Sunday, September 20, 2015

I know this place; it knows me.

The season of sorrow cradled within an odd quiet, even sacred, beauty is here.  It is the subtle blossoming of brittle white flowers snaking up from the depths of my heart that tells me it's that time again.  Like clockwork, the first shoots of these little ice buds appear in early September.  Sometimes I don't realize it has taken hold because it can be very subtle at first.  And I think, or used to think, maybe it won't come this year, maybe it won't come at all ever again now that I am older, wiser, and god knows I've done enough therapy that surely, I think, some year it will just not come. Well, I am older.  In fact, I am indeed actually old and I know this, if I know nothing else, I may as well light the candles and settle in with my prayer beads, for the season of grieving and dying is here. Right here, in this body, in this room.  I know by the new layering of numbness that simply, naturally happens, like a bear's growth of a winter coat, and by the constriction in my heart, holding in, or holding back, the skies, the oceans pressing upon me from within and without.  And then there is the telltale cool flatness of emotional terrain like a white, jagged coral reef floating upon a low, rumbling tide of anger grounding me to this earth, dropping lower, acknowledging what is here, preparing for what is to come.

Well, I remind myself, it's only until February.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just a bit more about Marianne North, artist for Art Bead Scene June Challenge

Below is the image posted as the June Challenge on the Art Bead Scene Blog.  When I first saw it I grimaced and thought why in the world had a photograph been chosen, and an ugly Christmasy one at that? Looking a little closer and reading some about the piece, I was shocked to find out that it was a painting, not a photo, and by a fascinating woman who traveled the world painting plants in their environments in the late 1800's. Her name was Marianne North.

Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden, 1873
Isn't the detail amazing?  I became more drawn to find out more about the artist than to create a jewelry piece based on the painting.  There is quite a bit of information about Marianne North in the Wikipedia and 1,034 of her paintings shown on the British Broadcasting Corporation website under Paintings.  Her complete body of work is displayed at The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England, in a housed gallery specific for that purpose.  

Marianne North Gallery, Kew Gardens

About Marianne North in Wikipedia:

Marianne North (24 October 1830 – 30 August 1890) was a prolific English Victorian biologist and botanical artist, notable for her plant and landscape paintings, her extensive foreign travels, her writings, her plant discoveries and the creation of her gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew....

The scientific accuracy with which she documented plant life in all parts of the world, before photography became a practical option, gives her work a permanent value.A number of plant species are named in her honour, including Areca northiana, Crinum northianum, Kniphofia northiana, Nepenthes northiana, and the genus name Northia...

Kew Gardens claims that the North Gallery (situated in the east section of the gardens) is "the only permanent solo exhibition by a female artist in Britain". In 2008 Kew obtained a substantial grant from the National Lottery, which enabled it to mount a major restoration of both the gallery and the paintings inside.

Pictures of artist:

Below are three of her paintings I really love:

Chilean cactus


Columbian harbor
After delving into Ms. North's life and works, I decided to create a few beads and pendants using some of her paintings.  I designed pendants as collages using images from her paintings along with photos of herself.  The basic unfinished pieces are in my previous post. Below are two of the collaged images I was going to resize into circular images, mount and seal with resin. But it turned out my printer was almost out of ink and did not produce any workable prints.  This is still the case.  Oh well, I've been wanting to do some work in clay...

Coming back to today, now, I have been spending more time organizing my beads and supplies than beading.  I am swimming in beads, charms and findings.  I think, in general, unfortunately, this is true for me.  Organize, sort, reorganize, start a project, then organize, sort....I am absolutely drowning in beads, charms, chains, findings, and projects in process.

Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Starting again--Bringing my focus back to the primal power and simplicity of art making

I guess a blog entry doesn't have to be a thesis or term paper.  I seem to not get back to my blog because I tend to imagine things in ideal complexities when, really, simple hurts a lot less.  

This is also true of creating.  Just start.  Sit down and look around.  Pick up something and begin.  Then creating shows itself as simple, fun play.  It might grow into a huge creature that demands a more complex form of thinking and use of design, but at least it started simple.  By the time it takes the form of a monster to be tamed and pulled into shape, I am usually fully engaged in the effort of wrestling with it and am as eager to see what it will become as any child with a ball of clay.  

I have been following the Art Bead Scene Blog ( which every month presents a beading challenge based on a piece of art work.  In the past 6 months I have managed to get one piece in before the deadline.  All other months I have looked at the possibilities from every angle and by the time I decide what I want to do and begin, the month's challenge is over.  I have various pieces for each challenge, all in different stages of completion.  

I had one day left to submit my creation last month.  I finally printed out the images I wanted to use.  I had spent untold hours, maybe days, gathering and then creating carefully thought-out collaged images.  Unfortunately, my printer ran out of ink a second after I started printing and I ended up with off-color and washed out images.  Really bad - see below. 

These are the finished collages that I had then cropped and shaped into various views to be used in pendants and beads, but not yet printed out.  


These are what I received from my printer to work with:

But still, I had confidence that I could, with colored pencils and ink, create wonderful images that would work.  By this time it is 8:00 p.m. and I have until midnight to complete and submit my project(s).  I'm too old to willingly work under the pressure of a tight deadline, so I sighed and accepted I'd missed another artbead challenge.  

Putting aside my art pendant designs, I called my friend Cate and asked her to tell me more about her adventures as a Peace Corp volunteer in Paraguay 30 years ago. Her descriptions of the country and people of the small village she was placed in are fascinating.  She has been re-reading her Paraguay journals and has a myriad of stories to tell.  For those of you who know Cate, here she is in her early 20's in Paraguay.

You may wonder at the seemingly unconnected jump from my pendant designs to Cate's travels in Paraguay.  I think it's the theme of women traveling the world you may be missing.  The artist whose painting was used for the June artbead challenge was Marianne North, a woman who traveled all over the world in the 1800's to record through her botanical paintings hundreds of plants, some of which were later named after her.  More in my next post. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jewelry show on Aug 4th

I am inspired to start up my blog again by the amazing daily dream/poem and photo blog of my friend Patricia Kelly (see sidebar for her URL). Besides, she has a link to my blog on hers and she gets so many viewers that people, impressed with her talents, jump to my blog to see what is happening here. It's embarrassing to see that people are visiting my blog when absolutely nothing has been going on here since my first posts in 2011. I feel obligated to either kill my blog or bring it to life again. It's a tough choice, but I am hoping that by bringing my attention to my creative process through this blog that my focus will be clarified and strengthened.

I have been preparing for a showing of my jewelry here at the Manor on August 4th (Friendship Manor, B Lounge, 6647 El Colegio Rd., Isla Vista, CA, 11:00 to 3:00). I'll be showing and selling mixed-media glass pendants and beaded necklaces that I have created this last year. You can see my pieces at and (their links are below). I've also set up a site for my friend, Duffy, on He has been painting magical and strange birds on ties for over 60 years. His site is:

Here's a picture of Mr. Duffy. It's quite possible that his ties will also be on display during the show.

Just as I was turning my attention to learning the art of beadweaving, I got sidetracked into creating these pendants. They are made up of chosen images that are glued on the back of a glass template. I often embellish the 2nd image which is really glued on to the back of the 1st image that is against the glass, making it a two-sided pendant. I like to use rhinestones, charms, and beads as embellishments. Below is an example of a pendant necklace I put together.

This is a two-sided pendant with a hamsa symbolic hand on one side and a Japanese print of two cranes on the other.  I designed it to be two pendants in one with each side having symbolic meaning. 

 I have really enjoyed working with images in creating these pendants. Perhaps it satisfies somewhat the urge to be making collages. As soon as my show is over I hope to refocus on doing some collage work. Stay tuned and thanks for checking in.