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Monday, May 18, 2015

Just being real, Y'all.

Just being real Y'all.  We human beans are an amazing bunch.  We are capable of incredible latitudes in virtually any direction imaginable.  It is possible for us, if we choose, to stop our lives and turn on a dime, as the saying goes. That is what I have chosen to tell you about in this blog because it has happened to me.   

As many of you know, I was recently diagnosed with colorectal cancer.  I was hospitalized for surgery almost instantly and remained so for twenty days.  I had never in my life been hospitalized.  No surgeries or major illnesses had crossed my path.  Had a bad case of the flu once.  Early that morning I found myself on a gurney being wheeled into an operating room.  As I stared at the overhead lights and looked at the masked faces surrounding me the thought occurred to me that this might be the last image I would ever see.  That I might die.  What do I do?   What do I say?  I said a short prayer and thought how I've had almost 62 years of almost perfect health, more than many have experienced.  I've had great friends and loved my work.  I've had plenty, thank you.

In Hospital for beginning of first chemotherapy session with my Mandarin CD ready to keep me company.

I was as surprised as I could be when I opened my eyes just a crack and realized that I was still alive and seeing the faces of people!  I was in a room looking directly into the face of my sister Ruby and surrounded by her husband Harry and Karen.  Then, I was told that when I began waking up after surgery I had been speaking in Mandarin!  Learning Mandarin has been a personal challenge of mine, but never did I think that I would start jabbering in Mandarin while in the fog of unconsciousness!

Wearing first portable chemo. bag and mowing.
But wait, there's more!  As my mind was growing less and less foggy, I realized that there was something under my hospital gown.  You know, those cloth things with the opening down the back!  Well, when I looked under the gown, I saw that I now had an ileostomy!  I remember the moment well.  This is what it is, I thought.  I'm still alive so this thing on my abdomen, while surprising, must be essential and therefore not a big deal. 

Wearing first portable chemo. bag and working in garden.

The point is that for me, life stopped and turned on that proverbial dime when I went into surgery.  I could have chosen to fight the situation and not accept the changes that came that day, or I could decide to accept that I was no longer in control and go with the changes.  That acceptance was made somewhat more easily achieved by the wonderful, caring staff in that hospital.  Through their compassion and professional skills they earned my complete trust as I struggled to adjust and get better.  That trust allowed me to calm my fears and to become an active participant on my own get-well team.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sewing Machine Collection

This is my latest fun project, repairing two antique Singer sewing machines.  I have always loved sewing machines, since I was a kid.  I have my Mom's machine, a Kenmore, two Singer and two more machines that I will show images of below.  I don't sew with the machines but am intrigued with the machines themselves and how they work.  The two Singer machines sew beautifully after I have been working with them. They run very smoothly and quiet.

This is the machine that kicked off my love for these things.  It is the Ambassador and is nothing special except for the fact that it belonged to my late Mother and I watched her sew with it.  Do the sounds, smells and memories of this machine create my fascination?  Or, was I already fascinated upon arrival and was only recognizing a part of me? 

This machine is a clone machine that was made after World War II.  Parts of the machine were made in Japan by workers and industries that once made armaments.  The machine is called the Sew-matic and looks to be a clone of one of the Singer machines.  

The label on the machine states 
De Luxe Sewing Machine 
Made in Japan.

The Model P-1 machine was sold under the J.C. Penny brand name Penncrest.  It is a three/fourths machine that would be a good starter machine for someone learning to sew.  I had hoped my kids would be interested in sewing machines, but no luck.  The machine works great and the sides fold up to form the case enclosure.  

Next is the Kenmore, complete with its wooden cabinet.  I just fell in love with the aesthetics of this machine.  Despite the stiffness of the lines on the body, it nevertheless embodies a straightforward honesty in it's design.  The stiffness conveyed without ambiguity that the machine meant business and could carry out that business of sewing for as long as needed.  The machine works perfectly and came with a collection of attachments.  

This is the Singer Featherweight, and it has it's own large table that was especially designed for the machine.  What can you say?  This is certainly one of the most adorable machines ever.  The Featherweight does not do fancy stitchery, but what it does do is sew flawlessly.  

The last machine in my collection is the Singer 201-2.  This is a brute of a machine whose appearance belies that fact.  From sheer fabric to leather, the machine can sew on almost anything.  It is soooooo smooth!  Working on this machine is almost tantamount to working on a watch mechanism.  There is a very high level of craftsmanship evident in all of its components.  I will be using this machine to sew projects for my VW Westfalia Vanagon.  I cannot wait!  So, I won't.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Today I received an e-mail from Karen, who handles the office here at Charles Pinckney Designs.  She also from time to time advises me on a variety of things.  As many of you already know, I like to present my supporters with what I call my spiel when a piece of mine is collected. That is, if time allows, sometimes there's just not time.  Anyway, the way it goes is that I take your hand in mine and look at you while saying this:

I thank you for investing in me and my future works.  I just wanted to take a brief moment to tell you how sincerely I do appreciate you.  I know that you enjoy my work and for that I am grateful.  I, however, also know that neither you nor anyone else is in 'need' of anything that I make (this is not food) to breathe one more second in this world.  So, I do appreciate you very much. 

Well, today Karen sent me a version of my spiel that she had tweaked.
This is how she tweaked it.

I want to take a moment to tell you how sincerely I appreciate you and to thank you for your patronage.  I know that you enjoy my work and for that I am grateful.  However, I also know that neither you nor anyone else is in 'dire need' of anything that I make to survive, except in the regard that art feeds our soul and stimulates our imagination.  I wish you the very best for the coming New Year and hope that I see you once again in the future.  

My reaction after reading it was that it's not my voice.  I would not say the rest of the sentence after the word 'survive'.  Not that I disagree with the thought.  It's just that to my way of thinking that part of that sentence is me making a case for why you or anyone should 'buy' my work.  If a patron wishes to express that sentiment then wonderful, I can embrace that.  It is not appropriate, though, for me to tell anyone why they should buy my work.  I do believe that Art feeds the soul and stimulates our imagination. To tell you that my art does that crosses a boundary and enters a realm that I believe belongs solely to the viewer of the art, not the maker.  It is for the viewer to decide what Art feeds their soul or stimulates their imagination.  It's just not how I'm wired.  Anyway, I thought you all might enjoy a peek into some of the perspectives that I feel shape the artist that in turn shapes the work.

Thank you for your time.  If you have been, thank you for reading.  

Comments are always welcome!      Charles