I’m so excited! Tomorrow morning I am leaving for New Jersey to attend 2 workshops, “Messengers and Storytellers” and “The Unfolding Pyramid”, taught by polymer clay/mixed media artist Dayle Doroshow. Dayle’s beautiful creations speak of ancient civilizations. I hear that she is a very inspirational teacher so I am looking forward to absorbing and learning as much as i can. In honor of Dayle and her inspiration from ancient civilizations, here is a photo that I took of petroglyphs at the Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve on the Big Island in Hawaii. It was amazing to see a whole field of lava rock filled with these ancient figures. These carvings are estimated to be anywhere from 200-1000 years old.
I have been thinking about spirals a lot lately. I have always been drawn to this symbol and I think it is the perfect symbol for springtime. It symbolizes rebirth and regeneration, representing the cyclical nature of life. It can also symbolize a spiritual journey to your center, a place beyond the visible world. Making art can be a spiritual journey because it takes us to our center where our deepest expressions come from. Here is one of my favorite quotes.
“The purpose of art/craft is not so much to make beautiful things as it is to become beautiful while you are making those things.”
The spiral first appeared approximately 24,000 years ago so it is one of the earliest examples of human creative expression. It is ubiquitous, appearing in the sacred art of every society in the ancient world. Its early association is with the Mother Goddess and how all life comes from her and is returned to her in a regenerating cycle. So, it has had a universal resonance within the human psyche for thousands of years.
There is a particular Chinese green tea, called Pi Lo Chun, that is processed and hand rolled into a spiral shape. Its name means “green snail spring”. This derives from the time of year that it is picked (Starting at Spring Equinox, for 2 weeks) and the shape that the leaves are rolled into. During hand processing, the bud-leaf set is carefully rolled into a tight silvery-green spiral that can hold in the freshness longer. As the tea leaves steep in hot water, they unfurl to reveal the full, intact leaf that was originally picked. Much like our imagination steeps with new ideas and they eventually unfurl into a wonderful new creation.
Pi Lo Chun tea tastes like a fresh spring day. It was originally called “Astounding Fragrance” for the aroma from the fresh leaves. The tea bushes are interplanted with plum, peach, and apricot trees for shade. The fruit trees are in full bloom when the tea leaves are plucked in the early spring and some of the floral aroma is absorbed by the tea. The liquor is a clear light yellow with a pale green tint and has fruity, sweet flavor notes.
In my contemplations and musings about the spiral shape, I have beaded a spiral curl.
Inspired by a technique from “Beading with Peyote Stitch” by Jeanette Cook and Vicki Star, I wanted to bead an ancient underwater creature, spiraling up to reveal its beautiful pearl treasures. Now I have to figure out what type of necklace I’d like to create to honor this exotic sea creature. Or, shall I turn it into a pin. What do you think?
I am constantly amazed at how we have the power to perceive the way in which we view the world. One day, you can be feeling rushed because you’re running late for work. Maybe you didn’t sleep all that well the night before. So, you allow this rushed/tired state of mind to take over so much that you end up missing all of the beautiful sights of a spring morning. A new day dawns the next day. You wake up but instead of allowing a state of mind to descend upon you, you choose your state of mind. You choose to open up your eyes and your heart to the beauty around you. The world transforms before your very eyes! But it is not the world transforming. It is you.
I made the choice to open up my eyes and my heart last week when I started a Gratitude Journal. Since then, I have been experiencing this wonderful transformation in my world. Every night before bed, I write down 5 things I am grateful for in my life. The first night was really easy as was the second night. Now, I am moving from the major things to the more detailed things. The aroma of that first cup of tea in the morning. The flash of a cardinal’s wing in the bushes outside my apartment building. The song of the lone peep telling everyone that he is there and it is spring. Really. Another wonderful thing happens as you get more into your gratitude focus. Not only do you review your day and remember but you become more present in each moment of your day, appreciative of its gifts as they happen. So, taking a small step and making a daily practice of voicing gratitude for all of the blessings in your life can change your life in a very big way. It has for me.
Here are some interesting reads about gratitude:
Christine Kane, “Gratitude Journals and why they work”
Sarah’s book has a whole essay on starting a gratitude journal. This is where I first read about the idea. This book is an inspiration and I recommend it very highly!
Gratitude Journal from Sarah’s website
DailyOM article, “Writing with an Attitude of Gratitude”
Today I am grateful for:
-a day off so I can organize my art supplies
-the aroma of oatmeal raisin cookies baking in the oven
-a spring rain to nourish all of the new green shoots sprouting through the ground
-the opportunity to get together with creative friends recently and be inspired
-the cluster of deep purple rock irises in my S.O.’s front yard (pictures to come!)
What are you grateful for today?
"Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea?
How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea."
-Sydney Smith (1771-1845)
For an avid tea lover like myself, one of the best parts
about springtime is the arrival of the first flush Darjeeling
teas. Darjeeling teas are considered "the champagne of teas"
and are valued for their fragrant aroma and delicate taste.
Even though there are some green and white teas produced in the
Darjeeling district of northeastern India, the majority of teas
produced are light-bodied black teas. To enjoy their subtle
flavor notes, I like to drink them without any additions like
milk or sweetener.
These teas are called "first flush" because the leaves are picked
(or "plucked") when the tea plants start to grow again in the
spring. The brand new growth of young shoots is called a "flush".
So, "the first flush" indeed tastes like springtime - fresh and
somewhat green with soft floral and fruity notes. Some of my
favorites even have a flavor note like bananas! Ah, even a hint
of the summer yet to come.
After a long New England winter, I enjoy this "springtime in a
teacup"! It revives and refreshes and inspires me to start new
Do you like tea? What kinds?
The windows of my apartment face west and some evenings, I am treated to the magnificent colors of a sunset like this one. After enjoying a view like this, I find myself reaching for richly saturated oranges, pinks and purples in whatever art materials are close at hand. That evening it was textured yarn that inspired me to sit down and create a freeform knitted square. I just kept going around and around the square, adding different yarns as I went along. I had no idea what it was that I was creating but felt compelled to express those rich colors in some way. Now my square is hanging in my studio waiting for what’s next.
Should I make my square into a bag? A wall hanging? Add beads? Most definitely about the beads. What do you think? What inspires you to create?