Gift #1116: January Thoughts

Hello everyone!  It hasn’t been a stellar start to the new year in terms of blogging.  I had visions of suddenly being more energetic, having brilliant things to say, and blogging every day.  Instead I’ve been sick, stressed, utterly exhausted, and my laptop died.  I’m still waiting for it’s replacement to ship.  Blogging on my ipad is difficult and I haven’t had the energy to deal with it.  And then, what would I say?  My thoughts are scattered and not very coherent.  I hope I’ll be filled with meaningful experiences and encouragement to share throughout the year, but in the meantime I can give you a brief snapshot into my thoughts this week.

I usually have a hard time with winter – about the third week in January I’m going stir-crazy and am desperate for green things and sunshine.   Last year I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly I sailed through winter – barely a discontented thought.  “Maybe I’m over these winter doldrums” I told myself.  Ha!  January 6th, it slammed into me like a ton of bricks – I’m done with winter. I can’t stand it anymore and I need green things growing out of the ground.  Now!!!  Thoughts sounding like passages from Lord of the Rings are filling my head:  ” The shadow darkens and spreads throughout the land;  the sun cannot pierce it;  all shall disappear into the darkness; the sun shall fail and all will come to naught”.  Yeah, it’s bad and I must take action.

The first defense was put in place a few weeks ago.  I got an email newsletter from a favorite online designer that she was hosting a sock knit-a-long where we get 6 patterns, one released every other month, and the focus is on all the wonderful things I love.  Here’s the description that greeted my winter-weary eyes:

A bit of earth. A little patch of garden. A place where you can take root and
feel a blossoming kinship with little growing things. Bulbs and seeds, ladybirds
and dandelion clocks, sprouting mushrooms and fallen leaves, the secret
world of the very small and very beautiful. The first season of The Handmade
Sock Society delves into the rich life of the earth beneath our feet.

image

Now, I’m not usually taken in by advertising, but this completely had me in its thrall as I read those magical words and took in those sketched weeds.  These thoughts raced through my brain ” Brilliant!  If I buy these patterns, spring will come.”   And here I am, fully convinced that as soon as that first pattern hits my email in February,  I will find the perfect yarn in my stash (something soft mossy green with hints of violet pansies and sunshine), I’ll cast-on, and then a choir of angels will announce that spring has arrived.  As soon as I put those magical stitches on my needles, grass will sprout, flowers bud, ladybugs buzz around me, and moss will carpet the ground.   I have the slightest nagging doubt that I may be expecting a bit too much out of the sock pattern. If I listen to the suspicions, it will also tell me that I don’t really know how to knit socks and I find knitting small objects in the round to be frustrating.   I’m not paying attention to those thoughts.  Something has to get spring here and if these socks offer that promise, I’m taking it.

I’m not taking any chances though – I need something more concrete than my knitting to assure me winter will not last forever.  And that came in the mailbox this week.

image

The IMA (Indianapolis Museum of Art) publication arrived and there on the bottom edge were two words I’ve hoped and dreamed of for months : Colorful Orchids.  I clutched the  magazine to my heart and literally started crying.  I wasn’t even for sure they’d have orchids this year because I couldn’t find anything on their website, but they’re coming!!!  You’ll remember that it was last year at their exhibit that I learned to truly love these flowers.  I’ve spent a good part of this year reading about them and looking forward to greeting them again.  They’ll be here Feb. 17th!!!  In just about a month they will be here in all their beautiful, magnificent floral glory.  And their coming is a sure sign that spring is on the way.  Once that exhibit gets installed, it’s all a countdown for spring.  Knowing they’re on the way gave me such hope.  Winter can do it’s worst, but spring is coming.  This is a metaphor for my personal life as well.  It can feel dark and depressing, but the sun is coming and new life is a promise.  To this I will cling.

 

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gift #1115: A new year

“And now we welcome the new year, 2018, full of things that have never been”, so said Rainer Maria Rilke.  I’ve always loved that quote.  There is something exciting and hopeful about standing on the edge of a new year, peeking through the doorway, and wondering what experiences will meet you on this new journey.  I  toyed off and on with the idea of writing a new year post, because the truth is that I don’t have many warm, fuzzy thoughts about starting a new year.  The end of 2017 was rough and alot of those same situations are still cause for concern and prayer right now, I’m starting back to work in a changed environment where many people I’ve learned to love are now gone, and I’m beleaguered by a sinus infection yet again.  (I have celebrated the last several new years with a sinus infection, literally counting down the hours till the Dr. office will open and I can plead for an appointment).   I’m exhausted, my family is exhausted, and I  think we all just want time to stop for a while so we can catch our breath and bearings again.  But of course, time doesn’t stop and we go on to face an uncertain future just like we do every day.  But though the path is uncertain to us, it is not to God, and He promises to be right there with us holding our hands the whole way.  In my devotions I’ve just finished the narrative about Joseph, who was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery in a foreign land, punished as a criminal, and then rose to second in command of all of Egypt and saved the lands from famine.  The more I’ve read his life, the more I come to appreciate it… and the one phrase that describes it over and over.  At every phase of his life, the narrator explains “but the LORD was with Joseph”.  In every setback, in every failure, in every success, in every celebration; the LORD was with Joseph.  He probably didn’t feel like God was with him, probably cried out in despair at being forgotten, but the truth was God was preparing Joseph for a future he couldn’t even dream of.  And for thousands of years now, the life of Joseph has been upheld as an example of what faith looks like.  I’m praying that as I enter the new year, that I will remember the LORD is with me, just as He was with Joseph.  I’ve spent far too long listening to what my heart and feelings have to say about my circumstances and not enough of preaching God’s truth to my heart.

Earlier in December, my mom and I had the opportunity to go to Cincinnati for a weekend and enjoy some Christmasing.  For the first time ever, we were able to attend Christ’s Church (our beloved little neighborhood church) at the beginning of the Advent season.  The minister who delivered the sermon ended with these words.  It was applicable as we entered the Christmas season and I find it even more appropriate as we stand on the threshold of a new year.

And so we wait at the gates of hope, throwing open all the doors, and welcoming the transformation that comes from ‘God with us’ “

As we throw open the doors to 2018, may we not lose sight of the truth that God is with us.

image

P.S.  I was in Texas over Christmas, but the snow at home stayed around to greet me on my return.  I’m having a white New Year!

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Gift #1114: Merry Christmas

During Christmas, my church has been extending our fall season of studying Psalms.  I wanted to share the psalm that was preached on Christmas Eve because it is perfect for what we celebrate today.

1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness

Psalm 98

image

I hope this Christmas is a joyful, peaceful, hopeful season for you and that you will know God’s presence as we close 2017 and enter a new year.

Blessings to you,

Sarah

and the peoples with equity.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Gift #1113: December Art Bead Scene Challenge

Because I’ll be on the road for the second half of December, I remembered to plan ahead and carve some time at the front end of the month to make jewelry for December’s Art Bead Scene challenge.  Full of rich colors and themes of the season, I knew I didn’t want to miss interpreting this piece of artwork into wearable form.

Still life artists suffer a deplorable lack of creativity when naming their art.  This piece is entitled “Still Life with Tulips and Fruit Bowl”  Sigh…  It conveys the subject, but nothing of the spirit.  This still life was painted by Susan Valadon in 1924, proof that the still life genre still inspires and is relevant generations beyond its inception.  I’ve always been fascinated by still life because the form is so deceptively simple.  At first glance, it’s an appealing collection of items. But if you keep looking, you find so much more.  This art form speaks in symbolism and the more you look, the more you see.  Most still life paintings have very dark backgrounds and use expert use of shading and color to vibrantly draw attention to a few objects in the foreground, as this example does.  Note how the flowers and the bowl of fruit seem to leap out at you. The illusion is heightened by the objects sharing a similar color palette.  Fruits and flowers are among the most common motifs in still life and both have special meaning within the genre.  Flowers are beautiful but ephemeral and speak to the viewer of the fleeting beauty to be found in life.  Fruits (during the golden age of still life) were luxury items along with fine fabrics (which you’ll often find in still life paintings too).   In addition to being expensive commodities, fruits also took on a more spiritual aspect in paintings.  Renaissance artists frequently depict the Christ child holding various fruits and were meant to symbolize the eternal life Christ offers.  As a fruit in the garden of Eden made men mortal, Christ’s birth and sacrifice restores the promise of eternal paradise.  Although absent in this painting, many still life works have skulking animals in the background, animals typically associated with decay and death.  Still life is a fascinating look at the conflicting views of life and how to reconcile them.  Life is full of beautiful things, but they are fleeting, and death and decay always are lurking.  Ghosts on the edge of the focal, these reminders of mortality shadow our consciousness and our existence.  Those who chase down happiness and luxury find at the end that they are the ones chased down by mortality.  Still life urges one to appreciate the beauty to be found in the world, but not to set one’s hope and expectation on it.  Turns out, this was a deeply personal theme for me to ponder on this Christmas season as I made my jewelry inspired by the painting.

image

My necklace is a still life in its own way – a collection of items that I love that speak to me of the places where I find beauty – the forests.  I returned to a favorite necklace design that features another magnificent polymer clay bird from Humblebeads.  I have a passion for Gardanne enameled leaves – and this oak leaf in shades of mottled green, red, and brown is a favorite of mine.  Birds and leaves are among my favorite things on earth.  I also added in a little pine cone.  Czech glass beads and rhinestone spacers remind me of the shiny pebbles I like to pick up on my hikes.  My pockets are always full of feathers, pressed leaves, acorns, rocks, pieces of bark…

image

The earrings are made with some lovely charms by Humblebeads – full of dynamic patterns in red and green.  I paired them with elements from the necklace – czech glass, smaller rhinestone spacers, and copper pinecones.

I like how this set captured the color palette and created a dimensional still life of images that are important to me.  This Christmas finds my family in some difficult times and it’s been hard to feel any of the seasonal spirit as we’re going through this.  Studying the still life and making this jewelry helped refocus my heart on the message of this genre of art offers.  The circumstances of life blow back and forth between luxury and adversity, from plenty and poverty, and from health to decline.  We can’t count on always having the “happy” bits of life and they are a poor foundation for when trouble comes.  Do you notice that the assemblages of still life are always on something?  They’re never suspended in mid-air. There’s a foundation for all those objects – usually a table, a bench, the floor.  The objects themselves aren’t what we base our life on.  They help decorate the scene but everything rests on the table, even the unsavory bits.  Just in our lives too, the circumstances (good or bad) aren’t the foundation of our lives.  They help tell the story, but everything rests on the foundation of God’s promises.  God promises us His presence, His peace, His victory in every circumstance of life.  And at Christmas as we remember the fulfillment of His promise to come to us, may we also find joy in the coming promise that we will be with Him.  Though the beauties of this world may be fleeting, the beauty and joy of His presence never fades.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Gift #1112: Art Bead Scene Blog Hop

Last year I participated for the first time in the Art Bead Scene hosted ornament blog hop.  I’ve been an admirer of the ornament hop for some time, and finally decided it was time to jump in.  I ended up making a whole passel of ornaments as gifts for Christmas last year, and I decided it would become a yearly tradition.  I like to make homemade gifts, but have struggled with what sorts of things I can make easily but would still be enjoyed by a variety of recipients.  Turns out ornaments are just the thing!

image

As I did last year, I wanted to focus on a technique I’d learned this year as I made my ornaments.  I didn’t have to think hard about this b/c in October I attended my very first Humblebeads “Inspired by Nature” retreat.  I loved every moment of it and knew I wanted to use one of the classes as my inspiration for the ornaments.  One of the classes we took was on her famously popular “faux tin” technique and I decided to try it for my ornaments this year.  The hard part was deciding on my images because there are so many to choose from!  I settled on two – one of a nativity manger scene and one of a winter bird nest.

image

This was the first time I’ve done this technique from start to finish on my own, and I identified several areas of improvement for next time.  But it was exciting to create something from this new technique! For each piece, I created a stable/house shape and also cut out copper backing pieces.  These were textured and patinated and layered with the faux metal images.  I used screw rivets to secure the two pieces together.  I tried several options for the “roof” of the design and finally settled on tiny wired greenery – I liked how it gave the ornaments a wintry, outdoor feel and brought some color into the ornaments.  A hand-formed wire hanger finishes them off.

I’m really excited by this technique and have lots of ideas in my imagination to try.  I had some extra room and also created a pendant from the bird nest design, and I hope to convert that into a necklace before too long.  It’s been a wonderful adventure to learn new techniques and design processes as I put together these ornaments.

Blessings to all,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Gift #1111: November Art Bead Challenge

There’s something rather satisfying about seeing all those ones in a row.  It’s a fine repeatable number.  I guess it would have been even cooler if I managed to post it on Nov. 11th.  Then it would have been Gift #1111 on 11/11.  Well, this blog post has us staring into the face of December.  The days go so fast.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a beautiful November.  Our fall lingered here well into November because we had a warm October and I for one was delighted to have the leaf color stay longer.  It’s still hard to see it come to an end and the  leaves flutter down from the trees.  Once the leaves are fallen and it’s just bare tree limbs, I’m ready to move into mid-March.   If there aren’t leaves, my heart just isn’t in it.  And speaking of leaves, this month’s artwork from Art Bead Scene was a feast of autumn foliage.

image

This beautiful Impressionistic masterpiece is called “The Bouchardon Mill” by Armand Guillaumin was painted in 1906.  He was born in Paris and took up painting, become close friends with Camille Pissarro and Paul Cezanne.  I learned from the posting that he also became close friends with Vincent Van Gogh’s brother, Theo (who was an art dealer) and sold many of Guillaumin’s paintings.  I love the moody, wistful feeling of the painting.  It looks so peaceful and quiet.  You can almost feel the mist rising from the river and the chill in the air.  I love the way he expertly combines pops of autumn color with dark, moody swathes of trees and landscaped hills.

Right away I knew what focal point I wanted to use in crafting the set of jewelry inspired by this painting.  There’s a polymer clay and mixed media artist I’ve admired for many years now – Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.  Long ago when I first saw her work, she had beautiful leaf pendants that exactly matched the colors in this pendant.  Last month, I actually got to meet Erin for the first time at a bead retreat and I was gifted one of the pendants.  I visited her store and found some other matching ones and ordered those as well.  “Simply Maple” is the star of the necklace.

And you can certainly see why!  She’s pressed maple leaves into a clay-filled bezel, painted them, and given the whole thing a delicate metallic shimmer.  I have to admit to feeling a bit nervous about doing justice to her work.  I chose a mix of Czech beads in the hues of the painting to create a rich, beaded strand to set off the pendant.  And to give the pendant more weight, I added a large skeleton leaf behind it.  The glass beads are hues of the dark burgundy/brown that is present in the painting.  However, some of the crystal beads I chose had an AB finish on them, so in the light the beads appear brown with flashes of blue, which matches quite nicely.  I also added in some maple glass leaves, also in burgundy.  And tiny brass spacers throughout give a wink of light to the piece.  I wanted it to flash and dazzle and catch the light in unique ways to mirror the play of autumn light in a forest.

image

I brought in some of the thematic elements to the earrings as well – tinier skeleton leaves with maple glass beads layered in front, brass spacers, and some leftover glass beads.  The star of these earrings though are my wonderful Humblebeads disc beads.  I love Heather’s disc beads so much and it’s always the debate of “do I use these or continue to admire them on the bead board”.  They feature burgundy feathers (that could look like leaves) on a dark brown background and they are breathtaking.  They matched perfectly with the glass beads and give a whimsical air to the earrings, as well as the faint whisper that a bird might be nearby in those autumn forests.   A feather and a leaf drift downwards in an autumn breeze and for a moment you can’t tell which is which in the last lingering rays of sunset.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gift #1110: Thanksgiving Praise

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful day.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I’ve been anticipating it for weeks!   I had thought about doing a week-long series of blogs for Thanksgiving, as I’ve done in past years, but that did not happen.  However, I’ve had a psalm on my heart for the past week that I’d like to share.  During this autumn, my church has been in a series called “Fall into the Psalms” and we’ve been enjoying studying several psalms so far.  Now, one of the troubles of being in the Psalms, if you can call it such, is that once you start in one you get easily sidetracked into reading many others.  So during our sermon last week on Psalm 11, I got distracted by a phrase I remembered being in a nearby psalm, and then I found myself over in Psalm 46.  During this week, that psalm has been nestled in a corner of my heart whispering it’s truth when I’ve most needed it.  It’s also been mentioned several other times by completely different sources, and when I thought about what I wanted to blog about for Thanksgiving, this psalm was the first choice.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

image

On first glance, it doesn’t seem an obvious choice for a Thanksgiving reflection.  But I find it an immensely comforting psalm.  We often find ourselves in situations that we can’t give thanks for; but we can always be thankful for God’s character and love for us, which is unchanging.   This Thanksgiving finds me worried and apprehensive over situations coming up in the near future that I don’t know how to anticipate or plan for.  They’re things I can’t control and that makes me fearful.  I’ve had dread and nerves and worry sitting like a hard rock in my gut for a while now and there’s no telling just yet how these stories in my life are going to play out.  That’s why I found this psalm so refreshing and restorative to my heart.  The author of this song also speaks of unsure times, events of cataclysm and calamity that would seem to result in ruin.  But he says “we will not fear”  even if the worst should happen.  Because God is ever present.  Notice how often the author draws the reader back to that theme: that God is with us.  He is our refuge, a place of shelter.  He is our fortress, a place of strength.  He is our help, our security, our Savior.  He holds our hand through all seasons of life, through the murky unknown, through times of feast and famine.  And because He holds us, we can always give thanks.

image

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gift #1109: Owl-o-ween

And so we’ve slipped quietly into November.  While we dreamed of pumpkins, the magical Halloween night transformed into a misty November morning.  Almost without notice an ordinary miracle happens every morning as light is resurrected from darkness.  Our autumn has been long and we still have many trees yet to fully turn, which makes me happy as I love for the season to last as long as possible.  October is my favorite month and I’m still not ready to say goodbye.  I was very busy last month and didn’t get to blog much – that means I have lots to tell you about!  But since we just had Halloween this month, I wanted to show you what took up much of my time during October.

This year I co-hosted a Halloween swap with an online group on Ravelry called Tiny Owl Knits.  Since owls are our totem in this group, we actually celebrate Owl-o-ween.  This was the first time I’ve hosted a swap in this group and it was a lovely experience.  One of the perks of hosting is that I get to pick who I want to send my package too.  This year I had preselected a them I wanted to create around and found just the perfect recipient.  The theme was “Halloween Curiosity Cabinet”  I’ve wanted to do this a long time and I think this is my favorite swap I’ve designed.  The packages must include a knitted item, some treats, decorations, and whatever else we’d like to include.  I found my knitted project without any trouble.  May I introduce “Poison Ivy” to you?  I knew as soon as I saw the name that it would be perfect.

image

I knit it from Malabrigo sock yarn – a beautiful color called Boticelli Red.  Oh, I was so happy with how it came out!  I think I’ll be knitting another one in the future.  It was a fun pattern.  To spare you a zillion photos, I made a few collages of some of the other gifts.

image

Clockwise from upper left:  I made a set of stitch markers -2 cats, 2 skeletons, and a raven – strung on hand-dyed ribbon.   Because my recipient is an anthropologist, I made up this wrap bracelet that says “bone collector”.  She also had the creative idea to wear it as a choker.  I made poison tags from stickers and cardstock that I used as labels for everything, to keep in line with the curiosity cabinet theme.  And I also found a little poison vial that said “poison ivy” on it – it was perfect!

The other big gift I made for her was a haunted house curio cabinet.  This was so much fun to make!  I found a kit at a craft store filled with charms, papers, diecuts, and I spent many happy hours cutting, assembling, and gluing.

image

Here’s a closeup of some of my favorite “rooms”

image

Here’s a photo of everything together and waiting to be packed up.

image

In addition to the house and shawl, I found a poison notepad to send her.  The poison ivy ornament and a raven candle went together in a spiderweb bag.  The bracelet and stitch markers were packaged with some dry moss in a test-tube.  I added a selection of pumpkin truffles to a round beaker and wrapped that up in cellophane and also found some pumpkin marshmellows as another treat.  The card I made is on the far left and features an assortment of apothecary jars.  A few closeups of the wrapping and trimming are below.

I had a wonderful time creating this package and loved the opportunity to create something special with a theme that’s near to my heart.  I would love to live in a “cabinet of curiosities”.  Those who know me best might say that I do for I’m surrounded by leaves, twigs, acorns, feathers, rocks, and many other treasures from nature.  I hope you enjoyed a look at some of the creativity that October inspires.

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gift #1108: Transformations

Happy Halloween!!  For nine years my mom and I have built a tradition of going to our downtown cemetery during Halloween for an organ concert and a tour of the cemetery.  It is a grand old cemetery, founded in 1866 and home to Civil War and Revolutionary War veterans.  It is filled with decaying limestone monuments and ancient trees.  It has a long tradition of being an open park within the city where families and friends come to gather for picnics, biking, hiking, appreciating nature, and contemplating the deep questions of life.   I love spending time here.  We like to get there early in the afternoon and spend hours driving around or walking through our favorite places and relishing the beauty and peace this sanctuary offers.

IMG_7921

The concert is held in a restored Gothic Chapel from the 1870s and is a fun program of lighthearted Halloween classics performed by an organist and 2 singers.  The program has a few minor changes each year, but many of the songs are the same and the concert now falls into a well-loved and pleasant repetition that I anticipate with joy.  Over the years one song in particular stands out to me.  When I first heard it all those years ago, I hated it and found it disturbing.  But the singer who performed it consistently sang with such passion and urgency that the song transformed itself in my heart and after several years it became my favorite of the program.  It is “Transformation” from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and is the song that chronicles Jekyll’s hopes and dreams, his taking of the formula, how it affects him, and how he becomes his own worst nightmare.  Lurking beneath the lyrics is a story that hits closer to home than we’re comfortable admitting.  It’s hard to explain, but our performer made this song so beautiful, so haunting, that I would ache when he would sing it.  I’ve included some of the lyrics below.

I must be wise,
I must try to analyze
Each change in me,
Everything I see –
How will it be?
Will I see the world
Through different eyes?
 
Like a warning light,
Glimmering in red,
Like crimson bloodshed,
Shimmering in red,
Beautiful and strange,
See the colors change
Before my eyes!
See how they dance
And they sparkle,
Like diamonds at night –
Leading out of the darkness
And into the light!
Three fifty-eight a.m. It is done. I have injected 5 centiliters of the newly fused formula.
A slight feeling of euphoria. Light-headedness. No noticeable behavioral differences.
 
Now the die is cast!
Nothing left to do…
Time along can prove
My theories true…
Show the world…
 
Dear God! What is this?
 
Something is happening –
I can’t explain –
Something inside me –
A breathtaking pain –
Devours and consumes me –
And drives me insane!
Suddenly –
Uncontrolled –
Something is
Taking hold!
 
Suddenly –
Agony –
Filling me!
Killing me!
Suddenly –
Out of breath!
What is this?
Is this death?
 
Suddenly –
Look at me! –
Can it be?
Who is this
Creature
That I see?
Free!
This year, this song took on a heightened level of meaning that I never could have foreseen.  For you see, our beloved Phantom singer, Eric Wickens, passed away suddenly just 2 months ago.  Though I did not know him personally, I had come to love him through his voice and his performances and I knew this year would be hard without him.  His presence was everywhere, but nowhere more evident than when this song was sung.   I thought about Eric, about how this song speaks on a different plane of a transformation from life to death.. or, perhaps, of death to life.  I wonder on the other side of these earthly shadows how we will see the world through different eyes.  Scripture speaks of death as the moment when our eyes see clearly for the first time as we see through God’s perspective.  It is the moment when our faith is made sight and we understand that all we’ve known has been shadows of the real reality.
IMG_7928
Though Jekyll’s song ends in tragedy, ours doesn’t have to.  Like Jekyll, we all face choices that impact who we will be when our eyes open for the first time in eternity.  As my favorite author C.S. Lewis says, we’re all becoming either angels or demons.  We are all transforming.  And when we draw our last breath, our transformation will be complete.  The song was a powerful reminder to me that God’s grace and mercy has promised to rescue us from sin and death and that death is not the end of our song.  With faith in His love and provision, when we leave this world, we have His assurance that we wake in His likeness.  He will lead us out of the darkness and into the light.
IMG_7819
Blessings to you,
Sarah

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Gift #1107: October Art Challenge

Each month I participate in a jewelry challenge hosted by Art Bead Scene.  For October, we had a sumptuous portrait to work from.

image

This is Madame De Pompadour by Fracois Boucher.  This Rococo portrait was painted in 1756.  The artist was noted for his classic and pastoral themes and was one of the most celebrated painters of the 1700s.  He also designed theater costumes and sets and tapestries.  Here’s what I liked about the painting:  the saturated, but still muted, color scheme and the way the light warms and glows the subject matter.  Now Rococo is not my favorite art style.  It’s too frilly and just too much excess.  There is an interesting set of documentaries produced by Athena called Understanding Art hosted by Waldemar Januszczak (one of my favorite art critics).  The episodes on Baroque and Rococo movements are insightful looks at how culture and politics played a key role in the shaping of these movements, which encompass painting, architecture, fashion, and cultural mores.

I didn’t want my take on this painting to be too literal because I wanted to stay within my style and create something I’d like to wear.  And also, because it’s October I wanted to create something with a nature focus because it is my favorite season.  Fortunately my collection of Humblebeads came to the rescue and I used some pieces I’d procured a few months ago.

image

The focal point of the necklace is the floral long bead which I used to capture the use of florals in the painting, and it also reflects the general color scheme.  But I liked it because it reminded me of a wildflower field in late autumn.  I had a terra-cotta bird which matched perfectly and I made a wire nest connector to link the two pieces.  To the bottom of the focal bead, I added some charms – brass heart and bellflower and a lucite flower with brass bead caps and a tiny blue crystal.   To finish off the necklace, I added floral chain.

The earrings I initially made mirrored the necklace with the color scheme and brass elements.

image

However, I hated the blue crystals with the peach and brown disc beads.  I detest pink/blue combos and this was too similar.  Instead of tying in with the necklace, the earrings felt disjointed and the colors competed.  I replaced the blue crystals with peach faceted czech glass and that worked much better.  The design flowed much easier with similar colors and I think they look much more elegant.

image

While not a direct translation of the painting, I ended up incorporating a fair amount of elements – the color scheme, floral beads and chain, and use of warm brass throughout give a luxurious feel to the jewelry set, but still keep it within the realm of something I’d wear.  And I managed to sneak a bird into the necklace!  Both the necklace and the earrings are longer than I usually make, but I rather like the elegance that imparts to the design.  They kind of look more Art Nouveau than Rococo, and that makes me quite happy.  Thanks for dropping in to see my creations for the month.  I’ve taken a peak at November and there will definitely be fall foliage involved in my creations (just a sneak peek!)

image

I hope you’ve had a wonderful October.  Mine has been full of exciting adventures, learning new things, hiking, creating, and enjoying every moment of fall.  I’ve not been blogging much because I’ve been doing so much but as things slow down I hope to return to the blog and share my pictures and experiences with you.  Until next time…

Blessings to you,

Sarah

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment