Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am working on a new series of focal beads that I refer to as "Atmospheric". I get so excited when I work on one of these beads! They always make me think of intense weather brewing overhead, thus the name. I love a good storm! An early memory of mine is being home alone when I was about 7 years old. It was a dark and stormy night, really. My mom had left me there alone because my brother had injured himself and had to be taken to the hospital. Mom wanted me to inform my father about the happenings (no cell phones in those days). So, I waited for my dad while a wild Texas thunderstorm raged outside. The power went out. I was totally freakin'. Finally, Dad's key turned in the door. Never have I been so happy to see anyone! I was crying, shaking and twitchy. But I made it through. And, strangely, ever since that night, I LOVE thunderstorms. The wilder, the better. Go figure.

Back to the beads: every one is unique with organic patterning and lots of interesting reactions in the glass. One of the glasses used in these beads is called Anice White. It causes a curdled look to appear in the glass, like curdled milk, minus the smell. Thank goodness!

The patterning in these beads comes from allowing the many layers and colors of glass to melt into a great big goopy glob and then using gravity to move the glass around until thoroughly swirled. That is my layman's description of the creation process! Hey, I'm an artist, not a scientist.

These beads look a lot like stones. I often have people ask me what type of stone they are. I think they are perfect for a masculine jewelry design, as well as any very organic, natural pieces. These will be a regular feature in my Etsy bead store. I make at least one whenever I sit down at my torch! So irresistible to make.

"True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist."- Albert Einstein

"Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm."- Unknown
(Bead pictured in post is available in my Etsy shop.)

Friday, October 16, 2009


What puts a sparkle in your eye? What are the most valuable gems in your mental jewelry box? Life is full of so many priceless and multi-faceted treasures. Have you ever stopped to make a list of things you hold dear? I did, just for kicks and grins. I included a lot of little, somewhat obscure observations that touch my heart. It was an incredibly pleasant exercise for the old 'positive' muscles. Here's a sampling of the jewels I prize:

1) Seeing a rainbow. 2) Holding your newborn baby for the first time. 3) A purring cat, curled in your lap. 4) The delighted belly laugh of a child. 5) The smell of fresh-mown grass. 6) The profound silence of a deep cave. 7) The crackle of a campfire on a chilly, dark night. 8) The split-second flash of a meteor in the night sky. 9) Live voices joined in harmonious song. 10) Surveying my collection of colorful art supplies. 11) When someone you love tells you they love you. 12) A hug of true forgiveness.

I could go on and on. My point is, take a few minutes today to reflect on those small but precious moments that give your life real meaning. This type of reflection is enriching. It swells your heart with appreciation that can then be translated to other aspects of your daily life. To live life with an attitude of gratitude is truly fulfilling. After all, life is a gift. How do you treat the gifts you receive? Do you carelessly rip open the packaging or gently and slowly remove the tape and save the gift wrap? Do you save the box, recycle or throw it away? How about the contents of the box, the actual gift? Do we use it, store it and forget about it, re-gift it, or throw it away?

Some gifts or treasures we value more than others. What we value is really quite a personal choice. I am on this ramble due to a discussion with my kid today about what we should value in life. What we value is a true reflection of who we are or who we may become. Definitely something to think about and, when necessary, to re-assess. Why not make your own list of "jewels"? You may surprise yourself with what you come up with.

"Try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of value."- Albert Einstein

"When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier."- Roy Disney

"A jewel should be judged by the light in a lady's eyes."- Anonymous

Friday, October 9, 2009


The illustrations in children's books have always captured my heart. They are ripe with color and full of fun and mischief. When I was a little girl, I especially enjoyed the Raggedy Ann books, written and illustrated by Johnny Gruelle. They were among the first books I ever read.
I have been wanting to post about the beautiful illustration accompanying this post for quite some time. This is an original illustration that I have in my personal art collection (be sure to click on the picture to see it full-sized, as it was meant to be seen). I found it at a flea market a few years ago, behind a pile of dusty, neglected paintings, in a tattered frame. I was instantly charmed by the unquestionable talent of the artist to illustrate exquisite detail in such an appealing manner (look closely at the texture of the water). When I got it home, I removed it from its frame and was thrilled to see information about the artist handwritten in pencil on the back of the illustration. I thought it was probably an illustration for a children's book and I was apparently correct. The illustrator is one Karl Evans Hoefle. This was the third of an unknown number of illustrations for the story, "Arlie, the Misunderstood Horse", by Janet Reynolds Felt. I do not know if this story was ever published. I have researched it on the internet and haven't gotten very far with my sleuthing. I did manage to discover that the illustrator and the author were married to each other and had a daughter. I, for one, would love to see the story that is meant to accompany this illustration. So, if anyone reading this has any leads for me, please let me know!

Flea markets can be such interesting places. You never know what may be discovered in your quest. Sometimes a little treasure just may jump out at you, like this lovely picture. I plan to go again soon to hunt for vintage jewelry and other goodies to use in some of my designs. Usually, I'm not a big fan of garage sales and the like. I am starting to change my viewpoint, though. So many unique inspirations are available to the open-minded artist- the possibilities are truly endless. Happy hunting!
"Almost every unselfish wish in the world comes true"- from "Raggedy Ann in the Deep, Deep Woods" by Johnny Gruelle

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I dearly love visiting art museums and galleries. I view this activity as a smorgasbord for the eyes. The visual offerings are staggering, the variety, overwhelming. I once traveled over 300 miles to see a special art exhibit that was not coming to my local museum. The theme of the exhibit focused on works of the great impressionists, over 300 rarely exhibited paintings from the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan. It literally took HOURS to see it all (and that was without the recorded tour). The exhibit was incredibly rich. I was exhausted afterward, utterly spent. But my imagination was euphoric, stimulated beyond measure by all that I had seen. The long journey to view that show was completely worthwhile.

I had a similar experience in Santa Fe about two years ago. I decided to stroll down the famous Canyon Road, a mile-long stretch of gallery after gallery. I entered every single gallery that day! Again, hours later, I emerged from the last gallery, my feet weary, my mind oversaturated by the experience and my heart happy.

These art excursions are so good for me. They refine my taste and help me to regain my artistic focus. They inspire fresh form and color combinations in my own work. I am also ever intrigued by each object that is represented as "art". Of course, some things are universally considered to be art- for instance, the Grand Canyon, a spectacular sunset, or a tender rose. Hoever, all HUMAN representations of art are subjective, that is, based on or influenced by personal opinions. What may be considered high art in this day and age might have been viewed as garbage in another time period, absolutely laughable as art. Today the word "art" has a much broader application. Many things designated as art by one person may not truly be seen as such by another.

Art has always required an open mind. For example, when what we call the 'great impressionists' first presented their now famous/ infamous paintings, they were soundly rejected by the art world of their day. With few exceptions, these 'impressionists' were not allowed to exhibit in the great art salons of their time. The rejection they experienced could have been crushing. Instead, these artists did not let the narrow view of art critics dampen their spirits or deter them from the continual creation of their art. They arranged their own exhibitions, promoted themselves and their fresh take on art. Gradually, impressionistic art became a smashing success, still greatly admired today.

I try to keep all of this in mind when thinking of my own art productions. I think it is all about having confidence in your own work and abilities. Some of the things I make I feel incredibly confident about. I love these pieces without question and find it difficult to part with them. In my opinion, they are "art". There are other pieces I've made that I'm not so wild about. Usually these are commissioned pieces. I guess the reason I don't bond so readily with these pieces is because they do not spring entirely from my own imagination. Commissioned art is a collaborative effort, involving both artist and client. The client's own ideas influence the direction the piece will take. Collaboration can be interesting- you never know what the end result may be. Sometimes, when that end is reached, I think to myself, " The client will either love this or hate this. The jury is still out for me.". To my surprise, most of the time the client is more than satisfied. I almost feel as if I just got away with something. This feeling is probably attributable to the fact that I feel a little less confident about making something that incorporates another's ideas. Admittedly, commissions do make me a little nervous because they involve a great deal of communication. Sometimes people don't communicate very well. When that happens, it's back to the drawing board.

There are times when I am tempted to disassemble a rejected piece. I recently experienced this very thing. One of my commissions was rejected by the client. I was rather frustrated because I had worked hard on it. I set it aside until I could decide what to do with it. The next day, a friend visited me in my studio, saw the piece and swooped. She now owns it. I feel infinitely better about it. You just never know how someone is going to view your creation. What one person rejects, another may adore. I find it difficult to remain objective about my own work. For me, the moral of the story is to present my work with confidence. Make sure the quality of the piece is high and put it out there. Someone might just love it!
"Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion."- Vincent van Gogh
"Other people's opinion of you does not have to become your reality."- Les Brown
(Bead featured in this post for sale in my Etsy shop.)