Well then – it’s been a crazy couple of weeks! Thankfully, all of my loved ones are healthy and well, and my husband has been able to work from home. There’ve been some adjustments and inconveniences, but overall, we’re well. I hope the same for you and yours.
One thing that’s helping me to cope with the news of the world, is seeing how my friends and neighbors are stepping up to help. People are offering to pick up groceries for elders, streaming live music from their living rooms, and sharing ideas, kindness and hope. That’s how we’ll get through this.
The fabric scraps and elastic in this photo are for a group of neighbors who are sewing masks for local medical workers. Who knew that my craft hoard might come in handy in an apocalypse? All jokes aside, I’m looking for the helpers in all of this, and seeking ways to be of service.
What are you doing in the way of self care? How are you reaching out to connect with others? What are you doing to help your community?
While I’d hoped to have more to share tonight, it just wasn’t in the cards. As is typical for the Pacific Northwest this time of year, it has been dark and gloomy and dumping rain all week. Not ideal weather for photography (in fact, I’ll likely go back and re-photograph many of these pieces the next time that the weather is favorable). Perhaps I’ll trickle in a few more pieces over the weekend if time and light allows.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the pieces that I’ve shared tonight! Also, just a friendly reminder that my holiday ordering dates are coming up quickly. If you’re in the US, there’s still time to order for the holidays, though I’d urge you not to procrastinate too much!
Year end Sale (*added 12/15) ~
Enjoy tiered discounts through the end of 2018:
* Orders of $50+ enjoy 10% off
* Orders of $100+ enjoy 15% off
* Orders of $200+ enjoy 25% off
Hopefully, this helps you with your holiday shopping, and it certainly helps me to clear the way for new work in the year ahead! Thank you for empowering me to do what I love for a living!
Sale runs from 12/15/18 – 12/31/18
Cali Love Fire Benefit Tattoo & Holiday Gift Bazaar on Sunday 12/16 ~
Last but not least, I mentioned in my last post that my November giveaway winner is choosing to donate her prize to the Cali Love Fire Benefit Tattoo & Holiday Gift Bazaar this Sunday 12/16 at Eye of the Tiger Tattoo in San Francisco. The proceeds from this event will go to benefit the families who are working to rebuild their lives after the #Campfire in Paradise, CA last month. Two of my friends’ families lost their home in that fire, so this event is near and dear to my heart. With that said, I am choosing to match Angel’s donation of my Sacred Heart sugar skull mask, by adding a second “Abuelita” sugar skull mask. If you’re in the Bay Area this weekend, please consider attending and supporting this special cause!
These leather rose barrettes , shawl pins, and monarch wing earrings were inspired by my desire to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Before they were completed, disaster touched down in Florida and Puerto Rico as well. Thus, 50% of the proceeds from these pieces will be donated to the American Red Cross.
This custom moth necklace is winging her way to her owner today. While it’s simple on the surface, the piece holds special meaning and function for the wearer. These are my favorite projects – the ones that are personal, meaningful and even healing in their own way.
This piece was a pleasure to create, and the recipient was wonderful to work with. This has been true of all of the commissions that I’ve worked on this year – they’ve been great projects for lovely people. Thank you for that!
When I learned about the stand off over the proposed pipeline near the Standing Rock reservation, my heart went out to all of the good people fighting for clean water. I fantasized about going out there to help – and really tried to find a way to do so – but at the end of the day, that’s not really a viable option for me. Not only would that put a financial strain on my family, but even if I could figure out a way to get there, I’m not in good health. They need able bodied workers and warriors who can pull their own weight, anything less is a drain on much needed resources.
When I finally realized and accepted that fact, I tried to think of something positive that I could contribute. I’d already donated what little money I could spare, so I decided to donate my time and creativity instead. I remembered that I had these beautiful kyanite beads that I’d been hoarding for several years, and that I bought them because they reminded me of sparkling water droplets. I spent an evening wrapping these stones with sterling silver wire, and praying for the people of Standing Rock – and for all beings who need clean water to live. I strung the pendants on some sterling chains that I’d been hoarding (yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder – this is the nature of beadworkers) and hoped that a few people might be willing to buy them for a good cause.
I listed the necklaces here on my website and then shared their story on social media… and I was completely blown away by the response! The pendants sold out within 3 hours, and I received several requests to make more. I made a second batch over the weekend, and those sold out in less than half an hour after being listed. That’s a sign of how much people want to be able to help. All told, we raised $400 to help support the folks at Standing Rock! In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge sum of money … but I’d like to believe that what we did together was about more than money. I mean, yes – money is important too. The people out there on the front lines need food, water, shelter and all that good stuff, and the funds that we raised will help them to keep doing their good work. But we also raised our prayers; I sincerely hope that every time you wear your necklaces, it reminds you that water is sacred and to live in a way that reflects that. I hope that these pieces will be beautiful and special enough to prompt questions, so that you get the chance to tell people why you wear them. In this way, our prayers and hope can ripple out and help to raise more awareness about what’s happening out there in North Dakota, and at similar waterways around the globe.
Last night I was flooded with memories of working on the 9/11 Bead Quilt Project, and the many beautiful stories behind the squares. This project touched my life in a profound way; while it demanded an incredible amount of time, energy and commitment, I can honestly say that what I gave is a fraction of what I got back. With that said, I wanted to share some of the beautiful, loving efforts that the beading community created during a difficult time <3
I’d like to share this first image in acknowledgement of one of our most dedicated coordinators, Rosa meyer. The bright blue squares (“our beads help…”) were her brain child, and this theme is repeated at the center of each of the 3 quilts. The one for DC has a series of red squares that read “Our beads help to remember the fathers, the mothers”. The one for PA has white squares that say “Our beads help to comfort the sons, the daughters”, and the one for NY (shown here) has blue squares with the words “Our beads help to honor the heroes, the victims”.
Thank you Rosa for your enduring passion and commitment to this project, and for keeping it visible in the (many) years that we searched for permanent placement!
The 4 squares shown in this image were created by Julia Pretl, who was not only our coordinator for the MD area, but our (extremely talented) web designer. She helped to problem solve for the BQ project starting from day one, and on up to nearly 10 years later, when we finally secured permanent placement for the quilts.
Thank you so much Julia, for all your help and for putting up with so much of my crazy over these past 15 years!
This block includes squares by our NM coordinator, Nikia Angel (thank you Nikia!) as well as Rita Sova (angel) , Lisabeth Tafoya (in high resolution microbeads!) and the ever awesome Mary Tafoya. Her square commemorates the life of a NM man, Al Marchand, who was a flight attendant on flight 175.
Notice how several of the squares in this block are from Japan? There are many others throughout the quilt, most with the same red/yellow/green pattern as the one in the lower left corner. These came from a group of Japanese artists who worked on their squares together … many of them learned how to bead in order to participate in this project!
This block represents some of the MANY beaded squares collected by our AK coordinator, Jeanette Shanigan (I don’t remember exactly how many AK contributed, but it was a lot! Jeanette will tell you the exact #).
The one in the lower right (by Karen Palmer) showcases one of the most popular designs used in the quilt, a rose/flag motif, designed by my sweet friend Charlene Hughes, who was our CA coordinator.
Next to that (lower left) is a square by Kate Boyan, which especially touched my heart. She has been – and still is – one of my favorite bead artists, so it was a wonderful surprise to me when her square came in! There were many “famous” bead artists who contributed to this project, but to me they were all just good people coming together for a special cause … in her case, I have to admit to feeling a bit star struck!
These two squares by Anne Brazeale of AK are just a small sample of the many squares that we received from Native American beadworkers. I think she is Tlingit, but perhaps one of the beaders from the Mat Su Valley Bead Society will see this and let me know for sure.
There are so many special stories that I could share about these squares, and about our travels with the quilts as we worked to find permanent placement for them! I need to get on with my day today, but I will try to remember to share more of these as time allows. Many thanks to all of the wonderful people who helped with this project – artists, coordinators, supporters, viewers, and more. I appreciate you all, more than I can say.
Here’s a preview of my newest “Pollinator Prayer” necklace, loosely inspired by the Monarch butterfly. This piece incorporates sculpted leather, Baltic amber, antique Victorian era “nailhead” and French jet beads, as well as quartz crystal, glass flowers and seed beads.
It seems appropriate to share during Dias de los Muertos, since Mexican folklore tells us that the monarchs are the souls of our ancestors, returning to earth for a brief visit. This is also the time when these beautiful endangered creatures are making their long (3000 mile!) journey back to Mexico <3
It struck me as such a loving and hopeful response to a terrible situation, and it reminded me of the many ways that art can heal. I donated for a chance to win, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same: just click on this link and donate to get a ticket(s). Doing so offers the opportunity to win a beautiful work of art, and the ability to participate in a very kind response to a tragic situation.
June 15th – 21st, 2015 is National Pollinator Week!
As an avid gardener and wildlife enthusiast, I have a special love for our pollinator species which include bees, birds, butterflies and bats. These creatures are not only beautiful, they’re important. It is said that one in three bites of human food and drink are available because of pollinators. So while these beings are small, they actually play a huge role in human food production! Sadly, our pollinator species are declining – but there are a few things that we can do to help keep them around.
For example, I plant flowers that will attract pollinators, and I try to employ sustainable gardening practices. My respect for these creatures is often reflected in my creative work as well, which you can see from the little photo montage included with this post. The necklace and bracelet shown in that photo are from my “Pollinator Prayer” series. Each piece is unique, created with a little prayer for their survival. The intent is to celebrate our pollinators and also to educate others about their plight.