Mokume Gane Earrings

I know, I know. I should be packing and getting ready for my trip. I decided to take a break and do something creative so I finished these earrings. Now I can bring them with me on my trip.

A couple of weeks ago I created a polymer clay mokume gane stack and started playing around with different shapes for jewelry components. Today I glued in some wires, fashioned some earring hooks from 20-gauge S.S. wire and these earrings were born.

I’m experimenting with weaving seed beads around polymer clay components. I especially like the freeform designs of mokume gane to go with freeform beadwork. My most successful color combinations have been when I’ve incorporated light, medium and dark colors. It’s fun looking around the house for various tools and objects to impress into the clay stack. Just mix your colors, create individual sheets, layer them to make a stack and then texture with your found objects. Using a tissue blade, slice from the top of the stack to reveal the patterns. I love watching the patterns emerge. You can make a “fabric” by laying the slices on a coordinating color sheet of clay. I like to take that sheet and run it through the pasta machine to stretch out the patterns so they swirl and dance around.

Ok, back to packing!

Saturday Morning Tea

The white blanket sky gives me the feeling of being enclosed in a light tent as it gently illuminates our back deck and garden, bringing the gorgeous color of this morning’s tea leaf into sharp saturation. I’m sipping an African black tea from the Malaika estate in Kenya. The word Malaika means “angel”.

The leaf is dark with a minimum of tip and an aroma of sweet chocolate drifted up when I first opened the pouch. The steeped liquor is a deep reddish brown after 5 minutes in boiling water. The taste is hearty and slightly astringent with a hint of malt and a sweet lingering finish.

Tea has been grown in Kenya for about 100 years with a surge in the last 10-15 years that has brought it to be one of the world’s largest tea producers. You can read more about it here.

Yesterday my company closed for its annual shutdown so I am on vacation for the next 9 days. My parents have invited me down to the Jersey shore again where they have rented a condo right on the beach. Lovely! So, tomorrow morning I head out for the 5 hour trip down to the Shore. As I don’t have a laptop computer, I won’t have any computer access while I’m down there for the week. As I’m on a computer all day at my job, it will be a blessed break away from the electronic world. I’ll return next Saturday afternoon so my morning tea will be postponed until the following day, Sunday July 8th. I’m bringing my camera with me so I’ll have lots of pictures to share of my adventure when I return home.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday week!

April Beaded Journal Page

My April Beaded Journal Page is complete. It is entitled “Home is where my Heart Grows”, representing the move to my new home at the end of April. As I have unpacked and settled in to my new home, my heart grows in layers of joy and love and experiences. My heart is sprouting some roots and from those roots, my garden is starting to bloom. The sun and moon watch over all, marking the passage of my journey.

There are some who move often and are able to do so with ease. I am not one of those people. After moving 8 times (5 states) as a child and teenager, loss became a part of my life as I connected and let go many times. So, there are issues there. As an adult, I did settle down and live 18 years in one house where I had my family and raised my kids. A divorce 4 years ago brought about a period of traumatic changes and another move for me and a lot of those issues returned. So, as I beaded this page, I concentrated on all the wonderful things I was gaining and welcoming into my life with this new move – living with someone I love, creating space for a garden and studio, bringing more creativity and color into my life, a space to welcome family and friends for tea and conversation. I read somewhere that the challenging times and losses in your life carve out crevices in your heart that leave plenty of room to be filled with love and positive joyful things. I had contemplated on whether I wanted to fill in the space in the middle of the heart in my piece. I decided to leave it open to symbolize my own crevice that is now welcoming and filling up with all of the joyful moments of my life.

Bracelets and April BJP

I’m so excited to announce that my bracelets have been posted to my website! You may view them here.

I’ve been diligently working on my April journal page. It represents my moving and settling in to my new home journey. As the garden has been blooming in bright colors, I decided to use a vibrant color palette to reflect that and my blooming happiness. I’m hoping to finish it this week.

My camera renders oranges and reds so intensely that I had to really tone down this photo quite a bit in Photoshop. It still appears like the background color is overtaking the colors of my beadwork. I don’t know how I feel about the empty part in the middle of my heart. I’m thinking of filling it up with something, possibly pearls. I may leave it empty though to represent an open heart which I aspire to have. What do you think?

I’m starting to meditate about my May page. I want it to represent a link to my very first page from last year called “The Garden in my Heart”. Now that I have a physical garden once again, there will be a connection with that. I’m still thinking about it…

Saturday Morning Tea

Thunderstorms moved through our area last night and swept everything clean and fresh. It is a perfect day to be outside so I will bring my beadwork, my books and my drawing pad out to the back deck and enjoy some much needed Being time.

This morning’s tea is a Chinese white tea called Fuding Silver Needles. The name Fuding is for the coastal city on the East Sea in China. As you can see in the photo above, the name fits the tea perfectly. Grown in Fujian province, this tea is described as representing a cultural art form where each leaf is hand processed and carefully rolled so as to keep it intact.

Because the leaf is so big, I used 6 heaping teaspoons in my 12 ounce glass teapot and steeped for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The liquor is very pale with a hint of green and a sweet aroma. The taste is smooth and quite sweet with delicate toasty herbaceous notes. The subtlety of flavor is best enjoyed when you rid yourself of all distractions and immerse yourself in the moment. A good meditation tea.

“Attention is selectivity applied to perception. It is an inward decision, usually made unconsciously, about what is worth perceiving and what isn’t. Attention both finds meaning and creates meaning. When we adopt the principle of “separate the subtle from the gross”, we are deciding on purpose where we want our attention to go, temporarily withholding it from what is obvious and bestowing it instead on what is inconspicuous and elusive.” -On Becoming an Alchemist by Catherine MacCoun

Mixed Media Demo

At our last guild meeting, my kindred art spirit and dear friend Judy, showed us how she creates her beautiful mixed media art pieces using various objects to create texture in pastes and gels. After creating that texture on the canvas and letting the paste/gel dry, she then showed us how to stamp and paint over the textured areas for depth of color. A lot of the supplies she used were made by Golden but you can also achieve texture on your surface as she did with regular household paste found at your local home improvement store. You can see the full demo here.

After watching Judy’s demo, several of our members were talking excitedly about incorporating small polymer clay pieces and canework into a piece like this. Judy makes stamped, textured and glazed polymer clay buttons and faces to incorporate into her art. You can see a face at the top of her canvas. To see more of Judy’s work, visit her website.

Oh, the possibilities!