Friday, February 27, 2015

LLAP


It's strange when a celebrity dies. We didn't know them, but we sometimes felt as if we did. This morning when I heard that Leonard Nimoy had passed away, I, like so many others was left mourning someone that I had never met. Leonard Nimoy was a very artistic person who aside from being an actor was a director, a poet, photographer, and a musician among many other things. Of course most of us remember him as Mr. Spock. I remember being very young and sitting with my Dad and my older sister watching Star Trek and then later racing home to watch the reruns with her and also my little sister. I was just a young kid, but I knew, even then that they were trying to send me a larger message with those episodes. The show was a basic good versus evil drama cloaked in the shroud of space travel, but it was so much more. Besides the idea that we could travel out beyond the confines of our own atmosphere looking for new places and lifeforms, there was the notion that it was done not with the idea of conquering worlds but in the name of science and knowledge. There was the idea that everyone was valuable no matter what color they were (green, purple, tentacles, it didn't matter). Women were officers on the ship and their opinions were valuable (even though Mr. Roddenberry preferred them in really short dresses). Star Trek suggested a future where disease, civil war, and money were vestiges of society's troubled past. The people in Star Trek were flawed, brash (think Captain Kirk) and often lead by their emotions (yes, even Mr. Spock). Each crew member had their weaknesses and strengths. Still, they sought to do the right thing and mostly, it worked out in the end.
This afternoon, Paul and I were talking about Nimoy's death. Paul, who grew up loving Star Trek and in particular Mr. Spock, told me about when he was a kid and would practice in his room raising his eyebrow like Mr. Spock until he could do it perfectly (he still can). More importantly, he told me that Star Trek was one of the reasons that he wanted to (and did) become a scientist. I wonder how many other kids were similarly inspired? Many, I'm sure. Not a bad legacy for a short running show and a handful of actors. I hope that knowledge made the years of wearing the funny haircut and pointy ears well worth it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WINTER

It's been a busy six months. In that time Paul and I had an amazing trip to Paris and London (I've been meaning to post photos of that trip, but have been daunted by the sheer scope of the amount of photos I must sift through. I will do it soon), then the holidays and then off to Albuquerque for a workshop and then on to Tucson for the gem shows (I will also post pictures of my time in Tucson soon as well).

It's almost March and I don't know where the winter has gone. It's been a pretty brutal season for the eastern U.S. and I hope the worst is over for them. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I've always had a love for winter. I love the snow and though I sometimes dislike the lingering cold I try to embrace it as just part of this wonderful place that I'm lucky to live in (Full disclosure: I haven't as much patience for the hottest days of summer. Just ask my family!). When the weather is nice enough I love to put on my Yak Tracks and get out and walk the trails and take pictures of the beauty that is all around us.

 My sisters and I were lucky enough to have had parents that taught us to appreciate and love the natural world around us. One of the things I love in the winter is the return of the Bald Eagle to much of the Midwest. I had never seen a Bald Eagle until I was in my late 20's. When I was a kid Bald Eagles were on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and the use of DDT which caused the thinning of bird of prey's eggshells, causing their populations to severely decline. Since the ban on the use of DDT in the 1970's, eagle populations are on the rise to the point that the Bald eagle has been removed from the Endangered Species List. Now, in this one spot there are dozens of them that stay the winter.

Today, I walked to a spot where the eagles congregate along the Iowa River. They seem to like this area, probably because fish are plentiful there near the dam.  They're beautiful and majestic, but actually funny too. They engage with each other and sometimes seem to be playing games of tag in the sky. I never tire of watching them. I could have stayed for hours but the wind finally chased me away. 








  




   











Friday, January 9, 2015

MY FUNNY VALENTINE







A small sampling of heart-themed jewelry from my shop


I can't believe Christmas has come and gone. I was pretty busy with the lead up to Christmas (making, listing and sending of gifts for the lovely people who bought things from me) plus having fun with my family. Does the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas get shorter every year, or is it my imagination? I think there should be a new rule that we move Christmas to about the 2nd week of January. Yeah, maybe not. That kind of talk could get me into all kinds of trouble with multiple religious groups.
On to Valentine's Day. I'm trying to be on the ball this year and get as many heart themed necklaces, pendants, earrings and charms listed as I can in for anyone wishing to buy a gift for their sweetheart. I usually get around to this the first week of February, so I'm trying to be ahead of the game. I know, shocking. If you are in need of something special for your main squeeze or yourself, please check out my shop here. ❤

Monday, January 5, 2015

BEAD & BUTTON SHOW CLASSES 2015








Registration for classes at the 2015 Bead & Button Show opens at noon Central Time on Tuesday, January 6th. My friend and teaching partner Gail Lannum and I are excited to be offering 3 classes and one workshop this year. Gail and I really enjoy teaching and we always have a lot of fun in our classes, plus, we present a lot of technique. We will be teaching a mixture of fabrication and metal clay classes. We'd love to have you come join us! To view our class listings please click on the links below each picture or here to view our class schedule by day.   


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

PEACE, LOVE AND ABUNDANCE



I sincerely hope that the anvil wasn't a present for any of my metalsmithing friends or they're going to be a bit disappointed.
I hope the holidays find you all happy and safe and warm. I wish you all peace, love and abundance throughout the coming year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

THE LIFE SO SHORT, THE CRAFT SO LONG TO LEARN


The life so short, the craft so long to learn

I have this quote by Geoffrey Chaucer carved onto the front of a workbench in my workshop. I've always liked the quote. I first saw it years ago carved on a piece of Arts and Crafts Roycroft furniture and it immediately resonated with me. The quote's origins are even older than Chaucer's usage though, as it was widely used by Roman and Greek writers as early as the 3rd Century B.C.  The original Latin quote is translated as "art is long, life is short". I've always thought of it as a kind of 'carpe diem' for crafts people. 
Someone posted this quote on Facebook today and it started me thinking about time. Sometimes I worry that time is flying by and I'll never be able to find the time to learn all of the things and skills that I want to. That's, I suppose a negative interpretation of the thought carved onto my bench. That kind of thinking doesn't really do much (for me anyway) except for paralysing me, as in "why bother, there's not enough time anyway". I prefer to think of it as you can't do anything unless you do something. It's not easy sometimes to feel creative on a schedule, but sitting in your workspace and doing something, even a repetitive task leads to bigger ideas. So, on the days where I don't feel a creative muse, I get my butt in the chair and I do something, after all, life is short and there's a lot to learn.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BRUCEMORE GARDEN AND ART SHOW 2014
























Above are photos of just a few of the new things I'll have at the Brucemore Garden and Art Show this  Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Brucemore is a National Trust property whose 26 acre gardens and 19th century mansion house are open to the public. It's really a special place and if you are local and you haven't visited, you really should. The annual Garden and Art Show is this Saturday, August 23rd, from 9am-4pm. There will be over 60 artist vendors (including myself), lots of garden themed educational talks and demonstrations, guided tours of the gardens and the house and lots of great food. I love doing this show. It's a highlight of my year. Please stop by and see me (and my handsome helper, Paul). I'll be located near the visitors center right across from the food vendor (yay!)
For more information and directions to Brucemore, please click here.