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.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Maine Retreat

I am back in Maine for a two week "retreat" to write, recharge, and create.  This is the first time I've been alone this long since my son was born (twelve years ago!).  I was full of trepidation as I set off with our two dogs and the car loaded down with all the supplies I might need for two weeks.  By the way, the car was as full as it is when all three of us head to Maine for two weeks!

I arrived in Eastport late Friday afternoon, picked up the keys to the apartment I have rented, and was greeted with this fabulous view from the deck:
I can watch the scallop boats head out early every morning.
The deck in the morning light -- such Maine light it is!
I have been having my morning coffee as I watch the sun rise over Campobello Island and the Cobscook bay.  Pretty sweet.

Before I head back to relaxation, research, and gathering sea glass, here are a couple of windows that I finished before I left home last week:

A hummingbird inspired by Jodie Apeseche, co-owner of Artisan's Way gallery in Concord, MA
Wild flowers
Enjoy this precious fall weather!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Inspiration from a Weekend in Maine

First, an image of the window that I finished before we left for our weekend away:
The blues show up the best here -- but there are purple flowers hiding in between.

David and I celebrated our 25th anniversary with a weekend in Southwest Harbor on Mt. Desert island.  The weather on Friday was perfect : one of the bright, clear, Maine days that makes you wish you could live there all the time.  After breakfast, we walked up the Asticou Terrace trail out of Northeast Harbor and visited the Thuya Gardens (designed by Charles Savage for the landscape architect Joseph Curtis, who designed the Asticou Terrace trails).  Here's a view of the harbor from one of the several small huts staggered along the trail:

In the gardens, there were many signs that the season is changing fast, but the salvia is still blooming:

The flower was nearly as big as my head!
 And the Dahlia's were huge:
Still, you can see the fall leaves in the moss garden:

And the red leaf in the small stream is a sure harbinger of change.

That afternoon we had a wonderful sail with David's uncle Joe on his new boat--which we concluded in fine style with tea and cookies on deck.  Thanks, Joe!

David and Joe on board.

Saturday was rainy, so we visited our friend Ellen Church (who is an extraordinary painter -- see some of her work at this link:, visited galleries nearby, and had a sleepy afternoon in front of the fire.  

But I couldn't leave Maine without a little beach-combing.  Here are a few of the inspirational treasures I gleaned:

It is thanks to 25 years of visiting Southwest Harbor and poking around on the shore in front of the house where we stay that I had enough seaglass to cover the wall in my bathroom a few years ago:
A tribute to Southwest Harbor

I know why so many artists call Maine their home....there is something about the place that inspires and nurtures creativity.