31 January 2010

little wonders

Today I've been struck by a series of little wonders ...
The word 'invigorating' magnified through the acrylic grip in the shower.

Before the big blast of snow hit on Friday, I made a mad dash out for bird seed and to quench a sudden need for greenery to adorn the new open corner of my worktable.  I bought a beautiful red-stemmed mini jade plant, a small ming aralia and a lovely pot with soon-to-be-blooming paperwhites.  On the way home I stopped at my favorite store and found perfect ceramic containers for my new table-top garden.

 Another little wonder is how fast the paperwhites are shooting up in my toasty environment.  

After the amazingly fast 10" accumulation on Friday night, we got a healthy dose of sleet, making for a very crusty blanket. The bird feeders have been a hub of activity and needed filling, so I ventured out into the still cold morning to discover more little wonders ... a tiny snow 'cave'

And, from where I had walked across the crusty layer, shards of snow remained.

I've been in a bit of a feng-shui frenzy, Friday and Saturday's task was clearing surfaces of 'decor' that now felt like clutter.  Asking myself, "what does this do for me?  Does it lift my energy or does my energy drop when I think about it or look at it?" (from Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui).  One of the bits of treasure I left was this small pit fired pinch pot filled with feathers.  The pot is one of mine from many years ago, the feathers collected beneath a nest tucked into the rafters of the old shed next to our former log cabin home ... hmmm, at least seven or eight years ago.  The feathers had gotten sort of packed down, so I fluffed them up and discovered the russet striped feather, a forgotten little wonder in the center of the mix.

The last week has been a challenge, I'm so easily distracted these days.  I kept hearing the squadron leader from the climactic battle scene in Star Wars, "stay on target, stay on target."  Easier said than done.  It's just so easy to zip over to this silly computer and look up little things, get side-tracked into looking at a few new sites, oh yes, I really would like another cup of tea, where was that magazine article, I absolutely must have something living on the corner of my worktable.  Okay, so the space clearing has been very satisfying and the blitz trip out before the snow yielded perfect results and I did come across this sweet bit of a film on an interesting style blog, Allure-Allure.  I'm a big fan of Tilda Swinton dating back to her leading role in Orlando back in '92.

SS10 Pringle of Scotland Tilda Swinton / Ryan McGinley Film from GlassmatesTV on Vimeo.

I'd say, all in all, a lovely start to the day and an appropriate continuation of my 'space clearing' efforts - mental as well as physical.

One more little thing.  After a bizarre saga of damaged and lost packages, I finally got the last book in my inspiration collection, 100 New Fashion Designers, a very very cool addition to my library.  A by-product of some of the craziness was the receipt of a book shipped in error, 100 years of Fashion Illustration.  The seller said to just keep it as a thank you for my patience, but it's not really something I love.  I thought I'd see if anyone out there would like to have it.  It cost me nothing and, if no one's interested, I'll send it back to the seller.  One way or the other, I'll pay for mailing it somewhere. 

And finally, I just remembered this song from my favorite Bowie Album ... can you guess?  Little Wonder from Earthling.  We saw this performance when it was broadcast live on the BBC - this is not a great copy, but a great version.  The official video version has my favorite Bowie 'look', but the visuals are a wee bit disturbing for this post.

That's all for now on this glorious sunfilled snowy day.
blessings - kvk

p.s. let me know if you're interested in the Fashion Illustration book

26 January 2010

lucky girl

I had a short visit yesterday with the Thornton/Ogden clan - Andrew and Cynthia and Greg and Max (Azalea was at school).  The visit has been on my to-do list for over a month, but with holidays followed by colds, well it just took this long to make the seven minute drive over to their house.  The main purpose for the visit was to collect a bit of treasure ... Cynthia and Andrew had collaborated on a birthday/Christmas present for me.  It's crazy that it took so long and the suspense was killing me.  But such a sweet little treasure I now have.

Andrew made her house, the interior is lush layers of color and collage and Cynthia made the figure, wearing a gown of one of my favorite colors.  There's such a gentleness about her.  The serene background, the softness of her gaze on the goldfinch (my other favorite color - ochre) resting in her hand.  Naming her will come, but for right now she's found a home on the shelf above my computer so I have a clear view from anywhere in my studio.

Such a gifted family.  Many thanks to Cynthia and Andrew. 
What a lucky girl am I.

with much gratitude - kvk

implements for hunkering

Well this never-ending cold's grip is finally loosening, my head is clearing, energy is returning, errands have been run, there's food in the house and all but one of my new books have arrived.  I think I'm pretty much set to shut down and commence a long overdue refill of the old creative well ... three weeks later then I had planned, but who's counting.  Taking this kind of time, well for me taking any time, seems a great luxury for which I am enormously grateful.  Another luxury is the library I've accumulated.  My trove of treasures far surpasses any of the libraries in the area, remnants of my collecting obsession while in Port Townsend ... a library which, thanks to very generous Christmas gifts, has several lovely new additions.

Here's my existing hoard ... the closet shelves hold the oversize volumes and the more exotic subjects, you know like tiaras and couture accessories, along with general design and some more specifics like product packaging, Japanese aesthetics, home interiors and my library of clay books from my old potting days.

My new shelf holds the jewelry books I use most frequently, plus I just love looking at their spines on a regular basis.  A well designed book is such a joy.

So, my starting point is the Middle Ages and back a few thousand years.  The new additions to my antiquities library:  Medieval Jewellery, a slim volume from the collection of the V&A museum is just gorgeous; 7000 Years of Jewelry is looking equally luscious and covers the globe; Primitive and Folk Jewelry is a Dover book that I found for $3 - I've checked it out from the library for weeks on end and finally have my own copy; Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry is eye candy at its finest and focuses on extraordinary jewels from the "cradle of civilization" in North Africa.

I'll continue with a couple of favorites my own library.  These three are especially wonderful and are layered with my neon fringe.  Moravia Magna and Cradle of Christianity are a couple of excellent finds from the used bookseller in Port Townsend - lord I miss that bookstore.  I've had Art of the Dark Ages for many years - it's one of my absolute favorites.  It's out of print, but there's some really cheap copies to be had via Amazon's booksellers.

Armed with my crucial accompaniments, sketchbooks - old ones as well as the new,  Ticonderoga #2's freshly sharpened with plenty of erasers, treasured neon stickies, and copious amount of tea in my favorite mug, I'm ready to park myself and do some serious perusing and focusing - joy joy joy!

If I happen to get bored or need a break, I've got a few other new distractions ...

I've got one more fashion oriented book OTW - 100 New Fashion Designers.  Funny thing about this one, it doesn't seem to want to come to Asheville.  I ordered it once and it got mangled in shipping and went back to the seller.  I ordered it again and it got lost.  I just contacted the seller today and they're shipping it again today - expedited.  I should have it tomorrow or Thursday.  Weird.  Anyway, Amazon's got it for cheap!  I've done quite well stumbling across their close-outs.
Then, as if I need any further distractions or diversions, I've got a couple from the library.  I've been curious about the Twyla Tharp book for a while and I've finally started reading the Golden Compass.  It's my current favorite movie and I'm really enjoying the book (so very different) thus far.  Best of all, there's 3 more in the series.  The Fiberarts book is more nice inspiration that is not jewelry specific - that's always a good thing.  This one, #6, is one of my favorites.

Needless to say, I've got some inspiring days ahead.  I always read Danielle's WhiteHotTruth blog - she's had some great posts since the new year.  Today, she's got a Burning Questions segment with Seth Godin - I love Seth Godin!  From the post - his definition of art:
1. Art is made by a human being.
2. Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
3. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording... but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.

Hmmm ... a couple more things from my 'to-blog-about' list:
A jewelry website I just discovered - Gem Kingdom from the Netherlands.  The site is classic Euro cool and the jewelry is kind of a fun cross between Subversive Jewelry and Love Heals.

A very special recent project ...

I made this for a friend that's going through a tough time.  It's been at least a couple of years since I did anything like this.  The vessel is about 1 1/2" x 2" with moonstone and rubies embedded, dangling is another ruby, an aquamarine nugget, a quartz point and a ragged sort of heart charm, all hanging from a soft rose silk braid.  I'm really pleased with the results.

Considering this post and the last, it's readily apparent that I've been in a pensive place for a bit.  For background music, I've been going back and forth between my Hildegarde Pandora station and Michael Hedges.  We have a Windham Hills DVD with some classic Michael Hedges that never fails to blow me away.  We got to see him twice, once in '93 at a beautiful venue here in town and later at a small club in early '97 , just a few months before he died in a car crash.   That first time we were so amazed that he could accomplish his complex sound - solo.  His exquisite genius lives on in his music.  For your consideration - Aerial Boundaries:

I think that's it for now.  I've got my work cut out for me in the days ahead, but what delicious good fun my 'work' promises to be.

many blessings - kvk

20 January 2010

mining the dark days of winter

Ahhhh, now to catch up a bit .....
Quite a range of life experiences happening in my little world since I last wrote.  We joined the Y, I tweaked my knee straight away and decided to rest it for a couple of days, not being able to sit still, I took on a major reorganization of my studio, got my second cold in a month (thank you YMCA petri dish), parked my butt and read for a few days, Dave's Uncle Bill passed away (after a long illness) on the 9th, still trying to rid myself of the cold, worked on some new talismans - one for Haitian relief efforts and one for a friend that's going through a tough time, family arrives for funeral services and a couple of days of getting together and that brings us up to today.  Goodness!
As you can see, it's been a month of letting go.

It began by preparing myself to give away my Ornament magazine collection - 20 year's worth - to blog buddy, Cindy.  I got to thinking - that new blank spot on my shelf might just fit a couple of the bead units on my worktable.  Armed with one of my new books, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, I stepped back for an attempt at seeing my very full workspace with an objective eye.
The initial and most obvious observation, I had created a wall around my central creative space, my worktable, and it's no surprise that I was feeling 'blocked in'.  I was, quite literally, blocked in.  So it began - the big shift.
I had grown weary of my 'clever' use of old stuff.  My hodge podge of old dish drains and milk crates and dryer racks at first all seemed so organized and, well, clever.  Armed with a gift card and a discount coupon, I loaded up on my implements of organization - new storage, operative word here NEW.  No more rigging and balancing and making do.   

Shelves were unloaded and relocated and rarely used beads were moved into the closet in the space that was cleared by moving jewelry books to one of the new shelves and everything on the worktable got shifted and sorted or ditched and another new shelf, the taller and more open new one went into the corner and, lord mercy, such a lot of sorting and moving and sorting and moving.
I took down the patchwork of drapery surrounding the table and replaced it with an old Indian print spread, not in very good shape, but I like the lighter colors and single pattern ... much more soothing to my eye.  It took two full days to finish this stage of the purging, but oh what splendid results!  I can breathe in this space.

I still have more to do, but that's when the latest cold started to take hold.  I usually go years between colds, so two within one month is positively annoying.  The cold pretty much took over my to-do list.  Basically, I parked my backside on the couch and read for 3 days.  Luckily I had found a couple of prizes at the library that kept me thoroughly engaged, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane followed by The Rose Labyrinth.  Both books are my favorite combination of period mixed with contemporary wrapped up in magic realism with a side order of
mystery for fun.  Fine literature they are not, but fun they were.
After polishing off my book stash and still in the grips of said nasty cold, I wondered what I else I could do that required virtually no physical exertion.  My attention went to the file cabinet in the corner, jam packed with old photos, all the legal stuff from all the houses we've ever owned, maps and more maps, along with bills and check stubs - old and new.  It was the old photos that piqued my curiosity.

I started at the back of the bottom drawer - the oldest of the old.  I pulled out stacks of old envelopes filled with prints and negatives.  But here is where I stalled out.  I marveled at all the addresses on the envelopes - amazing how many different places I've lived.  We figured at one point, we had moved 18 times in 14 years - oof.  Then, thumbing through the photos, I realized so many family and friends now gone.  When I noticed the cover of one of the envelopes, I stopped ... "Magic Moments".

I know this is part of what the dark days of winter are all about .... purging, introspection, hunkering down. I stopped plundering through the photos.  I sat in the midst of the pile thinking back to all the people I've lost during my life.  I've had an astrologer and a psychic both comment on the number of connections I   have 'on the other side'.  It's my life and as such seems normal, but I realized there's probably not that many people who've lost friends by a crazed neighbor with a high powered rifle, who emerged from his house (on my old street) and took aim on the neighborhood kids, killing two, including my brother's best friend, and wounding two.  The next day at school was wrenching, everyone chattering about the murders, me sitting in class silently biting my nails and trying not to cry.
Hmmmmm, so this is where looking at old photos took me.  You could probably guess, but I found I wasn't ready to part with any of those old pictures.  I've debated about digressing in this not so cheery direction.  This blog is a way for me to process my stuff, but just as important, it's a way to share what made me who I am today.  Current events are fun and compelling, but the back story provides substance and maybe a bit of insight.

The pendulum swings and I embrace its sometimes overwhelming path and the accompanying challenges.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Magic moments, indeed.

blessings - kvk

p.s.  I was looking for some music that might tie into the time frame of my magic moments recollections and this seems to fit nicely.  My brother used to torture me with the Incredible String Band's album, Wee Tam.  Well at the time it seemed like torture.  Forty years adds a bit of perspective and I can look back and be ever so thankful for my big brother expanding my musical horizons.

once again - with enormous gratitude for everything that has made me who I am this day.....

Small Miracles Talisman for Haiti

Woo Hoo!  My first real post on the new blog!
I'm still working on getting all my links updated, but so far I'm liking how this platform works.  Much more intuitive for me, the queen of 'wysiwig'.

First thing I want to do is alert everyone to the necklace I've made to raise funds for the Haitian relief efforts.  I originally designed the Small Miracles Talisman for the at-risk new moms at 'Wendy's Place' in Nashville.  It seemed like a good design and I really like the way the message came together.  So I'll be adding them to my Talismans for Fellow Travelers series, but I'm doing this little promotion effort first.

 For starters, I've listed 2 of them on my Etsy site.  They're $70 (half price) and I'll donate $50 of that to Doctors Without Borders.  If you prefer nylon cord to the silver chain, I'll add another $15 to the donation.  The offer will stand for at least the rest of January and, if there's interest, maybe longer.  I'll also be adding a special page to my website for those that don't want to join Etsy.

that's it for the moment.  My 'what's been happening for the last couple of weeks' post will follow later today.

with gratitude and blessings - kvk

14 January 2010


After months of frustration with Wordpress, I'm in the process of switching over to Blogspot.  Goodness, so many details ......