Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cycle of Life

Life in the country is very quiet. No sounds from highways. No car alarms. No radios blaring. Only the soft rustling of leaves. The babbling of streams. The occasional songs from birds. The scolding of squirrels who seem to be convinced that I want their acorns.
Hay field edged with pecan trees.
There’s a mindfulness that comes from living in the country. Without the incessant noise of the city (or suburbs), there comes a stillness that reaches into the depths of your soul. There’s no place to hide from yourself; you are faced with the person you’ve shaped yourself to be. Maybe that’s why farmers have a reputation for being honest and forthright. You can’t lie to yourself in the country.
Looking down at the buildings on our farm.
Life in the country isn’t easy. Farms need a lot of care. There are no days off. It’s a brutally honest life. From the spring planting until the fall harvest, there’s a definite cycle of life that you don’t encounter in the city. The seeds turn into plants that eventually produce seeds in a hurried frenzy just before the killing frost.
Castor bean seed pods.
I have been watching the fungus spring to life in my lawn. It’s feeding off of the remains of the maple tree we took out a couple of years ago. The mycelium is turning the hard roots into soft loam to support the new life that will replace the maple tree. Something will always grow in that spot. Life is all about being resilient.
Fungus on maple tree roots.
While I was working as an engineer and desperately trying to keep my sanity, I started doing tiny weavings that I turned into pins. They were very portable and I kept them in my purse and pulled them out to work whenever I could. I became obsessed with seed beads and began working them into rotation. Little fussy creations became my escape.
Tiny loomed pin.
Diagonally loomed pin.
Oddly enough, I find myself coming full circle. I branched into hot glass and metal work many years ago; but, now I find myself drawn back to portable work. I have the privilege of being the full-time caretaker of my aging dog. He’s nearly 20 years old and he doesn’t like being alone. Unfortunately, my studio is downstairs and it’s not the safest place for a blind dog. I’ve tried to go downstairs and get some work done, but he barks upstairs and sounds so sad that I can’t leave him alone.
Vintage Czech button surrounded by beads and pearls.
Revisiting the past is a relatively new idea to me. I’ve been deluding myself for a year pretending that I can sneak downstairs and get some serious work done. Now that I am being honest with myself, I’m ready to commit to revisiting some portable oldies. I have some ideas. I guess that even artistic endeavors can be subject to cycles during a lifetime. Stay tuned for studio updates.

10 Years -- Cycle of Life

Cycle of Life

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hubristic Orange

Orange is a hubristic color: proud and even excessively confident. It was a favorite color of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters. It is also a favorite color of nature. From the orange fall leaves of the beech, oak, and maple trees swirled with nuanced browns to the sweeping fields of California poppies, orange permeates the natural world.
Fall Colors of Sumac
Orange has a mystical quality: something I associate with sacred robes of Hinduism or Buddhism. It’s an underrated color in the West. Bright and cheerful yet relegated to be mostly an accent and hardly ever a star -- except at Halloween.
Jewelweed After a Fall Rain
I have orange accents in my living space. I was going to paint an accent wall orange, but I wimped out and painted it yellow instead. The throw pillows on my brown sofa have touches of orange. I have orange fake flowers in my dining room. I got the flowers at the end of the fall season at Michaels. I thought they were pretty and they were cheap. Honestly, the cheap part was the real sell. Well, that and they matched the pillows.
Common Daylillies
Fast food establishments sometimes decorate with orange because it makes people hungry. Other than that, I don’t really see a lot of orange except in nature. Traffic signs are sometimes orange -- maybe because it’s so unusual to see outside of nature that it catches our attention. The most significant use of orange in our society is relegated to the obligatory “pumpkin everything” at this time of year. I do understand that use. Pumpkins are easy to grow and ripen as a deafening crescendo to the harvest season.
Pumpkins From Our Farm
By the way, did you notice that orange has all but completely disappeared from Orange is the New Black? That’s too bad. I like orange. It’s almost a neutral color. Very few colors really clash with it. So, why isn’t it a staple color in everyone’s wardrobe? Maybe it’s because it makes you hungry.
Fused Glass Pendant -- Wasser & Bullseye Glass
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Fused Glass Slide --  Bullseye Glass