Last Sunday I visited with the Threads of Blessing people at Cathedral House and am sharing one of the wonderful embroidered tapestries with a SHARDS subscriber (thanks to all of you guys). Subscribe by this Sunday evening to be in the drawing. If you don’t know about Threads of Blessing, it was founded a group of Episcopalian women from the West Texas Diocese who organize workshops in Honduras, Mexico, and Uganda that encourage the local women to share their creative skills. Pretty cool.Here’s a photo of a workshop on the grass in Uganda.
Today’s Friday Freebie is a fanciful embroidered tapestry by Ugandan artisan Esther Byaruhanga depicting a group of people planting a garden. The little seeds are tiny white stitches – maybe corn? The colors are vibrant and the people are happily working – it’s a labor of love, for sure.
After receiving her gift of payment, one of the Ugandan women on the Threads of Blessing site wrote, “With the second gift I was able to get the school results for my second child and buy land for them. How to build a house was a problem. With this third gift I can now continue with building our house.” So the Friday Freebie will be a gift to you! Thanks for supporting artists everywhere, including me :). I’ll announce the winner of Esther’s tapestry on Monday morning.
My next door neighbor, Elizabeth, just came to the door with these lovely fresh eggs from her chickens – she said she hoped the chicken scratching and cackling didn’t bother me, and I said, no, that it reminded me of the farm in Louisiana where I grew up. What a thoughtful gift, even visually. It called for a photo.
And I’d also like to share a note with you from a person who had bought my shard faces before on Etsy and was reordering some. I always try to add a little personal touch to the package when I send it, and I don’t think much about it, but this brought tears and a smile – you never know, do you, how little things make a difference?
Dear Lyn, Time to order more of your lovelies for a workshop I’m hosting in October. I received my last order on January 7th, 2013 and have to tell you how special the timing was…the package arrived as I was getting ready to attend my husband’s wake…I felt I was surrounded by loving spirits and the sprig of rosemary that you enclosed went into his buttonhole for remembrance…thank you…that lifted a heaviness from my soul.
Wow. . . . I hope *your* Sunday is touched with small graces.
Dunno why I don’t make more of these cool little magnetic collage pins – they are really fun to put together, they come together quickly, make unique gifts,and you get to try different embellishment techniques. For example, on these I used a non-fire ceramic finish from Duncan glazes called Red Granite that I found at my earthenware supplier, Clay World. You can brush it on heavy watercolor paper and it looks all granite-y. Nice!
Anybody interested in a pin-making workshop when I get back from Boston? We could do it some weekday evening at the Studio. Email me if you’re up for it. Speaking of Boston, the link is up for the Beacon Hill Art Walk’s participating artists, including me – betcha I’m the only one from Texas. I sorta fudged and said I had a “summer home” there so I could get in. Gulp. But I guess it counts if I visit the kids in Boston in the summer. OK, go forth, Y’all, and be creative.
It’s not *really* a wrap-up – the whole weekend was so rich with experience and creativity that it will resonate in a lot of ways for a long time to come. There were eleven participants in our Hildegard: Art and Soul Journey and we got to know each other pretty darn well as we worked with Michelle Belto, our amazing artist-guide. There was a lot of soul-searching and laughing and eating and playing and writing during the two days. There was also a lot of sharing – what a generous group! I’m working on a short video of the weekend’s process which I’ll post here later in the week, but in the meantime, I’ve uploaded a few photos and I send a heartfelt thanks to Michelle and the other creative women who came and made amazing art – wow. You transformed the Studio into an honest-to-goodness place of creative belonging for two whole days. Group Hug!!
I’ve been working so much on large paintings that I’ve missed doing the smaller works that I love, like journals and mixed-media collages. Fortunately, the wonderful Nueva Street Gallery owners sent out a call to me for more of both. I just complete six journals for them in a format that was developed especially for their lovely gallery in historic La Villita. Part of that format includes incorporating face shards in the design. Here are some photos. These will be available at Nueva Street Gallery as soon as I get down there tomorrow or Tuesday. I put a new little label on the library card that goes inside the journals – it says La Vida es Buena – Life is Good. Yep!
PS If you’ve read this far, the Overdue Friday Freebie will be a journal like one of these – all subscribers to Shards are in the pot! You can choose your favorite and I’ll make one for you that is similar.
I saw the most amazing redbud tree yesterday on my way to Trinity, and all of the ornamental pears are loaded with white blossoms – spring is definitely coming out all over. Here are some little cards to tie on baskets or bouquets. You can print them out, cut and fold them, and attach them to Something Nice for Someone.
Today’s freebie is a booklet for everyone about Spirit Dolls – I put it together last Sunday when I was working by myself in the Studio making my own Spirit Doll. It was an odd experience – she really seemed to become “real” as I worked with the fabric, twigs and clay. Here’s a link to the booklet. I’d love it if you came to the workshop at the Studio and worked with the group, but you can try it on your own as well with these instructions.
PS – I’ve also done an update on my webpage that,hopefully, will make it easier to find out about events at the Studio.
Today, December 26th, is Boxing Day in England where I spent part of my childhood (our father was stationed at Ruislip Base in London for five years). There are all kinds of reasons why it’s called that – giving boxes of Christmas goodies to service workers is one – but I’m going to give you a challenge instead. I decided I wanted to learn how to make a new kind of paper box, and this little mulberry-paper container the result. Simple, right? Not. Even with the video, it’s tricky. See if you can do it. It took me a couple of tries to figure out that x#@% last part.
Origami paper box
PS The person’s hands in the video are impossibly smooth – I think it’s a plastic robot, personally 🙂
These cool bath salts are one of the examples I show in my aromatherapy classes (see the site at Chemaroma.com ). My biochemist friend Dr. Bill Kurtin knows all of the reasons essential oils work scientifically, but you can do this project without knowing any chemistry – whew :). You’ll need some Epsom Salts, some essential oil (Sprouts, Central Market, Whole Foods) and some lunch bags. You can make these for less than a dollar each and they smell wonderful and work great on sore muscles or stressed out psyches. You can store them in your linen closet to make the towels smell fresh. Easy, cheap and nice – there ya have it.
Here’s a video I made for our aromatherapy class site that explains the how-to. Think hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. You can even toss a small handful of the salts into your shower and get the therapeutic effects of the essential oils without soaking!