'The little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe. The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars. Fire and lightning and winds are there, and all that now is and all that is not.' -The Upanishads.

Monday, June 27, 2016

follow up

A few of the pieces didn't work out. They crumbled to a brown dust. I was very disappointed, to say the least. The rest were also rough and brown, but when I tried polishing them, the results were much closer to what I had hoped for. Not sure what I did wrong, but I ordered a couple of different types of bronze clay and I'll try them out and see what gives the best results. I'm reminding myself that I've had the same disappointments with pottery and fabric dyes, so I just have to learn from it and move forward. Sometimes I can be such a grown-up!

A few new Etsy listings:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

summer solstice

I am the Queen of Procrastination.  Two - ok, maybe more like three - years ago, I decided that I needed to expand my repertoire and branch out into making my own components.   I thought about lampworking, but I am not a big fan of open flames.  This is also why soldering seemed like a poor choice for me.  I ordered a packet of silver clay and a creme brulee torch, but the expense involved was daunting, as was trying to find a place in my small house to do torch work of any kind.  The silver felt too precious to allow me to make mistakes with it.  I need to make LOTS of mistakes.  It's how I grow and how my work grows too.

Sooooo, I decided to go for broke and ordered this baby:

opening the box
A Paragon metal clay kiln, metal clay in copper, bronze, and - - - something else I can't quite remember right now.  The clay is not exactly cheap, but not so precious that I wasn't able to get into fooling around with it and making enough thingies for a firing.  I will post some photos when they are done.  I am sooo excited!

And here are some pieces I haven't blogged before:

A Tibetan turquoise earring, deer antler tip, copper spiral, red jasper for strength and courage, vintage inlaid bone beads from a Buddhist prayer mala.

Lucky Ancestor flower earrings.  Horseshoes, skulls, blue evil eyes - and hearts.

This piece features three large, hand faceted rutilated quartz beads, a raku scarab, mother-of-pearl bar, glass beads from Indonesia and the Czech Republic. A couple of really old African trade beads framing the scarab and some smokey quartz too, I believe. I haven't listed this one on Etsy yet - can't seem to figure out what to say about it.

And another large ceremonial piece because people kept asking if I was ever going to make another one and I just happened to have bought two of the (alleged) Song Dynasty bronze coins and had one just hanging around.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

i can't for the life of me think of a title

Only a couple of weeks into the new year, we lost one of our sweet dogs, Tonka, to cancer.  He was my shadow, my nap buddy and a constant ( and sometimes annoying ) presence next to my worktable. When I sit down to try to start a new piece, I can almost feel his big chocolate eyes watching me.  For now at least, it's been impossible to be very creative.  At least one of the blessings of have lived as long as I have is that I know that all things have their cycles.  Spring will come.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

another turn of the wheel ...

The wheel of the seasons turns again into the dark and the cold in this Hemisphere.  I wish you all radiant health, happiness, balance, and above all - peace in the New Year.  I am grateful for the ongoing interest in my work and for your support.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

krobo beads

A dear friend gave me a strand of glass Krobo beads from Ghana for my birthday a few years ago.  They are "Mue ne Angma" or "Writing Beads",  made from finely ground glass with glass slurry decorations that are "written" on and fused in a second firing.  They are brighter than most of the beads I tend to favor and they only found their way into a couple of pieces.  I like an aged, more elegant look and these are - well - kind of crude and brash.  But I know that if I find myself resistant to something, it means I have to suspend my judgement and find its own unique beauty.  It works the same way with people too, but that's a little more problematic.

Grouping the them into color affinities was my solution to the problem of what to do with the Krobo beads, adding other bright resin and ceramic beads and some rustic bone Tibetan Buddhist mala beads.

In a short-lived burst of creativity, I made a batch of bracelets strung on leather and embellished with charms.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


With the first really hard frost here on Long Island comes the necessity of dealing with all the half-ripe and green tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and a ton of windfall apples from a friend's trees.  I enjoy food prep and cooking, especially now that the weather is so cool, but it takes me away from my workbench more than I would like. 

Just got this amulet listed on Etsy.  I love the bronze hand clasp and the diamond shaped Thai amulet.  I have come to the conclusion that my reluctance to part with a piece is an indication of how much of my heart I've put into it.  I hope no one buys this one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ancestors and skull beads ...

I just got back home after being away for the last four weeks and as usual, am having a challenge getting back into the groove and the rhythm of making, photographing, editing, blogging, listing.
I may be rambling just a teeny bit, so please be patient.  I'll get there eventually.  Or not.

I know I've written about the ancestors before.  About how shamans live with one foot in ordinary reality and one foot in the world of spirit and energy.  We usually access that unseen world through trance/drug/drumbeat induced journeys.  In some instances when we have been doing a lot of journeying, we flip back and forth - sometimes unexpectedly for some of us less experienced travelers.  It can lead one to doubt her sanity.  The great benefit is that it enlarges our personal definition of "reality".  Quantum physics bears out the shamanic experience again and again.  

But I'm seriously digressing here.  I just wanted to explain my use of the skull as a symbol of the protection of the ancestors.  I use it as an invocation of the spirits and guides who I believe have our backs as we make our way through our lives.  Some traditions say that they are not allowed to help us unless we specifically ask them for it.  I use the skull beads as a reminder that there is more than can be seen with the naked eye - that we do not walk alone.  The bead I used in this necklace is made of pyrite.

See: Properties of pyrite for more information on this powerful stone.

I've also used a couple of vintage coins, one from West Africa with a six-pointed star on the back (the union of the Divine masculine and the Divine Feminine) and one from Nepal with an image of Mt. Kailash, sacred to both Hindu and Buddhist traditions.  Coins are my shorthand for invoking abundance and wealth in all things.  There is a Hamsa for protection; a Thai Buddhist amulet, blessed by monks, again for protection, good luck and wealth; a Chinese jade cicada bead, to remind you that you can always reinvent yourself like the cicada sheds her old skin; a little bronze heart - for love, of course!  An Ethiopian cattle amulet, a quartz crystal point to amplify all the good mojo; some Labradorite beads (supposed to help facilitate self discovery and is a powerful protective stone).

I love the ancient feel that the soft grey/greens give this piece.  It has a powerful presence.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

magic things ...

To become a shaman, one must see things that the rational mind says should not be there, hear voices no one else hears, suspend disbelief.

Friday, August 28, 2015

sing your own song

I do like the way that the amulets on a choker-style necklace hang over the throat, protective and yet empowering.  

It has been a struggle for me all my life to learn to speak my truth.  I suspect this is true of many women.  These amulet chokers I have been making are a reminder to sing your own song.

My oldest granddaughter started high school this week after going to a small, arts based charter school since kindergarten.  She was upset Monday night because no one seemed to be responding to her openness and natural friendliness.  In searching for words of grandmotherly advice, I found myself starting to tell her to be friendlier, make eye contact, smile more - and then before the words could leave my mouth, I caught them and swallowed them down and told her that she should just be her smart, funny, uniquely wonderful self and she will eventually find her tribe.  Or they will find her.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

still august

Once in a while, a piece just kind of makes itself.  That doesn't mean this was just the way I needed it to be the first time.  I had to restring the smokey quartz crystal because it didn't hang right and the Tibetan mala bead that connects the coin to the leather cord originally had turquoise chips in it that were way too blue to go harmoniously with the other turquoise beads and had to be changed out with another that had only a brass inlay.  But overall, the process is just joyful when it comes together so smoothly.  (It also sold within a couple of hours of being listed on Etsy.)  Now, if I could just do this whenever I wanted to ...