Friday, December 30, 2011

A Year End Treat For You!

To celebrate the end of a very unsettling year I'm offering to lift your spirits with a re-run of my all time ever favourite commercial. It was so fitting that Time magazine made "The Protester" the person of the year. How blessed we would be if all problems requiring people to take a stand on the streets could have been solved this happily.

Enjoy the video and the uplifting music by Charles Trenet which you may end up happily humming as you pour your champagne, then.... add a comment in the box below - I'm celebrating years end and the opening of a shiny new 2012 with a draw for three surprise gifts- each item is handcrafted here in my aMused Studio. I'll do a blind draw and contact the three winners on New Years Day for your addresses.

I know Blogger is sometimes cranky for people posting comments here- I've never been able to resolve it but Blogger recently added lots of cool new features so maybe the issue was resolved....if not you may be able to post as "Anonymous" just indicate who you are. I'm sure to find you!



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reflections on a year....

As usual I'm spending the waning daze of December cleaning out the studio. It's in transition. Polymer Clay is on the worktable but baskets of reeds and coils of dried kelp, bark and roots line the walls. Currently all my polymer is production work- earrings, rings and Fusion Bangles. Muses, large pieces or even smaller canvasses that are already underpriced don't sell in this economy and I'm finding it very difficult to be creative when work made with love and expensive materials ends up sitting unsold on my own walls.

Along with the econmic downer I suffered a blow early in nasty 2011 when I made the mistake of applying to a show that I never really had much interest in or respect for. Everyone told me it would be great to go into it. They said  "everyone gets in- you'd  be a shoe in"... not me. I was rejected. What a disheartening kick in the creative butt. (Maybe that's where my back issue came from!) It hurt. A LOT.

I've missed being accepted into shows or galleries before and everyone knows how it takes a while to get over it but when you miss one that you don't respect- that's particularily tough. I was also baffled because some of the images I sent to the jury had been accepted by prestigious shows! Several had even sold! I must be recovering because I'm sharing it here. Lesson learned- don't submit to a show if you don't respect it. Similarily- don't approach a shop or gallery to consign your work if you yourself wouldn't choose to shop there!  Another tip- don't apply to any venue close to where you live- it's no fun walking by a place that has turned their noses up at you! Think- what would happen if they say "no"... is it right next door to a store you go to on a regular basis? A similar experience affected my shopping practices when I lived in Richmond and was trying to market my gourd art.

After that demoralizing morass  I was in need of some sort of tonic to regain my equilibrium. I crawled out from under my rock and good things started to happen. We serendiptously accquired kayaks. That was a huge move for me- because I can't swim. A non swimmer in a kayak faces something even scarier than a jury that has issues with polymer clay. Falling in! (I have a very good flotation device and capsize lessons will be scheduled in the spring)

Next I began to explore basketry with the idea of combining polymer with intertwined organics. I took wonderful classes and am able to travel to lovely locations like Saltspring Island and the Olympic Penninsula. I've joined the Northwest Basket Weavers Guild and I'll be going to the annual retreat in March! I'm also eying a basket making workshop in Oregon in June.

I ended 2011 by being humbled by a seized back and hip  embellished with horrible spasms. It made me grateful for knowing I would eventually get better with a modicum of discomfort compared to that suffered by many others including many very dear friends who often read this blog. I'm well into recovery now and can even perform such impressive feats as picking things up from the floor! I vow never to be in that condition again and I have booked myself into a local yoga studio!

Thanks for reading through this missive. I got some stuff off my chest and maybe even gave some good tips.You have earned a treat for following my progress, sympathising with me, encouraging me and giving me a lift by deciding to follow this frequently discombobulated blog blob.

Check in tomorrow- I have a year end treat in store!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Windows

My daughter Gen has been as busy as a North Pole elf painting local windows! Her work can be seen at the Subway restaurants at Fort and Foul Bay Road and the Stadcona Centre, the Oak Bay Pharmasave, the Oak Bay flower shop and the bay windows of a private residence on Hampshire Road display the entire family!

 Gen's windows are unique as they reflect her wonderful sense of humour - she has Santa's sleigh being pulled by eight tiny Subway sandwiches, on another pane Santa is grounded as a group of local teens who have taken his sleigh for a spin over the neighbourhood- They are SO on the naughty list! One of my favourites is Mrs Claus and Santa in the local flower shop- if you look closely you can see tears in Mrs Claus' eyes as her husband offers her a lovely bouquet.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and all other celebrations you may be endulging in over the next days- Cheers!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Catch-Up

I'm happy to say I'm a lot more mobile than last time I checked in here- thanks to everyone who sent good wishes and /or helpful suggestions for treating  and coping with a spasm-ing back. I think my favourite suggestion was to use satin bedding and lingerie to be able to move more easily in bed when in pain! It makes good sense if you've expeienced being unable to turn over in bed and certainly handy once you've recuperated. I'm getting a CT scan as an early Christmas present tonight and I've also found a great accupuncturist and have booked  myself for regular yoga in January. I'm hoping to either get a diagnosis to fix what caused this or simply get on a path to prevent whatever it was in the first place.

On a happier note-

I was especially happy to pack a little pillow to cope with insensitive restaurant chairs and get out to meet up with some creative friends for a Christmas lunch and an annual gift swap- this year I received a pendant  by my pal Wanda Shum- isn't it gorgeous? If you are in the Victoria BC area Wanda will be teaching a millifiori clsss at Island Blue on March 18th.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I haven't posted a while because I did something to my back and have been well and truly out of commission.  There was no specific injury that I can recall other than a silly stumble on a step last spring but perhaps a lifetime of falling out of trees, slipping down stairs and falling off ladders, bridges and chairs finally caught up with me and was pretty immobile for a few weeks. In order to get rid of the spasms and pain I ended up being very drugged.  I have been on combinations of tylenol 3s, celebrex, dyclofenac and oxycodone and  I think the drugs had nastier effects than the back pain but it's all a fog now. It was painful, boring, humiliating, scary and it's not quite over yet. I am still still very sore and have the physical sensation that somewhere along the line someone took a swipe at my lower back with a baseball bat. A CT scan is pending. I am on the mend though but am very aware and humbled to think what people who are really ill have to endure. Today I was able to get out of bed without having to strategize or ask for help, I was able to pick up my socks and drive my son to work then go do some shopping at the grocery store and I was grateful for every mundane movement and moment. 

There were bright spots here and there through the two dreadful weeks and they came c/o of friends I've met here online-

One day I hobbled to the mailbox and found an unexpected parcel in the mail. An anonymous "RAC"- (random act of clayness) sent from Ontario- a fascinating collection of extruded polymer clay that suggests facinating basketry applications. 

Thanks for the fun of the inspiring  mystery package goes to my dear friend Georgia Ferrell- it gave me a lift on a dark day! she's well aware of my excursion into combining polymer and basketry- a great nudge iggy!

Another bright moment came from my neighbour across the water- Port Angeles resident InaRae who forwarded this wonderful image of a basket created by Deborah Kruger who is participating in the Crafts America show in Washington - I love the textural mix of she uses in a 3D object! Thanks for thinking of me InaRae- and you're right- this is the sort of direction I have in mind!

The latest bright note came from master basketry artist Stella Harding who emailed me to invite me to visit her lovely new Storylines Blog! She's posted fascinating descriptions of her process as well as marvellous photos of current work and exhibitions. There's a description of her new book Practical Basketry Techniques that has me marking May 2012 in my calendar. Hope she has an North American book tour! I long to take a class with her!

I have to say- I''m HAPPPY to be able to sit here and type- sitting on  a chair was impossible this time last week . We are all so lucky when our bodies work as they should-it was a painful lesson but I'm changing my ways!