Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Weekend's Festivities

I'm looking forward to a weekend full of fun with our final First Friday Opening of the year at Artist Alley tomorrow, and Saturday and Sunday at The Holiday Market at Fearrington Village.

Hope to see you here...there...or at some point in between! :-)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Serendipity, Gratitude, and Memories of Ocracoke

Life since our vacation last month has been a whirlwind of activity, with oodles of good things happening. There's been school for Alan, numerous work obligations for Ken, shows and openings for me, and love and support through all of it from Mom. With all of this, and a hundred other curve balls that life seems to throw our way, we quickly slipped from "vacation-mode" back into "real life".

This week, a special message from Cynthia Deis at Ornamentea changed that for me. Ornamentea is my all-time-time-favorite-brick-and-mortar-bead-and-more-store, located in Downtown Raleigh, NC. Cynthia owns Ornamentea. She taught the first ever art marketing class that I took, and she's had a big impact on my professional development. (Ornamentea's class offerings still tempt me on a regular basis. If you're in the area, I highly recommend them!)

Anyway... while we were on Ocracoke, we stayed in our favorite little cottage, Windmill Point. Windmill Point seems to be in chronic need of a little love and attention, so when we stay there, we always leave the place a little better than we found it. This year that meant gifts of a new iced tea pitcher, a funky little pottery turtle and mushroom made by North Carolina Potter - Hank Allred, a few additions to the found object sculpture that seems to be growing organically from the deck, and a dozen or so of my magnets on the refrigerator for the visitors who followed us.
Imagine my surprise this week when, less than a month after we returned, Cynthia contacted me with a photo of my magnets on the refrigerator at Windmill Point! She and her family are enjoying a bit of Ocracoke Magic right there, right now, in our little cottage.

Serendipitous things like this tend to happen on Ocracoke, and it's part of the magic that we find there. Cynthia's note took us back to our happy place again, and I thought I'd share a walk down Memory Lane with you one more time too.

Today, I'm grateful. Grateful for my family and friends and the memories that we've made together...for the creativity that surrounds me...for Ocracoke and all that it means to me... and to Cynthia for reminding me to pause amidst the chaos to remember all of this. :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Form Folding... Before and After

This week during my class time with Erica Stankwytch Bailey, we worked on form folding. This technique provides metalsmiths with a way to move and mold metal into a fluid and dynamic form. The first photo below is where I began. Flat pieces of raw copper, with a basic fold or two in them.

The photos that follow are the results of my creative play. The first piece is flat and industrial, and I love the rawness and strength that it conveys. The other photos are my early attempts at leaves. I'm pleased with the work itself, and the colors are amazing in person!

Even if I'd tried, I don't think that I could have achieved a more
lip-like form on this final piece.
Move over Mick Jagger! Your lips have nothing on this one! :-)

Erica is a wonderful teacher. I've learned so much from her, and she's also formalized some techniques that were self-taught for me until I began studying with her. If you're in the Raleigh area, Erica will have an exhibit at Pullen Art Center throughout the month of October. Her featured pieces were inspired by her retreat to The Grand Canyon. Her work is incredible, and you can read and see more about it here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two If By Sea

I'm not sure who had more fun with this experience....Ken and Alan in their Kayak, or "Granny" and I watching their adventure unfold from the deck of Windmill Point!

The boys visited the pirate museum earlier in the day, so with visions of Blackbeard dancing in their heads, they made their way through Silver Lake bound for Teach's Hole and Springer's Point. Mom and I spent the afternoon reading, relaxing, and watching the world go by.
Life on Island Time was good for all of us.

One must lose one's life in order to find it.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Ocracoke Island

If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass,
you live more richly in those moments.
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Last week, my family enjoyed the most relaxing, rejuvenating, sentimental, hysterical, once-in-a-lifetime vacation on Ocracoke Island. We were all overdue for a break, so we rented our favorite little cabin-by-the-sea. It's literally "on the water", and if you've ever read "Gift From The Sea" by
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, this sweet simple little home
could have been her inspiration.

Ken and I stole away for a few solo dates, and it was a treat to spend time together without interruption.

Every morning we woke at sunrise to this view through our window. We had some early night's and early mornings. When we visited our friend Leslie at Books to Be Red , she asked us how we'd survived the power outage the previous night. It was a bit embarrassing and refreshing
to admit that we'd completely missed it. ;-)

I wish that I could send the feel and the scent of this lovely tablecloth through the computer to you. I'm not really a souvenir kind of girl; but it's my absolute treasure from this visit to The Island! Leslie supports fair trade, and this piece was created in India. It's huge, and the photo can't possibly do justice to the color and texture. Right now this lovely is hanging on a hook on the back of my bedroom door. I smile each time I see it, and every now and then as I pass by, I catch a little whiff of beach and bookstore, and I'm on
Ocracoke in my mind.

If you're lucky enough to be planning a visit Ocracoke Island, place Books to Be Red high on your list of places to see! If a visit isn't in your immediate future, I'll bet they'd even be willing to dig up a copy of "Gift From The Sea" for you. The folks there are equally nice by telephone. Rumor has it that they include a bit of Ocracoke Magic in everything they send.

Couldn't we all use a bit more of that in our lives?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

All of This for A Little Pot

These special little "Ocracoke"pottery dishes have covered every conceivable surface in my house over the last few days.

On Sunday, I made the pots. (And I made them...and I made them...and I made them!)

On Monday, and in thee wee hours of Tuesday morning, I tried to force the drying process a bit by using my oven set to a low temperature.

On Wednesday, the reasonably dry pots were delivered to the large kiln of my dear friend and talented artist, Olivia Dowdy Brown. We loaded and began the bisque firing process almost immediately.

On Thursday, I received the bisque fired pots from Olivia, and overnight I stained, glazed, waxed, and sealed all of them.

This morning, I made a return trip to Olivia's, and we began our final firing process. As I write this, we're about three hours into roughly twenty-four hours of additional kiln time.

Tomorrow, we'll open the doors to reveal the finished pieces. (Woo Hoo!) No matter how many times I go through this process, the anticipation of opening the kiln still provides me with an absolute thrill!

These finished pieces will soon be bound for one of my all time favorite bookstores, Books to Be Red, at one of my all time favorite destinations, Ocracoke Island.

All of this for a little pot! :-)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Bracelets!

The pieces in this photo represent a new line of bracelets that I recently developed. These bracelets began as prototypes for a special project, and I loved them so much that I had to make more!

They feel unbelievably good on the wrist. They're soft and supple; they work well alone; and they play well with others too. :-) Watch for them soon in my online store!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just One Little Stone

This is one of the first pieces that I completed in my metalsmithing class. It’s a sentimental favorite because of that, and also because of this one little stone.

This one little stone was given to me by Alan on one of our adventures. It’s one little stone that was pressed from his hand into mine…. an expression of love… a priceless gift … a remembrance of the times that we’ve shared… and a reminder that simple things really do matter most.

Just One Little Stone.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Surrounded by Flowers

Growing them, sending them, wearing them, surrounding myself with them; flowers are a bright spot in my life. And flowers have been on my mind this week.

From my Grandpap’s garden, to my Grandma’s kitchen, to our own backyard…I grew up surrounded by flowers. Perhaps that’s why to this day, my favorites still lean toward an overflowing riots of color stuffed somewhat carelessly into a Mason jar or glass bottle. And the fragrance of a gracefully drooping batch of lilacs or peonies from the yard is guaranteed to lift my spirits while transporting me back in time.

I don’t often send “real” flowers from the florist; but today was an exception. Today my niece, Kate, is twelve years old. Tomorrow she’ll be thirteen. The perennial question of “Where does the time go?!?!” has been running through my mind all month as I fondly remember her first days and years with us.

Kate’s becoming an incredible young woman, and since we’re miles apart, I wanted to celebrate this time in her life in one of my favorite ways…with flowers. From the descriptions that I’ve received of her reaction at their arrival, this idea was definitely a good one!

Today… in Pennsylvania, Kate is smitten with her first flower delivery.

Today… in my backyard, the stately sunflowers that we enjoyed all summer long are just past their prime. Now they’re providing a feast for the birds.

Today… in my studio, the flowers that I purchased at The Moore County Farmer’s Market are lifting my spirits. The scent of basil blends with the sweet floral fragrance, and the effect is intoxicating.

Today… on my finger, I’m enjoying the floral generosity of my dear friend, Olivia Dowdy Brown. I treasure this ring, and I’m most grateful for her friendship.

Today… it’s good to be surrounded by flowers.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Twist of The Wrist

As I was driving down the road today to and from Southern Pines, a glimpse of my wrist made me smile.

I generally wear my own jewelry every day. And in spite of the fact that I create on almost a daily basis, I usually create for others. As a result, I often fall into a habit of wearing the same pieces again and again. Today was different, and this wasn't even a conscious effort on my part.

This morning when I was getting ready for my day...and probably doing three or four other things at the same time... I evidently decided to wear four distinctly different bracelets that make me happy. That's right, four of them! On the same wrist!!! Four is a lot, and these four are a bit mismatched even by my standards. Somehow though, they seem to work together.

In my banking days, I once discovered that I'd worn two mismatched shoes for an entire day. Maybe this is the artist's version of the same thing?

These were on my left wrist and I was holding the steering wheel when I noticed them. They brought a smile to my face. I hope that you'll enjoy them too.

Bracelet #1... etched in my handwriting, "The best way to predict your future is to create it."

Bracelet #2... features "Dream", and is a prototype of a special project that's in the works.

Bracelet #3... tickles me to no end. An original design resurrected from the past and improved.

Bracelet #4... a personal milestone and a sample from the metalsmithing class I've been taking.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Who Does She Think She Is?" Find Out on August 28th!

My friends at The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild will be hosting the Raleigh movie premier of "Who Does She Think She Is?" on August 28th. Those who've had a sneak-peak at the movie tell me that it's a must-see for the creative types among us, and you'll find all of the details about it here

For those of us who live south of Raleigh, maybe we can carpool and add dinner too? ...and a quick stop at Trader Joe's...and... and... and... :-)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Work in Process

Here's a glimpse at my latest work in process. Yes, it's still in raw form, so you'll need to check back after next Wednesday for updated photos!

I've been taking the most amazing metalsmithing class lead by Erica Stankwytch Bailey. It's been a long time since I've allowed myself the pleasure of being a student in a class, and one of my commitments to myself this year was to make time for it. I seriously considered the immersion approach of a week long session with one instructor. Instead I opted for a regional weekly course of study, and I'm so happy that I did.

In addition to the fact that Erica is an amazing artist and teacher, I'm also enjoying my new weekly creative habit. My class time, and my preparation for class time, is mine alone, and it's dedicated to developing my skills while expanding the possibilities within my current body of work.

I'm looking forward to all that follows!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I've been seeking a photo that I created years ago, and I'm taking a walk down memory lane as a result. This process reminds me of so many things that I've forgotten. It also reminds me of my history as an artist. Life goes by so quickly, and I seem to be stuck in forward motion. I rarely take the time to look back and think about the evolution of my work. Perhaps it's something that I'll do more often in the future.

These three pieces are 6" deep cradled canvases. All were sold to collectors, and I'd completely forgotten them. This morning I realized that my love of words transcends the media in which I work. I also realized that the same words that meant so much to me four years ago still ring true in my heart.

Four years ago?!?! Could it possibly be four years?!?!?! Was it only four years?!?!?!? I suppose that it was, and in any case, I'm happy to have found the photos.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peace Be With Them...

It's a field-trip day for Alan. He's been talking about it for days, and I know that he'll have a ball!

As for the teachers and chaperones...thank you! As I write this, I'm sending peaceful thoughts your way. :-)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ten Ten Project

This is the first glimpse of what will eventually be my Ten Ten Project. It started innocently enough as a loose plan to cut wire while I was enjoying my trip as a passenger on a four hour drive. What you see here are the results so far.

More to follow soon...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Alan's Valentine's Surprise

When Alan was doing the dishes tonight, (A rare occurrence in and of itself!!!), he began yelling for us to hurry into the kitchen.

He'd placed a large pot into the water, and this was the result. How appropriate?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Creativity, Faith, and My Uncle Frank

For ages, a new jewelry creation for myself has been dancing around my head and heart. In it, I wanted to feature all or part of my favorite prayer, The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. It's a long prayer; but it moves me every time I hear it or read it.

Well life can be busy, and sometimes I'm too busy for my own good. As a result, this piece had been moved to my personal back burner on more occasions than I care to admit. Then last month my Godfather, my Uncle Frank, passed away.

I was surprised when I discovered that my favorite prayer was featured on his prayer cards at the funeral home. Was it his favorite prayer too? I'm not sure; but I'd like to believe that it was. My Uncle Frank was a man who lived his faith; I admired him for it; and I think that this prayer embodies that spirit. He was also a man who loved God, life, his family, art, and music. He played an influential role in shaping my life and my career choice, and I miss him more than I can say.

After a very long incubation period, this piece virtually created itself, and I am so pleased with the results. When I wear it I'll think of him, and it will remind me to make time for those things in life that matter most.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Months ago....(Many months ago!)...I bent the handle of a spoon that I'd been moving from place to place around my studio for quite some time. The sharply curved metal and the feel of this piece in my hand pleased me; but I had no idea as to what else I would do with it. This unknowing is a part of the creative process for me. I have faith that inspiration will strike in its own time, and I've developed infinite patience as a result.

After bending this piece, I relocated it periodically and clipped it to a variety of temporary homes around my studio. I'd play with it when it caught my attention; but I was never moved to do anything else with it...until today. Today, while I was midway through a variety of other projects in my studio, an image of the finished piece popped into my head. I dropped what I was doing, retrieved my bent little spoon, and the creating was easy.

I'm thrilled with the results! This piece is all mine. Its substantial and interesting; it feels good to wear it; , and as I embarq on my quest for healthier living in 2010, I hope that it will remind me to breathe before I reach for another spoon... unless of course it's to add to this collection! :-)

Soon, I'll be debuting these creations in my store on 1000 Markets. This is a new venue for me, and I'm really excited about it. In the mean time, please feel free to contact me here if your need for a spoon of your own is more urgent.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Remember to Remember"

Three little words. (Technically two if you consider that one is used twice!) It's a simple enough saying on the surface; but the meaning is near and dear to my heart.

Just before Christmas, I created twenty-one "Remember to Remember" neckaces for a customer. Their purpose in her life remains a mystery to me; but my mind was filled with the possibilities, and the significance of these three little words, as I created them.

In 2010, I'll Remember to Remember ...

  • to enjoy real conversations with my family on a daily basis. (Not just the routine communication that we squeeze in while we're doing ten other things; but meaningful, "I'm really paying attention to you" kinds of conversations.)
  • to reach out to my friends and family when I think of them
  • to say, "I Love You.
  • to send a few of the handwritten greeting cards or notes that are constantly rolling around in my mind.
  • that everyone I encounter is facing their own personal challenges.
  • to make good choices where my own health is concerned. Healthy food and moderate exercise are definitely a part of this plan.
  • to proactively accomplish the tasks that I tend to procrastinate.
  • to clebrate my accomplishments instead of focusing on what remains to be accomplished.
  • to create for the sheer joy of it.
  • to find peaceful time for myself on a daily basis, even if it's only for a few minutes.

And finally, I'll Remember to Remember to be greatful for all of the blessings that fill my life.

What will you Remember to Remember in 2010?