WELL!!!!!! When last we met, dear readers, I was in high gear for show preparation for the Arts Alive! festival at the Art Center of Corpus Christi, and Septemberfest at the Museum of the Southwest in Midlant, Texas. Before I get any further, I'm going to warn you: this is a LOT of ground to cover, so go and grab a beverage and a snack, settle down on the couch, and get comfortable. Also, there is minimal photography this go around because I was just so dang busy!
First, I had to drive to Corpus Christi, and since I prefer to avoid the orange barrel post-apocalyptic hellscape that is I-35, I chose to get on to Hwy 77 at Waco and take that way down to Corpus. Everything went according to plan, although it was slow going. It was a beautiful day, with big fluffy clouds billowing up on the horizon (this is called FORESHADOWING). I stopped in La Grange to sing the obligatory ZZ Top song and have a maple walnut scone at Big State Coffee Roasters and also to stretch my legs. The staff was lovely, as usual. I eavesdropped on some of the old timers telling hurricane stories. It was a nice respite from the road.
Once I got down to I-10 and Schulenberg, my GPS staged a mutiny, and I ended up heading towards Shiner YET AGAIN. I resisted the temptation to hit up the brewery and instead made my way back to Hwy 77 and continued on to Victoria, then cruised through Refugio, then on to Hwy 35 and down through Portland to Corpus Christi. I stopped at Whataburger-by-the-Bay, because of COURSE, and I was glad to be back. I have to say, whether I'm coming from the north over the bridge on Hwy 35, or coming from the west on I-37, when I see the bay and the Corpus Christi skyline, it feels like I'm coming home. I also noticed with a bit of trepidation that those fluffy billowy clouds were a LOT bigger.
From Whataburger, I headed to my Airbnb. This was the very first time I ever stayed at an Airbnb, and I must say it was a marvelous experience! My hosts, Rob and Tammy, were gracious, and the room was perfect. Here is a link to their Airbnb if you want to check it out:
It was in a quiet neighborhood near an HEB (score!!!), and the room was comfy and there was a fridge, a microwave, and some very tasty granola that Tammy made, adn snacks of all kinds, so I felt really well-taken care of. They were also kind enough to offer me some wine on the back patio, and we had a lovely visit on Sunday night after the show was over.
You remember those big fluffy clouds I mentioned earlier? Yeah. Well. Those friendly fluffy clouds turned into big ol' rain clouds. Set up started at 6am, and I figured I would get it out of the way, then head on over to Port Aransas for my beach/Winton's Island Candy/The Connoisseur pilgrimage. I got up at 6, and by the time I had gotten myself out the door, the heavens had opened up. It absolutely POURED, and those poor volunteers at the art center were running around trying to get things done in the deluge. I was pretty much the first artist there, so I found my spot and got my tent up. Thank heavens it wasn't windy, because that would have been some high-level entertainment value. My shoes were soaked, my shirt was soaked, my pants were soaked, but I did manage to get the tent up, and the rest of the load-in went pretty quickly. And wouldn't you know it! As soon as I zipped up my tent, the rain STOPPED, AND THE SUN CAME OUT!!!!! Sigh. Isn't it always the way.
After I set up, I debated on whether or not to go back to my room to dry off and plan to go to Hester's (another Corpus Christi favorite of mine), but just decided to go for it and head to the island in all my soaking wet glory. I went to Coffee Waves instead, and chowed down on a muffin and cappuccino while checking my e-mail and marveling at how much Port Aransas has bounced back from Hurricane Harvey. From there, I headed to the beach. I have to say that I prefer the beach in winter, mostly because the water doesn't feel like I'm stepping into the bath. It was also humid as all-get-out, and then it started raining, so I decided to go get candy and call it a day. I paid my respects at The Connoisseur, said hello to the kitty, bought a Chinese silk fan (which came very much in handy, i can tell you), then went on to Winton's Island Candies, then went back to my room to crash before going to visit Kellie and her family. I went to their new house for dinner, and basked in the joy of active family life and fellowship. It was a good day.
The show itself went well, despite the wind that would kick up in the afternoons. On Sunday, the wind was so bad that I very nearly lost my tent and some of my jewelry, but thank goodness for kind neighbors and extra tent weights! I was glad to see Kellie and her friends again, and Esther and her adorable family came by, too! Patrons, fellow artists, and volunteers were all lovely, and despite the weather shenanigans, I will definitely do this show again. And the view wasn't bad, either!
i bade Corpus Christi farewell, and made the mistake to take the interstate all the way back to DFW. TEN HOURS LATER, I managed to crawl into the driveway, and STILL managed not to get any kolaches from Czech Stop! Better luck next time, I guess. That's what I get for driving on Labor Day in a rainstorm across Texas. Yuck.
A few days later, I headed back out on the road to Midland. Those rain clouds were still hanging around, and they were NOT playing. I lost count of how many wrecks I drove past on I-20 (one of them was a fatality, and it was emotional to see the emergency responders standing in a circle in their cowboy hats and reflective rain gear praying for the deceased). I eventually made it into town and went straight on to the Museum of the Southwest to do early setup. I was so tired that I couldn't get it all done, but at least I got the tent and the tables set up.
Morning came, and with it came torrential downpour. The funny thing about west Texas is that there are no storm drains, because it really doesn't make sense to have storm drains when it only rains maybe three or four times a year in any significant amount. Unfortunately, Friday was one of those times. I have never seen water rise quite so quickly, and I now understand why they make such a big deal about flash flood warnings. I wish I could figure out how to post video on here, because I got some impressive video of the foot and a half of water I had to wade through to get to my tent to finish setup. It was quite something. Should have brought my hip waders. Or scuba gear.
Hold up, y'all! I think I figured it out!!! Behold the monsoon!
And now for some BIG NEWS:
Friday night was the big gala preview party, but unfortunately the ground was so soaked that the electrician didn't feel it was safe to run the electricity out on the grounds where the artists were. This meant that there was no lights, and no lights meant sub-optimal viewing of the art work. And it was still pouring rain in the afternoon. At first, I decided that I wouldn't open my booth, but around 6pm the rain stopped, and I figured I had driven all that way, so I went and sat up anyway, and found some of my battery operated Christmas lights and wound them around my display to at least attract some attention.
People, let me tell you something. The lesson here was plain: show up and get the job done, even if it isn't in the best of conditions. Not only did I have fun and sell seven pairs of earrings, I was also incredibly humbled and thrilled that the jury for judging the best of show chose ME. That's right. I won "Best of Show" at Septemberfest. I have the ribbon to prove it! I was in a state of shock, because there were so many talented artists at the show, and so many more experienced artists, and I've only been doing art shows for two years, so... yeah. I'm still in a state of shock, to be totally honest. It really made the show that much more special!
The next two days of the show fared better, weatherwise, and quite a few of my creations found their forever homes. All in all, it was a great show, and thanks to the many wonderful volunteers at the Museum of the Southwest. I look forward to seeing everyone again next year!
On a side note, I was informed that there were actual, honest-to-goodness prairie dogs living in random places around Midland, so after teardown, I went on a prairie dog hunt. Lo and behold, there they were, in the middle of a random vacant lot! I was under the impression that prairie dogs were about the size of hamsters, but I was very much mistaken. They are much larger, and chubby, and they roam in packs. They also look like they could carjack a Fiat if they were determined enough. I present to you my bad wildlife photography!
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
As if all this excitement were not enough, I was contacted by the museum director of the Ellen Noel Art Museum in Odessa, Texas about selling my jewelry in their soon-to-be-reopened gift shop! The plan is to make the gift shop an artisan market of sorts, focusing on gifts for women. The grand opening gala will be October 23 from 6-8pm. I will be there in person for that, along with their Dia de los Muertos event on November 3. I am super excited about this opportunity! I will keep you all posted as to further developments. Wish me luck!
Once again, that's all the news that's fit to print! Stay tuned for more adventures in art shows in the state of Texas! And as always, here's Tosca Q Puss being judgmental. I think she's mad at me for leaving her alone with her housemate for so long.
Greetings, everyone, and thanks for visiting my blog! As you may or may not know, September kicks off art show and festival season here in Texas. The weather (allegedly) starts cooling off, and every weekend it seems there is something new and fun to do. While I have not managed to get into an art show every single weekend, I do have a goodly number scheduled in the coming months. I can't wait to see old friends, make new friends, and share with everyone how my work is progressing!
As far as September goes, first up is Arts Alive! in Corpus Christi, Texas at the Art Center of Corpus Christi. This is a relatively new show, this upcoming one being it's third year. It's being billed as a family-friendly event. The address is 100 North Shoreline Drive. For those of you familiar with Corpus Christi, that's across from Whataburger-on-the-bay (the big two-story Whataburger overlooking the marina and the bay). I'm really looking forward to going for many reasons, one of which is that Corpus Christi is one of my most favorite cities in Texas! I also hope to visit with Kellie and her family, and see how Esther and her family is doing in their new home down there.
The following weekend is Septemberfest at The Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas. Septemberfest is in its 49th year this year, and I am excited to be a part of such a great event! Friday night will be the gala art preview (complete with gourmet food and wine and a chance to buy art from your favorite artists before the general public gets a chance, so it's fancy). Saturday and Sunday are open to the general public. I'm still waiting on the hours the show will be open, but I will post them as soon as I know. The Museum of the Southwest is a beautiful facility there in Midland, and the art show is held on the lawn. There are also food trucks, and activities for the kids, including a petting zoo. I am wondering if they will bring the African porcupine back. If so, this year I aim to get enough courage to actually pet the thing. They're a lot bigger in person than they are on Animal Planet, and they're kind of freaky! I'm still waiting to finalize my schedule for October, November, and December, but I will definitely keep you all posted.
Speaking of shameless self-promotion, I finally decided to join the 21st century and get an Instagram business account so I can run ads and annoy the general population on social media. I haven't gotten around to running any ads yet, mostly because advertising mystifies me beyond belief, but I will before too long. This account is not completely devoid of cat pictures and food pictures, but it will not include any pad bugs or gross clarinet pictures from my other line of work, repairing woodwind instruments. The main focus will be promoting my jewelry with (hopefully, but probably not) well-done photography, selling said jewelry, and the occasional promotion to show appreciation to my loyal followers. My new Instagram username is @hkarlssonjewelrydesign so please give it a follow!
In other news, I've been working on getting ready for art show season by obsessing over my display and trying to build up a substantial inventory. I've been wire wrapping like a fiend. Take a look!
I'm pretty excited by the simple ring design I came up with. Right now I'm going to stick with doing it in copper, but I may get around to doing some silver ones, too. It depends on what I have time for between now and Arts Alive. For the record, the green ring was supposed to be a bracelet. Yeah, I know. I know. I REALLY mismeasured when I was coming up with that design. For what it is worth, there will be only one of these, unless somebody just REALLLLLLLLLLY wants another one.
I also got my jury shots back from my Ritornello 2.0 designs. I was hoping for a third, but the original design on the third piece had an unfortunate setback (that will have to be another blog post, because it was an absolute trial and I'm still sulking about it). I hope to have another one done before the end of next week, but whether or not that is possible remains to be seen!
Finally, I signed up for an amazing wire weaving workshop taught by the godmother of wire weaving in this country: Mary Lee Hu. Y'all, I am here to tell you that this is some next-level artistry that this woman does. I mean, you all think the Turquoise Queen collection is nuts? Oh no. Here is the flier for her workshop (which is already full up, by the way). Feast your eyes on the works of this woman. Yeah. I'm going to be learning about THAT. I'm SUPER EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And finally, what would a blog here at H. Karlsson Jewelry Design be without cat pictures? Here are two of the latest candid portraits from Tosca Q Puss and Kaycee Katt!
That's all the news that's fit to print! Thanks again for reading, and stay tuned for my further adventures in metalsmithing!
Greetings, everyone, and thanks for visiting! You better hold onto your hats and grab a tasty beverage, because you're in for a treat today! This extra-long blog will cover two of my favorite subjects: jewelry and wildlife! First things, first, though. I got into another show: Redbud Artisan Market in Dripping Springs, TX. This one will be a Christmas market on the first weekend of December, so if you're in the area, please come out and shop. My jewelry line is developing rapidly, so expect anything. I'll have more details in the fall.
Speaking of developing, I promised you all that I'd let you in on the production process of the latest addition to my Ritornello line. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my goal is to get into more high-end shows. To do that, my mentor suggested that instead of using actual musical instrument keys, I build everything from silver and use the sculptural elements in the keys that speak to me and develop them as a composer might develop a theme in music. So I sat down and drew. A lot. My task was to take the things that interested me most about a particular part of a musical instrument and develop it.
I came up with some cool ideas, so the next step was to figure out how to produce them. The two elements I went with were the G# key cup on a Loree oboe, and the right hand pinky keys (the C, D flat, and E flat, to be precise). After due consideration of the engineering involved in making these designs, I decided to stick with the G# key ones for the time being. The pinky key shapes are going to require more finagling, and probably learning some chasing and repousse. (I'll leave a link at the bottom so you can see what that is. It is an ancient technique, and a bit involved, but I'll get around to learning it someday.) I could also use my die making skills, but since I am an impatient human, I'm going to stick with key cups for right now.
I made these out of solid silver. They would actually function on a real live oboe if I made the key cups shallow enough. The stones I chose are Bamboo Mountain turquoise from China for the reversible pendant, and Compass turquoise from Nevada for the larger pendant. Check out the progression!
I'm proud of how these turned out, and I'm excited to make more. I think what I will do is incorporate more of the natural stones that haven't been backed, so I can make more reversible pendants. I like how those showcase the stones. Of course, the natural unbacked stones are more expensive, but, as my friend says, the heart wants what it wants. I have more beautiful Bamboo Mountain turquoise, and some really gorgeous Treasure Mountain turquoise, so we'll see how this series develops!
Meanwhile, here in Suburbia, we had visitors in our backyard that caused QUITE the stir. I woke up last Saturday to a frantic text message from my neighbor that there was a ginormous bobcat in my yard. I jumped out of bed and ran to the window and, sure enough, there was an absolutely beautiful female bobcat in our side yard, trying to rest and keep cool in the wet grass from where our sprinklers had run during the night. She was big kitty, and she had absolutely no interest in the humans peeking at her through their kitchen window. I did manage to get some good pictures of her, though, and my husband was able to shoot some video of her prowling around. I can't figure out how to post video, so I guess you'll just have to take my word for it. It's just as well. You'd be too distracted by how filthy my kitchen window is. The things you don't notice until you take a picture!!! Ugh. Anyway, my neighbors were losing their collective minds about the RAMPANT DANGER that had taken up residence in our yard.
Word started to spread, and my neighbor informed me that he spoke to another neighbor who had seen her with four cubs. FOUR!!! So, I peeked out the back and sure enough, I spotted a few baby bobkittens. So cute!!!!!! Since I am a crazy cat lady, I really wanted to go outside and pick them up and love on them, but since I am not as dumb as I look, I did not do that. I took pictures instead. Don't worry, the pictures are forthcoming! As it turns out, there were not four but FIVE bobcat cubs for Ma Bobcat to take care of. That is a large litter of kitties, and my husband and I wondered if perhaps the rabbits who lived under our deck were on the menu. When we took a closer look under our patio table, we got our answer in the form of a severed rabbit leg. Poor bunnies!
Some of the bobcat cubs had burrowed their way under our deck, which probably flushed the rabbits out into the open, and, well, Ma Bobcat did the rest. At least she was decent enough to clean up most of the mess. My husband got some video of her munching on the rabbit leg. She had absolutely no concerns whatsoever about us staring at her through the window while she ate. I guess she figured we weren't a threat. I mean, she wasn't bothering US, so I didn't feel the need to go harass her. The neighbors were not feeling as charitable, mostly because they have small dogs that they don't want to keep on a leash. So, after numerous texts and calls, I finally convinced my husband that we should at least make a showing that we were trying to "do something" about the massive code red next-level threat to peace and the American way in the neighborhood. (If you can't hear me rolling my eyes as I write this, turn up the volume on your device. That may help.) Meanwhile, my neighbor was spraying a water hose over our back fence in an attempt to show this vicious predator who was boss. Ma Bobcat obliged him in the watering of our bushes by moving out of range and taking a nap. Bobcat - 1; Agitated Suburban Primate - 0.
Now, before you dog lovers go off the deep end, yes I did consider what a pain in the ass it is not to be able to let your tiny dog into the backyard while you watch Maury Povich or RuPaul's Drag Race and not worry about it getting eaten by a bobcat (never mind the fact that our resident redtail hawks could carry off a small dog without too much trouble, and the fact that developers have trashed every scrap of green space from here to the Red River and there's nowhere else for any of the local critters to go but our backyards, but hey, what do I know?). I did convince Mr Karlsson that we should do our civic duty and deal with this egregious encroachment on hearth and home. So, the plan was to convince the kittens to move out from under the patio table, and to convince Ma Bobcat to take the kids and move on. I personally had no hopes of any of this working, but I did have hopes of getting the texting and the knocking on the front door to stop. Mr Karlsson went out into the backyard, and I went looking for Ma Bobcat.
BE IT KNOWN, DEAR READERS, that here is where it becomes abundantly clear that Mrs Karlsson has been out of her natural habitat for too long, and has become far too domesticated for her own good. I had been informed by my neighbor that Ma Bobcat was napping in my side yard again, so I decided to go politely demand for her to leave. Bear in mind that my side yard is fenced in. Do you see where this is headed? Good. Because I didn't. So I come around the corner of the house WHILE MY HUSBAND IS MAKING A RACKET IN THE BACKYARD. Ma Bobcat is already alert and waiting. I saw her and started walking toward her, saying something along the lines of "Alright, now, ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Ma Bobcat was unamused, stood up, and delivered a low, throaty growl.
It was at this point that two things became obvious to me in my infinite wisdom: 1) I was approaching a full-grown bobcat who happened to be protecting her babies and was cornered, and 2) I was doing it unarmed. I stopped, said "thank you, ma'am, sorry to bother you," and backed away slowly. I went over to my neighbors, informed them I had done all I could, got wrapped up in about a half-hour discussion about how the city should come out and do something (ha ha ha!!!), and meanwhile my avocado was turning black and my dinner salad was wilting on the kitchen counter. First world problems. During all of this, Ma Bobcat was still in my side yard, and she had laid back down for a nap in the bushes. She was probably thinking that the city SHOULD do something, but not about HER. Bobcat - 2; Agitated Suburban Primates - 0.
She kept up her reign of terror for another day or two, leaving behind another rabbit carcass in the process (only this time it was in my other neighbor's driveway), and then disappeared with her children into parts unknown sometime during Friday night. I have no idea where she was headed, but I hope she can get a bit more peace than what she was able to get while she was in our backyard. At least the texts have stopped. Mr Karlsson went out this afternoon to wash away what was left of Ma Bobcat's dinner: a rabbit stomach containing undigested grass, and a front foot. I don't know if the bunnies will come back to live under our deck, but I'm thinking we should probably fill in the bobcat den at some point. Oh, well. That's life in the great suburban outback of Dallas for you.
In all seriousness, though, having a bobcat in your backyard is no real reason to panic. They are not going to bother you unless you bother them, and most of the time they will either run or let you know under no uncertain terms that they want to be left alone. Do NOT be stupid like me and approach a cornered mother bobcat. Or any other mother with babies, for that matter. You will get what you deserve. Bobcats move through their territory pretty quickly, especially when they have five little mouths to feed. One tends to run out of rabbits when feeding five babies. If you have a bobcat in your backyard, they will not be there for very long. They will NOT approach you (unless they are rabid, and then you have bigger problems). The city will NOT remove them unless they are rabid. You will know a bobcat is rabid by their behavior. Okay, I'm not going to lecture y'all about this any more. If you want more information, I will leave a link at the bottom. But, really, y'all. You can't expect to live in a place where all the open land and green spaces and wooded areas are being ripped out in favor of apartment complexes and In-N-Out Burgers and car dealerships and NOT see critters. It's unreasonable. Learn about their behavior. Learn who they are. Be respectful of your animal neighbors, and they will leave you alone. End of sermon. Here are some bobcat pictures:
Well, that's all the news that's fit to print! Once again, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you learned something new!