Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays: 6 by Jimmy McHugh

The other week I checked out a wonderful CD by trumpeter Terence Blanchard: Let's Get Lost: The Songs of Jimmy McHugh.

and one from the CD that inspired this post:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A restocking frenzy has led to the following

Nothing like some great sales to inspire one to head into the studio. In the less than two weeks I have created the following which will head to Bethlehem, PA's Christkindlemarkt for their opening weekend this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yes, I may be one toasty teacher after my long weekend.

The first project was my Jazz inspired Sunna's Dream Suncatcher. Which I blogged about here.

I then turned to the vines in amber glass (six varieties to be exact), which a friend inspired. First the Vine that Grew Longer design:

Then the original design:

Inspired by my dad asking if I was going to do anything special for the Holidays, I grabbed (gently) three types of reds and greens and cut out pieces to play with while listening to Nat King Cole sing Christmas tunes.

While I was cutting out those pieces I decided to restock some Dr. Ed Mandalas. A month ago I had 4 and thought I was way ahead of the game, but some emotional sales to folk who were touched by the story of this piece took me down to zero but we sent off the 30% of sales to pancreatic cancer research.

Before I sleep tonight I hope to have a second Dr Ed Mandala finished. This will be the opposite of the one below, the greens move to the outside and instead of the funky pink glass I have a piece of opalescent green doing its thing.

Some things come by chance. As I was foiling the above Dr. Ed Mandala, I noticed an imperfection that could not be ignored. As I ground a new piece into the desired shape, I saw a pile of red and green scraps. I chose some to grind into interesting shapes and then played with the pieces while listening to Nat King Cole. When I picked it up I saw I had created The Scrooge:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays... collaborating with Margaret and also The Jason Parker Quartet

When it comes to our signs, I have done words that resonate within myself: Hope, Joy, Garden, and now Jazz. Mosaic Woman, who has to approve my lettering design, works with me to choose a color for the letters and then I cut and grind them into shape. I hand them over and we talk backgrounds and I step away from the mosaic studio, which is OK, because that places me in my studio.

On Twitter I have become friends with a great jazz trumpet player, Jason Parker and finally bought No More, No Less last week. When I threw a tweet his way saying how much I loved his music, he sent tweets of thanks and also a tweet announcing his Kickstarter project to record the music of Nick Drake. We decided to throw some support his way and encourage you to get to know Jason, his already recorded music, and his artistic hopes. Like I said, I dig Hope, Joy, and Jazz; and as far as I know Jason has nothing against gardens.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh, and please answer this one too. The interview continues

47  102/365 -- a Celtic cross by Margaret

The interview continues

"So, have you had any Missing Years? If yes, why did you leave and what brought you back? If no, please explain why you didn't leave when you were younger?"

My answer (for Di) : I left. I even left before a conservative Christian college kicked my blank off their campus for very good reasons. I was disheartened. I had been naive enough to believe that Christians acted like Christ did and so took my leave when I took in the imperfection that remains inside myself and others. Anyway, studying biology and environmental science (after the kicking incident) during the Reagan years did not help to draw me back. The only Christians I heard of during that time were ones who thought plastic Redwoods would satisfy my soul.

Years later, we moved to Scranton, PA. Mosaic Woman had landed a job at the University of Scranton, a Jesuit university. There she stumbled into spiritual direction with a nun, who had made private orders. Yes, a Jesuit nun. When we moved away from Scranton Sister Judy told Margaret about a place in Wernersville.

Soon after we landed in Lansdale, Mosaic Woman suggested we find a church.

I said, "Why not." My Missing Years had come to an end.

I think it is more complicated than all that, but I'm not the one who wants to be the minister at my church, but hey, feel free to throw out some follow up questions.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How would you like this interview?

inside my church

I have been asked to contribute questions to be part of our church's search for a new rector.

  1. Please tell me about the last five books you read.
  2. What radio station do you listen to and why?
  3. What is written on the bumper stickers that you have placed on your cars?
  4. Do You Blog? Are you on facebook or twitter? How do you feel about social networking and church growth?
  5. Some say that stained glass peaked 700 years ago. Does it still have a place in churches?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jazz on Tuesdays... Sunna's Dream Suncatcher

Come to our booth (upcoming shows) and you will see my designs have stories that can be read as you shop. But what about these new Stratozpheric Doodles in glass. How do they get their story when each is unique and do not come from a design that has the story?

Return to an old habit... Doodle while listening to music, and the music is the story. So, come to the North Penn Show this weekend and see Sunna's Dream Suncatcher.

Will you sense the Icelandic homeland of Sunna Gunnlaugs or will you remember a dream of your own. And what about those five tracks she calls "spins," where she and her band doodle their improvisations and nothing but improvisations, where do they show up? I met Sunna and heard her play when she came to the states. It was that night that I purchased The Dream. And now look at what has happened.

while this one is not on etsy, I just added this stratozpheric doodle to our online shop


Monday, November 15, 2010

Science Mondays--- stumbling onto a real shooting star, Mira

Entering my classroom I had my plans set for the week, but I wasn't sure what topic I would be teaching in 90 minutes. I knew that I wanted the students to practice taking notes from an article and I knew I would head to Science Daily , click on video, click on time & space...

And I would pick something and go from there.

Mira is a star with a tail, a Red Giant that is spewing hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen into the universe as it moves rather quickly to its future home as a White Dwarf. We have known about Mira for hundreds of years, yet we have only known about its tail for a few of them. It all has to do with how we are blessed that the atmosphere blocks so much UV light. It took a satellite mapping the universe's UV light to see the tail. Which is long, way long.

When I told my students that Mira was a variable star, many impressed me by saying "Cepheid." But I told them they were wrong and then explained to them that the universe has more variables than the Cepheids and in fact the others are called Miras.

So I stumbled upon a truly shooting star, which is planting seeds into a universe ready to create new stars and planets:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sophia in silence, glass, scripture and hymn

at our etsy shop

In August when I returned from my eight days of silent retreat at Wernersville, I wrote about watching a day come into existence through my stained glass which was hanging in the window. The mandala had been made for my spiritual director for the week, who was once again guiding me into relationship with Sophia.

I call the piece, A Sophia Spiral Mandala, which doesn't just happen to have 21 pieces of glass. It has 21 pieces of glass because the design came to be after spending time with Sophia and a passage (The Book of Wisdom, chapter 7) that includes her 21 attributes:

22 For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd,
irresistible, beneficent, friendly to human beings, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits.

This week I decided to make a new mandala for our craft shows. I cut out four pieces of five types of blue green glass and than pulled out the Youghiogeny glass for the 21st. As I was writing a blurb to describe the mandala, it occurred to me what that 21st piece is. As we grow to know God in all images, we spiral into ourselves, and what we find is our true self. And there is nothing I can put in that location better than a piece of amazing glass from western Pennsylvania:

I love how Ruth Duck takes her wonderful new lyrics and places them into melodies I adore. Here is verse 3 of "Wash Oh God our Sons and Daughters"

O how deep your holy wisdom! Unimagined, all your ways! To your name be glory, honor! With our lives we worship, praise! We your people stand before you, water-washed and Spirit born. By your grace, our lives we offer. Recreate us; God, transform!

Now close your eyes and imagine Sophia searching for you and you searching for Sophia and the amazing beauty that resides in us and so wants to shine in the light:

peace, hope, and joy be with you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

I have been asked these questions about myself

47  93/365  --- self-portrait success

It is likely that I am going to be a featured crafter on a blog in a few weeks, since I had to type up some answers, I will try a few of them out here:

1) Please tell us a bit about yourself – where you live, the name of your business. (and how you chose your shop name), what you sell, etc.

I live in Lansdale in a one bedroom two studio row home. My wife and business partner, Margaret Almon, came up with our name, Nutmeg Designs. Nutmeg has nothing to do with our craft, but all to do with an old nickname. Design is what we love to do. I primarily sell stained glass suncatchers and small panels. I collaborate with Margaret on mosaic signs. I design the lettering and numbers and cut out the pieces. Then I hand them to Margaret, who glues them down and does the background creating the mosaic.

3) Of all your creations, what is your favorite? And why?

My favorite design is now known as the Dr. Ed Mandala. It is named in memory of a good friend who died of pancreatic cancer. The last time I saw him in public was at a craft show and he bought a mandala. Soon after he died, I named it after him and have donated 30% of all sales to pancreatic cancer research.

4) What is your favorite possession, and why do you cherish it?

Got to go with two and they both came from my grandmothers. Mamie was a quilter and I own a few of them. She was the first crafter I knew. The Log Cabin quilt in blues, which she made for Margaret and I, is the one we use. From Mom Mom I got years of strudel and the lesson on how to make it. She taught me shortly before she had a stroke and that day spent in her kitchen is seen as a blessing for sure. I am the one who now makes it for our family.

5) Is there something special you collect? (If so, photos are very welcome!)

Back in the day it was baseball cards then books. Now it is craft with a special love of Scherenschnitte and art ceramic tiles. Some say I have a good jazz collection.

7) Where do you hope to be, personally and in your artistic endeavors, in say 10 years time?

Seeing my teaching career coming to an end and seeing my crafting career soaring. I want to do special projects where someone tells me of a concern for a loved one and I take that into my studio and create a moment of hope out of glass.

What do you want to know?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Science Mondays--- wartime measures double the universe

1955 Vogue Magazine Cover Photo by Dana Graves

Cosmic Times jumps from 1929 to 1955, because this happened.

So today I told the story of how blackouts in 1943 LA allowed a view of outer space that indicated there were two types of Cepheid Variables and thus the universe doubled in size.

I spoke of how when the story started Henrietta Leavitt, who was noticing what had to be noticed, was looking at Type 1's.

Shapely would venture into clusters of stars where Type 2's hung out. He would use a bit of parallax data using a nearby Type 1 to start measuring distant stars.

Hubble and Humason (the mule team driver and later telescope master) would venture into galaxies other than our own and see Type 1's and use Shapely's distance formulas.

Then Blaade took advantage of those blackouts, and saw there were two types, he realized Hubble and Humason had used a bad "Yardstick" and now our nearest galaxy neighbor was 1.6 billion light years away. The whole universe had doubled in size.

Read the Science Times Edition

and more fashion of 1955: