Tuesday, February 28, 2012


In many cultures and religious traditions butterflies have significance as a symbol of transformation, transition, and even of the soul. Egg, to larvae, coccoon, and finally the butterfly emerges. So many stages and so like our own human lives as we travel from birth through childhood. We become young adults and finally we reach our older years. Physical transitions, emotional transition, and even spiritual transition as we are transformed through all of these stages.

I've been thinking a lot about transformation and transition lately. I think when you are diagnosed with cancer it is only natural to do this. I'm quite visual in my thinking so it was only natural for me to turn that thinking into simple bronze butterflies. Although now that I look at them might be more like cabbage moths. But never mind, they all go through the same transformation.

My surgery is tomorrow. I will go through a physical transformation that will take time to adjust to. But the biggest transformation seems to be emotional and spiritual. I have my ups and downs. In fact, I had a very bad down just the other day. I have fears. But mostly, I feel more connected to the gift of each day. I feel an even deeper connection to my partner and to my children. If it is possible I may even love them more. I feel a deep need to embrace life, to celebrate life, to spend time appreciating small moments of the day. I feel a need to express gratitude for the many blessings in my life. To express that gratitude loudly and with bells ringing.

Many of you know me only from this blog but yet you have reached out and shown compassion and friendship. I am deeply grateful.

Monday, February 20, 2012

On a wing and a prayer and the big C

Finally, I feel satisfied with these little bronze pieces. I've been working on them for a while.  I love these little birdies.  I saw these plump little beauties out my back door all summer and fall. They were feasting on the bird feeder just outside my studio window. They looked wren like but so big compared to the house wrens I am familiar with. They have the most beautiful song. A little internet search and there they were. The mystery of the large plump wren. I present the Carolina wren, at least my version of one. My new studio friend.

The nest with a single egg fairly flew off my pen to paper when I first heard the fantastic news that I will have a new grand baby at the end of June. It's a celebration of the gift of life that babies bring. By the way, it is a boy that we will be greeting and loving into this world.

A 'wing and a prayer' is a phrase that I often turn to in times when I am having a hard time navigating life.  But I never really knew where it came from. A little research and I find that it comes from a British song/poem about a WWII fighter plane coming home after a mission on a single engine, ..'we are coming in on a wing and a prayer...' It means essentially that I may not be operating at my optimum but I'm getting the job done.

In fact, I haven't been operating on all my engines lately. You know, I'm pretty much getting there. I'm making it home.  But the results of all of those medical tests that came about after this year's physical are not all that fantastic. Yep, it is the big C. I have breast cancer. It will require surgery soon and most likely chemo and radiation therapy. I so debated whether or not to share that on this blog. But then this blog is about the intersection of my studio with my life and .... well this one is a biggy that is going to spill over into most everything I do.

But I do feel a little like that bunny. For me bunnies are a symbol of spring, of the beginning of summer. I remember watching them as a child hopping through the back garden at dusk. I loved going out there and quietly watching them being busy foraging for their dinner. Usually that was my mothers vegetable garden. She did not share the same affection I had for the little fellows.

Spring is just around the corner.....Spring is a new beginning and I'm ready for a new beginning.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Maybe tedium is a good thing?

Making bronze beads is a tedious task to say the very least. There are all these steps and multiple times that parts have to be dried, added to, dried, sanded, smoothed. But I actually quite like this task. The beads are fragile as they are put together. Sometimes they break. But I like putting my mind on the detail that they require.

By the end of yesterday, I had this little pile of beads done. There is something rewarding in being able to look at the fruits of the day, pack them into their firing container, and load them into the kiln. And every time I open a kiln, any kiln, it is a little like Christmas. You just never know for certain exactly what you will get. Mostly it is good but occasionally there is a gift in there that I just really do not want.

Right now that tedium that goes with making beads is a good thing. The whole day passed so quickly. I have these medical tests scheduled for next week. They are unpleasant and a bit scary. I have to get naked, or at least partially naked. Maybe I can leave my socks on.  I hate the naked part. I hate getting naked in front of complete strangers. A nudist beach would never be for me. Just my nakedness. Other people can be as naked as they want. I take my nakedness seriously and privately, thank you very much. Anyway, I hardly thought about these tests at all while I was making beads, except for the naked part. So tedium is probably a good thing right now.

And, by the end of the day I had taken a little journey and come to the conclusion that there isn't much point in worrying about these tests. I can neither change the past nor predict the future. I can only show up for this particular day. I have heard it put something like this,

"this day is a gift. this is a day we could never earn or deserve. it is a gift from the universe, it is a gift from god, it is a gift from life itself."

So I am turning up each and everyday and accepting this wonderful gift.

It maybe helps that I had an idea. It may even be a brilliant idea. Or a completely stupid idea. There will be no in between on this. I am OK with that. Part of the idea is in the kiln waiting for me to uncover it.  Something to look forward to. Don't we all need that at least a little bit?

Thank you all for your kindness and the support you've shown as I pass over these bumps on the road. I haven't been able to get back to each of you the way I would like. Please know that I treasure each and every expression that I have received.

Enjoy your weekend and the gift of each day!