Switching Hats

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I was invited to show my jewelry at the Deblois Gallery in Newport during their upcoming show Anything Goes! March 3-25th.

The only catch is that I didn’t have anything left.  It has been well over a year since I made any new jewelry.   But…But… I am ONLY PAINTING this year right??? World don’t you hear me??? … Yeah, I couldn’t resist. I said yes and took a couple of weeks off from painting.

I went to Providence and dug through my favorite mills and came out with the coolest beads, rhinestones and cabachons to create mosaics with.  I had a women tell me this week she didn’t know what a cabachon was.  So, in case you didn’t know – rhinestones are cut and faceted and cabachons are smooth and round.  However, when I’m in the mills talking, it seems anything that isn’t cut and faceted gets labeled a cabachon.  I found cats, pharaohs and dragonfly glass stones and they all got called cabachons.  So loosely,  -cabachons are the little glass, crystal and stone pieces I put in my jewelry.

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I hope these photos give you an idea of what I mean by “digging around”.  Every single tiny cardboard box is filled with a different jewelry component.  Up to the ceiling and down at least 18 aisles. It takes hours and hours to sift through, but you come out with jewelry components no one has seen in 50 years.

In the upcoming days I will share some of the mosaic pendants I’ve created.  I wish I could convey just how much they sparkle, but cameras just can’t capture it!

I had a lot of fun and feel pretty good about just how funky this new line of work turned out.  After many years, I finally feel like I have something polished and unique to offer.

That feels pretty good.

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Soup’s On 2018

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This is the super-fun event my pottery studio puts on every year.

For $20 you have a lovely tasting of over 12 home-made soups, choose a hand-crafted bowl to take home and you get to support a great cause.  Our studio raises money to support The Beautiful Day Project.  This project helps refugees new to Rhode Island receive job training and employment.  They produce their own organic high-quality granola and then sell it.  It is delicious as well as making a big difference in many peoples lives.

Here are some photos of bowls that have been turning up this week which willbe part of the event:

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Join us this Friday 6-8 pm. You won’t want to miss this!

Flying High

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I’m continuing to work on my own stamps to create texture on my pottery.

This is a bird series. What is fun, is that every piece has a different pattern on its opposite side. I made a bunch of bird bodies, but I made the wings separate stamps. This way I can change the trajectory of the wings to simulate different flight poses.  Instead of only having three bird stamps, I will have six bird bodies and 12 different patterned wings to choose from.

I also made stamp pieces of a tree.  Each piece of the tree can be flipped to create more irregularity in my tree pattern.  I can stamp in many different variations of a tree depending on how many times I stamp them.  Little tree or big tree.

I am making some large bowls right now.  I’ll try using them and send some updates of how they work.

Have a great weekend everybody.  I hope you all get to do something creative :)

Losing My Religion

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Here’s a painting that evolved from random abstract mark-making.

Somewhere within the chaos I saw a church and from there, all my thoughts on the current state of religion in the US came to mind.

Of course religion in America is loaded.  It’s political and something most people would choose to avoid discussing. Nevertheless, It’s what came up in my painting.

I guess for me, I feel a bit of anger at the indifference some people find towards the First US Amendment – Freedom of Religion.

I can remember my earliest encounter with other faiths when I first went to kindergarten.  My little class had Christians, Jews and Vietnamese Buddhists in it.  I didn’t even really know what that meant, but I do remember that it was a lesson. Through school I learned that many people believe in many different theories of God and in America you can practice any religious faith you’d like. Or none at all.  There is room for everyone.   That was about it.  Sweet and simple. Oh, and there is church and there is state.  Church is your own private choice and state is where everyone agrees to respect everyone else’s choices.  To a small kid, I remember thinking that sounded pretty fair.

A decade later I was in high school. For the first time in over a decade we were told they were changing our morning routine. The Pledge of Allegiance had always come onto the loud-speaker. We stood up, said the pledge and were then told to sit down for a moment of silent prayer.  But, for now on, there would simply be a moment of silence.  I don’t think us kids had ever thought about it before.  We just did what we were told. We put our hand on our hearts, stood, recited, sat down and stayed quiet until we were told we could speak.  On this day, I can remember the teacher explaining why the government was doing away with the word “prayer”.  Prayer had come from the fact that our country was predominantly Christian for hundreds of years, since most people were Christian, no one really minded if there was Christian religion in the public schools.  But now, people were becoming more observant of the fact that not everyone is Christian.  Perhaps a moment of silence to whomever your God is might be better than the Christian idea of “prayer”.  I remember thinking this was amazing.  Right in my little classroom we were discussing the First Amendment again and how as a country we really needed to hold true to our word. There is freedom of religion and separation of church and state.  You believe whatever you want outside of school, but when you are at school, we respect that everyone may have different beliefs. We focus on learning at school. That’s it – period.

I got it.  I got it at every age. We Americans are free because we respect everyone’s right to freedom. That’s how it works.

Now, I’ll admit it. I haven’t been in school in a couple of decades.  But the talk I now hear goes against everything I was taught in school.  Things like “Finally, we can bring back prayer to the classroom.” and “Bring back the Christmas pageant”. Things that sound incredibly CHRISTIAN to me.  If these same people found out the school was pausing to face towards mecca to pray 5 times a day they would go berserk.  Perhaps there should be no school lunch as all kids should fast during Yom Kippur?

You can’t have it both ways. If  you don’t want someone else’s religion shoved down your throat, then you can’t shove your own.

The other thought that came to mind as I was painting this little church is acceptance.  I am pretty sure every faith has some form of “Love All” in their tenants.  This caused me to draw all sorts of symbols.  Religious ones. Feminine vs Masculine. Patriotism. Rich vs. Poor. Educated vs. Illiterate.  Citizens vs. immigrants.  Who does America belong to? All or some?

Me. I believe in the freedom to mind one’s own business.  You leave me alone.  I leave you alone.  Mutual respect = Co-exist.

Call me a snowflake.  A flaming idealist-liberal.  I’m OK with that.  I’ll own it.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but guess what? I’m not the only one!

Mans Best Friend

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Sorry peoples – I’s a cat person!

There was that week, the one where I totally freaked out about ruining all the paintings I was working on? It was a few weeks back.  Well, in response to my-freak out, I stepped away from the paintings I was working on and started some new ones.  The new ones were way smaller – like 11×14 as opposed to 20×24’s.  I encouraged myself to go small and go simple.  This way maybe I wouldn’t flee the scene never to return!

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It worked.  It kept me at it. I focused on creating colors that I particularly like (up until this point my paint selections have been random without any thought.) I love this color combo.  So that was one small success.

I don’t know, but instantly I saw a cat.  Above, you can see my editing outline.  From there, I tried really hard not to over-do and add unnecessary layers of paint which is where I get into unhappy-color-land. So, I did very little.  I added molding paste to the background to give it a rough palette knife texture, added some details and tried as hard as I could to keep it simple.  I still feel guilty like I didn’t work hard enough or struggle enough, but I let that go, and that felt pretty good.  I really have to practise relaxing and not over thinking.  This is SOOOO HARD for me!  I always feel like I am too late and coming from behind when it comes to painting. Any one into the theater production of Hamilton?  There is a song asking “Why do you write like your running out of time?” Man I can totally relate.  Hamilton wrote at a fevered pitch.  If his peers wrote 20 documents, he was writing 80. The running out of time part was that he did.  He died early.  I feel like my spirit feels like it’s working against Life’s clock.  That or I’m just completely mental.  Let’s just hope I’m mental :)

As for cats.  It’s hidden in the final painting, but I found myself writing “Thank you for teaching me how to love”.  I really mean this.  My cat has helped me with my spiritual practise.  Every day I pick her up.  I feel her warmth, her heart beat, her purr and it instantly forces me to become present.  When she prances by, I take it as a reminder to stop everything, appreciate exactly where I am and exactly what I’m doing.  It is one of the few reminders that literally walks by me each and every day.  I hug her tight, enjoy looking out the window, observing, being quiet and being peaceful.  Unfortunately, it lasts about as long as my meditation practise – not very long, but at least it’s daily :)

My cat teaches me gratitude and for that I am truly grateful.