Drawing

Trash to Treasure DYI: Waterslide Decal commemorative Plates

Summer has been busy and my work on the rehabilitation of the Golden Rule Building is really fun and taking up lots of my time. One reason is that we are trying to prepare for a  public open house of the project. If you want to know more about this 1902 building and what we are planning to do to save it, check out my first post about the Golden Rule.

Golden Rule Belington Wv

So as part of the reason for the open house is to let the community see the building, take tours, get information about the project and get a chance to see some of the wonderful items we will be selling at a public sale this fall. As part of the Fall Festival Open House we are going to offer for sale a few small items that came from the building that are unique but not real expensive. One of the items will be a commemorative plate that another AmeriCorps member and I designed and made from some of the chipped and crazed dishware that had been left in the building.

The idea came to me as I took my first tour of the building. I realized that their were around 60 or more white and tan dishes in the basement of the building that were just wasting away due to cracks, chips, crazing or staining. I thought it was so sad to just toss all of them into the dumpster even if they were just generic white dishes. So I spent some time on-line and came up with a plan if a friend AmeriCorps was willing to help me. I asked my friend Reid Saunders to do a drawing of the building that I could used for a collectors plate image.Together we could create a very inexpensive souvenir for the up coming events that could be a fundraiser item for the building.

Golden Rule

drawing done by Reid Saunders 2018 of the Golden Rule Cir 1902

I then took the dishes that I found in the basement and washed and sorted them. We chose to use all the large platters and about a dozen salad and dessert size plates for the project. I then took the image and adjusted the contrast and color so the image would print more clearly on to a waterslide decal and added the text.

dirty dishes in the Golden Rule

Abandoned white plates found in the basement of the Golden Rule

large image for plater

Blue image ready to print.

The image is printed on to clear decal paper that I ordered off Amazon. I bought from two different companies and found that I liked the thinner decals better for this project but either seemed to work fine and in the same manner. Also there are two different kinds of paper and two ways to process them depending on your printer. I happen to have two different Laser printers at work so I bought the paper that works for those. I think either printer is good for the decals but I do believe that you have to seal the decals with clear spray sealer if you are using an ink jet printer. In the case of  a laser printer, all you have to do to finish the decals in a low heat oven at 200 degrees for about 20 to make them water-resistant.

Once they are printed, I cut them to a workable size. You should soak the decals in slightly warm to the touch water. They release faster in warmer  water but they also  get stickier and more melted with hot water. Warm Water Only! It will take about 3 minutes to get a decal to release from its paper backing and begin to float. I soaked mine in a very shallow paper plate for about 2.5 minutes, while the decal is soaking I rise my plate in a water bath and drain all the extra water off. Their will be enough water trapped on the plate to move the decal around until you are happy with the placement of the decal. Once the paper is free from the decal, remove it and allow the decal to float free. I place a finger or thumb on the edge of my decal and drain some of the excess water off the area and then pour the decal and remaining water onto the platter. Usually the decal stays on top of the water and rides right onto the surface where you want it to be located. Sometimes they get a fold or roll when poured onto a project, just  wiggle the decal under the water and it will usually unfold itself. If the water is to hot it may melt together and stick. Then place the decal where  you would like it, drain any excess water off the plate and squeegee out any remaining water from under the decal and let dry. Then bake in an oven to finish the platter. I bought my sqeegee off line from a Car Wrap supplier. I loved it and found it very useful I would recomend the felt covered type so you do not scratch your image.

The next step is to bake the decal to the plate. If  you are baking several plates at a time watch them closely. It is possible to singe the decals if they get to hot. Out of 40 plates I had one turn a golden brown around the edges, I knew something was up when I began to smell burning plastic.

baked plates

When the plates are done cooling they are now water-resistant and can be hand washed in warm water without the decal sliding back off the plate. DO NOT PUT IN DISHWASHER! These are now one of a kind hand-made commemorative plates.

Each sheet of decal paper is about .90 cents. So over all we did pretty good on the production cost for the project. The plates were free from the building and each sheet was printed with two images of the building so each plate cost about .45 cents to make plus my time.

Over all this was a fun and creative way to make something out of what would normally be tossed out. The prices on the plates will range from 20 to 60 dollars each. Hopefully the public likes them and we sell out during our events. Wish me luck on raising a few hundred dollars for the buildings rehabilitation.

GR platter

Golden Rule Platter for sale at the Fall Festival Open House Sept 15th

Categories: antiques, Barbour County, Collector Plates, DIY projects, Drawing, Fairs and Festivals, Fall Festival, Golden Rule, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Challenged Writer, Blogging with Dysgraphia/ Dyslexia

Train Bridge at Black Water Falls State Park, WV

Train Bridge at Black Water Falls State Park, WV

The conversation at my resent book club meeting swirled with questions about not only our resent read,”Triptych” by Karen Slaughter but also about how people live and work with learning disabilities.The protagonist of  Triptych, Will Trent suffers from Dyslexia. As I have first hand knowledge, we spent more then the usual time discussing how I survived my education, how and why I even attempted college, and why I write a blog now. I write as a hobby and why I do it is a question that keeps coming up in my blog and from friends and family. So to clarify  I though I would write another post on some of the things that I face when I came to the realization that I really did want to write as a hobby.

The photo above is a metaphor of how most Dyslexic/ Dysgraphics think and how we some times make connections that others do not. Universally most of us with this learning disability are intuitive and can get the over all meaning or concept of an idea quickly and may jump from idea to idea with out the need of fact-finding information or research to support an idea. Like this bridge my mind arches over a lot of numbers, details, research data to understand the over all idea being expressed. I don’t need the support of facts to understand the concept and the more data that is given to me the more confusing the idea becomes. Then to take it a step further, If some one is teaching me something new, and I understand the steps involved to take on the new skill, I will most likely just jump ahead and figure out the next step in the process on my own or may even find a new way to finish the process in a new way. So my mind is constantly linking  bridges over ideas. Touching on the topic and leaping forward to the next landing to get enough information to leap off again. The problem is that you must at some point be able to show how the bridges link. You must support the information or idea that you are using and learning. This is where the problems lie.

To explain and support ideas you have to write about them, prove them with scientific method or mathematics. All of which are troublesome for most of us with this learning disability. My personal problem is with letter and number recall and recognition. My brain translates the world in a symbolic way. Meaning that I read and translate my world more through a group of images and understand their meaning rather than individual letters and numbers. I would have been a perfect scribe in Egypt when hieroglyphics were the modern written language, as this is how I process information.  So I see letters and numbers as more of a shape than an individual character.  So letters and numbers that look similar get confused easily.

Letters of confustion

Letters of confusion

to this list I would add, W-M, M-N, W-V,  Then some of the numbers that are just as confusing are the numbers

5-6, 3-8 and sometimes 9-6. So let me explain this in another way.  If I were to show you a photo of a Yield Sign… like this

yeild sign

You would normal say that you know this shape and know its meaning even without the written words.” Stop” signs are the same way… but what if you turn them on their sides or turn them up side down? Dose that change the meaning of the Stop sign? Dose the caution needed when seeing this Yield sign change if it is on its side or upside down,… not  really. Even if we see an upside down Stop sign or a ” caution sign”  side ways we can finger out the meaning of the sign. This is not true when it comes to letters or numbers, the letter b does not  have the same meaning as the letter d although they appear as the same symbol just back words. So with the confused rules  of reading and writing words become a challenge to decode. Now string lots and lots of confusing letters and numbers into a paragraph. A simple sentence becomes a night mare. The English language fallows very few rules and the ones that they teach are usually broken, leaving us with learning disabilities  hanging. With mountains of words that make us confused, unable to sound out, with no pattern to fallow the Dyslexic/ Dysgraphic is left to tricks and basic rules of grammar to try to share in your world  . So as you could expect reading and writing becomes a monumental tasks of trying to decode the images into readable sentences. It takes forever for me to write on paper.I never even share my grocery list if possible because the spelling is so bad most people would never find what I was looking for. Just think how you spell spaghetti. Well I do not spell it like that! We here at home just laugh and go on with our shopping.

Some how I was fortunate enough to learn to read,the letters do not jumble when I see them just when I recall them from memory. I discovered in school that I could tell you about the story and I could draw pictures of what I had read but could not repeat what the author had done and write about the story they had created. It was exhausting to try to recall all the words and how to spell them and all the rules of writing. I spent my entire education in spectacle education classes until my second year in college. Then I discovered that typing my papers was so much easier than hand writing them. My brain discovered a different pathway with a keyboard and it was easier, not perfect but better. My body memory kicks in and I only think of a word and I type it almost correctly.

Isis drawing done during the worst of high school 1987

Isis drawing done during the worst of high school 1987

I have heard that a person must do an activity about 52 times to commit it to memory…. what if that never happens. What if you can never remember something no matter how many times you see, hear or act out something. That is the challenge, to continue to repeat things again and again well over 52 times to memorize them. The language decoder in my brain is faulty and non-repairable.  I work around the words and letters that give me the hardest time. Some times that means using a totally different word or trying, 4 different spellings of the same word. Thank God for spell check on the Word Press site this has given me a way to correct most of the misspellings and some of the grammar errors.

Most Dyslexic/Dysgraphics are also kinetic learners, meaning that they learn through physical movement rather than reading or through hearing. This leads to most of us being thought of as ADD/ADHD although I was never thought of as hyper until I was an adult. I am like some many others with this disability, happiest when on the move or working with my hands. I discovered Art young and used it to pacify my anger and frustration at school and the learning systems that did not work for me. So I excelled with art, reading and public speaking but still struggled with writing my own papers and speeches. It was later in college that I found that I actually liked writing.I love doing research on Art history and loved the idea of at some point sharing an artist statement with the world. I loved books and reading so I knew that I wanted find a way to share words in a more artistic way but just didn’t see how at the time. This was 1999 and blogging was not something I would have even known about.

15 years pass and I am still struggling to find jobs that don’t focus too much on writing skills. I have sold furniture, done interior decorating, worked in retail and now do merchandise audits from retail chains. I worked on our farm and others and love it, but something was missing. Sharing and creating something of my own was a major part of my daily life. I had spent 4 years in college to learn more ways to create and at home on the farm their was nothing but work. I could have made artist books, painted or worked on my drawings. But the truth is that I had a hard time dealing with the distractions I faced as a mom and farm worker.  The supplies for painting are expensive, and the thing I loved most was engraving and a press was about an hours drive away and taking a 4-year-old into a studio full of caustic chemicals, acids and inks was not a great idea.

engraving of big horn sheep during last years of collage 1998

engraving of big horn sheep during last years of college 1998

Then a friend started a blog and I began to read more and more blogs and it seemed to me that I could do just about anything with a blog floor mat. Their were poetry blogs, cooking blogs, political blogs and even cartoon and artist blogs. I thought that even though I can not spell, I can share what it is I love through all of the options bloggers have. I can take photos, I can write poetry, tell stories and cook and share them, so why wouldn’t I want to have one of my own. The spelling and technical aseptic are all secondary to creating. Creating a world of my own is why I fight to write.  I know it really makes no sense at all, that I would spend  hours every week doing the one thing that is hardest for me. I guess my only answer is that I love a good challenge.

I am in no way saying this is a competition with others. It is a competition with myself, with the inner demons who tries to put me down, saying that what I do is not good enough. This is who I fight, the same self loathing and judgments that any creative person fights. I challenge myself as some athletes challenge themselves, to work harder, reach farther and do your best.  This kind of challenge is good for the soul and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

Categories: About me, Art, blogging, Drawing, dyslexia, education, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Between Reading and Writing comes Drawing

    Between Reading and Writing comes Drawing. In recent years I have struggled to find  time to do what I love. Moving off the big farm and having a baby 4 years ago  just disturbed the genital balance of my life…. Well my creative life that is. My art work took a back seat to all the changes that were taking place in our lives.

   Tom and I spent about two years in the transition from the big house and yard to the little house and yard. While we moved Christopher was two.. The terrible twos and potty training what a mess. We attempted to buy a “finished” old home and the sale fell through the last day of our lease on the farm. We were homeless and everything we owned headed to storage. Toms mom just happened to have a one bedroom furnished apartment that she rented and did not need at the time. Tom, Christopher and I spent almost 5 months living there while looking for a home. In the end we took on a 1920 old store that had over the years been turned into a home for a couple of families but was never really updated and then abandoned for a couple of more years. Crazy, right! We worked nonstop for two years to make the house livable. It was one of the most emotional experiences of my adult life…to be homeless and working and with good credit. How does that happen? It was the most out of control I have ever felt. It was as if we had no say in what was happening to us and we were a boat adrift. It has been almost three years now  the house and I am finally starting to feel at peace enough to start drawing and painting.

    I used to draw pictures to regain my piece of mind, if things were to tough in the outside world I withdrew from the world and created pictures. If I was trying hard to recover from some loss, I took time out to put pencil to paper. If I was in love I poured my heart on to paper. While in college I worked very hard on my draftsmen skills and spent hours and hours exploring pen, paper, ink and canvas. Yet, when Christopher was born I just kind of stopped. I guess this always happens with a new life in the house but the rebound from his birth to me wanting to create has been a very long 4 and half years.

    Much to my relief I still have the skills to draw… just a little rusty but after a few scribbles I think I will be fine. The whole process is different now. I need peace and quite and time, lots of time to unwind my mind enough to sit quietly and put an idea down on paper. As a teen I only needed something to draw on, the energy was pushing its way out. This is why my mother finally gave up on trying to remove all the doodles that I embedded into a faded pairs of Levis. I could not stop myself, drawing was a constant habit. As if my hand was always in motion without any sign of me thinking about what or where the ideas came from.

nut and leaves drawing crop

nut and leaves drawing crop

   Now with adult problems, a toddler and work, I find myself constantly distracted from that free-flowing source of inspiration. Writing the blog helps, reading books saved me from a total melt down over the last few years but Thiers something more satisfying in the release that art and drawing does for me.

   First off, I never have a plan when I draw…. I use it as a form of meditation … free association really. Start with an image and let that image bring me to the next one and then the next, filling the space with images. Thiers is no way to remove a mistake in this form of drawing. Every line is part of the whole and incorporated into the drawing as I move on to the next line. It is these random doodles that grease the wheels of my mind and allow me to actually plan a piece of art work,something I have not done in years. I am sure to find the time to draw this fall when Christopher heads off to school.

 So with our month of  rain keeping me inside, I finally got out my favorite colored pen and sat down. I love blue and white together, so I started with that and wondered where should I begin? Then a leaf appeared and it needed some friends,well if you have leaves you should also have nuts, then a flower joined in and she wanted to have a friend so another one filled in the space that remained.  

  This is just a doodle and  creative 35 minutes of my life. It is in some of my doodles that I have found ideas for other projects.It is where I find my meditation Zone. I felt so much better when I finished for the day. Funny the drawing is in a state of “needing some more work” but a doodle is just a doodle… it needs nothing more does it? This is my way of warming up and restoring my skills… It is nice to know that not everything is lost over time.

Categories: About me, Drawing, Personal art work | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

The Helsingian Pathfinder

the inward path is the way ahead

Daydreaming Millennial

Come for the thoughts, stay with the journey.

Monkeying Around

Monks, monkeys and monkeying around. An adventurous life.

Dreaming Reality

If Existence is a dream, let us dream perfection....

alifeofvanity.wordpress.com/

For anyone who has ever thought of attempting the #vanlife, A Life of VANity is an unfiltered, realistic look at the unglamorous day-to-day happenings of life in a Chevy G20 Conversion van. Unlike other #vanlife blogs, A Life of VANity is here to show you that it isn’t all roadtrips and ocean-side views, and that there’s nothing wrong with living in a backyard or two.

Beyond the Campfire

Stories of exploration

Thrifty Campers

Nature knows no such barriers

Missmackenzierose

Dream-Explore-Discover

Camellia's Cottage

Lifestyle Blog

Free to express

thoughts, experiences, travel, feelings, stories, diaries and many more...

Appalachian Housewife

The Mullens' Family's Journey Running The Pioneer Farm at Twin Falls State Park

Recipes by chefkreso

Cooking with imagination

Trish the Dish

Keeping Our Family's Bellies and Minds FULL.... One Dish at a Time

%d bloggers like this: