Friday, December 16, 2011

Keeping spirits bright

I've been struggling with Lupus since before Thanksgiving, but I wanted to post the brighter moments from the past several weeks -- because I have found that the way to live with this illness is to try and stay upbeat (notice I said "try" -- it doesn't always work!).  So, here are some bright spots....

I finished a few new windows that I quite like.  Behold:
This one was commissioned by a friend (can't so who until the holidays are over!). 

I was thinking of the song "Field of Barley" after my friend Dennis requested it at an open mic (see, I can still get out!).  But those darn poppies keep possessing me :^).  Poppies and Barley?  hmmmmm...
I also had a great time at the UMass Lowell Center for Women and Work craft fair ("Women's Works).  Here is a  shot of my table there -- all orts and fragments!

And some of my happiest moments have been so spontaneous: driving to pick up Griff at school and watching a flock of birds swoop and bathe in a rain puddle and then take off to dry in a tree; catching the sun on leaves and branches in Harvard Square when I was in to have coffee with a friend; or the magical lights of a pre-Christmas evening in Portland, Maine as we strolled with good friends whom we have missed so much (okay, I'm about to start singing "A few of my favorite things" here!). These keep my spirits bright:


And, finally, a moment of self indulgence that might embarrass my son: Brightest of all moments was seeing Griffin help produce the Winter Show at his school!  You rock, Griff.

Happy Holidays, all!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The End of November

What an amazing November we have had in Massachusetts!  It's been so sunny and warm that the plants don't quite know what to do with themselves.  Witness this sweet cherry tree blooming in Boston Common today:

Here is another photo from the Common that reveals the beauty of this last day of November:

But what made the day most exquisite for me is that I got to spend it walking and talking with my friend Gigi Thibodeau -- someone I have sorely missed in the many months that we have been apart.  Here's a flower for you, Gigi!

And for those of you who have been waiting to see the finished image of the transom window that was in my studio, here's what I've been working on lately --

Farewell, November! Tomorrow is "Women's Works" -- the craft fair/fundraiser for The Center for Women and Work.  It's at the ICC in Lowell; stop by if you're free between 2 and 7!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two new windows

I've been busy making windows, but I only have two to show at the moment.  One is another variation on the poppies and tulips  -- I just can't seem to get enough of these shapes!  This one is available for sale at Artisans Way in Concord: 

This other is a more abstract piece playing with flame shapes and some beautiful reds and oranges I picked up at Absolute Glass in Methuen.

I took a little trip up to New Hampshire in search of interesting antique windows.  I found a few --but I have to say: they aren't cheap!  It makes me especially grateful for all of you folks who have supplied me with windows -- it keeps my expenses down considerably.

Here's a shot of my studio with one of the small transom windows I bought.  I'll post a better image once I've grouted it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Last few warm days of 2011...

After our freaky October snow storm -- that left so many people without power (many still!) -- we've had glorious warm days lately.  Tomorrow rain and cooler temperatures are supposed to return, so I took the chance to do a little yard clean up. A task that isn't much fun in the humid heat of August and September can be such a blast on a precious warm day in November!  I took a few shots of the late afternoon (we're talking 3 o'clock -- it IS November, after all!):

The watering can and dying oat grass in the sunlight give me that bittersweet feeling that only arrives in late fall.  The colors are so rich and so fleeting.  But there were still a few fighters blooming in the garden:

 The perennial chrysanthemums and veronica  seem so remarkable after there have been more than six inches of snow on the ground!

 And there are still frogs in the pond!

Enjoy these days!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Oh my god!!!!

So, just a quick post to share the news:  I took five of my mosaic windows to the Five Crows gallery in Natick yesterday to be considered for inclusion in the gallery.  They have a "Jury" process.  The jury meets on the last friday of every month, so I was planning to go over today and get the "bad news" that they would not be interested in them, or that they could only take one.  But -- you guessed it -- they want them all!!  
And, and, and -- they sold one already.  They've only had them since yesterday and they hadn't even judged until this morning, but they've sold one already! 
I've been jumping around the house for the last ten minutes (the dogs think I've lost my mind)!  

So here are the windows they have:

The colors in this photo are a bit off, but you get the idea -- I hope.

A hummingbird -- inspired from a painting by Jodie Apeseche

Moon in Maine

Hokusai-inspired wave -- this is the one that sold
Vining flowers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Inspiration from the Divine Lynda Barry

Okay, when I start opening up to creativity, I can't help but to see the way the world responds (is that self-centered, egotistic, solipsistic....?? You bet!). But I feel so lucky right now:  I just came from a two hour writing workshop with the extraordinarily gifted, talented, funny, and gracious Lynda Barry!  And yesterday I heard her talk at UMass Lowell AND got to go out to dinner with her and a bunch of other wonderful people -- smell me.  If you don't know Lynda's work, I urge you to explore this site where you can find just about everything you need to keep you happy, entertained, weeping, laughing.... for years to come.  Promise.

Lynda's workshop today took us all into that creative part of our brains that doesn't stop to edit and judge -- the place where we get close to what she calls "deep play."  If you're interested in her process, get a copy her wonderful book What It Is -- a resource, inspiration, and guide all in one.

 Or, take a look at this video:

Lynda's lecture yesterday was inspiring and reminded me that I need to continue to find ways to stay in touch (daily!) with the part of my brain that engages in serious play.  At mid-career, I have virtually lost my sense of play (notice I DID NOT say mid-life? Yep, like Mario Martinez says in The Mind-Body Code, we get to live to 150 -- so there's no way I'm middle-aged.  Got it!?). But play is where it's at; just ask Lynda Barry. She knows. 

Here are a few pictures of the mischievous spirit we were all in at dinner last night:

Lynda cajoles Jean-Marie Gavarini into eating more pasta!
Lynda and Paula Haines trade stories!

Lynda holds the door so the fun won't stop! (And, yes, that's my
handsome husband in the background.)

Who knew I could get so excited about a bite of Julie Nash's steak?

I confessed this to Lynda, so I might as well tell the world: I have a crush on this woman!  Who wouldn't?

Can we make it an annual event???

I know I promised a post on my two weeks in Eastport, Maine.  But every time I sit down to write about it I'm stumped: how do I summarize such a magical experience?  And I'm not even worried about sounding "touchy feely" or anything like that -- I probably will!  I just can't seem to make it all squish down to a few paragraphs of description.

Let me just say that it was a creative dream:  I had so much energy and joy to put into my work ---- and, thanks to my family who made it possible for me to get away, I could stay awake for hours to see an idea through and know that the only thing I had to worry about in the morning was getting the dogs out for their morning constitutional before there was an accident.  Then I could be right back at my little table with a cup of coffee and everything I needed for creating.  Creating what?  Well...  a lot of my energy went into jewelry -- the rest went into taking care of me.  

I can show you the jewelry:

There are about 15 necklaces on the mannequin, a journal I made while there, and "thank you" cards for me dear friends Lissa and Lindy who nurtured me for those two delightful weeks.
If you look closely, you will find that many of these necklaces feature little "sea treasures" from my gleanings on the Eastport shores.

Okay, so that's the jewelry part; but how do I convey the "me" part (which, by the way, is not separate from what I'm making)?  I am going to defer to the Dalai Lama:

Thanks, Pina, for posting this on Facebook!

I think that I am finally waking up to how very important it is for me to take care of myself.  Time away, loving family and friends, all the other support in my life: these have helped me to this realization.  Now the journey will be learning how to maintain self-care.  So, clearly, I need to make the two week retreat an annual event. 

Finally, I just have to indulge in some images from Eastport:
Looking at the harbor below my deck. 
Cobscook Bay

A blueberry field in autumn glory.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More sea treasures (or is that trash?)

In an earlier post about gleaning treasures from the sea, I quoted Thoreau describing the beach as a "wild, rank place....a vast morgue" and I blithely suggested that one man's morgue is another girl's treasure chest -- or some such nonsense.  Well, on Monday I had that all put into a new perspective:  My friend Lissa, who lives here in Eastport, mentioned that there is a beach below a dump that hasn't been used since the turn of the last century.  "Ahhhh, treasures!" I thought.  Well, yes, there were treasures; and to balance my post, I'll begin with an image of some treasures I gleaned.
marbles, medicine bottles, ceramic shards, and even a little porcelain bird!

Yes, there were treasures.  But what shocked me was all of the trash!  I'm not talking "modern" trash -- so, fortunately, there was no plastic -- but so much glass and metal that I was really glad I had my hiking boots on.  In fact, as the waves came in, I didn't hear the customary swish of water on sand or rocks but the tinkle of glass -- like wind chimes under water.  Here are a few shots of the scene of what we humans offer the landscape:
notice the melted bottle? Yes, the dump fires left a lot of strangely shaped glass
I'm not sure the tire is vintage turn of the century!

The child's size insole was poignant in all the detritus

I know that we generate more (and worse) trash today, but the site of all this sliding into the ocean made me think of the lifespan of all the objects I have, use, and/or discard.  Yes, we recycle now.  But I couldn't help thinking of the huge knot of plastic in the pacific ocean as I picked treasures from this trash.

Stay tuned for a more uplifting post about my amazing two weeks in Eastport, Maine!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Full Moon

I couldn't resist posting a couple of images of last night's full moon rising over Cobscook Bay with Campobello Island in the background:

In the gloaming light
In full darkness

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gleaning in Eastport

"It is a wild, rank place, and there is no flattery in it. Strewn with crabs, horseshoes, and razor clams, and whatever the sea casts up,—a vast morgue, where famished dogs may range in packs, and crows come daily to glean the pittance which the tide leaves them."  Henry David Thoreau

Well, perhaps I am a bit like the crow that Thoreau mentions: I cannot be near the sea without spending some (considerable) time gleaning "the pittance which the tide leaves."  Here is some of what I gathered today:
I love all the sea pottery.  And finding the little statue and pipette was like discovering buried treasure! 

Here's a closer looker at the torso.
I made a few pieces of jewelry with some of the treasures I gleaned on Saturday, but I haven't yet envisioned the best way to feature my little torso.  
Here are a few shots of one of the necklaces I made with gleanings from Thoreau's "vast morgue":
A ceramic piece with holes and a ceramic insulating tube became the focal point of this necklace.

A closer look at the curious little ceramic piece (that might be for electrical use).

Clearly, some of what "the sea casts up" in Eastport is not going to remain in the morgue if I come upon it.  It will adorn my neck instead! 
(And if it's sea glass, it might adorn my walls -- but we'll save that for another post.)