Chuck and I drove up to Astoria yesterday to check out a cooler for our local food co-op...I went along to drive and take photos and managed to stop at a few viewpoints on the way home to catch some of the wonderful skies....we had every kind of weather except (thank goodness!) snow....sun, rain, hail and most of it just coming in waves, so we'd have hail and 2 minutes and a mile or two down the road it would stop and a bit further along we'd have sun! The kind of weather we're used to having on the coast in the winter, thankfully!
Also got a shot or two of the container ships waiting in the columbia to go upriver to portland or go back out to sea across the bar, or maybe all of the above...
Also got a photo of my patch of stitching from outside, but it still doesn't show the irridescence of the sheer fabric that's on top of the dark fibers....maybe I'll try another shot taken at an angle...and I found some interesting trim that I may use for the strap, but I'll have to do some stitching on it first...and a possible button as a closure...if I make one.
It's sure fun making a purse improvisationally!

boy, blogger sure arranges photos in a weird way...I'd call it ugly, but I'm too lazy to go back and see if I can fix if...


Blog Changes

I think for the next few days I'll try some changes to the look of the blog...and then on the 1st I can put up the final changes...although with blogger making it so easy now to change the look of the blogs, I might change it more often...at least the header photo.


I'm thinking of adding the 5.5 inch square to the purse...still looking for something to use as a strap/hanger though...


New Bag

I bought some upholstery material to recover a camel saddle footstool and had some left over so I'm making a purse...haven't made one in years so it will be very simple...just have to find some cord for the handle...the solid green is a silky material I'm using to line it.


Creative Every Day

I've been wondering what challenge to take up for next year and after looking at dozens, I've decided to do the Creative Every Day challenge that artist Leah Kolidas hosts...
What I love the most about it (besides the no-guilt aspect, lol) is that you can change mediums from day to day...although my major love is fiber/bead embroidery, some days I'm just not up to picking up a needle. But leah considers all aspects of life as avenues for creativity (cooking, gardening, etc. as well as the traditional arts/crafts) so I feel I'll be inspired to do something creative every day, or maybe just notice that I do something creative every day already, but just haven't been honoring it? Anyway, I'm excited about doing this and although I may not write something every day, I am going to at least post a photo of each day's CED's.

Couching Fibers

I've been playing with this photo for an hour in photoshop and I still can't get it to show the richness of color in the original piece...maybe I'll try taking the photo in daylight...


Happy Holidays

December BJP Finished...done with a few days to spare...my much simpler version of the lovely black madonna and child Russian icons...and my holiday e-card for my blog...and new header...talk about re-using!
Happy Holidays to all the fine folks who stop by throughout the year and may your new year be full of joy and peace.


Solstice Thoughts

This is one of my favorite days of the year as we turn back toward the lighter days and shorter nights.
I'm remembering a winter 37 years ago when we had just come back from our trip to Mexico, gotten married, and decided to give living in california a try...we gave away a lot of stuff, stored a couple of tables with friends and put all we owned, plus our siamese cat, chisai, who had gone with us to Mexico in our bus, back into the bus and headed for San Jose.
As it turned out, the endless sun paled a bit after a few months and we headed back to the cooler, wetter pacific northwest that suited us so much better...but I've always been glad we gave it a try instead of wondering later in life if we'd missed something.
Here're a few photos I dug out today...me and chisai and the van at our tiny hotel in San Miguel de Allende...the van by itself and a couple of photos taken from the hills above the town....can't remember if the photos were from our trip into town or when we were heading out...but it was a lovely few weeks we spent there and still hope to return someday.
The black madonna and child are beaded...the next step isn't yet clear though, so they may sit a bit...


Moving Again

I'm getting excited about seeing how this comes out again...


CyberFyber Postcard Slide Show

Here's a link to susan lenz's slide show of the postcards she traded with artists all over the world (me included!)...the CyberFyber show (which includes the postcards, ATC's and invitational work from selected artists) runs from January 8 - 20, 2009 at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, but the cyber show will be at the blog...how kewl to have both an online show and an "actual" gallery show!


Snow Day

Not a lot, but more than we usually get and earlier....good morning to stay in and work on xmas presents...



I have no idea what I'm doing here, but it's sure fun...I did this yesterday while gallery sitting, so today I'm going to see about adding some other fabric or fibers to it...
The color in the photo is miles off, but I'll correct it next time...it's much warmer and deeper.


What If?

I've followed jude hill's blog for quite some time now and she's been a major inspiration in my quest to lessen the beads and crank up the fiber/threads in my work...along with her first blog, Spirit Cloth, she's also got a blog called, What If, where she (and others) ask just that question and then answer it with fabric and thread...
I don't know if her flickr group is still open, but I didn't think she'd mind too much if I play along in my blog.
Since starting is always the most difficult part for me, I thought I'd make it simple and just ask myself, "what if I put these fabrics together in a simple collage? This is play, pure and simple and I hope I can keep that attitude!


A Bit Further Along

I did a bit more on the icon today but just a little since I had an informal lesson with a couple of friends this afternoon. Neither one had done herringbone so we went through the steps to begin that and then the beginning of flat even peyote...I have fun teaching the two stitches but have not been tempted away from my bead embroidery...and of course, I use the peyote stitch for my face bezels, so it's not like I've abandoned it entirely.


Actually Begun

But would you believe this is a whole afternoons work?


Robin's Post on Selling Your Work

I know that most of you who read here are already members of the BJP but for those who aren't I'd like to add a link to robin atkin's blog, beadlust. She's written an honest and sensitive post about her feelings about selling her work and has requested feedback from some of us who also sell our work.
I first have to say that I've never had to make a living by selling my work...I've always had a "day job" that supported both me and my beadwork. However, I have been selling my work since 1988...first my digital art and then my beaded jewelry when I started beading. And unlike many beaders who start out beading as a hobby and then gradually get into the artistic aspects of it, I came to beadwork as an artist who had a background in other mediums and beads just became another medium for making art to me.
But in 1998, when I was laid off from my job as a graphic designer and couldn't find another comparable job in our small coastal community, I thought I'd see if I could make at least a partial living from my jewelry. By 2000 I had work in 8 oregon galleries and was averaging several hundred dollars a month...not a lot, but I thought it was a good beginning. And then the GW Bush years began and my sales began to drop and a couple of my galleries closed and it went downhill from there.
So, I began to consider doing the kind of production work that robin is talking about in order to boost my sales but I realized fairly soon that it just wasn't for me. Not only was it boring to me to do virtually the same pieces over and over, but they weren't even selling...so I took another look at our situation and got a parttime job at our visual arts center which brought in a small but steady paycheck each month and went back to just making what I want to make. Now and then I get worried about money and make a few smaller, cheaper things to put into my etsy shop, but I find that even the less expensive work isn't selling....so I go back again to making what I want to make....the kind of things that no one else is doing....that are just from me....and they are their own reward, as robin says. And mostly I'm satisfied...but now and then, when I see some of my friends who are able to do production work making a good living at it, I feel a bit sad that my work isn't valued in the same way theirs is...and then I remember van gogh and it reminds me that whether my work sells or not has little to do with it's true value...and that even if I never sold another piece, I'd still keep on making it because it's what gets me up in the morning and keeps me on a more or less even keel through some pretty steep ups and downs and finally, that it's just what I have to do because I'm an artist and I make things...

Life, Life and more Life...

Sorry to be such a slug, but I have nothing new to show today....I've got lots of excuses...bad back, work, anniversary and friends' visiting, but what it all amounts to is I've hit a bit of a snag. I don't know where the muse has been but she's sure not been at my studio lately!
I think it may have something to do with the time of year...I hate to admit it, but christmas just isn't any fun any more. Since my mom moved back up to Washington, we now have a 5-7 hour drive to get to her (depending on traffic, accidents, all that stuff) and it's not a fun drive. There are now so many people on the road that it doesn't matter how early you start, it will still be bumper to bumper all the way up I-5 from Oregon to Washington. And while I took that as a fun challenge when I was in my 40's, now that I'm almost 60, I find it a trying challenge, and if I could vaporize all the idiots driving while talking on their cell phones, I'm afraid I'd do it! So, I guess I'm now officially a cranky old lady or crone or auntie, depending on your viewpoint!
On the plus side, time is now passing so quickly that the holidays will be over soon and I can settle into january and see about getting some work done! I've removed my work from all but one of my galleries and am now still figuring out what to do next...so I think the next few months at least, if not the next year, I will be playing around with fabric, fiber and beads, until my next step hits me on the head...at least that's usually how it happens. I rarely slide gracefully from one series to another, it's more like being a hockey puck, whacked first in one direction then in another, but at least I'm still moving, lol!
Thanks for all your patience and I will make every effort to get some work done here so I can post something much more interesting than my seasonal angst!


Moving Along

I've gotten as far as picking out my palette of beads...all size 13 charlottes...still have some nailheads and/or sequins to add and maybe a few other items to make it look more icon-like. I tried using alcohol ink on the silver hands to color them darker but it's not been too successful, so I'm considering just making/baking some with black sculpey...


Back to Work

Every December our local city-owned art gallery (where I work parttime) has a push pin show that is open to all county residents....all ages, all mediums BUT the piece has to be hung using not more than 4 push pins....that cuts out most sculpture and all heavy, large painting, etc. but it still brings in some of the most fun art work of the year. I think our youngest artists are from the montessori school and are probably around 4-5 and the oldest (at least once) in their 90's! Chuck and I always enter a piece and this is mine for this year....I usually don't submit beadwork...I take this time to play with something I normally don't do. This piece is made from an old balsa wood cigarillo box with some wooden print blocks that say, DO IT, a polyclay mask/face made by a friend of mine, a small accordion book of some of my very early digital prints called Masks, some amusement park tokens, a clothespin I painted black and added an incised copper collar to and on the top, a digital photo of one of our flowers that I used a filter on...I had fun putting it all together and I think it will be a fun piece for the show.
Second photo is the very beginning of my December BJP...I'm thinking of a black madonna and child and my inspiration for this piece is some of the Russian Icons I've been collecting photos of for years...they've always fascinated me, for some reason.
Anyway...at least I'm back to work again!



Gee, I didn't realize it had been a week since I'd been here....doing lots of stuff other than beading, so I just didn't think to post.
Today a friend came to town and we did our usual meet with lots of wip's, books, mags and other fun things to share. We got a bit of beading done....we also dropped by a sale another friend was having and I managed to score a few vintage sample cards, so I have some photos to post tonight.
Two of the cards have vintage lucite beads and the third card is of metal embellishments (for shoes, I think)...and as usual, the photos don't quite capture the aurora borealis effect all that well, but you can get a general idea.
I've been beading some of the crazy lace agates I bought a couple of weeks ago and I was also going to make bails for a few abalone disks I had bead-bezeled quite a while ago and just haven't gotten around to finishing.
So...a few beads were sewn down today anyway!


Beading finished on C Card

I'll add some text to the photo in photoshop and it will be ready to go...as soon as I decide which version I'm going to use.


The C Word

I'm sorry to mention it so soon, but I'm beading my christmas card already...well, I have to....first I have to finish it, then photograph it and then make up the cards to put the photos on and THEN send them out! Heck, it's almost december already...
anyway the background is a dark moss green silky material and the tree is a silk weave with metallic thread...the garland is the tiny steel cuts in gold and the star is a starfish charm...I've still got some ornaments to add and the words...joy, love and peace and it will be done.
I also did some business cards designing for a friend and we bartered our work, so I've now got 5 new original faces from her....she left them in the original sculpey so I can color them myself...I love her work - she does dolls and furniture and painting....multi-talented gal who always surprises and delights me with her work...thanks karen!


A Day of sharing words

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

and the photo is a painting by artist/friend Darrell Roberts (1938-2008)

Read about a day of sharing words here...maybe you'd like to join too?


Win a Cuff

Here's a chance to win a gorgeous cuff from Jackie at Dogdaisychains just by commenting on your wrist size.


Well, I'm back to work again...got a bit more done on the blues piece and have picked out some of the crazy lace agate pieces to work on....at first I thought of a couple of pendants but now I'm thinking I might incorporate them into my december bjp piece...if I listen just a bit longer, I'm sure they'll tell me what to do...;)


New Stuff at Etsy

I've added a number of pieces to my etsy shop and after visiting a friend's new gallery opening I ended up taking these amazing crazy lace agate beads home...I think I'll make a couple pairs of earrings with the smaller beads and use a few of the larger ones like cabs in a larger bead embroidery piece...or something else entirely, lol!

From Pin Tangle to Retro Cafe Art

Just a quick note to let fans of Sharon B's In a Minute Ago know that she's moved her blog and renamed it as well. It's now Pin Tangle and is being hosted by a paid service.
I love the new look and the energy boost the move has given to sharon's blog!
And Kristin Hubick of Retro Cafe Art is hosting a wonderful give-away...check it out!



We've been doing a lot of walking the last couple of days...chuck went out and took a long walk in the rain yesterday, then I took a walk early this morning along the bay just as the tide was changing and then we took one together on the other side of the bay, looking back toward our side.


Another Light Gone

Another light in our family has gone out...our dear friend darrell, who we have known for 25 years passed away unexpectedly monday night. It was a shock as he had gone in to the hospital with a broken hip and we expected a long recuperation afterward, but he never woke up after the operation. It's very hard to really believe he's gone.
Darrell and I had a rocky beginning to our friendship as he was very ADD and his idea of logic was a bit convoluted to put it mildly...but eventually we found that we could talk about Art without argument and that bond stayed strong over the years. In fact, I think most of what I feel I know about art, I learned from Darrell. He taught me to see beyond the surface and into the heart and soul of an object...or maybe into the heart and soul of it's maker....I know we didn't always like the same work, in fact, our personal taste in artists were pretty dissimilar, but our taste in actual objects were very alike. I have a number of pieces of art and craft that he bought or created (he was also an artist) over the years and then passed on to me when he'd had them for a while. I always think of him when I see them and they will always remind me of him in the future.
But what I'll treasure the most is knowing that whenever I truly see something, I will be seeing it partly through his eyes as well. And maybe I'll even hear his voice in my head...we've known each other for so long, I bet I'll know what he'd say.
I'm counting the blessings of knowing Darrell today...and thanks to our friend Bob Barry for this wonderful photo of Darrell.


Fall BJP Finished

I've finished my autumn bjp pieces....I'd spent the last couple of weeks not doing much beading due to teddy's passing and other issues and yesterday it felt like a dam broke and I just kept on going until the last two months were beaded and backed. They all have a plain black cotton back with a small sleeve at the top and I'm handing them from some old chopsticks I got at a garage sale.
The last piece (or first in blogger's reverse order) is november and it has a small gold cat charm sitting by a magenta stream with two small gold birdies watching him and being watched...and the name teddy, over the shell oval the stream is pouring out from. A couple of days before he died, teddy walked out to the little stream (runoff from the hills) in our back yard and sat in the sun in his favorite spot under one of the curly willows.
Now I can finished the blue piece and start a couple of pieces I promised to friends months ago....luckily my friends are all patient!


Gem Faire

I celebrated my birthday yesterday with a trip to eugene with friends...we did the gem faire and then lunch...then we visited harlequin beads and then one last run through the gem faire. It's held at the fairgrounds and is in a huge building with many vendors....the only downside from my pov, is that most of the vendors sell the larger stone and semi-precious beads and not very many do the seed beads....but I did get a lovely selection of my favorites, abalone and pearls. (and I don't really need any seed beads anyway!) I was tempted by some of the interesting chains and other metal findings, but I held to my "list" (mostly, lol) and didn't quite break the bank!
With all the lovely leaves swirling around eugene yesterday, I was inspired to buy some abalone leaves and flowers, as well as some red coral flowers...since we have hit a heat wave, even here on the coast, we still have flowers blooming and leaves on the trees, although the wind is picking up this morning, so we'll have a few less by tonight! I also found some MOP butterflies and one more clay face by Dana Swisher, a eugene artist.
I'm working at the upstairs gallery this afternoon (at our local visual arts center), so will get a few hours of beading in today...


Adieu, sweet prince...

Our teddy cat finally left us last night...he was 14 years old and quite ready to go, we think.
He was just a year old when we moved to the park 13 years ago and I knew we'd never lose another cat to traffic here. This is a blocks-long dead end and the speed limit is 10mph and mostly only the UPS guy goes faster and even then, he can only go about 15mph because of the speed bumps and the narrowness of the road...
Teddy loved it here...he had his routine and his territory and the last few years he'd even mellowed a bit on the big black cat who lives across the road...I like to think they finally achieved detente, if not friendship.
Rest in peace, sweet boy, and give chi a rub from me...


I Still Have a Dream

I was reminded last night by Barack Obama's speech of the I Have A Dream speech of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr....I was 13 years old when I heard that speech in 1963 and I was 18 when MLK was assasinated, and I've never gotten over either event.
But listening to Senator Obama it was clear that he was also remembering and referring to that speech...and a big part of me felt that maybe my generation had done a few worthwhile things in our time here...but there's also a part of me that is very afraid for the Senator and disappointed in my fellow citizens in their stubborn insistence on clinging to old bigotries and stereotypes.
We've come a fair way toward justice for all in this country, but we have a long way to go yet and no time to rest on our laurels. And if we don't stop treating this beautiful world of ours like a disposible roll of toilet paper, we're all going to be flushed down with it.
I usually focus on the positive and creative in this blog, mainly because I believe that focusing on the negative just strengthens it...but I wanted to stand up tonight and be counted...and to promise myself that I will work even harder in the future to be a fair and compassionate person and grateful for all the luck I've had in being born a citizen of this country at this time.
Bless you all.....and tomorrow we'll return to our regular schedule of creativity and sharing...

Everybody Has the (democratic) Blues, Yay!

I am still so happy, I'm tearing up everytime I read another joyous comment about our wonderful president elect!
I started a new piece...I'm calling it, Everybody Has the (democratic) Blues, in honor of the blue states and those who voted blue in the red ones. I expect to be adding some purple along the way to represent all of us coming together to make this country what it once was, and can be again...a land of liberty for all.
And tomorrow is my birthday....best damn birthday present I've ever had....thank you my fellow Americans!


Hope and Black Magic

I finished her this morning and with each bead I sent up a little prayer for barack obama...and I'm an agnostic who hopes the buddhist's and NA animists have it right...so you can imagine how hard I'm hoping for an obama win...and then I'll be praying again for his continued safety during his tenure in the white house.
Don't you just love it, though? Black family in the White house...at last?



Tweaking...I just love that word!

So, I've been tweaking the blog...I thought I'd add some of my fiber work to the header and since the holidays seem to be heading toward us at a high rate of speed, I also decided to highlight my Etsy shop...several of my students asked where I sold my work and I gave them my business cards with the etsy URL. I've also decided to remove the work I have in the local galleries that carry it and put it in my shop...I've never given the online shop a lot of attention and I want to change that. Plus, so much of my time is spent online, it feels like a second home to me...one with a portal through this funny little machine, lol!

And if any one of you is looking for a small stocking stuffer and like my work, I'm offering free shippping to my blog readers....just be sure you alert me ahead of time, so I can set it up for you...

And, thanks so much for stopping by!

BJP Unknown Month

Well, I don't know which month it is...but I like it! I had lots more fabric I was going to add, but can't figure out where it might go now...this is all new territory for me and it's very exciting! Fabric applique and bead embroidery....nice combo!