Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Its the Little Things

In my humble way I try to celebrate Thanksgiving every day -- after all I have so very much to be thankful for.  As the 'formal' day of thanksgiving approached I got to thinking about the 'little' things in my life that I'm thankful for - the very little things!  What brings joy and delight to me each day in small, easy to overlook ways.  So here are a few that I've come up with. 

This view out my kitchen window, into the forest, and on the window sill three old bottles.  One of the bottles has been stamped with this quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year."  I love that -- as I start out on my early morning walks I recite that quote to myself, under my breath, like a whisper to start the day.  Each and every day.

This 'wall' of ribbons.  These ribbons and fibers grace my studio.  Everytime I walk by they dance in the slightest breeze.  I sometimes think they are reaching out to me - 'use me in your next project', 'no, pick me'.  Their colors, their ephemeral beauty speak to me each day.

These simple 'tools of the trade' - small, sharp scissors - an old spoon, very small, to scoop up recalitrant beads and my lovely 'thread catching bowl.

Oh yes, there are many, many 'big' blessings in my life - family, friends, home, health, the natural world around me and there are the not so visible blessings for which I am very thankful - tranquility, time, joy... too many to list.  But I never want to forget those small, very small joys that please me each day in their own way.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

"One single grateful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer." - G. E. Lessing

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Desert Dreamer

I am a desert dreamer!  I love living here in the western North Carolina mountains - but my heart is split between here and the desert.  We spent many years in the deserts of Nevada and my son and his family still live there.  These days both my desert longings and my homesickness for family are soothed with all too brief trips spent out west. 

Recently I've gotten interested in the idea of creating beaded figures and after finding the most perfect desert-like button/cab I decided to try my hand at a beaded figure to honor the desert that I love.  And so, "Desert Dreamer" was born.  This was truly a learning experience.  How would I bead her?  How would I 'stuff' her to make her dimensional? How would I mount this abstract figure?  The beading was the 'easy' part and of course the very most fun part.  After some trial and error with finishes I was able to prepare the stand (with the help of my DH).  Before attaching the dowel to the base however I had to put it inside the figure and then stuff around it.  After I had it suitably stuffed I stitched across the bottom of the figure and I was able to put the dowel into the stand and voila - Desert Dreamer was born. 

Now I have my very own desert spirit -- looking at her will bring the rock formations, sage, mountains and mysteries of the desert back into my life.

"The phoenix hope, can wing her way trhough the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from the ashes and rise". - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bare Trees

We are having the most 'delicious' days.  Bright sunshine, deep blue sky and warm weather.  After all the rain we've had lately these days are truly a treasure.  As I walked today the change in the trees became very apparent. All of the leaves are gone (which is a blessing for those who have to mulch them) and now their bare branches stand out against a vivid blue sky.  I love this time of the year.  I feel like I am surrounded by magical, mystical sculptures.  Old trees that have occupied these hills longer than I have serve to guard these forests and I can only walk among them in wonder.

"If you would know about strength and patience, welcome to the company of trees." - Hal Borland

Friday, November 13, 2009

Seeing is Believing

Hanging above my work table is this lovely pendant created by Nina Bagley. Don't you think beading enhances our ability to see? Working with tiny beads to create an intricate design brings my 'seeing' into focus.

Using that beading state of mind, when not beading, allows me to look at a leaf and really see it, to feel the weight and shape of a small rock, to spot a bird's feather along the path. This 'beading gift' begs me to pay attention to the smallest, seemingly least significant things that surround me.

I have noticed that I now look at so many things with the thought "could I bead that?" I see forms that I can imagine covered in beads, I see a spider web dotted with dew and think 'beads'. I see a color combination that I would like to put into beading - I am seeing everything in a new light!

Each day Nina's pendant serves as a gentle reminder to 'see' -- see everything and everyone and soak in whatever is in front of me at the time. Being able to fill each moment by noticing even the smallest of things - now that would create a full and artful life.
"It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision." - Helen Keller

Monday, November 9, 2009

Three Trays Working

I have always been focused on finishing one thing at a time.  When I was 'trapped' in a cubicle I had, out of necessity, to multitask.  Being out of the cubicle and in my studio I revert back to my true self - the one who 'plods' on until the task at hand is done.  All was well until I began beading.  I soon found that it was 'fun' to multitask.  Tired of beaded sculpture?  Move onto to creating an abstract picture.  Tired of the art doll figure in front of me?  Move onto another one.  Hey, this is fun!!  This is a tray made up and in process for "Desert Dreamer".

This next tray is the beginning of "The Man in the Moon".  The most exciting part is that after moving between pieces one of them turns up finished and I almost have to ask myself 'now how did that happen?

This tray holds an as yet unnamed figure. I've found that focusing too much on one beading piece may give it too much importance.  It means that if I make a mistake, or start getting stale, or can't figure out what stitch to use next I'm trapped because I have only committed to one piece at a time.  Moving from piece to piece gives me a fresh look at each one as I pick it up after it has been resting.  It puts the work into perspective for me because there are others waiting for me when I tire of this one.   So perhaps multitasking isn't nearly the bug-a-boo that I once thought it to be.

"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star." - Fredrich Nietzsche

Friday, November 6, 2009

Art Mart!

A week from today  (Friday, November 13th) I will be participating in Art Mart.  This is an annual show hosted by the Transylvania County Arts Council (TCAC) located in Brevard, North Carolina.  I love this show.  It is short - Friday night wine and cheese reception and all day Saturday (the 14th).  Artists are in attendance on Friday night - and its always a festive event. 

One of the things that I like about it -- all of the artwork is sold at significantly discounted prices.  Now why oh why would I like that?  Well - first of all its an opportunity to put pieces that either the artist has had 'hanging' around for awhile, or pieces that while good didn't quite meet your self-critical artist requirements, or pieces that haven't sold in other places (so they get a second chance at this show).  The discounted prices appeal to me for another reason -- there are people who would like to buy something of mine but can't afford it or justify the expense and I love it that I can offer them some of my work at more affordable prices.  Many people buy my pieces as gifts (another thing I absolutely love) and here's a chance to do so within a budget. 

I have to admit pricing has always been a bug-a-boo for me.  Perhaps it is because I enjoy what I do so much it almost seems 'wrong' to charge too much and I have to literally force myself to put market prices on my work.  I know that I am truly blessed to have the time, the energy and the inspiration to create whatever I want, when I want to.  I am fortunate that I am not 'living on my art earnings' (I'd be quite hungry right now) and know that if I were, my whole price thinking would have to be adjusted. 

This year at Art Mart I will be offering book arts and little scenic tins that I made ever so long ago.  If you are near the Brevard area stop in for a little wine, a little cheese and a lot of art.  We'll be waiting for you!

"Sometimes creativity is a compulsion, not an ambition." - Ed Norton

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Not long ago I decided to make a series of beaded pictures whereby I created a beaded piece, mounted it on fabric and framed it.  Here are some thoughts I had as I created these two first pieces.

"Shadow Play" -- a piece that reflects the light and dark, the shadows and glimmer that appear each day.  Sliding into the colors in this piece I let the beads speak for themselves and they seemed to know what they were doing, where they should go.  This piece was stitched 'on the flat' which was a joy to me after completing "RSVP", the hand sculpture.  Beading 'on the flat' allows so much more latitude as to the various stitches that can be used and where the beads go.  I love a piece where I can let the beads flow - as if you come upon a form and shape in nature and it takes on a life of its own.

"On Gossamer Wings" -- this piece was a 'natural'.  I had found the dragonfly button and just had to use it.  As I beaded this piece it was late summer, a perfect time to be using these colors and this theme.  I was able to allow the summer light to creep into the work by using some beads that sparkled - much like the sun on a small pond.  As I've been in a 'learning' mode this past year I hadn't done much about adding bits and bobs on top of the beads but this time I found a stick which had some green lichen on it to attach on top of the beads.  I immediately fell in love with this idea and I know I'll try to layer more in the future. 

I know that a 'series' is not made up of just two pieces so there will be more (and more and more) of these to come -- aren't the opportunities, the inspiration and the creative freedom of encrusted beading just the most wonderful experience?

“Make visible what without you might perhaps never have been seen.” Robert Bresson


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