Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Fruits of The Spirit Blessing

Inspired by one amazing commission and one beautiful Bible passage...

A Fruits of the Spirit Blessing

May love flow into and out of you as if there is no other reason to be
May your days be filled with people who bring you joy
May there be moments of peace that soothe your soul
May you have the patience to travel without rage
May your heart open to the kindness of others

May our hopes for you settle into your soul with a gentleness that warms your day
May a sense of goodness guide your decisions that unfold you into your destiny
May the wisdom of self-control guide what goes into and out of your mouth

May you experience the faithfulness of one who truly loves you

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Lyrical Chef Surprises Red and Creates Hope

amber mandala of hope   you will create this, because of this...

You come home and on the porch is a book.  There is no note.  Feel free to wonder why "Sean Scully: Works on Paper" is now in your house.

Go ahead, assume a phone call or e-mail will explain.  But you are left living a mystery.

Then one day, The Lyrical Chef shows up, unexpected as you expect.

He has something to say to you.

"I want a gift for Red.  This is all I ask.  I left a book here.  I want you to be inspired by Sean Scully.  I want something between x$ and y$.  I want it by Christmas.  I want to give it to Red."

You are one who believes that your brain works while you sleep, so you take the book to your bed and you look though it... night after night.  You are trusted to create something.  You are blessed.

Eventually images like this begin to become part of your daily thoughts

But your favorite number is 21, so you imagine this:

7 columns times 3 horizontal boxes


3 horizontal boxes times 7 pieces in each box.

You love Youghiogheny glass and you love your friends... the columns.

For diversity you turn to amber... the boxes.

Now it is Christmas Eve.  You have gotten all other commissions into the hands of the givers, but where is the Lyrical Chef?

The daughter e-mails.  A time is set.  And 20 minutes after the exchange of cash and unexpected sticky buns, you head off to worship with Red, who knows much, but not about this...


and thus there were 14 shades of amber glass sitting on my drafting table which cried out to be something special... 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Dream Garden via Tiffany via Parrish; Wordlessly

Tiffany Dream Garden Mosaic at the Curtis Building, Philadelphia, PA.  Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Tiffany Dream Garden Mosaic at the Curtis Building, Philadelphia, PA.  Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Tiffany Dream Garden Mosaic at the Curtis Building, Philadelphia, PA.  Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Pug named Jazz and some Salty players

It was a Friday night and my friend and I stood in the deserted parking lot outside the Friend's Meeting House, where we had participated in group spirituality, though not in each others group this time around.  She mentioned a blog her pug had started, so the next day I checked out the blog, became a follower and set up the sale of one jazzy mosaic:

How I came to find out that my friend desired the mosaic was through the voice of her pug, Jazz , which may be my favorite shout out of Nutmeg Designs to date.

So yesterday I used some of my time off from work to visit my friend (and her pugs) and just wonder about all those shows where we displayed the mosaic in hopes that a jazz lover would be enticed.  By the way, my friend digs jazz, the music too!  So here is some jazz about how things are just unknown from some Salty Dogs.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Propioception in the studio: Science Mondays

We try to be mindful humans, but there are some things we should just let the mind take care of by itself.  Like our sense of where our body is in space.  I can close my eyes, and move my arms about and know clearly where they are, just as if I was staring at it with open eyes.  I can fling them about and prevent collisions by way of propioception.  I know I am walking, whether or not my eyes are open and if I try to control exactly where my feet will land, my gait will lose its fluidity.  Welcome to your 6th sense.

Not that I should cut glass with my eyes closed, but I should trust my body to find a natural and comfortable position while doing it.

Until we can do that our backs will ache.  So for now we are trusting a multitude of timers to remind us that time is passing.  The timer goes off and I stretch as I reset it.  We float between studio and computer glad to know where we are in space and time.

Those who lack propioception will likely fall down if they close their eyes.  The sensors in their muscles will not tell the brain that they are standing and they will topple.  Taking large doses of vitamin B6 will let a person know this feeling, a clear example of too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

So sit back and close your eyes and be glad to know where your body is in space. It is a blessing we rarely give thanks for, eyes to see, ears to hear, ... muscles to locate ourselves.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Future Wordle: Nutmeg Designs

in our recent newsletter we had a link to this simple question and got several answers, but we are hoping to get a few more responses:  Thanks for taking the time during this busy season.  What is Nutmeg Designs, well this is Nutmeg Designs

What is a Wordle?  Here is one I made with my students:
Wordle: projectile words

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

resonating on a need for rest

the Christmas song that has caught my ear and soul this year has been God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  After 5 shows in 7 weeks, I  was met with jury duty yesterday and now a week of immense paperwork at school.  My apologies for not visiting blogs or blogging.  Things are about to slow down, I think...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kickstarting The Grandson of Charles Mingus

cdcovers/charles mingus/mingus ah um.jpg
Photo by Jason Hickey

 A grandson who never knew his grandfather searched for the story.  You can help support this project and become part of the story.  What I know is that the story is complicated, so I am hoping the grandson gets to tell it in full.  He needs our support.  Common people supporting amazing projects.  It feels good.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shopping Local for a Scientist at Rocket Hub

Flying Fox in tree on footpath
photo by Sheba Also

Yes, Saturday has come and pass, but I hope all of you are still shopping locally.  I just did a bit myself by visiting a website that provides scientists a new way of obtaining funds,  from the public.  Mosaic woman and I figured if we can support jazz artists at Kickstarter (more on that tomorrow), we can support a scientist.  Well, as local as I could find was Susan Tsang in New York.  She digs bats in peril and her passion has led to a research project:  Watch the video below and feel free to  Support her here

#SciFund Challenge - Flying foxes: where are they from and where are they going? from Susan Tsang on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Support Local: Centennial Blueprint and my mandalas


I grew up with blueprints.  You see my dad work was one of a draftsmen...


and so many of the tools I use in my studio are those very tools which he used in his work.  The clear plastic angles that give you immediate right angles as well as the often used 30, 60, 90, and 120 degrees.  The tape which peels off so nicely.  The erasure that really work. The templates that have tiny circles. 

So I feel right at home with a local business with Blueprint as their last name.  And what Snowcatcher does not know about her lizard stepping stone is how important Centennial was to its existence.

It starts with my need for a big circle, and for that I needed the Staedtler kit I had bought at Centennial years ago ...

... but then I had a large design that could not be copied at home, so off I went to Centennial and got the copies I needed. 

so this afternoon I celebrated what these tools have led to in a video, it starts showing me in action drawing a card, then flashes to the design colored in, and then moves on to past designs with circles.  All the way Thelonius Monk plays Round Midnight... check it out here

also:  out Joy postcard and amazing new business card were created at Centennial!  

Friday, November 25, 2011

some thoughts of thankfulness

that for the first time in a few years we are not doing a craft show on "Buy Nothing Day."

that I am willing to buy something on buy nothing day.... I will be passing by Warner Stained Glass

that my mom makes pumpkin pies from scratch, which means she buys an actual pumpkin

that I have amazing clients, who show amazing trust in me, and so Di's red-tailed hawk needs some blue sky glass

that because I got the gumption to go to my 30th HS reunion I will be driving by Warner Glass

that very likely someone told Miles Davis that he had talent and inspired him to play a trumpet

that facebook has brought so many friends back into my life, including many of whom I will see at the reunion

that Mosaic Woman makes my lettering looks so good, as I prepare to take the above piece to the reunion

that there is a light that shines through our art

THANKSGIVING: for the light that shines through the glass

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Few (well 7) of My Favorite Things, jazzed up a bit

People who celebrate what they love.

Composers who are people who...

Musicians who celebrate composers who...

Piano players who are musicians who...

Improvisers who are piano players who...

Jazz for providing a medium of improvisers...

Friends, who ask me what I am listening to, ... and so by saying these words I ended up saying so many of my favorite things: Brad Mehldau playing My Favorite Things

Monday, November 14, 2011

introducing my students to Julius Sumner Miller

OK, Ted talks are inspiring and PBS's Nova has amazing production, but I had to let my students know how it was done back in the day...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the math of amber hope

The pieces came together at the same time.  Two pieces cut and ground from each type of amber glass.  So which is for my friend from our time in Illinois (who was part of the best prank ever played upon myself) or the friend, who lives here in Lansdale, not too many blocks from home.

I imagined a project and threw the idea out there on facebook.  For a certain price I would design a mandala of hope while keeping your concerns in my thoughts.  You see, I had 14 types of amber glass out from a previous project.  The glass kept suggesting possible projects.  The glass clearly did not want to be thrown back into the bin of amber.  The mandala idea stuck.  All I needed was a friend to have faith in the project, in me, in hope.

When I saw two friends had responded, how could I say no to one of them.  So I said, "yes."

As I was in the midst of foiling I realized I did not know who would get which mandala.  The answer that emerged made me smile.  It did not matter.  For in the math of hope, the hope did not get split into two pieces; the hope did not double in size, but instead their hopes mingled and then emerged after growing exponentially.  Each piece is filled with my hope for them.  My friends have been brought together in the midst of amber glass.

They are done.  My friends will see them before you do.  Oh, and those dark pieces near the center.  Just imagine what light can do to something that appears dark.  and that my friends, is my definition of hope.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

imagining Hope, again

 The bad news floats between my friend and I.

I sit in her office, then she asks me to create a gift of hope.  In the past I have done stained glass pieces to bring her hope for healing, but mosaic comes to mind as I take in the news of our mutual friend's health concerns.  As the day goes on, a  design comes to mind, and when this happens it is always a rough draft.  I imagine a rectangular piece of slate. Hope fills the bottom left.  Below it I swoop a base out of glass.  At the top right is a swirl that flows across the top.  I imagine Mosaic Woman filling that swirl with warm colors.

Then we make it happen.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Wernersville Wave: The landscape

Last Friday people gathered in the library of the Friends Meeting House to enter into silence before we split into our spiritual groups.  The leader asked us to think a moment about the landscape of our spirituality, I thought of riding a wave that emerged while I was in silence at the Jesuit Center.

I made a list of blog posts when I returned, but made no rush to get through them.  One by one they have merged into being here.  My return to the nightly examen has remained strong, and then there is the designs I came up with while in silence.

The one transformed into glass then travelled to Japan.

And then there is this one:

I wanted to come home from the retreat with mandala designs.  I am not sure how many I will get to, but am so glad that I was in the midst of making this when I was asked about my landscape.  The Wernersville Wave is here.  I am upon it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

and in the end...

Mom Mom's way

after gluing down 67 pieces of glass
... after meeting friends for breakfast, who desired a glass penguin
... after buying apples and cabbage from local farmers
... after getting the kitchen prepared
... after making 8 doughs (which didn't bother my bum wrist at all)
... after grating potatoes and cabbage
... after greeting mom, dad, and aunt
... after turning the oven on
... after stretching and topping and rolling 8 strudels (2 of each, those mentioned plus grape)
... after greeting sister here and saying hi to sister out west
... after eating with family as the last strudels baked
... after greeting friends
... after seeing my family to the door with hugs and thanks for carrying on the tradition
... after greeting more friends
... after finally turning the oven off
... after serving plates of food and glasses of beverages
... after sitting back and enjoying the presence of friends
... after maybe one or two snarky comments
... after saying good bye and your welcome
... after a few moments alone with Mosaic Woman in the living room

I stretched out on the couch, awake enough to hear jazz.  And I realized that I almost never stop and just listen.  So I did.  I closed my eyes and listened.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What happens at Wernersville... goes to Japan

This all happened because I take a mug to the Jesuit center in Wernersville...

A friend, who is a friend because I blogged about that mug, told me she had a commission in mind.  As my retreat neared it seemed to be the perfect time and place to draw the design.  Digital photos were sent my way.  I was taken by the wood, the iron tea pot, the fire.  I took those images in my mind and went to Wernersville.  And picked up a pencil and erasure.

I didn't want the tea pot to be shaped like a pot.  I didn't want it to be black.  I thought of Youghiogheny and drew flames.  I imagined the earthtones of the lizard as wood.  I thought of a piece of unused glass and imagined steam. 

and when I came home I cut the wood, the steam, the flames.  Then I searched for the iron.  Apparently I found it.

My friend traveled to Japan with the finished piece and handed it to the owner of the tea pot, Nakamura-san.  I am told that he held it and gazed into it.  Quickly he recognized it as stained glass.  Then he smiled when he saw his tea pot and took the group into his kitchen.  There are days I feel so blessed that I spend time in a place where what happens does not stay there, but travels with you when you leave.

in a way I traveled to Japan

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Best Seat in the House

The phrase was just shared by a friend as she read her memories of going to baseball games with her dad. We were asked to reflect and write a memory.

I went back to two nights ago as I sat with my eyes closed listening to Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman. It didn't matter where I was in the concert hall. What mattered was that I could stretch out my right arm and hold Mosaic Woman's hand.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

tennis, tropical storms and the ground hog as the prodigal son

I was sitting on the steps by the well  (see yesterday's post for cool well photos) because as Tropical Storm Irene approached, I wanted to see a tennis player.  I met her a year ago while on retreat and had thought she was rather graceful with a tennis racket.  I hoped that I would get to see her play.  So I marveled at the speed of the clouds and the tennis when up popped a ground hog.

Ground hogs are near the top of my critters which need to be called varmints list because of the feasting they have done at the school's garden.  The varmint may have sensed my distaste and popped back down out of my evil eye zone.

Then it popped back up.  The tennis player and the clouds were doing their things but my eyes were on the varmint as it approached me.  It passed the well and neared the bottom of the steps, at which point I decided that it was plenty close.  I made my presence known.  Now really it should have fled from one whose heart has been filled with much hatred in the past, but it didn't.  Maybe it sensed I was not in a killing mood.  It eventually turned right and walked away.

and it made me think of the prodigal son walking home and I was the father.  The son and groundhog were brave to approach what could have been a very ugly scene.

as I sit here I think how brave it is for my students, who have less than stellar days, to come back into my classroom.  But they march in like a foolish ground hog, knowing that even though I have no reason to forgive them, I really have no other option if I want to be their teacher. 
I guess that is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.  

and it is not like the days I hold a grudge against imperfect students or despise hungry groundhogs.