Monday, June 29, 2015

Hope is the thing

I don't set much store in hope, preferring action.  But, sometimes, hope is all there is.  In that case, I find myself repeating the opening line of one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems,

Hope is the thing with feathers...
for my friend, S.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

this is a really big feather, probably 2 inches across and 4 1/2 inches in length
 I'm sending this feather to a friend, who's had a rough go of it for the past few years.  I'm wishing her hope, but also relief.  'Cuz hope is awfully hard to hang on to in the long haul of life.  

Sometimes, most of the time, knowing you're not hanging in there all alone is a good companion to hope.  And since feathers also mean wisdom and travel between the worlds, maybe this necklace can help the journey, even a little bit.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Wish me luck!

At 11:00 a.m. today, I go in front of my PhD examination committee and get grilled about U.S. Modern History, Women's History, Memory & History, and Feminist Theory.

Pray that my mind is clear, my memory working.  If I pass this test, I become a doctoral candidate and can, finally, start writing my dissertation.

Fingers crossed.

My motto.  :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Body as Canvas

I like to imagine the story her body tells.  Pleasure. Pain. Wonder. Magick.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Making memories

The mama stopped by the other day, the first day that I had dragged some of the scarf making stuff out to play/experiment.

She'd just come from another funeral.  The year's been full of them, so far.  And Dad's military memorial service was held at the end of May.  Tough day.  Harder on all of us - Mom, the brothers, and me - than any of us thought it would be.

Mom's always up for learning and trying new things.  So, step by step, we felted two scarves.  One, using sari silk.  The other, a cobweb scarf.  Both of which I forgot to take pictures of.  I was so caught up in the fun.

My sari helper.  Very very tired after a long day outside.
I think this was the first time in a long time, dare I say ever, that Mom and I did a project together and didn't bicker.  We were too busy laughing.  And working together.  We took turns, working on laying out the pattern, working the roving, getting the felt to hold together.

When it came time for fulling, whoa!  This is the part in the felting process when you pick up the scarf and drop it down, over and over, to shock the fibers together.  Who knew that Mom would be so good at this.  :)

She was slamming the scarf down, over and over, harder and harder.  It was kinda funny and kinda scary.

And she can't wait to make more scarves.

The cobweb scarf turned out gorgeous.  Pinks and yellows and creams, soft and lovely.  It'll be the perfect birthday gift for my favorite aunt.  If Mom can bear to part with it.

Next time, I promise.  Pictures.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Textile Designs

So, on a whim, I tried something a few weeks ago.

I layered a cool embroidered scrap of fabric on top of felt, then added that to more felt, and beaded around it.

Here's the end result:

Pretty darn cool, if I do say so.

I'll need to get a side view, to show off how the bezel is raised up around the fabric scrap.

I've got more details to add.  I think this needs some more red blooms or some green leaves, but I'm really happy with the look of the fabric bezel.

And, of course, now I want to do more like this.  So I pulled some others scraps out, for possibilities.

Most of these scraps come from an old bedspread/tapestry that I pulled apart.  Color color color!

These turquoise pieces would be really pretty.  Especially with some turquoise accent beads.

I'm not sure if I'll mix these two pieces together or just use the cream one.  But I love the texture that these add.  

I just love the sense of time and distance, of story, connected to these little scraps of art.  I think they add a detail that I can't manage otherwise using beads or felt.  Which makes me anxious to try a piece that mixes all three elements - beads, textiles, and felt.  Oh my.

If you're wondering where I get these scraps, I found Indian patchwork pillows on Etsy for about $10, no shipping.  I just dismantled all of the pillow covers and viola, scraps.  

Friday, June 12, 2015


My "to be strapped" bin overflows.  As a result, I did a bit of finishing last night, sticking to black beads.

Pretty happy with the results.

This felted necklace has a gorgeous lampwork bead in the center, that kind of spins to show off the dots and swirls on the bead.  It's a decent sized bead, maybe 2 1/2 inches long, which about an inch of felt surrounding it.

I've been playing a little bit with some dichroic cabs, as well.  They're buggers to photograph, as you can tell from this picture.

You can kind of make out the little blue dichroic inclusions in the top black glass cab.  Trust me.  They go perfectly with the fabulous mosaic polymer slice on the bottom.  I got a bunch of these polymer slices a while back, from IkandiClay.  So wonderful.  I can't imagine the patience it takes to get these kaleidoscope designs!

It's hard to see this golden buddha inlay, too.  (Time to put together a photography box, I think.  'Cause even a gray morning left glare.)  This is one of those Etsy finds that didn't have a size included in the description, so I was expecting something much larger than the dime size cab that this Buddha is.  Still pretty wonderful.  And I do try to have a good assortment of smaller sized necklaces for customers, as not everyone likes the big and bold.

I'm also trying to include more collage pieces in my work.  These are my favorites to make.  And some of the best sellers.  Love this raku shard.  Lots of copper and blues and sparkle in it.  It's set off with an array of carnelian and red jasper and onyx.  

I'll be working through the bead bin in the next few weeks, finishing pieces.  Have some cool new ideas I'm playing with, too.  Mixing textiles with embroidery.  Yummy.  Getting stuff ready for a new gallery and the local Art Hop/First Friday show.  Thinking of fall and holiday shows.  Beading in the garden.

These pieces will be posted on Etsy by the end of the week.  (Fingers crossed.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Felting Lessons

Some things I'm learning from felt:

1.  I'm a control freak.

Okay.  I knew this already.  But felt is underscoring the lesson.  Those little wisps of roving have a mind of their own.  Really.  They go where they want.  Add in a bit of wind and, well.  Control not an option.  I'm learning to be happy with the general direction.

The beginning.  Sari scraps and pinkish roving.

2.  Felting is a good all over work out.  A great upper body workout.  If I keep this up, I'm going to have Michelle Obama arms and shoulders.  Which I'll thank her for by sending her a scarf.    

Rubbing.  Lots and lots of rubbing.  Made easier by this magical, wonderful tool from Heartfelt Silks
3.  Felting is a good team sport.  Mom was over the other day and felted with me.  So much fun.  So good to laugh together.  

In process.  I kinda dig the cobweb scarf.  Especially for summer.
4.  Just when I'm thinking "this sucks big bananas and I've wasted 3 ounces of roving" the piece takes on a life of its own.  Like beading.  Just when I'm ready to give up, things come together.  Which is probably a really good life lesson, too.

The holes are intentional, part of the cobwebby effect.  Well, that and I'm not quite sure how much roving to use yet.
5.  Fulling is a good stress release.  Something about banging wet felt down HARD on a table.  Splat.  Scares the cats.  Also kinda scares me.  My mom took to this step like a champ.  She'd been talking about her little sister, who she's been squabbling with for 75 years.  BAM!  BAM! BAM!  

Honestly, I didn't know she could get that angry.  Except at my dad.  Or when dealing with a 16 year old me.

It's growing on me, even though I am not a pink girl.  Love how the sari fabric is ruffley.
6.  Vinegar makes me itch.  Wool, at least the merino wool in these scarves, does not.  (The vinegar gets rid of the soap in the finished scarf.)  I also love how versatile the scarves are.  These will be great for winter, and great over the shoulders in summer.  I made them long.  Hate a too short scarf.

Scarf Two of the day.  Very bright.  Very cobwebby.  It's headed to J's thesis advisor as a thank-you present.
7.  If I keep giving these suckers away, I'm not going to have any left to sell this fall and winter.  They take about two hours to make, give or take.  Not bad.  And, bonus, it doesn't matter how hot it is outside, because I'm playing with water.  

Okay, really digging this one.
8.  I think I'm hooked.  And I might even take a class in this.  Something I haven't ever done with beads.  But it might be a way to build my confidence.  And learn how to add different things, do different things.  Hey, I'm already trying new things.  I had country music on while working the felt.  Miranda Lambert.  Good tunes to move to.  

Haven't listened to country music since the Dixie Chicks broke up.  Huh.  Maybe a scarf will get them back together?

Wednesday Wisdom