Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Generally, I am not a dog person. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against dogs. I have had or been around dogs all of my life. But my preference for a pet is a cat. Ironically, I don't have a cat. I do, however, have a dog. This dog. Her name is Bella. She is the closest pet to a cat that you could wish for. She snuggles in your lap every time you sit. She zeroes in on the people who are not necessarily dog-fans and makes them relate to her. She is highly interactive with her humans. She also has some very dog-like tendencies. She is quite talkative. She really, truly does care about who is at the door. She is a table-scrap aficionado. She likes to dance. She has a propensity to lick people. A lot. But, doggone it, I like the little critter! Plus, when I show her a new jewelry piece or glass beads I have made, she seems genuinely interested. Or else she thinks it is a treat. Either way, I'm flattered.
"My little dog- a heartbeat at my feet."- Edith Wharton
"Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that is how dogs spend their lives."- Sue Murphy

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Custom orders stimulate my imagination, especially when I know the person I am creating a piece for. I like nothing better than to receive a jewelry or bead custom order that is built around a specific color combination or style. If I know the customer personally, I think about who they are, what they love, their clothes, whether they are introverted or extroverted, quiet or animated. All of these factors influence what I ultimately create. If I do not know the customer, things get a bit more challenging. Then I have to do a bit of sleuthing to determine a design direction. Ask questions, talk to people who are close to the client. To be successful at custom work, I think you need to be in tune to people to some degree. As an artist, you definitely desire to be free to create what inspires you. To do custom work, though, requires you sacrifice some of your own desires to consider exactly what the client enjoys and then interpret that using you own artistic style. To me, this is the ultimate test as an artist. I love it, though sometimes I miss the mark and need to start over again. It keeps me humble.
Lately, I have been doing a great deal of custom work with a twist: remodeling old jewelry pieces. It seems like a form of recycling, in a way, getting those neglected old pieces of jewelry in your collection out and finding a way to rework them into something wonderful! So, please feel free to contact me if you feel a jewelry renovation is in order. Or if only something new is the answer, you know what to do!
(The bracelet in photo is available in my Artfire shop.)

"Jewelry takes people's minds off your wrinkles."- Sonja Henie

"These gems have life in them: their colors speak, say what words fail of."- George Eliot

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I am ever interested in the misunderstood persons who pepper our lives. Each one of us has, at times, felt the discomfort of being read incorrectly. When we have been misread, trying to convince the one who has misunderstood us is so often fruitless and frustrating. Complex personalities especially suffer in this regard. Even when we are well-acquainted with a complex person, we may impute wrong motives to their expressed thoughts and actions. For the misunderstood soul, life can be very frustrating, indeed. Sometimes the easiest way to express oneself can be through art. Since art is so visual, the artist's meaning can often be plainly expressed. When I think of oft-misunderstood persons, Vincent Van Gogh comes to my mind. Van Gogh undeniably had "issues". He was edgy and unstable. He was frequently depressed, and frequently hospitalized for his mental instabilities. Sadly, he died at a fairly young age by his own hand. I imagine he would have been a challenging person to befriend in life. I sense that he needed friends desperately. He needed to be understood and loved, as all humans do.

I attended a wonderful museum exhibit of Van Gogh's work a few months ago. Interestingly, some of the things that stood out consistently in his art are his compassion for humanity, his growth as a human and his evolving use of joyous color in his later works. Those who study Van Gogh often refer to his somewhat unhinged use of line and form in his art; but I can't help but appreciate the simple joy Van Gogh obviously found in nature, people and high-color contrasts. Color has a healing effect on our moods. To the extent possible, whether he realized it or not, art served as a form of self-therapy for Van Gogh. He was amazingly prolific, producing more than 2000 works in the last ten years of his life. I can only imagine what wonders he might have produced had he lived out a normal lifespan. In his lifetime, he only sold one of his paintings four months before his death. Ironically, now his works are studied and revered the world over.

Van Gogh's use of color inspires me in my own artwork. I love the quirkiness of line and form in his work, as well. The lines he used look as if the subjects of his works are melting together in a swirling riot of color. Van Gogh's art was incredibly expressive of his emotions and passions and utterly unique. I feel as if, in some small way, he has succeeded in revealing his inmost self to us and proved that he harbored great beauty inside his troubled exterior. What more could any artist hope to achieve?
"I dream of painting and then I paint my dream."
"A good picture is equivalent to a good deed."
"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever comes to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way."
(All of the above quotes are by Vincent Van Gogh)

Sunday, April 12, 2009


The dainty rustle of delicate maple leaves, casting intricate shadows on the path that lies before you. A hushed aura envelops you as you move deeper into the garden- a siren's call of cherry blossoms and teahouses, koi ponds and bamboo fences. Around every bend is a tiny world of delight, a fresh cozy pleasure. Japanese gardens are designed to contain little visual surprises, hidden views that caress your senses and arouse an air of mystery. You are compelled to continue your peaceful explorations and discover the next delicious scene. This type of garden is a collection of seemingly natural cubbyholes, all linked together in one exquisite open-air space. To me, strolling through a Japanese garden is one of life's great pleasures. I feel as if I am all alone in that beautiful sanctuary and am utterly safe. How I long to create a space like this in my own home. Gardening is not my forte, though I do enjoy it. Creating my own Japanese garden is probably a bit too ambitious for me. Instead, I relish the thought of making a space in my home with the same cubbyhole flavor of a Japanese garden- a space that is mine alone, my own "Fortress of Solitude".

Privacy is challenging to find in today's world. We will not simply stumble upon it. We must make it for ourselves. Once we have secured that privacy, we must fiercely protect it lest other things or persons struggle to encroach upon it. We run at a hectic pace in our daily lives and need a place of escape. So it is imperative that we claim a space somewhere in our home that can be our haven. If you are an artist or a writer, it is very likely that you have already found your space of peace. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have an entire studio or office to call your own. If so, personalize that space and make it uniquely yours. Surround yourself with what you love, whatever objects and colors inspire you. For me, I like organized clutter and inspirational sayings scattered about. Plan each detail of your sanctuary. After all, it is your space. Foof it up as you see fit. Books, if you enjoy reading; a desk and laptop, if you wish to write; art supplies in your favorite medium, if you want to create art; a chaise lounge for daydreams or naps. Make your retreat into a place that will calm your nerves and smooth your ruffled feathers: a zone-out zone just for you.

"Language has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone."- Paul Johannes Tillich

"Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."- Lorraine Hansberry

"I never said, 'I want to be alone.' I only said, 'I want to be left alone.' There is all the difference.- Greta Garbo

Monday, April 6, 2009


A journal is a storage container for the soul. In times past, I never kept a diary. I feared recording my innermost thoughts because I feared discovery. It is intimidating to reveal yourself. Of course, the term "diary" carries with it the implication of privacy. I imagine a little book under lock and key in my mind's eye. The term "journal", on the other hand, implies a more public display. I have recently immersed myself in a colorful form of journaling, specifically, art journaling. I am amazed at how creatively stimulating it is. My mind is brimming with inspiration every time I make an entry in my journal. I awaken ideas for bead and jewelry designs, poems, paintings, even blog posts! I learn to put things together in unexpected ways. An art journal is a factory for inspiration generation and spirit re-generation. Art journaling is surprisingly therapeutic. I highly recommend beginning your own art journal. Don't tell yourself, "I can't draw!" or "I have nothing important to say". Everyone can draw; you used to do it all the time when you were a kid. It's not a contest and doesn't have to be perfect. Even if you only draw abstract forms, the colors and shapes you choose reveal much regarding your moods. And as for what to say: if you don't know where to start, there are a number of websites that have prompts to get your mental juices flowing. Who knows where journaling may lead you? In the meantime, enjoy the process.

"Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us."- Oscar Wilde

"Every man's memory is his private literature."- Aldous Huxley

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." - Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith