room to spare... maybe because there is nothing in there except stuff for Saturday's dinner! 

Saturday: THE BIG DAY!! 11 AM: "why didn't I clean yesterday? uh oh, how much beer did I drink?... Hmm it appears that the turkey is still slightly frozen, oops!"
12 Noon: "fuck its cold! why didn't I do my recycling yesterday when I had long underwear on?!?!  Ok everyone, out of the fridge... you need to reach room temp, not you cranberries, you stay here and don't stress!  Hows it going turkey, want a rubber ducky for your cold bath?
1 PM: "OK turkey... its you and me... I am going to rock this! ... EWWWWWW!!!! Oh god, the turkey was not so gross when it was all wrapped up! What the hell have I gotten myself into? Can I do this without having to actually touch the bird?  Maybe if I just plop it into the pan it will work... 
Oh nooooooooooo! There is stuff inside it.... A NECK?!!?!? (physical gagging at this point) ew, ew, ew, ew, what the fuck is this?!?! Are these giblets?? Who the hell came up with that word? They are fucking gross is what they are!!!  
Now I have to wash it?!?!? Turkey bath.... singing in the tub gooble gooble.... Dear turkey, it is crucial to have clean arm pits... don't want to be smelly.... ew ew ew ew.... (Now I have stuff the turkey with a lemon, onion, thyme and a whole head of garlic) What fresh hell is this?!?! This shit will never fit in that hole.... Ok turkey, time to play just the tip.... See that wasn't so bad right?!  Now we smother you in butter, salt, pepper and tie you up... this is getting kinky... Clearly I should have paid more attention in calf roping school how the hell do I get these legs to stay together?!?!"
2 PM: "Oh! thats right! I needed a meat thermometer from Sigrid and Vegard!! Crap... its raining! Thank goodness for their coffee and pizza, I can't remember what I have eaten today!"
3 PM: "Turkey... this is your moment, it is all up to you... You need to become DELICIOUS orrrrrrrrr... OR ELSE!!!  Oh shit you barely fit in the oven!! Well, you definitely don't fit with that thermometer sticking out of you... fuck fuck fuck fuck... OK... got it!
 (While setting the table) Why is it so hard to count to 12? Maybe I should have invited less people... it looks like a lot of chairs... oh shit oh shit... pull it together Theresa.... mmmm turkey smells good... Oh god, check the schedule... you are probably behind... Nope! I am awesome... I should have been a politician's wife, clearly I am a dinner party throwing MASTER!"
4 PM: Sadly Erica and Natalie can't come (they were supposed to bring the dessert!!!)... And Malin and her boyfriend might be kept home due to the weather... "everything is falling APART!!!  Where is the wine?  Ok, wine and make up... now everything is good again... I wonder what I should wear... I don't want to look sweaty... FUCK, OW! Concentrate on the mascara and you won't stab yourself in the eye dumbass!" "OK Mr Turkey... you need to be basted... I wish I had oven mitts... my ski mittens should work... hmmm you aren't putting out much juice for basting with... I will just rub you with a stick of butter... this is because your juice is all over the bottom of my fridge, fucking turkey..."
5 PM: Both ovens going: "It is hot as hades in here! How does Sam work in a kitchen all the time?!?! Changed, basted turkey again, more wine, CHECK!" Now Malin and her bf can't come due to the weather... "and then there were nine... great now I have a VERY male dominated table... Sigrid is my only girl companion... should be an interesting mix of people! Now more waiting... what am I supposed to do now? Oh, I could organize my Itunes... boooooring, more wine"
5:30: "Maybe I can light the candles now? Oh god, I need more deoderant! Maybe I should check the temp of the turkey... wow it is rising super fast... OH SHIT ITS WAY TOO COOKED!!!! crap, crap crap, this is going to be like on Christmas Vacation when the turkey cracks open and is black on the inside... what have I done?
 Why is only the green bean casserole bubbling and not the sweet potatoes? Can potatoes bubble? This is Bridget Jones pondering the deeper questions of our society... can potatoes bubble?!"
5:55: "hmmmm.... no one is here yet... well, I am in Sweden, that land of the very prompt... maybe they will show up at exactly 6! Stop looking out the window... you don't want them to think you are a spaz... Oh wait, they already know you so its OK.  Maybe I should start boiling the water for the stuffing"
6:09: "WHERE IS EVERONE?!?!???!?!?! I have nothing to do while I wait... I have a potentially horrible turkey resting (though I don't know why it should rest... it didn't do any work in the oven), casseroles bubbling and not bubbling, table is set, candles are lit, music is on, I brushed my hair.... hmmm maybe I can carve some on my graal blank.... WHERE IS EVERYONE?!?! Oh, I must have said 6:30 to them..."
6:15: Sigrid and Vegard arrive with their kids!! "I do have friends!"
6:30 Bjorn and Jonatan arrive with the cheese plate
6:40 Kresten and Martin arrive with the salad
7:00 "stuffing fluffed, turkey cut, marshmallows on the sweet potatoes... these guys have no idea what they are in for with these sweet potatoes! Hmmm.. I bet Odin and Sune will eat the rest of these marshmallows.... get them all sugar hyper mwahaha.  Oh shit I forgot the gravy!!!!"
7:15: Everything is on the table! Success! "oh shit, I didn't taste test any of this.... NOT A SINGLE THING... I hope I don't poison them all!"
7:20 Sitting at the table, Jonatan says grace "Normally when you say grace you hope that the food is going to be good, but I have already started and I know it is good so...." And MIRACULOUSLY everything was good! It was prefect... I am not sure I could do it again if I tried :)

We all ate, talked, laughed, drank, and in general had a pretty nice night of food and good company.  I told everyone that I was so happy they could all come, they mean a lot to me and have made my time here better. They have helped me grow, change and seen me figure out my life over the past year and a half and I so glad that I have gotten to know them all.  Then we watched the kids dance to funny Swedish pop songs and some Micheal Jackson and had chocolate bars for dessert.  

The only thing missing was my friends in the States and of course Sam... I wish he could have been here for another Swedish Thanksgiving and to witness my cooking mastery.  Also, it would be nice for him to really meet these guys, the people that I have stayed consistently friends with the whole time I have been here.  As we were sitting around the table I had the thought that one day I will be doing this again and maybe it will be my kids running around the table... one day, a long way away from now but one day I think.  (Does this mean my biological clock is starting?? eep!)

Anyway, so this Thanksgiving I am once again thankful for all the support from my friends and family back home, especially Sam.  I am thankful for my wonderful friends here, how much I have learned at school and having the opportunity to come to Orrefors.  And, I am thankful that I am a grown up... and soon I will be living with Sam again and starting a life that I think will be very rewarding and fulfilling.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

“Man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

So, I was google-ing quotes as usual to find a title for this blog... I was google-ing "layers" and came across this gem... it is not related, but it has LAYERS in it and is of course hilarious!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 

How can I not share that with you?! Anyway, I have been doing a  lot of layering in terms of glass...
Here is a nice blue plate I made at the beginning of the year and I decided finally to sandblast a peacock on it!
^the taped version, and below is the sandblasted version.
I am going to polish the bottom some so you won't see the punty mark but I really like it :)

I also decorated this piece to do as an ariel.  I have engraved different constilations in it and hope you trap a nice air bubble where each star is and then leave a faint line connecting the stars.  I have lots of different ones, Orion, the big dipper, Cancer, Aries, Draco... but no Cassiopeia which I regret... it is so fun to say :) 
I also did another graal with the penrose stair case on it, well two of them interlapping.
I forgot to take a picture of the sandblasted one, but here is the lay out.  I am going to blow it into a straight sided cylinder so you can really see all the lines hopefully.

At the barn Poseidon is sick :( I am not sure with what but I don't think I am supposed to even pet him...  So, on Wednesday I rode good ole Vaaaagner! I had forgotten what it was like to jump a horse  A horse that doesn't over jump everything! It was really nice to remember.

I have also been working on making the Ravenna plates for this design:
It had caused a lot of discussions between all the teachers, how to pull it off, different techniques to use and etc.  The tricky part is that I want the bubbles which will be like reflections on top of the water to go over the fish, not cut into their colors and I want the bubbles to go out into the clear glass.  So, the technique we seemed to have settled on is that I will make two plates, one in colors, one in clear and pick them up on top of each other and then blow them into a plate... hopefully it will work!

Here is a plate with the colors that I will cut the fish design in to.
It is white on top, orange in the middle and blue on the bottom.
Oh god, I have weird looking fingers! They look like they belong to a 100 year old japanese sock maker or something! 

Annnnnnnyway, here I am blowing up the clear plate that will have the bubbles cut into it and will go on top of the colored plate.  It has to be pretty thick so I can cut the places for the bubbles pretty deep.
Thanks to Vegard for the pictures... this is what happens when I leave my camera out on the assistant bench.
When I have my own place I will make the bench smaller so I don't look so funny sitting in it I think...

On Thursday I attempted to blow up a big graal with purple inside and white on the outside.  I messed it all up and had to get Ake to come save it! He worked on it for 30 minutes at least and managed to save it thankfully! I had let the white get too cold before I pushed it all the way over the color and then I ended up with a big blob that had a sort of giant, really hot skirt on it... not so good, at all.

BUT!!! On Friday I managed to do it all by myself!!! It was exhausting, and really hard but I managed to get a giant ostrich egg graal with white on the outside and purple inside! It is wonderful! 
I am going to put a MC Escher scene on it with the stairs going every direction... hopefully!
After school I stayed and helped Marianne who was making a gift for someone.  She asked if I could be her assistant and I said yes... then sort of regretted it because I thought maybe it would be really stressful... often being her assistant is kind of scary... I always make the punty wrong, bring a weird bit or do something wrong.  But it went really well.  She was in a good mood and the piece turned out really well.  It was a bit exhausting being at school for about 8 hours but I guess it was good practice for one day working by myself!

After school I went to the barn and jumped Sheridan! He is so cute and tries so hard to do the right thing.  How can you not fall for that face?!
The lesson went really well.  I didn't have to hold his face so much and could just let him gallop along and jump which was really nice.  Pia said she thought he liked the way I rode... I think it was because he knew I had a carrot in my pocket ;) but it was a really nice ride all the same!

Now I am putting together my first, all alone, dinner party! I am having a bunch of classmates over for a Thanksgiving dinner at my house.  I am making turkey, sweet potato casserole (with marshmallows), green bean casserole, stuffing (stove top), gravy, cranberry dressing (from scratch) and some people are bringing some other stuff.  I think it will be 11 or 12 of us all together! I will take lots of pictures don't worry :)  I but I should go clean that turkey!