Friday, February 26, 2010

Goodbye February

I know that February doesn’t officially end until Sunday -- but this month has been the longest ‘shortest’ month of the year for me and I’m ready to say goodbye to it.

I do try to live my life under the auspices of ‘acceptance’ and ‘adaptation’ with a large dose of ‘gratitude’ thrown in – but this month I seemed to be in a state of determined resistance. On my behalf there have been a few obstacles thrown up across my path. Our weather here in western North Carolina has been unusually challenging – we have had snow storms; ice storms; grey, cold, dismal days; roads that were impassable to even the postal people and the newspaper delivery truck. Personal deadlines abounded while meetings were canceled and rescheduled and canceled again. Add to this a huge part of a tree fell on our garage resulting in roof work and the rest of the tree being cut down; I had outpatient surgery, oh and did I mention those deadlines!

Yes, I am ready to welcome a new month and with it a definite attitude change on my part.  Okay – enough complaining – I’m opening the door to the sunshine today in the hopes that February will get the hint and move on out to welcome March.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." - Buddha

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Goodbye Friend

We had a recent ice storm - this on top of several snow storms (some snow is still on the ground from December), rain, sleet and exceptionally cold weather.  So when the ice coated the tree branches it was just too much for some of them to withstand.

As I sat working in my studio I heard a loud thud as two huge branches fell on top of the garage roof.  These branches came from an old tree that has stood outside the back door for many, many years -- probably was here before the back door was even built. 

Once Frank, the tree man, came out and looked at what was left of the tree he told us that it would have to come down.  I guess our option was to take it down now or wait until the rest of it came down on top of our house (not really a pleasant thing to think about).  So the tree was removed.

As anyone who has read my posts knows -- I have an affinity for trees and to see one cut down is difficult for me.  Even when I know that it has to be done it hurts.  Once, we had to clear property in the forest to build a house (not this house) and as they cut one tree down they would come to us and say 'you really need to remove that one too' - it was like a huge amputation.  I finally could not stand it - but walked into the nearby forest and cried for the fact that we were removing those trees.  Believe me we did not remove any more than absolutely had to be taken down but still...

So one more tree in my life is being taken down -- it has served us well through the past five years that we've lived here, giving us shade in the summer, color in the fall and the sculpture of its trunk and branches during the winter.  I will miss it!

"He plants trees to benefit another generation." - Caecilius Statius

Friday, February 19, 2010

February BJP

Here is my February BJP -- all decked out with a heart (what other symbol could I use in February?) and lots of beads and fibers.  This bookmark is based on the word 'intertwine'.  When I first pulled the word out of my 'word jar' and looked it up in the dictionary I found the definition of 'to twine together'.  While I was working on this bookmark I went back to the dictionary to pull out the definition of 'twine' and found this: "Twine n. a strong thread or string composed of two or more strands twisted together."  Now if that isn't the most perfect word for this Valentine's Day month.  It made me think of all of the connections we create in life and how each is composed of strands twisted together to make a strong thread.

And so, I dedicate this bookmark to all the strands of my life that are tightly twisted together becoming stronger every year.  To my husband, my son and grandsons, to my '
best sister' and to all my friends -- may we stay intertwined together forever.

"Life's truest happiness is found in friendships we make along the way." - Unknown

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Solstice Figure

She walks through winter.  Silver reflecting the light of the winter moon; shades of grey match the branches of trees, early morning light, fog filling the valley, cold river water; pale blue like the sky before the sun finally comes through. 

She walks through winter as snow falls and piles up against downed trees and boulders strewn along the way.

She walks through winter in the footsteps of the deer who passed by earlier and she passes as silently as the elusive fox and bobcat.

She walks through winter reveling in the icy cold - where each breath makes a puff of steam.

"There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.  It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance." - William Sharp

Friday, February 12, 2010

Buried Alive

I've been buried alive in paperwork this week.  I am part of a small contemporary craft guild called InspiredArts.  We are planning a major craft show to be held at Flat Rock Playhouse.  Flat Rock Playhouse in Flat Rock, North Carolina is the state theater.  A wonderful, magical place where all sorts of creativity abounds.  Flat Rock Playhouse has never held a craft show and InspiredArts has never run a craft show -- so this has all been a unique adventure.  Last Tuesday we completed our jurying process.  We now have 42 artists who will be converging on the YouTheater at Flat Rock Playhouse over Mother's Day weekend.  My job has been to handle the jurying which has meant accepting the applications, organizing the jurying, notifying the applicants after the jury process and sending out acceptance packets.  Sounds pretty simple when I compact it into a sentence like that.

The jury process this last Tuesday was quite wonderful. I mean who can complain about sitting and looking at images of art all day long!  We all enjoyed it and the creativity that we saw was overwhelming at times.  Of course since then I have been overwhelmed with paperwork and computer work and calling people and so on and so forth.  Who would have thought that so much energy and planning would have to go into a gathering of creative souls?  

Today I sit here confident that things are under control, all my lists have been checked twice (or three times or four times but who is counting).  The acceptance packets are almost ready to send out and I'm to take a few deep breaths. 

"We can lick gravity but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming."  - Wernher von Braun 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Heart and Soul

What is the secret Ingredient? So you have these beads and this fabric upon which to put them and you stitch and stitch being as careful as possible and you learn a new stitch for this project and you look at it and what do you think?  Hey, I did it!!  Hey, I did a good job!! Hey - what does it mean? And that last one is the question I constantly ask myself.  At first the beading itself was the challenge - since I had very little experience with it and absolutely none with encrusted beading.  As I've learned and practiced and taken off and put back on I've discovered something else.  The secret ingredient is 'spirit'!  To have a lasting quality, to feel really good about an embroidered piece, something of my spirit has to enter into it.  If I look at the work of others (please check out the links on the side of my blog) I know that what draws me to their work is the heart and soul that goes into each piece.  Each has beautiful skills - but the depth of the work is what draws me.  For me, to look at their work is to get into their hearts because they have obviously laid them open for all to see.  And that is what I long to do with my work.  Working with abstract pictures and figures I am more able to drop a bit of myself right smack dab into the middle of each piece.  Because creating a beaded piece is a 'slow' art it lends itself to being a 'real' part of me.  The time that it takes may encompass days when I feel joyful and days when I feel sad -- the colors, the stitches, the design all say 'deep down, this is who I am'.  Everyday I thank each of you who are out there wearing your heart on your sleeve by putting it into your chosen art form.  This is not an easy thing to do but it can be so rewarding.  Its that huge leap from craft to art. 

"When you do things from the soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy". - Rumi

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Second Month

It is February and this month looks like its going to fly by.  So better get busy on my February BJP bookmark.  The word for February is "Intertwined".  I'm not sure why I pulled out 'interlude' and 'intertwined' one right after another.  Both words start with the preface of 'inter-' which according to the dictionary is: a prefix meaning "between," "among," "mutually", "reciprocally", "together".  I like that 'intertwined' means "to twine together." 

And so I have started this month's BJP with a heart at its core (only fitting for February) and one that has a twining of ribbons and beads.  Who knows where this word will take me during the rest of the month but I hope that I end up conveying 'intertwined' as a twisting together. Already all sorts of images are floating through my mind.

Intertwine v.t. to twine together.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wandering Through Winter

A winter snow has once again graced our spot here in western North Carolina.  The snow fell quickly last Friday afternoon.  Big flakes coming down in record speed and covering everything with a soft blanket of white.  Unfortunately not a 'warm' blanket for then it wouldn't be snow.
See the metal dragonfly (above) touched with snow and leaning precariously?  He is a reminder that spring will be here before we know it. As for the cupcake snow frosting on the planter pots they speak for themselves.

And it will be awhile before these back deck stairs will be used.  Meanwhile I love the pattern of the darker wood and the white snow.

The pond outside my studio window never fails to draw me.  In the summer the frogs keep me entertained - jumping into the water everytime I walk out the door and then when they feel safe soaking in the sunshine around the edges of the pond.  But at this time of the year, when the ice forms there are patterns that make me shiver because they represent winter so well. 

This winter has been colder and snowier than usual here in my place in the world -- but what a wonderful excuse it gives me to stay inside my warm nest and bead with absolutely not one bit of a guilty conscience.  Yes, snow can be good!!

"Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart." - Victor Hugo


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