this is how i am feeling right now, all tangled and jumbled and in need of sorting out some loose end bits of my life. i never cease to be surprised at how busy my life remains to be, in spite of the fact that both boys are now out on their own, i have no spouse, my biggest responsibility is to keep my head above water and on course. but being self employed has all sorts of busy-ness that comes along with the package, good and bad, and i don't spend all of my time sitting blissfully around tinkering with gemstones and with silver. i know you all know this, i'm just musing out loud here on this overcast wet cotton monday morning. i've been creating detailed, emotional pieces of jewelry, have so many pieces that are completed and in need of releasing on their way out into the world beyond these windows of firefly road. i have incomplete pieces as well, and journal pages to write, and photographs to edit. we all do. welcome, monday morning. welcome, mercury retrograde.
i've been spending a lot of our walking time wandering through undergrowth and bare-bone late winter woodlands, admiring the way that weather and water and wind and river currents take their lovely toll on stones, on acorn caps, on sticks and branches and twigs that have been chewed by beavers, tumbled by flood waters and left heaped in piles along the banks of the river. i can't stop myself from gathering, gathering, gathering these sweet nature cast offs and bringing them home to rest here on tabletops and in vases and springing from old rusted tins on shelves in the studio. i contemplate how to use them in my work, how to make them be an integral part of storage and beauty and ornament, all in one.
i also can't seem to stop from pulling out needle and embroidery thread to embellish these small bits of windfall goodness, to decorate their simple natural beauty with a little touch of domestic artistry as well. strips of green velvet moss twisted and stitched and further stitched on crooked little knobs of filed and drilled wood convey the green patches of moss i see every time i walk along the trail behind my house, every time we walk along the river.
i snapped the photo of this wrapped twig before i had spent an additional hour stitching "vines" of chartreuse embroidery thread, winding and looping the design up and around and across the velvet moss and wood, attaching with fine silk cord the peridot carved leaves, the pearls and faceted green garnet. i don't even know if you can see all that vine stitching, now that the stones have been scattered across the surface. it doesn't matter; i know that the added detail is there. i think of the hours i spent sitting at the studio table, quietly embroidering, and remember just how i felt, remember the music that i was listening to, (schubert for two, with its achingly beautiful ständchen D 957/4), the story that was being read out loud to me, via audio tape (The Cat's Table, Michael Ondaatje).
it is a challenge, so difficult, to photograph these things when the day is grey, when lighting is stubbornly low. i've tried, a dozen times. it was raining last week when i photographed the necklace at one initial stage, it is deeply overcast this morning when i've carried the completed necklace in here to lay quietly in whatever milky light exists. i am a little amused to take note of the myriad of minor changes that took place in the course of its creation - even in its name. what an interesting exercise this is, to document a piece from step by step by step, to show it as it slowly unfolds.
here we have a finished piece, a little out of focus, just as life can sometimes be:
i've used the cast bronze acorns and leaves, the bezel binoculars charm from my 1995 studio. i remember rolling meadows, i remember the weathered old barn and little stream that sat within view of my studio window. i remember the boys being young, so young, i remember our beloved springer spaniel, aspen, who spent countless hours with those boys romping through the garnet-studded stream, into the mossy woods beyond. aspen is three years gone, the boys have grown and live lives of their own. all of that gets wrapped up into this one sweet piece of woodland history. out of the studio also comes another quiet piece that speaks of tender growth, of other things. it's all quite poignant, to me it seems, this work that is flowing up out of my heart, spilling out into pieces that speak of a longing for spring. i love the butterfly antennae, the dragonfly-esque mother of pearl wings. i'll be completing and listing all of these - the bracelets, the "blue skies" necklace, the branched moss, the pearly wings, sometime this week. for now, i have a very very sad heart that aches for my mother, who is this very morning having to put her beloved golden retriever, isaac, to sleep. only this week we've discovered his cancer. he is a tender, loving companion who has devotedly kept my mother company these past months of loss. that she has to suffer yet another death in such a brief amount of time seems beyond comprehension. i'll be heading down there tomorrow to help fill that painfully quiet house with walter's rambunctious spirit, with stories, with a daughter's solid loving presence. this is the very least that i can do.