'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.

Friday, August 31, 2012

the grandmother stone ...

Back in the day when I made "art" quilts, I avoided commissions much like I avoided going to the dentist.  My nature is just contrary enough that needing to please someone else's aesthetic shuts down whatever  creativity I might be able to channel.  So when a woman I know asked me last week to make a stone that has special meaning for her into a necklace, I said I'd have to see the stone first.

My friend picked up the stone in the Andes, in Peru, on a journey with a group of other students of Peruvian shamanism.  It turned out to be a very interesting rock.   It has a petrified bone sort of feel and it's triangular rather than round so there are a total of three sides, each one with a distinct "face".  It fits perfectly in the hand.  In this picture it looks a bit like a dinosaur skull .

I had planned to do a funky kind of bronze wire wrap.  I still think that might have been the best way to go from an aesthetic point of view.  Now, how do I explain what happened next without making you think I'm a total New Age Wacko?  This rock definitely did not want to be wrapped in wire.  The words that popped into my head were, "Would you put handcuffs on your Grandmother???"  So since she's Peruvian, I decided to treat her like a beloved Peruvian ancestor and wrap her.  Beautifully.  Lovingly.  First I put some seeds into the crevices in the stone.  Then I wrapped her in a pale skeletonized leaf.  A strip of gold embroidered silk sari fabric next.  (I don't know about your grandmother, but mine liked a little glitz.)  A tiny speckled feather and a piece of root are tucked into this layer.  Then a strip of hand-dyed silk and a leather thong to hold it all together and attach it to the bronze "hanger".

I always try to work in a way that is mindful, for want of a better word.  I try to respect the materials and use pieces that already have some history to add to the

story I'm trying to tell.  I think I'm sensitive to the vibrations that different materials have, (though I usually have to look up the meaning and properties of the gemstones I use), but working on this piece has taken that to a whole new level for me.

My wish is that the necklace that I've created around this interesting stone will in some way enhance the holistic healing work that her guardian, Susan, does in her life.

A link to Susan's website is below.  She is a certified holistic health counselor and a gifted healer.  She even has a very affordable online program and her site is a goldmine of useful and helpful information.

Check it out.


and on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/StillPointHealingArts

Saturday, August 25, 2012

shell beads

I've been waking up every morning at 3:48 A.M.  Too early to start the day but too late to try to fall back to sleep right away.  So I get out of bed, try not to wake Dave and the dogs (truth be told, the dogs are only too happy to occupy the warm spot I've just vacated), and I make my way downstairs.  Sometimes I take my ipad with me, sometimes I just sit on the couch petting our geriatric cat, and sometimes, if I'm really really lucky, there's something interesting on tv.  The other morning there was a show on the NatGeo channel about the excavation of a hominid child's skull in a cave in Morocco.  Along with the bones, a number of tiny shells were found.  They had holes in them and under the microscope, the holes showed wear patterns that indicated that the shells had been strung on sinew or on some kind of plant material.


These people were making and wearing jewelry 125,000 years ago.  And what's more, the shells were not local; they had come from hundreds of miles away.   I just cannot imagine what meaning that strand of shells had for those people, but they pull me back through the millenia that separate me from that child and his mother.  I fell asleep on the couch and had a dream about making a necklace of shells, specifically a shard of clam shell that I found on the beach near my house that I had been practicing my hole drilling skills on.  No wire.  Only plant fiber.

My dream necklace involved quite a lot of macrame but  my attempts were rather pathetic.  Need to revive those old hippie skills.  I think I'll dig out my old macrame books and get some softer material and redo this.  The hemp has a mind of its own.

clam shell amulet necklace, close up

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


bee amulet necklace

A wire-wrapped fragment of a Tibetan "beeswax" amber bead hangs from a little copper bee.

Very worrisome - the disappearance of honeybees.  Since the beginnings of humankind, we have regarded honey as a miraculous substance and the makers of honey as divine beings.  In ancient Greece, the Melissae were the priestesses of the Bee Goddess.  This necklace is my humble offering to the Bees.  Please forgive us for poisoning you.  Please come back and pollinate our crops and make sweet honey for us to steal from you.  Please teach us how to live in community and work together for the good of all.  (I don't think any bees are Republicans.)

Here is a link to an article in the Vancouver Sun on the subject::

Greek amulets of the Bee Goddess, 6th century BCE

photo by Doris Diamond, copyright 2012
bees at Hofstra University bee project

And a couple more pieces with dangly things hanging off them.  I'm not tired of making them yet and I'm not tired of wearing them yet (the dangly things are fun to play with when you're waiting for someone).  When I'm ready, I'll move on to other things.  Or not.  They're actually kind of like a hamsa - usually five dangles hanging down like the fingers of a hand.

amethyst necklace variation

close-up, revisited amethyst necklace

abalone shell with protective amulets

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The circle complete ...

Yesterday,  after resolving some technical difficulties, I finished the piece below in time to wear to an event on the North Shore at a little harbor that flows into the Sound.  It was a water blessing and healing ceremony commemorating the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The Asian goddess of mercy, Kwan Yin, seemed appropriate to invoke.  We each put little origami cranes into the water to bear our prayers for peace out to sea and as the last one swirled away out to the harbor, a single white egret rose from the adjoining marsh and flew off over our heads.  For a brief moment, the world felt in perfect balance.  Blessings offered, acknowledged, and returned.  The circle complete.

The lovely Kwan Yin pendant on this necklace hangs right over the heart.  The mussel shell pieces are collaged with gold foil candy wrapper and instructions for burn ointment in Chinese characters.  On the linked chain are two vintage carnelian accent beads that are undeniably loaded with feminine energy.  And the rondelle beads are the last of my stash of Peruvian opal. (At least they were sold to me as Peruvian opal - I honestly don't know what they are but I like them alot.)  I don't always test drive the pieces I make, but I've got to say that this one feels incredible on.

Monday, August 6, 2012

the endless summer ...

I was once written up at work for having a "bad attitude".  Musta been in the summertime. Or maybe not.  Having been brought up to be a "good little girl", I took it as a compliment.  When my granddaughter was in first grade, she told me that she was bored with being a good girl and was trying out being a bad girl.  Apparently this involved making loud farting noises when speaking to her grandmother on the phone , but apart from that, I had to approve.  Sometimes, you just have to make some trouble and shake things up.  As long as you don't forget to recycle. And brush your teeth.

Here's a new piece inspired by some goodies I picked up last Sunday at the Long Island Gem and Mineral Show in Mattituck, which is a lovely little town on the North Fork, between the vineyards and the farmstands.  Used to be, the North Fork of the island was pretty rural and rustic, at least in comparison to the trendy Hamptons on the South Fork.  The bait and tackle places and tractor supply stores have succumbed to boutiques selling fair trade African baskets and every little deli has brewed decaf soy chai lattes.  (I made that part up but it's probably true.)  In spite of that, I had a lovely day with my brilliant and beautiful friend Janet (you remember Janet from the earlier display hand episode) and bought some cool stuff, including some pre-drilled quartz points, Thai amulets, Chinese I-Ching coins and carved jade pendants.