Monday, July 27, 2009

Evidence of Grace

We don't see the roots pushing their way through dense soil to find moistness. Our sense of time doesn't track the uncurling leaves nor the opening into brilliant bursts of mesmerizingly scented flowers. We take for granted that the flowers will come forth and bloom, and so it makes sense to me that I might trust in mysterious processes at work in my own life.

Marci and I have both been working in flower bowls! She made the Plum Poppy Bowl, above, and I made the Turquoise Waters Serving Bowl.

We are both thinking of Laura Slocom, and etsyprojectembrace, watching a community come together to support a woman in her healing process. I am also thinking of the strange and yes, wonderful, things that have occurred since the economic recession took my husband's job. In search of new income, I found Etsy. In search of a summer job, Marci also opened her Etsy store. And we now work side by side, and I get to hear her 16 year old heart for hours each day, a priveledge, a flower also unfolding.

Evidence of Grace. All of it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Embrace Continues

Hawaiian Coconut Nesting Bowls by GlazedOver

Shore Merino wool felt necklace by MaisyandAlice

Isadoa Dancers by Maclancy

I Heart Fridge magnets by LauraSlocumPainted

Teal Heart by Sigmosaics

There are now 337 items tagged etsyprojectembrace, to show support of Laura Slocum in her battle against stage 3 ovarian cancer. What touches us all is Laura's bright and beautiful attitude, the way that she cares so deeply about others.

"I believe that you must play the hand you’re dealt...I’m going to play the hand I’ve been dealt in the best and most positive way I know how. There will always be some people in this world who have it better and some who have it worse. That’s just life."

Laura's words call to my mind words that I read often, words that I endeavor to live by, those of George Bernard Shaw:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm part of Etsyprojectembrace

You know I love treasuries on Etsy, and the best people I've found are mainly other treasury makers. Laura Slocum offered some insight into this recently:

"The one thing I’ve learned in the past year is that Etsy has made it a point to have their competing sellers be friends through promoting each other in the treasuries. That sounds kind of funny, but, on the quest to have the “coveted” FP, we create treasuries, we comment on other treasuries, we “convo” people all over the world to congratulate them on their successes, and we make friends. Aren’t we supposed to be competing for sales?? Well, maybe some things are just more important than sales. From the moment I had a diagnosis, while still in the hospital, my Etsy friends were first on the scene – building treasuries just for me, wishing me well, offering advice, sending gifts, and a few have gone so far as to donate proceeds to the American Cancer Society in my honor!! Just to remind you………these are people ....I’VE NEVER MET! They have completely gone out of their way to be a friend or try to put a smile on my face. I now even talk to some of them on the phone! Now, I’m not talking 2 or 3 friends, I’m talking like 30 or 40! Some people just have checked my profile and offer words of encouragement! The first day that we learned about my chemo and all the ‘ins and outs’, the ‘goods and bads’, etc., my husband went online to search for support groups. He said to me that night, “I will never do that again, I was so depressed that I had to get off the computer” I said, in reply, “I don’t need support groups, I all need are my friends on Etsy”! They lift me up on a daily basis."

I love being part of Laura's support group because she cheers me up by having such an optimistic, proactive relationship with her healing process. Haven't we all been affected by cancer in some way? I know I have. Last week, one of my daughter's good friends lost her dad to cancer. As a means of dealing with her grief, and also her fears that she could lose one of her own parents, I suggested to Marci that she make a treasury for etsyprojectembrace, and showcase works that will generate donations to the American Cancer Society when sold.

Then we went a little farther and designed this dinnerware set together. Through Etsyprojectembrace, we are donating 20% of our sales to the ACS. Maybe by the time that Marci has her own children, no child will ever again lose a parent, a friend, a partner, or a child to cancer. Imagine that!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I've been thinking lately about what changes and what remains the same. My friend Cheryl stopped over yesterday to order dinnerware. She has wanted a set for 10 years, and is finally able to afford it. When I first met Cheryl, she was married to a doctor, living in a big house, and I was recently divorced single mom just eking by. Her husband suffered health problems and they had to move to a smaller house. Then I remarried and moved to a larger house. Then she divorced and became a single mom; we traded places! Now my husband lost his job, we have the big house with the big mortgage payment and are just eking by. Cheryl has remarried another doctor- extremely nice guy- has a big house again, and finally, after all this time, she is getting that dinnerware set we had talked about a decade ago. Her tastes have changed, and so has my work, so the set she is ordering is completely unlike what she would have chosen years ago.

Maybe things happen when we are ready for them to happen. And maybe rolling with a lot of change reveals what is essential, what is important. One thing that I've learned from having a friend who has had way more and sometimes way less affluence that me is that the value of friendship is not measured in dollars.

The flower bowl, above, is an old shape that I've returned to lately. I made these when I first dated my now husband, and I think that maybe I was opening, like the flower shape, to new possibilities. The same may be true now, as I stretch my imagination to include moving or other lifestyle changes when my husband gets another job.

Wouldn't you know that Cheryl loves, loves, loves these bowls! She has embraced so much change in her life, too. And come out wealthier in life's essentials every time. Which aren't the same as a bank account, that I have learned.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

MarciG, now on Etsy

As her profile says, she grew up in my studio. I had a portable playpen to the left of my wheel, and there she was before she could walk, watching. My daughter is now 16, and has a store on Etsy, with 1 sale so far. She has been tweeted and retweeted by our local newspapers! There are two packages ready for shipping by the front door, one with a OneClayBead label, and one with MarciG. I love that when she started stamping words into her bird trays, one of the first words she chose was Dream.

It's a great word!

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. -Gloria Steinam

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

-Harriet Tubman

I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

-Henry David Thoreau