My blog has moved

You will be automatically redirected to the new address.

If that does not occur, please visit;.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Is it any wonder my work is somehow always greenish-blueish-violetish?
The world here is saturated and dewy and everywhere smells of cedar and fennel.
The river runs deep - our normal running trails are under four feet of rushing current.
I'm infatuated with rain-light.
I've thirty minutes to shower and doll up for dinner out and live jazz at the wine bar to follow, so here's to the weekend friends!  May they treat you well!
~ Umber ~

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


~ one ~
I salut you with a kefir smoothie!  There is no shortage of beverages in this household (just five minutes ago I heard BC groan "so. much. liquid." from his office).  On an average day there is coffee, almond milk, herbal tea, freshly juiced greens, kefir, wine (or gin) and of course, 10-12 glasses of water.  Ridiculous!

~ two ~
I've become obsessed with moths.  Again.  Furry little lion men, focused on the light, weaving their way through atmospheric scentings in the night.
This one is my new favorite.  But aren't they all?  Isn't that what I say each time?  But something in my heartstrings tugs and gets swept up in the orbit of those tiny dotted halos and I feel my solar plexus sprout wings and flap towards the moon.

Le sigh.

Moth Love
(Sterling silver, turquoise, size US 9.5)
{If she calls your name, she can be reserved by sending me a convo here Reserved!}

~ three ~
We've been staying up too late.  Do you ever get stuck in one of those rotations where work carries into the evening, dinner happens a little later every night, and finally it's after midnight and you're settling in with a book and a cup of tea (see?  I told you: the beverages are out of control).  The thing is, I love to tinker in the dead of night, and at the same time I love to watch the sun rise.  Really there are just too many interesting things to do to lay around in bed!  I've never been good at it.
~ four ~
I'm reading a book about Frida Kahlo and fighting some very strong urges to paint the walls royal blue and all the furniture like fushias and lemondrops.  Maybe I should just pile on even more jewelry and start pinning my curls up into a traditional crown and take a deep breath.  That woman was such a spitfire in ruffles!

~ five ~
I just received a letter from a friend which included a DRAWING.  I love this.  She reminded me of just how much I love it, of the silly self-portraits I've done by the dozens to amuse their intended recipients.  How do we forget about these things?  I intend to bring them back, to sit myself down with a 2H pencil and a sheet of white and document some frivolity.

 Alright all you moths and mothettes!
Signing off and sketching up,
~ Umber ~

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Of Light and Moths and a Weekend Well Scrubbed

Of light and moths

Last night I was fussing around in the studio and came across this behemoth of a stone; I carried it for miles hiking along the Eel River some months ago.  As I turned it in my hands, the image was nearly staring back at me and I thought "it's truly been too long since I painted a rock."

So I sat myself down and did the good work.

Afterwards the rains lashed the windows and the neighbor dogs howled but I slept warmly.  Now this morning, the whole world feels pinked and fresh.  I'm giving my studio a good cleaning, bringing in that bright clean air, sweeping out the cobwebs.  It's a good metaphor, a day well scrubbed, out with the stagnant, in with the vigor.  Another one I could use neatly tattooed along my wrist.

I'm hoping your weekends have felt like a long soak in clawfoot tub!
~ Umber ~

Friday, March 23, 2012

True Center: Unconditional Kindness
True Center: Unconditional Kindness
100% Sterling Silver

To aid in your personal journey:
To find kindness pumping through your veins,
Grace firing through your spine,
And gentleness in your very marrow.
To strive every day to move a bit closer to who you were ment to be,
I offer this small totem.
* * *
(in the shop now)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ever Moving Towards True Center

Lately I've been thinking often about this concept, this amorphous idea, of moving towards one's truest center a little more ever day.
I think anyone who is actively engaged in soul work of any kind knows this concept on some level: That we strive to find the most honest part of our soul, the truest level of our core, the place where all the fluff and grit and busyness of life has been striped away and nothing is left but the shining light of our individuality.  This is neither easy nor quick, but it is a thing like whittling away a bit of the world's idea of who you are and what you are about.  It's like removing just one sliver of that a day so that when you wake in the morning, a little more of your brilliant soul is shinning bright.

I find this to be worthy goal in art making.  To sit down in the studio and say to myself, "what is so important to me that I can not bear to go another day without creating it?"  This does not need to equate to heart-wrenching or gut-spilling (although sometimes it does) - not at all! - in fact it can be "pretty" or "plain" or even "silly," it just needs to feel Important to you in your heart of hearts.  If it does, then it must be explored.  If it ignites a flame of hope or passion or joy, then it deserves your attention.  And if we give it its due investigation, then in that, I believe we honor ourselves and find a deeper honesty than what had existed before.

Of course I never expect to fully arrive at my own True Center.  That would be like saying "I've gained quite enough knowledge for one life" and even typing those words felt ridiculous.

I had a breakthrough this week.  A subtle, quiet breakthrough, the kind where one has to sit very still and turn off all music and wait for the idea to sidle up and nuzzle your ear.  It was really just a whisper, a faint outline, but the flame of my heart burst open none the less.
HERE is where you place your next step on the path.  This idea, this thing is just one inch closer to the truest center of art that resides in you, that gilded glowing flow of inspiration that is yours and yours alone.  It is that thing wherein you can say "yes, yes that is exactly what I want to say."

I'm closer today than I was yesterday.
If I am I very lucky woman, I'll be able to say that every week of my life.

I have so much faith that you understand this.  This remarkable community, my soul sisters, my tribe members WHO NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE ME, I have no doubt that you have had your own breakthroughs to YOU.  And if you're comfortable, I'd really love to hear about them.
In the meanwhile, I'm off to nom an artichoke and watch some Star Trek.
~ Umber ~

Monday, March 19, 2012

What Came Next

After The Hail
~ Sterling Silver and the creamiest cut of Laramir ~

It's kind of like cherry blossoms and snow.
Like tulips in an ice storm.
Like hail and the season's first arugula blooms.
A seasonal dichotomy, built from a heart full of both.
In other words, finding the beautiful in betweens.
* * *
(Landing in the shop later this morning...)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

After the Hail

After the Hail
Oh the places we'll run...
After the Hail
After the rain,
after the hail,
When a top hat of frost was paired with a fistful of wild arugula,
When the wind blew ice up backsides but marched through puddles anyways,
When feet were covered with daisies and breath streamed like sunlight,
When the river's edge held the bluest lichen and the field the promise of gophers,
After all that,
we finally found our stride.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Story That Ends In Documentary

There are officially cats and dogs being pelted down upon my rooftop.
I took myself out for coffee this morning: coffee, a sketchbook marathon and an accidental-on-purpose-stop into my favorite vintage shop.
I'm about to skip into the studio, but I wanted to share with you a story and a recommendation for your weekend documentary watching needs.
* * *
Back when BC and I were in our mid- and late-20's, we reached a pivotal point in our lives.  We were working three to four jobs between the two of us, finishing college, never sleeping and hardly ever even seeing each other.  It was the good old American rat race.  We decided to save up, quit our jobs and move... somewhere.
That somewhere ended up being Seattle; we loved the city, knew a few friends, and were just youthfully foolish enough to jump.  We set a date, sold off most of what we owed, and determined to see what would happen outside the constrains of a 9 to 5.  I took just about any odd art job I could find, from designing party invites to drawing tattoo designs to decorating weddings on a shoestring.  BC on the other hand, met one of the most interesting entrepreneurial individuals we'd ever known and was offered a job.
As a professional blackjack player.

This is real people.

For three years we lived off of his earnings as a card counter, a member of a large and well-funded blackjack team.  He flew nearly every where within the States that the game of blackjack is legal, played like a high roller, and made A LOT of money for the team and their investors.  We've stayed in some of the swankest suites casinos can offer, gluttonized in steakhouses, received watches, TVs, clothes and other swag, even spent a weekend snowboarding Tahoe with the owner of a major Reno casino.  And the best part of it all, was that we got to see each other again, and remember that we are each other's best friends.

I never breathed a word of this online, as it was important to keep Brad's profession on the serious down-low (yes.  counting cards in absolutely, 100% legal  but I tell you what, casinos DO NOT like you when they find out).  In fact, very few people knew at all outside our family and closest friends.  I think they all thought we were homeless.

Until now.
For several years, a film maker followed members of the team as they played big, won huge, lost devastatingly (counting gives you the edge, but it is not the end all) and lived their lives true to their beliefs.  That footage became a documentary which premiered at the Seattle Film Festival last summer, and since then has been gaining accolades and fame about as fast as fast can be.  Just last week, the film was released and it has positively blown up across the country.

I don't know what your plans are, but may I recommend adding a documentary to your weekend fun?

Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians - Trailer from Connell Creations on Vimeo.

Here's your links!
Holly Rollers The Movie
(it is available on demand through loads of carriers; ITunes and XBOX Live being two of the easiest)
This past weekend's article in the New York Times.
This past weekend's article on (this one is awesome!).
* * *

So make some pop corn, crack open a bottle of something tasty and GO WATCH IT!
We're nearly bursting with excitement over here!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sketchbook Writings

~ From my sketchbook writings and images, Monday March 12th ~
This is a true story about today:
It's been a day.  Nothing noteworthy, nothing outstanding, nothing traumatic other than the aftershocks of a dream which remains unremembered but deeply felt all the same.  I've been off.  My skin crawling with anxiety, breath sticky in my lungs.  
Outside the wind howled like the apocalypse; rain directly parallel to the river, bamboo brushing the ground in prostrate repentance, birch grunting like sea sick women.
And me.  I stood outside in the mud, shivering in nothing but an old white tank and bare feet, willing the weather to make me feel alive.
I looked up.  "Is this all there is?"
I watched leaves fly sideways.  "Show me there's more."
Curls dripped into my eyes and rain slapped my neck.  "Give me something.  Let me know."

And then, honest truth on my life, in that gale force that would send the stoutest beast cowering, in the flood that threatened the very integrity of the earth, a hummingbird flew to me.  Winter colors of muted olive and seaweed.  Flying from the north, she flew to me, lighted on the twisted cherry, paused for only half a second and was gone.
And I laughed at this mother of ours, the one who keeps our hearts whole and our creatures fed.  Because even in my small tantrum, I was heard.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Full Clutch

A Full Clutch
A Full Clutch
The Chromophilliac Conquistadors
* * *
The Gleaners
There is a heavy cotton sack hanging from her right hand and a day-old sunburn across the tip of her nose.  Her pant legs are soaked well past the knees; a sure sign of hours wading through the surf.  A late afternoon zephyr blows hair into her eyes, pelicans skim the water, and the tide has begun it's eastward creep.

When you ask  "what have you found?" she smiles wryly and gives the sack a shake.  "Buried treasure, ancient history, ancestor wares."  Then she reaches not into the sack, but into a pocket, hand sticky from too much salt water, and produces the single most perfect shard in all of the earth.

"But this one is my favorite."
* * *

Fluttering into the Shop right now!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cocktail Hour

As a few of you may know, back in a past life I was a bartender.  I can thank the drinkers of California for paying the entirety of my university tuition, funding the early stages of my boot addiction and teaching me that gin comes from Jesus.
One of the bars I slung drinks behind was host to a great number of fantastic regulars.  Not the aperitif swilling set, but the oldies, the goodies, the down-home blue collar workers who would could be counted on like clockwork.
The memory of one particular such man has stuck with me:
He was petite for a man, but petite was not a word one would dare utter in his presence.  He wore a beard like the fourth member of ZZ Top and occasionally the leathers to match.  He drank long neck Buds, and in no short supply, accompanied by a wife with blood red nails, tight jeans and a shameless bouffant.  He was the head foreman for a large crew of men, that much I knew, and during the building boom in the Silicon Valley he had done very well.  I was one of his favorites, that much I knew as well.
When he commandeered his seat at the bar, I would shove an entire six-pack on ice, pour a healthy shot of Jack and wait.  Wait for the phone call that always made my day.
He'd call up one of his men, ask how the work was coming, if they'd wrapped up for the day.  And if they had, he'd bellow into that tiny black apparatus
"Well then Com'on Down N' Hava Cocktail!"

There was no question of where.
There was no question of what (like I said, the man was a Budweiser drinker though and through).
And within thirty minutes, I'd have a crew that could raise a house crammed around my tiny bar, drinking "cocktails" as fast as I could crack 'em open.

Mr. ZZ Bud, you were one of my favorites too.
* * *
All that to say, if you've finished up for the day, com'on down n' hava cocktail with me.  This big ol' bottle of Sapphire isn't going to drink it self!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Winner and a Chromophilliac Sneak Peek

Hello Monday...
I'm afraid to report that Sunday escaped me entirely.  In fact I think this section of the West Coast slipped straight from Saturday night into Monday morning under a dense haze of fog and scattered showers, along with a sheepskin blanket, utter exhaustion, and approximately three quarts of tea.  My sincere apologies for making you wait!
But for all you birdie lovers out there, we do have a winner this morning!  Thanks to the trusty bot, number 15 was chosen, which happens to be the one and only

Here's what she had to say:
"how has the earth been good to me?
the earth has much for me to learn when she lures me out the doors, into summer, into winter.
the earth blesses me with my favorite foods: salmon and garden greens.
most importantly, the earth has brought me into communion with creatives such as YOU!"

Lady, keep an eye on your mail box this week!

I loved, LOVED reading what you had to say, what you have received, what has stopped you in your tracks.  Each beautiful comment brought a smile to my face and a renewed love for this planet we share.  In fact, I can't believe I had not asked that question before!  I heartily encourage you to spend a few minutes today and read through the comments - talk about feeling bolstered by the strength of community!

Really, I'm just always thankful for you.
I've been working away on a collection of rings for you, set with various bits and bobbles of treasure, individual pottery pieces, collections on a color theme, even a sliver of weathered sea glass!  An official shop update is in order, so let's say Thursday March 8th in the am.  I'll be posting images of the work here, but will not be accepting reserves on this particular batch of rings (I like to switch up the ways in which I post new work, attempting to make it fair for all).
Crossing fingers and tail feathers for a week of small delights and little surprises for you all!
~ Umber ~