Saturday, March 31, 2012

March madness ends with tulip blooms

Looking Inside, a tulip by Wayne Stratz
This month was hectic and last weekend's craft show (third in four weeks) drained me, or I let it drain me.  So my physics students and I went in search of absolute zero.  At home I scrambled to keep up with my on-line class to improve my teaching skills while helping Margaret clean up the Hippo Project.  Now all that is left of those major projects is a final paper and photos of the mosaic.

An exceptionally early spring had me scrambling to keep up with weeds at home and dividing perennials at work.   One of my homeroom dudes fell and had to be patched up in a trauma center, so I stopped and created a suncatcher for him.  My sister-in-law flew in from South Africa and brought with her a bunch of joy, a passion for good food, and fun gifts of african jazz.

and before a break could be enjoyed, grades and progress reports were due and I wished I never had created such a hectic month ...

but the tulips provided beauty as I ran out of steam, so I drew a design and cut some glass to celebrate what I took the time to witness in the midst of it all.

 Maybe this tulip will also be celebrated in design.

Lilly white tulip by Wayne Stratz

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mystical Mondays: Rumi's Hope for Us

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

What do you need to remove for yourself?  sit back and imagine God saying this to you...

I Guess You Won't Mind

Great lions can find peace in a cage.
but we should only do that
as a last

So those bars I see that restrain your wings,
I guess you won’t mind
if I pry them


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Here and Now, of Ingrid Jensen and Nutmeg Designs

This past week in the midst of many things, we decided to create two new mandalas for our show in Kutztown, and while they did not sell, they did catch some eyes/spirit of people.

I drew the design while I was on brief moment of silence at the Jesuit Center and decided to purposefully allow the music of a favored musician flow through me as I worked with paper and pencil.  It was drawn with the hope of it being a collaboration with Margaret.  One in which we could travel in two paths.  In the Here version, I cut out the swirl design in iridized gray glass and then Margaret created the orange background including some dichroic glass in the center.   

Mandalas by Nutmeg Designs

In the Now version, I cut out the the blue background pieces and then Margaret created the blue green design, which again included dichroic glass.

Mandalas by Nutmeg Designs

We discovered Ingrid Jensen when we travelled to a jazz fesitval in New Jersey.  She ended the show and up we went to buy a CD, Here and Now.  Since that day we have bought more of her music, both as a leader and as a person chosen by others who love her playing and desire to have her in their band.  

Hear her interviewed and playing trumpet...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mystical Mondays: Rumi learns by watching and listening to a squirrel

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

What appealed to me in this poem is many a thing:  it made us laugh and reminded me of my favorite prayer, the Examen.  At night when I sit down to pray, I do it as if I was starting a conversation with a good friend, because really, what other kind of relationship with God do I want to have.  Also I am thinking it would be a grand thing that a benefit to saying grace is that my dinner will taste better.


The grass beneath the tree is content
and silent.

A squirrel holds an acorn in its praying hands,
offering thanks, it looks like.

The nut tastes sweet; I bet the prayer spiced
it up somehow.

The broken shells fall on the grass,
and the grass looks up
and says,

And the squirrel looks down
and says,


I Have been saying "Hey" lately too,
to God.

Formalities just weren't


Monday, March 12, 2012

Mystical Mondays ~ Rumi on humming and camels

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky

This is not the first statement I have come across on mindfulness that included flowing water, but the camel is new, as is the humming.  May the sound of a human humming forever bring us back to the present moment.  and I hope that we one day notice this humming, which emerges from those who are truly aware, flowing from our true selves.



standing on two logs in a river
might do all right floating with the current
while humming in the
if one log is tied to a camel,
who is also heading south along the bank –at the same pace-
all could still be well
with the

unless the camel
thinks he forgot something, and
abruptly turns upstream,then


Most minds
do not live in the present
and can stick to a reasonable plan; most minds abruptly turn
and undermine the





Rumi also recommended that we practice looking at those we love who have uttered something nonsensical with eyes that make the speaker feel brilliant.  Good luck.  Margaret and I have been failing all week, but laughing along the way.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

celebrating those who celebrate us: #1

collaboration mosaic by Margaret Almon, Suzanne Halstead, and Wayne Stratz

In this month of three craft shows (North Penn being this coming Saturday), I chose to be immersed in a class on the art of being an effective physics teacher and Margaret is immersed in a class on learning the code needed to create an artful website.  The launching of the website is approaching, for now I would like to celebrate some who have written testimonials, which will float in and out of the new website:

So far, I've had two occasions to buy gifts from Nutmeg Designs. The recipients 
of these gifts were delighted, I was happy with the reasonable shipping 
rates and fast turnaround, and it felt really good to give beautiful, lovingly 
hand-crafted works that I was able to buy directly from the artists.

Andrea's take on tunes has left me hopeful that talented musicians will continue to move out in new directions.  She is on my list of people I want to see in concert and I can imagine one day creating a design inspired by her music.

           I have commissioned two pieces from Nutmeg designs, both gifts to gooverseas.  
Each was uniquely suited to the recipient, and carefullypacked to travel
 -- and beautiful!  

Michelle's passion for writing about both science and God is welcomed in my unfolding life.  She is a living example of how I desire to view creation,  with the eyes of an evolutionary biologist and with the spirit of one who walks with God.

More celebrations will come.  Thanks to all who have written such wonderful words.  If inspired to write a line or two about the art/people/spirit of Nutmeg Designs, you can do that by using this form.   

Thursday, March 8, 2012

21 words , 21 mosaics

Hope in the Dessert
Wayne Stratz and Margaret Almon

There is something emerging in the two studio one bedroom row of Nutmeg Designs.  Margaret and I are planning a big project and you can help us by letting us know what words you would like us to create out of glass...

Thanks for sharing your opinion (remember, hit submit)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mystical Monday: Rumi shares God's desire for us to make music together

Translations by Daniel Ladinsky


I like when
the music happens like this:

Something in His eye grabs hold of a 
tambourine in 

then I turn and lift a violin in someone else,
and they turn, and this turning

it has reached you now.  Isn't that



I dig music... and God believes we can and will make music together:

Wayne Stratz

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Catching the Spirit of Children: A Craft Show Reflection

It is enjoyable to sit back and watch eyes come alive as people glance into our booth.  Sometimes those eyes belong to children~ do you remember my tale of of the boy and his roll of coins?   Did I tell you he came back this year with a twenty dollar bill?  I still gave him a discount.  I can do that.

So anyway yesterday there was this girl, who became entranced with Margaret's mosaics.  She came back five times to glow in front of the crosses and frames that had caught more than her eye.  Her spirit was leaping for joy.  Now this is where I get to experience parenting and I have seen parents react in many a way.  I can imagine the frustration one would experience to have your child in love with something, but not having the income to purchase it or knowing the child was going to fall in love with eight more types of craft before the day is over.  This parent did a nice job, she stood back and gave the girl time to enjoy.  I made no attempt to make a sale.  Why get a parent frustrated with me and then likely transfer that to the child.

Ten minutes after her last visit to our booth, I saw her spirit enjoying another booth.  Yes, let that spirit fall in love with color and design... the craft of human hands, hearts and souls.

Another girl comes into our booth.  Later Margaret will tell me that she had been visiting my sun catchers a few times.  Mom says, "If I buy this for you, you know I won't be getting you anything for a long time."  I sit and watch, for this is not my conversation until the child says yes.  Then I am there holding the glass, figuring out tax and change, and handing a bag to a nine year old, who chose my art as a special something in her life.  Yes, we dig the on-line sales, but really can an e-mail announcing a sale beat something like that.