If You Don't Know Me By Now

Then that would be my fault, wouldn't it.

I just took the picture above. I wanted to take a photo of my hands, but as I set up the camera I realized I was too close - it wouldn't work. Then I saw the reflection of my hands as they showed up on the lid of my laptop. It came to me that this couldn't be more appropriate. I am reflecting on my hands right now. After I took the picture and opened it to crop it, I saw I'd managed to get one of those happy accidents on film. It looks like stardust snuck in the frame along with the almost zen-like design on the laptop lid of waves. Sense of motion. Sense of magic.

I'm coming up on my first anniversary of blogging and I've looked back over my entries to see how I'm doing. Am I true to my original intention, have I wandered too far afield, and if so - is it really a bad thing?

What was my mandate? To create my own place in cyberspace where I would share the work of my heart, sight and hands, without self-censure. To show what works for me as well as what doesn't.

This is a part of my current pile of things unfinished or in need of repair or redesign.

This is my pile of "what was I thinking???" that is waiting to be salvaged.

I write an artisan blog. Through art we share something deeper than opinion or attitude, the minutiae of the mundane or the trivial wars we wage against imagined enemies - we share our individual, unique visions that come from a deep communal wellspring of creation.

Another Country. I gave this name to my studio when I started doing bead art in earnest. It's the home I have made for myself in a world where I have never felt at home. All of us have experienced a sense of alienation, of not belonging, at some point in our lives. I have felt this always. I loved being on the move, to the point of being an addict to change, always searching for that home outside of myself. I love being here, now, but as always I never feel a sense of belonging to the physical place where I am.

When I am deep in the creation of an art piece, whether it's jewelry or an art doll or a bead journal page, then I feel at home. Home is within, not without.

Conclusion? I've done what I know, and done it the best way I know how. I like this blogging thing. I like my blog. It could use a little more poetry, but otherwise I'm happy with how things are going.

I've had my moments of intense frustration, but I've also had my share of being uplifted. With the kind permission of the author of this, I'd like to share a note I received at Etsy just the other day:

"Hello Morwyn,
I wanted to let you know that the Crazy Quilt bracelet and Goddess
pin/pendant arrived yesterday...I am blown away!!! Although your
photography is excellent, there is just nothing like the "real thing"...and
these two pieces are beyond my ability to describe...nothing less than
extraordinary and gorgeous and amazing!!! I love the jasper pieces,
too...jasper is such a gentle, soothing stone...and the agate piece is very
powerful...the pin/pendant is so full of energy and magic!!! I've done
enough stitching, beading, and jewelry-making in my life to comprehend
what a huge gift you have, what an incredible talent...you are indeed a
blessed artist!!! I will wear these pieces with honor and true
appreciation for their preciousness...I am indeed privileged!!! You have a
huge fan and customer in me...I will be back to your shop for more of
your gorgeous work in the future!!!

Many thanks and blessings,

When someone really understands your work and appreciates it, there's no way to describe that feeling of vindication, of acceptance, of joy.

Now, about that December page. Here's the embryonic stage.

I can't wait to see how this one turns out!


November Page Accompli!!

Day of the Dead/All Hallows Eve

Halloween. Samhain. The night when the veil between the worlds of existence grows thin, and the possiblity of passing from one side to the next is greatest. This is the night I journey to find my loved ones, to ask them to join me on the Day of the Dead, to celebrate their lives.

On the right is a representation of this journey. I am wrapped in a cloak of night, with only the remembrance of love to warm me from within, as I step through the Veil. I chose this stone for my body, as it seemed to me to be lit from its center, while being shot through with veins of black, like ribbons of sorrow. In my dreams, the Veil is ephemeral, gauzy, within a landscape outside of time and space.

On the left is my Day of the Dead Altar. A candle is lit for the soul of each of my loved ones who have passed from this life, to help them find their way back to me. There is an extra candle lit for the Forgotten Soul. The candles are surrounded with marigolds, whose strong scent will also help them to find me. They loved flowers, so I give them two vases filled with all sorts. The sugar skulls are to honor the sense of fun and play we all shared.

Now, to recap, here is what six months' worth of bead journal pages looks like in its "bound" state:


Simply Red

Ah, Mick.

The current challenge for the Etsy Beadweavers is to work up something in red. I've been working on overcoming my Fear of Red for several years. Dolls I can do in red, but for some reason I balk at designing red jewelry.

In any case, as I was ruminating on this subject, I remembered how much I liked the music of Simply Red; most particularly the vocals of Mick Hucknall. Next thing I know I've gone out and bought four CDs, pre-ordered the official bio of the band at Amazon, bookmarked every site I could find and am about to figure out how to embed a video.

This video was taken from the live performance at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in November of 2006.

I'm trying to work out why I'm obsessing over this group. Why them? Why now?

Back to the design board. November page is half done. December page has been sketched. Sold off some bits at Etsy over the past few weeks and I need to do something to restuff my shelves there.


Way More Than 52

Wendy Seaward and her fabulous masks are Inspiration #13.

My list of 52 Inspirations has stretched into infinity - it runneth over here.

Every single member of the Etsy Beadweavers Street Team is a wellspring of ideas and brain sparks.

Does it seem like cheating? Maybe so, but I have two journal pages to finish in the next two weeks and no time for surfing & exploring!


Ho Ho Hooooo! My Hands Are Killing Me!!

You may be wondering why there are no beading photos lately.

Tis the season. We decided this year to give the gift of homemade and handmade. For a whole bunch of reasons - not the least of which is the complete and utter frustration and disgust with the commercialization of the holidays. The relentless, insulting advertising. The stores filling up with red and green crap the day after Halloween. The pervasive and obnoxious Muzak, jingling my nerves instead of bells.

Anyway. The baking and the knitting are finally finished. 30 loaves of holiday breads (fruitcake, peanut butter/chocolate chip/orange, cranberry/pecan, gingerbread) and 10 dozen cookies (applesauce jumbles, ginger creams, ranger cookies) are now wrapped and ready for gifting.

Actually, I tell a lie. I'm not quite done with the cookies - I still have to glaze and frost some of them, but my back was just screaming. By the time I pulled the last cookie sheet out of the oven this evening, I surrendered. A nice little brandy&soda and a handful of Advil along with at least 7 hours of sleep ought to see me well enough to get things finished in the morning.

Four chunky knit watchcaps and three fuzzy neckwarmers have been knitted and are also wrapped and ready for the mail. I decided to break out my yarn stash this year. Each one of the watchcaps was knitted with at least 5 strands of different sorts of yarn, ranging from fine-spun mohair to chunky novelty yarn to ribbons, using size 15 needles. I felt like I was knitting in mud, it was such a long, slow slog. I had to keep stopping to rest my fingers after every third row or so. Working with giant needles and fat yarns is very tiring, but I do love the way all the hats turned out:

The fuzzy little neckwarmers were done up with some fun eyelash yarn I found at a great yarn shop in Omaha over three years ago. At the time I was a little concerned about paying so much - even on sale I think they were about $8 per ball, but I see how lovely and soft they worked up and I'm glad I broke down and went for the quality goods:

While I'm proud of myself for finally using up a substantial chunk of my yarn stash, I wish I'd found this book a little earlier:

Clicking here will take you to Ms Radford's website for her book. I have GOT to teach myself how to do felting - I love the little bowls on Page 76-79. Maybe next year.


December Inspirations

My favorite poets have been dominating my thoughts. As we head for the shortest night of the year, I find myself sitting closer to the fire, wrapped a little tighter in my favorite shawl, diving headfirst into the landscape of other minds from other times and places.

Inspiration #10:
The Poetry of Tagore

The butterfly counts not months but moments,
And has time enough.

Inspiration #11:
The Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke

This is the creature there has never been.
They never knew it, and yet, none the less,
they loved the way it moved, its suppleness,
its neck, its very gaze, mild and serene.
Not there, because they loved it, it behaved
as though it were. They always left some space.
And in that clear unpeopled space they saved
it lightly reared its head, with scarce a trace
of not being there. They fed it, not with corn,
but only with the possibility
of being. And that was able to confer
such strength, its brow put forth a horn. One horn.
Whitely it stole up to a maid - to be
within the silver mirror and in her.

Inspiration #12:
The Haiku of the Master, Basho

Winter solitude--
in a world of one color
the sound of wind