Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Blog

I started a new blog Where Metalsmiths Make that I hope will be a blast! If you're a metalsmith pass this on! I want tons of subscribers and contributors! sort of like an online mag! So please email me your photos and comments!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Story of My LIfe....

My online horoscope today says:
"It's difficult to shake that feeling that you should have done something more than you did and now there may not be enough time to finish. Unfortunately, your anxiety might be more problematic than whatever remains incomplete. Worrying will only slow you down even more because you won't be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Self-judgment doesn't help anything now; just find a comfortable pace and keep going the best you can." DUH!
I feel that way probably 8 times a week! ...sometimes two or three times a day! *sigh*
The truth of the matter is, no matter how many times I tell myself that worrying doesn't help, my Inner Worrier doesn't believe me. It's like a dog gnawing a bone. She's convinced there's another morsel, or more marrow or something if she can just get to it.... but then again doesn't gnawing on bones help a dog's teeth and jaws and such? Could there be some cosmic reason I worry? Could it serve some purpose as yet unseen to me? Well that's what my Inner Worrier likes to think! My mom thinks its hereditary and, of course, from my father's side of the family!
Right now my IW (Inner Worrier) has lots to gnaw on! I have a jam packed 2010 swiftly on its way! Workshops in five different states, three classes to teach at CFCC til May, and hopefully a reunion with my grad school gals... Well, for all you fellow worriers out there... it is true "this too shall pass" and yoga helps... just take deep breaths!
Thought I'd share a pic of me NOT worrying at a friend's party before Christmas. Not the most flattering of me, but I think Robert looks quite fetching!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Craftsmanship + Life

My thoughts have turned in the last couple of years to the spiritual nature of craftsmanship. I repeatedly have experiences with folks who take my workshops or classes and are transformed. Oh, of course not everyone is so changed! But a handful each semester leave me, changed by making. And don't misread my meaning, I don't by any means attribute it soley to my teaching! No! In fact folks have shared stories with me about their watershed moments in others workshops or classes, or maybe even a DVD lesson in making something.

At any rate, maybe those people leave an indelible mark on my memory because I seek those types of exchanges, sometimes subconsciously but often deliberately. Those are the reasons I continue teach, to relive the excitement of manipulating materials, often for the first time. And I especially like watching people get excited about working metal, which seems so rigid and unmoving to them. When students get that electric charge it can light up a room. Its addictive to me. So much so in fact I begin to detest my community college job when students don't get into it! I can't fathom their apathy and I become a major grouch. So what is it about the making of things that can be so intoxicating, fulfilling, spiritual? How does taking a class in making something rejuvenate so many? I find that energy is my drug. I can't get enough.

The concept of art as therapy is kind of a new one, relatively speaking. Is it because before the Industrial Revolution making things was the only way things came into being? Therefore the therapeutic aspects of the work of making things was never questioned, making stuff, working with ones hands in quiet busy-ness occurred all the time! No big deal. So now in our age we hardly ever make anything! Making things has become the stuff of hobbies.
Well the nature of craft has long been a subject for discussion. I've read snippets of Ruskin long ago. But on a recent internet book search I found a treasure trove of writing on the soul of crafting... and by craft I mean the careful construction of functional and non functional art. Not merely your gramma style "crafting", but certainly not excluding those quaint "mediums" since indie crafters have show us that anything can be elevated to an artform!

So, right now I am reading "A Way of Working" edited by DM Dooling and plan on reading "Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person" by MC Richards and I WISH I had a copy of Paulus Berensohn's "Finding One's Way With Clay".
I love the idea of making sense of our lives through creating. Don't you?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Steamy Heart

Shhhhh... it's a surprise for someone!
If I can find two minutes to rub together it will make many more! It is of red glass enameled copper, a brass grandfather clock gear with a sterling banner.
Stay tuned....

Christmas Cheer!

The cheerful ledge by my kitchen sink!

I heard the most amazing music on NPR yesterday! I was out riding around and when Kitka sang a traditional Bulgarian Christmas Carol called "Av Jerusalime" my hair stood on end! Then two other fabulous female choral groups sang- Anonymous 4 and Trio Mediaeval. I immediately searched itunes when I got home! Please have a listen to a sampling of Trio Mediaeval's music and the see the playlist at NPR by clicking here. It just might make your day too!

Faux snow on my door wreath inhabited by my "wreath budgie".

Monday, December 21, 2009

Who Does She think She Is?

I had a "friend" once tell my ex that he needed to "clamp down on her and quit letting her play around, make her get a real job!" Well, that friend has since confessed to me and apologized. Now I am with Robert who said he couldn't stand it if I did get what he calls a square job. We have to live our dreams we choose to pay the price. This clip moved me greatly.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Elf!

So I fear that alcohol triggers migraines for me... yes, heaven forbid! So I have not been imbibing for sometime now. BUT! we have friends coming by tonight and I have been wanting to try this cocktail... Midori calls it a Green Cosmo but I really like what Coastal Living magazine calls it a Happy Elf!

One ounce midori, two ounces citrus vodka, on ounce white cranberry shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain in to a lovely glass and add a maraschino!
I added the tiniest splash of ginger ale for a little sparkle...
Its luscious! I'm a very Happy Elf!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Ingrid Michaelson - Maybe
I really am obsessed with her song "Everybody" but this one will do...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What do you feed?

I was reminded today that sometimes it is said that there is a battle inside us all, between two wolves.

One is Evil. It is negativity, anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, trust, positivity, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion.

Which wolf wins?

The one you feed.

Don't know about you, but I greatly needed that reminder.
photo by Steev-o on flickr

I've Been Busy!

Yep, I've been a whirlwind. Now my show is finished, but the semester ends Friday and I have tools that need maintenance at the school. Too much to do! and yet I really just want to focus on my own life... you know, get the decorations out of the attic, put up a tree, etc.
Here's some new stuff I've made!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend Whirlwind

This weekend did a show at a nearby shopping center. An art association I am a member of rented a vacant space where there had been a Sharper Image store. Lots of preparation, paid off. My two metals buddies and I were there all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
But now I am tuckered out. Just wanna sleep, rest my back and putter in my now destroyed house that has not been decorated yet. But no rest for the artist, the community college lets out this week so there's grading to do and lots of computer work to do. *sigh* Thought I'd share these peaceful images of a leaf on my back deck last week.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Creative Time vs. Day Job

So, it's 5pm and I am just now getting to go out to the studio for the day. Typical... but the trick is to not be bitter about CFCC soaking up all my weekday work time. I am jealous of people who get to go out to their studios at 9 in the morning with a fresh coffee, after a nice walk or something, and begin their creative time. My creative time begins after my day job. Someday it won't be that way (though I've been saying that for 30 years!). Anyway, we all carve out what we can, and all-in-all its a pretty creative life!
Thought I'd leave you with this photo of Theo Ellsworth's ghost goggles:

I think Theo is a young genius! Check out his blog I find his way of looking at things so inspiring!

Monday, November 9, 2009

November Weekend

So this weekend was another WAWAS open studio night. I was blessed with a visit from Bill and Lacey Ann Struve the couple behind Copperclay and Bronzeclay. They are a powerhouse team, a truly amazing couple of individuals. It made my month to have an electric, energized chat with them for hours. I hope to see lots more of them.

Then on Saturday we went to a fundraiser for ASAPCares. It was at a lovely plantation with large old trees, complete with shrimp burgers, bluegrass bands and ponyrides. I'd spearheaded a collaborative charm bracelet to be made by our metals club Cape Fear Metalsmiths. The bracelet caused a stir and raised some bucks for ASAPCares' Rainbow house. We intend to do another next year. Auction organizer Kim Beller snapped these pics.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pain and Paying Attention

This is for a friend of mine out there somewhere today in pain. Thought I'd share this excerpt from Julia Cameron's "The Artists Way":
"In writing about attention, I see that I have written a good deal about pain. This is no coincidence. It may be different for others, but pain is what it took to teach me to pay attention."
How amazing is THAT! It was a bolt of lightening, reading that. I mean we know these things but do we KNOW them? My midlife cyclone (as I like to call it) and its ensuing rubble, did just that for me, taught me to pay attention, to live in each tiny precious minute. Some of that sensation has faded for me in my comfortable post chaos life. Some days I have regrets and I have consoled myself with thoughts like- well,I wouldn't be where I am now, or with Robert, etc. When really the journey I went through had a far greater, and simultaneously simpler lesson for me. EXPERIENCE! Pain was transmuted into wisdom and experience! But these lesson fade so quickly for us slow humans. We need more konks on the head!
Maybe pain and crisis has this lesson to teach all of us. From the moment we are born through pain, we continuously are reborn through it, over and over.
Julia goes on,
"In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to the right now. The precise moment I was in was the only safe place for me. Each moment, taken alone, was always bearable. In the exact now, we are all, always, all right. Yesterday teh marriage may have ended. Tomorrow the cat may die. The phone call from the lover, for all my waiting, may not ever come, but just at the moment, just now, that's all right. I am breathing in and out. Realizing this, I began to notice that each moment was not without its beauty."
Just beautiful.....
This is one of the truths of life that must be discovered by each person on their own. I think this is the core of so many journeys books, lectures.... how to find the soft tender center in the present moment. And so, my friend's pain and crisis and my watching her go through it, reiterate for me the fragility and beauty of life's processes. She will be hammered out smooth, shiny and new when it is over.
(picture borrowed from here)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Boo Ya'll!

So thought I'd report in about one of my family's favoritest of holidays, HALLOWEEN!
We had a good time. Meredith was with us for the festivities and we did a fine job. I had wanted to have a blow out party but getting life rolling after Portland, and applying to Portland for next year with new projects, and teaching, it was just too much. Next year! I did find out that my daughter is a whiz at pumpkin carving and wields a mean exacto blade. She did the Jack Skellington pumpkin and many of our luminaries including this fierce cat. Meredith and her friend rampaged neighborhoods trick or treating as zombie school girls replete with pleated plaid skirts and battle with a bottle of fake blood. I was thrilled to have LOTS of trick or treaters in our new neighborhood THANK HEAVEN! I mis the halcyon days of my childhood in the suburbs of the 70's. Days spent on costumes parents lurking and scaring each other. Those were the pre-razorbladed apple days. You couldn't wait until the Halloween cartoon special came on preferably Charlie Brown! Ah, the good ole days! Well, in my neighborhood it seems they're alive and strong!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Invisible Man

Liu Bolin paints himself to blend in with his background more images here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ouaggahdougoo Fertility Punch

Yes folks, my brother just told me that he and his friends years ago made up a drink, "Ouaggahdougoo Fertility Punch". Hey, they were in college, they had a blender and a fridge and heck, it seeeemed like a good idea. They also had an Atlas and named it after an actual city.
It included rum, peanut butter, grape jelly, beer,muscle protein powder, grapes... He's forgotten the ten other things. Hey said they never knew if it worked because they couldn't find a girl who'd drink it. He said it didn't hold a candle to the drink they made up called "Brown Mafungo", it included maple syrup, or the "Dirty Ashtray".

Monday, October 12, 2009

Swamp Sunflowers

Helianthus angustifolius, ah, I am in love. Swamp Sunflowers! I have seen them in years past, but didn't know what they were. They bloom on tall shoots in the fall. And oh how I love fall! That first break in the ever present blasted heat around here. It's been in the high 80's since I got back from Portland. But today its almost cold! and drizzly too! Oh I love it. I love sweaters out of knubby fabrics and sheep's wool and handmade, hand dyed yarns. I love tea and coffee, moss and damp rocks.. I adore moody skies and cool breezes and dripping ferns. And now I love these flowers. They are so explosive and vibrant with fiery yellows. My friend Kim gave me this big bouquet on Thursday. Oh, the joy they bring! I have recut their stems, coaxing them to live longer. I sit in a sweater, in the gloaming with my tea in my handmade stoneware mug watching their fragile petals quiver in the slight breeze through the open window.
I have a friend who says the fall makes her sad. To her it is an ending time, end of summer, end of sun and beach which is her best time. I love the beach too. I love the marsh and the birds. But honestly I love them when it is not so hot.
To me fall is the beginning! I have fallen in love numerous times with the best of men in the fall. The leaves become golden tree crowns. The word becomes crisp and busy again, readying for winter. The slow bees are buzzing happily. There is honey to be harvested, beer to be brewed! The ancient people felt the glow the harvest, the plenty, the end of the years hardest work. They celebrated with gratitude and overwhelming joy that they would indeed survive another winter. Samhain- end of summer... the time of bonfires, rejoicing and feasts! And oh how I love fire! This cooler weather is so much more suited to creative fires. I can metalsmith, enamel, fire up the ceramic kilns without melting and dying from the heat! I was born to live in the mountains I think. But alas we are where we are and that is that. I do enjoy the beach when it is summer, but now it is my time. Robert loves the heat, the hotter the better. Not me. I love my tiki stuff and my banana trees, brugmansia and sago palms, but I am good for no creative work in the summer. My brain doesn't work so well in the steamy August time. I am only good for dreaming in hammocks then, or lazing down rivers. Now is the time I feel alive and full of song and long for my hammers and metal and chili, stews and squash and bonfires!
My friend who sees the end when fall comes along, just needs some swamp sunflowers and a lovely cup of flavorful tea!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Late to the Ball

Dang! Robert and I have discovered Serenity and Firefly and are hooked. Why am I always late to the ball! Robert is freakin' I found a Serenity lunchbox... do I hear Christmas bells?

Nov 7th Benefit for Autism

Nov 7th at Poplar Grove Plantation from 12-4pm.
I'll be donating jewelry to the auction. There will be four great bluegrass and handmade music bands, beer tent, auction, pony rides, food, free admission!
Hope to see you there!

All proceeds got support http://www.asapcares.org

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Art and Soul 2009 Portland

So! I got back from Art and Soul Portland late Monday night with a teensy headcold, which fortunately was gone quickly. I am tuckered out though!
Here's a pic of the Art & Soul onsite store a temporary satellite of "Collage"

The folks in my classes were wonderful!! These little beauties are from my Sunday Goddess of the Tines class:

And my roommates were amazing. Traci Bunkers and Juliana Coles are two phenominal women! I was honored they let me room with them this time. Met so many great folks hope to go back again!
didn't see any of Portland really, but took a short walk.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meredith's Belt Buckle

Happy Birthday, M!
I made this after she did most of the designing. The pistol on the right spins!


Our family is now officially addicted to Paintball! Robert's already looked on craigslist for paintball guns.

Steampunk Buckle

Here's my easy squeezy steampunk belt buckle. Hopefully a new workshop available near you! TBA

Tie Dye Cupcakes

My daughter and her friend bought neon food coloring and made what they dubbed tie dye cupcakes. They used matching colored bowls for the batter.

Camping on Masonboro

We had a lovely Saturday night camping on Masonboro Island recently. It was blustery on Saturday as we paddled over, but warm, and then cooler on Sunday. We were visited by a fox and saw signs of many others as well as deer tracks. Robert found the remains of turtle eggs where something had eaten them, such a shame. He said the State reported no successful hatchings of shorebirds such as terns or oyster catchers on Masonoboro. There are just too many foxes and too many huge blow out parties over there with the ensuing drunken behavior, littering, fouling of the water and dunes, dogs unleashed, etc. Many shorebirds don't make twig nest, they just hollow out the sand a bit. Too many people don't care. Those that do are trying to do something about it. There will be a public meeting to increase awareness of the MBI Reserve and to discuss management options for use and abuse, with public comment invited. It will be 10/6 at the UNCW Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin Moss Lane, Auditorium, 6pm

Dawn on Masonboro.

Turtle egg shells

Wind writing with sea grass.

Ghost crab tracks.