Monday, May 31, 2010

Inspiration & Magic

Last week when I got home this lovely flower by Renate was waiting for be. I fell in love with it when I saw it in her new Etsy shop, Artefacts by Stregata.  Filigree, brass, and copper. What more could I ask for?

I am completely in love with the form. When I told Renate that it had inspired me to create something new in porcelain, she replied that it is magical when we can inspire each other. I quite agree. One of the things I love about blogging and being a part of the blogging community is the creativity and beauty that I am exposed to. I love the generous spirit of the community and the warm support that I receive.

Thank you, everyone! And especially thank you for the well wishes and prayers you have so generously given my son and our family as we cope with his deployment. It means so much to me.

We've had a couple of emails and text messages from him over the weekend. All is well and he's settling into his new Forward Operating Base. It's very basic. There is no PX, there is laundry, and the food is not too bad. Best of all there is an internet cafe so he can communicate with us regularly and he's able to call his girl friend everyday without breaking the bank.

Oh and right now - he's bored. This army mom thinks bored is good. The alternative to bored is what makes me worry.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fear & Tears & Remembering

I woke up this morning fairly ready to embrace the day. I had ideas. I had pretties in the works that I wanted to show you. But then the million fireflies sparkling in my head set in as I moved from one idea to the next. Sometimes this is good. Sometimes it's an internal signal that I haven't taken care of things. When I started to feel tears, I knew it was time to figure things out.

I don't really know where my son is. I know he's in Afghanistan. I know he's a medic in Kunar province at FOB Monti in Afghansistan bordering Pakistan. You see, sense of place is important to me. It's important to me to know where people I love are.  After hours of internet detective work I have placed him in a few 100 square kilometres of mountains. I feel better. But the tears are still there. They will come out later. Maybe a flood. Maybe just a trickle. I don't know.  I know they come from fear. It's hard having a child in a combat zone. Even though he's 29 and this isn't the first time.

Here in the United States, it is Memorial Day weekend. It's a long weekend. I know that FOB Monti is named for a fallen soldier who lost his life in Afghanistan during his third attempt to bring in a fallen comrade when they came under fire during a patrol. This weekend, I think of that. I think of the 6 soldiers from my son's platoon in Iraq who lost their lives just a short while ago.  I think of all of those soldiers who have given their lives in service to this country, our country. It doesn't really matter to me that the politics of war are on the other end of the spectrum from my views.  And I say a little prayer that all of those soldiers who are out there in combat zones come home safely.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Home Sweet Home

12 days, 2,152 miles, and we are home. And we are tired. Alice has spent much of the day just like you see her up there on the sofa. We had a good trip although a bit bittersweet. Mom's doing well in the nursing home with lots of day trips home over the next few summer months. It's a good compromise for now. My son is almost to his final destination in Afghanistan, a command outpost on the border of Pakistan. According to him, the mountains are spectacular. The rest of it, not so much.
The graduate! We could not have been happier to see Sarah finish her RN to BSN degree. She's pretty darned over the moon having reached this mile stone. For the first time in 4 years she'll have a summer off from classes. Then it's off to graduate nursing school in autumn. Oh to be that young again and that full of energy.

Speaking of energy.....It has been exactly 22 years since I spent a day at the zoo with a 2 year old. I had forgotten just how fast they can move. We got to spend a lot of time getting to know my son's girlfriend and her daughter. We had family meals with them, my daughter, and her boyfriend, we watched cartoons that I've never heard of, we played ball with the dogs. We forged new family ties and made new family memories.
But there is just nothing like sleeping in your own bed with your dogs snoring in their beds. I've missed my studio and I must admit, I've missed my quiet time. It's good to be home.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

26 glaze tests and other stuff

I've been playing around with glazes again. 26 tests went into the kiln and one came out acceptable. But it's a colour I've been trying to make for a long time now. I even think I can repeat it. I hope so! There are other possibles in there but it will take a bit of fiddling with the formula. But I like doing that.

In other news, the beads and I are off to Wichita for our daughter's graduation with her Bachelor of Nursing. We couldn't be prouder of her. She graduating cum laude from the university that she did very poorly at years ago when she was probably way to young to be there. Then it's graduate nursing school in the fall. I just love seeing her get where she's always wanted to go!

Then it's up to Mum's to sort a few things out. She was recently admitted to the nursing home and now it's time to see if this is a permanent arrangement. It is a little tough seeing my mum at this stage of her life.

I'm also more than a little sad for other reasons. My son deploys to Afghanistan later this evening. It seems like such a short time since he came back from Iraq (15 months). He's off to Kunar province on the eastern border with Pakistan. I know very little about the area, except that it has been an area of intense insurgency and a cross roads for smuggling. But we've been through this before. It will be alright.

My son with his lucky charms, my dad's dog tags

Monday, May 10, 2010

Market Friends

I've been doing the downtown monthly art market for a year now, since it's very first day. This art market was the brain child of a couple of gallery owners who are commited to bringing life back into our down town area. This weekend was our first aniversary!

I've only lived here for 5 years and getting settled into the community and finding my niche has had it's ups and downs. But the art market has been one of those things that has enriched my life beyond words. We are a little bit of a family here. It's not all about selling. It's about community and my life feels quite blessed for having made the friends I would probably never have met were it not for the market. There's the intrepid core of us who've been there from the beginning. But there is also that extra special element of the people who come down to see us every month. We chat, we laugh.

One of those people who've been there from the beginning is Melissa. She dislikes having her photo taken, possibly even more than I do. But isn't she a gorgeous little thing. She makes these 'dragon eggs' from gourds. I must admit that I didn't really get it until I started watching her work on them. She's a little dynamo of energy. When she's not talking to customers, she's making her art. Each of these little beauties is drawn free hand with special markers, then laquered to preserve the finish. All born of her imagination.

The gourds are just a wee bit of what she makes. She's also a very accomplised textile artist. I just don't have any photos to show you.

I've made a commitment and next month one of these will be mine. Did I tell you they rattle? Yes, I do indeed need one of these.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I can't seem to stop!!!

I'm not OCD, really. But sometimes I get into this rut of making things over and over. And once I got the hang of it, I found I really enjoy making button clasps. This one is for a very simple necklace with picasso finish beads, that I also have a little obsession with.
To get it to lay right, I angled the clasp and eye pin ends upwards. It works pretty well. It just photographs ugly.
This necklace is heading off with me to art market tonight. We don't normally have a night market. But our first annivesary of this market opening last year happened to coincide with First Friday Art trail. So it's a bit of a celebration. I have loved this market and all of the wonderful people I've met there. It's kept me from being a complete and total hermit. So I'm off!
Have a great weekend!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The idea

This is not my idea at all. Doing a button clasp in this style is completely inspired by Lorelei who did a kick butt video tutorial on making a button clasp. Unfortunately, I can' t for the life of me find the link to it right now. Anyways, when I was at the San Antonio bead show people asked me how to use buttons. Well describing it is a whole different ball game than doing it! I needed examples, I needed to do it, and really, truly humility kicks in. I have been so spoiled by all of you out there that have had such lovely vision of what my humble pieces can become.
One of the things I struggled with was that my clasp attempts wobbled in the button. I really wanted to have the eye and shephards hook to be very stable in the clasp. No wiggling, no wobbling. And that's where the light bulb flashed on. Wind a bit of small gauge wire back through the clasp and voila the clasp became very stable!

And the result is that this clasp looks a little like it has been sewn on. At least it does to me.
Bottom line is that for my next bead show, I am definitely going with examples of ways to work with my pieces. And I am very grateful to all of you who've shown me inspired ways to use my pieces.
Thank you!
Here it is! The link to Lorelei's button clasp tutorial.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Back from SABOS Bead Bazaar

We got back late last night, I mean really really late, about 1 pm. Maybe that is not late for some of you, but it is for me. I generally turn into a pumpkin by 10:30 pm. As many of you know this was my first bead show. I am exhausted. I am ruminating on the meaning of life and bead shows. It had it's up's, it's downs, and it's lessons, and it's really truly great things. But to tell you the truth, I am just tooooo tired to talk about it any meaningful way. I'll get back to you all about the bead show on Wednesday on the Beads of Clay blog.

The dogs are ectastic to be home. Ms Alice has literally been twirling on her hind feet. At 60 pounds this is an awesome and somewhat frightening sight to behold. I am ectastic to be home. There is nothing like your own bed! I just need a few more hours in it.

Now some of you have asked about when I'll be listing again on the ole Etsy shop. Well, that was to be today. And I got side tracked. You see, I have been deprived of making anything for a week and all of a sudden an idea took hold. It had to be done and then it was 6 pm and nothing on the list was done and well.....tomorrow, there will be stuff in there again. I promise. After I finish helping my friend Carrie with a raku firing. Promise, really!

Meanwhile, have a look at those gorgeous wild flowers up there. That is Texas Hill Country in spring. That is what we drove through for several hours. I've in Texas for 5 years and never been out to see this beautiful country side. The roadsides were carpeted in their full glorious bloom. Makes me rethink my colour pallette entirely.