I decided to keep working on shadow box-style oriels. I had a pin I purchased in Mexico a few years ago and thought it might look good in a 3-D. I took a pair of pliers and snipped off the pin-back and glued the bird-rose pioece to a rust-colored, embroidery type ribbon. For the back of the oriel, I found this verse from a poem: "the bird and rose in rapture sing...." and glued the phrase to a piece of scrapbook paper. I sandwiched the two pieces between a beveled glass front and a plain glass back, then wrapped them both in copper foil making sure I left an even space around the whole oriel. A green-enameled leaf branch, a red bead, and a pewter bird charm complete the oriel. I really like the way this turned out, and it is fun to wear on a big ball chain necklace.
Daily Journal Page Challenge...Day 150: And They Will Exist Again
I find myself thinking about my grandmother this month, more than I have in a long, long time. And as I was creating this collage, the objects I chose and the colors I used made me feel as if she was in the room with me. She loved antiques -- and blues, which matched her eyes. Mimi had a walnut plantation desk, which I inherited, and when I brought it into my home and opened its hutch doors, I found that the backs of the doors were covered in magazine pictures. She apparently placed items whose colors and shapes and designs interested her -- much like I do on my art studio bulletin board. I think that this studio photo of her from the early teens of last century reflects her natural beauty and her openness. I love you, Mimi, wherever you are...
Oh, roses, a garden full of roses. There is nothing quite like the smell of roses and the feel of rose petals -- they make me think of soft white sheets and languid summer afternoons spent...napping. Did you know that Cleopatra would have her bed covered in thousands of rose petals when she was expecting Anthony to visit her?
Daily Journal Page Challenge -- Day 148: Desert Oasis
Here I am, trudging along in the desert, no relief in sight, and there it is -- a mansion, surrounded by a wild, native garden. A strangely green path leads to the many-windowed house. And what is that? A flying saucer?! A hint of extraordinary things to come, perhaps. Perhaps, indeed!
I don't usually go back and edit my posts. But I keep going back to this page. It's strangely reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz. A lonely farm house (in the Australian outback), and multicolored tornadoes stirring up the dust around it. Am I going to find my new space -- a new place -- in a creative storm?
My blogger friend Chrissy asked me to make a custom oriel pendant of her 4-footed companion, Kalei, and her 2-legged, long-distance love, Eric. I started out with a photo Chris had taken of her beautiful cat, Kalei. I saw her in Chris's Southern California garden. Chris's photos of her garden's blooms are breath taking, so I took a few of her blog photos and miniaturized them in my creativity software program. I also added these cool miniature dried flowers I found in Mexico (they are used by nail manicurists!). I made this oriel 3D, so that it seemed as if Kalei was looking through the flowers. The more I worked with this oriel, the more it seemed that Chris's boyfriend Eric needed his own oriel. So I used hand-dyed ribbon and more dried flowers on the back of Kalei's garden pendant. I added a sterling silver flower charm and Swavorski crystal beads as a dangle. I also made this oriel 3D. Eric lives in Hawaii, so I placed him in front of a crashing sea and sprinkled a few stars around him just for fun. On the back I put a picture of Chris and Eric -- when they first met. I added Swavorski crystals in sea colors and a sea turtle charm by my friend Beth of Hint Jewelry (by all means check her Etsy store and blog out!). The oriel is almost charm sized, but I liked the intimacy of that.
This is another one of my personal art challenges: to create a minimum of one oriel pendant per week. You can learn more about my oriel pendants by visiting my Kentucky Girl Etsy Shop. I find personal and communal art challenges an inspiring disciplinary approach to fostering creativity. My personal art challenges ensure that I do not put my art on the back burner -- wonderful new directions emerge as a result of stepping over my ambivalence and tendency towards self-criticism. Community art challenges have been a wonderful means of discovering creative friends and positive feedback. Another wonderful benefit of the internet!
The proverbial brick wall. I seem to keep running up against it. Seems like this late in my life I wouldn't be surprised by it anymore. I guess this is one of the challenges of life, running into brick walls, glitches, setbacks. But life is an illusion, isn't it? Brick walls are just the impetus to take another fork in the road, saunter on down a shady lane, sprint across a highway, shotgun out of another canon....I took this photo in London this spring while walking along the Regents canal. I loved the pink clematis spilling down from the top and the graffiti number seven sprayed next to it. In numerology, seven can mean transformation, movement from one world or state of being to another. So this is another alternative to viewing a brick wall -- as an opportunity for transformation. I can live with that.
I was commissioned to do an oriel pendant for a woman whose cat companion had passed on. This beautiful animal actually belong to three people who had homes on the same property, and he would go from home to home as it suit his mood. But this woman had had a very deep bond with him, so her neighbor and friend had asked me to do a necklace of him for her. I knew Monty -- he was very sexy and slinky, but had a powerful, sage-like personality as well. I remember being over at one of the houses, and Monty came wafting into the room, like Errol Flynn or Cary Grant, throwing himself down by my feet and batting at them. Shameless! One day, I happened to have my camera and snapped a quick photo of him lounging on a bed pillow (his pillow). I didn't mean to make this custom oriel shrine-like, but that's how it evolved. I placed Monty's image on a pink red tapestry ribbon, topped with a piece of vintage gold lace that I purchased in London this spring. The back of the oriel shows a red ribbon rosette from a fantastic piece of ribbon yardage I found in my travels; the rosette is pressed flat by the weight of the glass -- it almost appears as a relic. To top off the oriel I chose a silver charm engraved with a lotus blossom, which speaks of Monty's wise persona. I think Monty would have approved!
I have to say that I am very happy when I am making my oriels -- especially when I am making customs for people. I love taking an image of something or someone that a person loves and turning it into a piece of art that can be worn as jewelry that they can keep forever and pass on to those they love. I am very, very lucky woman to be able to tap into the Universe's creative energy and make beautiful, personal things that people can enjoy and treasure. It gives me great pleasure and I am grateful that I am finally at a stage in my life where I can pursue something I love to do and makes me happy in the process. Thank you Lisa for hosting Happy Week -- it has been very thought proking and enjoyable!
A friend of mine asked me to make a custom oriel for one of her sisters, the one who lives in North Carolina. Her last trip there had been one of those life-affirming joyful moments, all three sisters were together, enjoying the air, the beaches, their husbands, and the time together. One day, while walking the beach, my friend found this little broken piece of shell, shaped like a heart:
She brought it back with her and asked me if I could make a necklace out of it, something that her sister could wear to remember their visit together. At first I wasn't sure what I could do, but I trusted that something would come to me. She suggested that I might make a shadow box for it. I picked a piece of pink, faded, vintage velvet ribbon for the heart shell to rest upon. I searched the net and found a picture of a pink sunrise over a North Carolina beach. I looked in my old Thesaurus and found words to form this phrase: "All the sisters forever love", then cut the phrases up and glued them over the beach picture. I liked how the pink of the ribbon and the pink of the sunrise seemed to cradle the heart and the sentiment. At first I thought I would build a shadow box for it, but I just took two pieces of glass, made a sandwich of the shell and images, and carefully wrapped it in copper foil, trying to keep even pressure on all of the sides. Soldered it, added decorative solder beading, added a dangle of a filigree heart charm and Swavorski beads, and a pewter star charm. This is what my friend said: "My sister loved her necklace and just as I suspected it made her cry! You did an awesome job. Picking the right photo, the right phrase, the right colors! Awesome and beautiful. You have an amazing talent! Thank you!" And thank you D. -- for giving me the opportunity to create something beautiful!
Cats always seem to know when you need a little help. Yes, they primarily like to ask you for food -- but I have had cats since I was 6 months old and they always, always have made me very, very happy. They are way up there on the Happy Meter, without a doubt, in my life. Take for instance my white cat Angie, she is my constant companion in the house (or outside in the garden), and today she gave me the gift of happiness. As I lay listlessly on my back on the bedroom floor, feeling the warm breeze come through the window, thinking about crawling into bed for a short nap -- Angelina jumped up into the window and stretched all of her beautiful white and pink-tipped self out along the sill. She listened to the birds, she smelled the air, she'd look over at me. She kept doing this, and all the while she was purring, purring, purring. I thought she looked like a little goddess, a domestic Bastet (the Cat Goddess, who brings Joy), as the sunlight highlighted her white fur. I never had a white cat before, and I've had a lot of cats in my lifetime. I looked over at my bedside table and saw the little ceramic cat that my grandmother and I made together when I was around eight or nine years old. I remember being frustrated that the piece of clay was not looking like a cat should, and my grandmother saying, "Here, just smooth it here, just take a little piece of clay and add it here"...and so on. Before I knew it, we had made a graceful cat together. I told my grandmother I wanted a white cat, and she said that she had been thinking the same thing. "And blue eyes," I said, "like yours". I was so happy. And I am happy now, with my beautiful white cat sitting on on the window sill purring. and my grandmother feels close by. I am happy now.
Ok, I'm not feeling very happy this morning. Real sluggish. Depressed. Unmotivated. Yet I agreed to post something happy-making everyday this week. I guess I could pretend. I am good at taking on a character and pretending. I've accomplished a lot of things in my life by pretending. I guess I can pretend I'm happy about something -- because the thing is -- I will be happy about something in the future moment -- it's pretty much guaranteed. This depression will pass. This sluggishness will be replaced with creative energy. This mopiness will slink back into its mopey corner, maybe right on out the door. Hmmmm, do I feel something else now? Is the Happiness Meter climbing out of the minus zero zone? Almost. Maybe, when I return later I'll have a happy-something to post about. Stay tuned...
I am behind in my posting on my weekly pendant challenge! Shameful, but I'm over it.
I have always had an affinity for Red-Tail hawks -- ever since my high school sweetheart introduced me to the art of falconry (and kisses in the back of his Dodge Dart). I even learned to mimic their cries, thanks to my grandfather who taught me how to call my ponies up from the lower pasture with high-pitched Indian whistles. Whenever I hear a hawk calling, I call back (you really can't say it's a whistle, it's more like a scream). Shocks the hell out of whoever is near me, but the hawks respond positively and we have a conversation back and forth until one of us tires of it. In animal shaman lore, Red-Tail hawks represent mystery and magic. So look for good things coming into your life when you hear or see one.
If you like this oriel and want to know more about it or purchase one, visit my Etsy shop.
The Happiness Week continues and the top of the list of what brings me a bit of happiness everyday is....chocolate. These particular chocolate squares are my current indulgence. It is everything I need to satisy that addictive, sugar-loving side of myself. Six squares of organic, raw, live chocolate -- $9.95 a box (GORaw Real Live Chocolate), at least one box every day. And I don't feel guilty. Not in the least. It does help that each of these little angels are only 32 calories and 1 gram of fat. Only two ingredients: raw, organic cacao and organic agave nectar -- resulting in a dark, robust, culinary treat that seems to move through the tastebuds right into the bloodstream. And yes, I could almost call these chocolate petitfours orgasmic. Love gone wrong? Eat some of these. Lost your job? Hock your record collection and stock up on a cupboard full of these babies. No kidding. Happy Thursday!
It's overcast here in Novato, and I'm suffering a bit from post-vacation blues. But not really, I have a lot to be happy about. Do you think happiness and gratitude walk hand in hand? I think maybe they do have something to do with one another. I chose the above photo, that I took earlier this month, way before I read about and joined Lisa's Happy Week. I wasn't even conscious of the title, I was just playing with my camera outside of Peet's Coffee shop (and, yes, I was enjoying a cup of jo!). I had just bought the most recent issue of Artful Blogging, was browsing through it, and decided to take a picture of it on my knee. HAH! "Your Happy Place" -- isn't this wild that I took a photo of exactly what we're talking about here, this week? And yes, my happy place, at least one of them is blogging. I am gratefully happy for having found a platform in which I can stimulate my creativity, showcase my talents, meet interesting, generous women and men, and engage in joyful exercises such as this. Blogging makes me happy! May you have a happy Wednesday!
There is one constant happiness in my life...it has never wavered, never changed over the last 4 decades....the first cup of coffee I have in the morning. I have tried to eliminate it from my diet over the years -- but like a well worn, often used, well loved binkie, it keeps reemerging in my life, no matter where I am, what I am thinking or doing, it brings the same feelings of happiness. The smell of it brewing -- that deep, rich, roasty smell -- immediately takes me to my happy place. And it's a huge ritual, how it's brewed in the morning (I can still see through 7-year-old eyes the tin coffee pot on my grandparents' stove burner, with the coffee magically perking up into the crystal cap); the type of cup it's poured into; where I sit and drink it. This is my drug of choice (even though I now drink mostly decaf)! Studies actually show that it is the smell of coffee that people become addicted to, not the caffeine!
Although Happiness Week was scheduled to start today, it really started for me yesterday, so I am directing you to read yesterday's post. I'm on vacation and unexpected happiness has continued...I am in love with this totally unexpected delight of a vacation. Short -- only 2 days, but oh, the happiness meter is peaking and staying the course, and it has spilled into Monday and will probably carry me through the week, even though I return home tomorrow afternoon. A beautiful lake, with warm water to jump gleefully into every couple of hours, friends that are enjoying the place as much as my husband and I are. And the air -- there is nothing quite like the air here, especially late in the afternoon. It's magical...
OMG what a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Blue Lake. I wasn't expecting much of anything as we drove up 101. Then we pulled off onto a non-descript road, went around the bend -- and there it was -- the soft, hazy Blue Lake. This is exactly what I have been dreaming of for years...a warm lake that I could swim in and feel a joyful, sensual (and I mean all the senses fully alive) moving through the world magical feeling. I jumped into the water ahead of everyone and tore through it like a mad woman, splashing and yelling at the top of my voice, and grabbing my husband by the shoulders and waist and wrestlin' him under the water for the sheer joy of it. I have been dreaming of a lake like this for over 40 years. There was even a rope swing on the lake side that I grabbed onto and swung like Tarzan over the lake's surface to drop screaming into the water. Several times. I came back to my room and that feeling I love welled up in me, a soft blue leafy green haziness, warm like kisses that will never be erased from my memory. two Van Morrison songs came up on my ipod shuffle, one right after the other, and the day was complete...and not yet over....
Daily Journal Page Challenge...Day 133: I Want to Learn More
I suppose I had to cool down a bit after the last one (must be the Libra in me, always balancing)! Let's see, what comes up: green(er) pastures, the wisdom of trees, mirror-mirror reflections (use everything in your life as a mirror), looking forward to what's next on the horizon...
I love the texture in this page. This is not stonework, but aerial photos of salt ponds in, I think, Nigeria. The colors are amazing and the ponds from a far form a wonderful, natural mosaic. One of my favorite things to buy is gourmet salt crystals, Red and Black Hawaiin, Pink Peruvian, French Grays -- the list goes on. Their varied colors, textures, and aromas are a bit of the earth to seem to give a depth and fullness to whatever you are sprinkling them on.
Journal Page Creations -- Day 130: People Expect Me to Be One-Dimensional
I think it's more likely that I expect me to be one-dimensional. Perhaps an attempt to gain some sense of control, as I go cartwheeling through the universe? I like this page, it's pointy and startling and unsettling. It appeals to some dark sense of humor. One-dimensional --- HAH!
Welcome! My Mane Blowing in the Wind is a visual showcase of my art, oriel pendant necklaces, and creative musings. I have danced toward and away from art for the past 28 years. Much of the moving away from was due to what I guess you could call "artistic paralysis": I heard the muse but went internal with it instead of externally expressing it through art. But somehow my art keeps emerging and recently it seems to have taken on a life of its own. This blog is a record of that discovery.