Thursday, October 27, 2011

In the Beginning. A very good place to start.

Today I began working on a new design idea. The latest Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Textiles, Toronto challenge is to make a textile piece on the theme of one of the days of creation. 

Being no biblical scholar my first step was to do a little research on the Seven Days of Creation and the imagery that other Artists have used to express the related themes. The first symbol that called to me was Light. For this project I associate light with the candles for Shabbat, Chanukah and Havdalah. 

Now I'm not silly enough to try to make a fabric candle, but I have been wondering for a while what would be involved in using textiles in candlesticks. My two main concerns are stability and how to separate the flame from the fabric - separating the light from the darkness. Please do let me know if you think of a clever way to separate the fabric from the flame.

If I were to use the First Day of Creation as my inspiration I would be working with this text:

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:1-5

The candlestick would represent the Darkness of Night, the formless void of the earth, separate from the light but offering support to the candle. Would the candlestick be very dark? Would it have the colours of Earth, Water and Wind rising up to meet the Light? The candle would represent the Hope, Warmth and Comfort of Day.

According to the Jewish calendar, not only Jewish holidays begin at nightfall, but every day does. With the lighting of the candle we begin a new day.

Light and Dark, Yin and Yang, the Universal Law of Duality.

If I'm making this for Shabbat I have to make two candlesticks which is a bit of a deal breaker. Cool! I just looked it up and Havdalah means separation. Things are falling into place. I'll make a candle holder for Havdalah, my favorite moment in the week.

If I were to use the Light of the Fourth Day of Creation as my inspiration I would be working with this text: 

And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. God made the two great lights - the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night - and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19

I start to see how I would make two candlesticks. One would be for the day and one for the night but when I think about the Fourth day I start to get overwhelmed by the complexity of the imagery.

The images of Havdalah Candle Holders on Google seem to have a nice low centre of gravity. I'll have to find a way to weigh the holder down or give it a wide base. That gives me a scathingly brilliant idea. I could use a smaller version of my Magen David basket bowl design. This is starting to get exciting!

Havdalah candle holder in honor of the 1st Day of Creation it is!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cleaning the Fridge the ADHD Way

From that widget at the right you will see that I am process oriented. I like to think through the steps of my project as I go through them. I am also a little bit AADHD so I tend to jump from one step to another. Hence my dashing over to the computer to write a blog post about cleaning the refrigerator while I am cleaning the refrigerator. I figure that if I've got my steps in writing next time I can just follow the recipe, and maybe someone else will find my description useful.

Step 1: Empty and load the dishwasher. This will help to clear the counters and the sink and let you know if you have room left in the dishwasher to wash the containers you're going to clean out of the fridge. Run a load of dishes if necessary while you start the next step.

Step 2: Get out your sponges, soap, towels and any other cleaning products you like to use. Wash out the sink and fill it with warm soapy water if you like. I prefer to wash and rinse the shelves under running water but I try to be conscious of not letting the water run too long.

Step 3:  Make a space on your counter large enough to hold everything you've collected in the fridge. If you're like me you'll put a tray on the counter to corral as many of the items as possible. Otherwise the task will expand to fill any available space.

Step 4:  Take everything out of the fridge, and I mean everything that isn't nailed down including shelves and drawers. Keep track of where everything came from so you'll know how to put it together again when it's clean. Put the shelves and other pieces of the fridge into the sink and give them a good scrubbing.  Don't forget to scrub out the inside of the fridge before you start putting everything back.

Step 5:  Put the fridge back together as the pieces are cleaned and dried. This is when you'll be glad you kept track of where everything came from. Just remember it's your fridge. If the configuration doesn't work now is the time to make changes. I just realized as I put my fridge back together that I could put the drinks low enough for my kids to be able to get themselves some milk or OJ by making a taller shelf lower down in the fridge. It takes me a while but I get there.

Step 6:  Go ahead and have a sip of your coffee but don't take a break yet. We still have to deal with all that other stuff that's out on the counter. By the way, I didn't follow my own advice at this point. I sat at the computer and let the dog sleep in my lap and wrote this blog post and tweeted from my @MitziZohar account: 

I'm writing a blog post about cleaning and organizing the fridge, while surfing and tweeting, and cleaning and organizing the fridge. #ADHD

Step 7: Back to work.Now it's time for the 'fun' part. What have you got on the counter? Does it all belong in the fridge? Is there somewhere else you could store your nail polish?Check expiry dates. Open containers and do the sniff test. Look for mould and science experiments.Be ruthless about disposing of anything that's past its best before date, that your family doesn't eat anymore or condiments that you've been keeping around just in case.Empty out containers into your compost bin, green bin or garbage disposal and rinse them out or put them into the dishwasher or recycling bin.

Step 8:  Sort like with like. Our daughter loves Israeli salad so I keep the cucumber, tomatoes, onions and parsley all together so she can make it for herself any time.

In our refrigerator the fruit and veggies go in the crisper and the cheese and meat go in the other drawer. How do you like to organize your refrigerator? Can you tell this is not my favorite step?

Step 9:  Empty the old box of baking soda down the sink, recycle the old box and put a new one in the fridge. Mmmm, now the sink and fridge will both smell fresh.

Yikes! The box says to change it every 30 days. Is that how often I'm supposed to repeat this process? Is that how often you do it? I'm going to start by putting a reminder in my Yahoo calendar for once every three months. I'll let you know if that is too often or not often enough. What's your guess?

How long does this take? No way of knowing because I take so many breaks and do so many things at the same time.

A word to the wise: Take your time. Have fun with it. There are so many reasons to do a great job. For one thing, if your refrigerator is really really clean and organized you'll notice right away if something gets dirty or out of place and you'll fix it. You'll also notice when it's time to get more ketchup, and remember that you don't need yet another bottle of barbecue sauce, if you always keep them in the same place.

The longer your fridge can stay looking terrific the longer it will be until you have to start the process all over again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Getting the Word Out

Print PageA friend emailed me requesting tips on how too get the word out about her book. It was a timely question since I'm obsessed with Twitter and how to get the word out about Mark's company right now.

 This is part of the email I wrote in response:

- follow everyone you can find who has anything to do with the internet, marketing, parenting, education and any other interest you think coincides with the topic of your book
- follow lots of other successful authors to see how they are marketing themselves and their books, and follow the tactics that you feel comfortable with
- tweet regularly about how your book is doing, quotes from the book, how the book relates to what is happening in today's news and current events.
- link to how people can buy the book or comment on it - when someone follows you DM them to make sure they know about your book

Did I miss anything? What else would you do to get the word out about something you're passionate about?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thinking Out Loud

Print PageI have been enjoying watching the weeds struggle to takeover the asphalt strip between my sidewalk and the street. I dream of the day when the tenacious roots break the stone apart and I am able to pick up the pieces and throw them aside. I wonder "Should I strew wildflower seeds to help the process along? Should I surreptitiously drop spoonfuls of compost as I take my daily walk? Should I encourage (or discourage) my little dog to do his business on this arid strip? This morning I had the idea that with a little help from my neighbours we could beautify this strip of our city. I stopped and chatted with Tony as he planted his Fall Mums. He already had an established strip of grass when he moved into his house but thought my idea was a good one. One neighbour on board, twenty or so to go. Never having indulged in this kind of community activism I'm wondering what it will take to get the ball rolling. So far I have realized that I will need: - the city by-laws - someone knowledgeable about gardening - someone knowledgable about community organization What else am I missing in may plan?