A frozen world this morning had me a little confused. I thought spring was here. The daffodils say it is - nodding their heads endlessly in the breeze. The sun came out and burned off the white crust but the air is still brisk. Brisk enough that I'm not feeling inclined to pack sandals for my adventure to Port Townsend, WA. I have been busy in the studio these days - whipping up little metal and fabric and plaster concoctions for vendor night at Artfest.
I've made a couple more metal and plaster books I'm taking to vend. I get attached to these little guys and feel a bit like i'm sending off a friend to a new home when one sells. I've been twisting strands of silk like a spinner at her wheel, stitching and wrapping and knotting and binding. I'm loving the softness added to the dark, hard metal components in my jewelry. Last summer I was strongly pulled in the direction of the hand crafts of my youth. Mom taught me at a very young age how to crochet and I'd missed it. I wanted to revisit the medetative practice of hook, loop, hook, loop, turn, hook, loop in a new way (not the intricate afgahns like mom makes). I began adding beads and buttons like I posted about here and was willingly siren'd into a "new" path to follow for a while. I'd been feeling the drain of repetition (at least in my eyes) and wanted to be able to wake things up a bit, to fall in love all over again with what would bring me to the studio. I had made a few simple pieces employing crochetted buttons and they were snatched off my vendor table at Art and Soul in Portland last October lickety split (in a good way). :) As I was packaging and selling the last one of the evening, I realized I had totally forgotten to take any pictures! Vinnietheman snatched this one in the aweful hotel ballroom light - better than nothing!
The most magical part for me about incorporating more fabric and crochetted strands into my jewelry is that I find myself often sitting with a little tray in my lap, on the sofa, one wild pony draped over my shoulder, another using my legs as a footrest, me slumped over in the warm and protective crook of my man....I'm with my family again. I'm not sanctioned off in the closed-door studio so's the noise of hammering doesn't interrupt a movie or something. I'm there in the thick of it, crocheting away, laughing, watching movies, hearing stories, being engaged again. I love that. I'm hoping that that love energy has saturated my pieces and will drop little heart shaped bits of love in the trail of the new wearer...someone will follow the little trail of hearts, pick one up, examine it and put it in his pocket. Then, he'll leave it on the table at the cafe along with the tip for the kind waitress. She'll tuck it in her apron and leave it with the mint and the check for the next customer who will take it home to her son who will paste it to a picture for his teacher.....
Last night, in the chill of the coming frost, we lit a fire outside. What better way to end a good, long spring break than with a weinie/marshmallow roast? The smell of campfire is one of my all time favorite smells. That and tomato plants. And eucalyptus oil. And insence amber and...anyway. Big wild pony tucked a small handfull of corn kernels in a foil pouch and hung it from her stick (she's always been an experiementer). It seemed to take forever and just when she had almost decided it wasn't going to work..POP POP POP POP!!! None of us wanted to pull ourselves away from the warmth of the fire - away from the smokey air that blanketed the four of us in quiet connectedness. But spring break ends and here, it officially ends at bedtime the night before the first day back to school. Sigh.
I'll be leaving early Wednesday morning to drive up to Artfest with my pal, Sue. I'm SO looking forward to some time to LEARN new things!! I love teaching, but learning...THAT'S my favorite! :) I'll be busy busy when I get back, getting ready to go teach at Carol Park's studio the 17th-19th. I'm not sure if there is any space left in that three day metalsmithing extravaganza, so if you are interested in joining me, check it out here.
I'm enjoying my family so much...being with them all the week with the girls off school and Vince not working as much as we would like. We've been playing marathon rounds of Horseopoly and just generally goofing off. In an e-mail conversation with a friend who said "my emotions are all over the map", I felt I could relate and replied with "All over the map. I totally get that! And if your map looks anything like mine, most of the words aren't legible so I don't always know WHERE I am, the waters bleed into the land masses, there's a fleet of pirates in the my Sea of Tranquility, and I think there is a BIG fault line ready to split at any second RIGHT down the middle. Hmmm...maybe that isn't such a bad thing....wonder what could be growing so strong and fierce to cause such a crack?!?! :) Imagine the FRUIT a tree that big would bear!! " Imagine...sweet, delicious fruit born from a dark unknown....Well, a stampede just came through the door...school must be out.
I've been sorting through hundreds...dare I say thousands?...of pictures from Australia to share with you. It's likely that I will be for a while so I hope you are up for it. :) I'm working on a little movie of it all - the sights and sounds - but
most of my time these days is spent getting ready for Artfest. I'm SO
excited to be a student this go 'round and my energy is focused on
making things for the wonderful vendor show there.
I will let my pictures of Australia do most of the talking. I'll let them tell you how breathtaking the views were, how I thought I was in a dream (the kind where I'm a beautiful lost maiden on a mossy bed and awake with perfect makeup and gorgeously tousled hair) that first morning there waking up to the most glorious bird sounds I'd never heard before. I'll let them tell you how I became addicted to the tea times, how a drive through a blackened hillside reawakened my natural inclination to look for a way to serve, how dear friends can be made in a very short amount of time and how trusting in powers that know my needs better than I always leaves me in a place of peace. I'll let them tell you about how home sick I was and how I didn't notice it NEARLY as much as I thought I would because the hills looked a lot like here and the sky was blue just like here and because i knew I needed to soak it all in to remember it...to be able to tell my girls about it. The littlest wild pony requested three things from me from my travels: 1) to get a picture of a kangaroo 2)to buy her something NOT from an airport 3) to see if the toilets flush the other way. It all was so wonderful and we teachers were taken very well care of. Dear Eva, my hostess with the mostess, is a dear, kind, funny, easy-going, attentive gal who was so kind and warm to me and my strange Americaness. Thank you, Eva and dear Pep. You made things so easy and delightful. And Bevlea, organizer extraordinairre, you are at the top of my list of organizers who take incredibly good care of your teachers (and students) and who keeps her agreements without a single hitch. Thank you for all you did to make this all happen! And Lucy, comical Lucy, thank you for taking care of Bernie. I'm sure no one else could have done it as well as you did. :) And finally to all the wonderful students who took time out of their busy and sometimes stressful lives to come spend some time with me. I thank you from the bottom of my metal-heatin' heart.
Pictures, pictures, pictures. If I even START with the words, the descriptions, the explanations, I'm going to get lost in a rabbit hole. So, without further ado....
my incredible classroom
the front doors of Amberley
the beautiful morning songsters. How I wish you could hear them!
a barn to make me swoon...can you just imagine this as a studio?!?!!?
Lucy, Bernie, Bevlea, your's truly, DJ and Eva
Melbourne city from the eyes of my shoes
the dining hall at Amberley...imagine it filled with excited students and tables and chairs and....
a lucky sight one evening at the lookout (even if it is a bad picture). I was actually THIS close! No camera zoom here!
The trees....ahhh the eucalyptus...one of my all time favorites.
Me and my dear hostess Eva
major distractions...I love these guys, the Galah Birds, and even stopped class for a minute to get these shots just outside my classroom windows. Shame on me.
For my wild ponies
proof I was really there
an evening surprise while soaking in the quiet on the river bank
another evening surprise...thinking the skies to dark for a good view, we were bowled over by the golden sky line. Melbourne city in the distance. The sun burning through the rain reached right across the massive expanse and sucked the breath right out of me. I was frozen for a while....
Views from downtown Melbourne
a woman"s precious trolley cargo
incredible vineyard views
Thank you for sticking with me through all these pictures. It's barely a skim of what I captured with my camera while I was there. Barely what I hold dear and will remember fondly forever.
On a side note, I'm thrilled beyond words to be teaching two classes at Journalfest this coming October. I'm so excited about the two offerings I have conjured up and hope you'll join me! Registration is now up and running. Check it out.
Also, while I was away on the other side of the planet, Portland Art and Soul registration opened. What a huge line up of wonderful classes Glenny and her motley crew have put together. Along with my solo offerings, I'm co-teaching a wickedawesome class with the uber cool Mr. deMeng. I would love to have you join me there as well. I'm so lucky to being doing this teaching thing. Grateful and blessed. Shaking my head it's so good....
I could just keep on writing. Writing and telling and remembering and showing. But for now I'll rest and let you take a breather. Time for tea, isn't it?
hikes in the sun
lounging by the river
my big brother (we call him Sha sha bing bang...for reals) went all out to honor his wild pony niece for her birthday. Made her a three layer birthday cake and decadent french toast for slumber party breakfast. Wore a polkadot party hat. Blew up balloon after balloon. Uncles are the best. Uncles who give shoulder rides and teach chess and have really amazing hair. Uncles who wear lichen moustaches and tell funny jokes and help you clear that one level of Mario Bros you just haven't been able to clear.
I, on the other hand, have had the gleeful pleasure of working side by side in the studio with Sha sha. He's an accomplished jewelr (and genius of many things) and honored me with help at the grinder and such. It gave my heart little tickles looking over to the right of my well worn spot to see him there with me...visitng, laughing, rocking out to killer mashups. Groovin to this and this....
I leave Monday night for Australia. I'm feeling pretty good about my prep if not a bit weepy...I will miss my ponies terribly. Sigh.....
two posts in one day. Don't get used to it. :)
I've spent two days looking for my timer. I have a little addiction which I won't go into here and which I'm terrified my brothers will tease me about....TWO DAYS looking for this little guy! It's Hildegard's nemesis, this timer as it keeps me relaxed and able to flit about from thing-needing-attention to thing without pressure to be "productive" in a certain, linear way. :)
I looked and looked and finally decided to show you what, just possibly, might be the reason I couldn't find him...my timer. (His name is Bird Dog.) Then, on my very last picture, I found him - which would, of course make sense because if I found him why would I keep taking pictures of looking for him? Right in plain sight on my coffee table...in a tin of buttons, of course.
These messes are shameful...except when I think of them as little dust-devil droppings. The kind that whip through fields of wild flowers in spring plucking petals and seeds, spinning them in a flurry of magic making, and then dropping them where they might take root somewhere else and make a new kind of magic. When I look at them that way, they make me smile and appreciate them...but not enough to leave them. Order will come today if it's the last thing I do!!
Oh if I could only be a fly on my mom's wall!! This little message was sent to me from my dear step-dad, Mike...sweet bread maker and organist extraordinaire.
"We found the wooden heart. We will try to get a picture to you next week.
On another subject: We were cleaning out the sewing room tonight, and I was putting little pieces of string and orphaned buttons in a box and said to your mom, "You're as bad as Aunt Izola."
"I am NOT!"
She knew what I meant. You see, when Aunt Izola, my mother's sister, died, her children found a box of pieces of string, labeled: "Pieces of string too short for any use."
A few minutes later, I uncovered a manila envelope, labeled in your mom's handwriting: "Patterns that have been replaced."
See what I mean!!!! We had a good laugh."
Me too, Mike. Me too.
I'm a bit weepy today. For a few reasons. One....My baby turns 12 today. Perhaps if she looked more like her little self, I wouldn't be in such shock. Perhaps if she still smiled all.the.time it would feel a little easier. Perhaps if I didn't stand so precariously on the fence looking down on the one side that is the sweet, sweet memories and the other that is the wonder of watching her each day grow into herself more and more - to see her learn to trust herself - to step back more and just smile and cheer...perhaps then it wouldn't feel so tender. To ease the heartbreakingly beautiful time that this day is, I will pick her daffodils and make her California rolls and we'll celebrate with a dinner and lots of candles. Candles to represent her light. I KNOW I won't have nearly enough...I would need truckloads.
We will celebrate with her uncles, my brothers. My handsome, beautiful brothers. They are driving across the vast west desert to be with us for a while. A surprise. An unexpected and delicious surprise. I can't tell you how thrilled I am for their visit! I rarely see or talk to them. Our lives are all so busy and varied....no need to go into detail here. But I find that even in my excitement of seeing them, I'm catching myself in little, strange thoughts. I'm baffled that they would stop life for a bit to be with me. I find myself uncharacteristically eager to please even if it means taking the poem about Jesus off the wall above the toilet. Parental relationships have been strained and I have somehow managed to remain neutral territory. I've managed not be the source of anyone's frustration. I want to seem transcended above our upbringing. I wonder if for the week i can just throw my kitchen scraps in the garbage rather than in a bowl for the compost pile...because dad saves his scraps in a bowl and i want to seem like I'm not just doing what dad always did. I wonder if I can remember to NOT write little boxes at the beginning of each item on my to do list like mom did. I wonder if I can tell funny enough jokes or absolutely NOT talk ABOUT my kids when they are standing right there...as if they weren't....talking about them more like objects or performers than human beings like someone we three know used to do. I'm swishing about preparing the house for company. Preparing myself for the longing fulfilled - to be with my dear, dear brothers for longer than a sneeze. I pray that I will trust that I am good enough to be just me. Me. Their younger and older sister. I adore them. It's all "my stuff". I have no real reason from them to change who I am. It's just my stuff.
I remember this picture being taken. Dad had us all stand on the hill in the backyard on the rare occasion after the divorce that we four were all together. He had us act out what we wanted to do when we grew up. My sister, bless her heart, was standing like a boxer. Go figure. David....I call him Mango...holding a football. And he was a fine football player until high school ended. He breathed it. I was "clogging". Remember clogging? And Travis...he was standing "cool". Yup. Cool indeed.
He came to visit once when Melissa was a babe and fell asleep on the park bench I had in my living room. Covering him with newspaper seemed the only sisterly thing to do. And Mango...on the beach as a young'n. Look at that face. Just LOOK at it!! I remember taking a nap on the Wednesday before we were to pick him up from the adoption agency on the Thursday. I slept and woke up (30 minutes later) and HOPED that I had slept through the night and that we would leave right away. I remember the swirl of baby soft hair on his back when we first bathed him in his new home with us. I loved him instantly and still do to the point of ache, sometimes. All of them...my siblings. I ache for them with love. I sometimes ache that we didn't grow up together too, but all in all I'm not afraid that we won't be able to know each other better as life proceeds...in ways that will require effort and committment and connection... even if it is in a different way than siblings who spent every minute together until leaving the nest would.