Saturday, March 28, 2015

Art Therapy - Little Angel Spiral Cabochon Necklace

Litte Angel Spiral Cabochon Necklace
This piece is inspired by thoughts of our true home and where we feel an abiding sense of belonging. 

Floating on waves of love.
For this piece, I chose a hand-carved bone moon face cabochon, and paired it with a beautiful dichroic cabochon that sits below the face, suggesting a "body" of sorts. 

Little spiral angel floating in her world of love.
I love creating "little people" or more accurately, "little celestial people, or angels." The photo above shows the little spirit floating in the place where she feels a huge sense of belonging - our true home. She's surrounded by love, and she's feeling very peaceful yet energized by her surroundings.

This photo shows the raised cabochon.
I took this shot of the piece to show the raised cabochon, which blends nicely into the background when viewed from the front. The cab inspired me to pull out the colors and patterns within it and surround it with echoes from the center. So there are gold semi-circles, along with flowing areas of blue and little firework explosions of blue and green and pink.

The fringe on this one feels magnificent, as you run your fingers down the front of it, the large Czech dagger beads in bright shades of blue, pink, green, and iridescent purple are so smooth against your fingers - it's soothing in some way to play with them. The fringe strands are punctuated with natural shell beads and a bit of agate, which, according to Judy Hall, in her book, The Crystal Bible, is "a grounding stone, bringing about emotional, physical, and intellectual balance." Agate is a "calming and soothing stone, facilitating acceptance of oneself," and aiding in "building self confidence." (Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible, 2003, Walking Stick Press, Cincinnati, OH)

This piece also includes beautiful black onyx, which, also according to Judy Hall, is "strength giving and provides support in difficult or confusing circumstances  and times of enormous mental or physical stress." Good stuff to have close.

And for just plain beauty there are Swarovski crystals and Czech glass dagger beads.

Necklace length - 24"
Total with pendant - 28"

45 hours total, made with love for just the right person - this necklace is available in Dreamkeeper Creations.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nurturing Life Purpose

Madonna and Child
It's taken me a few months to pick up my paintbrushes again, but finally I was able to do that this weekend. Several months ago I had done an ink drawing of a dream I had upon my retirement from Penn State.

The Commitment
In the dream I was making the decision to devote myself more strongly to my artist's muse, which would mean spending way more hours drawing, painting, beading, and writing. I had some concerns about how my sweet husband would feel as this activity makes me sort of unavailable for regular downtime on weekends and in the evenings, though he's always welcome to sit with the pups on the wonderful leather couch in my studio, by the fire, with the TV, except that I'm picky about sound while I'm working and usually prefer music. It's a good thing he loves music too.

The Area of Neglect
So in the dream, the location where we found ourselves was just outside the doorway of a dining room. I've enjoyed studying dream analysis (my copyright on Betty Bethards' book is 1983, same book as in the link, excellent basic symbology) for years and have developed a very understandable "language" between my real-world Self and my higher Self and guides and angels, who communicate with me through my dreams.

A dining room, (place of nourishment) is full of information about what you are or are not focusing on, and it's been clear that though I have been focusing on artwork all my life, it has always taken a back seat, so it hasn't gotten the attention it so desires, as shown in the illustration. The poor table and chairs of this dining room had cobwebs on them and were in disarray, and there is little evidence that though everything that is needed to flourish is provided (the five elements of air, earth, water, fire, and spirit) they are feeling neglected.

The Elements
There is plenty of AIR outside the open window, and EARTH is represented by the plant, which is wilting from neglect. There is a pitcher of WATER, but it's facing away from the plant, as it hasn't been used for its nourishment. And on the table (see The Area of Neglect photo) there is a candle and matches to light it, but it also has not received much attention, as it is askew in its holder.

SPIRIT is represented by the woman and the man in the illustration, and the love they have for the child, who represents the birth, or "toddlerhood" of the art itself. In the dream, I understood that the child (representing the area of focus, my artwork) was more than just an idea or dream because of its age - it was a toddler (part of my reality but still unrefined, still young) who needed care and commitment in order to grow into its potential.

So in the dream I asked my sweet husband if he was willing to stand by me while I made the commitment to focus on my artwork, (i.e., Will you help me raise this child?) and he said YES - yay. (If you've ever lived with an artist you know that you have to be the kind of person who can amuse themselves without needing constant attention, though when we surface the passion is worth the wait : ) And when I woke up I asked my real-world husband if he was willing to commit to this endeavor of mine and he said "Yes, of course! I want you to do what makes you happy."

The whole image - Nurturing Life Purpose
So here's the whole image at the moment of commitment - yes, the dining room will be set right, and the plant will be watered, and the candle will be lit, and the spirits-being-human will take action to bring dreams to reality. The rose at the bottom right-hand of the picture represents growth that results from this action. And behind it all is LOVE!

Zentangling on the borders 
I love Zentangling, so I spent a little time spicing up the border of this image with some fun patterns. AIR, EARTH, WATER, FIRE, and SPIRIT are represented in the Tangled borders.

More Zentangled borders
More Zentangled borders

Feathers in the borders = AIR, pathway stripes = EARTH, spirals = WATER, stars = FIRE, and the combinations of black (the void from which all creation springs) and white (the combination of all colors) = SPIRIT.

Fun huh?

Dreams do come true!
So now you can read my little painting without even looking at the words. Dreams can tell us so much, and lead to some hours of real-world fun!

I used quill pen and india ink for the drawing, and Winsor & Newton watercolors on Arches Aquarelle 140 lb hot-pressed paper for the color.

This little painting wasn't done for the commercial market - I like to do pictures that mean something to me, and I like to just play sometimes. Am already set up to paint my next one - the little sprite riding her dragon, flying over the world and right next to the moon. Stay tuned...meanwhile, sweet dreams!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Art Therapy Works - Little Phoenix Angel Dichroic Glass Cabochon Necklace is done!

Little Phoenix Angel Glass Cab Necklace
To make beauty and spend my time in the act of creation is very healing and peaceful, whether writing, painting, beading, or working in service for others, so I've done a lot of that in the past several weeks as I come to terms with the passing of my beautiful daughter. With my bead creations, I am grateful for good work to busy my hands, and quiet concentration that allows sweet memories to flow, filling my heart with love.

I have gone to see my therapist for a "tune-up" to make sure I'm on track and to have someone to talk with about the waves of emotion that pass through me - the difficult human ones (sadness, anguish, aloneness, fear, doubt, bewilderment, pain, ugh...) as well as the abiding and loving spiritual ones (peace, beauty, understanding, love, certainty...). She is very supportive of my artwork as a healing activity, and she says she can see the healing of my grief happening in the messages of the work itself. The artwork feels like a connection with something higher than my Earthly human Self, for which I am most grateful.

Little Phoenix is about my daughter Jess's new journeys, her sense of belonging in the place we all return to as our true home, and her "birth," which I celebrate, underneath my selfish longing to see and touch and hear and smell her Earthly beautiful Self. I remind myself that "linear time" does not exist in her world as it does in mine, and that she can connect with me any time I invite or allow. It's really hard, but I'm training myself to go with the flow, like water, as I cannot control the events we've experienced here in this plane of existence. (The lessons of water hold another whole blog post - as I find it an amazing element, one which Nature provides to teach us so many things.)

The Moon and The Sun together
The beautiful hand-carved bone faces of this cabochon necklace are the moon and the sun together. To me they signify the World of Unity to which Jess has gone. The sun - light (white) - represents harmony, (white is the combination of all colors as defined by physics) and the moon, which we see best at night, represents darkness, which, when seen through the lens of Unity, is the birthplace of light, (the "beforeness" of light, or the void, from which all creation springs) making darkness a place of creation and growth, not destruction, or fear, as we're taught.

I love the peace of these faces, and how they snuggle together. For this necklace, I antiqued the shiny white bone a bit with Winsor and Newton blue ink so the borders would show, and the faces would blend with the rest of the piece. I'm still learning how to do this antiquing gently, researching and learning from other bead artists who have gone before me and from whom I can learn. I love the Internet for research, we are very lucky to have it if we can discern what is useful.

Special cabochon and wing design
I bought this beautiful hand-made dichroic glass cabochon many months ago, knowing it would be very special. I loved the colors and the beautiful silvery-white heart, signifying LOVE. As my little angel necklaces started to appear, my sister looked at them, looked through my collection of cabochons, and picked this one out, asking me to make something for her.

I never quite know what will come about, I just listen to the beads, and this cab inspired me to choose colors pulled right from inside of it. So I chose copper, blue, and soft cream colored seed beads, and added the carnelian (red) round beads, bordered by a spiral of blue/green tube beads for the wings. I love the spiral pattern, as it suggests eternity, infinity, and dynamic movement. Carnelian "grounds and anchors you in the present reality" and is a stabilizing stone. "Stimulates creativity and acceptance, restores vitality and motivation, removes fears of death. "(The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall, Walking Stick Press, 2003.)

Wing patterns
I'm certainly chatty tonight with the meanings behind my work - I'll switch back to details for a minute.

Total measurement of this necklace is 24 inches, with the length at 14 inches, so it hangs right in the middle of the chest. My sister is the best walking advertisement for my jewelry as she has a lot of style and anything she puts on looks like a million bucks. I can't wait to see her in this, and it will impart good energies for her : )

Backing is forest green ultrasuede
As with all my cabochon pieces, this one is backed by soft ultrasuede, this time in a shade of lovely forest green (my favorite color).

About 30 hours spent in wonderful creation time.

Isn't she just beautiful? Thank you my beautiful muse.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Thanks for visiting and reading about how art therapy is helping me to work through my grief. As Glennon Melton says, "we can do hard things."


Friday, March 20, 2015

Butterfly Inspired Peyote Stitch Cabochon Beadwork Necklace

Gorgeous dichroic cabochon
In December of 2014, I fell in love with this stunning glass cabochon for its swirling colors, and set about making a necklace that would do it justice. "What do we do with a shiny little glass cab to set it off just right?" I asked my muse. And she didn't disappoint me.

The pendant part of the Butterfly Inspired necklace

This design evolved while I was working on it and I didn't know in the very beginning that it would go to butterfly territory : ) These little discoveries are what make beading so much fun! The photo above shows the design of the pendant, loosely inspired by the shape and patterning on butterfly wings. I love the design and look forward to doing more like this. I think next time I'll exaggerate the actual shape and patterning of the wings.

The first thing I did was examine the cabochon in various types of lighting to see its true colors. The wonderful thing about dichroic glass cabs is that they change with the light, which makes them an exciting, dynamic part of the whole piece.

This is how the pendant drapes when worn.
I pulled together a collection of beads that included the soft pinks, blues, elegant black, and a bit of golden yellow. Since butterflies are flirty, I wanted the fringe to be a little bit fun so I used various bead shapes, including rounds, Czech glass dagger beads, teardrops, some beautiful iridescent glass leaves, and a couple of tubular flower shapes.

Flirty fringe!
The fringe is sewn using a length of FireLine about 5 feet long. I learned a great tip from a fellow beader - to find the middle and pull the thread halfway through. Wind up one half and secure it (the left half), while working the right-hand side. Then unwind and finish out the left-hand side. Each strand of fringe is knotted at the top for strength because we know we like to play with it : )

This photo shows the double strand twisted necklace.
As with most of the pieces I make of this style, I like a seamless design, so the necklace part does not include a clasp, but slips nicely over your head, allowing the pendant to sit about mid-chest. I also like simplicity in the necklace part, so I like to pull out the colors I've used in the pendant and make a double strand twisted rope of beads. I go through each strand twice with 4 lb FireLine, and each end of the four strands is knotted three times, so it's very strong.

The back is covered with soft forest green ultrasuede.
The backing is always the part that I do last, and I love the soft feel of it as well as the sense of accomplishment when a piece is truly finished : )

There she is! Butterfly inspired.

This necklace includes beautiful black onyx teardrop beads which lend strength and support during stressful times, and help to center your energy and align you with your higher power. It is available in my Etsy shop Dreamkeeper Creations.

Necklace length - 25 inches
Pendant length - 4 inches
Total length - 29 inches

32 hours of great work for just the right person : )

Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Little Angel Cabochon Necklace #1

Little Angel Cabochon Necklace #1
Well my muse, who is very closely aligned with my emotions, has been playing in the celestial realms over the past several weeks. The photo above is of Little Angel Cabochon Necklace #1.

She is composed of a gorgeous round fossil coral cabochon and a beautiful, serene hand-carved bone moon face cabochon. She is dreaming as she floats along in her celestial realms, surrounded by love and filled with peace.

She wanted soft rainbow colored seed beads adorning her wings, and her face is gilded in iridescent copper alongside the soft rainbow colored seed beads.

The outside border of this Little Angel cabochon necklace is made of cream colored seed beads, illuminating her aura, which is pure and full of the innocence that permeates the celestial realms.

She has a bit of vanity, assuaged by the larger bead adorning her forehead, and she has a rainbow fringe of long hair in back, tipped with smooth Czech dagger beads in copper and gold, in case her wearer wants to amuse themselves by playing with it during tedious meetings.

Little Angel has long hair.
The two-strand necklace part of Little Angel is 21 inches long, and slips right over your head with no clasps to fuss with, hanging just above the middle of your chest. As you can see in the photo above, she's backed with soft tan ultrasuede.

Including the angel pendant, the necklace is 25 inches long.

She is a birth angel. Perfect for someone experiencing a lot of change, or for someone very special who is expecting a Little Angel Spirit of their own.

She may be purchased through Dreamkeeper Creations, my Etsy shop in the Statement Necklaces section.

32 very wonderful hours went into making her for someone special - she'll call to you if you're the one.

Sewn with FireLine, which does not degrade and will last a verrry long time.

Thanks for visiting and meeting Little Angel Cabochon!