I wear two hats with different names: Madison Woods when I’m wearing the artist hat, Roxann Riedel in real life and real estate. I'm a rock-smashing paint-making artist & a sales agent for Montgomery Whiteley Realty. Hailing from the wild Ozarks in Kingston, Arkansas where my husband and I work toward a sustainable lifestyle.

You can text or call to reach me by either name (see above):
(479)409-3429, or email madison@wildozark.com

avoiding hibernation, a banner for wildozark

Hibernation Avoidance | Hermit Musings

This winter I haven’t felt much like doing anything at all outside. But yesterday the sun started shining and today it will continue. I think the temps will be bearable tomorrow, too. I want so badly to get outside and DO something. I started writing this post on Saturday afternoon, it was nearly time to start cooking supper. I hate to start a project and only have less than an hour to work on it, so I just soaked up the sun for a little while and did … nothing much. But today, Sunday morning, I’ve got a plan that will keep me outside, and it will aid me in my hibernation avoidance. I hate being cold, and the wind has been cold even if the thermometer said 39 and the skies were partly sunny. So, I’ve been working on indoor projects up to now.

Varnished Watercolors

Today I finished the varnishing process for The Forager. I’d finished painting it a few weeks ago, but didn’t want to start on the varnish until I found out if Watercolors USA accepts entries treated that way. A lot of the shows don’t, but they wrote back and said they did, so yay. I prefer finishing my artwork like this because there’s no need for glass in the frame afterwards. It makes it a lot easier to actually see the details in the painting without the glare of glass. Even museum glass is a barrier, though I like it a lot better than acrylic or actual glass.

Native Clay for Hibernation Avoidance

Another thing I did is something that I started on a couple of weeks ago. I dug out my little plastic tub that had some native clay in it. This is some I’d cleaned a couple of years ago and just put a few balls of ready-to-go moist clay inside the container to store it. I was curious how well it would hold up kept that way. I had also put a ball of commercial clay in there with it, too, so I could compare them. The native clay was perfectly preserved, just a little too dried out to work with, but no mold. The commercial clay had some spots of mold on it, so I threw it out and added a little water to let the good clay absorb some more.

Exploding heads and body parts

I made head and some arms and leg parts for some Forest Folk a few years ago, but most of those exploded when I tried to fire them in the woodstove. Now I’m working on what will eventually be a new line of Forest Folk, except I’m going to call them Ozark Folk this time. I wrote about that a while back. Here’s a link where you can see the ones I used to make. The new line will have heads of clay, and maybe arms and legs of clay, too. I still have to see how that will work out. My aim is to not need to use the glue gun so much, so if I make body parts from clay with holes through them like beads, I may be able to wire them together.


Then the other day I made some beads with the clay I had left over. I still have enough to make about this many more beads, but want to see how these do when I fire them, first. And that leads me to the other thing that’s new. A small jewelry kiln! I’ve wanted one for a long time, and finally ordered one. This will be an excellent way to avoid hibernation. It came in last week and Rob put together the cart we bought for it the other day. Now I just have to wait for the beads to completely dry so I can make the first trial run with it. Hopefully the Ozark Folk parts and the beads all come through without blowing up. I’ve blown up plenty of them in the woodstove over the past couple of years. When I started painting, I put the clay and the Folk aside and focused only on making the paints and painting the pictures.

I made a little string of trial beads while avoiding hibernation.
Various sizes in my string of trial beads. I’m curious to see if size affects how well they do in the new little kiln I have. I’m waiting on some high-temp wire to come in so I can fire them on the wire and hopefully keep the holes intact.

I made a slurry with the clay and some of the red and yellow sandstone pigments. Then I used a paintbrush to put some dots of the colored slurry on them. I’m curious to see if the pigment causes any sort of color or some effect during firing.

Too Much To and Do Not Enough Time

My list of things I’d like to do seems like it keeps growing faster than I can knock things off of it. Now I’d like to start making more beads and Folk, too. And continue to forage for rocks, smash them for paint and paint. All good things to do while I’m inside waiting for spring to arrive and avoiding hibernation. But really, the only thing that changes once the weather warms up is that I’ll add gardening and stonework building in the garden to the list of things I’ll do. And then there’s the horses. This year I want to actually ride them sometimes. Which means there’s work with them to do first, like picking hooves, brushing, tacking, etc. Hopefully a successful ride that doesn’t end up with me on the ground, lol, and then the untacking. It takes a fair amount of time to just get in one little ride. I’d love to have another me to work on things at the same time so I could get more done with my remaining lifetime.

I think the key is to be fully involved with the one present thing, and not plan or think about the other things while I’m doing the one thing. That’s a difficult task for me, it seems.

Back to being a Hermit Avoiding Hibernation

Anyway, not much out of the ordinary going on here with me these days. Just being a hermit and trying to avoid going into hibernation. I can’t really say my days are ‘ordinary’ when compared to other people I know, but they’ve been the usual kind of days for me 😀 I piddle a lot, with projects that either serve a useful function or simply interest me. What have you been up to?

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