'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.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Lucky Turquoise Amulet Earrings

Roses For the Ancestors

Other societies all over the world, past and present, honor their ancestors, some to the point of burying them under the hearth, keeping their heads or their mummies around the house.  When my (now) 92 year old mother asked me some time ago what I planned on doing with her when she died, I told her I was going to have her stuffed with a lampshade on her head.  She didn't bat an eyelash.  "Nah", she said.  "You'll never remember to dust me."

Ancestors are not just limited to family members; they can include people whose lives have had a positive impact on us in some way or the spirits that occupy the lands where we live. One of the things shamans all over the world do is open communication channels with the ancestors. I keep a little space in my room for an ancestor altar where I might put a flower, a chocolate kiss, a beautiful seed pod or a pretty shell from the beach. I tell them that I remember them with deep gratitude and that they live in my heart.  I ask them to watch over and protect all those I love.

The earrings above are an expression of that gratitude.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

and so it goes ...

It seems that for me, earrings are the solution to staying creative while suffering from the summertime blues - short-term commitment plus gratification as immediate as it gets in jewelry making.

Another pendant with a finger-woven cord.  I wanted this one to look like that liminal area where the beach and the ocean meet.

The eastbound lanes of Ocean Parkway on Long Island were flooded during SuperStorm Sandy last year when the dunes were breached.  Now for part of its length, you can see the ocean.  Although I love driving on it, a parkway should never have been built on a fragile barrier beach and someday the Atlantic will reclaim it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

my one wild and precious life...

As I was looking over my last blog post to see if there was anything I absolutely had to change, I heard my Grandmother's voice whispering soft and papery in my mind's ear: "You would wish your life away if you could."  It made me think of this poem and I had the need to share:

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

You know, it's just that I want to see how everything turns out at the end, like flipping to the last pages of a novel.  Then I can relax and enjoy the ride, grasshopper that I am.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

august just goes on forever ...

I am not a patient person.  I'm always ready to move on to the next thing.  OK, we've had summer. Enough already - let's get some leaf action going here.   In my ongoing efforts to "Be Here Now", I've been experimenting with finger weaving cords for necklaces.  Rhythmic repetition with the goal of reaching some kind of meditative state.   The local craft store had some bamboo fiber that was cheap enough to toss if the results were really awful and I found a long-running, multi-episodic British mystery series on NetFlix (this is MY version of meditating.  There are many paths up the mountain, after all) and got my fingers busy.  I tea-dyed the cord and I really like the softness and the texture of it.

A Prayer for Ausangate

a look at the prong-diddy from the back

It's a necklace for grounding, with a black garnet (from a previous post) a jade cicada, a little faceted citrine, and a beautiful stone that a friend picked up on Mt. Ausangate in the Peruvian Andes.  Ausangate is one of the apus, the high glacial mountains that the ancient Peruvians believed were the homes of gods.  The glaciers on the high peaks are melting and within a couple of generations, there will be no more sacred glacial water for the people to bless their crops with.

Then I figured I'd better have some lower price point items in the shop, so I made a few pairs of earrings.  The top pair has lapis lazuli beads with Turkish evil eye beads, lucky horseshoes, bone mala beads and little deer antler tips that my brilliant and beautiful friend Janet brought me back from her summer travels (you remember Janet).

The second pair have quartz crystal points, lampwork, recycled African glass beads, blue kyanite, and lovely little silver medals of the BVM.  I've never been a Catholic (in this life anyway), but I've always loved the Blessed Mother as one of the few representatives of the Divine Feminine that we have in the Western world.  I used to stop off at a church that I passed on my way to school to light candles to Her on test days, so She and I go back a long long way.  These particular medals are from Corsica (also courtesy of the aforementioned brilliant and beautiful Janet), so that makes them extra special.  I have a couple more goodies that she found for me that I'm saving for a special piece.

I also submitted another article proposal to Belle Armoire Jewelry with pictures of the charm bracelets that I made to keep for myself.

Do other people make jewelry for themselves (primarily)?  I only sell the pieces that I can bear to part with.  Which kind of segues into the current bloggers discussions begun by Sparrow Salvage and continued on Fanciful Devices :  how do you price your work so that you get a fair return on your time, unique materials and creativity, but still manage to keep customers?

This is such an important discussion to have and I'm grateful to Sparrow and Fanci for being brave and honest enough to address it. I think that as women, we are accustomed to undervaluing ourselves, and by extrapolation, our efforts.  You don't see Keith Lo Bue worrying about whether or not he's pricing his work reasonably enough, I'll bet.  After September 1, when the Belle Armoire Jewelry Fall issue comes out and I become incredibly famous and sought after, I will be raising my prices.  Fair warning.  So if you managed to read this far and want to buy something dirt cheap, I'll also give you 10% off if you pay before September 1.  Just use the coupon code AMULET2013.

So act quickly before I wake up and realize my own value.