Learning as refuge

The election is over. I am grieving. I really want to say more, write more, but I feel mute.

So I am taking refuge in learning new ways to work. Here are the first steps. Torch fired enamels. Fussy like etching, fussy like printmaking. But the colors are rewarding.

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torch-fired enameled earrings

My Tired Heart

My Heart And I – Poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning 6th and 7th verse

VI.

Tired out we are, my heart and I.
Suppose the world brought diadems
To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
Of powers and pleasures ? Let it try.
We scarcely care to look at even
A pretty child, or God’s blue heaven,
We feel so tired, my heart and I

VII.
Yet who complains ? My heart and I ?
In this abundant earth no doubt
Is little room for things worn out :
Disdain them, break them, throw them by
And if before the days grew rough
We once were loved, used, — well enough,
I think, we’ve fared, my heart and I.

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knotted long jasper necklace

 

Winds of Change

spirals
Long jasper necklaces 8mm to 10mm beads, knotted on silk cord and 8 gauge copper spirals

When I make pieces, whether painting, jewelry or collage, the impulse comes from a reaction to the materials at hand…it’s what I see in front of me at the moment. That’s why the studio almost always looks like a bomb went off in it. The scatter of available materials lets me see, all at once, what is available to play with. When everything is tucked away neatly, inhibition sets in and I feel blocked.

Right now the studio is covered in stone beads and knotting cord.  I feel an almost oppressive urge to knot stone beads (cool stone, self soothing, rhythmic movements) into long necklaces, with spiral focal pendants. The movement in the spiral symbolizes change, turbulence and transition which is something that’s pressing on my consciousness relentlessly. These are turbulent times. It’s windy out there.

The colors triggering the impulse are earthy, and subdued as if to counter the wild emotion I am witnessing in the political digital universe.

Bear with me. I suspect new themes will emerge after November 8.

Something Simple

lindas-pearl

Sometimes friends have more confidence in your abilities than you do yourself. The friend for whom I made this necklace showed me the dress she was wearing for her son’s wedding and said, something simple, with a pearl.

So I made something simple with a pearl. Interestingly, the process was not so simple and depended on a little good fortune (reticulation can be unpredictable). But it worked, and I stretched a little, and she liked it and I’m glad it’s done. Commissions always have a bit of edginess. *wipes sweat from brow*

24 hours

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Knotted Jasper beads with fine silver spiral

I have been knotting beads on silk cord. It’s a tricky process. As the strand gets longer the potential for tangling increases. And then a knot is placed too far from the bead and has to be undone. I have found that with mounting frustration, slowing hand movements to tai chi speed helps. It also helps to spin a story about the strand you are knotting. Here are 108 beads in an order that suggests dawn, day, dusk and night. I thought about this progression at our house. The days are full of doing, followed by some relaxation before and after dinner, and then it’s time for bed. But at night it gets busy again because our little dude Remus believes that 3 am is a sporting good time to rouse us, his favorite playmates. Someone is always busy at our house.

remus
Remus

It’s all I have to bring today

by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886

This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.

(this poem is in the public domain)

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Jasper and Copper on knotted silk

Try, try, try again

Etched Sterling Silver long necklace “If at first you don’t succeed…”

So much of my life has been about trying again. When I was a teenager, my mom once told me that it was important to be true to oneself. I had no idea what she meant. I thought you had to fit in, work hard to get recognized. I failed at that many times. My kids now say “mom has to commit to her work”. So here I am being an artist. It’s still very hard. I’m still trying again.