February 2010 archives

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February 26, 2010

poem: the walrus and the brontosaurus

by sven at 7:00 am

On days when you're feeling old… Think about things infinitely older than yourself.

the walrus and the brontosaurus

the walrus and the brontosaurus
are sharing tea and biscuits
lingering in fatly stuffed chairs
in the den

i say to dear Bronte
"what days we've seen
what days yet to come
and even more
already forgotten"

the dear lizard replies
head crooked against ceiling
"the years are shorter than they seem
i've counted my footsteps here
in mountain dreams
cane in hand, admired the
mayflies' pageantry

whiskers and wrinkles
i say volcano
your eye twinkles
don't joke sleep
as if you're drifting off

old is a such a small thing
counted in millennia absurd
toothsome friend:
please pass me the lemon curd?"

January 19, 2009

posted by sven | permalink | categories: poetry

February 23, 2010

take your blog to work day: time-lapse footage!

by sven at 12:00 pm

machining 1/16" dia. rod

I tell people I make puppet armatures. I show them photos and then they understand what I'm talking about.

But it's probably impossible for most to visualize the actual process of machining. So last week I decided to take some time-lapse footage of myself at work.

before & after machining

I was working on making pieces of 1/16" dia. rod into tiny hinge joints. Above you can see the raw stock I start with next to one of the finished parts.

The process for this particular part takes me 80 minutes to complete. For you, I've condensed that down to one minute.

click on image to play clip (1min - 4.8 MB)

Here's the process with the camera set up on the table beside me.

click on image to play clip (1min - 4.5 MB)

Since I was making several identical parts, I set the camera up again so it could give you an over the shoulder view, too.

(Some of you might recognize the music… Two compositions I did a few years ago: hatching and suave squirty.)

posted by sven | permalink | categories: stopmo

February 19, 2010

poem: the snail's request

by sven at 7:00 am

One of several poems from last year about keeping a daily journal.

the snail's request

I am a snail
with a feather for my shell
leaving inkwell paths behind me

handwritten and slow
all summer long
I'll draw glistening arcs
my cursive memoir
through your victory garden

please don't pick me up
break the memory
my history
long sentence going back to my birth

just let me write
quill tooth biting paper
let me eat through
sheets and leaves

digesting in my study

just this little while
until my black blood
with winter
too soon

runs dry

January 19, 2009

posted by sven | permalink | categories: poetry

February 15, 2010

antimony valentine

by sven at 7:00 am

"antimony" necklace

For Valentine's Day this year I made Gretchin an "Antimony" necklace.

Gunnerkrigg Court

Our favorite online comic lately has been Gunnerkrigg Court. The main character's name is Antimony ("Annie"), and she wears a necklace like the one I made.

pieces of the necklace

The necklace is made from nine pieces of stainless steel. I cut, milled, bent, brazed, dremeled, and filed the thing into being… Including that ring at the top, which required building a special jig.

brazing it all together

I'm really excited by this project — it's the first time I've actually made a piece of metal jewelry from scratch… It brought together a lot of self-taught metal-working skills from the past few years.

posted by sven | permalink | categories: other art

February 14, 2010

be my valentine

by gl. at 12:01 am

this valentine's day marks the fifth year of the scarlet star studios blog! happy blogiversary!


sven & i attend a free first friday writing group hosted by ibex studios. this month one of the quick 10-minute prompts was to write a letter to something we loved, so here's a letter i wrote to my beloved ebike, rose:

dearest rose:

you were not my first love and you will not be my last. you are not even my best loved love, but i want you to know that knowing you has changed my life forever. you are beautiful and curvy, strong and swift. many people comment on your grace and beauty, but few suspect what you are capable of and i love sharing this secret between us. even more, i love flying with you beneath blue skies, when the day is free and the world is wide and my heart is open. i love riding with you in the sunlight, the moonlight and even when the snow twinkles in the streetlights. i feel like a better person when i am with you: strong, brave, lighthearted and ready for adventure.


then we wrote a 10-minute story about a date using several words drawn from a bowl:

i escaped to the bathroom of a new orleans strip club, and if there had been a window i probably would have climbed out of it to escape my date, a judge with a very large gavel -- if you know what i mean. though he was sociable and very, very generous, i finally had to flee from the pounding music and flashing lights and ask myself what the heck i was doing here, anyway. the question answered itself in the form of Mary, who was just leaving the bathroom as i pushed the door open. “watch it, hon!” she said, not unkindly. i did. i couldn’t take my eyes off her. i don’t suppose this is the story we’ll tell our grandchildren about how we met.

[words drawn: new orleans strip club, sociable, generous, present, gavel]

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: miscellany, writing

February 12, 2010

poem: thursday

by sven at 7:00 am

A poem written for Gretchin on a dreary day.


Thursday is brought to you
by the color red!

when you look through the window
it may seem gray
but go outside today
and you'll discover little bits of red

on leaves
on cars
on houses
on street signs

I may appear the same
as when I stepped out the door
a moment ago

but actually
I'm two weeks older now
having been all over town and back
in a blink
with my bucket and paintbrush

there was so much area to cover
I had to use a lot of different shades
and I'm sorry to say
I ran out
before the job was really through

but just look for it
it's simply everywhere
dabs and splashes
a little glimmer
hidden and waiting

I put it there for you

November 19, 2009

posted by sven | permalink | categories: poetry

February 6, 2010

art i want you

by gl. at 8:04 pm

dot posted a link to a charming video, "art":

then sven sent me a still just to make sure i knew it had a bicycle in it, because he knows i can't resist art with bicycles:

[great ideas come from great bike rides]

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: links

February 5, 2010

poem: the breath of giants

by sven at 7:00 am

I'm really fond of the last line.

the breath of giants

the office is the brain of the house
the studio the soul
the kitchen the heart
living room the stomach
bedroom the libido

our home here is
a thirty-foot-tall marionette
and I the puppeteer

each morning I get
the giant moving again
     water the plants
     put dishes away
     feed the cat
each night I
put it to sleep

I look out from
giant's eyes
running from room to room
turning cranks and pulling cords
not a robot that I command--

this house is a living being
and I am the hidden motor
running its body

I am the breath that
spirits through every cell
animating colossus

(and yet
what a small being we are
set beside the great towers
of the city
whose hands touch clouds
gods propelled by
the furious pedaling of

January 1, 2009

posted by sven | permalink | categories: poetry