Friday, February 25, 2011

Bead Soup Sneak Peek and an Award!

The time is near, very near, and more than 200 fabulous people will be posting their bead soup creations on Saturday, 26 February. I even have mine done! Photographed and ready to go!!! I am ahead of the schedule, at least for me. So plan for a leisurely Saturday of visiting these wonderful people who've turned out for this wonderful event organized by the oh so lovely Lori at Pretty Things. You can find a link to every thing in the world, OK, everhing in the world related to the Bead Soup Blog Party right here. And on Saturday, an unusual blogging day for me, you will find links to all 200 plus participants right here on my very own blog.  Yes, and my very own Bead Soup reveal.

(Shhh, my finished piece is a lot more done looking that that teaser photo up there. It even has a surprise thrown to me by Bead Soup partner Melissa Meman. Challenged I was by a bounty of goodies to choose from! So do come back and see how I solved the riddle.)

I got doubly blessed with a blog award today, by my friends Gunilla and Mary Ann. Gosh, golly, am I loved or what? Sooo part of this award is to reveal 7 things about me that you may not know and presumably might find interesting, if not amusing. So here we go....

1. I don't like breakfast. I eat left overs from the night before. I like soup for breakfast.
2. I like breakfast for dinner, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs are all fair game at supper time.
3. I love my dogs just as much as I love my children. My children are happy with that because they love my dogs just as much as they love me.
4. I am short, really short, like not all that much over 5 feet tall but not quite that wide. I do have a tall attitude and feel like I am about 5 foot 10 inches tall.
5. I don't much care for brocolli even though I know it is good for me.
6. I really, seriously really, like the combination of purple and green.
7. All of my dogs and cats have been named for family members.

Now, this is probably  much more information than you probably wanted to know about me. But it is all true! (Sadly). I am supposed to pass this on to 15 people. Seriously, there are so many bloggers that I admire. I know this is a total and complete cheat but I'm just leaving it all to you. Yes, broken chain, I know and I'll suffer those consequences silently.

But do go give some blog love to my friends, Mary Ann and Gunilla.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Elvis is alive, well, and 8 feet tall

It's true! I have seen Elvis. I've just come back from my daughter and son in law's wedding reception. They were married by Elvis in Las Vegas on Valentines Day. I've seen the video and Elvis was wearing a very form fitting black outfit, covered in sequins, playing the guitar, singing, and walking my daughter down the aisle. My daughter may be tiny at about 5 feet tall but I swear to you Elvis lookied to be about 8 feet tall. Maybe it was the platform shoes?

Doesn't she look pretty? Derek isn't too bad either. Yes, I know, I may be slightly biased. That's them on the way to their wedding in a pretty swanky car the make of which I don't know. But I do know a swanky car when I see one.

 They got married here at Graceland Wedding Chapel in a small ceremony with just them and their best friends as witnesses. I figure if Graceland was good enough for Bon Jovi, it might just be good enough for my daughter. No photos yet of the actual ceremony. They are on order and I promised not to link to the video. The truth is I wouldn't know how to do that but I felt pretty virtuous making that promise that I knew I was a shoe in to keep.

This is my favourite photo of them taken back at their hotel just after the ceremony. It's their favourite photo too. I actually liked it slightly better before they cropped it down. Up there on the top left of the original photo is a neon sign, yellow letters on deep blue background, "Peep Show" with fairly tame graphics. However, they didn't feel that the sign was in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, so snap, out it went.

We are so pleased to welcome Derek to our family. In less than 6 months I've gone from having a son and daughter to adding a son in law, daughter in law, and grand daughter. I couldn't be happier!

Blessings, Sarah and Derek!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Iteration and Intersection

Recently, Deryn at Something Sublime, wrote a post, What Not to Do, something she had told herself she would never do. It's about copyright and making things your own and it is a wonderful post. It's a prickly topic which I think Deryn has done a lovely job of addressing. It's a very supportive and positive post and definitely worth reading and giving some thought.

As it turns out, I was in the middle of making drawings for a new design. I was definitely inspired by a zen tangle tile I had seen done by another artist. I thought it might be interesting to take you through my design process, at least the on paper part, and then show you where the inspiration came from.

Rarely, maybe never, does a design spring from my pen to paper to a model in one step. It's an interative process for me. I draw out what I see in my mind. Make little adjustments. Start over. Redraw, refine. Each time I put pen to paper it seems that I see something new. A little tweak that might feel better to me.

This is the final drawing from which I made my mold that I used in ceramic and metal clay.

This is the tile that I loved, drawn by Christina Vandervlist shown here on her blog. See there that flower pattern in her tile? I love that. I'd thought about doing something as a texture plate and then as I was working on that concept when the idea to just do a flower seemed to work for me.

The intersection part of this whole thing is that when I contacted Christina to ask if I could post her tile, I found out that she is a bead weaver. I only knew her from the zen tangle community. She's been a bead weaver for 37 years, taught at Bead & Button and Bead Fest. Her work is published and her Traveling Spirits have been featured on the cover of Beadwork. I love and admire all things bead weaving and seed beads. How extraordinary is it that I would be inspired to make a jewelry component by a drawing made by a jewelry maker that I've never met?

In Deryn's post she references a published letter by Heather Wheaton, editor of Art Jewelry magazine. Apparently, there are all sorts of rules of thumb for how much of an alteration makes something your own, 10%, 20%, 30%.....  One of Deryn's DO's is to "Allow that transformation to take place and release the original artistic voice within."  Good advice!

As visual people we aborb images from everywhere. I think it's important to recognize and acknowledge that . For me, iteration is a process that allows me to absorb those images and let them come out as my own. In that process, I have time to reflect on what I am saying, what resonates with me. And I'll tell you with absolute certainty, that with the bitter cold we've been having, flowers and blossoms definitely resonate with me.

Thanks Christina for your lovely field of flowers and the inspiration.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The miracle of Walter

Walter is a cat. Walter used to be our cat. When we left Melbourne 7 years ago we faced a very hard decision. This dear sweet boy, all curled up in a perfect circle had a health condition, cardiomyopathy. He would not survive a 24 hour journey from Australia to our new home in the United States.  In fact, it was unlikely that he would live much more that 6 months.

I remember well when Walter came into our lives. I was sick in bed with bronchitis. Our neigbor came to the door wondering if we would take in a kitten that got hung up in their shrubs. It was mewling and their puppy was having nothing of this intruder. Sweet Peter said, ah umm, and me, from what felt like my death bed, called out, 'yes, of course, we'll have that kitten.' Oh, so very long ago.

Walter went to live with friends that were generous enough to take in a cat that maybe had no much time left. They loved him, he got to watch cartoons every day with their wee little toddler. We lost touch and I've often wondered about Walter and of course our friends.

Just a little while ago, we got photos of Walter from our friends. See those ears up there? We had to have Walter's ears amputated because he had sun cancer on the tips. This is a recent photo of Walter. He is now 17 years old, 7 years older than anyone thought he would be. An absolute miracle that this old boy has made it to this grand old age.

Thanks Em, Rob, and William! We still love Walter and feel oh, so, blessed that he has a loving home with you.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


It's taken me years to come to terms with making a buddha piece. I've made a few in porcelain that have been given away to friends. They were pressed from a mold I made of amulets that I brought back from Thailand a long time ago. That was when we were still living in Melbourne and it was just as easy (and no more expensive) to fly around the world with a stop over in Europe and Asia as it was to fly home to the US and back to Australia. I know that might sound a bit glamorous, but 15 hour flights aren't really a picnic and having to spend that much time away from home is draining. But I did love the opportunity to visit Bangkok.

I bought these amulets from an amulet vendor outside a wat (temple). They, like most amulets, are thought of as giving one protection. They also serve as a reminder of the Buddha's teaching. In Thailand all images of the Buddha are considered sacred. You see, 90% of Thais are practicing Buddhists and it is a very religious country. You see monks in safron robes every where. It is quite beautiful.

So my dilemma in making these pieces was the sacred part of the image and respect for where these amulets came from. The amulets I have are not by any means precious in any way other than their significance in a deeply religious culture. Amulet vendors are a common sight and people do in fact buy them as travel souveniers.  I have a deep respect for these amulets and their role in Thai life. It just did not feel right to make a cast of them.

The absolute calm of these amulets speaks to me. So I've spent quite a lot of time thinking about them and what was in them that was doing the talking, doing the calming, making me think, making me let go. I made drawing after drawing. Finally I finished with what said to me most, the essence of these amulets. This buddha has hands in his lap, right resting on the left. The meditation mudra, the final meditation and balance. It seems to me to be the essence of what we all strive for in life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Soups On!

The Bead Soup Blog Party package from Melissa Meman arrived on Saturday. Oh, I am over the moon happy with what Melissa sent. Totally different from what I might normally work with but so completely beautiful and inspiring. For beads there is amazonite, howlite, amethyst, and Czech glass in beautiful colours. 

And then there are the pieces she made herself, starting with this gorgeous toggle clasp in copper. I love hammered copper and the washer part of this clasp is beautiful. But then there is the really lovely spiral toggle bar. I've been looking and looking at it and just admiring the beautiful wire work that went into making this clasp. I'm thinking this clasp needs a special spot in whatever I end up making.

And I got not one but two enameled focals handmade by Melissa and two beautiful enameled beads that she made. Choices, choices. I want to use them both. In fact, I have a little idea simmering on the back burner of just how I might use them both in one piece.

Thanks Melissa! I love it all and just how did you know that purple and teal are my favourite colours?

Saturday, February 26th

Over 200 participants and heaps of fun, inspiration, and beauty.

Mark your calenders!

Friday, February 4, 2011


I let the random generator pick winners this time. Alice just wasn't up to it. It's the cold. It's got her a little down. The snow has covered up all of the pecans that she loves to eat and it gets into the pads of her feet. Well she's a little miserable with it, fair weather southern dog that she is.

Oh, yes, the winners! Counting up comments from here and here, and making this a much more difficult task than entirely necessary, the random generator pick number 5 and 8.  Congratualations Lorelei and Judy!

Just in case you are wondering. The good karma thing kinda sorta worked. We now have running hot water in our kitchen. We stood around watching it start to unfreeze drip by drip last night, 36 hours after putting the heater in the sink. It was a little like watching paint dry but oh so rewarding. The cold water is still frozen but the pipe is not burst. Life could be worse.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay warm and toasty!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brrrrrrrr, It's cold even here in Texas

This is all I've done today. Put the finish on a handful of bronze pieces. I had planned on doing some work with clay. But guess what? The clay is frozen out in my garage, sitting next to the kilns that aren't working because they are confused about the sudden drop in temperature here.

Yesterday, I woke up to some of this. Yes, I know, this is nothing compared to most parts of the country. Just a mere dusting of snow. But there's very little snow removal equipment here, the wind has been blowing, and it was a mere 1 degree out this morning when I got up. This kind of 'severe' weather brings things to a stand still here.

And this is one of the things that came to a stand still. That would be the underneath of my kitchen sink with the pipes that are frozen. That odd looking white panel in there is the heating panel from the garage that is used to keep the clay and the kilns from freezing.

I am not happy with this situation.  And I really hope that the fairies will come in during the night and clean up the cabinet under the sink.

But I am so happy you all stopped by on Monday and liked my hearts even with their little flaws. So happy that I'm going to give one of them away. I thought I'd just combine it the give away of the bronze heart. You've still got until tomorrow night to enter for that and you can do that here. In fact, I am going to let you enter another comment so you get two chances. I figure when you have frozen pipes in your kitchen that's just a sweet bit of good karma I can spread around  in the hope that maybe my pipes won't actually burst.