I am so very grateful for my first year of fine art and craft events!

As I tore down my booth for the last time in 2015 last evening, watching the sun setting perfectly over the amber trees, and the brilliant blue sky fade into dark, I reflected gratefully on the wonderful first full year of fine art and craft shows in which I participated. I cannot possibly list all the generous, kind, helpful, supportive, inspiring and extremely talented artists I met along the way and the countless art lovers and supporters who brightened my tent with fascinating conversation, laughter (and tears) and genuine encouragement toward a new year ahead. One of the greatest highlights of my year has been the dear friendships I have already been gifted in such a short time. I admire and respect each and every one of you and am inspired by your spirit, your craft and your kindness. Thanks to all the dedicated organizers and coordinators who make these necessary and enriching events happen. They enrich our communities with some of the hardest working, tenacious, resilient, brilliant artists and craftspeople and their great breadth of creativity and art forms. These art events are a valuable component in the increasingly challenging attempt to keep the arts alive and inspire so many, old and young, to keep arts a strong and vital part of our schools and communities. Specifically, thank you Artrider ProductionsWoodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts FairRose Squared Productions, Inc.Guilford Art CenterPeters Valley School of CraftCraftproducers,and Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival for allowing me to share in your beautiful festivals as well as your help and guidance as I navigated my first year in this exciting new community! Hope to see you again next year!

Along the Wissahickon

As neighbors of the city of Philadelphia, we are so fortunate to be able to share in the oasis of the splendid, storied, protected 1,800 acres of the of Wissahickon Valley Park along Wissahickon Creek. Since we moved here in 1992, our family has enjoyed countless moments and activities in these hills, along these paths and beside these waters. Knowing that in eight short minutes, I can drive from my home and be hiking among these ancient poplars, oaks and hemlocks, feeling far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Philadelphia while still remaining in it...is always hard for me to believe. If you haven't done so already...take a break and enjoy some of these autumn colors and all this precious land has to give us. 

Side by Side...On the Stream

Recently I had the wonderful, serendipitous opportunity to write an article for  Dun The Magazine, created, written, edited and run all by women who are drawn to the world of fishing one way or another . They live their lives courageously, creatively and adventurously. I am so grateful for the chance to meet (online, not yet in person) all these women, especially Jen Ripple, editor in chief...they are all an inspiration for living! Thank you again ladies!

Side By Side...On the Stream

You can read my article on page 149...but please take time to discover all the great stories and talents in this and all issues of Dun Magazine!

You can read my article on page 149...but please take time to discover all the great stories and talents in this and all issues of Dun Magazine!

Happy Mother's Day

The Shift of Safekeeping

I want to wish all mothers a beautiful and joyful day this Sunday. The ineffable exchange of love we share with our children and our mothers is the "stuff" life is truly about. It brings us the most extraordinary joy and the deepest pain but fills us with a precious significance and weight that is unquestionably incomparable.

To those who have lost their mothers and or their children, I wish you solace and peace.

To borrow words from one of my favorite writers, Khalil Gibran: 
"When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. 
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed."

Being a mother...and a daughter is complex and difficult, effortless and magnificent. 
Celebrate all of it! 
Happy Mother's Day.

MY CUP OF TREE

This is actually a cup of tea I was enjoying outside while working. The light was exquisite and I couldn't believe the perfect reflection of trees on the surface of my tea. It is a lesson on how much beauty we can miss if we don't take the time to really look. 

The lovely piano piece is "We Float" by Dustin O'Halloran from his "Like Crazy" Album...a sweet film by the way. The poem is by Emily Bronte.

Fine Art Festival Vendor Design

 I have spent the last couple months working on a booth design to submit to several juried Fine Art Festivals around the region in the upcoming months. I mocked it up in my driveway this week to work out some bugs...still a little tweaking to do....but it is finally coming together. I have always enjoyed doing mural work as well and so these panels were a treat to make. Being a printmaker first and foremost, I plan to sell some of the larger prints alongside my jewelry.  In the rear hangs a prints mirrored by it's collagraph plate...so visitors can understand the process more visually. Thank you for viewing! 

From Place to Print

It's no secret I love to travel, to hike, to be out in the great outdoors and am usually sketching when I am. Here is a short video of two recent plates I created from beautiful lakes we found ourselves on years ago. It shows the process of creating a miniature collagraph print which will next become a piece of wearable art.


Learning from my two, young daughters how to face fears and take risks...

I am in unfamiliar territory. This week, both Aliyah and Hannah move to college and Todd and I become empty nesters.  Both daughters have lived away for long periods, but this feels different, and frankly, more unnerving than I ever expected. This is one of those periods in life when the medley of polar emotions can be simply exhausting. I am not quite sure from where the tears originate. Deep sadness?  The closing of 20 years of abundant art, creativity, music, chatter, conversation, activity filling our home day in and day out?  Or deep pride and joy? The dawn of witnessing these two talented, funny, bright, engaging, intuitive, confident, young women move out into independence both to pursue their passions? Excited anticipation? I am finally able to place all the energy and time I spent helping them navigate the world, into my own creative endeavors. Paralyzing fear? I am finally able to place all the energy and time I spent helping them navigate the world, into my own creative endeavors. I suspect all are correct. (Hence, the reason why tissue boxes around the house are as plentiful as reading glasses these days.)

Fear.  It is a word that fortunately, despite many potential opportunities, has not often found its way into our vocabulary. The truth is, looking at the last three years of our family's lives, there were plenty of situations when that emotion could have overcome us all. I don't think anyone would have questioned or blamed us if we had all let fear insinuate itself into our lives now and then. But somehow, we just didn't let it.  

When Aliyah decided, after many years of growing up with the daily challenges of a facial difference, to pursue a series of full craniofacial surgeries, she could have easily succumbed to her fears, which I am sure were real and significant.  As a matter of fact, there were countless opportunities throughout her entire childhood, to shy away from all the activities, events, camps, trips, jobs, interviews, interactions for fear of being excluded or misunderstood...again.  But in all of those cases, I witnessed her bravely resist that fear and not let it preclude her from becoming the person she envisioned herself  to be. She was determined to not let it threaten her chances to expand her world with wonderful, enriching experiences and dedicated, loving relationships. 

When Hannah first began as a young girl, to find great joy on stage, singing, dancing and acting for hundreds of people, she never let the small butterflies become big monsters. When she strived to take these creative interests more seriously in high school, and had to audition for roles or participate in more specialized performing arts groups, she pushed through those nauseating emotions, kept her eye on the ball and recognized that there were great experiences beyond those fears. When she decided a year ago, to follow those dreams even more intensively into her college years, I watched her quiet that anxiety, and swallow that frog over and over and over again in competitive auditions where hundreds of other talented, focused, skilled actors sat beside her wanting that same slot.  She visualized herself in those roles and places and although many times, she did not get exactly what she wanted, she continued to transcend the uneasiness. And when it was all said and done, every new adventure offered her tremendous development and wonderful, loving friendships. 

As I say good bye to two of my dearest friends, two of my most cherished individuals, and I again, watch them confidently take the necessary risks essential for growth and change, I realize they have much to teach me. As I also begin an unexplored journey, and move into a place filled with new dreams of my own, I feel an uncomfortable fear creeping into some of that space.  Being vulnerable and scared is not something I often allowed myself to feel through those years of childrearing. As a mother, we try to be the great strength for our children to hold on to during those difficult times. When there are added obstacles, we dig deep to create an intense, inner fortitude for everyone to draw from. These days, I feel more of an equilibrium.  I draw from their courage as much as they do from mine.  As Aliyah and Hannah did on so many different occasions, I will face those fears one piece at a time. From them both, I have learned how courage feeds and nurtures our character. 

I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to witness my daughters, as my dad would say, "taking the bull by the horns and biting the bullet"  throughout their youthful years. As I walk over this threshold into my next chapter, wanting to grow and expand as well, I shall now brave the discomfort and do the same.  Because I know on the other side of it, there are great experiences, new, wonderful friends and rich, enduring adventures!

Shared Admiration

"Nature"...Latin: natura, "birth"

Thomas Cole, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ansel Adams, Leonardo da Vinci, Henri Rousseau, Mark Twain, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ravi Shankar, Henry David Thoreau, Mary Oliver, Jacques Cousteau, Emily Carr, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, John Denver, John James Audubon, Robert Smithson, John Muir, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Van Morrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Antonio Vivaldi, Julia "Butterfly" Hill, George Winston, Pearl Buck, John O'Donohue, Jane Goodall, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rachel Carson...the list is endless. The list of influential individuals, artists, writers, leaders,  whose work and remarkable lives were so powerfully impacted by Nature, by our earthly surroundings, by mountains, seas, rivers, forests, deserts, meadows. The ability and freedom to seek out inner harmony, replenish ourselves, rebalance busy lives in the peaceful solitude of any of these places is a great privilege of which I am always grateful. There is nothing more healing and nourishing than remaining frequently connected to Mother Earth's sanctuaries to retrieve strength from air, water, plants, trees and all the beauty they offer.  It can transform our minds, our souls, our love, our patience, our abilities, our compassion, our inspiration, our motivation, our potential.  I hope everyone is able to take some time soon and place yourself somewhere that speaks to you so you, too, can find perspective, guidance, creativity and deeper meaning.

Kim Mehler: The love of Art & Science

I spend a lot of time outside looking at our microscopic world. There are countless designs, forms, and mathematical formulas incorporated in everything around us...the petals of a black-eyed Susan, the grid in the fly's eye,  the path of a goldfinch's flight..which, by the way, almost exactly mirrors a dogwood branch. I don't usually go out intending to look for the beauty in all of it...I have just always found it naturally intriguing. 

One of my favorite things to do is walk with my dear friend Kimberly Mehler. Not only has she been a tremendous influence in more ways than I can begin to list, but she also sees the exceptional splendor in a dried up mushroom, a bluebird's iridescent wing, a decaying turtle skull. It is not unusual for our walks to be peppered with moments of pause, discovering yet something else at which we gaze and find wonder in. At that point, one of us usually tosses it into our pocket for it to eventually find a new home on one of our shelves. It might one day, inspire a painting or a plate to be inked for a print.  Or perhaps, it might simply be admired in its own lovely form. 

The important community art projects Kim pours her heart and soul into are innumerable and I constantly find myself sharing their invaluable lessons with friends and family.  Sometimes I just can't keep up! Please take some time to look at her compelling work on the MamaCita website. You will quickly see how her vision and composition evolve from the unconventional intricacies of the beauty that lies within the natural world.

Take some time to also check out all the other remarkable projects in which this creative and talented group of women of MamaCITA are involved.

 

Dad's pen

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It is hard to remember many days when my dad did not have a pen in his hand and he was jotting down all the happenings around him.  Whether it was the frenetic and joyous activity of family gatherings, the tranquil stillness of his predawn hours or the anguish and suffering he struggled with in his own heart, he was always documenting his world.  

Although it is not always easy for me to read the past, knowing I am able to go back in time and hear his heart at the age of 25 and 45 and 65 years old, gives me new perspective and deeper understanding of his life and my own.

I often think about how much he would have, despite his aversion to anything "technical", truly embraced the BLOGGING world. He loved to share his thoughts and feelings through his writing...in a poetic, discreet manner. It would have been right up his alley.  

Thank you Dad, for taking the time to share. 

"My Garden" Celia Thaxter

More dear to me than words can tell 

Was every cup and spray and leaf,

Too perfect for a life so brief,

Seemed every star and bud and bell.          -Celia Thaxter “My Garden”

 

The relentless rains have paid off. The air is cool, the gardens are overflowing with blooms, fruit and yes, weeds. (Who are we to discriminate.) But their bounty is exquisite this time of year. Everywhere you turn, blossoms dance with bees and butterflies, bunnies fill themselves on wild strawberries, and lilies and boxwoods perfume the air. 

 


 

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