Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I am adding a new feature to my blog. Periodically I will be posting a photo of subjects that amuse and inspire me. Today's post is of a feisty nature, both spirited and lively. This is a real diner, a diner that I visited and will undoubtedly patronize again. I LOVE the name, don't you? I was reminded of Happy Bunny, for some reason. I did not get to meet the proprietor, Pam. I hope I do in future. She sounds like she does not suffer fools lightly yet has a tremendous sense of humor. The diner's walls are adorned with sassy quotes, cowboy-related ephemera and pistols (!). The atmosphere is light-hearted yet vaguely threatening. The food was very good. (Guess I'd better give it a resounding endorsement, if I value my hide.) This place stirred up my own inner feisty chica . Unleash your sassy self!

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

"Women complain about pre-menstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself."- Roseanne Barr

"Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused."- Unknown

Friday, March 27, 2009


An inquisitive nature is often at the root of controversy. Curiosity leads to questions which can then lead to growth and discovery. Conversely, if misused, curiosity can get us into trouble if it becomes intrusive or meddlesome. Where to find the balance, to draw the line so as not to offend or trespass upon another's privacy? In daily life there is a benefit in simply minding our own business. Do not probe into other's affairs unless directly invited to do so. Of course, there are exceptions to this; in times of peril it may be absolutely necessary to "butt in". However, the type of curiosity I am specifically referring to is of a less personal nature- a creative inquisitiveness. Questions in the creative arena often open new doors of understanding and purpose. For instance, consider these basic questions: "why?", "how?" and "what?". When learning a new art form, asking WHY a particular tool is used, WHY a particular method should be applied, WHY this particular color would work best can lead to amazing technical discoveries, even to the invention of new techniques. Asking why may even cause us to question the validity of always 'following the rules' and force us to find our own maverick solutions. Asking why may even lead you to discover things you never knew about yourself, refine your tastes and talents, alter your values. At some point after the why is satisfied, we move on to WHAT to do with the knowledge we've gained and HOW to do it. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Curiosity can stimulate our growth as artists and keep our passion glowing. Feed the inquisitive beast! It's the only way to keep our curiosity alive.

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."- Albert Einstein

"Curiosity is the very basis of education and even if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly."- Arnold Edinborough

"Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was the suspect."- Stephen Wright

(Focal bead featured in this post is available in my Etsy shop.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I have finally become my mother. I have developed a powerful addiction that proves it without question. My mother loves dishes. She is not picky in her affections, no particular style affinity. Just dishes. I am a bit more style-specific. I have amassed a huge collection of Italian pottery- dishes, bowls, platters, mugs, pitchers, olive boats and other odd pieces. I have no need for them. Before I started my collection, I already had a couple of sets of perfectly serviceable standard china dishes. But I simply cannot resist the patterns, the colors, the textures, the chunky solidity embodied in handmade Italian pottery. The imperfect perfection of these pottery pieces thrills me more than the finest French porcelain. I love the quirky, crooked lines and the shade variations of the hand-applied glazes. They happily remind me of the idiosyncrasy of lampworked glass beads. Riotous color and unpredictable shapes combined into a zesty amalgam. I've been inspired by my Italian pottery to create beads with the same sprezzatura. What is "sprezzatura"? Sprezzatura is an old Italian term which describes the art of making something difficult seem easy, spontaneous, with a nonchalance that belies the difficulty. I am still experimenting with various interpretations of this inspiration (see a few of my experiments at bottom right of the accompanying photo- click on photo to see details). My efforts will hopefully capture the general flavor of my wonderful pottery- piquant, simple yet complex, unique, slightly primitive with a child-like innocence. Irresistible. Bravo!
Suddenly, I have a craving for pasta...
"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it."- Anonymous

Thursday, March 19, 2009


A vacation is one of the most anticipated periods in our daily lives, a reprieve from the norm. Hard to come by, a challenge to prepare for, and, sadly, often a disappointment. We are familiar with the expression, "Be careful what you wish for- you just might get it.". Frequently, the vacation we pin so many hopes and dreams to fails to deliver the refreshment we crave. Why? Perhaps we build it up so much in our imaginations that the reality cannot possibly hope to match our imaginings. We endeavor to make it too perfect, too planned-out, too full of activity. The best vacations may be those that simply 'happen'. Of course, for there to be any measure of success, a little forethought is wise and necessary: where to go ( "Find what brings you joy and go there."-Jan Phillips), where to sleep, what to eat and how to travel there? These are all questions that need definite answers to make your journey enjoyable. But as for filling every single moment with nonstop activity- why do that to yourself? The point of a vacation is to escape from our hectic daily lives, to NOT do our MUST-do. Leave a little breathing room in your get-away to revel in a sunset, be awestruck by a starry sky, get caught in a rainshower, hold a loved one's hand. See the sights, hear the sounds, smell the scents all around you. Get familiar with the unfamiliar. Zone out. Give your mind a chance to untangle itself from the clamor of daily demands. By doing so, you refresh your ability to generate new ideas, to spark your creativity, or even refresh a tired idea.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." -Henry Miller

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind" - Seneca

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Winter-nude branches, frosted with buds./ Shy spring peeks around the door./ Can she come out now?

The party guests have only just begun to arrive. All dressed up in soft greens, lavendars, pinks, creamy yellows- frilly, lacy, feminine frocks. A light-hearted feeling of anticipation is in the air; yet, overlaid like a fragile cobweb is a bit of reserve, a skosh of frigidity- leftovers of a more formal winter season. Spring is brimming with artistic inspiraton. Picture a grassy lawn after a heavy spring rain, a twittering bird-crowd happily splashing in cool puddles, pecking greedily for bird-worthy treats. Aesthetic spring design for the lampwork artist might include floral motifs (naturally), the use of pale and delicate opalino colors, wispy greens and lots of clear encasing. For the beaded jewelry artist, a leaning towards lightly structured feminine design with small, intricate beads, soft pearls, pastel colors, floral accents, sparkly crystal (reminiscent of dewdrops) and airy chainwork might be in order. Begin this spring anew with fresh, shy, tender and joyful art. Spring has sprung!

"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'"- Robin Williams

"An optimist is the human personification of spring."- Susan J. Bissonette
(Necklace featured in this post available in my Artfire shop.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I dislike the term "multitask". It implies that accomplishing one task alone is insufficient somehow; that you are better, faster, and more productive if you can juggle several tasks at once. Actually, if you think of multitasking in juggler's terms, it probably takes more focus to keep everything in motion. Multitasking can be exhausting! I do believe there are some people who are natural jugglers, who possess an amazing ability to balance multiple activities and give adequate attention to them. But there are other souls, myself included, who excel at being single-minded, people that must focus on one enterprise at a time to do it justice. Multitasking distracts me, makes me wonder, "What was I doing and why was I doing it?" In order to accomplish a task that has many steps to it, such as creating a complex bead or piece of jewelry, I must collect up all the ingredients I need, lay everything out in a somewhat orderly fashion, and then methodically work it through to the end. On the other hand, I know some incredible multitaskers who can accomplish so much at once. If they do happen to get momentarily distracted, they use that distraction as a springboard for new ideas. Distractions inspire fresh ideas for me, too. However, there is a risk that I might not recall my original idea if I dwell for too long on ….. now what was I doing?

But I digress. Let me ask you: do you multitask or focus on one thing at a time?

"If you can't ride two horses at once, you shouldn't be in the circus."- American proverb

Friday, March 6, 2009


LEGOS as far as the eye can see, underfoot, everywhere! That is my living room at present. I can hardly complain. My studio bears a strong resemblance to this LEGO scene. I am inclined to orderliness in my world. I actually enjoy having a place for everything and everything in it's place. So why, WHY is my workspace so disorderly? Some people work best in a tidy space. Having things in order helps them to peacefully focus on the task at hand, without distraction. Others need a modicum of disorder in order to see the possibilities, in order to picture the options. But there are a few artists who get ideas from complete chaos. Their imagination is sparked by seeing colors randomly thrown together in unexpected combinations, shapes playing off of each other, stirring an unexpected response. In my studio, I usually begin with harmony which quickly converts to visual dissonance. Or is it really dissonance? Isn't the creative process almost always a bit untidy? What happens when we make a lasagna for dinner, or any food, for that matter? We are washing dishes for hours afterward. But when we sink our teeth in that stellar home-cooked meal, we realize that the mess was worth it. Women who have given birth know that it is a messy business. But what an incredible result. Look at all creative efforts in the same way. We can always clean up later.

"Beginnings are always messy."- John Galsworthy

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


The use of imagination is a dying art. Children's toys are no longer designed to stimulate a child's mind and thought process but, rather, to stimulate the bank accounts of the toy manufacturers. No big surprise there. Unfortunately, the mentality to spoon-feed our children has spread to the school system as well. They are not taught to think for themselves anymore. Information is presented in small 'bytes', just a smidge, barely a taste. The media and movie industry dictate to all of us what we will see, believe, feel and think. Sadly, we allow ourselves to be trained to accept this, like Pavlov's dogs. We are considered rogue or maverick to display independent thought, to openly express opposing thought. Of course, our thinking cannot be solely based on imagination or our own perspective; else all of it would be skewed in a biased direction. We have a need to acquaint ourselves with accurate information and use that truth as a standard for all that passes through our minds. But humans are born to THINK, to REASON, to DREAM—to fashion their cogitations into reality. We cannot allow our imaginative ability to wither from lack of use. We must stimulate it, provoke it, tease it, infuriate it, revive it—poke it with an insistent dream and make it jump! Allow our thoughts to wander free, to explore, instead of forcing them onto a preconceived pathway. As they wander, they will develop into new and amazing inventions. Perhaps they will rediscover forgotten things that were once dear and familiar. Set aside a bit of time to probe your thoughts in a peaceful setting with the aim of arousing your boundless imagination!

"Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun."—George Scialabba