Tool roll

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I took a break from quilting — which can be tiring work, manipulating three layers of fabric in the heat — to make this.

It’s a tool roll.

Over the years, I’ve watched middle schoolers, high schoolers and others struggle with pencil cases. The pencil cases fill up with broken pens, pencils without points, and a variety of other broken tools. It’s dumb.  I’ve made other tool rolls, notably in leather, but I wanted to make one that I thought could be replicated in a school MakerLab pretty easily with just fabric and some simple supplies like ribbon and bias tape.   And I made this in a couple of hours, I’d say, making it up as I went.  Pretty easy, and a reasonably competent sewer could make a replica in short order, I’m sure.

The design is pretty simple but I’m going to have to refine it further before it’s ready for prime-time to teach others how to sew.  There is a pattern of sorts, in other words. But I’m going to have to refine it.

The essence of the design is two pieces of fabric, the same width but different lengths.  One is folded around the other in such a way as to form a top ‘flap’ to protect the tools inside and keep them from flopping out; and a bottom ‘pocket’ to hold the tools in place.  These two pieces of fabric are the red-with-yellow-stars fabric, and the solid blue.  (The purple is bias tape, the ribbon is from the box of a fancy men’s store in New York City that I saved for this purpose when I got a gift; and the black-and-white floral print is left over from one of last week’s quilts.  The result is a simple tool roll that holds just a few pens and pencils — enough to know that they work, that they’re good tools, and that they have a specific place to go.  Not so many that they get lost or broken.

Even unrolled, the tool roll conceals its tool kit until the last minute.  The blue fabric flips over the top in order to protect the equipment inside.  When this is flipped open or flipped back, the simple collection of tools inside becomes visible.   I think ultimately there should be room for 2-3 pencils, one of those blocky pencil-sharpeners with two shavers, a compass and a ruler, and 3-5 pens (black, blue, red, and maybe some other colors): enough to work with in an imaginative way, but not so much that it’s hard to keep track of.  And when something is broken or missing, you know — you know because you, the kid who made this pencil case, know exactly how many tools are in it, should be in it, and where they go.  That would be the idea.

So that’s the basics of the design: non-complicated, four pieces of fabric and a ribbon  And the design teaches four basic skills, too: hemming, inside-out-and-turn construction, top stitching, bias tape use, cutting on a rotary mat with a quilting ruler, and layering of stitches. It’s not fool proof by any means, but it’s a sophisticated project for being such a small thing.  I have to refine it, of course, but this is a great start.  Yay!

First draft: Solar painting study

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Via Flickr:
The wheel around a central dot or sphere is one of the traditional and ancient symbols of the sun. This painting is really a color study using the color scales of the Order of the Golden Dawn (19th century English magical order, not modern-day right-wing Greek political party).

The background, which looks orange in this light, is actually two layers of color interacting with each other. The first layer of color is a pale pink rose color — the hue of the magical realm or Sephirah of Tiphareth, the realm of the Sun, in the King scale of the Golden Dawn. The second layer atop this is the yellow of the Queen scale — and the resulting color fluctuates in different lights between the salmon hue of the Princess scale and the orangey-peach-pink of the Prince scale. In other words, the pink rose of the King and the Yellow of the Queen produce the variability of the Prince and Princess…. hmm.

Atop this, I’ve added a layer of yellow which is the Queen Scale yellow, in the color of the sign. Once this is completed to the right level of intensity, the image (in theory) may become a flashing tablet of the sign of the Sun. My calculations may be off, though.

My consultant on matters tarotical says that Princesses receive energy, Princes move it forward, Queens embody it, and Kings project it. If so, this image should be capable of projecting and receiving energies associated with the Sun. Not sure I buy that, but it’s still a pretty image.

Go Big, then Get Small

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Kavad 4.8 - 3rd Face of Libra The Third Face of Libra has a lot going for it — for one, a lot of the original sources all agree on the bow and arrows thing; for another, there’s a lot of suggestions of sexual impropriety, and a guy with the head of a (ahem) horse has a range of meanings.

Naturally, I’ve screwed up.  I’ve put the bow, and consequently, the main figure’s arm, in the wrong place.  This one is going to have to be redesigned at some point.  But I like the idea of the reclining man with a wineglass and a loaf of bread in hand.  Can I work it into the final version that goes on the kavad?  Hard to know for sure… these pictures are 4″ wide by about 11″ tall — there’s lots of space to work in.  On the kavad, the space is maybe 1.5″ by 4″. That means a lot of the data from these big images is going to have to be compressed down.

Why didn’t I start out by making the windows in my sketchbook the same size as the windows on the kavad? Maybe you’re wondering that.  (Maybe I am, too.)

But the core reason should be obvious — I’m working through a traditional system of learning, and working through a traditional system of training artists. If I jumped right to the crafting of an image, I wouldn’t understand what I was painting or drawing. What is essential here? Do you know?  Do I know, without drawing it?  How will you draw it at a tiny scale, if you’ve never even seen the image before?  And so I draw them large, to figure out what I must know about the image before I try to make it tiny.

There’s a learning process at work here, and to avoid it is to short-circuit your own learning process. Don’t do it.

Video — Kavad 4.6

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Here’s a video of the outer skin of the kavad, at the end of the first day of decoration of the prototype.

What I’ve discovered from this is that my drawing talents are nowhere up to par when it comes to traditional images, like the Gemini twins or the scorpion of Scorpio, much less more complex things like the centaur-archer of Sagittarius or the fish-goat of Capricorn.  So one of the things that I did was go to Google and search for drawing how-to’s on the various signs.  But then, that’s what I’ve done for all kinds of things, from the Tree of Life shown here (more or less cribbed from a John Michael Greer book) to the information itself that I’m encoding upon the box.

Today has been one of the busiest days this blog has seen in a good long while — while I’m unlikely to surpass my record for most unique visitors in a month this June… Thank you for the interest, but please remember this is a prototype… I’d love feedback and comments on how to make this more effective and useful.