Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Really, thanks for the break from commissions

Forgiveness by Wayne Stratz

Last Sunday we set up our show at Pebble Hill Interfaith Church and there was plenty of creations that emerged in January.

Last August I took a big circle to the Jesuit Center and came home with a design.  The goal was to have our biggest mandala made in time for the show, so after New Years, I went for it, and the result is what greeted you.  As I went along I saved the scraps, and check out what Mosaic Woman did with them...

Sunset Spiral by Margaret Almon

I cut out Joy, twice, and twice I dug what Mosaic Woman did around my letters and design pieces...

The first Joy Mandala collaboration:
Margaret Almon and Wayne Stratz


Joy In The Sky by
Margaret Almon and Wayne Stratz

Margaret also had the time to finish this:

Spiral of Hope by
Margaret Almon and Wayne Stratz

and to go color crazy:

Margaret Almon

I ordered some blue glass so I could finish my second Red-Tailed Hawk:

and the one I imagined...

Imagine by
Wayne Stratz and Margaret Almon

and then finally with time running out I made the one sun catcher I needed for the show:

Sophia Spiral by
Wayne Stratz

so yes, as I begin to work on some commissions that just entered our lives, I am most grateful for a January to imagine and create for our exhibit at Pebble Hill.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crunch Time: Pebble Hill Show Approaches

two mosaics, same design,
two different routes
by Wayne Stratz and Margaret Almon

Though a week is left before the opening reception (Sunday, February 5th from 12:15 till 2:00);  Mosaic Woman and I have been spending the week gathering the chosen pieces, writing descriptions for them, filling out the official show paperwork (listing every piece), photographing new pieces, gathering hardware to hang everything, packing it up...

because tomorrow afternoon we will go to the gallery and create our largest display ever and what you can see...    Details here.

But what a creative month led to this time period of doing stuff outside of our studio.  At the Michener Museum we saw a quilt that inspired a thought, "what if I designed a piece, but only glued down the background and allowed Mosaic Woman to take over."  So I did with some creamy white glass, but I thought, "Why waste the other pattern pieces," so I cut the design out of orange glass and glued it on a separate piece of slate.

So now all I have to do is name them, price them, write tags, pack them, and hang them at Pebble Hill.  Oh yeah, there is the not quite finished Sophia Spiral Mandala in my studio and ...

Not so long ago a man asked me what prayer I had when it came to Nutmeg Designs.  My Response: To be surrounded by friends and Family at Pebble Hill.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We are bold to sing

LP cover to Mary Lou Williams; Mary Lou's Mass
in Black and white

On Sunday mornings Mosaic Woman and I enjoy listening to NPR's Piano Jazz, this past week's episode was an interview with Randy Weston.  At one point he speaks of the education he received from Mary Lou Williams.  So tonight when I curiously grabbed the LP to the far right, I was glad to find Mary Lou's Mass in my hand.

On Sundays we sing The Lord's Prayer at our church.   Our priest has taken to the habit of changing, "we are bold to pray" to "we are bold to sing."  How I would love to hear a performance of Mary Lou's Mass.  A mass that is bold and sacred...
a faith lives on....

Monday, January 23, 2012

more Rabia on Mystical Mondays

a warm bloom from June 29th

on facebook this weekend I saw someone rant about how God was harshly greeting Joe Paterno, and it just doesn't match with my version of heaven, a place where we are met with amazing love and forgiveness.

so the question is, how did Joe respond, how will I respond?

I like what Rabia imagined the after life to be...


I know how it will be when I die 
My beauty will be so extraordinary that God will worship me. 
He will not worship me from a distance, for our minds will have wed, 
Our souls will have flowed into each other. 
How to say this: God and I Will forever cherish myself. 

also from this past week, how the moon, which as Wisdom reflects the light of God, can brings us closer to our lovers:


Maybe if I brought the moon a little closer
lovers would argue

They might hold hands outside and point to
the heavens and say,

"I think God is up to


Saturday, January 21, 2012

What motivates Stratoz...

only the first question is required, and please hit submit when you are done.  Thanks!

Here is one of mine... 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jazz on Tuesday: five Piano Trios for my new friend

Yesterday, my newest friend, asked me about jazz.  I said, "Piano Trio."  So lets put my blog where my mouth was, will due respect to The Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra and The Miles Davis Quintet...

Benny Green Trio playing Down By The River Side

Bill Evans Trio playing My Foolish Heart

Oscar Peterson Trio playing Satin Doll

Amad Jamal Trio playing Poinciana

Keith Jarrett Trio playing Blame It On My Youth

Monday, January 16, 2012

Welcome to Mystical Mondays

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

Mondays have been about science, but I am changing things up a bit.

1. every Monday I am to send a note to my spiritual group members
2. Michelle, the Quantum Theorist, gave us a really cool book when met with her at the end of Decemember.  Mosaic Woman and I have been reading one poem a night and I thought I would like to share the journey here.

The first of the twelve sacred voices belongs to Rabia.  There have been moments that I have been so amused by her transitions from one verse to another that I have laughed out loud.  I think God is OK with us being amused.

Here is some thoughts from God, through Rabia:


Why Think God hads not touched everything
that comes to your desk?

True, he may have kept the best
for Himself.

That is just the
way it



The moment's depth is greater than that of
the future

And from the fields of the past, what can you harvest again?




tried painting,
but it was easier to fly slicing

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Days of bread and physics

Omg rolls
photo by Roy Patrick Tan who shares his photos and is a painter

If you know you are low on an ingredient, leave home early, and shop on the way to the school.

Sign in, check e-mail, review the physics lesson:  then teach Physics.

2nd period is your prep: go for a walk to get out of the classroom, say hello to someone who is pleasant and smiles, go shopping if you did not leave early-- be glad that a store is just down the street.  Move needed materials from your classroom to one that has a kitchen.  as prep time comes to an end, place a pot with water over some low heat.

Say, "wash your hands."  Say, "did you wash your hands?"  as you keep an eye on the water temp, students will prepare three large bowls:  2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 cup of olive oil.

in a 2 cup measuring cup you place a packet of yeast, if this is the first time experience for a student you will explain about fungi and pockets of air in bread, a pinch or two of sugar, and 2 cups of water which is just over 100 degrees, Fahrenheit.  With the right pressure you can exceed 100 degrees Celsius but this would kill the yeast and you will have crackers. 

repeat the above paragraph two times, each time showing the students the signs of life before pouring into one of the big bowls.

add 1/2 cup of white flour after 1/2 cup of white flour until the hand-crafted wooden spoon, which is only used for bread, has done as much as it can.  Kneed in more flour till it is moist but not sticking onto your hands or the table.  Oil the dough, then cover with one of those big bowls.  Run off to teach physics while being glad your assistant can wrap things up in the kitchen.

eat lunch, but before that time is over go to the kitchen and get the oven pre-heating 360 or so.

6th period---  take each dough, cut in half, each half in half, each quarter in half, each eighth in half.  Quit cutting.  form rolls.  say, "please don't toss that around," and before that you will be heard saying, "knives are sharp."

start baking the rolls.  I put a tray on a low rack for 8 minutes and then place it on a higher rack for 8 minutes as a new tray goes on the lower.  keep baking.  sample rolls with students.

7th period finish baking and clean up.  sample rolls with students.  place rolls in bags as they cool.

8th period sell rolls around campus, but sample rolls with students before venturing out because it is likely they will be gone by the time you get back.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

changing Kirk's moment in time into glass

Africa, boat on river, photo by Kirk Barbner

 It was back in the days of 1984 or so when I became friends with Kirk in college.  I don't think either of us were studying for what our future jobs would be.  Kirk would venture south and possibly the last time I saw him was in West Virginia.  His heart and soul were being pulled toward helping people with a critical need for housing.  He drove me around those mountains and to this day, I will not forget what he taught me and though I have not made it my life's commitment, the need to feed the hungry and house the poor were ingrained in me.  Although I may have been leaning that way already.  Who knows, but Kirk surely opened my eyes. 

I moved on to MA, and OR, and IL and then back to PA.  At some point Kirk landed in Georgia where he does amazing things at The Fuller Center for Housing.

This past year we found each other on facebook and became reunited.  I read about his journey to Africa.  One day I got a message from Kirk's wife who wanted me to create a gift.  She sent me photos and I resonated with the one above.  It was all those bright clothes.  Then the color of the river.  The streak of violet across the horizon came much later.  She was well pleased with my choice because it was her favorite.

So I said, "If you want realism, go elsewhere, but if you want me to spend time with this photo and create a design.  I am your man."  She said go for it.  And then the glass was there.  Purple water glass!  Mystic purple glass for the boat's reflection!  Youghiogheny glass that had never been called into a piece said, "Now is my Time!"   

It was a blessing to create this for my friend.  May we look into each others eyes, shake each others hands, and have a conversation this year which does not involve technology.

Peace and Hope

Stained glass by Wayne Stratz, Kirk's River Side View

Stained glass by Wayne Stratz, Kirk's River Side View

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

7 for the weekend: Philadelphia Museum of Art

Yesterday Mosaic Woman and I had a date at the Philly art museum, which means we went our separate ways and my first stop was an exhibit that featured this... 
Red Hills and Bones (hills) 1941 Georgia O'Keefe Philadelphia Art Museum photo by Wayne Stratz

I decided to explore some stairs and see where they led, they led to some windows with cool views highlighting the stones which make the museum and later a window gave view to the terracotta that adorn it. 

Stairwell View at the Philadelphia Art Museum, photo by Wayne Stratz

 Under the Pines, Evening 1888 Claude Monet Philadelphia Art Museum photo by Wayne Stratz
Stairwell View at the Philadelphia Art Museum, photo by Wayne Stratz

Le Bon Bock Edouard Manet 1873 Philadelphia Art Museum photo by Wayne Stratz
People digging the view of the Philadelphia skyline at the Philadelphia Art Museum,  photo by Wayne Stratz

Pablo Picasso Man With a Guitar 1912 Philadelphia Art Museum photo by Wayne Stratz

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shopping Local: Buying Perlite and Vermiculite at Rhoads

Wayne Stratz in 2007 at Rhoads Gardens

It was in 2007 when I last gave Rhoads Garden a shout out, and what is a bit scary is that most of that time they have been preparing for and witnessing road construction on route 202 where they are located just south of the intersection with Route 63. 

This week in a moment of frustration with myself (Yo fool, you had off for over a week and did you get to Rhoads) I posted something like this on facebook:  "I really really really need to buy perlite." 

So today I supported my favorite local nursery and got myself some perlite.  Why, well at work the aloes clearly desire to be re-potted, the marjoram seedlings need to move on, and seeds will need to be planted.  So I walked through the gift shop and went back into the deserted garden center and re-emerged with 10 paperwhite bulbs, and big bags of vermiculte and perlite.

If you want a variety of plants, friendly staff who love their workplace, and quality gardening supplies:  check out Rhoads

Friday, January 6, 2012

My to do list, Examen the next Day

Back in August, in the midst of silence at Wernersville, well, in the midst of the one conversation I had that particular day, my spiritual director gave me a book to read.

I may have said something like this... "even the thought of how it may be good to get ready for my 8 days of silence, did not bring me back to praying the Examen."

My spiritual director handed me a book by Jim Manney while telling me about how it had rejuvenated her passion for the Examen. So I read it. And what struck me was how I had always resisted/ignored/avoided the part of the prayer about examening the next day. So I placed it into practice, and now four and a half months since I left that hill top, almost every night I sit down and look at my expected day. I check off what I did, but also examen what did not happen. The goal for me is to list what I fully expect to do the next day: teach about momentum, plant marjoram seeds, consult with a colleague, listen to jazz, hope, continue on with the big mandala project, pierogies for dinner, e-mail this friend, lift weights, ..... As I examen my future, I ponder: which are bringing me the gladness of anticipation for the next day and which bring me reluctance to face the day...

and which have I been avoiding but keep placing on the list.

So I came home and ordered the book.  I loaned it to a friend, and now I can imagine taking it out to the Jesuit Center when I spend a night there in February, a fine time to get recharged with a second read