Jersey Shore 2008

A week ago last Sunday, I let go of my regular day-to-day life and journeyed down to the shore again. Once I exited the Garden State Parkway, I opened my car windows wide to welcome the ocean breeze that greeted me as I got closer to the sea. As I turned down the road that would lead me to the beach, I felt all of the tension melt away as I inhaled the cool salty air. Once again, I was taken back to my origins and my inner self as I experienced a week of just “Being”.

Even though I had the perfect opportunity to sleep in, I rose every morning around 6am and had my tea out on the balcony. I listened to the songbirds greet the day and watched the terns and gulls as they wheeled across the sky. Constant was the gentle roar of the surf, a sound that spoke to the deepest parts of me as I watched the waves rise and fall.

I walked the beach every morning for about an hour before the beachgoers started to stake their claim on the sand. I passed fishermen sitting patiently next to their rows of poles and wide-eyed small children splash and dart at the water’s edge. I felt such a sense of calm envelop me as I placed one foot in front of the other and moved along the beach. As Eckhardt Tolle suggests in his books “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now”, I emptied my mind as best I could and immersed myself completely in that moment. It was challenging at first because my mind wanted to think about all of the issues in my life and what was going on. I pushed past those thoughts and kept bringing myself back to the feel of my feet against the sand and the rhythm of my breathing. I came to understand what Thich Nhat Hanh refers to when he suggests “walking meditation” as a good way to connect with yourself. Not only was I able to connect with myself but I also felt connected to everything else. This gave me such a great comfort.

I’m fascinated by waves and always have been since I was very young. There is something magical about the way they are created , how they rise and peak and then crash onto the shore. Studying the movement of waves has taught me of life cycles – gestation and birth: the rising up and creation of the wave, the period of a life: the wave at its full height and crest, and death: the falling down to earth and dissolution. The wave is absorbed back into the water to create another wave and this cycle keeps repeating itself. Just like our lives.

More shore pictures and musings to come…

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…

March Beaded Journal Page

Well, after 3 months, my March page is finally finished. I’ve gone through a lot of changes since my original idea and beading start, the biggest change being a physical move to a new home.

I’ve named this page “Looking Out from my Healing Place”. The tree represents a journey of healing that I took after my divorce 4 years ago. There were a lot of twists and turns in this journey but I was always reaching for the sky and growing. My tree has grown in strength and wisdom and now it is time to look out upon the world with awakened eyes and find out where this person that I have become will fit. I don’t have one face because there are 3 aspects of me, who I was, who I am now and who I will be. My past, my present and my future self. Which face is which? The tree roots are not yet firmly in the ground but I have hope that they will find their place, too.

Many thanks to Robin for her inspiration with this twisted tree branch stitch. The timing of receiving her new book, “Heart to Hands Bead Embroidery” was perfect for what I needed to express with this piece. I wrote about that here.

I have just begun my April page. The colors are much more vibrant than my March piece. Right now the title that has come to me is “Home is Where my Heart Grows”. Stay tuned for photos of this work in progress. I started this piece watching “Ethics and the World Crisis – a Dialogue with the Dalai Lama”. What an amazing human being he is.

Saturday Morning Tea

This has been a weird week full of stress at work. Have you ever had one of those weeks where it seems like the universe is pointing you in a brand new direction but it is happening with more of a wack over the head than a gentle nudge? So, this morning it is time to slow way down, sip some gentle light tea and contemplate the week. My choice for a gentle tea is a very unique green from Korea called Jung Jak, meaning “medium sparrow tongue” for the shape of the leaf. This is the first time I’ve ever tried tea from Korea and it is a delightful experience. The leaves were plucked from young spring buds in April and processed entirely by hand.

Like the Arya White Pearl from last week, the leaf is exquisite with full leaf sets. This tea is so light that the aroma is a whisper and the taste is very delicate and subtle. The liquor is smooth and buttery as it brushes against my tongue with light vegetal notes. I steeped the leaves at 160 degrees F for 3 minutes.

One of the high notes of the week was when a colleague/friend at work gave me this sweet little glass teapot complete with glass infuser. It is perfect for full leafed teas like this one. Thanks Rebecca!

With temps soaring into the 90s this weekend, I am headed out to the backyard deck to sit in the sun and journal about the week.

March Beaded Journal Page in progress

As I have been slowly but surely unpacking my art supplies from my move a couple of weeks ago, I found my March page neatly wrapped up in one of my moving boxes. I had gotten as far as placing the polymer clay glazed face cabochons created at my January guild meeting on the fabric and then had stopped around mid-March so I could pack everything up. I was so delighted to finally find my page and sat down almost immediately to give each face a beaded bezel. I used the “barnacle” technique as explained on page 50 in Robin Atkins wonderful new book called “Heart to Hands Bead Embroidery”.

Back in March when I was so looking forward to Spring’s arrival after a long cold winter, I found myself studying trees very closely to see any signs of Spring. In one of my meditations, an image popped into my mind of each knot in a tree having a face in it that was waking up from a long winter’s sleep. Shortly after that I was purging some old magazines and found this image.

It reminded me so much of my image of the faces in the tree. The feeling I want to convey with this piece is one of an organic awakening. Robin has another bead technique on making twisted tree trunks (page 67). I think this beading technique will be perfect for the look I want. Stay tuned for more progress!

You Make My Day

Within the last month, I was honored to be mentioned on 2 of my favorite blogs, Simple Studio Journal and Polka Dot Creations.  So, inspired by these 2 wonderful ladies, I present to you my “You Make My Day” list.

Lynn at Simple Studio Journal writes about so many things that interest me: tea, journal writing, walking in nature, experimenting and playing with various art medium.  We have so much in common that I feel like I’m having a chat with a long-time friend whenever I visit her blog. Lately, she has been experimenting with wire wrapping and creating the most gorgeous pendants.

On her blog, Lisa Clarke at Polka Dot Creations shares her life as a businesswoman, artist and mother of 2 small boys. The joys, the challenges, the delicious recipes, the beautiful art are all a delight to see and read about.  I especially enjoy Lisa’s color challenges and seeing how she creates a color palette in polymer clay from inspiring photos.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at the Synergy conference.

One of my fellow Bead Journal Project members, Morwyn over at AnotherCountry Beadworks, creates the most fabulous beaded pieces and shares her creative process, most recently with a video. Her writing about the symbolism in her journal pages resonates deeply with me.

Susan Lomuto’s Polymer Clay Notes has been inspiring me (and many others!) ever since I found her blog a little over a year ago.  She devotes an amazing amount of time and energy in sharing and writing about the most awe-inspiring artists and photos. Most recently, she has been sharing her own beautiful creations.  I hope she continues to do that!  I had the pleasure of meeting Susan when I took Dayle Doroshow’s workshop last April and, most recently, at the Synergy conference.

I recently took a class at Joggles called Mixed Media portraits by Alma Stoller. A thoughtful and inspiring teacher, she encourages her students to use materials found at home to create the most beautiful mixed media creations. A visit to her blog is a colorful delight!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have deeply loved color so when I discovered polymer clay and the ability to mix colors with it, I had such an epiphany. One of my color heroes is Lindly Haunani who I had the pleasure to meet and take a class with at Synergy. Lindly has such a deep connection with color and shares her delight with the subject on her blog. I hope to take a color workshop with Lindly someday.

My webmaster, Dave at Clear Path Studios, has been such an inspiration to me in so many ways. In creating a website for me, he carefully explored with me what I wanted to say and do with my site. He blends the artistic with the technical in a wonderfully magical way.

Judy Dunn at Artrepreneur generously shares her experiences and knowledge as a working polymer clay artist. Filled with interesting stories and tips, Judy’s posts resonate with her enthusiasm and wisdom. Her Flickr photo albums are filled with her gorgeous polymer clay artwork.  Most recently, she has created a video about how to make a polymer clay origami crane, one of her signature pieces.  I had the pleasure of having a nice chat with Judy over lunch at the Synergy conference.

One of my fellow RIPCG members, Dora, creates the most amazingly intricate and beautiful polymer clay canework.  She recently posted some of her artwork in her Flickr album.

Last but certainly not least, my Rhode Island Polymer Clay Guild, has been an integral part of my life for the last  6 1/2 years. We get together on the 4th Saturday of the month and share stories, laughs, good food and, oh yes, making stuff with polymer clay. They are like my family and I’m so blessed to have them all in my life.

Thanks to all of you for your inspiration!