Friday, June 25, 2010

Quietly soothing

I find wire wrapping quietly soothing. Each wrap, tight against the next, three times, three layers of wrapping. Quietly thinking about what the pieces might become. It's a little like meditation. I can empty my mind just by focussing on my hands. It is soothing.

I woke up to the pleasure of an email from my son. His package arrived! Only 12 days. There was a photo of a ring he is having made for his girl friend, an engagement ring. I am smiling.

There are few words in this email about what is happening in his life. Just facts really. Two more soldiers gone this week. One a medic like my son, caught in small arms fire on the FOB, a 'safe' place. Eight gone in five weeks. It's getting hard to stay positive. I don't listen to the news anymore. It all seems so impersonal. I go back to wire wrapping.

I'll be on a bit of break from my blog over the next week. I'm leaving for Portland in the middle of the week to visit with one of my dearest friends. The timing couldn't be better. Except that I have my monthly market 3 days after I come back. Lots to do before leaving. So I'll be a busy girl all week. That's good, keeps me from thinking too much about things I can not change.

Have a lovely week end and a great week. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Letting Go

I like to be in control. I like perfect circles. I like things all lined up neat and orderly. I compulsively straighten pictures on the wall. I'll even do it on your walls. Just not when you are looking.

Yesterday, I was making bronze components for a necklace I wanted to make. I wanted something other than jumprings to connect chain to a strung portion. The clay wouldn't behave. And then I looked at what I thought was a perfect mess and said to myself, it's OK to let go of perfection. Perfectly, imperfect. Isn't that really how life is?

Obviously, I haven't let go of symetrical. There's always tomorrow for that.

Thanks, everyone for your warm thoughts and support while I find my way through my son's deployment. So many lovely kind people I have gotten to know through this blog and yours.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Small Things, Tiny Moments

I worked a lot this weekend. I etched, cut, domed, drilled and made many small things. Work is what I do when I have things that I need to work out in my mind. If my hands are busy I don't become overwhelmed with difficult things.

A couple of weeks ago, the FRG from Fort Cambell called, really just to let me know they are there if I had questions. They also told me that the 5 soldiers who died when their truck was hit by an IED were not from my son's unit. He was OK. I knew he was OK because one of the things you get used to when you have a family member deployed is that the first people to know about death of a soldier is the immediate next of kin. And you know that between 10pm and 6am, there will be no knock on the door. So you can relax then.

I'm always relieved when I know my son is alright but at the same time I have terrible feelings of guilt that he is alright but a mother, wife, child is greiving the loss of their loved one. I know this is normal. I work through it. I've been through this before, many times.

My son phoned early Saturday morning. I had only just gotten out of bed. We chatted about normal mundane daily life. How's the chow? How are the dogs? What's your new duty assignment? He's a medic and does evacuation. I'm relieved at this point that he's not doing dismounted patrol this time around. I mentioned the call from the FRG and that we knew the 5 soldiers were not from his unit. It's so hard to get news out of Afghanistan. But it's not true. My son evacuated the bodies and they lost another soldier last week.

One month on the ground in Kunar province and they've lost 6 already. As a family we've been through this before. You cope. You live with the fear. You look forward to those few precious moments when you can chat. I know the toll being a medic in a war zone took on my son. I also know how strong he is and that he will get through this time too.

But as I got off the phone, all I could think of was the last time I saw my son. He said, Mummy, let me give you a hug in case I don't see you again. He meant before I left for home early the next day. But still, that hug lingers there in my memory. I cherish it.

As I worked through my thoughts and emotions this weekend, it became important to me to make some sort of sense out of the little scraps of metal in my tray. I started making smaller and smaller pendants with tiny little glass beads. I was making order out of a chaos of conflicting thoughts and emotions. I saw life as a series of moments and the little pieces I made were a tiny testimonial to how special those moments are. Each moment is unique but added together they make a life.

This one is on a silver chain around my neck right now. A reminder to embrace the tiny moments that are life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Happy

These are a few of the goodies that came out of the kiln this afternoon. I recklessly glazed away with glazes that I have never used before. I threw caution to the wind. I am happy! There are no true stinkers in there. And fortunately I even know what these glazes are as the clearly labled test pieces are in the bottom of the kiln. BTW, I would normally test the glazes then use the good ones in the next go round of glazing. But I was open to a surprise, even a bad surprise.

Now I am off to unload a U-Haul chockers full of antiques, art supplies, and art work collected (umm hoarded?) over something like 20 years. My friend is down sizing to a condo in a move to Austin. Lovely person that she is, she is holding a silent auction to benefit the Womens Protective Services. How could I say no to such a generous gesture as this one. It's only 97F and I love to sweat. Really.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Clean Studio Equals Clean Imagination

I felt like I was moving in circles, unable to  find any sort of peace of mind. The ideas would flit in and just as quickly flit out. The cause, the complete and utter chaos of my studio. It was dangerous in there. It had spilled into the dining room. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw the top of the dining room table. So yesterday I spent the entire day cleaning it up. I organized, I threw things away, I didn't go so far as to dust.

This morning I woke up and ideas I've had in the back of my mind were ready for me. I've spent the day sketching. I even found sketches I made a while ago.  I got some new models for pendants done. It felt so good to work in a calm space again.

Oh, and I found out that my mum's cancer is in remission again after 6 months of a new chemotherapy. I'm pretty sure that helps my peace of mind as well.

Friday, June 11, 2010

This little starfish went to market

Well actually 2 of them will go to market tomorrow. One of them has an unsightly boo boo on the back and will stay home. Two others didn't make it to the kiln because I broke them. They don't even get to stay home because they've already been put in the scrap bin and are no more. Poor starfish.

It's that time again, second Saturday Downtown Art Market, or DAM for short. And hot DAM(n) is how I'm feeling about this. It's hot here, upper 90's and more. I'm indoors which is good and bad. The good part is I don't have sun on my head and don't need to use a tent. The bad part is there is no AC. But the show must go on! It's amazing though how well attended the art market has been even in hot weather. I do love going each month and meeting up with friends I usually only see at the market. 

Have a lovely weekend!

And please, think some cool thoughts for me :-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It started with two beads

Those two turquoise rondelles, oh and those three bronze spacers I made out of scraps. I was considering making a focal out of those pieces when I spied the picasso finish glass beads, and then the pearls, and the little copper hearts, and the......

Well it just spun out of control from there and I ended up stringing the center of a necklace. Stringing. It may be a new obsession.  And this photographing jewelry business is a whole different ball game then photographing beads. Bugger. It makes me want to use strong language. 

And look not a piece of porcelain in sight. How did that happen again?

But I have in fact been working on some new porcelain pieces. Here's a little peek.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Not a speck of porcelain in sight

This may be the very first piece of  jewelry I have ever made that didn't have any porcelain components. Not even a speck of wire work or chain either. Stringing is just not something I have ever had much talent at. I don't have too many inspired ways of putting together beads.  But here it is, a strung piece.

Not too long ago I ordered several stands of turquoise form Julianna on her detash  estsy site, Diet Beads. When I got these coin shaped beads I fell in love with them and the design in a bronze focal with coordinating lentils just sort of popped into my head.  I must say I am actually rather pleased with this and it felt OK to just follow up on what was in my mind at the time in a spontaneous way.

BTW, Juls has been cleaning out the studio, which I believe may be much like my situation, encompassing the whole house. She's got a lot of lovely things over in her detash shop. You should go over and have a look. They won't last long because this is a cleaning project and once they are gone.... well they are gone.

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's hotter than blazes here!

Which means that my studio/garage was miserable when I unloaded the kiln this morning.  But it was worth going out there  just to get this one particuar little blossom pendant out.  I love blue and brown together. I know it's not a very summery combination. But heck it's 98F height here today. I would like to ignore summer for the time being and think about autumn.

And guess what? We are under a severe weather alert. It could be even hotter tomorrow, 100-107 degrees. We are warned that outdoor activity may induce serious heat related illness. I believe that means I have been given carte blanche to ignore the embarrasing state of my back garden. I believe that means that I am to lie in bed in the air conditioning with the ceiling fan on, with a good book.

Have a great weekend. I'll be in bed with Richard Jury as we solve the mystery of who killed Dorcas. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Glazing to Glaze or Glazing to Fill the Kiln

Last night I was working late glazing pieces, hoping to get my kiln loaded and fired.  What would these pieces look like in the morning all fired and shiny? Would the glazes I chose for the new flowers work out? How long would it be before I could open the kiln if I didn't get it started until 10pm? I was feeling pressured. Out of sorts. In a silly rush of my own making.

While glazing, I remembered the story by Thich Nhat Hanh, in The Miracle of Mindfulness, about there being a right way and a wrong way to do dishes. The right way to do the dishes is 'to do the dishes to do the dishes.' The wrong way is 'to do the dishes to get them clean.' The wrong way focusses on the future and misses the miracle of life happening right now, in this moment. My mind was focussing on the future. I was glazing the wrong way, to fill the kiln.

I've had a lot on my plate lately with my son deployed, the future of my mother's health uncertain. A lot of my life has been too focussed on the future. Will my son come home safely? How extensive is the recurrence of Mom's cancer? Will she be able to live at home again?

This morning I woke up to brilliant sunshine after a heavy rain and booming thunder last night. The kind of storm that sends my old dog off to hide in the closet and the young one to shake curled up by my side. Look at those flowers up there. The as yet unopened blooms on the trumpet vine survived the storm and are now at this very moment in full glorious bloom. And I was there in the moment to see this miracle and it made me smile.