Friday, April 30, 2010

A Day At Black Mountain

A couple of weeks agoI went to Black Mountain with a dear friend. It was a trip we had planned several weeks ago but we were able to make it a dual visit because we had posters and postcards for the upcoming Flat Rock Playhouse Craft Show with us. So we visited shops and galleries and the arts council and while looking at lovely things, passed along our posters. I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered a friendlier town. Here we were, in a store that sells the same kind of craft items that our show will sell and they graciously and enthusiastically accepted the posters to post, the postcards to display. What lovely, lovely people we met in that small town.
Our lunch at "The Veranda" was wonderful as was the oh so delicious gelato we treated ourselves to later on.

I was lucky enough to find a couple of treasures in the shops we visited.  One of them I'm saving for another posting because I'm hoping that it will become part of an ambitious bead project.

All in all, a lovely day with a lovely friend – sharing and laughing and encouraging each other. 

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom". -- Marcel Proust

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Day In The Woods

Last week we went for a 'walk in the woods'.  Little did I know that it would last 3-1/2 hours, that I would wade through a stream, slush through mud and get rained on.  Am I a good sport or what?  This walk encompassed a rock outcrop -- where mosses and strange lichen cling to their places.

There were all sorts of plant life that I had never seen up close.  As we walked and stopped to look around and to take pictures this seemed like somewhat of an alien world.  What small creature lives inside this miniature cave?  Or could it be a forest sprite who was huddled inside his warm abode staying out of the rain (unlike we foolish humans who were getting damper and damper)?

At this time of the year, in this part of the country, color is all around us -- bright, brilliant green that almost hurts your eyes, flowering trees and bushes and small flowers surprising us each day. On this hill all of the colors were muted -- like someone had come along and erased the brilliance leaving only a traces of their former color. 

Each day, the world around me can bring surprises and little worlds that I am ever so happy to explore.  Hopefully the next time, it won't be raining!

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order". - John Burroughs

Friday, April 23, 2010

April BJP - "Converge"

When I first pulled the word 'converge' out of my word jar I had no idea what I would do with it and really had never even thought about the word.  I'm thinking that some little 'dictionary' fairy has gotten into the jar and added a few words of her own - just to surprise me.  If so, this would have been one of them.

Converge: to tend to meet in a point or line, incline toward each other, as lines which are not parallel 2) to tend to a common result, conclusion, etc.  This is not a word most of us use every day (or every month or even once a year) but as I beaded and pondered the meaning of the word I began to realize that while I may not ever use this word I certainly tend to 'live' it.  And I'll bet most of you do too.  Well, I know my fellow BJPers do -- we come together through the internet and then we each prepare a beaded piece to represent our lives, thoughts, dreams and wishes and share these pieces and this work with each other.  We converge!! 

I am currently working on a major contemporary craft show to be held in a couple of weeks.  I'm doing this with my InspiredArts Guild.  There are ten of us who have 'converged' to meet, incline toward each other and bring a common result or conclusion. Now how coincidental is that with my April BJP???? 

P.S.: If you look very closely (or as closely as my inadequate photography allows) you will see the word 'converge' underneath a triangular shaped glass bead. 

"Try hard to find out what you're good at and what your passions are, and where the two converge, and build your life around that". -- Joshua Lederberg

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Studio Clean-up

Once in awhile the whole thing gets away from me and it is time to heed those dreaded words 'clean the studio'.  I can happily report that my studio stays a lot neater in my life as a 'beader' than it did when I was working with book art -- BUT how those beads can get out of hand!!!  Then there are those 'things' that I've saved because someday I might use them.  I'm not a big saver or collector so I have to put on my 'art hat' the one that tells me 'don't just throw everything out'.  There is a 'law of disposal' you know -- that as soon as you get rid of it, you need it!!  I've been known to donate something to the thrift store and then go back and buy it back a week later (hoping its still there).

And so, with spring outside it was time for a clean sweep.  I went through each container of beads, I put all the colors together on shelves, I bought new plastic canisters to add to my collection. Note: the above picture is only a 'fraction' of my bead collection *smile*.

I love those decorated boxes that you can buy, I have LOTS of them - but I can't continue to stuff things into them, until their lids won't close anymore - so the lids came off and I sorted and folded and reorganizedThe fun thing about this is that I found items I had forgotten that I had.  Several of these came to rest on my worktable so that I can use them in something yet unplanned.

Now, you ask - did you also 'clean' your worktable?  Well, no -- I mean its 'sort of' organized - but I MUST leave things strewn hither and yon - bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsom to inspire me.  I love to stop a beading piece and just run my fingers through cabochons that are sitting in a bowl, or pick up the feather and shell that sit in another bowl.  No sterile work table for me.  But hey, I can now pick out beads from their color grouping without having to sort and sort and sort.  So that's enough progress for this spring -- after all there's always time to clean but right now I have to get back to beading.

"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries". - A.A. Milne

Friday, April 16, 2010

Emerging Growth

This is the time of the year for emerging growth -- everything, everywhere is budding.  The spring green almost hurts my eyes - in a pleasant way of course.  The secret for the viewer at this time of the year is to look carefully for the new buds.   A slight touch of red on the azalea bushes promise flowers to come.  Our yard is filled with native plants -- they are often small and quiet.  One has to catch these early blooms as they unfold through the leafy undergrowth for these small plants are sometimes reluctant to show themselves.  It is a matter of walking and looking and seeing -- and what a reward there is at this time of the year.

As I am inclined to do - I measure this same looking and seeing and emerging to art.  While the quiet, sometimes weather imposed isolation of winter, can give me time to create - this is the time of the year when I want to try to recreate the beauty that I see outside using needle, thread and beads.  Even if I'm not making something nature related, I feel that emergence into life move through my fingers. The biggest challenge I have is that it is far more appealing to wander through the woods in this springtime than to sit in my studio and bead.  But if I feel that I'm spending too much time outdoors I remind myself that spring, as with all the other seasons, is fleeting and I only have today to enjoy it.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom" -

Anais Nin

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


How many chances do we get to celebrate life?  I think that we have new chances each and every day -- and so I've created this fellow to remind me to fill my life with joy and laughter, love and 'glitter'!  To put a sparkle in each day, to catch the light just right, to gather beauty in all forms cradling and nuturing it within my hands. 

Embellishing this figure was labor intensive - but sometimes that's what life is all about, putting that extra labor into whatever it is we're doing.  Sometimes he didn't seem like a celebration to me at all because it was so difficult to work with these small arms and to deal with legs that seemed to go every which way.  But when its hard, the reward is so much greater.

"Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness" - Chuang Tzu

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Magazine-aholic!

I have to admit that I am (and always have been) a 'magazine-aholic'.  Is there such a word?  If there is, I am it!  I cannot resist a magazine.  As a child we used to visit my cousin's house on Sunday afternoons.  He was an only child and got to buy any comic book he wanted.  I would find a corner and curl up with all of his comic books - coming out of my hole only to have dinner with everyone.  As a young teenager we would visit one of my grandmothers.  She lived in a wonderful old California house - Spanish style with nooks and crannies and rooms that didn't seem to have any purpose at all.  She also had a huge selection of "Life" magazines. These were the original "Life" magazine with photos that took your breath away and that opened the world to the reader.  You have to remember this was a long time ago - well before anyone had even heard the word 'Google' or 'news 24/7'.  I would find a niche, stack up a bunch of pillows and a bunch of magazines and be lost for the whole afternoon.  Then came late teenage years when I discovered "Seventeen" and "Glamour".  I dreamed over these - shared them with friends - planned my whole fall wardrobe based on that fabulously thick September issue.

As a young wife and mother I was an avid reader of "Good Housekeeping", "Woman's Day" and "Family Circle".  Recipes were clipped, beauty tips were followed and tips for cleaning, cooking and child rearing were pondered.

You could say that the current creative part of my life began because of a magazine.  That magazine was "Somerset Studio".  The first issue I picked up, quite a few years ago, had a theme of Alice in Wonderland and it certainly was a wonderland to me.  Here people, just like me, were creating marvelous, inspired pieces out of paper and paint and found objects. I was hooked!!  Also during this period I began to pour over "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" and "Quilting Arts" each of which showed me the manipulation of fabric in ways I'd never imagined before.

Now I am a beader -- and there are bead magazines galore out there.  Unfortunately for me there isn't much beaded embroidery shown, or discussed.  Sometimes I can get ideas for my work from jewelry pieces but for the most part, these days, I get my inspiration from books instead of magazines. The magazine I now turn to is "American Crafter".  Not that they have much of anything regarding beads - but I'm trying to train my mind to see future beaded pieces by looking at a particular piece of pottery that appeals to me, or a figure, or a tapestry.  I try to translate what I see into bead form - almost as if I was translating from one language to another.  It isn't quite as satisfying as curling up with magazines strewn hither and yon and me in the center - but for now it will have to do.

"The world is but a canvas to the imagination". - Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April BJP in the making

The word that came out of my word jar for this month is: 'converge'.  Please don't ask me where this word came from way back last summer when I first prepared the word strips, because I have no idea.  When I pulled 'converge' out of the jar my first thought was 'uh-oh' because I had no idea how to come up with beading to illustrate this word.

Into the 'stash of good stuff' my fingers went and out came this metal ring that had wire woven across the circle, all coming together in the center.  Hmmm, wherever did I find this and did the 'god of found objects' have any inkling that one day - a long time in the future I would need just this oddity? 

So I have begun to ponder the word 'converge' and to bead my way through April...

"It is not in life but in art that self-fulfillment is to be found." - Wilson Mizner

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Art in Asheville

Last week a friend and I went to Asheville for a day of inspiration.  Now mind you, Asheville is only 40 minutes away from our homes -- but its not often that we get a chance to just go there, tour the galleries and shops, have lunch and visit -- so it is always a special treat.

This day began at Bellagio (in Biltmore Village), a shop with the motto "art to wear" they feature clothes and jewelry.  The clothes are beautifully handmade - using colors and fabrics that can set your heart racing.  The displays alone are enough to make you want to stand in one place taking in the woven patchwork jacket hanging above a piece of elegant, contemporary jewelry which is laying on a beautifully draped scarf.  Yum!!!  So much art in one store -- and all of it wearable. 

Our next stop was New Morning Gallery - which is right next to Bellagio.  This shop focuses on art for the home - from furniture to pottery to whimisical sculpture shapes and mobiles.  If either of us had recently won the lottery we'd have been happy to clear out the entire store.  Around each corner lay a new and exciting piece.

Next on the agenda was lunch - and our conversation was sprinkled with 'wasn't that beautiful?' - 'how do you suppose the artist did that...'.

Then we moved into downtown Asheville where our first stop was French Broad Chocolates.  Oh boy -- my mouth is watering even as I write this.  We each chose two pieces of chocolate to enjoy there in the presence of that heavenly chocolate aroma.  Our favorite is called Thai truffle and it featured flavors like coconut, lime, lemon grass, ginger and green chili.  Sounds strange?  No, no, no -- it was by far the most delicious chocolate I've ever tasted.  Do I want to go back -- you bet!!!

Then it was on to Ariel Gallery and Blue Spiral Gallery and the Asheville Arts Council Gallery.  More feasting for the eyes, more wanting to capture each and everything in our minds so that after we left the images would stay strong.

It was a lovely day made even better by the fact that when I came home I made notes of ideas that I had while looking at all of the beauty -- perhaps someday I'll go back to those notes and make a whole new creation based on this one particular day.  Isn't it wonderful to spend a day with a dear friend and share some of the most lovely creativity that is available.

"Art demands constant observation." - Vincent van Gogh


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