Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 2009 BJP

I've been so busy working on the Land of Odds contest "Earthen Mother". It is almost done. Wish I could share some pictures of this piece that I've been working off & on for the last 4 months, but the rules state that I cannot post picture anywhere. Bum! As I like to get feedback on these big pieces as sometimes I get so close to it that I lose perspective. Fantasy Swim was the last big enormous piece that I did like this. By the end of the 6 months when I'd have my actual nose touching the base sewing down those individual sea urchins, I was ready for it to be GONE! And it was gone for over 2 years. It now is on permanent loan to Byzantium where I teach. Yet, with this new piece which I'm calling Rachel's Dream to honor Rachel Carson, I really like it. Maybe it is as Chris says that I'm getting better at doll making & just like the doll better. I am & I do. But more about that later this year after I find out if they want it or not.

Besides doing Earthen Mother, I'm still into beading the beanies. They are a great relaxer for me & I can experiment with each of them practicing new techniques and color/bead combinations. For June's BJP, I decided to take a beanie baby that was flat on the ground & by using simple needle sculpting techniques to actually make the cat more life like. Now, I haven't had a cat in over 7 years, but I do remember them playing with their behind up in the air & the paws out front. I used some aqua crystal spacers for the eyes, but after looking at it close (probably too close), they didn't work like I had planned in my head. Better luck next time & out to look for new beads to get the exact pattern I'm looking for. Like I need more ideas to do some bead shopping. I don't know why I've named this cat Toby. Never had a cat named that. Only had three cats in my life despite the Doctor's screaming at me that my Asthma was due to cat allergies. So after our last cat, Casper, died, we decided no more cats. I'm healthier (yes, I didn't believe the Doctors at the time but they were right) but sometimes I do miss my kitty babies. Now we are an all dog family...well...all Scottie Dog family. So enjoy Toby. He makes me laugh & he has no problem sitting next to Gideon of the Big Fish Head. He's waiting for Gideon to make a mistake & then POUNCE!

Friday, June 26, 2009


We decided to get out of warm muggy humid Columbus today. Now I got up at 4am & sat working on a project down in the Art Cave until Chris woke up at 6am. Took the dogs for a mini walk, loaded up the Element & went down to Hocking Hills for the day. We stopped in Logan for breakfast searching for someplace to eat besides Bob Evans which we've renamed "Bland Evans", and found this funky diner in downtown Logan called M&M diner. Our waitress was the nicest person & I had delicious corn cakes, but you could definitely tell we were in Southern Ohio. The gal was wearing a skin tight lime color tank top with short short shorts showing off about 4 tattos. Oh, I forgot, she was bulging out of her attire. But I lived in a town along the Ohio River where this was a standard fashion statement...just with bigger hair! Okay, back to the Road trip. We went to Old Man's Caves in Hocking Hills. Lovely drive up & down the back of the ridge. There weren't many people there at the Park when we got there, and it was a quiet hike down to the falls. We both took pictures (haven't looked at mine yet, but need to upload to the computer later). THEN...everyone just arrived with screaming kids, barking dogs, loud obnoxious people. So we left. We decided to head over to Chilicothe Ohio to the Mound City Group. It has probably been over 30 years since Chris & I have been there. What a TREAT! If you are not aware, Ohio has a large number of ancient Indian Mounds. This is part of the Mississippian area where the Adena or Hopewell Indian culture lives, thrived and disappeared during the time of Rome's Caesar. It is called the "Pyramids" of the Eastern United States. Check out the link above to visit the site & check out some other tour of Ohio.

There was a group of Archaeologist there digging into the wall surrounding the grouping of Mounds. One stopped & chatted with us telling us that he was trying to find parts of the original wall to test the soil to see where it came from. We got to get down in the trenches with him and see what he was working on. He told us about all these other sites that were being worked on in the area giving us a deeper appreciation for the beauty & rich heritage of Ohio. Then we went into the Ranger station & checked out the museum. That is where I saw this falcon piece made of copper. I absolutely was floored by the sheer elegance of this artifact. There were also copper horns possibly used in sacred ceremonies, pottery pieces elaborately etched, copper beads, fantastical pipes with one being a beaver with inlaid pearl teeth, and necklaces of shells. In the book store which was small, but had enough to entice us was another Archaeologist who shared with us stories about the first time this site was found by European whites in 1846, and how unfortunately during World War I this site was used for Fort Sherman. I knew there were many other Mounds all through this area, but he was showing us a map of other sites which where plowed under by farmers of the past, and which are hopefully being rescued by the US Park Service.

Once again, I kept looking at the copper falcon. I wanted something with a picture of it. One of the female Rangers was nice enough to show me a booklet with a picture of it which I bought. Then she saw my bracelet (yes i wore my own jewelry for a change) and showed me a book she thought I might like. I chuckled as it was David Dean's book on Native American Beadwork. Why? Because I'd met him at an Ohio Beader's meeting before & have taken classes with him while I was new at beading. I shared with her a story David told about antiquing bead work & she laughed & asked if she could tell other visitors this story. I thought why not...David told me...why not pass it on. But back to the copper falcon. When we got home Chris found the imagine online for me to use for a future project along with one of a bear claw.

And for a history lesson. The ancient Indian culture is called Adena or Hopewell not because anyone knows for sure that is what they are called, but because many of the first Mounds were excavated on the then Governor of Ohio, Thomas Worthington's place called Adena. And other Mounds were found on land owned by a family called Hopewell. I'm intrigued with this as I know absolutely nothing about Ohio history. It was taught in 7th grade & I didn't move to Ohio until I was in the 8th grade. So I think I'm going to be checking out some history books from the library on Ohio history. This really is a pretty interesting place to live. dot

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Well, well, well...last week I got Gideon the Goldfish back from ClothPaperScissors along with a complimentary issue of the July/August 2009 magazine. I submitted a .jpg of Gideon for the reader's challenge "Life's a Beach". It sent it in the day of the deadline & was surprised to get an e-mail from the editor telling me it was a semi finalist. I sent Gideon to them for photographing & boy did they ever do a great job on it. Reading the article I saw that they had over 296 entries, but only chose 15 to publish & Gideon was one of those chosen. I am so pleased & delighted. So my goal of getting published in a different magazine came true. Now, it is not a beading magazine, but I'm still working on that. Speaking of...it is work getting things published. I know earlier this year I blogged about one of my Guild sisters grousing about my bragging too much about being published. Well, DARN IT! I'm proud of this achievement & I want to say right here and to her face if she'd ever confront me that it is work to get your pieces out there to the publishing world. Magazine editors don't come knocking on your door when you are still unknown. You have to submit to every challenge, write proposals for articles, hunt out other opportunities to be published, and use networking skills to get to know who/how/where to submit pieces for recognition. It is not easy, and does take time & some thick skin. Oh, I can't say that rejection is still easy, but I've developed a better coping mechanism for the "sorry, but..." letters or e-mails that I get. But it can be done. Look at me...and I'm not finished yet. I'm constantly looking for new avenues to promote my Art and my name. I'm working right now while I'm still working full time for my future goal of being able to make money teaching when I retire in about 10 years from now. MOF, I also sent out a package with three of my cuff bracelets to a fashion magazine. I'm pretty sure I'll get that "sorry...but" letter from them, but hey! You never know. And I'm actually thinking quilting magazines...never say never. So if you don't think your work is good enough to be published...poppycock is what I have to say. Try it! It is so much easier now with the option to just shoot off an e-mail or a .jpg to an editor. Also, think about teaching. Don't be shy! Go to your local bead store or quilt shop with a portfolio of your work or of the class you'd like to teach. And let me tell you that teaching is FUN. (oh, I did forget my camera even though I blogged about taking it). Join a Guild or a club and let those women be your mentors on how to get out there & get recognized for your skills and art. And don't let one person put you off, as it is thrilling to see your name in print even if you aren't getting paid for it (my Mom still doesn't understand this aspect of the game). Because it is just that...a game! So I want to be your cheerleader & get everyone interested,inspired, and gung ho to be published. It is addictive, I warn you!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Visual journaling

I follow Robin Atkins's blog Beadlust, and enjoy sharing her ideas and thoughts about life and ART. Yesterday she had a blog entry about Visual Journaling. She shared some blogs of people that I like to follow also. She wanted to know about her readers ideas on sharing their journal online. Boy, this was a tough one for me to think about. This is what I wrote in response to Robin's question.

"Interesting thoughts & ideas, Robin. I thought all day about how I would answer a question about visual journaling. I don't really do this, and I had to figure out why I don't. I use to keep a diary when I was a little girl writing secrets and dreams until the day my Mother found it and read what I had written and then punished me for the negative thoughts I had. So I kept my thoughts and ideas to myself. I can't help breaking out of that habit. Later on in college, I did a writer's journal for all the literature classes I completed. And oh yes! I did & still do write notes to myself in all my books. It is a way to make them personal to just me. I wrote about the pieces of literature I was reading and how it related to my life jotting down ideas for papers to be written or themes to explore. Later on back when the Internet was brand new & people just started to have personal web
(I owned Scottie Obsession), I use to write stories and had a whole website devoted to the antics of a group of Scottish Terriers. It was so much fun, but then when my first Scottie, FalaPink, died, it all dried up. I had no more words. I had no more stories. I was helpless. I tried to journal, to do a diary, nothing, nothing and more nothing. I tried to paint, to sew, to quilt, to volunteer...nothing. Then I picked up a needle and beads, and all those words came through my fingers onto a piece of fabric. And you know what? All those words became tiny pixels expanding across the fabric using beads as my letters. I still don't share my emotions in my blog. It is still so hard for me to open up, because I'm still that teenager who got caught spilling out her emotions to be found and used against her. I wish I could be like so many others and explore my emotions on my blog, but I can't. My emotions instead spill out into my Art each bead or fiber at a time. My heart wants the world to be at peace, and happy so therefore all my Art is made to make a viewer smile. Smiles to me will conquer the world! So make Art with your heart, and pass on those smiles."

So this is what I feel. Strange, but I feel naughty sharing my emotions here with the world to view. My family is very Appalachian which means you keep your feelings to yourself. Can I break myself out of this tradition? Can I reach past that teenager who was punished for writing a dream that to her Mother was false? We grew up with the saying "don't air your dirty laundry". Who's to care? And who's to say my laundry is so foul? Oh well, I'm going to think more about all this and try to push through. What more can we do except break out of our self prison, and throw our faces up to the bright warming Sun and learn to smile.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beanies Unite!

I had to show you what I was doing last night. Yes, that is a pile of over 300 beanie babies laying in piles all over my basement floor. I am teaching the Trash to Treasure class over at Byzantium Saturday afternoon and had to get my class kits ready. It was so hard to go through all over them trying to figure out what creature my students would like. At the shop is my beaded bunny and the blue jay, but the article had bears, hippos, and an octopus. I chose a group of bears, the bunny, cats, dogs, lizard,elephant and a fish for the students to bead on. Since the class is only 4 1/2 hours, I am doing all the prep work for them. So I had to "de-gut" each of the beanies removing the sack of plastic pellets or "beans" from each of them, then stuff each of them just so as too much stuffing will warp out their bodies, a quick stitching of the incisions, and DONE...Twenty five beanies. Now, I'm not going to have that many students, but I wanted to give them a choice. Because this class is more open with each student picking their own beanie to bead, I did not want to come up with bead kits for each beanie. So Joyce decided we'll take the first 15 minutes from the class & I'll help the students to shop for beads. Isn't this the best! I get to shop & get paid for it. We'll see how this more free style class will go. Also, I've never taken pictures of my classes before and thought this time I'm going take my camera. One of my students from a beaded cuff class got the beanie bug & beaded a elephant. They are addictive


Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Idea-Summer School

I've been reading Susan's blog, Plays with Needles. She had an idea to do a Summer program called "Charm School" in which every week she is going to take one of the many books out from her craft library and learn/do another project. I thought about that & decided that sounds like a good idea to get out of my comfort zone and learn some new techniques. I have many books on beading, doll making, and fiber arts along with many magazines, but here I had the perfect project for my Summer School...I am looking at my desk and saw the Bead-A-Day Beading 2009 Callendar with Sharon Hessoun & Friends. Right there is enough projects to keep me the whole year. So I'm going to primarily use these as my "homework". This week I used the project "Cellini Spiral" which is June 8 & 9. I think I pass! LOL! Love this & am already thinking of earrings to match.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fall Classes at Byzantium

These are the two pieces that I need to get to Byzantium for Fall 2009 classes. I decided to do two classes even though my Fall is going to be so busy with my going to MM&M with Pam in September to take a class with Pam Gross & then my going to the Bead Unique Retreat at Lake Tahoe in October. But my students asked for the encrusted cuff bracelet again, but this time they wanted it to be flat. I'd made a bracelet using the black/pink/silver colors for a coworker who loves Goth designs. I liked it too, and decided to do another one using pink crystals. I also used a different type of edging to the bracelet to give it a different look. Well, looks the same, but I believe it will be easier for the students than the ruffle that I usually like. I also wanted to do a doll to keep everyone interested. I was going to do a pink fairy with wings and all that, but after I did just the torso, the doll told me to stop. I rested it in the palm of my hand with the fringe hanging down, and decided this was enough. It want to do teach this doll in October which is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I decided to call this doll a Palm Prayer, because she fits so nicely in the hand and what a wonderful gift to give to someone from one palm to another. I sat at my work table thinking how lucky I am that I know no one who is now diagnosed with breast cancer or is in treatment (most of the women I know are survivors! YEAH!). Then this afternoon when I woke up, Judy on Doll Street Dreamers announced that one of the members of our community has just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I felt a chill go all over my body. So to whomever you are, where ever your are, this doll and class is dedicated to you. Barb Keeling who is also doing the Bra Doll Challenge put out a call to make a doll & send to this unknown woman to help her through her treatment. Another member also put out a call to do a round robin for our unknown member and to another member who has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I want to help both because there is nothing like the feeling that you are being thought of when faced with a scary journey. dot