Beads to Bracelets

My favorite bead store in Friday Harbor is having huge sale this week.  So on Tuesday, I hopped on the inter island ferry and came home with this stash. Clearly one of my winter projects has been determined by this purchase.  But I can’t think of a nicer way to spend the rainy days and nights of January and February in the Northwest.  For me, working with these beautiful, bright colors and with beads that sparkle in the light is clearly a way to fight the winter blues.


Beginning Again

I made this drawing a while ago and found it this morning while looking through one of my sketchbooks.  In the bottom right corner, I had written the words, “and so it begins again.”  Because of this it felt appropriate to use it here, as one year is ending and another is about to begin.  The colors seemed to also reflect the spirit of the holidays.  And the imagery felt celebratory as well.

It has long been a practice of mine to use words in conjunction with form.  Sometimes the words come first and then they determine what the imagery will be.  Sometimes it’s the other way around.  Using words helps me to understand my feelings and why I am creating that particular piece.  Sometimes the words remain visible, and at other times the imagery obscures, or partly obscures, the words.  It’s all good.  Using the words is more for me than the viewer.  I don’t really want to pin anything down too much.

At home, at last

After being on the road for forty five hours, I am finally home. You’d think that I had been somewhere truly exotic, for all that travel time. But a combination of cancelled flights and late flights and no late ferries made this a two-day voyage from Delaware Water Gap to Orcas Island.  And oh, it feels so good to be here in the beauty and the quiet that is Orcas, and to breathe into the idea that I won’t be going anywhere (at least not on a plane) for the next three months.  I’m sinking into that with joy and gratitude.  So happy to see Dennis and the cats!!  I’m already planning the many projects I want to do in the stillness and grayness of winter.  Hoping that I get at least some them crossed off the eternally long list of things I want to do in the studio, for the house and outside in the garden.  More mandalas.  Work on half-finished baskets.  Learn more beading techniques.  Paint a lot.  Organize my office.  Clean up the garden.  Make beautiful winter comfort food.   And exercise to counter act all that.  My work is clearly cut out for me.

For today, I’ll unpack, do some laundry, go through the mail and rest a bit.  The projects can wait.  And so can I.  But not for too long.


On 11/11/11, I was at a basket making workshop. We made a basket that had a two-twill base with eleven spokes on each side. There were eleven women in the room, including my wonderful teacher Polly Adams Sutton.

For many, it was a spiritual day, and I felt that I spent it in the perfect spiritual way for me, hanging out with lovely creative women, learning, weaving, talking, laughing, eating and sharing.

A small bubble, a small haven, but so important.  Joined with so many other small and wonderful bubbles that I inhabit from time to time, they form my little world.  And I am very grateful for them all.  The eleven-eleven has come and gone.  I am still here, attempting to choose a bright future for myself and for the planet.

One basket at a time.  One bubble at a time.


the newest mandala

It seemed like a good idea.  I decided to do a mandala about Grace several months ago.  I took a few notes and did a few doodles, and then put it aside.  My thoughts about grace were all over the place, but that only made me realize how much I needed to work on it.

This quote from Anne Lamott kind of sums it up, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”

It is such a tricky and elusive word.  And working with it began to reflect my longing to pin things down, to understand the whys and hows and whats of my own life.  I want physical grace as well as grace on a spiritual level.  I want that ever popular state of grace.  I want it to permeate my thoughts and actions on all levels.  I want to live with grace and age with grace.

Yet my personal journey while working on it was not particularly easy, almost as if I were being shown how much work there is to do.  I’m not exactly sure what I learned, but I know that it made me think and look and feel a lot.

And that’s enough for now.