Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Right Now

Last week my friend, Catherine Witherell, tagged me and challenged me to think about "What are you about right now?" It has taken me awhile to contemplate just what I am about right this minute. I decided to convey my feelings mostly with single words integrated into a "Word Cloud" below. You, too, can create one of these fun collages by going to Such fun. Thank you, Catherine, for turning me on to Wordle!

When writing my list, it was quite apparent that I am a person of contradictions in many ways. Contradictions can be a good thing I've decided as balance can be found in the middle.
Living in the moment - looking toward the future
Loving - being loved
Breathe - Exhale
Spring - Fall
Matte - Shine
Reaching out - Letting Go
Patience - impatience
Order - creative chaos
Self-acceptance - self-doubts
Over-achiever - lazy
Faith - fear
Be more physically fit - dislike for exercise
Music (Electronica - meditative)
How to reflect without having regrets
When looking at my life this moment, I must say I am very very blessed. After working as an administrative assistant at a local university for 30 years, owning my own floral event design business also during that time (where did I find the energy for two jobs????) ,I am semi-retired. Every day I have the pleasure of doing whatever it is I wish to do or wish "not" to do. I work at not feeling guilty when I don't accomplish much in a day and embracing the fact that it's okay to hang up my Wonder Woman cloak that I have worn for so many years. The edges of the cloak are getting tattered and the importance of accomplishing so much is fading. I am learning to "down shift" and just "be" and look at each day with my eyes wide open, looking for those little miracles that happen every day. That's not to say that I don't have days that I feel down, depressed, in pain, have concerns, anxiety, etc.....because I do. I am trying to grow older gracefully and with "attitude". never know what color hair I will have from one month to the next.
What are you about today? and is it where you want to be? If not, how can you get to the place you would like to be?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mystorian Necklace and Book

- Nina and the cover of my book -

Let me tell you about my adventure at Art and Soul in Asilomar almost 2 weeks ago. I had so much fun going with two of my art buddies, Riki Schumacher and Stephani Gorman. We all stayed together in a great room in Asilomar which had two bedrooms and was just perfect for us. Asilomar is a gorgeous place along the Central Coast of California. A perfect venue for an art retreat. Such a relaxed, nature-filled location is so conducive to creative play. The air smelled of the salt air, pine and faint fireplace smoke....I felt as though I was camping again as a child. Riki and I took Nina's 3-day Mystorian Necklace and Book class and Stephani spent her three days with Richard Salley.

It took me several days after returning home to complete my book that I began in Nina's class. The photos above and below capture my finished project. What a pleasure it was to finally spend time with sweet Nina Bagley and to learn some of her special techniques. The first day we designed our necklace which was to take part in the story that the book would soon tell.

-covers and binding-

Before leaving for Asilomar, life had thrown me a curve ball in the form of a few vertigo episodes which literally set me in a "spin." I allowed myself to get so very anxious not knowing the reason why this was happening to me and started imagining the worst things possible which made me even more sick. Getting so anxious about what "could be" actually made the situation a lot worse. After several tests, my doctor was able to rule out the major concerns and I was told that it was an inner ear condition called Benign Positional Vertigo Disease. I usually do not like to use my blog as a forum of what is happening in my personal life, however, this experience was an important factor in me deciding the focus of my book and necklace. I decided to dedicate my book to a very special, spiritual place where I feel very grounded and centered. My thought was that if I should go through times like this again, I could have my book as a gentle reminder of how important it is to stay focused, centered and grounded even through the most challenging times in our life.
Such a place for me is Point No Point on Vancouver Island, Canada. Each time I visit this place, my soul feels as though it has arrived home and I am safe. I have shared this special place with some of the people in my life who I love the husband, son, sister and mom.

-Riki and Nina, Me and Nina-

Before going to Asilomar, I decided to work on my front cover. I wanted to incorporate some of the new soldering and bezel making techniques I learned in Stephanie Lee's workshop that I took a few months ago. I was also inspired by the gorgeous books that Stephanie had on display at that workshop....thank you Stephanie for sharing your talents.

Each page in my book includes something from Point No Point or the seashore. Photos I have taken, shells and stones I have collected, mohair from island goats, tree bark, feathers or seaweed....all grace the pages, bringing to life the magic of this place.

-my feet firmly planted (grounded) - can you see the roots?-

Anne Morrow Lindbergh's book "Gift From The Sea" seemed to be the appropriate book to grab as I packed for inspiration and quotes. The page I featured below was so very perfect. reads:

"For the natural selectivity of the island I will have to substitute a conscious selectivity based on another sense of values -- a sense of values I have become more aware of here. Island-precepts, I might call them if I could define them, sign-posts toward another way of living. Simplicity of living, as much as possible, to retain a true awareness of life. Balance of physical, intellectual, and spiritual life. Work without pressures. Space for significance and beauty. Time for solitude and sharing. Closeness to nature to strengthen understanding and faith in the intermittency of life: life of the spirit, creative life and the life of human relationships."

-Accordian book inside the locket on my necklace includes photos of myself, mom, little sister, son and his partner, and husband.....all loved ones I have shared this magical place with-
In addition to the locket, my necklace features:
-One of Nina's sister, Ellen's, hand-made lampwork eggs signifying hope and new beginnings.
- A compass so that I will always know my direction and stay on life's course.
- A vintage watch that no longer has it's workings inside as a reminder that in this place, time stands still and is not an issue or consequence.
- Semi-precious stones eluding the strength and resiliency I derive from this place.
- A section of copper Viking Knit chain symbolizing the intricacies of life and how everything is tightly woven together connecting us to one another and nature.
My necklace is safely tucked into a draw-string pouch I made for the back inside cover of my book (see below). Also below, you will see a beautiful PMC ring that the talented Catherine Witherell created for me which reads "Art and Life".....I just love it! Thank you Catherine!!

I was so focused on working on my book and necklace in Nina's class, that I must admit I did not take much time to savour my beautiful surroundings.....shame on me. I did take the one shot below, however, of the beautiful coastline at Asilomar. I had a wonderful three days!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Pretty in Pewter

Be on the lookout for the new Summer 2009 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry now available. Stampington has done it once again and created an issue with so many inspiring projects, beautiful photography, talented artists and resources.

And not to be missed in this issue is an article written by the talented Judy Wilkenfeld. In Judy's "Casting Call" article she describes the casting process and why she decided to cast one of her favorite Frozen Charlotte dolls. These wonderful pewter Charlottes can be found (and purchased) in Judy's Etsy Shop. Judy invited five artists to experiment with her new little girls in jewelry creations. It was my honor to be included in this invitation.

Each of the five artists, including Ro Bruhn, Deryn Mentock, Jen Crossley, Kecia Deveney and myself, have shown the versatility of these pewter darlings. Look at Deryn's sweet "Caged Beauty" above. I just love how she incorporated her wonderful resined leaves and flowers.

And Jen's steampunk take on the dolls is so much fun. Where does Jen find all of these wonderful old industrial looking found objects? She's amazing!
Kecia's interpretation "Belle of the Ball" (silver necklace above on left) truly does look like a little Cinderella to me. A girl after my own heart with all the rhinestones and glitz. Good job, Kecia. And next to Kecia's is my "Pretty Girl". These pewter Charlottes can be drilled, antiqued, rusted, painted, dressed up, incorporated into assemblage art, books, etc. name it. I really think Judy is onto something here.
Initially, I named my little girl "Flower Fairy".......the photos above and below were taken by me before sending my piece into the magazine. Do you believe in fairies? Like most fairies, flower fairies are extremely shy of big people and you will see them if you believe in them. Flower Fairies have very special clothes and wear outfits made from the leaves and petals of their own makes it easy for them to hide among the flowers that way. Judy's pewter Charlottes offer so many creative possibilities and with a little magic and imagination, your doll, too, can take on a new persona.

I thought you might be interested in how I designed my little Flower Fairy (alias "Pretty Girl") here we go.

1. Using the cut-off wheel attachment on a flex shaft or Dremel, cut an antique silver napkin ring in half (or perhaps you might like to use a piece of etched or textured metal).

2. Using a nylon hammer, flatten half of the napkin ring.

3. Using the sanding attachment of your Flex Shaft (or Dremel), sand edges and corners.

4. Attach torn ephemera, edged with distressed inks, to napkin ring with Diamond Glaze and let dry.

5. With a tiny paint brush, paint the desired details on your doll with acrylic paints of your choice. When dry, seal with Kryon matte clear glaze.

6. Cut the individual petals from a small linen or silk flower. Cut a small strip of tulle and, using a needle and thread, take small gathering stitches along the edge. Attach the flower petals with needle and thread also.

7. The skirt and wings (which are flower petals as well) can now be positioned on your doll and secured with clear caulking. Let dry completely.

8. To form the weave around the perimeter of the metal background, using a 1/16" drill bit, drill holes around the edge.

9. 2 inch lengths of 24g sterling silver dead soft, round wire were cut equal to the number of holes drilled. Ball up one end of each of the 2" lengths with a small butane torch.

10. Insert your balled-up headpins into the holes around perimeter alternating the insertion points front to back.

11. Tape the wires in place with masking tape so that the wires are sticking straight out to the side.

12. Using a length of 24g steel wire, start weaving around the headpins forming a woven frame around your piece.

13. When desired depth of frame is achieved, straighten and work harden the sterling silver pins straight out again. Place your crystal bead onto the wire and trim wire to about 1/2 inch. Spiral this length of wire tight up against the crystal. Continue around perimeter of frame.

14. Attach your Flower Fairy to the main piece with E6000.

15. Using a length of 20g sterling wire, create a wrapped loop to attach your chain or silk fabric strip.

I added a pmc bird bead before adding my torn dupioni silk ribbon.

Now see what clever ideas you can come up with using these precious pewter Charlottes.