A Handbook....

Let me start off by sharing the significance of this book. When I was twelve my parents did a variety of odd jobs for Billy Graham. No, not the evangelist but Billy Graham of Billy Graham Presentations..... Don't worry, not many would know the meaning behind this. Billy Graham presented the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd concerts. Because of this I had a colorful childhood and was exposed to more than most small children.

I've gotten off track. So it just so happened that Pink Floyd was at Cal-Expo in Sacramento in 1988 and my parents were able to find some odd jobs with the show. My parents spent the day in the arena putting up chairs and doing a variety of tasks and I was required to spend the day in the van in the parking lot alone. This may sound crazy but let me follow this up with the fact that the van I'm speaking of doubled as our home. I told you my childhood was colorful!

My mother was one who let me read and watch just about anything I wanted. There were no "grown up" books in our household. So it was on this particular day that as my mother was leaving she parted with some clever words. "you can read anything you want, but I don't think you should read this one, you probably wouldn't understand it." Well, you know what I did as soon as she left the van. I cracked the cover of that book and began reading. I was certain that there must be something very forbidden hidden within it's pages. After awhile I forgot that I was supposed to be looking for some very adult passages and became absorbed into the story of the Reluctant Messiah.

I read this book every year and sometimes twice a year. Each and every time I finish it, I think to myself that I will not forget. Each and every time I do. I must be reminded over and over again. I must be surprised by it's meaning and wrapped in it's words each and every time. I come to this book to heal, to learn and to remember NOT TO CLING TO THE ROCKS! I know that I will find what I am looking for hidden within it's pages and each time I come to it reluctantly. I know the story by heart, I know the meaning, I KNOW. Yet, I come eventually to the one story that defines me and reminds me of where I came from and who I am. What I hold true and what I value. These things are true. These things are good. These things I will keep.

I must part with these words in the hope that you too might let go of the rocks;

11. The Master answered and said, "Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.
12. the current of the river swept silently over them all-young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.
13. Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of live, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
14. But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom."
15. The other creatures laughed and said, 'fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!'
16. But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.

 17. Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.

18. And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, "see a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!"

19. And the one carried in the current said, "I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is the voyage, this adventure."
20. "But they cried the more, 'savior!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a savior."

Written By Richard Bach, Illusions.

Finding the steps.

I don't know what to say other than the steps I knew as the dance of my life changed and I wasn't aware that the music had stopped....

It's taken some time, a lot of time, to regain any sort of balance and now as I near seven months I am just now beginning to feel the stir within. The need for balance, the need for something whole, the need for myself, a return of myself.

And I try to remember the words spoken so often to me as a young child, life isn't fair. I think we all find that at times what we thought would be our lives takes a sudden turn and we find ourselves winded and immersed in disbelief. Nobody plans for the twists and turns that appear so dark and steep. If we knew they were coming perhaps we would have chosen another path entirely. Yet that is the comedy of life and perhaps a great triumph, would we ever jump if we knew we were going to fall?

So Yes, I am stumbling now. I have fallen and I am still discovering the bruises and fractures that heal slowly. Yet, there is a hope, a glimmer of hope that this too shall pass. I am still here. I am still here inside and though it may take time to bring the fullness of Her back I know She will come. For this I am grateful as I did not know if this would ever come.

And simply, I do realize the things I had forgotten. I am the girl who left McMinnville, Oregon for Atlanta, Georgia on a whim. The girl who wanted to discover a life of her own. The girl who chose her own path. The girl who lived without fear. If nothing else, I want to reconnect with Her. I want Her to be apart of my life moving forward. I want to remember the girl who knew anything was possible and all one must do is take a single step in a specific direction to realize it. I am still HER and SHE is still here. We are getting reacquainted but I missed Her.

So we begin with a new dance, new steps and a new direction.

Shades of Gray

This passage of time feels endless and I have found my world flipped and turned upside down. Reaching deep inside I search for strength to accept what I never knew was possible. Sharp corners - inside my mind feeding me endlessly and I wonder if they were always there. The angles are endless and what I once saw as pure I know was contaminated but not knowing at the time I swallowed it whole and built a life believing what I held as truth, was. I find myself looking at my life like shattered glass and I wonder how shattered glass can be both brilliantly beautiful and hauntingly sad? What do we do with the pieces? And like the chapters previous I know this too shall pass. It will be what it is and I know that accepting that is the only truth I can hold onto. I must celebrate it but I can't seem to find the courage to believe. So I go on because this is what I would tell another..... you must move forward, you must continue, there is no other choice, there is no other direction, you cannot go back, you must continue until the distance between the future and this fades into softer shades of gray.

From out of the shadows...

I often find that when my life leads to utter and complete chaos, my creativity spikes and my understanding of who I am and my place in the world turns concrete. I wish I could capture this part of the drama and hold it in my pocket but it seems that from out of the shadows this gift comes and I am grateful to be greeted by it. The wheels begin to grind and time spent in the studio allows me to escape from the world at large. Unfortunately I am in such a time now. The world at large is banished to a far corner and I creep to the studio looking for the solace that comes from doing something well and keeping oneself so preoccupied that the dark haunting thoughts that want to enter my mind are barred for a short while. I find strength in who I am when sitting at the bench. There is no pretense, no misunderstandings, no need to try to appear to be something I am not. I can just be and breathe and work. Me and the metal as one forging our way through hours of time as the hands slip around the clock. Perhaps this is what drew me to the arts in the first place. It is the only time I feel no need to be ashamed or cautious. It just is.

From the deepest part of me comes the latest concept that I am defining to collaborate with my current Element Collection. Not sure where it will go but there will be plenty of hours in the studio to discover the path.

The Path Not Traveled....

Do you ever think about the path not traveled? I love my life but still sometimes I wonder about all the lives I left behind when I chose mine. It surprises me still the person I have become over the person I thought I would be.

I always thought I would wander more.... I wanted to be a journalist for the National Geographic, I wanted to be a tattoo artist, I wanted to join the Peace Corp., I wanted to teach English in Japan..... So many lives I left behind when I chose this one.

I never thought of myself living a fairly ordinary life. My parents led me on a journey of constant variety. In 1988 my parents packed my sister and I up in a Ford Van and we followed the Grateful Dead. My first concert ever was James Taylor followed by Pink Floyd when I was 12. We sold "dancing egg rolls" and tie dye t-shirts, We lived at a campground in California for a month..... none of these would lead one to believe that I would grow up to be such a predictable adult.

It is because of this that from time to time I wonder what it would be like to keep driving right past my exit. What would it be like to sell everything and just live day by day?  Then I remember all of the wonderful things I have in my life that fulfill me and I know with certainty that these other lives are only wonderful because they are how I imagine them in a mere moment. The realities of these other lives would surely and eventually turn into a grind and the up side would eventually plateau. It is because I can keep them as visions warm in my mind and delightful in the fact that they were paths I never actually traveled that makes them glorious. Yet from time to time I enjoy a good daydream about all the lives I didn't live and the person I didn't become.

Another Busy Day

Spent another day working to get ready for BMAC. So this is sorta what I had in mind for the new layout. It's tough to see and I am trying to get an idea of how the cases will work in a very tight space but I think you can get the general idea. My only thought now is; is it too dark brown/black? Does it look too flat? I can't decide if I need to add another color element. I am always trying to be super cautious as I want the work to be really clean and clear..... I think I may consider changing the inside color on two of the cases from dark brown to a light linen just to break it up a bit.

Carlos was super great cutting all of the foam board for me to measure. How many weekends has he spent doing stuff for me? He can be pretty incredible but I can't cut a straight line if my life depended on it so I am so fortunate to have his help! Thanks Carlos!

Redesign for BMAC

With the Buyer's Market show just a few weeks away I am spending most of my weekends getting ready. I had once thought that once I came up with a booth display - I would be done. Not true. There is a constant need to reinvent, redesign, and solve problems in general.

Last year I shipped my booth to Philadelphia from Atlanta. The cost was amazingly competitive on the way there and I was shocked to find the price quite different on it's return. I have learned to truly appreciate the concept; light as a feather. This year I will be driving to the show but later in the summer I have a show in Las Vegas,  knowing that,  I am challenging myself to design a beautiful booth at a bargain price and as light as I can possibly keep it. When you are paying per pound; every ounce counts!

The cost to purchase jewelry display items always amazes me. It seems you will either find selection at a high price or no selection at a low price. In addition I found using busts and general jewelry display items in my case has a crowded look. This year I spent a lot of time thinking about how to create a cleaner look and of course to keep it light.

This is the first step leading to the new design. I'm really excited as it looks like it is going to turn out well. I purchased floral arrangement foam and spray painted them black. They now almost look like charcoal or stone. Very cool. I am going to use these as risers to create different levels in the cases. On the top of each riser I am using colored foam board in white and black cut in squares. The jewelry will sit on the boards with the risers underneath. I will be sure to send a picture once I have a set together but I am loving the concept. Super light and all the pieces can fit in a very small space. 

I will be writing about this on my next few posts..... all the things I am doing to get ready for the mega wholesale show. So very much to do! Just to cross a few things off my list I managed to get over to Home Depot to purchase additional bulbs, halogen light fixtures and electric cord. Left before realizing I meant to double up on everything! If something can go wrong, it probably will. Always best to have two of everything you cannot function without just in case!

Most of the new line is ready and I am excited to offer a little peak here. I am so excited and so nervous all at the same time. This is a new look but it feels right and I really want to continue to explore it. Lets hope my retailers are as in love with it as I am!