Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Adventures of Isabella Martine Sawyer

All of the stools presented a challenge to each artist and each of them was as different as the stools themselves. Isabella can into the project complete with a name and her history. She was created by a blacksmith for a California wine tasting room but her roots are in Argentina. She was the largest of the stools and rested gracefully at our beginning meeting. Her story became one of the adventures that happen to a piece of furniture through out it's life time and what it would tell you if it could talk.

The back and seat are leather and were painted a lovely deep wine color, a grapevine crept across the back and unfurled lovely copper leavesOnce a beautiful lady rested on Isabella enjoying a glass a wine and met an interesting gentleman. They left for a sunlight stroll thru the vineyard leaving behind her sunhat slippers and his incredible beaded walking stick. So besotted with each other the items left behind where never thought of again until years later when they were sitting in the sun warming their old bones and remembering the glorious beginning of their chance meeting so many years ago.

The slippers just knocked my socks off when the stools were reveled at the end of the project. Our Miss Joey created them from egg cartons,wire and tin . Miss Janice created the famous Cabernet Dragonfly who winged it's way to the state of Washington carrying our Miss Isabella and all of her treasures A regal wine glass clustered with beautiful faux grapes reminds you to take time to relax and enjoy those moments we are each given each day to reflect the beauty and joy of living. This message was brought home vividly to all of us in the project.
Cindy Bower was the spark that started the creative fire for this project. We met agreed on guidelines and began. I was so looking forward to getting to know her I had observed her bead work for several years at shows and was excited to finally get to know her. But life had other plans and she unexpectedly passed away several months into our project.
So take those moments watch the birds, smell that flower, tell someone you admire hello share a cup of something with a friend. Each day is precious and so are you. More later....

Just Ducky

No modeling is complete until you have a head shot and a great rear shot.
Our Duck became a cross between The Queen Mum and rock star meets glam queen.
Please notice the fine sprouting of a collection of Kitty whiskers sprouting from the seed beaded beak. One must keep up appearances and plump-up to movie star style bill. Thin bills are so passe' and with the addition of the punk style whiskers this duck is Iggie. ( Note to you ((the whiskers are from a collection of our dear Joey who never throws out anything that can perhaps be turned into art)) the whiskers are from the cats in the home of this fowl stool and sort of coming together of the species and of course to ward off evil imps lurking about hiding one's house keys or bus pass.)
The high plumes of brightly colored feathers add a saucy touch and complete the rear shot with a resounding TA_DA this Duck has arrived. On the red carpet ready to walk the strutting gait required of such a long legged and may i add 4 legged as well beauty. And at the same time a zen pool of calm resides right smack dab in the middle of this timeless beauty allowing her to remain confidante and cool.
Rock on Ducky

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Duck Pond

Here is Joey Meyers entry in to the stool parade. This stool began life as a series of found objects that had been living in Joey's basement for some time. It had a very humble begining with raw wood 4 legs and a wooden duck head. Joey presented her piece to us with an amazing minature pond on it's surface. There were hundreds of tiny copper cattails and leaves surrounding the blue water complete with small water fowl swimming on it.

The pond began a minature ecology all of it's own complete with beaded moss surrounding stones and completeing the landscape with a gemstone tree. This wee landscape draws you into take a closer look and be come mesmerized by the details. and then....

The rather delightful duck feet come into view complete with spurs and toenails. What a great view.............. imagine all the ducks we see every day having a secret life below the water line. ducky shoes in fab colors high heels,rubber boots, cowboy boots, sandles, and perhaps even flip-flops.
Not to mention ducky manicures.. This really quacks me up...

I had such a great time working on this stool. I got it near the end of the project and some one had beaded Miss Quacker a great beak. And the Queen in me begged to come out and play and so we did. This plain wooden face took on the royal purple hues befitting her station She was already wearing a fabulous necklace made of feathers and beaded leaves. So the Queen Mum's hat in beaded splendor topped her head and 4 very now feathers appeared in the crown of her hat. More later

Basking in the Sun 2

This stool had some very whimsical critters who have moved into to their own desert condo to bask in the sun complete with a Prickly Pear Cactus to sustain all for they are used for food, medicine & fiber for weaving and dyes. The argyle rattle snake adds a new endangered species to the land of laundry rooms where one sock always seems to disappear perhaps that's where they all go slithering away to the land of warm desert nights to begin a new life and slide into some one else's laundry room turning up as the extra sock by day and fearsome serpent by night.

I really loved this wee katchina dancer. He reminds me of Pow Wow's I have attended and be mesmerized by the color, beauty and sacred manner of each of the native dancers. There is such power in each step aligning with the drummers and the personal rhythm of each dancer. It is ancient and brand new at the same time. I always feel the connection between the earth and sky all of us connected and part of each other sharing of moment of the sacred.
I haven't blogged for a bit computer problems plagued me. But luckily dear Lance came to the rescue and replaced our old computer it was quite a task and he was able to back up all of my stuff. Whew! 2 years ago we had the same problem but lost a great deal of stuff including most of out photos of our trip to Poland and the Czech Republic. That my dears was painful. Well off we go onto the next stool...TTFN

Monday, March 12, 2007

Basking in the Warmth of the Sun

The next stool in our group was Kathy's. She had recently added to her real estate collection a home in the desert complete with cactus warm dry air low maintenance in the yard work department and time and space to create and dream and explore mama earth and all of her wonders. So the theme was set and it was my first project. Keep in mind it was January cold and dreary and here came this brightly painted stool warm red and brilliant blue. and a copper circle etched to read basking in the warmth of the sun.
Well I had recently been teaching mosaic classes to small kids and discovered recycled glass as a material. And Kathy had mentioned snakes and that she liked them so........ One thing lead to another and I decided to create a snake winding it's way up the stool. I found a yummy piece of glass which looked like a desert sunset and I had some red Glass which matched the red of the stool leg. them began the cutting process tiny triangles formed my diamond back snake ans of course I picked one of the coldest weeks to get creative also I had waited until there was no more time to fiddle around and when the clock was ticking down the final few daylight hours I was working at breakneck speed. It was so cold my fingers would refuse to bend until I returned to the house for hot coffee and warmth. It is dangerous to loose the feeling in your hands when working with the sharp edges of freshly cut glass. But triangle by triangle the snake inched it's way up the leg of the stool. then I applied the red glass and finally the grout. I was doing the happy dance when at last the snake glowed to life.
Another snake was added and created whimsically out of an argyle sock complete with stone fangs Janice created a cactus garden in copper complete with thorns ouch!!!!
and signed them with her signature dragonfly. Sandra added a delightful little kachina and studied to make him as authentic as possible. His detail is world class and invites you in to wonder if perhaps he will dance a bit for you??? The desert is a mysterious place with hidden delights which must be discovered with patience and observation. Things are not always what they appear to be. Soft earth tones are a backdrop to jewel tone skies and rainstorms are events complete with the drama of thunder and lighting. And at night the stars appear so close you can begin to understand thoughts of other worlds and the connection between us all.

Suga the Adorned

Here are some close and personal photos of Miss Suga and the creative ways her hide was adorned. Kathy spent many hours covering each of her spots with seed beads. This was a unique stool in the fact it was made of a resin and so unable to pierce or sew upon her every one got very creative in their approach to her. Janice made a delightful basket which sat at her feet and looked as if she was collecting dates to eat on the long hot road home. Here is a close up of her spots. Delicious rich brown beads add warmth and texture, while she bends down to admire her anklets wire wrapped and looking very festive yet tribal . On her back adding subtle color and texture in rich silks Sandra created her saddle blankets and these are indeed fit for a queen. Not only Silk but a special beaded topper and reversible to celebrate her quicksilver moods. She is a mysterious tribal dancer with grace and beauty traveling along the African savanna. And if you happen to catch a glimpse of her in the twilight striding off to dance just for the joy of it. You have indeed been privileged to see a bit of magic.

You know once adorned there is no going back to the mundane. A girl has to have a sparkle to please her soul and bring joy to an ordinary day.

Here is a close up of her lavish covering and her mane or ruff. and a final photo of her. This was indeed a scaling down of ideas and working to fit a smaller object. and Suga spoke to me when I had my turn with her. There are many projects that once the idea is worked out from the dream into actual design and form things go as planned and ta-da you have a finished object. But I found over and over that this project let me know in no uncertain terms what it wanted or more importantly what it would not accept. When the beads talk to you they really pack a wallop. there is no pussy footing around. things will not work together. beads have uneven holes, fall off the table while stringing Kiln has melt down.... you get the picture. But when all is in the right place at the right time or in the flow. Then magic happens and creation is a joy and time flies. I cannot get my fingers to work fast enough for the creative energy that is moving thru me. I love it and that is one of my favorite places to be. The only problem is when that strikes me as I am teaching and then all thoughts of speech disappear and I am lost in the creation. Not a good place to be when I need to answer questions and provide help. So I try to limit those times when I have a moment alone. But I must admit it is not a controllable shift and like any artist who experiences this there is always a bit of fear that they may never come again. So if I happen to be creating and in the flow please bear with me and I will return to the measured world of everyday time.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sugreeva Sujata (Suga)

Meet Suga
Suga means "well born, noble, fine, with a beautiful neck Nancy Strahle

Suga was a delight from every angle, she arrived at the beginning of the project and was received with an childlike sigh issuing many lips. Not only had Nancy brought a unique idea for her stool but she had researched a name and it's meaning She created a small delta with it's own palm tree for her to reside under and a wooden platform created by Nancy's talented husband who creates beautiful cabinets for a living. I was stunned by this piece to begin with there was a spirit of quiet playfulness and dignity already wrapped around this wee piece.

We begin with the back view or the tail end as Joey Meyer created Suga's tail in her words.....

I think this was destined for me because amoung my numerous piles of collected "stuff'," I have the tippy-tip of a squirral tailtha I had hope to incorparate into one of the stools. Fortunately, when I found this portion of the tail in the street, I never saw the rest of the squirrel.
It makes me think that the poor guy had a close call with a car tire, but hopefully survived with a slightly shorter tail........

Postscript... A little time after finishing with Suga's tail, Joey met a squirrel on her street with the tip of it's tail missing. They both stopped and looked at each other! Do you think he knew?

Control was a word banned about the room at our first meeting and the very important reminder that their would be no controlling the path your stool took after leaving your hands at our first exchange. I thought my stool would worry me and nag at me what was happening to it and where it was going next. But that did not every occur. My thoughts so released my stool that I completely forgot about it and it never crossed my mind again until the reveal. I was surprised at how each stool became a puzzle piece and clicked into place when my part was complete.
Many times a new stool would begin it's turn at my house and I would spend days gazing at the gorgeous work the last artist had completed. It was like being at an bead show but being able to touch the art,caress the supple bead work marvel at the ideas that burst forth for each person.
Inside I feel so lucky to spend time with each artist to wonder at the craftsmanship executed, the attention to detail, the subtle wash of color or the brilliant splash of color brought forth in such exquisite detail.
Many a time I wept at the beauty sitting in my little corner of the world. I felt so lucky to be included in this astounding group of women. My hat is off to each and everyone of them and the friendship they each offered. I was looking forward to getting to know each of them better and here was a fabulous way through the path of their creative ideas.

Close up Tracy Stanley's Stool

The snail proved true to it's nature as a pest by tangling my thread in it's antennae to many times to count So that the snail won't munch on those lovely flowers and fruits, it is nestled in a bed of leaves. No fair putting out snail/slug bait... Sandra Jaech

So how does your garden grow? with wisteria, grape vines and
strawberries.....Kathy Dannerbeck
Garden sign by Tracy
Grow with spirit became my mantra. Spirit of joy, spirit of beauty spirit of friendship. My garden addition is of the small almost missed spirits... those small quick glances we encounter which are magical. My Nature Spirit guards this peaceful place and adds a bit of magic for all who visit .....Peg Gyldenege

These are some excerpts and close ups of several artists work in Tracy's journal.
After I add a new stool I will then add details at the next posting.
I feel like I have fallen back into the time warp of working on this projects. I can still feel the anticipation and dread of what am I going to do for this stool to the bang of the idea exploding into the grey matter between my ears and pushing me to begin to create. I can not imagine my life if I was unable to make things from the time I could hold a pencil in my hand I have been fascinated in the act of creation. I began to embroider simple cross stitch tablecloths at the age of 5. My mother believed busy hands are happy hands especially if I was making something for her. I always looked at the world with a different viewpoint than anyone in my family,church or neighborhood.
I was called weird, goofy and strange so often that I began to embrace it. My mind is always at work seeing color and design where my family only saw weeds or the pleasing combination of salad greens and fresh tomatoes with that wee bit of carrot to make the red color pop off your plate. Mixing colors in paint and seeing what mixed together to create new exciting colors.
At my house pink was the color that ruled the universe. My mother wore only 3 colors red, pink and more pink. The entire house was decorated in on shade of pink or another. Except my room and my brothers rooms. They received the traditional blue and I chose Lavender I wanted deep dark purple the Royal deep dark blue purple of twilight. My favorite at the time. But alas I had to settle for lavender. I thought I would choke on pink and I hated the color with a passion and still refuse to wear it. Perhaps it is that which placed me firmly on the path of color exploration In my work I always push my self to explore different colors many of which I am uncomfortable working until I become entranced with the possibilities of combinations and the way color seems to lead me down a wonderful path of seeing the world in a new way.
Enjoy your color experiences peek out at the world through the new brilliant green which is slowly merging forth at the beginning of our spring season and the enchanting blooms of our snowdrops,daffodils & tulips.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Forces of Natures

"So, How does your garden grow?" Tracy Stanley
Here in not particular order I will begin to show you our work of 2 years from Jan 03 to Dec 04. This was our collaborative Beaded art project. It began with a dream from Cindy Bowers. and off we flew into the great unknown. The Following Artists beaded,painted,sewed,wired, cut glass,fired in kilns,and created their fannies off for this delightful, insane, joyful, sorrowful, exciting project.
Roll Call please Sandy Avenell, Cindy Bowers, Janice Berebile, Kathy Dannerbeck,
Peg Gyldenege, Sandra Jaech, Joey Meyer Tracy Stanley Nancy Strahle
Each artist was asked to bring a stool to the next gathering and begin a theme of sorts to launch our project. It became know as the stool project and a plethora of jokes and smirks and giggles soon followed by the rest of the world. Husbands especially found the title fodder for many ongoing puns and grade school humor.
As the pictures go up I will add the artists titles and show several photos more as time permits.
Our rules were few and as Sandra often remarked getting us to some kind of order was like herding cats.
Stools were to remain secret you did not see your stool till the end of the project, all arrived at each meeting covered up in a box or garbage bags turned upside down or in a box.
You could use any art technique we chose. We all had a journal which traveled with the stool and each artist wrote a bit about their experience and creative ideas as well as photos. We kept each stool for 2 months to live with it and get a sense of where it was going. For my experience I found that in preplanned idea, it never worked out.
I found by living with the stool putting in place where I could observe it daily it always told me what it wanted and where to place it. Although I must admit sometimes it do not speak until down to the wire for time. I burned the midnight hour to get some projects finished on time.
Another rule was no talking about the project except with an artist who had already worked on the stool. For me that was agony but I found it built up an greater creative force for the project.
More later

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I love color. I have tried for many years to curb this often overwhelming part of my personality. I have tried to be neutral and live with gray and beige but even on the grayest of days Some where a bit of color will catch my eye and send me off on a journey thru color. ai happen to live in a special place when often in the deepest part of winter we have a sweet but brief time of false spring. the buds of the snow drops burst open winter pansy wink at me in splendid vibrant color while green takes on so many varieties as to stagger the mind.

Just for the moment the air feels like velvet and deep breaths almost make me dizzy being filled with so many soothing promises of spring on the way. But do nit be fooled Winter is far from over and we will feel the lash of winter again.

this picture is a beaded evening I created called Journey. It represents a journey I encountered with my collection of vintage beads and a 1920's purse frame.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rose queen & Bead Brain masks by Peg


Creating masks are one of my favorite ways to try out new ideas I have always loved Halloween because of the ability to transform oneself into some thing else. Over the years I have collected masked and in the last 10 years began to create my own. The picture is of my Rose Queen mask. I will be adding more pictures as time permits.
Masks let us tell the world to see us in a new light and wonder at the workings of our minds and how thoughts are translated into art.

This is also to introduce The Stool Project or as we came to call it FORCES OF NATURE a collective group of North West Artists began a shared art experience and created delightful pieces with 2 years of time and many different materials. It all began when we met on cold cloudy winter day and began the challenge.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow day

What a surprise to wake up at the wee hours of the morning and see a winter wonderland. The night takes on a pearly glow and a special quiet descends. The trees are full and lush with their sparkling coat of crystal snow. All of the ugly parts of winter are smoothed out and replaced with the secret joys of childhood. Snow day ...a bit of a sigh in a high speed world. A moment to reflect and simply enjoy the moment. It also seems to add a bit of magic to a dreary grey week of wind rain and cold.
Yes yes I know there are a million things to do extra work in removing the snow from my car and the sidewalks taking extra time to drive and watching out for all of those other drivers. But just for now I will take this precious time to breath deep and dream.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New Year New Ideas

2007 started out in a flurry of slanting rain and grey morning turning into a grey afternoon. A day to make you glad in be inside and warm curled up with the aftermath of Christmas clutter.

Everyone had returned home after a busy Holiday and a renewing of family relationships glad to be back in their own beds and not having to share a bathroom.
Cats were happy to have undisturbed naps again and the hum of everyday life return,
this year begins a new program of self care and returning to better health. Sleep has become a requirement of a happy me. The pain of RA has taken a big toll on my general life and experiencing several months of meltdown is an experience I do not care to repeat. I have been tracking the progress of meds, food and sleep and can see a pattern emerge I am writing these down so when in the mist of a melt down begining I can get a handle on it and get back to taking better care of my health. For Many years I have placed all others wants needs and desires before my own and have taken the road to make do with what was left over for my self. It have circled down to less and less time for me until I could no longer carry the load.

The body has very definate ways to stop you in your tracks and cause a detour. When one is younger the thoughts of you not being strong enough to handle things is a joke. But as you gain experience and travel thru the years many things become glaringly apparent that were hidden to younger eyes. And it turns out sometimes the joke is on you. Though not nearly as funny from the other side.

So this year is a year of caring for me and recreating my studio and losing myself in time to create and discover what ideas are ready to emerge and wild hairs.

Already wool pods are forming around vinatge crystals baling wires are wrapped in flowing colors of muted jewel tones. The box project is winding down only three more exchanges until the final gathering at the beach in July. Can't wait to see them all gleaming and glowing emerging from the secret travels of the past 2 years