Monday, February 15, 2010

One World One Heart Winner

I received 243 comments on my blog for the One World One Heart giveaway. After deleting duplicate posts, and asking my husband to pick a number, I have a winner: Dagmar, from Germany, will be receiving my Copper Moon necklace. Dagmar is also known as Quiltmoose. Please stop by her blog and congratulate her, here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The View from My Window

Blue sky -- nothing is marring the perfectness of the blue. No clouds, no planes. The birds are dancing in the trees. They take turns flitting down to the feeders, perching a bit, then back up into the tree. The tree has a vertical chunk that has scarred over. A hurricane split the tree in two, and yet the tree never died. There's a slight breeze -- enough to sway the long fronds of the Queen Palm, but not enought for the Red Maple. The maple is losing its leaves on this winter day, a normal occurrence in Florida. The sun is bright, the shadows are long. The brightness on the grass belies the fact that it's a rather cold day today. This quiet scene will end when the children come bursting through the front door, only to run through the house, to the back.

And so goes another day in South Florida.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I recently read a blog post from someone who was speaking of empowerment. She thinks empowerment is a "loaded word. A word that gives me a push/pull reaction, a word that the more I thought about it the more I didn't really understand what it meant."

That got me to thinking. What does empowerment mean to me? I think there are two parts to it: the empowerment you give to yourself, and the empowerment you receive from someone/something else.

You empower yourself by learning about something, knowing as much as you can about it, becoming a master at it. Then you are empowered to do that thing in an intelligent, creative, beautiful way. And you can empower yourself to do something that you truly like (like a piece of art), regardless of whether someone else accepts it or likes it.

I take various art classes, then I come home and practice what I've learned. I have empowered myself to be a more skilled and creative jewelry artist. Then I can make something bold, like this fish necklace here.

Now, who in their right mind would like to wear this big, honking, fish necklace? I would. I'm quite proud of its creation. I used a gyotaku rubber stamp of an actual fish. I soaked it in an etching solution, so now the copper has a raised, fish-scaly surface. I carefully cut around the fish and smoothed the edges. I used glass beads that look sort of like sea (or river) glass for the upper strand. The back of the necklace is recycled sari ribbon. The chain holding the fish is aged and wrapped with a strand of various seed beads. The shell hanging from the fish was found here in Florida.

I was able to put all those elements together because I am empowered by my knowledge of jewelry techniques; I am empowered by my ability to place unlike components and colors together to make an interesting look; and I am empowered by my confidence in my design to wear such a stunning necklace.

The other kind of empowerment is that which is provided by another. Yes, others can make us feel empowered. But isn't it much better to have faith in yourself, and develop your empowerment from within?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Becoming Poemcrazy

I must tell you about a book that I've been reading. I heard about this a few years ago, maybe in a review in the paper. At the time, I tried finding it in the library. Well, my library just never has the new books when they're really new books. I gave up looking.

Flash forward to 2010. I'm currently taking Stephanie Lee's online Thought Threads class. You can check it out at the button on the right margin of this blog. The class is all about keeping a personal journal: creating a habit of writing daily; using it for reflection and responding to your feelings and desires; and using your imagination to really see the possibilities in your life. Stephanie has given us a list of books that we may be interested in.

Well, surprise, here's the book I looked for so many years ago: Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. I immediately bought it from my trusted source, Amazon.

Susan Wooldridge teaches you to recognize that poems are all around you: in a walk through the woods, the view from your window, a moment with your child. She is a lover of words, and finds them in magazines, field guides, and her own imagination, and she links them in unexpected ways.

Am I reading this because I'm busying myself writing poetry? No, but I think I was initially attracted to it because I used to be a prolific poet. I actually haven't written poems in decades, save for the eight haiku I wrote in Katie Kendrick's Spontaneous Haiku Painting class. (My poems are in photos 9 - 14 in Katie's blog post that I linked.) I just want to broaden my writing, expanding it with a greater use of language. My writing could be these blog entries, my personal journal, or magazine articles. No matter what it is, I'd like to sprinkle it with surprising and visual word combinations. Here are a few that Susan Goldsmith uses:

haystack, surge, sidewinder
frozen oceans, bluestone, grass lover
fragile, invincible, white water jug
seaweed, sparklers, tinting
Ligurian Sea, Edgewater, Cheyenne

If Poemcrazy, sounds interesting, you might want to also try her other book, Foolsgood: Making Something from Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process. In this book, Susan writes stories about transforming what life brings your way. I think we all could use a little of that.

Monday, February 1, 2010

One World One Heart Giveaway

You are all invited to come to One World One Heart and meet hundreds of fabulous bloggers, just like you. Lisa Swifka, of A Whimsical Bohemian, has created an annual event, called One World One Heart. The idea is to enable bloggers from all over the world to come together, visit each others' sites, and see the richness of the art, creativity, and personalities, that make up the blogging world.

I have joined the One World One Heart 2010 Magic Carpet giveaway. I'm inviting you to check out my blog, post a comment at this post, and then I will put all the names in a hat and give away one of my handmade necklaces. I hope you take some time to look at some of my other blog posts and see what I'm all about: making jewelry, meeting other artists, sharing creative ideas. And then, take a moment and look at others' blogs. There are so many wonderful bloggers out there. This giveaway will end on February 15.

Please leave your name and the name of your blog on your comment. I hope to be able to stop by your blog as well! See you soon. -- Suzanne

I call this necklace "Copper Moon." The focal is a raku piece, and it is surrounded by hand-hammered copper disks, deep blue beads, and is held by a copper toggle.