From the Studio

crocusrain1040509

Most of the day a fine mist has been hovering in the air giving a moist dewy look to our spring world. The colors look so saturated under a blanket of gray sky.

backyardgardens050109

Last weekend was very warm with temps soaring into the 90s.  Very unseasonable for springtime in New England where we’re lucky if it makes it to 65 degrees on a late April day. So, I dug out a tank top and a pair of shorts for mulch adventures in the garden.

forsythiacloseup050109

So much is budding and blooming in our woodland garden!

peonybud050109

On Saturday I went out and looked at a couple more properties. I often sit and wonder: where will I be moving to next? Moving energy seems to still be very strong in my life. This will be my third move in the last 5 1/2 years. With this new move, I’m hoping to settle down for longer than a year, the amount of time I’ve been where I’m living currently.

I want to grow roots and have a chance to bloom myself.

ellassocks050109

I finished Ella’s baby socks this week. For some strange reason, the eyelet pattern seems to be whirling in a different direction on each sock. Is that supposed to happen, I wonder. I might just make a third sock and see what happens. See which sock it ends up matching. They’re also a bit bigger than I thought they would be. They’re toddler socks and she’ll grow right into them.

springfreeformbracelet05010

Since last weekend was so filled to the brim with house hunting and gardening, I didn’t get time to work on any new journal pages. Instead, I started a new free-form bracelet inspired by the blossoming world around me. Fresh spring greens, silvery bark browns, delicate petal pinks, ethereal blossom whites, fresh buttery yellows.

The explosion of spring colors has also inspired me to start dreaming about painting the walls in my new home. I’ve  been virtually painting walls on 2 websites, Benjamin Moore and Valspar. It so appeals to the Color Kitten in me! I’ve also learned that you can purchase 8 oz. samples of a color you’re interested in so you can try it out on the wall or a small object first.

Oh, the possibilities! A whole new decorating world full of color is opening up!

For my kitchen, I’m being inspired by the yellow orange color of a T-shirt I purchased while on a trip to Hawaii.

I’m looking at colors with names  like “Honeybell” and “Sunrise Beach”. mmmmm…

dalailama_pic

Tomorrow a friend and I will attend a public talk given by H.H. the Dalai Lama at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. This has always been a dream of mine, to see him, to hear him speak, to be in the presence of such an amazing spiritual man. I feel my heart swell and open like a spring flower as I sit here and write about it.   Awe. Wonder. Embracing the peace that he is.

A few weeks ago the Boston Globe ran a great story about the building of the chair His Holiness will be seated upon during his talks. It sounds like an incredible work of craftmanship and I can’t wait to see its beauty and the love that was put into its creation.

My call for a spiritual revolution is thus not a call for a religious revolution. Nor is it a reference to a way of life that is somehow other-worldly, still less to something magical or mysterious. Rather, it is a call for a radical re-orientation away from our habitual preoccupation with self towards concern for the wider community of beings with whom we are connected, and for conduct which recognizes others’ interests alongside our own.

~H.H. the Dalai Lama

Advertisements

Studio Wednesday

glazedheartnecklace1022509

This week I finished 2 projects – my glazed polymer clay heart and pearl necklace and my first knitted pair of socks.

glazedheartnecklace2022509

I sculpted a heart out of white Premo and after baking, carved some words onto the front and embellished with thin, extruded polymer clay snakes. Using acrylic medium and mica powder, I created a glaze and applied at least 4 layers to the heart, letting dry overnight in between applications. Using 20 gauge antiqued copper wire, I created the metal components of the necklace. The faceted lavender pearls are knotted on hand dyed silk cord. As I carefully put this necklace together, I thought about my dreams, especially the one about buying my own house.

socksfinished022509

My second sock knit up more smoothly as I knew what I was doing the second time around. I now understood about not knitting the whole round with the “waste” yarn and adjusted the instructions accordingly. Since I used bigger knitting needles – US 10 – and very thin yarn, the pattern came out lacy looking. They’ll be perfect to wear in the warmer months ahead.

freeformbracelet022509

Today I worked on a free-form peyote bracelet, a custom order in a fall color palette. It felt so good to get back to placing the tiny beads on my needle once again, if only for a little while. I find my shoulders hunching up with tension very quickly while I bead so I need to be very careful with that.

Today was my last official Studio Wednesday. I felt sad but am excited to begin the next phase of my life. A new adventure. A new house. All my own.

He is the happiest, be he king or peasant,

who finds peace in his home.

~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Studio Wednesday

knittedsock021809

I finished my first sock! I have to say though that I found this very challenging despite my many years of knitting experience.I think that there was a typo in the directions when it said to knit one round with “waste” yarn. When it came time to remove the waste yarn and place the stitches on my needles, I ended up with the sock being split into two pieces. When I read the directions and saw that I was supposed to have a lot less stitches than I actually had, I knew there was an error somewhere. So, having just learned the Kitchener stitch to weave the toe stitches together, I wove part of the 2 pieces together (the sock “front”) until I was left with the correct amount of stitches to make the heel. Then I continued with the directions as they were written. Whew! Now that I have started my second sock, I know what to do about the waste yarn knitting round. I think… I do like the yarn but it’s very thin and would work better with another pattern and smaller needles.

glazedheartpendant021809

For my glazed heart pendant, I created some copper wire components, antiqued them and then glued them into the pendant with epoxy. I have a whole pile of antiqued wire pieces to be cleaned with steel wool first and then I can start assembling the necklace.

crochetedsilk021109

I’ve also returned to my bead crocheting, this time with some gorgeous Montano hand dyed silk cord. I was concerned about whether the silk cord would be a good choice for bead crochet so I wrote to Lydia over at the Beadwrangler website. She was kind enough to write back, telling me that I could use any kind of cord I wanted as long as it worked for my project. She went on to say that she has experimented with many different kinds of cords, including silk, and encouraged me to do the same. Thanks so much Lydia! With a “bead soup” of coordinating colors and this silk cord, I want to create a multi-strand chain stitch necklace for my “Grow” pendant.

It is with great sadness in my heart to tell you that in a couple of weeks I will no longer be in my studio on Wednesdays. My life circumstances have changed and I find myself having to move again into my own place. So, I will need to work full-time again. That being said, however, I will still be working in my studio in the evenings and on the weekends and will be glad to share whatever projects I’m working on at the time. Even though I won’t technically be in the studio on that day, I will still be exploring the Artful Life and I invite you to join me in my explorations to be shared with you in my Studio posts.

A dear friend recently shared this poem with me. Called Love After Love by Derek Walcott, it really resonated with me at this time. Enjoy!

The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,


and say, sit here.  Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you


all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,


the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit.  Feast on your life.



Studio Wednesday

glazedegg021109

Today brought a warm breeze and 65 degree temperatures to tease us out of the winter doldrums. I definitely have spring in my thoughts as I create my glazed polymer clay pieces.

An egg sits on her nest dreaming of possibilities…

glazednest021109

I had used my Makin Clay extruder to create polymer clay spaghetti strands for my glazed heart. Then I started playing with the strands and created this little nest.

glazedyarnballs021109

And these balls of yarn. Just playing but in my play some ideas were born.

I’ve started doing some research on the sgraffito technique. Practiced in painting, wall decoration and ceramics, this technique produces a design by scratching through a top layer to reveal the layer underneath. I applied many layers of glaze to my egg and didn’t think that it was exactly what I had imagined in my mind. My carving tool was close by so I started carving into the glazing. I would like to explore this technique further.

I’ve also started a few new knitting projects this past week. Last week, I knit another pair of handwarmers for a friend/colleague at work. Since I had some of this positively yummy cream and pink yarn left over, I started a cozy neck cowl. I found a really cool pattern here at t does wool’s blog. You knit a 6 1/2″ x 20″ strip in an interesting ribbed pattern (what does knit 1 in st below mean anyway?) and then create a 2 button and loops clasp so you can secure it around your neck. I’ve never seen anything like this before but I discovered that it’s apparently very popular with knitters. It reminds me of my free-form bracelets with the buttons and loops clasp.

Hey, I just got another idea…

knittedcowl021109

My Mom sent me some “sock” yarn in autumn colors. As you knit, the variegation of the yarn creates stripes. How cool is that.

knittedsock021109

Do you see the stripe of blue yarn? Well, the pattern I’m making (called “All That Jazz” textured socks from the book “Vogue Knitting On The Go: Socks Two”) called for knitting one round with “waste” yarn. I wasn’t really sure what they were talking about but I figured that it wasn’t the yarn I was using to knit the socks with. Hehe So I just grabbed some left over yarn and knit around. At some point, I will need to take that yarn out and transfer the stitches onto my needles. Sounds rather tricky. I’ll keep you posted.

I find myself jumping around from project to project these days.  Polymer clay. Knitting. Art journaling. My acupuncturist told me that people are starting to feel spring energy already. That restless, jumping around, things ready to be born and burst type of energy.

I’ve got to prioritize my projects here…