Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome to the New Year

"Snow Bird"

Tomorrow we'll welcome the new year.  I love that as each year begins I feel like my slate is clean, that everything is a possibility, that whatever I did wrong last year will be replaced this coming year with good decisions, good thoughts, good deeds and good work.  Resolutions aren't really something I worry about but I always have goals I want to reach in the coming year, and dreams that I want to come true.

During this coming year I plan to focus on punchneedle and doll making as my art forms.  I'm excited and have drawings and pictures and ideas fluttering all about my studio.  Hopefully some of them will alight long enough to be brought into being.

Here's a big New Year's toast that this coming year is bigger, better and more wonderful for all of us.

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love". - Marcus Aurelius

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Words" - December BJP

For the past eleven months I have reached into my word jar and pulled out a word from which I've created my BJP.  During this past year I have learned the meaning of words to which I've never given much thought.  I've tried to match beads and fibers and fabric to reflect the word that I was creating.

This month of December brought the end of the 2010 BJP and rather than choose one word, I decided to honor all words.  A word can mean many things to many people, it can bring sadness and happiness, confusion and enlightenment even war and peace.  I've realized over this past year that for the most part I don't even think about the words I'm using -- they just roll out of my mouth (hopefully after having passed through a thought process - but sadly not always) and end up floating around the room.  Do you ever sit in a room with a lot of people and imagine each word spoken to be a balloon which rises from the speaker and hovers over the room?  It gives a whole new image to the words we use, the words we hear and the words we write.

I'm thankful for this past year of beading.  I was inspired by the many other BJP beaders and their lovely creations.  My heart sung when I saw the intricate work and the amount of time that went into each and every piece. Thanks to all of you who shared your work this past year (and the years before) and now we'll look forward to seeing a whole new year of beautiful beadery.

"I was reading the dictionary.  I thought it was a poem about everything". - Steven Wright

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yuletide Wishes

"White Is In The Winter Night" - Enya

Have you seen the mistletoe, it fills the night with kisses
Have you seen the bright blue star, it fills your heart with wishes

Have you seen the candlelight, it shines from every window
Have you seen the moon above, it lights the sky in silver

Green is in the mistletoe and red is in the holly
Silver in the stars above that shine on everybody
Gold is in the candlelight and crimson in the embers
White is in the winter night that everyone remembers

Have you heard the boys outside, when all the girls are skating
Have you  heard their sweet hearts cry for all this time they're waiting

Green is in the mistletoe and red is in the holly
Silver in the stars above that shine on everybody
Gold is in the candlelight and crimson in the embers
White is in the winter night that everyone remembers

Have you seen the children playing, tiny hands are frozen
Have you seen them hurry home, when suddenly its snowing

Green is in the mistletoe and red is in the holly
Silver in the stars above that shine on everybody
Gold is in the candlelight and crimson in the embers
White is in the winter night that everyone remembers

Have you heard that bells are ringing, ringing out their story
Have you heard the choir singing, Glory, Glory, Glory

I wish each and every one of you all the gifts of the season.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Once again we come to the shortest day of the year, which seems like a strange thing to celebrate.  BUT once the winter solstice is reached, like a promise of warm days to come each day gets a bit longer.  As the temperature goes down these winter days I know that each day will be a bit longer until we reach the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. 

This is my 'nesting' time.  Like a small sparrow I snuggle into my studio nest.  I watch the outside from my warm, cozy inside area.  This is a wonderful time for creating -- nothing is calling me outside, time slows and warmth is treasured. On this day the universe is giving me a present of light and warmth to come - and while I wait for it I'll try to live each of these winter days in comfort and joy.

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show". - Andrew Wyeth

Friday, December 17, 2010

Inspired Dolls

Have you ever seen Akira Blount's figures? Here is one of my favorites titled “The Sky Isn’t Falling Chicken Little”. Akira is an artist living and working in Tennessee but she often exhibits her work here in western North Carolina and I have seen many of her pieces at Ariel Gallery in Asheville.  Recently a friend and I visited Ariel Gallery and happened to meet Akira's husband Larry.  Akira and her husband Larry work together to create these absolutely lovely pieces. What a fun visit we had.  Larry talked to us about Akira's attention to detail.  She is not adverse to taking something apart, many times, to get it 'just right' and it truly shows.  You could look at her figures over and over again, each time catching sight of a detail that you might have missed before.

Here are some of the items she uses in her work – cloth, wood, metal, clay, natural materials, found objects and here are some of the techniques she uses – needle sculpting, dying, woodturning, carving.

This kind of work humbles me – inspires me – and never ceases to amaze me.

"The energy and beauty of nature has always sustained me". - Akira Blount 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Going to the Birds

I have always loved birds – and especially bird images. Thinking about John Audubon drawing the birds that he found in this strange, new world gets my heart racing. How patient he was, how talented he was to search out these beautiful creatures and then capture them for eternity.

When I was beading full time I tried several times to make a beaded bird. For some reason this skill eluded me. I would try for awhile, then hate what it looked like and tear it all out. I had bead upon bead that I had collected for just this purpose only to find that I could not ‘do’ it. Sometimes you just have to set something aside and accept that this particular challenge cannot be met.

As I discovered punchneedle that nagging thought of creating a bird came back into my head and heart. Once again I was trying to create my very own bird art. I used a simple bird pattern and added spirals to the body for design and decoration. The only challenge I had this time was when it came time to put it together. I think that my whole body was one big stiff tension headache as I carefully stitched the two sides together. But ‘spiral bird’ went together and I had done it!!

I’m not totally happy with this first effort (but don’t tell the bird). He seems too ‘drab’ in his colors and there are other changes I would make (such as adding a few special details) – but he is finished and hopefully he will be the first of many more to come.

"Would it be possible that I should not in any degree succeed? I can scarcely think so. Ah delusive hope, how much further wilt thou lead me"? - John James Audubon

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Long Goodbye

I have heard Alzheimer's Disease called 'the long goodbye'.  For seven years we have watched as my mother-in-law Theresa battled this disease.  She passed away early Wednesday morning.  Missing who she once was has truly been a long goodbye.

She is at peace now as are her family.  I will be away for a few days as we travel to California to celebrate a life that was so very dear to us.  We will gather together, tell stories of what was and remember her as she would have wished us to remember her - a strong, loving woman - wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. 

I wish her sweet eternal dreams.

"For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity". - William Penn 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter's Grey

There was a fog all over the forest - slipping in amongst the trees.  It always seems so magical to me, like a veil dropped over familiar sights making them less clear.  Fog seems to soften everything.

This fog brought thoughts to me about this time of the year - the winter colors (or non-colors) of grey and white, of silver and black.  A time when the color spectrum seems to be narrowed down to only a few shades.

I've gathered together some floss which will somehow make itself into a winter homage.  I haven't yet decided just how this will happen or what I will do with it but I know that I will celebrate this time of the year when bears hibernate and people do too.  When I snuggle down in my studio and put hand to stitches.

The fog comes on little cat feet.

It sits looking over harbor and city

on silent haunches and then moves on. - Carl Sandberg

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Making a "Memory"

The inspiration for this art doll figure came to me from a friend who showed me her art quilt made to honor Alzheimer's patients.  It was beautiful and sad and wonderful and poignant.  Sadly my Mother-in-law has been an Alzheimer patient for many years.  All of my feelings for her were unleashed into the desire to create something of my own to reflect the pain of this disease.

BUT, I found that as I worked on this figure my thoughts on 'memory' went in another direction.  Thinking about memories I realized how much they are with me each day and wondered why I would remember some things and forget others.  Why would a moment when I was four years old and in the park with my Mother come into my mind but something that was probably much more important happening more recently disappear from my thoughts.  What makes a memory?  Why do we remember some events and forget others?  Why do some memories come back to us when we least expect them to? 

All of these thoughts swirled through my head as I added stitch after stitch to "Memory".  What started out as a 'sad' piece of work had turned into a whole batch of thoughts on what 'memory' actually is.  The one true thing that I learned as this piece of fabric became what is it, is that each day I am making new memories.  Some of them will become a part of me and my life and others will drift into nothingness.  Today I have a task to make each memory something I will delight in coming back to in a year or two or three. 

"Yesterday is but today's memory, and tomorrow is today's dream". - Kahlil Gibran


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