Monday, April 7, 2014

In Design Mode!

It's been kind of a crazy year, so far. I've spent quite a lot of time getting my parents moved into an assisted living community. Unless you've been through the process, it's hard to describe what all that entails. If you've bought a house, it's kind of like that. But more paperwork. We got them moved and they're happy. And now I've immersed myself into designing.

I'm trying some new things. Started designing my own fabric from swatches of mixed silk prints. Then I drafted a simple pattern for a flowy tunic. The tunics include a sash that can cinch you where you like to be cinched.

For the first time ever I've been drawn to shades of blue. I think it all goes back to my trip to Casa Azul in Mexico City.  So there are mixes of cobalt, indigo and sky blue splashed among the golden orange and yellow tones.

I'm calling this Spring Summer 2014 collection When Cultures Collide.  Here are a few sneak peeks at what I've worked on so far.  I'll be hosting a trunk show on Thursday, May 15th from 2-6pm. Mark your calendars!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

See my latest jewelry designs at Vasa

My friend and yoga instructor, Lisa Vest, has opened a new store in downtown Redlands. It's called Vasa and is geared toward yoga and athletic wear but many of the garments are just great casual and stylish clothes that can be worn out of the studio.  Lots of cool brands including Onzie and K-Deer's madly colorful yoga pants. She has also stocked the store with mats, straps, water bottles, headbands..everything you need to inspire a more FUN practice. 

Lisa is also carrying a some Redlands local goods including Parliament Chocolate (yum) and beautifully scented, all natural Bennett candles. Imagine Citrus Sage for a moment...aaahh.  I've added a few pieces of my jewelry to the mix, as well. 

My newest line  incorporates carefully sourced natural gemstones and clean, organic lines.  The pieces combine the deep indigo blue of lapis lazuli, fiery orange-red Mediterranean coral, rich green African malachite, reddish-brown carnelian, iridescent labradorite and the varied hues of green and blue turquoise from the American Beauty and Kingman mines in Arizona.  All findings and clasps are sterling silver and 14K gold plate.

 Healing Characteristics of Gems and Minerals
Carnelian- promotes grounding and physical energy
Coral- calms and stabilizes
Labradorite- enhanced communication and synchronicity
Lapis Lazuli- increases intuition and clarity
Malachite- releases negative emotions
Turquoise- strengthens and aligns the body

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thoughts on 2013 and what's ahead in 2014

2013 is in the rear view mirror.  It came and went in a flash of color and changing time zones. Perhaps our busiest year for travel- Chicago, Atlanta, Paris, Healdsburg, Mexico City, New York City, Palm Springs, and Lake Tahoe. Whew. Each trip added to our love of discovery- both of ourselves and our ever changing surroundings. Mexico City was especially meaningful to me as a marker for turning 60.

I discovered that yoga brings me peace and a growing satisfaction with my body. I'm choosing to ignore the wrinkles and focus on increased balance and yes, inner peace. Balance- something that has shown up on my To Do list for years....that desire to experience the fullness of life in as many areas of my life as possible. Yoga invites me to consider the many layered meanings of balance through a stronger body and daily awareness of where I fit into the world.

This past year I decided to look at my possessions with an eye toward clearing out and letting go. I worked my way through every room in our house, touching, evaluating, deciding what I found useful, or believed to be beautiful. The criteria was inspired by a quote by William Morris. I moved away from a lot of "things" that I had accumulated over the years and the result was a more expansive living space and the secret knowledge of empty drawers and cleared out closets.

Our daughter and her family moved to New York City in July.  I felt sad. Separation was new for us. Over the next few months as I saw Jessica blossom in her new, challenging surroundings, my overriding emotion turned to pride. Her family is benefiting from a myriad of exciting opportunities that would not have been available if they'd stayed in California. And I'm learning that distance does make the heart grow fonder.

In my creative life I returned to designing jewelry. I began working with natural stones - lapis lazuli, malachite, Italian coral- with an eye toward simple and organic designs. One never knows whether customers' loyalty will shift with creative change but I was happy to find that they came along for the ride. 

My hope is that these lessons of expansion, acceptance and letting go will carry into the new year with even greater ramifications. How can I expand on what I learned last year?

My over-arching goal for 2014 is thoughtful consumption. By this I mean I would like to increase my awareness of why I buy something. I got pretty caught up in spending money, buying stuff, accumulating...during the past holiday season. That's an easy excuse...blame the media, blame the incessant emails with discount incentives.

I'm putting into place some steps I'll take before making a purchase and am hopeful that I will stay the course and follow through on my goal. Awareness is the first step.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Taking a big bite out of The Apple

Carl and I spent the week after Thanksgiving in New York City. Our daughter, Jessica, moved to Astoria, Queens in June and that was enough excuse to revisit NYC. We spent two nights with her family, then five nights at The Essex House in Central Park South.

We were there many years ago when I showed my card line at the National Stationery Show but we didn't really have time to do a lot. This trip would be different! We planned to be tourists. It was the perfect time of year to be there. We were blessed with perfect weather...cold but clear and sunny. The store windows were decorated for the holidays,  the streets were filled with happy people.

One of my favorite things about traveling is taking photographs. So here's my New York City! And, by the way, all the photos were taken with my iPhone. :)

The Trinity Root Memorial Sculpture

Mosaic in one of the many subway stations

Jessica and Max

Battery Park Station

Lady Liberty- up close and personal

Beautiful city view aboard Miss New York

Our view of Manhattan on the boat ride back

Ethan knew about these boards in Battery Park that make sounds when you jump on them

Carl and I with Max, 3 and Ethan, 13

Where we stayed for five nights

One of the many fabulous Bergdorf Goodman windows

My favorite Bergdorf window

This was the 3rd Le Colonial restaurant where we've had dinner- love the food

Grand Central Terminal

Art Nouveau detail from the Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building reflection

Inside Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal (exterior)

New York Pubic Library

Ice skaters at Bryant Park

Memories of Project Runway

We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge
View of Dumbo from the bridge

Carl, the engineer, was fascinated by the structure

My favorite photo of the bridge
A friendly woman asked us if we'd like our picture taken together- Central Park

I always try to find some great graffiti to stand in front of

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New jewelry designs

Apparently my trip to Mexico City did inspire more than a clean out of my home!  I've been working on some new jewelry designs incorporating natural stones- turquoise, malalchite, Italian coral, antler beads, and lapis lazuli- my new favorite stone. Here are some photos.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Letting go

After returning from Mexico, I fully expected to be insanely inspired and ready to get to work in my studio. What happened was not that.  I was inspired but not in the way I expected.  My greatest inspiration came not from Frida's wardrobe but within her childhood home,  Casa Azul. I was taken with the beautifully curated each accessory was thoughtfully chosen and placed.  I was enamored with the indigo blue and sunflower yellow kitchen.  My eyes were drawn to the details of the home and garden.

When I returned home I began eyeing our home differently. I have always loved "things," and the more, the better. While I considered myself to have good taste, I realized what I lacked was restraint.  I began going through the house, room by room, and really looking at its contents.  I had read a quote by William Morris "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." That became the criteria I used as I began the process of downsizing.

I started on the main floor, the part of the house where we spend most of our time and is most visible. Well, I shouldn't say "visible" because many of my favorite things were sequestered behind cabinets, out of my view.  Forcing myself to ask Mr. Morris' question, I found that many of the things I've accumulated didn't pass muster.  Having been a thrift store aficionado for many years, I realized that a lot of what I brought home was simply because I couldn't leave it behind. It was vintage, it was collectible...there were many terms I used to rationalize the purchases. But did I love it? Was it useful? Many times the answer was no. So they went into the box to be put through a second analysis later.  The first week I finished the laundry room, living room, dining room, office and kitchen.

Rather quickly into the process I knew that a good deal of it could be re-donated. So several boxes made the return trip to the Goodwill and Redlands Thrift. What remained was placed in bins in the upstairs guest room.

I tackled the laundry room first...I didn't take a picture of the before. Laundry duties are much more pleasant now.

Again, no before photo. This is after removing a lot, including my long held and rarely used Bakelite collection.
The office- before and after.  From two desks and two filing cabinets to one of each.

The living room- before and after. Perhaps not a noticeable difference but, there was a lot behind cabinet doors.

With the main part of the house complete, I moved upstairs. For the last few years I've maintained two studio spaces. Upstairs is where I did jewelry design and assemblage work. Downstairs was where I sewed. I decided to combine the two spaces into the basement and turn the upstairs studio into additional closet space. Old houses have really small closets. 

When the going gets tough...this is where I got going. I've dabbled in many art forms over the years and had collections of ephemera, vintage games and game pieces, original collages and their copies, and much, much more. As I handled each and every piece, I allowed myself a moment to enjoy and reflect, then made some hard choices. The result is a lovely, bright room overlooking our backyard.

So many "things".... reduced to a sweet closet space.
The final space was the basement studio. I took a couple days off before tackling it. The room is quite large- about 10' by 20'. A lot of room for accumulation to occur.  The result was twice as much furniture and half as much "stuff."

Room to breathe and allow the creativity to flow.

So those are the highlights of my latest "cleanse."  It's hard to describe how much better I feel here in my most favorite place in the world. It's always felt good being home but now it's feels even better.

There are a few bins in the guestroom filled with things I can't part with. Perhaps I'll let them percolate there for a while and revisit them in a few months. A friend of mine told me about a native American tradition called "Potlatch" where one invites friends and gives things away. That may be an option. For the time being, I am pleased with things just the way they are.