Sunday, June 30, 2013

Le Tour

It's definitely summer. The tour is on the TV and we are spending the weekend indoors, tucked away from the heat, humidity and rain, dreaming of being in France with the riders. What a day the first day of racing was! Our summer tradition on the first weekend of the race is breakfast burritos, fresh juice and a toast to the tour. I've been chicken sitting for my neighbor and bringing fresh eggs home everyday so the burritos are even better than usual. We will have champagne and orange juice when they ride into Paris!
One day we hope to go over for the tour, rent a camping van and travel along for the race. What fun that must be.
Hope all you race fans enjoy the next few weeks of racing, it's off to a crazy start so far!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Yep, it's summer.....

Seems that summer has finally arrived after so many days of cool dry air. Now the air is thick with humidity and the temps have gone up into the 90's, ugh. Summer is finally here. Along with it, rainstorms in the afternoon, fast growing weeds and plants, and lots of staying inside where it's cool.
I finished up this weaving finally yesterday. It has been on my loom forever, and I got tired of looking at it, ran out of cloth that would work and so I cut it off.

It's a right nice little table runner. It's a mix of hemp, linen, yarn and recycled clothing. Many of these strips are on the flag I made for my Shakori booth.
My waving style is sort of like my clay style, kinda like raku for fiber. Just throw some stuff in there and see what comes out. I'm not following a pattern or really planning anything, just randomly weaving whatever I think looks good.
I think for my next project, I will try and make some sort of plan, just to see the difference. But I have a feeling my weaving is going to be a pretty random thing. I like not having any expectations.....

I also finished up this scarf with the quick knit loom I bought. What a fun little loom for quick projects. I made another scarf in just a day last week, but I didn't really like it, so I took it apart. One thing clay has taught me, if it's not working, just start over.

Summer reading. Why can't I just read one book at a time? I have all of these going at the same time, plus one more I picked up at the library yesterday... I did finish A Walk in the Woods and now Gerry is reading it, and wanting to hike the A.T. I knew that would happen. These were all thrift store finds that I picked up for a dollar a piece, not bad. I love finding great books at the thrift stores!

This is my new favorite. It's about a Chinese girl that survived a Japanese wartime camp, and wants to have a Japanese garden created in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Through the owner of a tea plantation in Malaysia, she meets a gardener who was gardener to the Emperor and the tale of their journey begins. It's beautifully written, found it hard to put down last night.
Ahhh, summer reading and libraries, what's better than that?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Thanks for all the comments about my broken heart on my last post. Luckily my own heart has never been broken, maybe bruised a time or two, but when you stay with the same man for 30+ years, chances of a broken heart are slim, mostly.

Thanks EB for the suggestion of mending with gold. My pal Laura has been suggesting I use the technique of Kintsugi for my broken barns for years, but they never seemed broken in a way that this would enhance anything. this heart was broken that way, so I used it as a test tile to see how it would look. I didn't use the resin and gold powder that traditional kintsugi calls for, but I did use a good glue and liquid gold from the craft store. I sort of like the way this looks, maybe I'll break a few more things and add some gold to the cracks.....

I met my friend and good customer Maureen for coffee yesterday and she brought me a flower that she made. I love this sweet little flower. It might be the answer to my raku flower vases not holding water. I could sell these paper flowers with them instead.
Bottle from my good friend Meredith. Where would we be without our friends!

Pretty isn't it?

Also mended yesterday was my grandmother's swing thanks to sculptor and metal artist John Amero. Thanks John, my swing is now back where it belongs! My grandmother held me in this swing when I was a baby. I have no idea how old it is, but it is older than me, I do know that. This is my treasure and I will be very sad when it finally is worn beyond using. The broken parts are now safely welded back together and this is where I will be most summer evenings.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Always late to the party

I have never been the most trend following person. I'm either way ahead of the curve and liking something before it's time to like it, or I find out about it years later and think it's the latest greatest thing. I am, for the most part, always late to the party. But that's ok, that's how I roll. I'll get to this in a minute.

I wanted to show you my broken heart. It's a casualty of last weeks market/monk event. As my friend Jane so kindly put it, a dude that "was not operating at full capacity" was very excited to show me a new banjo he is building from some really nice wood he was gifted, and he swept said banjo neck/wood carving across my table and knocked off one of these heart dishes that I sell like candy at the market. He just said, 'Oh man", scratched his dirty head and walked off. Poor thing......

I went into the market this year having already prepped my head for weather and nuts. I have had both and I am bearing up quite well, surprisingly enough. I think you just have to get the right mental space to do this shit!

Now back to the party..... I know this book has been around a long time, I have read many blog posts praising it's recipes, and always thought, huh, I gotta get me that book. Never did.
Our new Chapel Hill library recently reopened after a major renovation and Wes and I went for a visit. I picked up this book and cannot put it down. LOVE it as I know many of you do. We are eating bread like there won't be any soon. Sooooo super easy and delicious! I roasted some yellow peppers from the farmers market, added some garlic, cumin, salt and olive oil, yummy  yummy dipping oil!

By the way, Chapel Hill library..... BORING! It is about the most institutional space I have ever been in. So sterile. Where is the art? Where is the cozy? With as many artists as there are in this town you would think there would be at least one commission or something. It's a pretty sad space, I tell you that!

Brunch for us today, quiche and artisan bread, yum!

I am also late to the party in thanking Elisabeth Bunsen for the most wonderful little surprise package when we got home from vacation. A little comfort pillow that smells a bit like heaven, some stripey rocks, and some beautiful rusty papers and fabric. Such a sweet thing to have around, thanks EB! If you want some of her art, she is selling it on her blog and there are many things on my list of wants.
Go see!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday In Saxapahaw

 There was a nice crowd at Saturdays in Saxapahaw yesterday, although not as many as usual. I got there to set up around 3pm and the rain poured promptly at 3:30, of course. It lasted just long enough to muddy everything up and turn the air hot and humid, very not pleasant. The market was moved from it's usual location of the grassy space to the Haw River Ballroom and the covered porch was a nice place to be.
 This old converted mill has so much character and is such a fun place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon. There are good food vendors, cold beer and good music along with fresh produce and beautiful crafts. What could be better?!
 There's my little sheltered space under the deck of the coffee shop, which also had cold beer on tap, how convenient for moi!
 My neighbors with their hand crafted wood bowls and fresh veggies. So nice.

 And my view of the river, just last Sunday the sand from the mandala was blessed and poured into this water.
 Beautiful day, beautiful place to sell my work. The crowd was light thanks to the weather, but I had a few sales and met some really nice folks, so thanks to all of you for stopping by.
Speaking of selling my work, another gallery I was in has gone away. A few people knew that Suzanne, owner of the Saxapahaw Artists gallery was going to be closing after the construction of the mandala. It was a huge metaphor for her, and she was emotional the whole week, knowing she was closing this fabulous space. There were lease disagreements, and she just didn't feel like yet another battle so she has moved on. Sad to see this gallery go, I got a check most every month from them. I'm really over this quest to sell my work. It seems like one step forward two steps back constantly.
I have been asked to be the prop designer for four more shows at the Artscenter through next May, and I said yes, backing out of  Festifall and the Designer Craftsmen Show, where the weather and the customers are unpredictable, and choosing instead to say yes to an email that already told me what my pay would be. This makes a lot more sense to me these days. I make the beautiful little sculptures and I sell $15 necklaces and ornaments. I also sold another woven piece yesterday. Maybe that should be telling me something..... who knows. I do know that I am over this economy and trying to make money from things made out of clay. At least for awhile, I'm just going to do a little clay, a little weaving and work at what I do best, designing stage props. Anything to avoid that 9 to 5 business!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Back from the land of Enchantment

 So , let's see.... a week at the beach, a week in the Smokey Mountains, and week with Tibetan monks.... time to get back to the land of Chapel Hill and my reality here! Is it any wonder I never have any money?
There was lots of conversation last week with the monks regarding reincarnation. I would like to believe that this girl in the photo above was me in a previous life :-)

I got this postcard in Cherokee, NC at the Qualla Arts Co-op. If you have ever been to Cherokee, you will know that it is perhaps the tackiest place on Earth, except for maybe my home town of Myrtle Beach. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to go there whenever we get anywhere nearby. For some odd reason, my parents chose to leave Myrtle Beach on the fourth of July every other year or so, and go to Cherokee for vacation. It's exactly the same theme park kinda place, wtf! but I love tacky, and I love the Cherokee people. They are stepping up a bit, and the place is much nicer than it has been in past years. At least they don't have those poor bear cubs chained outside the stores anymore.
They seem to be getting a handle on the beauty and wonder of their culture and finally have a few places in town that honor that. One place is the Qualla co-op. I am telling you all of this, because the coil pottery they had on display took my breath and got the little wheels in the remote part of my creative brain thinking that I want to go back to making some coil pots. Some of the nicest pieces I have ever made were coil pots that I raku fired, even though at the time, I was warned against raku firing coil built pots. I did it anyway, and got some spectacular results.

I did a quick Raku fire on Tuesday and while the kiln was heating up, I put a few pieces in a trash can, built a little fire in there and smoked them. This is one of my favorite ways to get an interesting surface on clay.

This one I raku fired. It has a nickel and cobalt oxide wash on it, and my intention was for it to be a blueish green (as per my test tile), however, I forgot and put it in reduction and got this well reduced black piece instead. Since it was inspired by Alvin Ailey's dance Revelations, I suppose it's sort of perfect for it to be black... I like it. Remember those legs I found in the tin box at the antique store? There they are, worked out great except gluing stuff to clay is driving me mad, I am just about over this found object/gluing business!
I really have to stop being so lazy with my photo set up, what a shite piece of photography this is! Sorry..... just went outside and grabbed a piece of construction paper, ugh, the early morning blue light.

These are cute, right? There is a piece of wire attached to one of the nails from another project that didn't quite work out, but I like it on this nail, so I left it there. I really love these.

So wishing I was still sitting in the mountains in my favorite flannel shirt, sipping on a chai, but I'm back and I need to make some work, so play time is coming to an end.
Unless Wesley wants to go back to the beach??........ maybe just a weekend camp on the A.T?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Snow Lion Dance

Wesley and I said goodbye to our new friends yesterday at a local Chapel Hill dojo, where they performed the Snow Lion Dance and lead a meditation. More tears....

Back to my own reality today. I fired a quick raku of some pendants and ornaments I needed for the $20 and under shoppers at the Farmer's Market.

More clay related posts to come, enjoy Wesley's short video of the snow lion, it's pretty great!

peace ya'll

Sunday, June 16, 2013


 The Tibetan Flag flew over the Farmer's Market in Saxapahaw last night. I had my table set up on the porch near the gallery and sales were good. The monks walked around the market, listening to the music, checking out the farmer's stands, and taking soooo many pictures with their phone cameras. It was quite a sight to see and there was a very unique crowd out last night. It was magical. I met some very wonderful people.
 This is where they began at the first of the week, with rulers and compasses and math, ugh. Look at Wesley in the corner, not even shooting anything yet. By the end of the week, she was attached to her camera and growing more confident every moment.
 The mandala grew, the monks worked non stop for hours each day.
 Remember, this is colored SAND!
 The market wrapped up around 8:30 last night and the monks finished up around 10pm, Wesley shot some footage, I packed up my stuff and we got home around 11pm.

 Today was the deconstruction. It was an extremely emotional ceremony. Gerry came with us, celebrating Father's Day and life in general. It was breathtaking to see these young men watch as the mandala they spent all week painstakingly constructing was brushed away in just minutes.
The room swelled with metaphors for all of us........
Geshe la presented Wesley with a Khata at the end of the day as a blessing for good luck. The khata is usually given by a Tibetan as an arriving or a departure gift. Wesley of course cried, then I cried, then I remembered I had a camera. Shot this through all of our tears. This scarf will be such a treasured thing for Wesley. She has dreamed and read and studied the Tibetans since she was a little girl. And now, this week, she spent every day with them, sharing meals, praying, filming them in intimate settings, and feeling so very blessed to be allowed this opportunity. She bought some prayer beads for Gerry for Father's Day and Geshe blessed them for her. We are indeed very blessed today.
This has been a life transforming experience for many of us that participated in the monk's Sacred Arts Tour this week. I started and ended each day this week praying with monks for compassion and then watching my child grow so much and watching the mandala unfold, and most importantly sharing this with lots of very special friends. June has been quite a month for introspection and discovery of impermanence.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Monk Lunch

Wesley has been having lunch with the monks from Tibet this week, my child is over the moon happy.
Here is a little taste of some of the video she is shooting.
Today we were there for the morning prayers, stayed all day and got to know them all better, and then stayed for the puja for the Dali Llama. The chanting and the blessings during prayers are so moving, I feel like I am experiencing something so extraordinary, it doesn't seem real to me.
More to come, stay tuned.....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Day with the Monks

Wesley and I started our day hearing morning prayers with the monks. not a bad way to start your day. The monk's chants are bone chilling and spiritually moving. If you can, you really should experience the sound of chanting Tibetan Monks in person once in your lifetime.

 After prayers, they started the painstaking process of drawing out the geometry of the Mandala and then adding the sand, for what seemed like one grain at a time.

Wesley received the blessings of the monk and the director of the tour and she humbly thanked them for the opportunity to be there. I was a very proud mom. My daughter handled herself with such professionalism and humility and she is an absolute pro, just like her daddy taught her!

Monks in the 21st century, taking credit cards and everything. The handicrafts they sell will support the monastery. Wesley and I both bought some prayer beads and they were blessed by the monks. I will always treasure this day, you don't get many chances like this.

I saw the monk on the computer invite Wesley to come out on the back patio and have lunch with them. I waited to see how my shy, quiet girl would handle this, and she actually jumped at the chance. After about thirty minutes I went looking for her and she was still outside engaged in conversation with monks from Tibet eating rice and curry! What?! There was a time when she would not even eat at the table with people she didn't know, much less talk to them.
She has come a long way, my baby's all grown up.... sigh.

I shot this at the end of a long and exciting day. Really says it all, doesn't it? Love this photo.......

Seriously, if you can get to the morning prayers at the gallery, or come by to visit with the monks, you won't regret it. There will be a deconstruction ceremony on Sunday, the monks will sweep the sand up in small bags and carry it across the street to the Haw River and the mandala will be no more.

Such kind and gentle souls, I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sacred Arts Tour

 Today Wesley and I went over to the Saxapahaw Artists Gallery so she could photograph some of the  preparations for the Sacred Arts Tour with the Tibetan Buddhist Monks of the Drepung Gomang Monastery. The monks will be sharing the cultural traditions of Tibet and each day this week they will be constructing a sand mandala for public viewing. There will also be a Tibetan handicrafts bazaar with proceeds going towards support and education for the refugee monks living at the monastery. You can read more here, or read about the Drepung Gomang Monastery here.

Wesley has graciously been allowed to come and video the tour as a documentary film student and today she shot some stills for me to use for my blog, thank you Wes.
I have volunteered to come over and help out at the gallery. It was very exciting to be in the gallery today and watch the monks preparing for this event. I hope if you are within traveling distance you can come over and see this wonderful event.

Here they are setting up the board the mandala will be constructed on.

This event is free and open to the public, donations are accepted if you feel so inclined. There will also be items for sale, and I already have my eye on some prayer beads.....
The opening ceremony will be tomorrow, June 12 at 10:00 am and the construction will continue throughout the week. There will also be a workshop on June 15, and the closing deconstruction ceremony will be June 16 at 2:00pm.

If you need more info contact Suzanne at the Saxapahaw Artists Gallery
Come on by and say hello!!!!