Monday, June 28, 2010

Shopping for Ideas

I recently had a very fun day -- an out-and-about day wherein I had no schedule, no errands to run, no 'things' I had to find.  I just browsed among beads and ribbons, among jewelry findings and 'found' items, among buttons and fabric.  Sounds fun huh?  It was!

I feel like I'm in sort of a transition place right now.  I have no deadlines to meet so my mind is wandering around the world of 'what-if'.  What if I try to incorporate more of my 'old' book art techniques into the figure work that I'm doing these days?  What if I use more 'organic' beads and cut back on the 'glitz' that has become my work in recent months?  What if I try to incorporate more of those things I love (besides beads) into my work - things like fibers, ribbons, found objects. What if I try to make my work more: whimsical, mischevious, active, free, contemporary, and spirit filled? 

And so, as I browsed today I found some treasures for possible use.  Could I use these metal rings to encase faces?  And what kind of faces would I encase?  Could I use these 'keyholes' for something (perhaps as a face themselves or on the body of the figure)?  Can I lighten up the colors I use (see the beautiful light turquoise of the bird's eggs)?  Can I bring nature into my work (see the small wire bird)?  Oh I'm humming here...

Hope you'll travel along with me on this latest art journey -- it might take us awhile to get there, but it should be fun along the way.

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving". - Lao Tsu

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meet "Bertha"

I'd like to introduce you to 'Bertha' - my oh so trusty 1993 Ford Escort.  We have shared life with Bertha for almost 18 years.  At this time her odometer tells of 220,200 miles that we have ridden together.  In fact, her odometer isn't even set up to show that first 100,000 mile digit.

We first bought Bertha (brand new) in Atlanta, Georgia and she spent almost ten years battling Atlanta freeways (not an easy task), taking us into Georgia mountains and on back road byways.  She was my dutiful craft show hauler - easily accepting boxes of primitive and art dolls plus all their props.  From Atlanta we moved into northwest Georgia where Bertha helped us build a house - carrying many of the essentials we needed to complete the task.  From there she was our backwoods vehicle, manuevering the country dirt roads with finesse.

Six years ago we moved here to North Carolina.  Oh you should have seen her loaded to the ceiling with 'stuff' for our final trip north.  Along the way we've had other new cars but Bertha has become pretty much strictly mine.  She is a stick shift which I love to drive. These days Bertha and I casually downshift and manuever the winding roads here in western North Carolina cheering each other on.  She carries me to town for groceries, she takes me into South Carolina for bead shopping and she is a very good 'junque' shopping car since she has so much room in the back.  However she is getting stiffer (as am I) and I'm afraid that one day in the not too distant future she will have to be completely retired -- but for now she is my dear old friend (still getting 30 miles to the gallon by the way) and as long as we can we'll be highway and byway friends.

"It takes a long time to grow an old friend". - John Leonard

Monday, June 21, 2010

Southern Summer

Whoever coined the term 'lighter than air' must have never spent summer in the southern states.  As I take my walk these early summer days I find the air very heavy -- I can feel it as it enters my lungs; I can feel it against my skin; at times I feel as if I am 'swimming' against the tide.  This year summer humidity seems to have come earlier than usual, with temperatures hovering near 90 degrees.  Usually I only concern myself with July and August but this year, as summer officially begins, my walk has to be taken much earlier in the morning and even then I come home feeling as if I'd been walking through a thick invisible vapor.

The plants and animals love it -- how the rabbits stand it when they are wearing a fur coat I'll never understand.  But of course there is LOTS for them to eat at this time of the year.  The county will come in and cut down all this delicious fodder one of these days soon, but in the meantime there are scrumptious meals to be had and cover to hide in - what else could a bunny want?

There are still people here in the south who have no air-conditioning (because they choose to do so) but I'm afraid I will never be that accommodating to the weather.  I must have my creature comforts - a warm heater in the winter, a cool air-conditioned breeze in the summer months.  I am spoiled, I know that, but there it is.

So, the best thing to do with a southern summer is to curl up with a good book (or perhaps a few beads) in the hot afternoons - a cool drink beside you (there's a reason why iced tea is the preferred drink in the south) and think 'cool' thoughts (like iceberg, snow, and winter winds).  That's how I'll cope, how about you?

"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it". - Russell Baker

Friday, June 18, 2010


I was thrilled when I pulled the word "enchantment" out of my word jar.  And then -- not so thrilled because I just couldn't think of how I would portray this word.  Its such a rich word -- it brings all sorts of images to my mind as I think of it.  Enchantment is actually what I try to create when I bring a beaded figure to life. My mind then drifted to the places of enchantment that fill my life and, looking out my studio window, the forest beyond drew me in.  What can be more enchanting than our natural world? 

Here in western North Carolina we are blessed with rich, dense forests.  The color green is all around us during this time of the year and narrow paths draw us deep into the woods.  There in the woods we hear birdsong and the rustle of squirrels and the croak of the frog.  Ahh, my inspiration for 'Enchantment' had arrived.  There is a small pond outside my studio window and it brims with frogs.  At times the noises they make are so loud that I can hear them clearly while I sit here and bead. 

The 'greens' in this piece don't show up as well in photography as they do in person -- they are more 'olive' colored and deeper and richer in tone.  Sorry about that!

And so, my June BJP has become a piece of this enchanted forest and perhaps there's even a prince out there in disguise as a frog.

"Enchant: subject to magical influence, cast as a spell over, bewitch - 'enchantment' act or art of enchanting". 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Time After Time

Here is my most recently beaded figure - 'Time After Time'.  As I had mentioned in a previous post -- the theme of 'time' was with me throughout the beading of this figure.  You know how it is if you decide you want to buy a red car and then you see red cars everywhere?  Well many times my beading themes create the same thing with me.  I was thinking 'time' often while beading this figure.  At one point I even got into a discussion of quantum physics with the young man bagging my groceries - not that either of us seemed to know much about it - but we both agreed it has the most interesting and exciting possibilities. 

As my beading has progressed I find that other than my monthly BJP piece I am working exclusively on figures.  Most of the figures I've made so far are mounted on a stand using doweling.  I decided that I wanted to branch out and come up with some new-to-me and perhaps even unusual staging for my new pieces.  Thus the figure mounted on the clock face.  When I went to glue it to the clock I was full of trepidation -- wondering if it would actually stay on.  I was so scared that it wouldn’t hold. Once dry I decided to hang it on the bedroom wall – because of course its going to hold as long as its laying flat – but the test is to have it hanging. I woke up really early the next morning thinking I’d heard it fall and lay there in the dark imagining the beaded piece laying on the floor – having left the clock face behind. When I finally opened my eyes to daylight she was right where she should be, in the middle of the clock face. (If you'd like to see a close up of her face, please check out my posting of May 25th).

And now I'm off to start my next figure --

"What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know". - Saint Augustine 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pattern and Texture

Pattern and texture -- two lovely words!  I'm always looking for them -- sometimes they are elusive and other times they are right in front of me.  In my own work the use of beads lends itself to both pattern and texture, for me those two words are what its all about.

And so when I'm out and about my eyes and mind are constantly trying to see the designs that appear in the natural world.  We can make our own, but what a treasure it is when I find them developed by nature in all of its forms.

As we flew home from Nevada, one of the legs of the trip took us to Los Angeles.  When I first saw the plane we were to fly in and realized that it had propellers (yikes!) it bothered me. Apparently it was a turbo prop rather than the more commonly used jets.  But I was thrilled as it rose into the air because the plane stayed at a low enough elevation that we could see the ground throughout the whole trip.  And what a show it was!!  We flew alongside the Sierra's - seeing Lake Tahoe from the air, seeing what looked like hidden lakes placed hither and yon among those massive peaks.  We saw patterns galore, great rocky crags pushing up into the sky; large expanses of snow still on those peaks into June; shades of brown and green and of course the blue sky through which we flew.  If only my camera could have captured it through those small, blurry airplane windows.  But alas it lives only in my mind's eye. 

And so, once again I am home - amongst beads and thread and needle - ready to capture my own pattern and texture.  I will never, ever be able to compete with Mother Nature (nor would I want to) but in my own small way I'll give it a good try.

"All art is but imitation of nature". - Lucius Anneaus Seneca

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Desert in Bloom

I don't even know where to begin to tell you about the trip we took to Nevada.  It was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!   We met with family and friends whom we hadn't seen for a long time and then spent many lovely, fun, loving hours with our son, grandson and the new additions of a fiance (which happily includes four 'new to us' grandchildren).

The desert was miraculous.  Due to a late spring and wet winter we saw blooms everywhere.  It was almost as if a special desert wildflower show was being held just for us!

We walked desert trails as well as old cemetaries, mountain valleys and lakes.  In fact we seemed to be walking most of the time - which was great.  Here in North Carolina we sort of take blooming flowers for granted.  In the desert they are never taken for granted, or shouldn't be anyway.  They are special beauties that require treasure hunts among the sage and cheat grass.  I know that here I take the natural beauty that is around me everyday too much for granted.  In the desert I seem to focus in on everything because I'm always searching for the beauty there that is not quite so evident upon first glance.

And so I share a few of the blooms that we saw along the way and hope that you have been having as wonderful a time as we have had during the days that I have been away.

"The true man breathes with his heels". - Chuang Tzu

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Going to Nevada

No, that's not me perched precariously on an old, old airplane -- but considering the state of air travel these days I may feel like that by the time we wing our way across the country to Nevada and back.

I'm so excited to be traveling to see our youngest grandson graduate from high school, to hug my son and to meet his new family.  Its been quite awhile since we've visited there and my desert longings have been growing and growing these past few months.

We'll be staying in Virginia City - an old silver mining town up in the hills above Carson City.  As you can see, this picture was taken when snow was on the surrounding mountains - the pictures I bring back this time to share will surely show no snow.  But I love this picture of the old cemetary.  Its a lovely place to walk - quietly among stories that were created long, long ago.

For now, I'm off to make my own story -- which I'll gladly share with you upon my return.

"He who would travel happily must travel light". -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...