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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Like No One's Watching

You are never too old to dance around like an utter fool.
I'm feeling back to life!  Hooray!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Down and Out

So THIS is that super flu I've been hearing about.  Our house is officially a quarantine zone and I've been laid out lower than I have felt in years.  
That to say, I'm behind in all forms of correspondence and only have plans of crawling back beneath the blankets and chain-drinking echinacea tea.  Please forgive the delays and I'll see you all next week.  Stay HEALTHY friends!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole

Down the Rabbit Hole
Down the Rabbit Hole Clutch
(vintage rabbit fur, textured hide, buttery suede, rivets and a loop closure in hand-drawn and enameled copper)
One part tribute, one part nature, and about thirty parts boho rock and roll.  A little bit of dream, a lot a bit of wonder, a dash of song-singing and a whole scoop of rump shakin'.  It's one of those pieces that just feels good, like a streak of wildfire in the soul and the bass beat of the heart.  Ba-boom baby.  
(and naturally, she's in the shop right now!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Under the Freeze

Under the Freeze [there is green]
(sterling silver, blue chalcedony and prehnite)
In the dead of winter, on the days my lips grow numb and my fingertips bright, I listen hard for green.  For growth.  For the churning of cellular multiplication, for the hum of photosynthesis, for the rhythm of sleep, for the good work of life turning within the solar system of pods and twigs and trunks, for the beating heart of it all.  
* * *

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Working Breakfast
I woke up this morning mind churning.  I've love the dawn, the first bite of morning, the blueness, the hope.  I would be up with the first light every day if not for my sleepy-brain which seduces me with a great woolen cloud draped over my eyes.  But not today.  Not today sleepy brain!  I know exactly what I want to create with my hours on this gorgeous frozen Monday.  

Also.  There has been much coffee.
Tra-la-la-la folks!

Friday, January 11, 2013


Five Things Friday (Gift)
I've become extra picky and discerning regarding the nests I bring home this winter - a far cry from the enthusiastic collecting frenzy I embarked upon last year. But this one... she's a beaut.  I may need to do up a quick watercolor.  Or a series.  Watercolor nests?  Sounds good.
* * *
I'm listening hard to my own truths, those tracks that lead you ever farther off the broad path and into the deepest woods with the richest loam and most fertile detritus.  On that and other virtues of introversion, this TED speech by Susan Cain was one of the most inspired things I've heard all week.  I love TED speeches.  It's been around for a while, but one of my very favorite ones is Elizabeth Gilbert speaking on the muse.  If you've not heard either, well, load them up stat.
* * *
It was cold, so cold in the shadow of the Ridge that my lips were too numb to whistle at the pups. I should have worn mittens.  I really need a manicure.  Luckily for me, as I crunched through frozen mud and hardened grasslands, I bought these for my feet a few weeks back and have hardly worn anything else since.  Thank the boot gods!
* * *
I keep trying to deep clean the studio, really shake out the dust and wax on a fine polish, but there are just too many ideas.  I clear off the desk and feel immediately called to roll out fresh paper, spread out the paints.  I categorize the cabochons and chains and then immediately realize I need them all back out again.  In the meantime, I'm collecting my lusty dream studio spaces right here.

* * *

This week, like so many others, has held the full tide of creative highs and lows: I burned the holy shit out of a gorgeous ring (a large, large, multi layered thing) and then created one of the most sacred tribute pieces that has ever passed through my hands.  There is so much capacity for fullness in any given day, week, year.  So much capacity for listening, for seeing, for seeking.  I'm just learning so much these days.
* * *
I'd love to hear one bit from your week, just a little something, if you feel compeled to share!  Either way, I wish you a weekend full of woolen mittens and robins gifts!

A Tribute Piece

* * * * (A Tribute Piece)

This was a lesson in slowing.  The push and pull of sinew, the animal warmth, scent rising as heavenly incense.  The tactile delight of mortals.
This was breath.  Rhythm.  Wisps of song sliding upward.  Bits of prayer tumbling forth.  A quiet.  A roar.  A quivering in the sleek tide of night.
This was homage to cellular souls long melded with stardust.  Tribute to the spark and the small feet that carried it.  A paean of gratitude, life for life in the cyclical dance.
* * *
(vintage rabbit fur, tanned deer skin, sterling silver, ocean jasper.  A absolute labor of love and meditation)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Studio Rituals
Have I ever told you about my muse?

She is a thing of smoke and vapors, giddy and clever, caring not for the clock or food or sleep or restless dogs or dinner dates.  Yesterday I spent the afternoon fussing about in the studio, combing through cabochons, pushing bits and scraps of silver around, driving to the art store and buying a handful of new watercolors.  There was this thing, this idea, this phrase I wanted to bring to tangible life.  I knew the visceral movement of it, the emotional evocation, the balance, the ascetic, the raw feeling of it, but the physical form fleeted just out of reach.

A nebulous, potent idea, like grasping air or balancing water.

Then, after the studio was closed down for the night, after dinner and wine and tea and this ridiculous flourless-chocolate-cake-from-WholeFoods-my-newest-gluttonous-addiction, and teeth brushing and face washing...
After all that, my muse woke up.
(how fabulously, terribly typical)
I was so tired, so physically done, but my mind came alive with color.  In the dark shadows of the bedroom I could see it, translucent and spacial, arcing and sparking.  The essence of idea distilled to form.  I felt that if I could just close tight my eyes and trace those colors with my fingertips, the glowing line left behind would hold the key to unlocking this visceral riddle like a land map to buried treasure.
I laid in bed and debated.  It was cozy under my hive of blankets and the studio was no doubt hovering around 39 degrees.  Sancho was already snoring.  And so I asked her, with a bit of chagrin, if she could please just let me sleep and come back in the morning after coffee.
* * *

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Talisman Necklaces
Talisman Necklace
Nature has been generous with me this week. 
On Tuesday there was the beach agate, 
Wednesday the oyster, 
Thursday the elk antler, 
Friday the feathers. 

I've collected these gifts, given my thanks, and carried them close, in pockets and palms. I like to think that these gifts are not random findings, but small offerings of great love and beautiful opportunities to connect with all that moves us. Those feathers from Friday? I knew they were not just meant for me. They were meant for you, and so I made a pot of tea, turned the stereo up, and wove some magic for the wearing.

That said, I've been feeling a bit wild and gypsyish lately.  These two are a little bit bohemian, a lotta bit earthy, and with just the right bit of sparkle.  I've given them super duper long chains for swinging low or double wrapped against the heart.  Here Here to the first fruits of the New Year!

(you can find both beauties in the shop!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year Story

The dawn of the new year found us sipping cheap black coffee in a greasy spoon diner just south of the Canadian border.  My seat cushion may have had a broken spring but the eggs were hot and the muffins sweet.  With a poorly hidden grin I watched the elderly couple next to us gently bicker about bringing home the lingonberry butter (she won, it went) and then tenderly cheers each other a Happy New Year.
I turned to BC.  "I think we need a word of the year, just one concise word to hold as our mantra."  We sat in silence, mulling over this.  I stared out the windows at the cover-cropped fields, flipping rapidly though words: hope, joy, intention, inspiration, gratitude, gumption, generosity.  Hhmph.  Generosity.  A flock of tiny songbirds wheeled tightly over the parking lot.  If you wish to receive you must give, give freely and with an open heart.  You must give not with the intent to get, but with the intent to elevate the love in this world.  Generosity.  To act out of generosity as the polar opposite of acting out of scarcity.  I warmed my hands on my mug.
BC sipped his coffee and broke the silence.
"What about generosity?"

And so the word of 2013 was born.
* * *

I hope all your Holidays, Christmas, and New Years have been bright!  I'm taking just a few more days of vacation before returning full time to the studio.  BE WELL my friends, I've thought so much about you over this holiday!  I'll see you soon!
 ~ Umber ~