Monday, May 30, 2016


I'm teaching a hybrid class this summer (part online, part butt in the seat), on Media & the Sexes.  We're looking at the influence of media on our lives.  All different forms of media - tv, videos, movies, books, comics, newspapers and news reports, print ads, magazines. 

My grading companion - singing wren.
Media - we're surrounded by it.  And, as my students are discovering, media rules their lives because often it rules their thoughts.  Especially when it comes to how they view their bodies, their beauty.

This iris = beauty.
Every semester, I ask my students to evaluate how much time they spend in a day thinking about their bodies.  Even it's a passing thought, tally up the time that takes.  And, evaluate whether what they think is positive or negative.  Overwhelmingly, students acknowledge that thoughts about their body are ever-present.  There is always an awareness of what others might think.  Or what they are thinking - how to make their body better, what they should do, what they shouldn't do.

This is true as much for males as females.  (Which wasn't the case until just a few years ago.)

Quan Yin - Goddess of compassion
Most of these thoughts can be traced back to the influence of the media.

Scary, when you consider that most media content is determined and/or influenced by a very small, very elite, very white, very rich, very hetero, very male group of large corporation owners.  

Not people I want influencing my life.  Or my students.

Yet, this morning as I got dressed to take my computer outside in the garden to grade and enjoy the glorious spring day, I thought, "Wait.  This shirt might be too ratty for the backyard.  What if someone sees me?"  I also wet down my curly bed-head.  Even though the likelihood of anyone seeing me is nil.  Maybe the neighbors, who should be used to my ratty tshirts by now (13 years!).

The media has all of us well trained.

Advice I give my students.
This week, my students and I are discussing binaries - either/or, white/black, male/female, positive/negative.  Gender & Women's Studies is interested in that space in-between, the multiple perspectives.  The acknowledgement that media might ask you to believe everything you think.  But, you can choose not to.  Or, to be selective.  Like the wren - VERY choosy about who she spends time with.  That iris?  Blooms when and where she wants.  (First bloom in 3 years!)  Quan Yin - sacrificed eternal bliss to care for her people, despite pressure to do otherwise.

Don't believe everything you think.

Friday, May 27, 2016

So excited

I'm so excited about this shed!

10 x 16 of delicious space.  Sigh.

We've been saving for two years for this lovely.  Saving and planning.  I think I drove J a bit crazy with the decision making.  And one of my brothers.  What size, what company, what material.  How to prep the space.  What space in the yard to put it.  Oh, decisions.

Getting the shed is the first step to creating a home studio.  Really, the whole house acts as a studio now.  With only 800 square feet, the beads take over the living room.  Trims for the upcycled clothing have taken up half of my bedroom.  Felting takes place in the garage or on tables in the yard.

Since we want to work on felted clothing and larger designs, we need to expand to the garage.  Sadly, I don't have $20,000 to spare to tear down the garage, re-pave the driveway, pour a new slab, and put up a new, larger garage.  (Yet.)  So, we'll transfer all of the stuff stored in the garage to the shed.  Then, get an electrician in for better garage lighting.  Then, re-organize the garage to fit the sewing machine and 2-3 long tables.  Then, felt felt felt.

Sounds like a plan.

On Monday's agenda, paint the shed.  I think we'll keep it the same neutral color it is now.  It blends nicely.  In a few weeks, it'll fit right in with everything else in the garden.

So happy.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Following the Yellow Brick Road

We're headed to Kansas today, for graduations (Brother - BS in Antique Auto Restoration (how cool), Nephew - High School (then headed for acting college in Chicago, equally cool), with a side trip to Dallas (friend/family visit).

I do love a road trip.

And, the Wizard of Oz.  Which, how can you visit Kansas and not think about Dorothy and the gang?

During our last visit to Kansas, we stopped at the Wizard of Oz Museum.  FABulous little spot, chock full of everything Oz.  Not sure we'll make it this time, but maybe we'll play the movie soundtrack while we drive.

Very much hoping to NOT meet any tornadoes during the trip...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Wrist Wraps

Last month I sold a large wrist wrap.  At 5 inches wide, it made quite a statement.

Joy, 2014
So, I took this sale as a sign that the world needed more wide wrist wrap bracelets.  'Cause why not?  They are SO much fun to make, after all.

Here's what I came up with, and I must say, I'm pretty pleased. 

Goddess Glen, 2016
Spree wrist wrap, 2016
India, 2016
Turquoise Bloom, 2016
So colorful and cheerful!  All of these are over 4 inches wide, so they really make a statement. 

I have about six more of these in the infamous (and endless) "to do" pile.  Equally bright and colorful.  Must have something to do with the spring burst of color all over the place.  Once these are done, I'll start working on some thinner felted bracelets, which are turning into one of our best selling designs.  (Love it when I make stuff that sells!)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Textile Necklaces

A few weeks ago, I got a bunch of next textile scraps in from India.  These are quickly becoming some of my favorite creative tools.  Maybe it's because I get to spend some time ripping apart the pillows that the scraps are sewn into.  You know, art of destruction and all that.

More likely, it's all the patterns in the scraps.  Some I fall in love with and set aside for necklaces.  Like these:

Spiral Necklace

This necklace is fairly large, yet still lightweight.  Another aspect of these necklaces I like.  Love the mix of elements in this piece.

Shining Star necklace, 2016

Love this piece.  I love the roughness of the textile paired with the smooth cabochons and seed beads. And check out that funky flower accent bead.

And, then, my favorite.  Actually, this is one is up on my list of all-time favorites.  The colors and textures are just lovely.

Going for Gold, 2016

So much fun working with these materials.  I have a few more in my "to do" pile, once I get some smaller bead embroidery pieces done.

Feeling very creative right now...