I made great progress in the studio over the holiday. I was able to figure out the correct burn time with my exposure unit and managed to do a little printing finally. I haven’t quite finished the projects I was working on in the studio, but am hoping to wrap them up by the end of this week. I will post pictures of the finished products at a later date as they are gifts and I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Brian was able to set up the AC unit and install the indoor and outdoor stereo system on the boat—how exciting! Don’t worry, we still had some time to hang out in the company of good friends as well. Here are some pictures of the projects we worked on over the weekend:
I can’t tell you how excited I am to work in the studio this weekend. I took today off from work so that I would have four days to spend on my art projects. I know I haven’t posted much about my progression in art, but to be honest, I haven’t really produced much in the way of art, or that is how I’ve been feeling about it. Mainly I’ve been preparing myself for some serious projects I have in mind.
About a month ago I bought an exposure unit for screen printing off ebay. It was the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. Although I am still trying to find the right burning time for my screens, the unit is absolutely perfect for my screen-printing needs. It is small enough and did not break my budget (well maybe a little). So during the weekends I have been working hard to get my studio laid out to pursue all of my painting, sewing, and screen-printing projects. I made a little dark room to dry my screens underneath the work table and found a small sewing table (with a Singer that is almost the exact same model as mine) to spread out my work space.
The sewing table worked out perfectly as I had sent my other much-larger table up to my grandparents’ storage unit in Cary, NC. This one folds open to provide extra table space, but to conserve space or give myself an extra surface to spread out on, I can just fold it closed. I still have the second sewing machine (a 1960s Singer, Golden Touch & Sew, Deluxe Zig-Zag model) that came with the table, but I am not sure that it works. I only paid $10 for the machine and table at the Goodwill, so I figure maybe I can find someone to pass it on to, someone who would be interested in fixing it up. Anyone in the Charleston area looking for a vintage sewing machine? I can tell you my grandmother took my machine to the Singer store as a graduation gift and it works wonderfully—so durable.
After I moved my machine to the sewing table I was able to move my press onto the work table. I have yet to screw it into place, but that is on my to-do list for the weekend. As far as my other preparations go, I reorganized everything, sketched a little in my notebook, and put my drawings/designs to print on transparencies to burn onto a screen. I went to Artist & Craftsman, the art supply store downtown (where I spend way too much money), and bought a yard of silk screen to stretch on some old frames, some solution for re-purposing the screen I didn’t burn long enough last weekend, some canvas, and stretcher bars for a new painting.
One of the reasons I am so excited to work on my new projects is because lately I have been seeing/reading about the most amazing natural wonders, and it is giving me a better idea of what I want to focus on. For example last night as Brian and I were walking back to the boat, I noticed that the water seemed to be teeming with life. There were thousands of fish about the size of the palm of my hand swimming at the water’s surface between all of the boats in the marina. You could hear them flapping and slapping the water as they jumped and dove back under. I leaned down and stuck my hand into the water and actually touched a few before they shied away from my shadow. The water was literally boiling with fish.
For the past few days I have been watching the pelicans and sea gulls flying in 25 knot winds. It is so entertaining to see them catching air and shooting off in a new direction. One pelican took a sideways diagonal dive into the water (like a torpedo) and came up with a fish. I watched him toss it into the air and gulp it down. Amazing. Then, on Wednesday, I went for a run and on my way back, while I was on a concrete walkway under the bridge and between marinas, I saw a full-grown otter swimming towards me—in full daylight! He saw me too and took a dive under the water. I followed his bubbles as they went underneath me and out the other side. I saw him later swimming along the marsh towards the marina.
The last of my incredible sightings involved a luminous jellyfish at night. I pointed out a glowing flashing dot of luminescent light near the surface of the water, wondering what it was. A few seconds later, I saw a neon halo of light hit the surface, as the jellyfish captured its small prey. Also, here is my barnacle research for my next painting. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday weekend!
Lately I’ve been feeling like I live under a huge floating mound of my own belongings. I’m not going to lie, as I approached the boat on my walk in from work today, I likened my dwelling to a hobbit hole. Maybe it was the small garden that we moved to the front of the boat or the moss-like green that appeared to be growing on the deck. I’m not entirely sure, but more likely it has to do with the fact that pretty much every space on the boat is filled with tools, supplies, or our own junk. Although we downsized about two months ago when we first moved onto the boat (and that was not easy!), we still have a lot of stuff packed into a small space. Not to say that the things we brought with us aren’t important; in fact it would be hard to get along with much less right now as we are both still doing the 9-5 thing.
Here is the layout of the boat so you can get a good picture of what the space is like. (I posted this on one of my about pages last week, but feel it is particularly pertinent to this post.)
The most important thing to remember when occupying in a small space is to stay organized. Here are some of the storage solutions (sealed plastic bins are the best!):
Currently residing on the top of the boat:
- Two bicycles, an AC unit, a small garden, a larger cooler for water, a shop vac, some wet shoes, an extra sail cover, a collapsed bimini top, and two reclining chairs, among a few other items.
Inside the boat we have divided the storage space as such:
- The right quarter berth is full of tools and necessary boat items, while the left quarter berth contains plastic bins of clothes, a djembe drum, and a few other random items all hidden behind a huge plastic hanging closet that I found at Target.
- The kitchen has short rectangular cabinets behind it which are full of canned vegetables, tea, plates, cups, silverware, mugs, espresso cups, a french press, and two stove-top espresso makers.
- The other side of the boat is filled with food and my hand-cranked pasta maker.
- There is a locker full of pots and pans a little farther inside the boat, and there are cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink and in the bathroom.
- The bedroom, which you can see in these pictures is about the only possible place to keep our personal knicknacks, books, pictures, and the like.
And we now have running water! (do a little dance) hooray!
Thanks to Larry Muething, after two months on the boat, we finally have the ability to use the faucets and both sinks. This is a big step up in the world of boat living. This means multitudes to me. Specifically, this means no more washing dirty dishes in a bucket on the dock, no more walking around with sticky hands, or brushing my teeth on the dock, or waiting until morning to wash my face. This is true progress.
In addition to the water, Brian and I made great progress on sewing a cover for the marine AC unit that Brian bought recently. It was not exactly an easy project because the cover goes over the hatch door and has two openings, one for the hatch itself and the other to fit the front of the AC. It has to fit snugly in order to keep the cool air fron leaking out, so we had to cut the opening larger than the size of the unit and sew on a loop with a bungy cord to cinch tight. We are about 95% finished with this project after spending three nights working on it, so we are hoping to get this project finished up this week, just in time for the South Carolina heat to set in (it was 90 degrees yesterday).
Oh yeah and Brian just finished up a bunch of little projects around the boat, such as varnishing the last cabinet doors and installing new windows, which make a big difference in the state of the inside of the boat. I feel like he deserves a little shout out for all his hard work. Thank you for making my floating home that much cozier.
I am not the only cook living aboard Illusion. Check out Brian stir-frying rice last week: