From bead soups to a free-form bracelet

A winter walk in the woods under a full moon.

As I wrote these words today I thought how appropriate to post this on the day of the full moon even though winter has now blossomed into spring.

My first bead soups have come together with needle and thread to create a story.  Unlike my other free-form bracelets with woven patches of color, this bracelet gradates from lights to darks with beaded cabochons woven into its fabric.

I love trying out new techniques and expressing them in my own voice.

3 moonstone beads finish my bracelet in a button and loop clasp.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

~John Muir

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First Snow

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I woke up this morning to a world covered in white.

Our first snowfall of the season.

I bundled myself up and entered this hushed world , gently, softly, and went for a walk, my shoes crunching, crunching.

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Everything was glazed in light.  I felt renewed.

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…trees glitter like castles of ribbons, the broad fields

smolder with light, a passing

creekbed lies heaped with shining hills;

and though the questions

that have assailed us all day

remain — not a single

answer has been found —

walking out now

into the silence and the light

under the trees,

and through the fields,

feels like one.

-Mary Oliver

Studio Wednesday

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We are now entering the late fall and I think that the darker bronzy colors of trees and leaf are making their way into my jewelry. I beaded these earrings today. The photo doesn’t do justice to the gorgeous antiqued gold black twisted bugle beads. I made a bugle bead ladder and then added the light orange and bronze beads along one side of the ladder with a 2-bead brick stitch. After beading that side, I added a tapered fringe on the other side, using the same beads and the russet glass leaves. I like the way the outline of the leaf veins matches the light orange beads.

peppercornpathfall08A carpet of dark russet leaves lined the path on my walk the other day. I’m so glad to live in a place where we experience all 4 seasons. I’m ready for the weather to grow cooler at this time of year. In the evenings, I’ve been cozying up next to a roaring fire in our new fireplace insert. Wow, that insert really works great. When it reaches a certain temperature, a fan turns on and blows the heat (that normally would be lost up the chimney) out into the room. With the fireplace downstairs in my studio, we have set up a small fan in the stairwell to bring the heat up into the rest of the house. So, with my fire going and the house nice and warm, I am very content at this time of the year. I feel so blessed.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
–   John Muir

Climbing a Hill

I’ve been thinking lately about how this time of year is aptly named. The Fall. Leaves fall, seeds fall, light levels fall and now the clock has fallen back, too. A fall brings up images of a descent. I am reminded of the story of Persephone and her descent into the underworld when she hears a voice calling from a cleft in a rock. What she is hearing is her own inner voice calling to her and thus the story is about her own descent into her inner world. The descent inward is presented in the story as a descent down.

This is a classic story of the cycle of the seasons. When Persephone descends, her mother, Demeter, is bereft without her. Since Demeter is the Goddess of the harvest and growth and abundance, her grief at her daughter’s disappearance plunges the world into a dormant time, autumn and winter. Persephone’s return from her inner journey causes spring to arrive and there is much celebrating as the world bursts and blooms with new growth.

So, this falltime is the time of gathering up everything from outside and bringing it inside. It is a time to sit by the fire and dream and go on our inward journey like Persephone.

Yesterday I went for a walk in the woods and at the place in the path where I would normally turn one way, I turned the other way and climbed Peppercorn Hill. The ascent was rocky and steep in some places but I found that if I just thought of placing one foot in front of the other, one small step at a time, I eventually reached my goal. The top of the hill. I breathed in the fresh, crisp air and looked out over the trees, many of which now poked bare branches up towards the wide blue sky. Some trees still held onto their leaves, golds now turning buttery brown, oranges and reds now turning deep russet.

After drinking in this magnificent view, I turned and started my descent, slowly and surely, one step at a time. The descent is rocky and full of twists and turns and hiding places. Taking it one step at a time, I am able to look at these obstacles and negotiate my way around them.

During my descent, another group of hikers came up on the path behind me. As they got closer to me, I felt an urgent need to descend faster, almost like their presence was pushing me to complete my journey quicker than I wanted to. I took another deep breath and stayed on my path, one step at a time. I allowed myself to let their journey not intrude upon my own, a challenging task at times. The funny thing is that they never caught up to me.

I finally reached the bottom of the hill and felt lighter and renewed from my journey on the hill. After all of that traveling and thinking, it was time to go home and brew up a nice steaming cup of tea.

Tagged again

I’ve been tagged again for a meme, this time by Arline. So, I’ll try to think of 7 more random things about myself.  Let’s see…

1.  I am a voracious reader, reading about 2-3 books a week. When I moved 5 years ago, I discovered just how many books I actually owned so I gave a lot of them away and vowed to visit my public library more. I add books to my queue online and the library e-mails me when they arrive. I love this relationship!

2.  I love stories about Goddesses. Some of my favorite books when I was a child were about Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses. Years later as an adult, I delved deeper into Goddess lore and ancient Goddess centered cultures. This led me to express this intense interest in my artwork by creating fabric Goddess doll pins embellished with beaded hair, charms and symbols.

3.  In the summertime during thunderstorm season, I am a doppler radar nut. I love anything weather related, especially lightning, thunder, wind and cloud formations. I think that I was a metereologist or a storm chaser in a former life.

4.  I am a devoted Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan.

5.  4 1/2 years ago, I had a frozen left shoulder. My physical therapist said that it was so bad that I would never have full range of motion in that shoulder ever again. I never injured the shoulder so no one could explain why that happened. After 6-8 months of intense physical therapy and reiki treatments and the most painful moments of my life, my shoulder healed completely.

6.  I love sweet and salty things together, like pretzels and M&Ms. I rarely eat them but I love them.

7.  I have lived in 5 states – New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas and Massachusetts.

I am supposed to tag 7 more people but instead, I invite anyone who would like to play along to join!

A Woodland Walk

Yesterday we went for a walk in the woods. The moment I step on the path, I feel enveloped in a hush, a quiet that I don’t know in my regular day to day world. To me, the woods are a sacred place where everything is as it should be and “being” is the way of life. A deep calm permeates my whole being with every step along my woodland journey.

The ladyslippers, orchids of the woodland, are in full bloom under the trees. We found this beauty in a ray of sunlight, like she was on stage taking her bows. Oh, what treasures we find as we go deeper along our path.

I love the way the light plays amongst the leaves, giving it that dappled appearance.

I found this little hidden place at the base of a tree. Why am I so drawn to trees these days? Their strength, their majesty, their rootedness. I think of all of these qualities as I lay down the beads on my March journal page. As predicted, I didn’t get much done at my guild meeting but I had some time last night to work on it and, hopefully, some time this evening, too. I’m still considering what to do about the roots and the sides of the tree. I want to hang a couple of dangly roots to symbolize my inner feeling of rootlessness. Maybe a suggestion of branches since my main focus was on the bark texture and knots. I’m also thinking of what lies ahead for my April page. An image of a heart inside of a house is starting to form in my mind.