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Lover of Canadian Smarties & Race Car Driver I was able to interview Firebird at Wasteland Weekend in the Mojave Desert in California. He talks about his love of Canadian food, old cars and racing, and the development of his Wasteland identity. Enjoy the video. The transcript follows: Introduction to Firebird and his Classic Car […] The post Firebird at Wasteland Weekend appeared first on Penguin's...
Lover of Canadian Smarties & Race Car Driver
I was able to interview Firebird at Wasteland Weekend in the Mojave Desert in California. He talks about his love of Canadian food, old cars and racing, and the development of his Wasteland identity.
Enjoy the video.
The transcript follows:
Introduction to Firebird and his Classic Car
Carolyn – Today here at Wasteland Weekend, the penguins are pleased to present Firebird and his car.
Firebird – What a lovely day! A little windy. 1975 Trans Am. Its name is Phoenix. It’s a 455 cubic inch stroked to 496. Used to have 200 horsepower now it’s got 320 horsepower. 430 pounds of torque. It’s really loud. Loud as Hell. I didn’t know if it was going to make it here but it made it here.
Carolyn – Cool, cool. You haven’t been taking it out in the car cruises?
Firebird – I didn’t take it in the car cruise. It would have been the only car in the cruise that didn’t have anything done to it for Wasteland but I thought it might fit in. I thought about it but I decided not to.
Carolyn – Maybe next year?
Firebird – Ya, maybe.
Carolyn – Cool.
(cut to less windy camp)
Carolyn – Welcome to Penguin’s Wanderlust. Today we have Firebird and Bugs who are going to talk to us about Canadian Smarties, cars, and what has brought him to the Wasteland.
Firebird – Hi! Would you like me to talk about those things now?
Canadian Food including Smarties
Nomenclature – Multi-coloured Candy Coated Chocolates. What we call Rockets, Americans call Smarties.
Carolyn – You tell me about those Smarties.
Firebird – Well, you can get Smarties in the US but every time you do,they’re British Smarties. I might have had them before, and never really thought about how good they are. My girlfriend, her Mom brought some from Canada, and they were delicious, and I got addicted to Smarties. So then we went on this trip to France. We went through Toronto. I got some in Toronto. They were delicious, and I ate them. Then in France I was like, oh, I need more. So I got some more Smarties in France, and they were not delicious. So I’m like what’s going on here? So I did a little research.
They’ve got one factory in Canada, and one factory in England, and they are different Smarties. Like different colours, different packaging but most of all the Canadian ones have a thicker shell so they’re crunchier. So I love Canadian Smarties but I can’t find Canadian Smarties in the US.
So big deal when I saw Carolyn posted online that you were bringing, could bring Canadian food. So I needed some missions for Wasteland, so one of my missions was to find Carolyn, and find my Smarties. I found some other Canadians who also had Smarties, and they didn’t know who Nettle was. So I thought I guess my mission’s done, and then I saw the poster they had put up saying “Where’s John? Where’s Firebird? You said you wanted Smarties.” I thought my goodness there are more Smarties to be had, and then I found you, and had more Smarties.
Carolyn – No longer an impoverished world.
Firebird – Ya, I’m rich.
Carolyn – There are Smarties in the world.
Firebird – My Smarties cup runeth over.
Carolyn – And now you have a Coffee Crisp to take home or eat on the way.
Firebird – Yes.
Carolyn – It was really hard having all the snacks in the car. We ate the Ruffles All-Dressed chips first because people said you could get All-Dressed in the States but they’re not the same. But we ate those. I still have the Dill Pickle and the Ketchup chips, and Red River cereal, and Shreddies, and today is Saturday. I’m not sure if those people are going to come and see me before then, so they may be going home.
Firebird – You ate the All-Dressed? All of them?
Carolyn – Both packages, ya.
Firebird – Because my girlfriend loves the All-Dressed, and I like them. They’re just kind of weird. They taste maybe like a combination of vinegar and barbeque or something?
Carolyn – Ya.
Firebird – They’re good but … my girlfriend likes them.
Carolyn – They have a strong flavour.
Firebird – They’re good. My girlfriend loves them. You could get them here for a little while , and every time I saw them I’d buy them. They’re really hard to find here. Ya. I don’t know if they’re different or not. That’s what I’ve been told.
Carolyn – I’ve been watching the dialogue between the people from Canada talking about what people wanted. They wanted people to bring Kinder Surprises but there’s a $500 fine if people get caught.
Firebird – Totally illegal to bring in. It’s hilarious. You should have done it though. That’s why it’s so great.
Carolyn – Because American children are too stupid not to eat the tiny toy.
Firebird – Exactly. You should have brought them in.That would have made it even better. Then it’s like actual smuggled goods.
Carolyn – No. No. We want to keep our clean record.
Firebird – Keep it legal.
Carolyn – So Albatross and Timekeeper said that you’re heavy into cars. Do you race cars?
Firebird – Ya.
Carolyn – That’s pretty exciting.
Firebird – So I consider myself a minimalist and not a materialist. So I really don’t own anything, and I don’t own a house or anything but I do own six cars. So there’s the 1975 Trans Am I brought, and I own a 1992 Toyota MR2 that my dad recently gave me. I have a 2013 Subaru Crosstrek, 2013 Subaru WRX, 2012 Scion Fr-S, and then a 2010 Dodge Challenger. My favourite thing to do with them is to race them in the Big Bend Open Road Race or the Nevada Open Road Challenge. They actually close down public roads, and we race down them, and you do have a speed limit.
Carolyn – Is it a rally race?
Firebird – Ya, sort of because you have a time, an average time you’re trying to hit, and you have a speed limit but the speed limit is like 120, 140, and this year I entered the class where my speed limit was 168.
Carolyn – Wow.
Firebird – So I was driving 150 most of the way down public roads, and it’s a blast. You can enter the top class, and there’s no speed limit at all but you have to have a fire suppression system, and removable steering wheel. All kinds of very expensive features.
Carolyn – So you can be like the Warboys with your (steering wheel).
Firebird – Ya, exactly. So it’s like expensive modifications, and I’m not even sure if the cars are street legal any more. There might be some street legal cars in the unlimited class but it’s kind of hard because you do so much to your car. I have a lot of fun doing those races.
Carolyn – Where do you do those? All over?
Firebird – West Texas has the Big Bend Open Road Race. Nevada Open Road Challenge is outside Las Vegas. Silver State Classic, and the Nevada Open Road Challenge – there are two races a year but they’re both in the same place. Then there’s one in Nebraska but that’s it. There are four open road races left in the United States
Carolyn – Oh, wow, And do you go to them all?
Firebird – I would like to. I usually have been doing two a year. I’ve never been to the Nebraska one.
Carolyn – A friend wanted to do the 2019 from Peking to Paris.
Firebird – Oh, that sounds awesome.
Carolyn – In an old car. He said it filled up right away, the registration. They do it every two or three years.
Firebird – There are some cool races like this around the world but less in the United States. Like I said there’s these four. They’re short. They’re not like that like the big rallies you’re talking about. But another one in Canada is Targa Newfoundland. It’s one I’ve heard about that I’d like to do one day.
Carolyn – Is it in Newfoundland?
Firebird – Ya.
Carolyn – So you’d have to somehow get on a ferry. I’ve never actually been to Newfoundland. I grew up in the Maritimes in New Brunswick. That’s pretty much the only province I haven’t ever been to.
Firebird – I didn’t even realize it’s an island. Is that what it is?
Carolyn – Yes, it’s an island.
Firebird – So I guess you put your car on a ferry.
Carolyn – They lumped Newfoundland and Labrador together. Labrador is next to Quebec and attached. Newfoundland is the rock.
Firebird – They close a bunch of public roads down. I think it’s a multi day event. I think. Big I think.
It’s a little bigger deal than the one I get to do.
The one I get to do is like one day, and there are a few days leading up to it, and the car shows. We invade these two little tiny towns in Texas and Nevada where not much goes on. So it’s a big deal to have all these super cars come into town for the week. So we have a car show and a parade and stuff. And then we do the race all in one day. It’s like you get to go down once, and you get to go back once in the Texas race. In the Nevada race you just get to go down once, and that’s it. So it’s like all this kind of leading up to like, and relaxing, you’re out on the desert, and it’s kind of relaxing talking to people but then all of a sudden it’s like you’ve got all your safety gear on, and then you race, and then it’s all over. There’s a lot of relaxing and waiting, and then all of a sudden a brief little moment of adventue.
Carolyn – Cool. Do you have like a GoPro attached?
Firebird – Usually I put one GoPro. Some people put cameras all over their cars. I usually put just one in the window. But the thing about the GoPro is, it’s really boring to watch the videos. The only time it’s exciting is when you’ve crashed, and so you put the GoPro on the car just in case you crash. Now sure you might die and that would be a pretty morbid video to watch, but if you don’t die it makes a great story.
Carolyn – Ya, snuff movies homemade. So do you have any up on YouTube?
Firebird – Hmm. I haven’t put them up on YouTube because I like I said, they’re boring because I don’t crash.
Carolyn – Probably a good thing.
Firebird – I’m pretty conservative with my … because they’re my cars. I don’t want to hurt my cars. I’m not doing whatever it takes to become a really good driver. I just want to be a kind of good driver, and I’m a pretty good driver.
Carolyn – Do you do the mechanics yourself?
Firebird – No, that’s one thing I don’t. I’ve thought about it. I think it’s mostly a time thing. I’m a software engineer so I don’t really have time in my spare time to like work on cars. I’m kind of learning a little bit. I went to mechanic school for a one week mechanic class last year.
Carolyn – Oh, ya.
Firebird – If I only learn one week at a time it’s going to take a long time because I don’t usually the work on the car myself. I don’t really have time.
Carolyn – What kind of software engineering do you do?
Firebird – I build websites ZipRecruiter.com. It’s like a job website.
Carolyn – I used to do air traffic control.
Firebird – Air traffic control?
Carolyn – Ya.
Firebird – I wanted to do that at one point.
Carolyn – Ottawa. We did command and control systems for like Westinghouse and different places.
Firebird – So you’re saying you used to build software?
Carolyn – I was a software engineer.
Firebird – I thought you meant you were an air traffic controller.
Carolyn – No. I was a software engineer.
Firebird – Cool. So you’ve done the same job.
Carolyn – Yup.
Firebird – I used to think I might want to be an air traffic controller. I’ve always been pretty good with stress, and they say it’s stressful.
Carolyn – Ya, I actually met Josh or Spoons here the first night, and he’s an air traffic controller and so’s his wife. Interesting the people you meet here. 5,000 people. I haven’t found him again. He made armour three years ago out of spoons, last year out of forks, and this year it’s out of knives.
Firebird – Now he’s running out of ideas. Chopsticks.
Carolyn – He’s thinking those spoon fork things sporks but I don’t think he’s going to find many sporks in the thrift stores.
Firebird – I’ve been looking for the crows so I could tell them my story of how I went looking for you, and I found them, and I did find Smarties, and then I later found you but I can’t find the crows again. They had a camp and it vanished. I can’t find it.
Carolyn – Oh, there are white crows down one of the main roads.
Firebird – I think Crow Coalition is what it’s called.
Carolyn – There are crows from Edmonton, from Alberta. Canadian crows.
Firebird – Yes. That’s probably who I found.
Carolyn – Oh, ok.
Firebird – I must have gotten your post confused because I think I saw a picture of you. I took a screen capture. I should go look at it. Because I thought it had your picture but it said I’m with the Crow Coalition.
Carolyn – No, we’re in the seagulls. Seagull clan. But I think I may have jumped onto someone else’s thread.
Firebird – Ah. That’s what it is. You jumped onto someone else’s thread. So I got confused between the two threads.
Carolyn – Ya, no there were a bunch of Canadians.
Firebird – See this is one of my missions. Seagull Clan. Crow Coalitonition question mark. So I did put a question mark.
Carolyn – No. We don’t like crows. Seagulls’ll take crows. There they go off with their stuff. So what brought you to Wasteland?
Firebird – Well I’ve always wanted to go. I love the movies. Mad Max is one of the things that got me into cars. Burning Man always seemed like a cool idea but it got really big.
Carolyn – Have you been?
Firebird – No, I’ve never been there. I just heard that it got really big.
Carolyn – 80,000 this year.
Firebird – It’s kind of like overwhelming. Maybe too much of a theme. Too many different themes. This is the main reason I would come to Burning Man For this kind of thing. The thing we got here and this is a smaller event, and closer.
I always wanted to come here but I couldn’t. I lived on the east coast for awhile. I lived in Austin, Texas in the middle of the country for awhile. But now I live in Phoenix so I’m close enough and I work. One of my companies is based in LA so I can visit the company for some facetime anytime I want. So I can come to LA anytime so I came to LA. I worked for a week. I left work early on Friday, and came out here.
Carolyn – So you drove all the way with the car, and then worked.
Firebird – It’s the longest road trip I’ve taken with the car. When I first got this classic car, when you buy a classic car, whatever you think your budget is – that’s actually half your budget. The rest of your budget is to fix it after you get it ’cause people are all trying to get rid of their classic cars because it’s a pain. There’s something wrong with it, and they can’t figure it out or whatever or they just can’t afford to keep it up. But I kind of expected that so I got this car. It was like the perfect one.
I had to go to Florida to check it out. I even talked to the mechanic there, before I talked to the sales person. The mechanic was actually really honest with me. I said something like I was thinking of just driving it back to Austin. He was like don’t do that. The mechanic who works on the car said don’t, and he’s the mechanic. Basically saying the work that I do, I don’t do a good enough job to trust it. I think it’s because they don’t want him to do it. They want him to spend his time to just to get the cars to run.
Carolyn – Ya, do the bare minimal.
Firebird – So we shipped the car, and it ran for one month, and then it spun a bearing which means a complete engine rebuild. The most expensive thing that can go wrong with a car. So took it in for complete engine rebuild, and it also takes quite awhile. If you want to not put a new engine in it would save a lot of time.
Carolyn – We had an engine rebuilt for a Volkswagon camper.
Firebird – So I mean just finding the parts, and getting a good machinist, getting time for him to actually help you out – it took a year. So a year later, after buying my car, I got it back, and it spun a bearing a month later, again, and the mechanic who rebuilt it for me honoured his warranty, and he rebuilt it again which was great.
Carolyn – How many bearings do they have?
Firebird – Well they had to keep getting more. Oh, how many bearings does the engine have? Well I guess it had like eight. But they had already replaced them all. Nonetheless it’s their fault since they rebuilt the engine.
(Truck loaded with people passed by “Don’t be a weiner! Be a winner!”)
Carolyn – So much to do here. That’s what I found.
Firebird – Ya, I’m a little even confused about what to do. Ya, so it spun a bearing again, and the mechanic honoured the warranty. Point is I didn’t have my car. I bought it and two years went by before I could drive it.
Carolyn – Didn’t you have another five?
Firebird – I had several other cars but I didn’t have my classic car. And so finally a year ago, my classic car was ready and driveable. So it’s been driving well for a year, and that’s what gave me the confidence to take it on a six hour road trip. Now in the past year, it has suddenly quit on me three times. When it does it, you just pull over, give it a little time to sit, and it runs again. So we’re trying to figure out what that is.
Carolyn – It needs a moment.
Firebird – So it did quit on me on the LA freeway.
Carolyn – That’s not a good place.
Firebird – I had to pull off. Cars were flying past , and it started up again, so I made it out here, so hopefully I’ll make it home.
Carolyn – So you’re enjoying Wasteland?
Firebird – I love it, ya.
Scrooloose and Bugs
Carolyn – Good. Anything else you want to add? How’d you get your Bugs?
Firebird – Well that’s a good question. I think my favourite movie, at least for a long time, was Thunderdome. And there’s a character in Thunderdome that has makeup kind of like this. I wasn’t doing the War Boy thing. Before there the War Boys, there was a character called Scrooloose, and he’s silent though, and he doesn’t dress like this. I was kind of riffing on his character but he has this bunny. I went looking on eBay to find a bunny like the bunny he had, and I found a bunny exactly like the one he had.
The bunny talks and says things. “Hey, take me with you!” And that’s actually the quote from the movie right there. He’s kind of wanting to go with Max, and get on a plane with Max, except that Max doesn’t have a plane.
Carolyn – Was that the second movie?
Firebird – Third movie.
Carolyn – Third movie? Beyond the Thunderdome?
Firebird – Ya, Thunderdome. He kind of wants to get on a plane. It’s kind of poignant the way the bunny says “Take me with you!” You know. He’s hoping that maybe Max can take them away. They want to find civilization again. Some of the kids branch out, and find civilization. So I kind of made up a back story for my persona. I found this bunny, and so I was thinking maybe I met Screwloose out in Australia, and now he’s missing. I’ve been trying to find him, and bring him his bunny back.
Carolyn – Nice. So is this the jacket that has the Firebird on the back?
Firebird – Yes, this is the jacket. I spent months on this jacket.
Carolyn – Nice. Very nice.
Firebird – I’ve sewn all these patches myself. I have a patch for every car that I own on here. I don’t know how to sew but I figured it just makes it more DIY if you don’t know how to sew. It kind of makes it better because you have threads going everywhere and stuff. Some of my pockets are sewn together now but … This jacket is looking too new for Wasteland but I mean I figure I’ll bring it every year. Maybe eventually it’ll get some natural wear and tear on it but I also wore it to work every day this week because it was cold. I told everyone I was going to Wasteland. (ringing) They were all like – cool jacket.
Carolyn – That was our three minute warning because the camera turns off at twenty. Cool. I’ve learned. Thank you very much.
Firebird – Thanks for having me.
Carolyn – The penguins say thank you. Bye!
End of Transcript.
Sad Ending for the Search for Scrooloose
Firebird posted on Facebook – “I attended WW for the first time this year. Scrooloose was always my favorite MM character. I came up with a backstory about having met him in Australia, but he had been kidnapped by bandits and I wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead. My mission was to find him and return his bunny to him. I didn’t see anyone dressed as him during the event. Someone told me to walk up the mountain so I did. I’m sad I never got to meet Lance, but at least I found out what happened to Scrooloose. Stumbling upon this brought me to tears. I left the bunny there.”
Links to more Information about Car Races:
You may not realize it but people around you maybe locked in a battle with their ears. They’re trying not to hear a particular Christmas carol. Do you know which one it is? LDB When December hits or even before, some of my friends start posting about LDB. This behaviour started a few years ago […] The post LDB or Whamageddon – Which Christmas Game Are You Playing? appeared first on Penguin's...
You may not realize it but people around you maybe locked in a battle with their ears. They’re trying not to hear a particular Christmas carol. Do you know which one it is?
When December hits or even before, some of my friends start posting about LDB. This behaviour started a few years ago on Facebook. At first I couldn’t make out what they were going on about. The postings were cryptic and undecipherable. But gradually I found out what they were doing.
You know how shopping malls, stores, and radio stations like to try to put consumers into a Christmas frame of mood by playing carols? Well the one of particular note happens to be “Little Drummer Boy”. There’s a game where the objective is to be the last person to hear the song. If you try to sabotage someone else it doesn’t count against them. If you work in a store you probably won’t last long. If you avoid shopping and radio stations you might be able to make it almost all the way until Christmas and be a winner. One of the rules pages is Rules for the LDB (Little Drummer Boy) Game.
If somehow you are unfamiliar with this popular carol, the group Pentatonix has a nice video for it on YouTube. They harmonize beautifully on all their songs. It’s not as old as I thought it must be as I learned from Wikipedia that it was written by Katherine Davis in 1941.
I imagine that my local friends are playing LDB again this year but I’ve noticed that my Scandinavian friends are playing something different. I noticed when I was in Sweden and the following three years since then, that Europeans don’t do everything the same way as us Canadians. This year they seem to not be playing LDB but I don’t know if they ever did.
What they’re playing is Wham. In the 1980’s there was a band called Wham. They played happy songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”. The lead singer was clean cut George Michael. They released “Last Christmas” in 1984. This is the song that my European friends are avoiding this holiday season. You can look at the official Facebook page for Whamageddon The rules page is at Whamageddon.com.
If you watch Wham’s official video for “Last Christmas” it’s obviously from the ’80s. The time of bright colours, loose fitting clothes including silk shirts, shoulder pads, and big puffy long hair on both sexes. I only just looked at the video today. Music videos used to only show up on the MuchMusic or MTV (Music TV) channels. Apart from the outdated fashion it is actually quite a nice video showing a holiday in ski country with a powdering of crisp white snow over the landscape. We seldom get snow in southern Vancouver Island so we can wax poetic about how pretty it is. We usually don’t have to deal with shovelling it. Check out the video if you haven’t seen it. If you’re playing the game then wait until after you win by lasting until Christmas.
When George Michael left the group, he was turned into a tough grungy type. I never cared for that look. He passed away in 2016. My contemporaries like Michael Jackson and Prince haven’t made it to old age.
Recently I watched a movie released in 2015, “Get Hard” on tv where the white guy, Will Ferrell. ended up in prison. He got some coaching from a black guy on how to survive before he went it. He pretended that Wham was all black guys, and his new friends weren’t happy when they found out they’d been tricked. It was an alright movie but not particularly funny or even I suppose politically correct. The humour is based on him trying to fit in. It ultimately has a happy ending for everyone. I guess I must have enjoyed it somewhat since I remembered the plot line and characters.
I mention it now merely because of the Wham Christmas carol called “Last Christmas”. So far two of my friends have announced that they were “Whammed”. Part of the European version seems to be to say how you have been whammed and how you were trying to avoid it. It’s been going on since at least 2014 because one of the European gaming sites has the rules. Similarly to LDB you’re not suppose to intentionally expose someone to the song.
So come on Canadians and Americans, get with the times. LDB is old hat having first surfaced around the year 2000, and Wham is where it’s at this holiday season. Let’s get in on the new tradition of Whamaggedon.
Canadians are busy avoiding the “Little Drummer Boy”, and Europeans are avoiding Wham’s “Last Christmas”. Which version of this game are you participating in? Have fun whichever one you’ve chosen.
The post LDB or Whamageddon – Which Christmas Game Are You Playing? appeared first on Penguin's Wanderlust.
There are such things as strictly sculpture gardens such as in East Jesus but this Victorian garden also included many flowers, plants, and trees. Some like the Arbutus trees are native to Vancouver Island but others, such as one that my friend in California grows, are not. Unfortunately this garden did not have labels on […] The post Abkhazi Garden – Plants appeared first on Penguin's...
There are such things as strictly sculpture gardens such as in East Jesus but this Victorian garden also included many flowers, plants, and trees. Some like the Arbutus trees are native to Vancouver Island but others, such as one that my friend in California grows, are not. Unfortunately this garden did not have labels on the flora.
There were many different flowers in the garden.
I grew up in New Brunswick and enjoyed eating fiddleheads in the spring. They’re the sprouts of the Ostrich fern which grow along the banks of the rivers. British Columbia has other ferns.
Deer Fern ?
I was intrigued by these small purple olive like berries. I had never seen this plant before. Just outside the restaurant’s building was a sample of this plant and a card describing it. This is what it said “(bill-ard-ee-AIR-uh lon-gee-FLOR-uh) Insignificant yellowish flowers in July form striking aniline blue fruit by August which persist in mild winters. For JJ.H.deLabillardiere, botanist on French expedition to explore the Pacific around 1800. Not poisonous, not good. Tasmania Z8.”
I’m glad that I saw Abkhazi Garden and intend to return, probably with puppy in tow. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on leash.
For more information check out Abkhazi Garden – The Land Conservancy.
To find out about the metal sculptures go to Bev Petow’s page at Duthie Gallery.
Well worth the visit!
I finally checked out the Abkhazi Garden in Victoria, British Columbia last weekend. It was created by a Georgian prince and his princess who lived here on Vancouver Island. Statues of Abkhazi Garden A few gardens that I’ve visited have mingled pieces of art amongst the foliage. At Abkhazi Garden, four statues based on evening […] The post Abkhazi Garden – Art appeared first on Penguin's...
I finally checked out the Abkhazi Garden in Victoria, British Columbia last weekend. It was created by a Georgian prince and his princess who lived here on Vancouver Island.
Statues of Abkhazi Garden
A few gardens that I’ve visited have mingled pieces of art amongst the foliage. At Abkhazi Garden, four statues based on evening gowns that the princess wore were added this past April.
As I walked through the garden I encountered this large rectangle. I didn’t realize that it was the back of the dragon gown.
The front of the gown, adorned with dragonflies, is shown below.
Bev Petow is the sculptor who created the Gardener’s Gown. The sign said “Steel – Rust patina and aluminum screen, plasma hand cut shapes individually attached to one another over a form, the form is then removed 66x36x36.”
Bev Petow created the Oh Canada! gown. The sign said “Steel – Rust patina. Steel, 200+ maple leaves in 7 cascading sizes individually attached 78x36x36.”
This is the fourth statue by Bev Petow. The sign said “Steel – Rust patina and enamel paint constructed / deconstructed hand plasma cut 66hx46wx38d”.
This wooden statue Gabrielle is by Michael Dennis and is made from red cedar.
Take advantage of this beautiful green space.
My friend, Ingrid Crickmore, is one of the world’s most knowledgeable finger loop braiders. She has an astounding web site where she teaches how to create these intricate braids. Ingrid Crickmore – LoopBraider I was able to interview Ingrid this summer about her braiding. Enjoy the video. The transcript follows: Introduction Carolyn – So here […] The post Finger Loop Braiding appeared first on Penguin's...
My friend, Ingrid Crickmore, is one of the world’s most knowledgeable finger loop braiders. She has an astounding web site where she teaches how to create these intricate braids.
Ingrid Crickmore – LoopBraider
I was able to interview Ingrid this summer about her braiding.
Enjoy the video.
The transcript follows:
Carolyn – So here we are. Welcome to Penguin’s Wanderlust. This is Penny. This is Penguin. This is my longtime friend, Ingrid Crickmore. Ingrid is a really great craft person. She has on the Internet, a site called Loop Braiding, and the URL is loopbraider.com. We are here at the beautiful Centralia, Washington Oldtime Music Campout. She’s here to tell us a little bit about her finger loop braiding that she’s taught me over the years. I have many bracelets at home from doing workshops with Ingrid.
So she’s here today. Welcome, Ingrid.
Ingrid – Thank you.
What Loop Braiding Is
Carolyn – How would you describe finger loop braiding?
Ingrid – It’s a very basic, easy textile craft that has been done all over the world for thousands of years. It started to die out when mechanized braiding machines came into being but it’s still a very handy, easy, and beautiful craft. So that’s how I would describe it. It’s a way of making cords, and bands with braiding; basically weaving on the diagonal. Weaving that goes diagonally down the path of the work rather than horizontally and vertically.
Carolyn – When did you first discover loop braiding?
Ingrid – I think it was in 2006. I was at a knitting group. We would meet in a cafe in my home town. They were talking about i-cord which is a way of knitting a cord. One of the women there said that she knew how to braid i-cord. I was intrigued and asked her to show me. She showed me a 5 loop braid. I thought it was fascinating. It seemed very easy to do the way she showed me but I quickly forgot how at home. Luckily I had taken a few notes when she showed me and with those I was able to do it at home after a few days.
Carolyn – Was it slender cord like these ones?
Ingrid – Yes. She had demoed with very thin knitting yarn that she happened to have with her. It was very simple. It was a simple pink little cord. She said it would look very pretty if I used embroidery floss.
Carolyn – So would i-cord – is the “i” like the letter “i”?
Ingrid – Yes, I think it’s the term that Elizabeth Zimmerman came up with for this type of knitted cord.
I think it stands for idiot cord because it’s very easy. I assume. I think it’s very easy to make. I’ve never made it. Instead I started braiding. I got so into it that all my knitting fell by the wayside, and I haven’t really knitted anything since. I want to.
Carolyn – My granddad had made me a wooden circle with a hole in the middle with little finishing nails around it, and taught me how to loop it around to make quite a thick knitted cord that came out the bottom. Some of my happiest memories. I’m a packrat. That thing’s still hanging around somewhere.
Ingrid – People still use those. I don’t remember what they’re called.
Carolyn – Occasionally you see plastic versions in the kids’s sections of the stores for toys. Did you get any one-on-one instruction for actual finger loop braiding?
Ingrid – Yes. That’s what she showed me. She showed me how to do a 5 loop braid. She also said, it was great what she told me about it too because she opened a lot of possibilities in just a very quick demo. She showed me with 5 loops, and she said you could add more loops, to make fancier ones, by just adding more loops to the fingers up to a limit of 9 but no more.
Carolyn – Because you need one finger to do the transfer for braiding.
Ingrid – She didn’t show me that. It was here at camp. I don’t think you were here.
Carolyn – I think I was.
Ingrid – It was maybe the first or second year that I came to this campout, and it was after most of the people had gone home. There were just a few of us left. The last day was a cleanup day. After we were done helping clean up the camp I brought out my instructions, the little notes that I had written down, and that embroidery floss. There were just a few of us down at the other end of the pasture.
Carolyn – I might have been gone by then.
Ingrid – She had said to use embroidery floss. So I brought it along. A little bunch of us sat there, and figured it out. Did it together. I think it was then that I tried the 7 loop. I tried 5, and then I tried 7. It was so intriguing that I was still doing it as Bob and I drove away the next morning. I was braiding away in the car as he drove or the van. I forget what we had then. We got to some camp in Washington somewhere, and she had said you could use 9 loops. So I wanted to go up one more. All that was left were thumbs so I figured okay so you put them on your thumbs. I did that, and I found out later that nobody loop braided on their thumbs. I found no references when I tried to Google it online. My teacher had obviously done it. She told me I could. It was kind of a revelation that you could do it with 9 loops so easily but I couldn’t find any mention of it anywhere when I looked it up.
Carolyn – So the basic idea is that you would cut your embroidery floss or whatever to a certain length, tie a knot on the end, anchor it to a chair, from a distance. The braid is however many fingers that you’re using. For a 5 you might have 3 on one side and 2 on the other. And then you’re going back and forth. So the thumb is when you’re running out of fingers, and you’re going to have to start moving onto toes.
Ingrid – Well no, what people did historically was move on to two people braiding together. What Carolyn may have left out is that it isn’t just a string. It’s a loop. The fiber is held as a loop. So the other big difference between loop braiding and other types of braiding where you just take yarn or thread or whatever you’re using and braid over / under with it; is that you’re working. You are holding your fiber at the end of the piece, and you’re working with big motions, and it tightens up here as you spread apart. It’s not little and fussy like some braiding would be. It’s kind of a big motion that you do. There are videos on my blog. What people would do in the olden days is two people would braid together from the same point of braiding. We would both be braiding on the same braid. We would cooperate.
Carolyn – Would we have to start on my hands first?
Ingrid – No, you would do your moves. I would do mine. It would come in parallel. Each time we finished one set of moves; often it’s just two moves. One, two. And you do your two. Then we would trade 1 loop.
Carolyn – Oh, we would trade a loop?
Ingrid – Yes, in between and that would connect the two halves. We would be braiding the two halves of the braid.
Carolyn – Partner loop braiding for the advanced.
Ingrid – Well it doesn’t have to be advanced. People have learned to do the individual braid, and 1/2 an hour later or 20 minutes later done the combined braid. It’s not really any harder. And it’s more fun when you’re doing it with another person.
Carolyn – The other thing that’s fun is using different colours and then getting different patterns. It’s so inexpensive, and they work up quite quickly. Ingrid taught us ways of putting in buttonholes, and then making a little knot so they’re adjustable.
Ingrid – I should show some. These are samples that I’ve been working on lately that I’ve put in this book. Short samples are basically what we’re talking about. Braided decorative cords but very strong and useful. These were made because they were needed. They weren’t made as decorative items originally. They were made because people needed strong connecting things to tie stuff up with.
Carolyn – Before the age of zippers.
Ingrid – Before zippers and buttons.They are very practical, and yet people like making things beautiful.
Carolyn – So some of the practical uses that you’ve used loop braids for – you have your bracelet and you made the one for your hat.
Ingrid – I usually have a braided hat string. This bracelet actually was a sample for teaching that I then made into a bracelet. I do wear them as bracelets but I was never particularly into jewellery or bracelets before I learned how to loop braid. I think people I’ve taught have used them for more practical purposes than I myself have; hat strings, instrument strings.
Carolyn – Some people put them on their mandolins.
Ingrid – I’ve made a braided little sheath to hold a pen that I hang.
Carolyn – That I borrowed the other day. (actually it was the scissors one)
Ingrid – Did you?
Carolyn – Ingrid’s been helping me understand how to make fingerless gloves from a crochet pattern. My mentor in all things craft.
Ingrid – I do love crocheting and knitting – other things than loop braiding. But I found loop braiding to be very fun, and engaging. I like it almost the way I like crossword puzzles. I like figuring out ways to do different things with it.
Carolyn – And you have just a few notes there.
Ingrid – This is my working notebook for the next tutorial that I’m going to put on my loop braiding blog.
Carolyn – Is it on triangle braids?
Ingrid – No, the triangle braid tutorial is done, and it’s up. I did have a working notebook for that. These are pickup patterning braids which is a topic that I’m a little scared to bring up on the blog because it’s complicated to explain but it’s a very fun topic. So I’m still trying to work out how I’m going to present it.
Carolyn – How to teach where you are in the pattern?
Ingrid – Well pickup patterning is where you make designs that aren’t automatic. They don’t come automatically from the braiding. You choose where to make them. Like this one here. Normally if you’re braiding you get a repeated pattern that just automatically replicates itself down the way because of the automatic braiding. But with pickup pattern you do something differently here or there to change the pattern in the braid. It can be a very simple pattern. It isn’t a result of just automatic braiding moves. The braider decides when to do something that will make the pattern change. You actually have more control when you’re doing that. Yes, you have more control but it’s limited. It’s just 2 colours. I’m still strategizing how to present it in a user friendly way.
Carolyn – Ingrid’s blog which is loopbraider.com has instructions on how to set yourself up, and get started. Within that she has YouTube videos that actually teach you how to make some of the braids. If you have further questions that aren’t answered on the blog, she also will answer email, may address it there or in a future blog post.
What is the easiest or best loop braid to first learn?
Ingrid – It depends on the age of the braider and how confident they are. If I’m teaching children under 11 or 12, I usually start with a 3 loop braid which is probably the easiest. For adults and teenagers I usually start with a 5 loop braid because it seems more rewarding, and it isn’t very hard.
Once a person’s fingers are developed. 11 year olds can often understand the braid, and the moves very quickly. I’ve had one or two 9 to 11 year olds explaining to their parent, their mother, no, no, you should be doing that. Correcting them as they’re doing the braid I taught them. But the younger ones, the child’s fingers might not be ready to do it. So I usually teach them a 3 loop braid. The 5 loop one is really manageable, and can have very fun designs.
Carolyn – I have some well loved braids at home.
Ingrid – They can be very fun to make, and make a very strong and cohesive braid. So I say a 5 loop braid. Usually I’d start with a square braid because it leads to so many other braids. Supposedly the big favourite braid worldwide is a 5 loop braid that’s not quite square. It’s bevelled. It’s a very unorthodox braid.
Carolyn – So the actual outside of the braid changes too, so you can have flat braids, and round braids, and triangles. So it’s quite interesting geometrically too.
Ingrid – They can be many different shapes; flat, thin and flat or kind of thick and flatish. I call those rectangular. Square or round, or sort of a semi-triangle. That one you just learned was kind of wedge shaped.
Carolyn – So would you suggest that a person starting out keep a notebook, like you have, of instructions and sample braids?
Ingrid – No.Not really. This notebook is to help me organize for teaching. I did keep notebooks when I was first learning.
Carolyn – I remember them. You had tons of them. They were all meticulous. You had them all organized. You had it very organized. I was really impressed.
Ingrid – There wasn’t much online for the braids I was learning. There was nothing about 9 loop braids. I was kind of making some stuff up as I was went along, and I had to record, or I wouldn’t remember them. I couldn’t go online or to a book, and relearn what I had forgot. And I knew from my very first one, that it was very easy to forget. The woman that showed me the 5 loop braid. She showed me you could learn it in 10 minutes. I thought, great, I know it. But sure enough, a couple of days later I forgot. I did have some notes. I think that taught me. Better write these things down.
Carolyn – Right.
Ingrid – It is fun to write them down but it isn’t necessary.
Carolyn – So personal choice really.
Ingrid – Sawyer, she’s braided for years. She’s never written anything down. She keeps her braids.
Carolyn – So have you found that your loop braiding has helped you travel the world?
Ingrid – Well that’s a leading question because you know the answer. I have been able to go to one foreign country to teach loop braiding. I went to England, to Manchester in 2012 to teach at the 2nd International Braiding Conference which encompassed a lot more than loop braiding. It was a very exciting conference. These things are because there are all these little obscure techniques. Not just braiding, but also the Braid Society that sponsored this includes narrow wares like weaving.
Are we out of time?
Carolyn – We’re getting out of time.
Ingrid – That’s way out of time. Anyway it was very exciting, and I did get to go really because of the teaching blog. It made people notice that I’d done kind of new stuff.
(End of Transcript)
You can check out Ingrid’s blog at Loop Braiding.
My travel partner for my big California trip had arranged with Vancouver friends to celebrate her 50th birthday at Desert Hearts. Travel – Getting There I had already come down from the island for the Los Angeles regional Burning Man event. Nature I didn’t see much nature while I was at Desert Hearts. It’s held […] The post Desert Hearts appeared first on Penguin's...
My travel partner for my big California trip had arranged with Vancouver friends to celebrate her 50th birthday at Desert Hearts.
Travel – Getting There
I had already come down from the island for the Los Angeles regional Burning Man event.
I didn’t see much nature while I was at Desert Hearts. It’s held on a hilltop on a reservation. There were many trees.
The stage was the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen. One day I even spied a mermaid behind it.
These stilt walkers were awesome.
I wanted a pair of heart shaped sunglasses like many people were wearing but I waited too late to go looking for them.
Travel – Homeward Bound
This trip was a sub-set of a 5 week exploration of the American south-western deserts.
I would have gone back this year but there was a two week gap between BEquinox and Desert Hearts. I connected well with the people in the neighbouring RVs and left having found new friends – Ajay, Dee, and Billy.
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