Friday, February 27, 2009

The Magic of Candlelight

Curling up with a good book, dining after a long day, making family memories and traditions, eating out under the stars, listening to Forget Your Bad Boyfriend music- all these are better by candlelight! Here are some Etsy artists whose work was made to hold candles. Plus one of my own.

If you read my blog yesterday, you know why I love Jean Pelle's 2 Dorit candleholders. I'm fascinated by facets- and this pair of 24K gold leafed wooden ones are unique and very alluring.

Aimee Golant's Life Source Candle Holders, in pewter and steel, are exactly the kind of organic elegance that I want on my table! They can be Shabbat candle holders or just some of the most spectacular candlesticks you'll ever own.

The last piece featured is my Three Dragonflies Votive in Green Tea glaze. It's a soothing and understated accent piece on its own, but when lit from within by a votive candle, the pattern around the dragonflies comes alive and dances. It's my best selling work, and one that always gets a place of honor when given as a gift.

If you can invest in countless enchanted evenings, here are three pieces that can provide that pleasure. And if this is not the right time for you to so indulge, three dollar store candles placed on a pretty plate will still light up your night and encourage your soul to dream.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This is a work in progress from my clay studio. It was thrown and then altered by faceting the round form. This subtle alteration of a classic shape has exciting possibilities. I'm already wondering how my glazes will flow differently down the faceted form, and this is such a perfect example of authentic creativity in process. Because it's not about making masterful pottery all the time- any machine can do that. It is about letting my curiosity explore new frontiers and take serendipitous and purely intuitive chances.

Years ago, I tried running my pottery purely as a business. I had 5 employees, 25 accounts, and thought purely about which pieces maximized my bottom line. I told Creativity to behave like a proper lady- quit acting like a child!

And when my life had become a rut, a wasteland, a stifling cage of obligations, Creativity came to me again, dangling a golden key. “I can get you out, ” she said, “but you are going to have to trust me.”

This is the voice of creativity. She won’t make sense to your sensible spreadsheet, but she will satisfy your soul. Juice your juju. Wink at your wanderer. Trust her? It's not easy. It is like trusting that if you leap, the net will appear. It is trusting the current to take you rather than booking a boat tour.

Creativity doesn't rule my world today, but She has a place at my roundtable.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."

-Albert Einstein

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Newest Necklace

I just finished this piece with turquoise beads and copper links. I hand hammered the findings and enjoyed that part. So, of course, I've had to order more tools to make my own findings now. I love learning new techniques- it's somewhat like making a new friend; not as familiar as the older friends yet compelling as the process of discovery unfolds.

So now I'm trying to name the piece. I usually start with the properties of the stones, metals, and colors. Turquoise has many associations, such as protection, wisdom, self expression, creativity, emotional balance, good luck, honest communication, friendship, and higher love. Copper is considered to have healing powers and magnifies the powers of turquoise. Picture jasper attracts people and situations that expand our awareness and let us see the "big picture." The clay bead takes our dreams and hopes manifests them in a tangible way. So... all together....

This necklace, sitting at the throat, helps the Higher Self and the better angels to speak clearly. It will draw the attentions of people who will expand our network, and allows us to say something meaningful and pertinent to those we come across.

I don't have the name quite yet...all suggestions welcome...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh, Baby!

Nothing gets my awwww like a baby face! I love the absolute cuteness of the tiny little clothes, and these are 3 artisans whose works are lovely, but I must confess that it's the gorgeous little faces that had me select them today! Malindi's pale green Jocyeln hat is modeled by one of those bright little faces that just takes my breathe away! 1kybele's pink striped newborn hat, with it's long tail, is charming, but look at that snuggly little babe...precious, precious, precious. And Three Yellow Starfish's Red Hippo Bloomers are showstoppers, but that cherub being shown off by barefoot Daddy is the sweetest thing alive.

One of the things that draws us all to Etsy is that artists are presenting their work as they see it- in our own homes and studios, from angles that we find interesting, and modeled by our own family and friends. It gives us a more personal and intimate connection to the things we want to buy. It's part of a new economy, the Handmade Revolution. I'm sold...just look at these 3 reps!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Morning Poem

The first thing I do in the morning is look out my window at the sun rising over the mountains. I drink in this gorgeousness. And for a few moments it feels to me that the natural world is a sacred gift, and that each new day has limitless possibilities. I let my intentions soar out to join the first illumination of the world I live in. This is the way I know to be happy.

Here is Mary Oliver, saying what I would say, if I were a poet as well as a potter:

Morning Poem by Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver

Friday, February 20, 2009


On Monday I felt discouraged. I asked for a sign that I am on the right path, both creatively and with marketing my work on Etsy. On Wed I was included in a beautiful Treasury, and yesterday I had 2 new sales. Furthermore, my hair stylist would like to book a workshop with me for a client's Bridal Shower. What fun for everyone, and how good it feels to be chosen!

We planted this iris tuber in the fall of 2006. It grew but did not flower in 2007. Last spring, it graced us with this amazing bloom. And I think of how much my hopes and dreams and efforts and vigilant attention for my small creative business resemble an iris.

I think also that our hearts are like the soil in my garden. Our hearts must be enriched regularly in order to nurture the roots and seeds and tubers of the dreams we plant.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Free People's Valentine Exchange

IvyS made this incredible bag for me, and I sent her the upcycled lambswool and wool scarf. We both took part in Free People's Valentine Craft Swap. Have a look-see at the Flickr pool, where everyone who participated can post what they made and sent. Free People matched us up, we exchanged a few emails about our tastes and preferences, and then hand made something just for her (or him).
I'm absolutely not a professional seamstress but I've been very intrigued by upcycled wearables, and thought I might be able to manage a scarf. My partner, Ivy, is a student in Alaska, and it seemed like something appropriate. It was fun to think outside of clay for a change!
I felted the sweaters first by washing them in hot water. It's weird to shrink something on purpose... but I knew exactly how to do it because I've done it as an oops before. Once felted, the edges won't unravel, so I just pieced it together, and then stitched a loose zigzag around the edge. To make it more Valentiney, I appliqued 2 hearts on the ends. One of the hearts has a bit of red running through it, so this was my ode to the day's color scheme. What can I say? I love neutrals, and have never skied flashing red flag sweaters, although maybe I should, since I'm not a pro skier by any stretch.
The Exchange site has some wonderful postings. If you want to participate next year, sign up on the FP blog in Jan. There is also a holiday exchange in Dec.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The images say it all! From the top:
Dreamer's Necklace by Under Her Charm (one of my favorite jewelers)
To The Moon Alice by angels9 (extremely talented)
Talk to the Ocean byCindy Pack (her whole line is wonderful)

Little charms to brighten your day....hope you enjoyed seeing them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Telling my Gremlins to SHUT UP!!!

Is anyone else experiencing creative blocks due to all the economic uncertainties? Arggg. Sometimes I feel like I'm living with a shadowy little gremlin who mutters every possible discouragement. 'The last thing that anyone will spend money on in this economy is art, especially not pottery and double especially not jewelry.' Shut up!

These whispery little gremlins are invariably echoing something we've heard recently. Naysayers and crazymakers we encounter take up residence in our minds. To make it all crazier, the news now sounds like Aunt Ethyl with her gloomy predictions about everything.

So today I am banishing the inner gremlins, the outer crazymakers, and CNBC.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.

Lanston Hughes

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-Mark Twain

The hero is no braver than the ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In poorer times of my life, I've still afforded things of beauty, many of which I still have; still derive pleasure from. I'm going to make THOSE things, and have faith, and hope that you do, too. What do you do when you feel discouraged?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bohemian Beauties

I found 3 other Etsy artists working in Bohemian styled fashion. I love the whimsical, unique combination of textures and imagery. Each piece has an intentional aura all of its own. These are not simply things to be worn in appropriate situations. They are created to nurture the wearer in some unique way.

Valentine Hearts and Flowers earrings by Elysian Fields are made with vintage upcycled beads. It takes a lot of care and patience to comb through piles of discards looking for treasures like these. Some lucky person is going to get tons of smiles and compliments when she wears these reclaimed beauties.
Sacred Adornments has a stunning collection of jewelry with spiritual icons and religious medals. It was hard for me to select just one! Every piece she makes boldly uses many design elements without losing cohesion. In Sacred Journey Earrings, the smokey silver pearls and other silver components create unity.
Ixela's HOT CHOCOLATE scarflette has some crazy yarns! If you had told me that I was going to love something made with faux fur yarn, I would have given you the LOOK (if you have a teenage daughter, you may have seen the LOOK on occassion.) Ixela has won over a hard sell with me, and kudos to her for being a bold new designer. The elegance comes from a unique vision and great design.

If you know of other noteworthy Bohemian artists, feel free to leave comments. I showed you mine....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bohemian Style

Today I discovered a category for my style of jewelry. What a relief. No more identity crisis. I'm one of those people who really love words, and when I can't quite describe something, it bugs me. I am making Bohemian style jewelry, or Boho Chic. It's an attitude of fashion that eclectically combines ethnic, or inexpensive elements with classic, luxury components. Bohemian jewelry uses natural elements and materials to emphasize the wearer’s connection to nature and the simplicity of natural things rather than artificial constructs. And finally, Boho jewelry is handmade, and often found online directly from the artisan.

So I read all this and think 'that's me!' I like this better than having to accept that my sun sign or Meyers Briggs or birth order or hand wrinkles define what I'm about.

Bohemian describes my home decor pretty well, too. It describes the way I live and think, but it doesn't describe my pottery, but oh well. Maybe I secretly want to live a bit outside of any one box anyway.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Remembering Mardi Gras

I lived in New Orleans many moons ago, and I always remember it around my birthday (Feb 10th) because there was always some great Mardi Gras party where I could celebrate my birthday with King Cake and champagne punch. I am glad that some Katrina survivors have moved back and set up studios again. I can understand the displaced nostalgic feelings of those who have resettled, and taken a bit of the funk and magic to other locations. Here are some Etsy artists whose fairy dust has a Big Easy source origination:

DarrylGlade: Smile...It's Mardi Gra Day

NewOrleansmagpie: The Naturalist
GrenadineBijou: Dragonflies and Flying Machines choker

I love how Glade's photo is cropped so that the parader's face floats within the colorful costume. It really captures how surreal Mardi Gras parades are. The Naturalist appeals to my current sensibility, which is grounded in earthtones. The bamboo fibers in the band are like sunlight on red earth- very rich and beautiful. Dragonflies and Flying Machines, in traditional Mardi Gras colors, has an irresistible whimsical charm.

I so want to visit New Orleans again, but this is not my time to do so. But I am grateful for my memories in which I am swimming in a euphoric ocean of rhythm and sequined masks. There is nothing else quite the same in the world.

Way down yonder in New Orleans/In the land of dreamy scenes/There's a garden of Eden/You know what I mean.” Lois Armstrong

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blue Sky

A piece of mine was featured in a treasury on Etsy. It's a beautiful collection, curated by Dawnebyrantartworks, called Earth and Sky. She chose my Blue Sky soup bowl, which has a look and feel of mist in the mountains.

There's something about the morning sky; it stirs a small inner voice that says 'this day is new. Make it into something precious.'

There's something about low hanging mist. Like something lofty and celestial is hanging near.

Whenever I look up at the sky, whether day or night, cloudy or bright, I feel like that Bette Midler song, God Is Watching Us (from a distance).

Friday, February 6, 2009

Songs in the Key of Color

Sweetdovedesigns made this suweet "Lollipop Garden Collage pillow".

ruetabega made this "Striped Needle Felted Bowl."

eachdayisremarkable repurposed and created "It Had Me at Hello Wall Clock".

There is nothing like the pop and zing of bright color! Not every artist can get it right; too much, and it's assaulting, poorly designed, and it can border on annoying. These three have found that magic way of making color sing. Sweet Dove Designs' pillow takes scrapbooking off the page by transferring paper to fabric. The glow of vibrant color around each lollipop flower is perfect! The striped needle felted bowl by Ruetabega has the charm of Mayan or Peruvian art. The scintillating red stripe is daringly placed against lime green, and it works beautifully. Each Day is Remarkable's wall clock had me smiling- but when I read the name- "It Had me at Hello", and the story of how she created her piece, I was grinning from ear to ear. I love how the brick red numbers ground this piece visually, and allow the stripes and pattern to live in harmony.

So, thank you to my 3 featured artists today for bringing some artistic warmth and cheer into my world. And thanks to my new readers who are following me on this beauty quest. Stop and savor something bright and cheerful today! Drink in this simple pleasure!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Art in the Time of Uncertainty

I have had my own personal dance with the Economic Meltdown lately. My husband lost his job, our retirement plans are now more like a Wish List, and the prospect of losing our home sat like an uninvited guest at the table every evening. I've had to chose to either fall into a spiraling undertow of fear, or actually practice the spiritual principles I've learned. I chose plan B.... began offering classes in my studio, offered more work to galleries, found a few retail opportunities, and actually earned our family income for a few months. Possibilities! There. if you will but reach past the fog of fear.

Kellyrae's inspirations fine art print "Possibility" illustrates this beautifully.

My husband sat at the computer night and day filling out job applications. He relentlessly pushed past a wall of despair and frustration. After 6 weeks, he got a 2 day consulting job that has become 2 months. The company is thrilled with his performance. It looks like he will have enough consulting work to carry him through indefinitely. He shone the light of hope into the darkness, and then reasons to be hopeful showed up like crocuses poking through the snow. Sometimes you have to hope when there is no reason to hope. Our blessings cannot come to us when the wall of despair is blocking our door.

Collagedlife's beautiful "Hope Springs Eternal" helps us keep this in mind.

Our dance with Mr. Economic Meltdown started out like a Beginner's Tango Class, but it is becoming an invigorating, graceful Waltz. One where you know the steps and just let the music carry you.

Art can feed our souls during times of crisis and uncertainty. Remember to find a bit of inspiration today. And pass it on.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oooooohhhhh....Greek Leather!

I've been using Greek leather cord to string my pendants lately, and I'm enthralled with how light and comfortable it is. It's more expensive than leather strips which are usually from India, but it's worth paying more to get the durability, flexibility, and superior craftsmanship. For this piece, I used one of my clay hearts that is embossed with scrolls and a star. The tail is twisted, making it part of my "Twisted Tale" series (does your love story have a few twists and turns?...) I chose a Celtic knot charm, and then strung it on 2 strands of Greek leather cord.
I've also used Greek leather cord in combination with conventional stringing methods. This piece, Passionate Heart, has pearls, lampwork glass beads, and red jasper strung on Beadalon wire. I have used 2 strands of Greek leather to go around the neck. I like the look, and it is super comfy.

In this piece, Pearls, White Agate, and an Iridescent Heart, the Greek leather cord is only around the back of the neck. It's worth the extra time to give it that contemporary flourish, and also to add comfort in wear. Notice the beautiful model- my 15 year old daughter. She prefers my necklaces in Greek leather, and I can see why. Young women look best in smaller beads and simpler styles.

You can find more of my work on Etsy at One Clay Bead. Have a creative day, and I hope you find something new that excites you today!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Eco-friendly is the New Elegant

Don't you loathe thinking about the mountains of garbage piling up because we got tired of wearing something? Me, too. So I just have to love the new designers and craftspeople who are upcycling that mountain into a new genre of fashion. Here are some fun and flattering finds I discovered on Etsy:

This, from Berniesgirl is called Brownies Are Good.I love the crocheted upper, the extra long sleeves, and the mix of textures. And it's SUCH a good price! Click over to her website, and tell me I'm right!
This skirt from devilmademedoit has lots of attention to detail. I love the way that she uses the serging necessary to combine various fabrics as a slight ruffle, and having an asymmetrical hemline makes such a carefree finish.
Tipzthreads calls this Barefoot Forest Patchwork Hippie Dress. I love how she's used muted shades, and how the patches are centered down the front rather than completely random. You can tell that this creation came from a woman with a deep appreciation for natural beauty.

Thanks to those who are beginning to follow my little blog here. It's sweet to have a few friends to share my discoveries with. Remember to do something nice for our planet today... and something nice for yourself, too,dear lover of beauty!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Things That Make Me Go Awwwww

I am dreadful at formatting photos and text here, so please bear with me on my learning curve.
That said, Tuxedo Cat in the Museum is by a brand new Etsy artist, catclawsstudio. She donates 10% of her sales to animal shelters. I have a tuxedo cat who is a dedicated art lover....even if I didn't, this painting would light up my mood. I am enchanted by how the black cat and the white cat are drawn to a painting that has combined both of their individual traits. What a perfect romantic gift.

Lovebirds set is made from chipboard, and 100% of her sales go to the Hope Foundation. You can read about it on her Etsy site by clicking through. The colors are so cheerful, and the prices so enticing- this pair is only $6!...... what's not to love here!

Have a great day, and remember to spend a moment going awwwww.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Guys Gifts for V Day

I found some great Valentine's gifts for men. It is so much easier to pick something that I want from him.... but when I find that thing that makes him light up, it really is fun.

This sophisticated scarf by Lilyandlulu is handknit acrylic, so it has the beauty of wool but not the itchiness. The artisan is a graphic designer who describes herself as "CEO of her own family." Gotta love that!

And here is a really great idea for musician guys: a silver guitar pick with any message that you choose! I love the message here. Might have to "borrow" that one.
By underhercharm, on Etsy.

How cool is this! Guinness scented soap! love how masculine neutral shade, too. I'd pair this with some other body pampering products from Swanmountainsoaps. The soap is made with natural glycerin, and herbs from their own garden. Made in Wasilla, Al. Wonder if she knows you-know-who?