Monday, April 29, 2013

Art Inspiration - Tye Dye

Colorful pieces from Purple Cactus
Really.  What's not to love?  Tye dye results in wild color combinations.  And patterns.  And fun.  These polymer cabochons/pendants from Purple Cactus are perfect examples.

I'm calling these tye dye, because of the swirls of color.  But really, I'm just as inspired by the spirals as the colors.

I tend to hoard these babies.  Crazy, because really, if I use them, it's only an excuse to buy more.  And more is good.
Turquoise fun bracelet - 2012

More is necessary, when it's this much fun.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013


One of the things I strive for in the jewelry I create is to honor women from all sorts of different walks of life.  Different sizes and ethnicity, different life experiences.  Different expressions of beauty.
Art glass cabochon - image from Etsy digital art download
I love to work with faces.  I think they're the perfect focal for embroidery.  But recently I noticed that most of the faces available for purchase come in a very limited skin tone.  After some searching, I found some pretty digital download artwork on Etsy, with vintage postcard images of Latina women and Native American women.  But there's not much available on African American women that doesn't reflect a stereotyped veiwpoint.

So I contacted Linda from Linsart, who makes gorgeous polymer faces in all sorts of colors, reflecting lots of different races, time periods and ages.  
Linsart cabs.  These are large cabs, perfect for embroidering around as well as for doll faces.
Her polymer is always perfectly sealed and ready to embroider around.  And have such detailed expressions.  These pieces will be fabulous center pieces to a large necklace I have in mind, one that is a celebration of women's power.
The beauty of a woman
Is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries,
Or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a woman
With passing years only grows!
- – - written by Teresa Mahieu


Friday, April 19, 2013


Better known as Works In Progress.

Slow progress, since it's the last week of classes at the end of a semester at the end of a really really long academic year.  But progress none the less.
Here's what is in my general queue.  Doesn't look like much, huh?  I'm noticing all the browns - leftovers colors from the non-ending Michigan winter, I think.

The above pile is also small because here are two bigger projects, just waiting for the finishing touches which I should be able to manage tonight or tomorrow.
Lovely, huh?  The piece in the background, "The Drummer," is a special order for a favorite customer.  I'm adding bells and red jasper fringe to this piece.  I have no idea how to finish off the Fortune Teller.  Garnets, maybe.  And a tassel, to add a bit of movement.

Most of the action is happening here, however.  On my other towel.  (I use flat weave kitchen towels for my bead mats.  Easy to clean in the washer when they get covered with glue and/or dirt from beads.  Handy to fold around projects and set out of kitty-reach.)
I'm working on LOTS of small pieces for my summer art shows.  Many of these are less than 2 inches in size, most around one inch.  Pieces that are easy to put a bail on and hang from ribbons and/or cords.  Or, can be turned into magnets or added to key rings.  

I find pieces this size are often "starter" bead embroidery pieces, easy introductions to the beauty and possibility of beadwork.

One of my major summer shows this year will be the local LGBT Pride celebration.  I haven't done a Pride show in many years (since one in Las Vegas, in which one of my beaded bras was worn by the Queen heading the parade) but I'm so looking forward to the fun and the music and the celebration of love.

Now, if only I can turn all those art glass cabochons into jewelry...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When the world is complicated, and let's face, it.
It's too often complicated.
We must remember humanity,
in spite of the fear and the violence.

I choose love.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Adulthood has WAY too many rules.

As I drove home today, in the rain, I realized that it's been years since I played in the rain.  As a kid, this was something my brothers and I did on occasion.  Like running through the sprinkler.  We'd laugh and scream and the whole neighborhood knew we were having fun.  Playing, with no holds barred.

Once, as an adult (36. maybe 37), I walked out of the casino where I was employed in Las Vegas into a downpour.  It was one of those rare the-sky-is-falling rainstorms that the desert can produce, when the streets flood up to 18" in a matters of minutes and turn into (very dirty) rivers.  I had a choice.  I could wait the storm out in the safety of the casino, along with most of the other staff and customers.  Or, I could try and dodge the raindrops and puddles to make it to the parking garage across the street.  Or, I could enjoy the downpour and play my way home.

I had so much fun!  Stomping through puddles.  Raising my head to the sky, feeling the rain on my face. And, you know what?  It was infectious.  Other people laughed, or at least smiled.  By the time I got to my car, I was soaked.  But I would have been, anyway.  The difference - I had FUN!  I felt lighter, freer, truer to myself.

I don't want to go another 10+ years before I feel like that again.  I want to LIVE my life with that sense of joy and play, all the time.

How do you engage in play?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Thomas B. Thune (Athos)

One of Tom's greatest fears upon learning that he was dying was that he would be forgotten.

Seriously, who could ever forget him?

It's been 10 years, Old Man.  You still loom large in the lives of the people who love you.  And miss you.

Ritual for Loki, Norse God of Mischief

Monday, April 8, 2013

Beading Through Difficulty

I have developed an essential tremor in my hands and legs.  Scary?  Yes, as I'm uncertain of the cause.  Frustrating?  Oh, yeah.   (Yes.  I'm checking this out with a doctor.  Tomorrow, actually.)

Ever tried to pick up teeny tiny beads on a needle when your hands are doing this?

Because of the asthma and thyroid meds that I take, my hands have always been a bit shaky.  I've learned to thread needles and pick up beads using the shakes as a tool.  Now, it's quite a bit more difficult.  Not so difficult that I'm forced to stop beading, but it is becoming a challenge.

I find I have to slow myself down.  Really become focused.  Which isn't an entirely negative development, since I use beading as a way to unwind as well as be creative.

If my beadwork starts to have lines that look like this, please let me know.  :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What I'm Learning From Rosie

Rosie, the "stray" cat
Rosie showed up a little over a year ago, her belly full of kittens.  She was mostly a kitten herself, and she needed food and water and some loving.  A little bit of wet food to eat along with the crunchies.  Snuggles in the evening.  A safe, warm place to sleep. 

But what Rosie really needed was her freedom.  To come and go as she pleased.  To chase (and unfortunately, kill) every little critter within a mile's range of the house.  To frisk about in the backyard, playing with the kittens and the dog. 

Security.  And freedom.

This is my struggle right now - how to maintain my sense of security along with my responsibility to freedom.  

Rosie never asks for freedom.  If she can't get out of the house when she wants to, she jumps the fence.  Or burrows a hole.  Or takes a nap, and waits for the next opportunity.

I watch Rosie walking gracefully along the top of the wooden fence that divides the yard from the neighbor, or scramble up a tree, and I long for that sense of confidence, of ability.  For the balance to walk between two worlds.  'Cause a world that offers security doesn't always mesh with a world that's based on freedom.

And knowing this, I feel like a cat with a mouse.   (I'm the mouse.)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Things I'd Save in a Fire

NOT that I want a fire to happen!
I found this beat up Goddess in an antique store many many years ago.  For me, she is the perfect symbol of an Earth Goddess.  A little on the skinny side, but accurately showing the challenges of protecting the planet she holds in her arms.
I am not a "stuff" person.  If I'm not using something on a regular basis, I figure I must not need it.  The exceptions = beads, books, and art supplies, of course.  But I do have a few treasures that I've carried forward throughout the years.  The things I would want to save in an emergency, because they have a special meaning and/or memories attached.
Grandma K's earrings.
 I remember being absolutely fascinated by the dangles on these round clip-on gold earrings.  Grandma always wore them to church.  When I got bored staring at the stained glass windows, I watched Grandma's earlobes.  I don't even wear these treasures, since I'd be heartbroken to lose one.

More Grandma K treasures: diamonds and red amethyst
I do wear Grandma K's diamond earrings regularly.  On the first day of every semester that I teach, in fact.  Grandma was a Sunday school teacher, one of her proudest achievements.  I wear the earrings in honor of our shared history as educators (though we teach very very different subjects.)

 I've also never met a rock shop I didn't love.  :)  Obviously.  This bowl contains some of my favorite keepsakes: a piece of slate from a trip to Germany, a tiger eye Goddess that was a gift from my husband, smoky quartz, hematite, rhodochrosite, and florite rounds.  There's beach stones from Lake Michigan and beach glass and a shark's tooth from the Florida Gulf Coast in here, too.  And dust.  Lots and lots of dust.

I am willing to leave the dust behind.

What treasures do you have that you couldn't bear to part with?