Posted in Arboretum, Life, Longnecker Garden, Madison WI, My Life, Nature, Photography, Post a Week 2012, tagged Arboretum, Longnecker Garden, Madison WI, Magnolia, nature, photography, Post a Week, Sunset, two on April 14, 2012 | 2 Comments »
Magnolia Trees at sunset in the Arboretum Longnecker Garden, Madison, WI.
Flowering trees framed by crab apple blossoms arranged by gardeners in The Arboretum Longenecker Gardens in Madison, WI.
Modern sculpture from native rock Mifflin and Carroll Street, Madison, WI.
Posted in Family, Love, Memories, Memory Lane, My Life, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Post a Day 2012, tagged fall colors, Life, love, memory, Personal, photography, poem on March 27, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December. ~James M. Barrie
This is the last time, whispered sweetly,
leaning in, close to my ear
so that only I would hear.
This is the last time, make a memory.
And so I did: wrapped
up in September’s sunshine, kept
safe, a treasure, this simple act,
an expression of love so strong
my heart longs
to hold you back
even as you walk away from me
towards tomorrows I will not see.
There is a story behind this poem—aren’t there always? I considered telling it in this post but I think I will let this poem stand alone for a few days before I write about what prompted the poem in order to let it become what it will for whoever takes the time to read it. I like to make some of my poems a bit ambiguous as to their subject and just try to capture the emotions that surround the situation. Do you think I have managed that with this one? Who do you think whispered this in my ear? What was “the last time?” Why are they walking away?
The picture I used to illustrate this poem is one I took of the sun shining on the leaves in the courtyard of my building in September of 2008 when we had stellar fall colors. I titled it September’s Sunshine and thought it would be a good companion for this poem. It even illustrates this weeks photo challenge “Through” since the sun is shining through the leaves.
Thanks for reading…
Posted in Apartment Life, Art, Crones, Madison WI, My Life, Personal, Photography, Post a Day 2012, University of Wisconsin-Madison, tagged art, Capitol Centre Apartments, college, education, glassblowing, Madison WI, University of Wisconsin-Madison on March 26, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Last week, a group of about 10 of us from The Capitol Center Apartments went on a little excursion (about 3 1/2 blocks) to visit one of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Art Department labs. TASS Matthew Piepenbrok and his students Kristine Karlen, Bao Thao, and Sean Everett gave us an exciting demonstration of glass blowing and patiently answered our questions. It was a lot of fun and very educational.
The Universtiy of Wisconsin-Madison at the behest of Harvey Littleton was the first college to establish a glass blowing lab in the United States in the ’60s. Above is a view of the furnaces in the present-day lab. There are four of them and they all have whimsical names because it is easier to tell someone to use Lucy than it is to say the second one from the left. Lucy and Joe were the ones in use while we were there.
TASS Matthew Piepenbrok (pictured left) is studying to be a professor of art and if his presentation to our group is any indication, he’s going to be an excellent one. He’s a very engaging and personable young man with a great sense of humor and seems to have a profound love of teaching others about his craft. Examples of his art work can be found at ARTQ.net
In this picture he is showing us the molten glass he has just poured into a cold mold from one of the furnaces. What a card! Wouldn’t it be fun to have a professor like this?
Here he is showing us the hollow stainless steel rod that the liquid glass will be “loaded” onto in preparation for blowing. It was very warm in this lab due to four furnaces that were keeping the molten glass at a temperature of around 2,400 to 2,000*.
The long sleeve on Matthew’s right arm is to protect him from burns as he loads up his glassblowing rod. According to Matthew and his students glassblowing is a very risky business and not a day goes by when one of them doesn’t get burned as Bao Thao kindly demonstrated for us later in the session! They were very nonchalant about it, treating it as an ordinary part of their day in the lab although you could tell it hurt.
Above Matthew and Kristine Karlen are loading a glob of molten glass onto the rod. In the picture at the right, Matthew is showing us a closer view of the glass after a small amount of air has been blown into it. At right, he is using a pad made from many layers of newspaper to begin shaping the glass. Later on he showed us how the heat from the glass had burned through several layers.
The whole time the glass is being worked the artist or glassmith must keep the rod turning in order for centrifugal force to keep the glass on the rod or gravity will take effect and the piece will slump and become disfigured. That’s not so hard at this stage but as they continued to add glass, the piece became heavier and heavier. We were given a sphere of cooled glass to examine and it is quite heavy. I’d guess between 10 and 15 pounds.
Little by little more molten glass is added to the piece and more air is blown in then more shaping is done to smooth the piece and achieve the desired size and contours. All the while the rod must be kept spinning to keep the glass attached to the rod. The work is painstaking and physically challenging.
The top picture shows Matthew blowing more air into his globe of glass. Bao Thao steps in to assist him and Matthew demonstrates other shaping tools glassmiths use to get the effects they want to produce.
Sean Everett steps in to become Matthew’s assistant and things begin to get very dramatic!
Protruberances were added to the sphere by dropping globs of glass from a rod. To keep the glass at the right temperature, a propane torch was used. Melted glass started dripping onto the cement floor!
At this point they began to let gravity take effect and elongate the round sphere in preparation for the cold mold that had cooled by now to be attached to the piece. It took 3 people to manage that task! Clearly glass art of any complexity is a collaborative effort.
Bao Thao brushes excess sand from the attached cold mold while Kristine Karlen stands by with the propane torch in case heat is needed to keep the glass at the right temperature. The glass can break or crack at any moment if the right temperature is not maintained and in fact, did during this demonstration but fortunately not badly enough to ruin the whole thing so they would have to start all over.
The cold mold has now been attached to a solid stainless steel rod and Matthew, Sean, and Kristine detach the former sphere from the hollow rod. They will begin pulling and twisting the piece into a an elongated horn shape after adding some colored pigment.
Bao and Sean hold the tip of the horn while the piece is being turned and pulled to shape it.
Kristine applies some heat to the tip to refine the shape just before it goes into the cooling tank. She looks wicked cool with that propane torch!
Posted in Apartment Life, City Life, Digital Camera, Madison WI, Photography, Post a Week 2012, tagged cityscape, Madison WI, photography, post a week challenge, spring on March 25, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Not terribly unique but I’ve been wanting to take these pictures for awhile and have been waiting for the right moment. Through the window screen on the 16th floor.
Posted in Blog, Fiction, Memories, My Life, Photography, Poetry, Post a Day Challenge, Writing, tagged blog statistics, kittens, knots, Life, memories, poems, readers, writing on March 23, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
I do have to earn a living, so I’m conscious of probable reactions from readers, but the most important one is still the awareness that if I’m not enjoying a story, the reader won’t either.
It’s really interesting, always educational, and sometimes amusing to check your blog statistics and note what gets the most hits on a blog. Up until recently, the two posts that got the most traffic on this blog were The Goblins will get Ya’! and Up, Up and Away! Maple Sugar Farm.
Both of them generate some traffic every day, often times the only traffic if I haven’t been posting. The James Whitcomb Riley poem, Little Orphan Annie quoted in The Goblins will Get Ya! really resonates with people in a certain age group—MY age group. Around Halloween the hits really surge. People have a lot of fond memories of being read that poem as youngsters and have left comments about their 91 year old Moms or Grammas. In one case, a reader even posted a link of his mother reciting the poem. I’m really touched that people have shared their memories and gratified to know that that post has brought such pleasure to so many.
As for the Up Up and Away! post, it gets so many hits because of this picture of this cute little kitten I posted. There are a lot of people who enjoy looking at pictures of cute kittens. I suspect that some of them are little girls and maybe even some little boys. I wonder if they read the story I wrote for my Grandson, Gabe, so long ago and if they do, do they enjoy it? I wish I could watch them reading it.
Recently in the post titled To Be or Knot to Be I told a joke about a string tying itself into a knot and included a line drawing of a knot in the post. It is astonishing how many people have looked at that silly picture! Today there were 79 people who visited this blog. 60 of them were looking at the knot. LOL! Who knew? I hope they also read the joke.
Lesson learned? If you want traffic to your blog, put pictures of common things people are interested in in your posts, people. Blog about famous poems and stories you remember being read to you in your youth or some other popular culture thing that you have fond memories of. Relate, relate, relate!
Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!
Spring has officially sprung. How do we know this? Because these little blue flowers (can anyone ID these little flowers?) popped up all over the yard and the daffodils bloomed at my Gr-son’s house in Edgerton, Sunday. I was hoping the Magnolia Tree would bloom while I was visiting but alas it was not to be. The high Sunday was 81*! In March! In Wisconsin!
Today is the first official day of spring. After an incredibly warm and dry not to mention positively pleasant winter, we have been having the warmest transition into spring I can remember in my nearly 60 years of living. Spring has not only sprung here in Wisconsin, it is breaking all kinds of records. The forecast high today was 81*, smashing the old record of 76* set in 1911. According to The Wisconsin State Journal, the high on the last official day of winter was “only” 73* but that’s because it rained. Prior to that we had five consecutive record breaking days.
One has to wonder what summer is going to be like if spring is beginning like this.
Spring in Edgerton, WI:
This is a photograph taken while observing an unusual class offered at the University of Wisconsn-Madison. Can you guess what it is? (To see a larger version click on the thumbnail.) TASS Matthew Piepenbrok and Kristine Karlen doing their thing.