Wednesday, January 8, 2014

zero pressure

I've been thinking about some things I might like to try in 2014.

No resolutions, no pressure.
Just things that seem both 
challenging and exciting to think about.

For example...

In the Baking Tent: making pie crust.

Old Reliable: a storebought frozen pieshell.
Can I do as well? Can I do better??

I haven't made my own piecrust (or rolled cookies) for decades. Mostly this is because I don't have a kitchen surface large enough to work easily with a rolling pin. This year I will try: either learning to feel comfortable working with a tiny rolling pin on a small surface, or coming up with a larger work surface, or perhaps even making good piecrust without rolling it out at all.

And if I can make a decent piecrust, it may be a short step to...fruit turnovers! Meat and veg pasties!!

In Goat World: building a better cashmere comb.

Betula says: "Lift out the cashmere, leave the topcoat...
and no pulling, please!"

Combing cashmere goats is a long process, both in terms of the time spent combing each individual goat and the weeks during which the goats continue to shed, thus inviting multiple combing sessions of each goat. A proper tool would make a big difference.

Each year, I've added at least one different type of dog or human comb to my collection, and (not surprisingly) none is ideal for combing goat undercoats. In fact, the most effective "comb" so far has been one that I cobbled together a couple of years ago using bits and pieces of things I had lying around; in fact, my usual method of addressing a design problem. But while the prototype showed promise, I did not tinker with it last year. Instead, I used three different combs every day, and although I got the job done (eventually), the process was far from ideal.

This year, before the harvest begins, I will at least give it a go and try again. It would be very rewarding to come up with something that would make the harvest easier for both the goats and myself.

In the Arts Department: linocut printing.

(Sorry, no illustration, because I've never, ever, done it before!)

I have always loved prints made from woodcuts, but have never tried making one. And as much as I love wood, and love working with wood, I think carving a block of linoleum for a linocut would be a more sensible and less dangerous way to experiment. A potato might be easier still, but I've decided to bypass that medium in favor of something less likely to rot.

So...linocut printing!

I don't even know if I'm using the correct term, so please feel free to correct and inform me in the comments. I have no experience or knowledge, but what I do have is endless inspiration all around. Also, a strong leaning toward a creative process that will encourage simplicity and - speaking as a person who can overthink to the point of immobility - may require getting out of my own way.

Could be fun. Could be great fun! Will almost certainly by messy, which, come to think of it, is often a byproduct of fun. I can handle messy for the sake of fun.


Now that I've begun putting these ideas into words, a great many projects are leaping into my head, all with the word "should" attached. But I don't want this to become a "to do" list, nor a "must do" list. So I'll stop here, with just three "might like to try" things: one a revisit, one an evolving creation, and one a completely new experience.

Onward, 2014!

Betula says, "Bring it!"