Ever since I first saw the Wonderful Wizard of Oz at age four, I've coveted ruby red slippers.
Was it because footwear had the power to take a little girl wherever she needed to go or that they sparkled so bewitchingly? A longing for glitter and magic permanently hardwired my psyche.
When I was old enough to read the book for myself, I was shocked to learn that Dorothy's slippers were not red at all, but silver!
When MGM released the movie in 1939, Dorothy's silver slippers were scrapped for ruby red pumps in order to take advantage of the new Technicolor film process. (I never understood the bobby socks–– to glamor viewers into accepting a mature sixteen year-old Judy Garland as an eleven year old farm-girl, I suppose.)
Thus, film trivia taught me a valuable lesson on the importance placed on appearances––not to mention disregarding truth to favor a particular agenda.
But I digress.
For a long time now, I've wanted ruby sequined high top sneakers.
Some years back, I found them on e-bay. The online photo looked great but, the real thing was disappointing. Instead of sequins being integrated into the canvas (as the photo seemed to suggest) sparkly fabric had been hot-glued to a red shoe. The fabric fell off after the first wearing. But I saved the shoes...
And, one day when my Muse couldn't concoct something better for me to do, I got out my multi-colored rhinestones
And I pulled out my fabric paints ...
And I began the slow, tedious process ...
... I now appreciate why Judith Leiber's evening bags are so darned expensive.
They turned out magically, don't you think?
And, of course, I made a ruby red pair too!
April Fools! What you're seeing is actually a bowl of pearls on a hand forged chain. If you're curious to know how this breakfast of champions was created, read on.
To make 'Cheerios' I used 10, 12, and 16 gage gold fill wire. I wrapped the wire on a mandril to form a coil and placed the coil in a vice. Then I used my foredom (think dremel tool on steroids) equipped with a wafer thin aluminum oxide cut off-disc to slice the coil into rings. One can also use a jewelers saw to do this––which is what patient and precise artisans would use––but I'm not patient. Or precise. I like power tools!
You'll note, in this photo, broken bits of cut-off disc strewn about my work bench. One of the drawbacks of being neither patient nor precise.
I hope you enjoy a pleasant Sunday. No fooling.
My grandmother was born in an era where a woman’s physical beauty determined her value. Throughout her long life, Grandma remained secure in her worth. Even in her nineties, she was beautiful.
My grandmother adored pearls. She used to say that some women had skin so fine that they could restore the luster to pearls by wearing them against to their bodies. I always believed that Grandma was one such woman.
Her prized strand––she's wearing them in this photo, taken when she was 75––was 16 inches long on a silk cord. They were 14 millimeter cream-colored (with overtones of pink) semi-round South Sea pearls. She’d let me play with them when I was little but I wasn't allowed to wear them. Even on my wedding day, Grandma’s pearls were not for borrowing. When Grandmother died, at the age of ninety-eight––still with flawlessly translucent skin––the pearls passed to my mother.
Different generations embrace different values. While Grandmother relished her perch atop a pedestal, my mother preferred hiking or biking or reading a really good book. (Here's a photo of my mom––also at 75––in one of her favorite perches, somewhere along the John Muir trail.)
Shortly after Grandma’s passing, Mom gave the pearls to me. It made sense. Like my Grandmother, I love dressing-up and unlike my mother, I hate hiking and biking. I do enjoy a good book, however.
Also unlike Grandmother, I’m uneasy with attention, which is a problem if one is an artist. So much about making art is a willingness to be seen.
Do I hope that something more got passed down with those 14 mm luminescent orbs? If one believes that personal objects can absorb an owner’s essence, I would say yes.
I believe in alchemy. That’s what artists do. We transform, with heart and skill, a base material into something more.
With that in mind, I took Grandma’s pearls apart. I soldered up a bunch of gold jump rings. I found some watermelon tourmalines––because watermelon tourmaline is reputed to balance energies caused by conflict and confusion. Then, I assembled them all together again by crafting a handmade chain.
Here’s hoping that some of Grandma’s self-confidence is still inside those pearls.
Story by Karen Diepenbrock and illustrations by yours truly, this collaboration was so much fun! Karen and I met thanks to the amazing Rae Gouirand whose writing workshops and creative prompts inspire fabulous things.
Shared with permission of the author. Click the button to read Bruno's story.
Somewhere along my path, I was introduced to the concept of "finding-one’s edge". Roughly defined, it’s that space between pushing through one’s boundaries of comfort and safety without creating undue stress or harm. Wouldn't that be enlightened space from which to make art?
While working on this Edge Series, I discovered that the process of painting is much like the practice of yoga. The artist has a canvas. The yogi has a mat, When they come to those places, they invite intention.
All things begin with an intention.
Before I began this series of paintings, I thought I had clear idea of what they would be but, as I worked, they became something else. In the end, the result is different from my original concept––a reminder not to become too attached to outcomes, perhaps?
About Carmichael Yoga:
Carmichael Yoga offers yoga on land (mat) and air (aerial yoga hammocks)! The studio is huge and spacious (a rare sighting for yoga studios) with floor to ceiling glass windows that bring in natural light and make for a truly lovely practice. Carmichael Yoga offers a diverse variety of yoga styles that welcome all bodies and all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. It is one of the very few studios in Northern California that offers aerial yoga using silk fabrics/hammocks suspended from the ceiling. Aerial Yoga is a great practice for balance, core strength and inversions. It gives the best decompression for the spine, without placing weight on the joints or muscles!
Link to Carmichael Yoga’s schedule can be found at: http://carmichaelyoga.com/class-schedule/
Or by downloading the MINDBODY app at: https://get.mndbdy.ly/s1ud/FxwSKcxt2I
The Edge Series; Mooladhara 36"x36" metallic foils and powders with acrylic paint on canvas 1200.00
Mooladara, the root chakra, is associated with the color red and it defines our relation to Earth. It impacts our vitality, passion and survival instincts. The red chakra colors are also indicative of our need for logic and order, physical strength and sexuality as well as the fight or flight response when faced with danger. The sense of smell in the human body is connected to the Root Chakra. The gland to which the root chakra is attached is the Gonads.
The Edge Series; Swadhisthana. 36"x36" metallic foils and powders with acrylic paint on canvas 1200.00
The sacral chakra is associated with the color orange. Swadishthana chakra relates to the water element in the human body. The chakra colors orange impact sexuality, reproductive function, joy, desire and even creativity, compassion for others etc. The sense of Taste is associated with the Sacral Chakra. Glands and organs impacted by this chakra include the lymphatic system, female reproductive organs, large intestine, pelvis, bladder etc.
The Edge Series; Mani Pura 36"x36" metallic foils and powders with acrylic paint on canvas 1200.00
Mani Pura, the solar plexus chakra, is the personal power chakra that is responsible for one’s individual and professional success. The color yellow is associated with fire, energy, charge etc. This element of fire, when balanced and harmonious allows one to feel more confident, cheerful and energetic along with a right amount of respect for self and others. Our sense of sight is associated with the solar plexus chakra. The glands or organs associated with Solar plexus chakra are Adrenal glands.
The Edge Series; Anahata 36"x36" metallic foils and powders with acrylic paint on canvas 1200.00
Anahata, the heart chakra is associated with the color Green. This chakra influences our relationships and has the Air element. A weak heart chakra is responsible for sabotaging the relationships through distrust, anger and envy etc. Sense of touch is impacted by the heart chakra and the glands connected to it are Thymus and lymph.
The Edge Series; Vishuddi, 36"x36" metallic foils and powders with acrylic paint on canvas 1200.00
Vishuddi, the Throat Chakra refers to our true voice. The color blue is associated with the ability to communicate, listen etc. The ethereal element of the Throat Chakra, when balanced, allows an individual to have pleasant voice, artistic abilities, expressive ways and also ability to be in a higher place spiritually. The individuals with balanced throat chakra are able to meditate well and use their energy efficiently and artistically. The glands to which the Throat chakra is attached are the esophagus, ears, throat, thyroid, jaws, teeth and neck vertebrae
The Edge Series; Ajna, 36"x36" metallic foils and powders with acrylic paint on canvas 1200.00
Ajna, the Third Eye; literally translates to “centre of knowing or monitoring”. This chakra is associated with chakra colors Indigo and is connected to the Pineal or pituitary gland. Those with a well balanced brow chakra can have telepathic abilities, charismatic personality and they often do not have any fear of death. The element of electricity or telepathy along with the chakra colors of Indigo are associated with our sense of Thought.
The Edge Series; Sahasrara 36"x36" metallic foils and powders with acrylic paint on canvas 1200.00
The Crown Chakra, known as Sahasrara, is associated with the colors of violet or purple. The crown chakra is associated with the pituitary gland, nervous system, and the brain and head region with its element of light. In its balanced state, this chakra can render individuals the ability to perform miracles, transcend the laws of nature, and have a heightened awareness of death and immortality.
The Edge Series; White Out, 36"x36" metallic foils and powders with acrylic paint on canvas 1200.00
White is sometimes shown to denote the Higher Crown and connection to the soul's purpose. White represents purity and balance. It contains all the colors and is sometimes referred to as 'the many colored lotus'.
Descriptions of chakra colors and their meanings were found on Color Meanings.com.
cries "River Beauty", the subject of Lisa Deniz's richly symbolic encaustic painting. Last weekend's two day Summer Solstice Event proved a resounding success. Artists, energy practitioners, friends, neighbors, poets and yogis braved triple digit temperatures to take part in this two day event.
Sincere thanks to Karen Adams, Laura Edwards, Phill Evans, Rae Gouirand, Aleris Hart, Lee Halvorsen, Kailey Hull, Sue Knopp, Ann O'Connell, Sabrina Sells, Michelle Souse, Anne-Christin Trost, and Dianne Van der Carr for supplying your own special magic toward making this event come alive. Grateful thanks to the many friends and neighbors who braved the heat. Bemused thanks to Jack the Dog for getting the pool party started. And a very special thanks to Teila Rifa for capturing these amazing photographs on Saturday!
There was the laying on of hands...
There were the artists doing their "thing"...
And there were amazing souls to connect with...
Happy Solstice Memories!
"The summer solstice is a time to celebrate the light of consciousness within ourselves and within each and every person, and to reflect upon the potential for consciousness to awaken."
from The Path of The Spiritual Sun by Angela Pritchard
What better excuse to hold a gathering of artists and aficionados in a lovely outdoor setting? (A.k.a. my back yard) Some of the things to experience: chair massage, yoga and meditation, Reiki, poetry reading, a beer brewing demonstration. Some of the crafts to explore: ceramic tile painting, spirit bundle making, and bead wrapping. Some of the things to for sale: artisan crafted candles and soaps, fused glass work, lamp-work beads, polymer clay beads and whimsies, encaustic paintings, jewelry, and metal sculpture. To learn more about the event and the participants, click here!
Don't forget, Father's Day is Sunday the 18th. This event is family friendly.
If you'd like to attend click here!
Preview: Out On A Limb Series,
Sterling silver and freshwater pearl
Where? Artgurl Studio
4239 Minnesota Avenue
Fair Oaks, CA
When? Saturday March 25th
from 11:00 a.m. till 5 p.m.
I hope you can drop by. And tell a friend!
Equinox is a wonderful thing. Astronomically, It's the time when the sun crosses the plane of the earth's equator making night and day of approximate equal length all over the earth––or to put it another way, it's when dark and light come into balance.
Is it just me? Seems like there's lots of imbalance going around these days.
For me, imbalance leads to unbalance ... and one of the thing I do when I'm feeling unbalanced is move energy around. Because I'm an artist, that means "making things". Over time, I've made a lot of things. And things are beginning to pile up.
My display area
is positively overflowing
with necklaces, bracelets,
pins, and pendants.
So, during this years Vernal Equinox, let's create some balance. Come to my Open Studio on Saturday, March 25th between 11a.m. and 5 p.m. or contact me to make an appointment.
Artgurl Studio Address: 4239 Minnesota Avenue, Fair Oaks, CA.
I've always said The Muse moves in mysterious ways.
For a while now, I've been volunteering with the Sacramento non-profit organization 916 Ink which promotes youth literacy by empowering students through creative writing. Two semesters ago, I had the opportunity to work with Crystal Linnet: teacher, mother, explorer, and 916 Ink Wordslinger. During one of our classroom prompts, she dashed off this amazing little poem and it got us thinking...
Illustrations would be fun.
Here's what Crystal and I came up with.
The Secret of Life