A Few Pictures From My Residency

Finally got all the reference photos I took during my residency stay uploaded to where I can access them. I thought you might enjoy seeing a few!  I’ll save more for later.

Sun setting over Madison, Indiana

Sun setting over Madison, Indiana

The creek bed!

The creek bed!

Along the creek.

Along the creek.

My shadow from the Lookout Tower.

My shadow from the Lookout Tower.

Too tired for dinner.

Too tired for dinner.

 

 

A (Big) Project for 2016

Just before 2015 drew to a close, I received some big news.  The email began this way:  “Congratulations! The Indiana Arts Commission is pleased to inform you that you have been selected as a recipient of the Arts in the Parks grant for 2016.”  It was exciting to read, especially since I’d been waiting nearly three months to hear whether my grant had been chosen for funding.  Grants, at least the ones with which I am familiar, are lengthy processes.  I started writing the proposal in July, 2015; submitted the final draft in September, and heard in December that I received funding for my project, which is scheduled to run January-December 2016.

The project itself is no small task either.  I titled mine, “Perspectives in Topography” and chose Clifty Falls State Park as the location.  For years, I’ve been fascinated with topographic maps.  These maps, sometimes called contour maps, represent land elevation with lines.  The steeper the incline, the closer together the lines on the map are.  They are beautiful, and I have long wanted to incorporate them somehow in my artwork.  Clifty Falls is situated at the southeastern border of Indiana, on the cliffs overlooking the Ohio River and the park topography is pretty spectacular, which is why I chose it.

Now, I’m a jewelry artist, so my accustomed scale is relatively small.  And, I’m not sure when people think of pairing artists with public parks that jewelry is the first thing that comes to mind.  Painting or photography, yes, but jewelry?  Yet, the idea has been bubbling and percolating in the back of my mind for years, literally.  This grant provided just the kick-in-the-pants I needed to pull this idea down off the shelf and get serious about it, and I am grateful.

My project consists of three distinct phases and takes place, as I’ve mentioned, over the course of the year.  The first phase consists of research and preparation, and I am just finishing this phase.  In addition to obtaining maps and familiarizing myself with the history of the park, I spent six days and five nights in an artist-in-residency stay on park property, hiking, sketching, thinking and journaling.  February in Indiana is not the most scenic time of the year if you like color (which I do!) but the bare trees made it easier to get an overview of the contours of the land.  Shapes, textures, patterns–all was fair game for observation and inspiration.  I kept my eyes wide and looked and looked and looked.

The second phase of the project takes place back in my own studio, where I will be fabricating jewelry inspired and informed by my research.  Historically, my own flameworked glass has been a prominent feature in my jewelry designs, although within the last year or two I have been incorporating more and more fabricated metal elements and the glass has become much less predominant.  At this point, I am uncertain to what degree, if any, I will use my flameworked glass in this new body of jewelry.  It is helpful to be well versed in many different media, as I can draw on the techniques and materials that best lend themselves to my objective with any given piece.  Glass may or may not be involved.

I look forward to delving into the fabrication phase.  There is little I enjoy more than losing myself in the creation process.  It is, on a good day, truly where time stands still for me, and on a bad day, I’d still be hard pressed to name anything else I’d rather be doing.  My only concern is self-discipline.  I have resigned myself to the fact that the paradox is eternal:  I love creating yet am easily distracted from it.  I am aware that I am going to need to guard my studio time ferociously, unflinchingly saying “NO” to distractions.  I am secretly looking forward to this.  It is an area I have long wanted to get better in, and now I have no choice.

In the autumn of 2016, the third and final phase of my project will likely take place.  (I say likely because the exact date has yet to be finalized and could happen anytime prior to December 31.)  I will return to Clifty Falls State Park to give a free, public presentation of the entire project, complete with images, work samples showing my techniques and stages of fabrication, and finished jewelry pieces.  Though looking forward to this also, I am already experiencing the fluttering in my stomach when I think about this.  I am hoping many of your friendly, supportive faces will appear in my audience!  Stay tuned for more posts about the development of this project.

 

 

 

 

Independent to a fault? (Part Two)

So, you’re not reading this wrong…Part 1 was written long ago.  What can I say?

I’m keeping the old posts up for posterity.  That is how life goes sometimes–we start things and then find it hard to keep them up.  My motto is Try, try again!

In case you’re just dying of curiosity about the end of the previous story, I eventually lost the nail on the traumatized toe and it took a good long year for the new one to grow in and look even close to normal.  And I did spend a lot of time thinking about my independence and refusal of load out help.  Long story short, I’m trying to get better and realizing my own limitations and accepting help.

So there you have it–all caught up now!  (That was easy, wasn’t it? 😉

 

Independent to a fault? (Part One)

I started this post a couple days ago, but it has become obvious to me that the topic is still bubbling in my thoughts, so I’ve decided to break it up into multiple posts.  Here’s the set-up:  😉

The Precipitating Event

“Would you like help out with that?” the hardware store cashier asked me, eyeing my precariously balanced cart. “No, thanks. I think I can get it,” I said. The cashier shrugged and turned to the next customer.

Throwing my weight behind the effort, I pushed my cart through the exit doors.  I had two long, heavy boxes stretched across the top of my cart, each containing all the parts for a five-shelf bookcase 71″ tall by 25″ wide.  The boxes didn’t list a weight, but I had had all I could do to lift one and then the other from the store shelf to the top of my wiggly cart.  Help wasn’t offered then, or even in view.  I didn’t have the right kind of cart, either, for these long, heavy items, but I made do.

My heart sank when I realized I was parked on the far side of the parking lot from the exit door, but taking a deep breath, I tried to aim the cart in the right direction.  The trouble started as soon as the cart wheels left the smooth, level sidewalk in front of the store and reached the sloping pavement of the parking lot.  My boxes began to slide.  I pushed faster, hoping to outrun disaster.  My van was within clicking distance when one box reached the tipping point.

Seeing the inevitable begin, I ran around the front of the cart, hoping to, what?  Catch it?  I caught it alright–the entire box landed squarely on the big toe of my right foot, and then finished the dive to the pavement.  Pain nearly blinded me, but then fueled anger and embarrassment as I maneuvered the better-behaved box into my trunk first.  Seeing me wrestling the second box from the ground, a man pushing his own purchases came to help me hoist it in alongside the first.  I thanked him, red-faced, and limped through the rest of my errands.

By the time I got home, my toe was throbbing with every heartbeat, and I wondered what kind of mangled mess I might ease out of my tennis shoe.  Nothing bloody, but my toe was the embodiment of the old-fashioned cartoon thumb that has been hit with a hammer: swollen, red, throbbing–oh, so very painful for DAYS after the event.

The entire toenail has now turned the most incredible shade of blue, while the rest of the big toe showcases purple and scarlet, soon to mute into the older shades of green and yellow, I’m sure.  I’ll spare you the gory photographic proof, but it is a thing to behold, with the nail all raised up from the bruising underneath.  It is an effort to wear anything more substantial than flip-flops.

With every glance at my cartoon toe, every little twinge of discomfort, I remember: I didn’t have to try to load that heavy box myself.  I had a very polite offer of help–why did I refuse it?

My distorted, faulty sense of independence has gotten me into trouble before, but I’m convinced I’m not the only one with this condition.  Stay tuned as I explore this a little closer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attitude Adjustment

Grouchy and cross…those two words described my mood the other day. Of course, I felt totally justified, which is where the real sin lies, in my opinion.

Anyway, the next morning, I decided that even though I didn’t really want to, I would get ready and go for a walk. Once I was moving, I again wondered why it is that I am so often loathe to do the things that are good for me.

I think in addition to an attitude adjustment, I need my vision corrected. Not my physical vision, but the vision of my mind/heart/spirit that lets me see and understand the trade off of short term pain for long term gain. I’m working on it!

Here are some pictures from my walk–balm to my spirit!

walk2Walk1 walk3

Paying My Respects

The last several days have been so heavy, haven’t they?  Feels like the whole world is groaning and straining against darkness.  I tried to write a post about Robin Williams, but just couldn’t manage to capture and contain the words teasing and fluttering against my brain.

Instead, I’m sharing this Facebook post written by Anne Lamott.   It is worth the read.

My one overwhelming response is that I deeply desire to be more aware of depression and more equipped for addressing it in ways that are helpful and don’t add burden.  I love this quote from another blogger I follow:  “We think we need the right answers, when what we really need is to show up and care.”

May God give me grace to show up and care, and eyes to see it when the opportunity presents itself.

 

 

 

Why a blog?

Does the internet world need another blog? You’ll probably agree, the answer is no. So why am I starting one? What is my motivation?

Very simply, *I* need this blog. Lately, I’ve been feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of information out there and the speed at which things change.  Too much world for my little brain, it feels like.  I need space, time, perspective.  I’ve been feeling this need for quite some time.

Writing helps me slow down.  It helps me think and process and get perspective.  It is good practice, too, for finding words for things.  Sometimes even important things go unsaid because I can’t quite find the right way to express myself.  It seems this problem has gotten worse as the internet has taken over more of my life.  I find myself scanning words a lot, skimming for just the take away.  But you can’t take those same shortcuts when you are trying to express yourself, or talk about your art, or explain your thoughts on a topic, or why something is important to you.  So I will practice here.  Practice slowing down and thinking through; practice finding just the right words.

I want to get better, also, at being more fully myself.  There is no room in this world, no time, for pretending.  There is no contribution of value to be made by living the way I think others think I should live, or doing what I am “supposed to” do or “should” do.  That is a false, fragile,  and inauthentic way to live, and not worthy of my God.  I’m hopeful that writing will be a good tool for learning more about myself, appreciating who God created me to be, and growing in areas that I need to mature and grow.  I was created unique–there is no one else on earth quite like me, with all my combination of interests, talents, faults, quirks, strengths, and circumstances.  And do you know what?  There is no one else quite like you, either.  We can only complement each other in this life if we are each living authentically as we were intended by our Creator.

Does this sound like quite the navel-gazing venture?  I hope it will be more than that!  I hope that some of the things that interest me will interest you as well, and that we can learn more about our differences, too, in conversations that are kind and respectful.

Please join me on this continuing venture!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming soon!

Welcome to my blog!  The site will be up and running within the next couple weeks.  I hope you’ll bookmark it and visit often.