Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Inherent: Existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute

"Women are not inherently passive or peaceful. We’re not inherently anything but human."
Robin Morgan

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quartzsite, AZ = Bead Heaven

The little town of Quartzsite, Arizona grows from 3,000 permanent residents year-round, to over a million, during January and February.  The surrounding desert's BLM land fills up with all manner of motor homes, as everyone swarms to the gem, mineral and bead shows.
Photo taken from road looking over Tyson Wells show.

Be prepared to walk.  And for lots of dust, as more and more people arrive.  Parking can be a challenge, so getting to the major shows early helps.  Both cash and credit are accepted, though cash is useful for wheeling and dealing at smaller booths.
The various shows blend together, with the Tyson Wells show a mix of motor home supplies, stuff usually seen at swap meets, and extraordinary gemstones.
These malachite specimens were sitting in the sun on a random table, waiting to take my breath away:
Stunning.  From South Africa.

One of the tents had a display of massive geodes.
Jaynee and Sally, displaying a giant amethyst geode.  Beautiful.

One could wander for days through the tents, seeing everything from tiny cabs to metal Valkyrie ants to gemstones the size of a car.  Driftstone Pueblo was my favorite gemstone site.  Lots o' strung gorgeousness.  And the checkout guys were friendly, despite the empty whiskey bottles behind the counter from the party the night before.
There's also amazing art scattered amongst the mundane supplies.  How about this burro?
I can so see Jim making something similar out of the rusty metal on he and Sally's new AZ property.  :)

The beady treasures aren't limited to the fields of tents.  There are brick and mortar buildings that offer amazing supplies and deals, usually with a 50% discount if you have a business license.
Check out Altamont Bead shop for seed beads.  They have the best supply I've ever found of size 15 seed beads in a tube.  Gorgeous colors.
I brought these home.

Gem World literally took my breath away.  A huge warehouse, this bead and rock supplier carries EVERYTHING.  Everything.  I got tons of cabs and strung gemstone beads here, as well as some pre-made bracelets.

Sunwest Silver is THE place to go for all things silver.  Stunning silver jewelry, if you're seeking something pre-made.  And hundreds of silver charms, at .17 a gram.  (I'm not telling anyone about the wonderful druzy cabochons in the back corner.  Those are mine, all mine!)  The owner/operators are especially welcoming and warm.

If you're looking for cabochons, the Desert Gardens show is the place to go.  Dusty, so bring water.  Have some fun poking through the over 100 booths.  Lots of uncut slabs as well.

Since you'll definitely work up an appetite shopping, you may want to partake of great cafe food at Palo Verde Cafe or La Casa, in Quartzsite.  There's also fair food scattered amongst the tents.  I recommend the ice cream shop at the main four corners.  If you travel north to Parker, the Cornerstone Cafe is a must.  Great food, great wait-staff.

Make sure to end your days with a view of the mountains and sunset.  Just as stunning as all that beady goodness.
Yes, this is blurry.  Not sure if it's cause it was taken from the truck on the way home or because I was so tired from shopping all week.  :)

Quartzsite = highly recommended.  While I did not find any pearls or chinese glass or lampwork, this gem show experience has all of the character of the bigger shows.  

Will I see you there next year?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Art Inspiration - Gustav Klimt

My love for spirals led me to Gustav Klimt.
Stoclet Freize - Mosaic
Oh, my.  Spirals and a mosaic.  I was hooked.  Then, right after I moved to Columbus to attend Ohio State, I walked into a thrift store and saw this:
"The Kiss"
The print was a 4' x 6' close-up of the faces.  Gorgeous!  I put it over my fireplace and it made me happy every time I walked into the room.  (Now, it's in my office at school.)

Eventually, I had to honor my love for Klimt with some jewelry pieces.
Klimt cuff.  Just a little wild.  The copper spirals add lots of movement.
And one of my favorite new pieces:
The texture in the necklace is inspired by all of the pattern in the painting.

For more information about Gustav Klimt, check out the online museum.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Loose Woman

They say I’m a beast.
And feast on it. When all along
I thought that’s what a woman was.

They say I’m a bitch.
Or witch. I’ve claimed
the same and never winced.

They say I’m a macha, hell on wheels,
viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone,
man-hating, devastating,
boogey-woman lesbian.
Not necessarily,
but I like the compliment.

The mob arrives with stones and sticks
to maim and lame and do me in.
All the same, when I open my mouth,
they wobble like gin.
Diamonds and pearls
tumble from my tongue.

Or toads and serpents.
Depending on the mood I’m in.
I like the itch I provoke.
The rustle of rumor
like crinoline.

I am the woman of myth and bullshit.
(True. I authored some of it.)
I built my little house of ill repute.
Brick by brick. Labored,
loved and masoned it.
I live like so.

Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow.
Rowdy. Indulgent to excess.
My sin and success—
I think of me to gluttony.

By all accounts I am
a danger to society.
I’m Pancha Villa.
I break laws,
upset the natural order,
anguish the Pope and make fathers cry.

I am beyond the jaw of law.
I’m la desperada, most-wanted public enemy.
My happy picture grinning from the wall.
I strike terror among the men.
I can’t be bothered what they think.
!Que se vayan a la ching chang chong!

For this, the cross, the Calvary.
In other words, I’m anarchy.
I’m an aim-well,
loose woman.

Beware, honey.
I’m Bitch. Beast. Macha.

Ping! Ping! Ping!
I break things.
— Sandra Cisneros, “Loose Woman”

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Art Clips

Oh, Etsy.  Such a wonderful resource.

I went on an art clip binge last year.  Now that I've perfected how to put artwork under glass to use as focal pieces in my bead embroidery, I wanted a selection of art beyond public domain images.

During a recent shopping spree on Etsy, I found these art collage images. 
Magic Pug Digital Design
 And some Whimsical images
Land of Enchantment
Doing a general search for "digital art" or "art clips" or "collage art" uncovers dozens of vendors.  There's any style you might want.  Reasonable prices.  Angel policies (meaning that it's okay to use the images in my own work).  Easy to  download.  Fairly easy to edit.  (I use Print Shop, which allows me to crop images into shapes and sizes that fit my glass bevels.)
Art Cult
Design Diva Gifts
Sigh.  So much loveliness and inspiration.  Honestly, I have enough inspiration here to last three lifetimes.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's Time!

"Feminism hasn’t failed, it’s just never been tried."
— Hilary Mantel

I've been wanting to add more quotes and women's history to the blog for awhile.  Since my beady life has such an overlap with feminism and history, it feels like a natural mix.  I'm also often inspired by quotes.  I use quotes when I teach and when I bead.  Working on a way to include more quotes in my work... the design challenge for the next year.

On Wednesdays, I'm going to post a quote.  Most likely, a feminist quote or from a woman in history.  Let's face it, women's words are too often forced into the background or ignored all together.  Time to change that.

I'd love to hear how the quotes inspire you.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

You never know what you might mean to someone.

I've been thinking lots about Memories and Thanks since signing up for Lori Anderson's tribute blog hop, honoring her friend Marianna.  My beadwork is such an expression of memory and thanks to both of my grandmas.  Grandma M taught me how to embroider.  Both of them taught me a love of flowers and colors, while also encouraging my creativity.

I was so lucky to be surrounded by so much love.

So is this precious girl.
Cricket is just a bit over a year old and is just the most delightful child anyone could wish for.  And trust me, her mamas wished mighty big and long for her.

Thank you, N and D, for bringing such a light into the world.  For surrounding her with so much love and hope and laughter and pets and friends and knowledge and awareness and silliness and happiness.  It fills my heart with joy every time I see pictures of this little face.  And pictures of the three of you, as a happy, healthy loving family.

I am so thankful you are in the world.  I am so grateful for the work that you do to expand the understanding of what makes a family  = lots of love + lots of memories.  I hope you enjoy this bracelet.  I took some of my favorite pictures of your girl and worked a little bead magic.  Bead embroidery around glass cabs, embellished with turquoise crystals.
Enjoy!  I put it in the mail this morning.  :)  

Others blog hop participants can be found here:

Hostess, Lori Anderson       Pretty Things

 Adlinah Kamsir                   Dream Struck Designs
 Aimee Biondolillo               Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
 Alicia Marinache                 All the Pretty Things 
 Andra Marasteanu               Handmade by Indra Marasteanu 
 Andrea Trank                      Heaven Lane Creations
 April Grinaway                   Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem                         Vivi Magoo Presents
Becky Pancake                    Becky Pancake Bead Designs
Beth Emery                         Stories by Indigo Heart
Bonnie Coursolle                Jasper's Gems
Cassi Paslick                       Beads: Rolling Downhill
Catherine King                    Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier                      The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz                     Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler                   FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka                       Clay Space
Christina Hickman              Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Murrow               Charis Designs Jewelry
Christine Stonefield            Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman               Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson                      It's My Sea of Dreams
CJ Bauschka                       4 His Glory Creations by CJ
Crystal Thain                      Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin                        Beading Arts
Debbie Rasmussen             A little of this, a little of that
Denielle Hagerman             Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez                  Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey                    diane hawkey
Dita Basu                            ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington             Simply Gorgeous
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell     Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Emma Todd                        A Polymer Penchant
Erin Kenny                         beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz                  Treasures Found
Gina Hockett                      Freestyle Elements
Gloria Allen                        Innovative Dreams Jewelry
Heather Marston                 CSW Designs
Inge von Roos                    Inge's Blog
Iveth Caruso                       Creative Atelier
Jacqueline Marchant          Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp                         Celebrating Life!
Jean Yates                          Snap Out of it Jean, There's Beading to Do!
Jennifer Reno                     Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo                   Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten    Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren                  Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray                   Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams                     lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton            It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne                   josjewels1
Jodie Marshall                    Jodie Marshall Lampwork Beads Wearable Art
Johanna Rhodes                 Fire Phoenix Creations
John Rasmussen                 Rasumussen Gems and Jewelry LLC
JuLee Wolfe                       The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean                           Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell                   Over the Moon Designs
Karin King                         The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton                       Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas                       Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton                        Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson     The Traveling SideShow
Kim Ballor                          Vitamin C ... A Daily Does of Creativity
Kim Dworak                       CianciBlue
Kim Houston                       The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter                         Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton                Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch                          LA Jewelry Designs
Leanne Loftus                      First Impression Design
Liddy McLaughlin               Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Florian                       Lily's of the Valley Jewelry & Creative Creations
Linda Inhelder                     Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton                      Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver                            Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud        Artfully Ornamental
Lori Poppe                           Adventures in Creativity with Lorillijean
LouAnn Elwell                    Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron                       Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster                 MadDesigns
Marcia Dunne                     The Alternative Foundry
Marie Covert                      Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite     bennubirdrising
Marlene Cupo                        Amazing Designs by Marlene
Martha Aleo                           Ornamento
Marti Conrad                          Marti's Buttons -n- Beads
Mary Ellen Parker                  BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars                        MLH Jewelry Designs
Mary Lindell                          Mary Lindell Artisan Jewelry
Maureen Connolly                 Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay                       The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin                         The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara                      one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta                         Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz              la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi               Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody               Who Does She Bead She Is?
Nan Emmett                          Spirit Rattles -- Spirited Earth
Nancy Pedersen                    Something Heartfelt by Nancy
Natalie Davidson                  NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas                      Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren                           re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister        The Crazy Creative Corner
Pam Traub                            Klassy Joolz
Priya Krish                           Hellopalz 
Rebecca Anderson               Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag                 Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed                   Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson                  a creative chelle
Rosa Maria Cuevas              Helena de Troya
Sabine Dittrich                     perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe                          Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff                    Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode                         Pookledo
Sarah Singer                         String a Song of Sixpence
Serena Trent                         All Things Made Jewelry
Shai Williams                       Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac                        Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson    Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis                         Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner        Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey                       Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun                         Unicorns Jewels
Stephanie Haussler              Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey                        Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G.                                Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter                         Tapping Flamingo
Terry Matuszyk                    Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry
Toltec Jewels                       Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse                         Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin                        Nutkitten's Jewelry
Zia Parks                              Anzi~Panzi's Work Shoppe
Zoe Marcin                          Beads, Tea and Sweets

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Art Inspiration - Mucha

Alphonse Mucha has long inspired me as an artist.  Mucha captures women in a way that I find very beautiful - graceful, self-aware, strong, independent.  The colors, the mix of nature and the feminine = sigh.

As a bead artist, I wanted to be able to use Mucha's work as focal pieces in my jewelry.  This prompted me to come up with a way to place images behind glass.  It took a few years to manage this without fighting air bubbles or raggedy edges, but finally, success.
This is one of my favorite pieces that I've ever made.  Featuring a Mucha focal from his series Seasons, "Summer" accented by lots of pearls and embroidery.  Not my usual color palate, of pale blue and cream, but I think it suits the mood of the painting.
I also adore images with the moon.  Here, I mixed amazonite stars with blue and green embroidery, swirling around the Mucha image.  Love.
And, finally, there's this smoky quartz beauty.  She's so contemplative.  I wonder what she's thinking.

I have a few more Mucha images that are in my to-bead pile.  (You know.  That pile that never ends.)  
And this:
"Zodiac."  One of my all-time favorite images, because I think she looks like a Valkyrie.  I think this is the illustration that introduced me to Mucha, many years ago.  I suspect, when I finally get to making a necklace featuring this image, it'll remain mine.  :)

If you'd like more info on Mucha's work and life, check out the Mucha Foundation.  Great info on his life and art.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


"I’m a feminist so I believe in inhabiting contradictions. I believe in making contradictions productive, not in having to choose one side or the other side. As opposed to choosing either or, choosing both."
— Angela Davis

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Blessing Jar

What a wonderful idea.  A Blessing Jar.  

We keep an active altar in our home.  A space to burn candles and incense.  To put flowers or seasonal offerings.  
Close-up of an altar bouquet.
I love the  idea of adding a Blessing Jar to the altar.  What a great way to commemorate all of the wonders throughout the year - all of the thank you's, the aha's, the memories, the gifts of a moment.  I also like the idea of being able to pull out some of the blessings in the not-so-wonderful times.  What a great way to get myself back on track.  Or give myself a reminder.

I have the perfect mason jar...

Thursday, January 3, 2013


The 6:15 a.m. crash of a plant and the glass plate it was sitting on started the day.  Kittens.  Not sure which one, but, boy, did they all scatter when I leaped out of bed.
Samuel Houdini Bre'z
My money is on Sam as the instigator.  He's the jumper.  Front porch screens.  Bathroom sink (see above: he thinks he's supposed to drink out of the sink.  Gross.)  Plus he's the one that munched on the peace lily and prompted the move.

Sam apparently doesn't realize that this plant is poisonous.

Or, it was Rhea.
She hid all day.  Cuz Mama was in a very grumpy mood.  I just couldn't shake it - the snarly, don't even breathe or look at me mood.  Yuck.
Don't let this innocent face fool you.  Sparky was very interested in the dirt all over the floor.  Which was hard to see to sweep up because I have ugly old linoleum for flooring.  When Sparky is scared, he freezes.  Since he was more curious than scared (despite my yelling), he thought it was appropriate to bat a clod of dirt under the buffet.

Sigh.  Tomorrow will be another day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking Inside

"People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ The most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves."
— Unknown