Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Double whammy

Fall had just begun to settle into the tips of the treetops, filtering in a bit of red and gold in the warm green leaves. Ahh my favorite time of the year nights cooling off and crisp air and blue sky. For some reason the sky color in October is always my favorite. Perhaps it is the contrast of the brillant yellows of ginko leaves or the coppery reds of my sweet gum trees against the brillant blue sky. Or it is a time of reflection and renewal in my personal passage of time that I repeat each year. This year was no different than the last few. Summer had been a very buzy time and I was looking forward to evenings with early darkness and a chance to light a few candles and dream of future projects. I lead a very full life and juggle both sides of my brain. I am a CFO for my husband and I's Crane business and am at the computer using the logical math brain most days. Also handling HR and creating a family enviroment workplace. I am very humbled by the fact that we are supporting 9 families in a less than desirerable ecomony. But things are going well and we are very busy. This year we have employees with new babies joining the throng and it adds a new layer to our group.

Then I teach and create with PMC and resin and beads,yarn,fabric and metal smithing and........... So my creative brain kicks in or should I say takes over for this part of me will not be denied it invades my dreams interrups my conversations and fills my every waking moment. I must create I am driven by it and often lose days in the process of creation ( which is lovely, unless I have other commitments which demand all my attention)

The Fall had just begun dates were planned classes scheduled and even studio time penciled in. Jane and I were at Art and Soul in Portland & I had the chance to take a couple of classes before our part in vendor night. And in the evening we explored Portland and our favorite stores as well as several new ones.Then Saturday morning just as I finished dressing after my shower my cell phone rang. I hurried to answer it so it would not disturb Jane. Hello? Then the whammy my brother hardly able to speak cried out our mother had died just minutes ago.

Now my mum had a good life she was 89 would have been 90 in January, her last few years were not great she had dementia and did not know anyone anymore. The last conversation with her and her granddaughter had been the day before. The nurse need help because mum had put both legs in one pant leg and had gotten jammed in. So sweet Cheri had offered to help as she had spend the previous year coming everyday to help grandma shower and dress and get ready for each day. She had just had her first child and it was a bonding experience for each of them. Well with the 2 ladies tugging and pulling they managed to free mum from the pant leg and get her pants on right with the fore amentioned legs in the right place. Cheri turned to her and asked Grandma do you remember me?" Yes" my Mum replied "you are the lady who tried to steal my pants."

So like a mini bomb my life plans exploded and time as I knew it is gone. We traveled to the funeral several states away. I renewed my relationship with several Aunties and cousins shook endless hands collected life affirming hugs and traveled back home. my internal calender has been temporairely misplaced and I have been in a fog of sorts which I am happy to report is begining to lift. My relationship with my mum was not a hallmark card and there have been many scars through out our years but I am a better person because of her and it is time to bury the past and move into the future with my eyes open to the beauty each day offers. I managed to get thru appointments and classes and I am very grateful for all of the prayers and hugs I received. I am also more understanding now of the need for solitude and how healing it can be.

So I am off to create and perhaps nap

tata for now

Monday, September 22, 2008

Crystals Silver & Cake

I am a teacher of metal clay* epoxy resins* fused glass* and beading. I have been exploring art and form and color all of my life. I remember being stopped in my tracks at a very young age by the shape of a cloud. I see unique possibilities in ordinary things and simply love color and sparkle. And funny thing crows have been showing up in my life, some quietly appearing in cards or in a sweet teapot for one with a persimmon for a lid. I am watching this trend to see what else it brings.And in the tradition of crows and their attraction to treasures I am treating you to the fab creations from our local chapter of the PMC Guild. to end our 4th year we had a crystal challenge. What is PMC? and what kind of crystals you may ask???

Well first off the crystals I have been collecting and selling vintage swarovski rivolis and Margarita style crystals for about 4 years I have been collecting for much longer and have been finally convinced and prepared to share them with other crows(Artists) I have 96 colors and the crystals were created from the late 1890's to the 1960s. It has been a crazy journey and many were purchased merely by description sight unseen. But what a droolfest when the boxes arrive and they were carefully unboxed and catching and send light swirling thru the room. Some days just to cheer my self up I would open up the boxes and just pet each little juicy bit of color. I live in the NW and it really helps brighten up a dark day.

The tricky part with these beauties are that they are created like faceted semi-precious stones and are meant to be set in traditional settings They were meant to replace rubies, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires in times where only the very wealthy could afford such luxuries. And of course WWII caused many of these to be hidden away and then forgotten. I love things with a history and stories to pass along and creating jewelry with vintage pieces is very satisfying to me blending the past with the present.... And so our Challenge PMC or Precious Metal Clay is the newest and most intriguing way to work with fine silver. It begins in a clay form then worked in different techniques fired in a kiln at 1650 the clay portion burns away and pure silver takes on what ever form it was given in the clay stage and you have a very interesting and new way to work in metal.

Here are the delightful results
Created by Esse Lyle

Created by JoAnn Harlan

Created By Lisa Lee

Created by Lynn Hranac

Created by Kimberly Kostel

JoAnn Harlan was our grand champion with her leaf and flower collage. But I was really overwhelms by every one's thoughtful entry and original designs, Lynn's trumpet flower has the crystal hidden as a surprise at the opening of the flower so you see subtle flashes of color and need to peer closer to see more. Esse combined paper clay and paste to create a many petaled flower with a jeweled center and this has led her on a journey to create more of the wee beauties for a stunning necklace coming soon. Kimberley's whimsical spider and web in a delightful look at mother nature and web spinning which is not as easy as it looks. Lisa inspired by the sea and spirals took the form and explored and created in both silver and wool embellished with gems.

I was so pleased to see each entry and the joyful expression each person achieved. We also had a great party and wore mad hatter tea party hats . Thanks to all of you who participated and joined us in our celebration

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Forces of nature the final 4

At last I am getting back to finishing up the journey of the Stools. The last time I blogged about them I was trying to be orderly and speak about each stool and the journey int my life, then I came upon CindyBowers and was stopped in my tracks. Cindy had the great idea to begin this artistic endeavor on a grand scale and gathered us all together in January '03 Not everyone invited stayed to go on but it was a stellar group and I often wonder what I was doing with such a fab group. But I stumbled along and grew in confidence as well as in creating on the edge.

Cindy died very suddenly during the first few months of the project. It was decided her stool would continue thru the project and bring a special energy to us all. When it was your turn to work on Cindy's stool you would have 2 stools together. And I found when it was my turn the energy was quite insistant to get going and not put off creating until tomorrow.

Share your Dream is the title of Cindy's Stool and it was created on a old piano stool complete with claw feet on glass balls. This stool was loving embellished and caresses with feathers a tiny merry go round,wee faces and crowned with a delightful fairy created by Tracy Stanley. I am very sorry I did not get the time to know Cindy but very glad to be a part of her final project.

Next came The Mad Tea Party Janice Berkebile

This was the wee stool in our project. It can from the Pottery Barn made out of wrought iron and just right to set on a counter top and perhaps hold a small cookbook or recipe card. It was the smallest stool in the project and Janice stared it off with a WONDERFUL BEADED VINE. But the fun part actually came from the journal she choose to accompany her stool during the project. In this black book a small boy had signed his name or perhaps a lovelorn teen. Any way He be came the hero of the story surrounding the Stool. William was a Dragonfly wrangler, rounds them up and polishes their wings and sends them on their way. He is a 4th generation Dragonfly wrangler and has very long legs. included for the stool was a beautiful cushion beaded with a dragonfly. A small leather bag with his bib & tucker for long nights around a campfire. complete with silver dinner plate a acorn silver cup for special occasions with the fairy folk, spoon & fork fresh napkin and daily cup for hot soup. He has a special companion to travel with and a table lamp for those cozy winter nights when he is tucked in waiting for the summer herds. This was a favorite of mine and I was so fun to see how it had grown and developed during the journey of creation.

Sandy,s Secret Garden

Began as a soft pastel wooden stool with a soft green seat and a vine curling up the sky blue leg. Please turn your head side ways to see vines and flowers progressing in this garden. You can see a bit of the foofoolaDo

vine just beginning to open. A bird house wreathed in vines crowned the top while dragonflies frolicked between the rungs, dancing in and out of exotic beaded flowers. The book the secret garden was Sandy,s favorite as a child and now she has a peaceful and exotic world to view each day Joey created the most wonderful bird feeder from coiled wire and seed beads that looked so much like food it fooled the birds at her home when she was creating it. Sigh... a lovely place to linger.

And finally My stool Sea Dreams the Mermaid Spot. My stool began with a low back of wrought iron curved legs and a soft green color. I happened to have some soft textured yarns which reminded me of seaweed which I added to the stool back flowing off like seawater. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the direction my stool traveled in. I began wondering how it it look then completely forgot about it until the reveal. I was surprised to learn I was more concerned how excited the rest of the group would be when they saw their stools. I was amazed at the confidence that grew with each stool as I caught the essence of creation surrounding each project and set aside my inner critic and simply created. I struggle with inner demons of "not good enough " "who do you think you are " and more. But I was able to banish them for the current of inspiration was so strong and loud there was not room for doubt.
I was totally humbled by the beauty of the mermaid created by Sandra Jaechs, and the netted base created by Nancy Strahle, the treasure chest spilling out pearls and lovely glittering gem created by Kathy Dannerbeck, the beaded shells and Jelly fish by Tracy Stanley & Janice Berkebile. Lovely vines winding in and out and fabric fish and sensuous seaweed floating from the Mermaids perch by Joey Meyer and Sandy Avenell.

A Big Thank you goes out to each of these lovely ladies for their contribution to my stoll and the wonderful time I had in being part of the project . I am ending with group shots of all thestools and a few candid shots of the artists

ta ta for now

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More Changes

Kathy in ruin door outside Rome.

Sorry to end the last post but tech requirements commanded and I obeyed........ I hate it tech things nag.

Back to my friend Kathy. This year makes the end of an era in the aforementioned community called Beads & Beyond the doors closed for the last time on July 31,2008, leaving many of us feeling glad and sad at the same time glad for so many reasons,heart stopping beads of all sorts, an artistic link with the feeling of family created with Kathy her sweetheart husband Peter, and a fabulous staff unparalleled in the beading community, not only could they help you fine just the right thing to complete a project but the always were professional friendly and characters in their own right.

Life has a way of reminding me to take each moment and enjoy it now, for tomorrow brings something different. Bellevue is going through growing pains and becoming a skyscraper city removing many of the small business in town for a wider use for hundreds of people in a small land mass. So it was in this way the building which housed Beads & Beyond is being torn down and replaced with a massive condo/retail complex..SIGH.........................................................

Kathy & Peter have worked endlessly in the last 14 or 16 (I can't remember accurately)years 24/7 on bring you the best of the best.Brought in the best teachers who taught all sorts of interesting artistic pursutes thru the years, they have lead tours to see the orgin of where these fab little objects of glass,bone,precious stones,shells,ceramic silver,gold were created. Travel to the Czech Republic,Africa,Italy,Turkey to name a few. going to fab museums an seeing how life and family was maintained in each place,how different we are yet how alike.
Meeting the small companies who created these wonders, meeting individual artists in different places around the world supporting each other and creating connections that were life changing.

But now life moves on The bead store is com binding with a wonderful Quilt store who has had the same building issues and a new beginning rises out of the detritus of demolished places.

My post is to Thank Kathy for all of the wonderful things she added to my life in the past 15 years. I began as a an excited newbie overwhelmed by the riot of color and shapes which clambered for attention in my mind.
I began taking classes and my dreams were haunted by beads 7 silver. I was also at the time taking metal smithing classes at a local college and changing my career. I had the pleasure of knowing 3 women who nurtured my budding artist's flame and helped fan it into a bonfire which menopause added more fuel and I was forged into who I am today.
Always on trips into the store I was greeted as an old and valued friend with these 3 ladies in tow and we would make a day of it buying beads sharing purchases and a great lunch.
Alice was 87 Tony mid 70's and Ruth early 70's. we started outwith watercolors and met every Tuesday. One day I showed up with hanks of seed beads pinned on black velvet and with great flair unrolled this eyecandy.
That was the end of watercolor and the begining of my love affair with beads.

Over the years I gathered up enough courage to submit my work and then moved on to a masterclass taught by NanC Meinheart. Who was a great mentor and bead artist from Chicago. She gave me the tools to creat and move on from a student into an artist & teachers life.
I then got involved with a new concept for metal work with a clay created in Japan which contained tiny particles of pure silver,gold, & platium. Life again took me into a new place and through many trails and dissapointments as well as many lovely things I became a teacher.
Kathy welcomed me and helped to promote this strange stuff and out of it I met and encouraged many to carry on their own artistic pursuits, during past 12 years.I am lightyears away from those begining days and have learned many things and changed my teaching methods and contuined to grow and explore.
But this all funnels back to my dear friend Kathy and her help,humor,encouragement,laughter,a few tears and the honor of having her as a friend.

So here's to You and all of the folks who's life you enchanced during the life and times of Beads & Beyond. Cheers, Hugs & blessings to you

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Changes in the wind

Long time since I blogged but I am in the process of coming thru many changes and passing milestones in the last 9 months. I have had the extreme pleasure of traveling to China and Italy. Taking in a whirlwind of sights,sounds cultures and more in a brief period of time. To see and experience the earth and peoples who shaped my life many centuries years ago was a humbling experience. To see the magnificent hand wrought art which survived all leaders and egos and artists, took my breath away and has induced many lovely daydreams ever since.

Life is full of changes and nothing remains the same and to my way of thinking we must continue to change learn and grow along with the rest of life. It doesn't mean that we cannot feel sad or perhaps even a bit scared with what the future holds for us. But carry on we must and create new and even better experiences.
With that in mind I wish to thank a very special friend, mentor and delightful business woman
Kathy Dannerbeck Creator and owner of BEADS & BEYOND Bellevue WA. For the past 14 or so years her vision of a place to buy,create with fab teachers, celebrate creativity,travel , meet and develop new friendships and artistic collaboration, promote other business that blend and enhance each other.