'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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


I am metrically challenged.  I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's true.  From many years of cutting fabric freehand for my art quilts, I am very good with inches, but millimeters?  Not so much.  And centimeters?  Fuhgiddiboudit. Even though I have a lovely little brass caliper to check measurements, I am frequently surprised when I get something that I bought on line.

I bought the Chinese coin at the center of this piece on Ebay a while back and did not expect it to be so big.  It's supposed to be an antique bronze coin from the Song Dynasty, but I'm skeptical.   I thought it might be too big and too heavy for a necklace, but I've decided that it's perfect for a ceremonial piece.  I would be proud to lead a ritual wearing this.

And a couple of pair of earrngs.  The first with smokey quartz and blue kyanite, which I love, and the second with faux ivory antler tips, rutilated quartz, and my homage to DNA.  I love DNA too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

into the dark again ...

Do you ever feel like you're in danger of becoming stuck in amber?  Like it's sort of comfortable and safe to be surrounded by that warm honey-sap but you know where this is going to lead and it's not pretty.  You've got a couple of choices: you can wiggle and fight it and maybe get out, or you can just relax and see what happens.  Go deeper.  BE the amber.  Is it just laziness??  Laziness with a hefty dose of fear thrown in?  I prefer (at the moment) to think that I'm not just making the same stuff, I'm making the same stuff a little better.  And after all, does any of it really matter?  Can any piece of jewelry, even if I'm arrogant enough to consider it ART, really matter?

Luann Udell, whose art and words always resonate deeply with me, just had a post about the artist not remaining silent in the face of grave social injustice. She makes, among many other beautiful things, these powerful and evocative little polymer clay horses inspired by prehistoric carvings and cave paintings.  She writes, 

“…And I can do this with my hands, by creating my little horse, which symbolizes the power that comes from our choices, our actions, even in the face of despair.”

Read her posts.  She is wise and eloquent, where I am just stumbling around in the dark, trying to make some sense of this screwed up society and my part in it.  10 years ago I would have been at a vigil or a protest and that would make me feel better.  Today I'm just sitting at my worktable trying to fend off despair.  Here are my latest feeble attempts to put a little love and beauty out into the world:  Just treading water artistically maybe, but still satisfying on some level.  This I can do with MY two hands - my offerings of protection for the darkness.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

this post has nothing whatsoever to do with creating ... or maybe it has everything to do with it

I have made a scrambled egg folded over a slice of Muenster cheese and a piece of toast.  I've buttered the toast and cut it into small rectangles, as I've also cut about half of the omelet.  I set my plate down, along with a mug of Trader Joe's orange peach mango juice on the coffee table.  I have a regular fork and a tiny one with a colorful plastic handle.  I sit down on the couch to eat.

She has been dancing in the living room: long dreamy loops, dipping her little shoulders with each rotation.  She is trilling a sweet, tuneless song to accompany herself.  The sound of the plate making contact with the surface of the coffee table interrupts her reverie.  She stops mid-loop with a soft "Whooo" and with tiny staccato steps, her bare feet hardly leaving the floor, sidles over to the coffee table.  She inspects my plate.  Her head is cocked to one side, her lips pursed, her eyelashes lowered.  She knows this renders me virtually helpless to resist her power.  "Mmmmm", She says without looking at me directly.  She taps her chest to sign, "Help".  "Me turn", She says.  I hand her the little fork.  She eats the entire omelet.  She sucks the butter off every piece of toast.   "Mmmmmm", She says, with deep satisfaction.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

in my mind I'm goin' to Carolina ...

It's almost time to pack up the old Volvo wagon and head South for a bit.  The baby is talking, the bigger kids growing ... well, bigger.  FaceTime is wonderful, but little Izzy thinks that Grandma Maggie lives in Mama's phone.  There's no place to set up all my wire and beads, so I'm trying to get everything finished, photographed and listed on Etsy before I go.

Can't wait for the AppleFest and the Dixie Classic Fair.  Apple dumplings!  Pig races!  Autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Maybe we can get in a visit to the alpaca farm.  Maybe I can start to look for my dream house ...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

of whales and fairytales

A lot of the time when I'm working on a piece, I reach a point when I need something I don't already have, I run out of patinated wire, or I just don't know for sure which direction it wants to take.  I don't want to force it.  I want to midwife it gently - no forceps deliveries on my worktable.  Taking a break from the work usually means pulling up some weeds, loading the dishwasher, having a little lie-down ... but I especially like to read other people's blogs.  My favorites are on the left.  I'm so impressed when artists can coherently describe their processes.  It really makes me feel inadequate.  I love the blogs where an entire tutorial is presented. Words and photos.  How do they do it?  How would I ever become organized enough?  Would a photo showing the state of my cuticles make readers gag?

Here's the finished piece - Labradorite, bone, black garnet.  The Czech glass tube beads that make up the rosary chain are an iridescent grey that almost looks like the Labradorite.  There's the whale bone again in photo three.  Every time I move it, it leaves a little pile of calcium behind.  I wonder what kind of whale it was.  A humpback was sighted off the South Shore here this past week.  Every once in while one beaches and dies out on the East End of the Island.  When my kids were small, a young whale managed to find its way into the Inlet and then couldn't find its way back out into the Atlantic again.  We went down to the Bay to try to see him.  I think I remember that he was lured out by some fishing boats and my kids believed the story had a happy ending, but what happened to him in the wide Atlantic, I just don't know.  Was his mama able to find him?  I dearly would love to believe so.  I'm a sucker for happy endings.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


In honor of all who work with their hearts and with their hands, please use coupon code "LABOR2014" at checkout to get 10% off all purchases in my Etsy shop, "maggiezees".  Good through the end of September.

My first necklace and earring "set".  How bourgeouis of me!  Anyone who has read my feedback on Etsy knows that sometimes, when the mood strikes me, and the Moon is in the Seventh House and Mercury aligns with Mars... and I'm still not done playing with the beads that are all over my work table, I include a matching pair of earrings as a thank you for the purchase of an amulet necklace.  I know that it's hard to find something to "go" with some of my odder pieces.  But on the couple of occasions when someone has tried to make it a condition of the sale that I throw in a free pair ... well, that just gets me annoyed.  Some pieces demanded earrings to be made - some didn't.  It's not up to me. I'm an ahtist, damn it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Here's my word of the week: apotropaic.  It means having the power to ward off evil.  Three of the most favorite apotropaic amulets that we use in the West are the open hand (hamsa, Hand of Fatima), the mano figa (a hand gesture placing the thumb between the second and third fingers to resemble a vulva); and the Evil Eye.

Here are a couple more eyes I just listed in the shop in copper wire:  The heavy gauge stuff was headed to the scrap yard when I appropriated it for apotropaic purposes.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

the evil eye amulet


The Evil Eye.  Malocchio.  Incantations against the evil or envious eye have been found in cuneiform writings from ancient Sumeria and probably go further back into prehistory.  Some of the most popular charms or amulets are intended to deflect the evil eye.  In China and India, mirrors are used to reflect any negative energies; using the same magical principle, the image of an eye has the same effect.  This is my first attempt at making an eye amulet from wire, and I already have ideas about how to improve on it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

green green ...

In the Town of Islip, where Bay Shore is, we had an incredible amount of rain one day last week.  13 + inches in less than 6 hours.  I've never seen it rain so hard.  The streets became rivers and little gurgling brooks turned into raging torrents.  Starting a block away, our neighborhood was evacuated, but miraculously, our basement didn't even flood.  It was almost nice not being able to go anywhere, just sit around and play with my beads and wire, totally free of guilt.  Why do I still feel guilty that I no longer have a nine-to-five job?

Anyway, I used my guilt-free time wisely and made a couple of new necklaces:

I thought I had used up all my lovely big faceted Prehnite beads, but I found a few more.  Sometimes being disorganized is a good and useful thing.  The little iridescent gray/green Czech beads are called "ghost beads" and are quite special.  I should have bought more because they don't seem to be available any more.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

a sad story ...

I've been sitting on some packages of Fimo for a while.  Literally sitting on them because I bought them some time ago and they're a little dried out and tough to work with.  I can soften them up while I'm doing something else.  Multitasking at its finest.

I layered translucent and cream to make a faux ivory kind of pattern and then I made them into facsimiles of some of the antler and bone pieces I love to use.  Grunged them up with a little burnt sienna paint and then polished the hell out of them.  The solid pieces survived, but the larger amulets with the indents - well - let's just say they lacked structural integrity.  Which is too bad because I really liked them.

The shields that survived my loving touch got made into earrings.  Lightweight and completely vegan.  Except for the bone beads.

I decided that I didn't really like working with plastic.  It felt like it had no soul, compared with the old, natural materials.  So for now anyway, the Fimo goes back into the storage bin.

I usually don't get so creatively stagnant until halfway into the month of August, but my Summer Doldrums came along early this year.  I gathered together beads with a red theme, thinking of Women's Mysteries - in particular, Croning.  The dictionary definition of "crone" is "an old hag" or "dried up old woman", but fortunately it's one of those words which has been reclaimed by the Goddess revival in the last couple of decades.  Now a woman who has gone through menopause is celebrated as a Wise Woman.  Two women I admired greatly as embodiments of the Crone, Maya Angelou and Margot Adler, passed on recently, and so the two necklaces that were born from this little flicker of creative activity are dedicated to them.

The reds are really more rusty in person.  They look kinda cherry red on my monitor.  This piece could be worn everyday.  To the office. Or the supermarket.  And everyone would know just by looking at you, what a juicy woman you are.  "Dried up", my ass!

The other one I picture being worn at a Croning Ritual.  With all black clothing.  Or all white.  Or best of all - sky-clad!  How magnificent that would be!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Some new pieces for April:  turquoise, amber, lava and bone.  Copper and bronze.  All my favorites.  I'll just keep quiet and let the pictures speak for themselves.

And if I managed to do it right, there's a video of a little egg hunter if you make it to the very end.  Maybe not as funny as kittens being tickled, but pretty damned cute, I'd say.