Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Geek Joke

One of the interesting thing about working with scientists is seeing how they view the world.  What they think is interesting or funny.  One of my guys told me about a dinner party he went to where the topic of discussion was a rousing discussion about 27th president of the United States.  WOW....I had to stop my self from laughing out load....and most of you know how loud I laugh.  Not that they had a discussion about the 27th president...or any president....but that the discussion was "rousing".  I have to remind myself that I work with the cream of the crop when it comes to geeks.

So I got this joke today in my e-mail.  A little off-color...just a little...but funny...and truly a geek joke.  Not sure I believe it is an actual essay as I've seen stuff like this before.

Hell Explained By A Chemistry Student:

The following is an actual question given on a Penn State University chemistry mid-term, and an actual answer turned in by a student. The answer by one student was so 'profound' that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well:

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.  One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. There fore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting 'Oh my God.'


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Finished Pieces

Below are pics of some of our finshed pieces from the workshop with Hadar Jacobson.  It was a good weekend.  I learned inlay, how to make canes / putting those together to make a finished piece, and mokume gane in metal clay.  The only piece that I have completed so far is the inlay.  That is pictured below.  The cane pendant was still firing at the end of class and I had to leave so I will pick it up at the next guild meeting.  I have the mokume gane with me and will fire that up this week after some testing of Hadar's clay in my kiln.

Deb's piece on the left and mine on the right.

Group Photo.  These are the inlay pieces.

I really enjoyed this class and Hadar is a good teacher. Everyone is buzzing about the new techniques learned.

Classes always seem like a good thing when I first hear about them but as the weekend approached all I wanted to do was stay home. I know I sound like a broken record, but working full time wipes me out by Friday afternoon and the thought of spending the entire weekend in a workshop was not what I wanted. But I have to say my mood turned around very quickly when I started to work with the clay and doing the inlay. It's a simple technique and there are lots of possibilities for it. And things only got better from there. I've never made canes before...that was fun. Putting them together in a piece can be challenging when you start to fill in the gaps with inlays. At one point I thought my piece was going to be horrible. But once you have a solid, dried piece you start sanding off the surface to reveal the canes. That's the fun part...seeing how your design is coming out. Same with the mokume gane. As you condense and squish all those canes together it isn't very appealing....until you flip the piece over and start to see the burling that is occuring on other side. The pic below is from Hadar's blog...hope she doesn't mind. It is a mokume gane donut pendant. Very Cool!!

Thanks Hadar.  I'm a fan!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Class with Hadar...

Hadar Jacobson is in town to teach a workshop for our local PMC guild.  I've never worked with her clay before so this was a chance to try it out and learn some new techniques.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like mixing up my own clay, but it was easy and much cleaner than I thought it would be.  Today we worked with bronze and copper.  We did inlay and created bull's eye canes. 

It's a two-stage firing schedule, the first stage is to burn off the binder.  For the second stage you let the clay cool down and then refire.  Tomorrow we will work on finishing the pieces we made today and hope to get a second firing in with the cane pieces we made today. 

Here are some pictures from class...

 Deb... my partner in crime for the weekend.

 Vanessa and Katie

 Pat, Marilyn, and Noreen

 Kaite and Hadar

 My first piece.  Bronze inlaid with copper.  Still sanding it down.

My sanded piece before it goes into the kiln

 Group picture

The firing container is a ceramic blanket.

 Sally, Katie and Hadar

Me...hard at work.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What I've been up to....

Working away in the studio....LOL.  One of the guys at work heard me talk about "the studio".  He asked (seeming somewhat impressed)..."you have a studio??"   No...I have a room.  As small room at that.  But it is my studio.  As is my dinning room table and my laundry room. 

Besides it sounds better to say "I'm going to work in the studio" rather than "I'm gong to work in my room".

So here are some new pieces....

The surface design is from a photo I took of an ancient, cracked tablet.  It's why I love museums....so many ideas

 I've been riffing off the idea of girders and rivets....for a long time.

 And for some reason I have been making stalactite shapes.  They make good earrings or necklace embellishments.

 This is something different.  I was experimenting with carving.  I started with what was suppose to be leaf veins but it turned into a stick figure, then one that was running.  The best of the three is the one on the right.  It's very fluid.

A big pile of bronze.  I've gone through about 800 grams in the last few weeks. At some point I need to start making things.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Best compliment so far this year....."WOW"

I ran into one of the guys at work today.  He works on the dock and we have known each other for about 10 years now.  I know his wife and his kids used to take martial arts with Lou.  I see him maybe once a week.  This morning as I walked in he stopped to talk some business with me.

As I walked away I heard him ask..."What have you been doing?".  I turned around to see if he was talking to me...he was.  "Have you been taking martial arts?".  I realized he had noticed my weight loss.  I'm down 40 lbs. now.  I smiled...a really big smile...and told him I have been doing Weight Watchers.  He looked me up and down and said...."WOW" and then gave me the thumbs up. 

I have been smiling all day. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Polishing up the bronze

I've been polishing for the last few days.  I don't know why I hand polish my pieces instead of throwing them into a tumbler.  I guess it's part of the process for me.  After putting all that work into making the piece before it goes into the kiln, I have a need to come full circle by polishing. 

So all that color you see when they come out of the kiln....gets polished.  Most of it goes away leaving just a shadow of what was there.  Some pieces retain  more color than others.  Don't know why.  It's a mystery!!

 A big ass lentil, some coins and other pieces.  The coins came from molds of the originals.  I bought some ancient coins a while back so I could mold them.  The coins are really cool and some date back to 300 A.D.

 The piece on the right really held onto it's color when I polished it.  Again...I don't know why.

 I drive through an industrial ghetto on the way to work everyday.  There is one bridge I go under with these huge metal girders and rivets...hundreds of huge rivets.  Seeing this everyday has sunk into my conscious and subconscious brain.  You see girders and rivets show up in my work all the time. 

 The pieces with holes will be laced with leather.

I love the piece in the center.  It came out much better than I expected.  It's from a mold and very dimensional.  More coins

 Except for the sundial, these pieces are Adinkra symbols from Ghana. They each have their own meanings. I made these too large. I need to make them much smaller.  I can see these being worn as small medallions close to the neck or included in a grouping of items. 

The sundial is from a pottery shard in the Louvre.

Smaller pieces, earrings, and some dog bones that I used as connectors in necklaces. 

I still have more bronze pieces to make. The list is piling up in my head.  I'll get back to the bench again Thursday night and over the weekend.  And the housework will once again pile up....I need a maid...anybody want to clean my house for jewelry??

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekend in the Studio

Yesterday we go hit with lots of snow. 

This is the neighbors car.  Our bushes on the south side of the house were so heavy with snow they bent over and captured her car

A look out the front door

I decided on Thursday to take Friday off.  Not so much for the snow but to have a 3 day weekend in the studio.  My boss is a scientist and we were discussing how ideas come to you more easily is you have a concentrated block of time to work.  Starting and stopping...like I do during the week...is counter-productive to creativity.  It's a "now where was I" situation.  When I have 2-3 days to work non-stop...the work and new ideas flow. 

I've blown thru 600 grams of bronze over the past few days.  I fired a load last night and I have a full days work upstairs just finishing off pieces that I started yesterday.  The colors I'm getting are amazing.

BTW....here is the same shot out the front door today.  What a difference a day makes.

Back to the studio!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More Colors....

Just a few pieces in this load but the colors are different from last night.  Check out the pink...

I was asked about my source of the carbon.  I am still using the same batch of coal based, acid washed carbon that I got from RioGrande over 2 years ago.  I don't know why I get the colors I do.  When I'm not using it, it sits in a plastic bowl on a shelf.  I don't even seal it.  So it's probably absorbing all the stuff in the air in my laundry room...which is off the back of my garage.  And I don't know if the colors have anything to do with the fact that I don't get around to taking it out of the kiln until after I get home from work... so it has had all day to cool down. 

It's a mystery!! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

This is why I still use original bronze metal clay

Yes I still use the original (slow fire) bronze metal clay. 

All day I was thinking of the load in the kiln.  I put it in last night when I went to bed and it was done this morning by the time I went to work....but still too hot to take out of the kiln.  Besides....I'm convinced some of the colors I get are due to the slow cool down.

Sifting through the load was the first thing I did when I got home.  It's always so much fun to see what the colors will be.  The first few pieces that were at the top were a drab green, then I started seeing a bright blue.  As I got down towards the bottom of the container the blues were combined with oranges. 

I love this stuff.  Now back to the studio.  I will have a second batch in the kiln tonight.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In the Studio....

How can it take 1 day to go from this......

to this.....

Oh who am I kidding??  It took about an hour to create total chaos.  But I have bronze going into the kiln tonight!!


And the winner of the book is....

NJRoll Designs!!!  Please e-mail your address to me at gaillannum@aol.com and I will ship it out to you this week. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011


 West African symbols...except for the the sundial.

 Ancient language tablets and a mudcloth design

Fish, geometrics

Now it's time to get back into the studio.  I'll post the winner of the book tomorrow.