Monday, February 25, 2013

Almost three months later... no breaking news other than the reinforcement that "Being here now" is the best route for wonderful surprises and a way to love what is in front of you.

My second thumb joint replacement is healing so well, having the non dominant hand done has been a piece of cake in comparison to three years ago when I had my right thumb done. Just to say it again, if you have arthritis in your basal thumb joint, it CAN be fixed and has made a huge difference in my life and outlook, I am happy to report.

This trip, which started on January 12 and will go on until March 20, has been excitingly diversified. Included have been stops (and began) in Albuquerque, then proceeded to Pasadena, CA, back to ABQ, up to Reno, back to ABQ, drove to Tucson, then to San Diego, onto Palm Springs, Monterey and here in Sacramento for a brief visit in a hotel with my sister Nancy to head to Sebastopol, CA, where I will rest for a few days to end  in the Bay area to participate in The Bead and Design Show  at the Concord Hilton in Concord, CA.... I might not be on the 'exhibitor' list as I signed up late but the show goes on March 1-3 and I would love to see many of you Bay Area buddies there!

My stops have been playfully mixed with business and pleasure, luxurious time with loved ones along the way has been the sweetest part! I rarely take any extra time for myself to just 'be'. The fact that I left for this journey with a vague timeframe in place, knowing I wouldn't be scurrying home between commitments to get a few days of work done, has freed me up to be open to what is in front of me. Somehow a balance needs to pursued, I love letting situations unfold but rarely am I in a frame of mind to celebrate this unfolding. * Note to self.

My spare time has been spent on many and various Pod Hunts, results to be revealed, but I am absolutely excited to get back home and start on a new series of work. In the meantime I will gather samples and soak up the love that is so abundant in my family of friends encountered along the way.

My final professional event will be teaching 4 classes at Beadfest Santa Fe, there are still spots in most  of these classes. I would love to share what I am doing!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

In my time?

So, I was ready with a constrained hairdo, half way ready to lose the use of my left hand come the end of last Wednesday only to learn that my surgery (A thumb joint replacement) was cancelled for Thursday morning due to the hospital not requisitioning the insurance company in it stands, IF the insurance company decides to play, next Thursday will be the day. I am upset that this postponement eats into my healing time. I am booked solid from mid January into mid February. If the surgery can't happen this coming Thursday I will need to reschedule it for next November.

Now, in my egocentric way my questions go like this, "don't they understand how difficult it is to schedule and follow through with a surgery that renders you disabled for a chunk of time when you are full speed ahead trying to 'bake bread for the whole family'?"

In the end, it doesn't matter whose fault it is, I am still in this stalled reality....trying to be sane.

I just added 20 new jewelry pieces to my webshop
I just washed the braids out of my hair~
I've dusted the living room and bedroom and now just have wishes for time to pass, plans to be revived and meaningful distractions to catapult me into the next phase.

Soon my "Shows and Workshop' schedule will be posted and the next phase will lay bare the hectic reality of my life.

I hope that yours is not quite so dire, that you are able to pass time more gracefully with less 'ME' in it than this post~ and that all of your scurrying around allows time for you to just BE, agendaless~ floating with family and friends!

The lady that braided this hair is SERIOUS. It is Sunday, I had this done on Wednesday just in hopes of not having to manage hair one handed for a few days. Maybe I'll schedule another session, not that I love the look but I do love not having it all tangled up!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Home again...

After an incredible week away which included my first destination, State College, PA to drop in on my oldest, closest friend Dena, I will try to recap the multitude of highlights. The trip was uneventful, beautiful skies, exciting clouds...the MINUTE I pulled into her driveway the skies opened up, hail bombarded her deck. I LOVE a storm where I can be really close to it but stay in comfort. This might come from a long time ago as a young child when my fisherman father would take us for a drive in the middle of a hurricane, up to the lighthouse to check on his boat and I guess for the titillation~  that is what I love about an extreme storm, the force and the power and how it puts us in our place, another reminder to 'be here now' 'cause that is all that we've got.

Hail on the deck...
 Andrew's angles, lovely.
 Mineral deposits at Fallingwater...

A really anemic looking crocus on the Fallingwater it confused? Or some kind of weird fall variety that has to struggle? There was no foliage accompanying the flower so I would think that it was crying for fuel???

Had a lovely but too short visit with Dena then headed west towards Ligonier, stopping to meet up with Andrew and Dawn at Fallingwater~ a must do for all in that the concept and execution broke so many boundaries...picture opportunities were somewhat limited, during the tour no pictures were permitted. (My camera isn't up to par here, focus appears to be an issue, sorry no pics of Andrew and Dawn) I am so glad to have seen it, without the urging of Andrew I still might not have seen it~ Thanks so much for the brainstorm!

We then carried on to Ligonier, home of Will and Andrew and Allegory Gallery which was the hub of activity for the next couple of days. Andrew and Will hosted a lovely weekend of classes and comraderie, their precious group of friends were impressively sweet and smart, thanks so much for the warm welcome, great food at the opening and lovely dinner at the dumpling house!!!

These gatherings where we converge to expand our knowledge base, interact often times with strangers that don't stay that way for long, to share and cooperate and try on new hats is so enriching. If you haven't signed up for a class, please do so~ your local continuing education is a great place to start! I love this time with fellow artists, it is so grounding to share what we know and love~ huge thanks to each and every one of you that 'gambled' your hard earned money and time that we can never get back, to be with me, I try to make it a memorable time infused with the imparting of useful skills to enrich your craft, to connect and share and carry on with a fuller heart and an open mind...are these too lofty a goal? I think not.

This is where my photos stop, too busy to record...

After class on Sunday I set out towards Pittsburgh where I spent a couple of nights with my incredible niece and my sister, these times are far too few, we laugh and catch up and compare life experience, I so love these girls!

Last but not least...onto Mechanicsburg where I spent a memorable night with Jean Van Brederode, her 'Birthday Boy' son, Brody and husband Lee. A nice celebration, time at a wonderful fabric outlet and time exploring her incredibly well outfitted studio brought us to the bewitching hour of midnight and the need for sleep to get up and out by 6 AM to arrive home yesterday 3 ish. Pennsylvania is a large state, I covered a large portion of it, saw places and regions I never saw while growing up (that is assuming that I ever did, grow up, I mean) I am happy to have that extra experience of seeing so much of the state, meeting all of you wonderful people and to being home again!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

September, beautiful September....

With the flip of a switch and a new willingness to take apart my ENTIRE studio, everything out of EVERY corner, I am closer to putting it all back together. It all started with the purchase of two of these cabinets in State College, PA last week~

From here I started and worked my way around the bottom floor of the building. In the process, which has had my full attention for a full 6 days now, I have had to "be here now" and ask each object where it should rest so I can find it again. This meant labeling all containers and their contents. I believe that we built this studio in 2004, ever since, I have just been acquiring things and furniture and stuff and stuffing them into this side of the studio. I never stopped to assess or cull or direct. I had this INCREDIBLE table sitting in the middle of the room, usually piled high.

It is enormous, a high school science table that has storage below...and is on wheels! I am so excited for it to be usable and out of the middle of the room. Those totes on the shelves, notice, PODS, labeled and I had left them uncovered and piled on these shelves...guess what the mice have been eating!  Approximately 2 years ago I was going through stuff, an exercise that pales in thoroughness by comparison, I found the mouse food source. I had purchased a 5 POUND bag of white silk cocoons, they had lived through that winter setting up quite a community and moving those cocoons all around the studio but all of these little stash areas were lacking in the color and comfort of the stuck closed door that I finally forced open and found where they had been nesting.

Ribbons and yarn and cocoons. Gone now. 5 traps set, they hadn't yielded culprits as of yesterday morning. 

At the close of yesterdays light we had had a neighbor working on our property~ as we have access to his well, a pipe had broken so they needed to track the source which meant Darrell and his backhoe were working here late afternoons for a week or so. They found the problem and had fixed it. As it was time to bring the tractor out of the woods we asked if he would be willing to see if he could move this problematic rock that has been erupting for awhile now. It was amusing. At one point, as the rock was finally out of the ground and in the bucket, the smaller wheels on the tractor were totally off of the ground~ clearly moving this a great distance was out of the question so I suggested that he push it over to the end of the studio and possibly I could have a thinking spot, possibly the spot where I might pick up a cell signal instead of spinning around the yard in circles, usually fruitlessly?


As I look at these pictures the big rock is dwarfed but it has a nice flat side and will be better out of the ground rather than in it...and hopefully will be a place for me to sit and gather signal enough to let me communicate while in the region of the studio. Notice the detritus propped up outside the building, so many things, and multiples too. One of the challenges of an artist's life, STUFF. I not only need materials for me to do the work but I am usually supplying students with materials as well which results in multiples. The blue rolls outside to the right, you ask? These are swimming pool solar covers, in 2002 I bought an entire pool cover and proceeded to cut it up in order to roll felt. The 3 here are open to takers, I still have 3 more inside. I will take a picture later of the huge pile of destash that will need to be gone through and packaged for sale at the Northern Virginia Bead Bazaar in November, I have taken a second table to pile high with $2 and $3 dollar bags.

Some of the more special destash items will be traveling with me to Allegory Gallery  in Ligonier, PA  where I will be teaching 4 classes in a first weekend long intensive at Andrew's relatively new venture. We are offering a variety of classes, from enameling to tryptych construction...and would love to see you there. Andrew is the king of networking and has been working tirelessly at the promotion for these classes including sponsors who are donating things to the attendees, surprises abounding. Each student will receive SWAG, but only if you enroll! The time is swiftly passing with a few more spots in each class, let's fill Andrews corner of the world with a warm and somewhat boisterous celebration~ yay to fall, to new beginnings, to new friendships, to sharing what we know and love, and fill these classes to the brim!
Andrew is planning for an excursion on the Friday before class begins to go to Falling Water, who's game? 

Tomorrow brings us to the start of our youngest daughter Lily's first day at Bennington College, I guess that I will just have to settle for a vicarious education~ lucky girl, we wish you great things as you 'speak no evil'.

Whew, enough on the words, I need to go bruise myself some more. I am LOVING the space in my heart that has opened due to this relentless exercise but I would love to be finished. I suspect it would take at least a full month to go through my whole history of belongings, maybe one handed in December after hand surgery #2?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Almost over without a single post.

June, almost over.

With it came a whirlwind of experiences and adventures. We ushered the month in with preparation and execution of the Bead and Button Show: The yearly gathering of all people and things beady~ I needed to leave prematurely in order to get back to Massachusetts (and then up to Vermont) to attend Lily's graduation from What a fabulous day, punctuated by mixed feelings from all. A bittersweet celebration, the closing of 4 years as a giant family and all of the support, drama, inspiration and encouragement that goes with that. These young people filled with hope and promise and a gift. The gift so big: an invitation to go forth, stir it up, don't accept what is pre packaged and delivered as truth, ask questions, think hard and act hugely. Yes, mom has been living vicariously through Lily's incredible experience, I, too, am sad for it to be over but so pleased that this has been in Lily's foundation.

In order for me to be able to be in Vermont some hoops needed to be jumped through, i.e., what about my booth...and inventory and sales help... Amanda Schleede from  The Fineline  ( there in so many capacities. Deb Bednarek was there as sales help extraordinaire for a good portion of Saturday and all day Sunday~ Couldn't have done it without you, ladies, thank you, thank you, thank you!

More crazy barn yard stories: I had just gotten home from a wedding in Pennsylvania, was on the stoop in my doorway to the studio and I looked over to see the garder snake coiled up that I often see around the entryway into my studio. I am often startled by him, I don't like the 'startle' part but I have nothing against snakes, so I took a deep breath and settled in to clean my pods. I did notice that he didn't use his tongue at all which I thought was unusual but we sat together for 1/2 hour or so. When I got up to go inside, he slithered off to somewhere. Two days later I saw him again, I thought to myself, ' looks like a totally different color, do they change like chameleons and I never knew this?' An hour passed, he didn't move a muscle, he was dead. No cuts, contusions, apparent injuries???

Next day some opportunist came along and grabbed our sweet remaining older chicken, left only a pile of feathers.

Life on the 'Farmette' is never dull.

My life and contributions towards hybridizing have come in the form of putting 'Bee clothes on Scarab', an exercise that entertains, picture above.

Time until mid July is in the studio, I then will go off to teach a couple of classes at The Fineline ( ....somehow Blogger has made the linking 'not' easy~ I look forward to my time in Illinois, at the Fineline and time with Amanda!

And then....The 9 day Sunapee Craft Show is upon us, going from Aug 4-12.

And that brings us up to date.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lively times here in Green Acre Town. Baby chicks brought in on Mother's Day to start a small egg laying batch of new blood, we are down to 1 hardy and highly socialized adult chicken so the little ones were in order.

 Pictures include a baby snapping turtle cruising our yard,a fuzzy picture of Lily loving her Mr. Fluffypants whom we took to the animal hospital last night, he had a total urinary blockage. They will keep him in the hospital, sedated, on kitty morphine, trying to match input with out flow, poor sick kitty.

 Nature in all of her glory brought a call from a friend saying he had a swarm of bees that had moved into his house from a vent, Michael took over one of the hive bodies and they nailed it to the house, hoping the bees would move into it....they moved off instead!

 We had a studio of sweet senior girls sleep over on Saturday, they were out at a roller derby 'match' (what do you call it, Bria?). They are forming a mini team, trying to get a couple of moves together for an end-of-year exhibition. Lily has taken on my moniker, Murphy Slaw, glad to have it get some use as I suspect this is one thing I might cross off of my list to not become personally obsessed with.

 The last couple of months has been all consuming, several trips 'out', 2 trips to CA, both good, different, Northern and Southern CA. A wonderfully surprising trip to the Connecticut coast teaching a workshop with the CT. Bead Society, the weather was BEAUTIFUL, surrounded with stone and water on a quaint retreat off of Mystic.

 Bead and Button is nearing. Zillions of half realized ideas, projects and preparation. It helps to have some practice and a history to trust that I will be able to pull it together (?).

 Thanks for your lovely comments on my last post, my lack of savvy consistently entertains me. I realize the beauty of this social media and its ability to reach out, I just would rather stay in the studio with my head down, apparently.

 Reflection is not a strong suit, just a desire to occasionally 'state my case' and share some of the 'goings on' around here.

 I hope to see many of you in a couple of weeks. I have needed to call upon a couple of amazing friends to cover my booth for some of Saturday and Sunday, the last two days of the Bead and Button Show as I will fly home to attend Lily's high school graduation, yay, good going and a big hurrah to you Lils, and a big THANK YOU to Deb and Amanda for letting my mind rest by picking up my slack.

 I was interested to read an article in the February 2012 Bead and Button magazine about the company, A Grain of Sand and the acquisition of their Mother Lode of beads and findings, I ordered a bunch of great stuff.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Murphy...let me be free from your grip.

A Camilla show~
Another funny Murphy story. I got to Albuquerque last Tuesday, flying from Bradley in Connecticut, going through Chicago. While on the ground in Chicago I witnessed the luggage handler to be harder than usual on the luggage, lifting it higher, letting it fall harder. As he drove his cart away I observed some of the white destination tags left behind. Pondering this, knowing that these particular bags would probably not make it to their destination, I felt for their owners. Landing in New Mexico I went to baggage claim to wait an extraordinary amount of time to recoup my bags, they both showed up, but the backside of my favorite suitcase that I had acquired in Japan was destroyed. It appeared as if it was dragged behind the plane, perforated, friction burned, abused. The Southwest Baggage office was right there so I took it into them and they readily, warmly offered up a brand new case so I transferred my gear and left. This just adds to the list of why I love Southwest! As this is really a tale of suitcases I will skip ahead to the next experience in this new suitcases short life with me. My trip's purpose was to get to Santa Fe to teach 3 classes at Beadfest. I had completed two of the three classes using the suitcase as storage under a table, lifting the lid and sliding things into it to be properly packed at the end of my duty. I opened it to add more to the maddness to see that an aerosal can of olive oil had 'detonated'. Yellow, foamy oil filled the insides of this new member of my suitcase arsenal. The reason that the valve was vulnerable was the fact that this abusive luggage handlers affects included a broken lid on the can, I had thrown it away. Somedays it is really just a crap shoot whether or not you get out unscathed. I realize in the scheme of things this really has no bearing but what it does in my micro view is makes me consider which shoe, when, will drop. You see, this isn't just a suitcase tale. My first class was a class in FastFire BronzeClay, the 'fast' part of this is the important part, class was 8 hours from start to finish. I got to the convention center in plenty of time to set up and be prepared for the clases beginning at 8:30...only to realize that the clay that I had was the original takes a full 9 hours just to fire. This is the stuff that a teachers nightmare are made of. I immediately called Rio Grande with a plea and a question, was anyone coming up to Santa Fe from Albuquerque? Claudia, the lovely customer service woman, didn't think so but she got my # and I went onto putting my plea out to a group of possible prospects for getting the material to me in the shortest time possible. Students were starting to filter in at this point, me trying to be calm and welcoming. My decision to proceed with using the original formula seemed to make the most sense, figuring that if the FastFire showed up we could switch gears. I was so touched, people heard my plea, all of my feelers came back with solutions, from dispatching a husband to go and get it, to my friend willing to cut her vacation short to go do the round trip for my sake to the final solution which had a couple of Rio employees come and drop it off. I sit here on Sunday morning reflecting on the chaos and challenges of the weekend and am warmed by the kind willingness of people to set their agendas aside to help a friend in need. Thank you all for your spirit of generosity. It is lovely to not have to do a thing today, to bask in the non structure of the aftermath. I hope that your Sunday is just the way you like it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


...Seem to be the day that I have a moment to reflect. Today I start differently, it is usually a 7 AM yoga class but not today as I have an early dental appointment and then a 'meet up' with my great sister, Ellie. I am constantly surprised at my willingness to 'chaosiphy' (new word?) my surroundings in the studio. From metal fabrication and assembly to enameling to pod preparation, throw in a few critical glass beads to complete an idea and you have possibly a mornings scenario. Yesterday I just had to 'give plain up' as my wonderful grandma used to say, and start a declutter operation. In my most distractable way I got only so far in making a surface available...and I needed to start on the next set of inspirations, cycle repeated...before I knew it I was buried in layers of material again. Given my 'way', I just need to give into it and realize my tendencies and love them. Never having been short of ideas to execute I guess that I must be grateful that the muse is always strolling by my side, whispering,'go for it'!
I am happy to realize that classes are filling, my enameling class in Santa Fe is full with a waitlist, this pleases me as I see it as a vote for consumer confidence, we need to nutrify ourselves with new ideas and techniques, thanks for picking me! I will be teaching a borosilicate beadmaking class paired with enamels on metal at Bead and Button this year, that is not full yet!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So much of what I do is 'now'.....

....that follow up often evades me. I am in a most excited and fertile time, ideas screaming as they stream by.  My extended trip to Tucson and then Denver was exceptional. I attribute this to many things~ good friends, warmth on my body, being surrounded by stimulating materials, idea sharing; correcting 'wrong' courses with suggestions on ways to move forward and a good show with promise of continued growth!

Visiting with family, celebrating birthdays, of which my 'baby' celebrated her 21st on the 14th as well as my sister having that same special birthday has made for a celebratory atmosphere as well as trips down memory lane! This has always given Valentine's day a special meaning and to think that this goes back 21 years is astonishing to me, yes, time does fly. In the past I have added 'whether or not you are having fun', luckily I am surrounded by fun, realizing it is a state of mind. My mom, in the lovely blue silk blouse also celebrated a birthday on the 12th, HAPPY BIRTHDAy!

I am considering how to guide the course of the next segment of my life. It is easier, with less challenge and smaller reward to carry on as 'usual'. I am ready to break out, in attitude and action towards a fuller, more enriching series of experiences culminating in a new way of doing business~ we'll see how this shakes out, I'll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, just back from a well practiced yoga session I am headed out to the studio to embark on this new plan, Michael started a fire so I'll just slip into a toasty studio and revel in the privilege  of having this shelter and tools and space to realize my ideas.

I realize the fleeting nature of an empowered state, my 'job' is to not let go of my momentum and to be thankful for all moments, with hopes of gaining more glimpses at this 'attitude of gratitude'!

Huge thanks go out to my literal family and to the extended family of friends that I am so happy to be a part of! Pictures include a wall piece illustrating the evolution of egg to sperm, a permutation I find entertaining. Pod interpretation in hollow Bullseye glass, a shot of Olive a few years back and an electroformed 'Baby on a Dragon', an image I am trying to take to heart and proceed from, fearlessly, freshly, a self portrait?

Sunday, January 8, 2012


new year, near outlook, new hope.
studio in morning

 When they say 'follow your passion' I am sometimes confused. All I know is that when I sit down to operate/play/reconfigure seed pods I feel as though all is right with the world, I am where I should be and that all will be well.

 It was 1985 when I went back to school. 10 years in the fish business had taken its toll, getting up at 3:30 to make art before I went to filet fish was clearing the way towards realizing that art making was where I found a center, a glimpse at joy.

 A freshman at MassArt, 30 years old, taking core classes; my first and most rudimentary stab at interpreting the pod form. 26 years later I am still interpreting the pod.

 I am so excited about the trajectory of my ideas, what will happen, where will this go? These questions are often met with resistance, fear, trepidation. For whatever reason I am peaceful with the thoughts and knowledge that all will be well. I'll take it, gratefully.

 I am preparing at different levels for different things, some are not to be shared just yet, other things need a 'shout out'. My next outing takes me to Tucson, my yearly pilgrimmage. This year brings a new venue, I will be teaching a class with Anne Mitchell in 'Coloring and Connecting Metals; Filling the Void' a proven fun and informative experience as well as exhibiting at the To Bead True Blue show at the Doubletree, Reid Park. I hope to see many of you there! We still have spots in the class, if you are interested or know of anyone who might be, the link to Anne will take you to sign up.

 As I go through my life I am often conflicted. I have written about this before, the notion of living to report or living to experience, they feel different to me. How I frame my experience in the moment is rooted in the context of my perception. In the post office yesterday it was certainly a 'live to report' moment as I asked the employee to please use his elbow to cover his cough vs. his palm where he spread his germs to the whole world. His response was, 'well, everyone coughs at me all day long', this is a baseline strategy of many, I fear, and not just with regard to spreading germs. Let us rise above this angry default and 'cover our coughs with our elbows', using this as a metaphor for protecting the good and not trashing that which we are mad at. Soap Box over.