Monday, January 28, 2013

Why choose between paths when one can be infinite. Mosaics and a quote by Paulo Coehlo

first journey
Wayne Stratz and Margaret Almon
Mosaic Woman created these last year.  I drew the design and we did them as different ways to view the project.  What I did in big pieces in the first path, Margaret did in her style the second way.  and vise versa.  

While there are many quotes about a good path and a bad path, I am glad I found this one when I went searching:

“In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two 
leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same 
path are alike.”  Paulo Coehlo
second journey
by Margaret Almon and Wayne Stratz

Saturday, January 26, 2013

In appreciation for fresh pie ~ stained glass for the chef's gals

3D for L
by Wayne Stratz
 For several months this past year we celebrated the local harvest through the creative talents of a friend who happens to be a pastry chef (amazing food recipes found there). 

 It started with rhubarb and wound it ways through strawberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, back walnuts, raspberries, ...  Margaret and I would go over on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and eat pies and tarts (sometimes with homemade ice cream) and drink coffee.  The latter was too late and I would wake up to go teach with a "pie hangover."

Maybe sometime around July when the pie maker walked us outside, I told him my way of thanks... stained glass for his wife and two daughters.  The youngest (a senior in college, who was a pleasant addition to those summer pie nights) got the blue and green 3D piece that greeted you.  The daughter who teaches little ones got this 3D piece ~

3D for M
by Wayne Stratz
 As for my friend, Red (the wife of said Chef), well she has always been a fan of my Wernersville Cross and my patchwork designs, so I thought the Wernersville Cross II should be introduced to the world by way of gift.  So here folks is the one and only cross of this type.  I will make more, I think, but for now I am so glad to know where the first one resides. (and yes, every one has 21 pieces)

Wernersville Cross II
by Wayne Stratz

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Familiar Voice joins Roseanne Cash ~ September When It Comes

The other day I pulled out six CD's from our past and hit random. Halfway through this tune Roseanne's dad popped up. Johnny Cash has a voice that travelled with me from the womb on till this day. It seemed that no matter what my favorite music was, I still loved the man's music.

My post on smiles in included a quote about faces by Frederick Buechner. Well hearing his voice pop up where I had forgotten to expect it certainly brought a smile to my face.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Critter a Month: another studio goal

I started 2013 with only one animal in stock, my nuthatch mandala,

If that is not an indication that fans dig my critters, well, even I can see they are popular. Birds have dominated my glass zoo, but I don't want to limit myself by saying a bird a month. I am off to a fine start. I got word that I was highlighted on an Audubon Magazine blog on the same day I soldered my penguin.

Suggestions and commissions are always welcomed.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Epiphany Stars ~ studio goals for 2013

At our last show of the year, a man was clearly disappointed by a lack of stars. At some point between that moment and Epiphany, I decided to draw three new star designs when Epiphany arrived they were ready to leave my head.

I was not feeling the best that day, but good enough to use a pencil. The first batch is done. I am thinking seven batches for the year. 21 stars. Once I have a flock, I am going to walk on down to the Virago Bakery and put them on display.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Smile ~ RevGals ask about what inspires such a thing

planted by seed, cared for, and harvested by
my students
Here is the prompt ~
For this Friday Five, what makes you smile? Remembering that Meister Eckhart said that if you pray "thank you" that that is enough of a prayer, share with us five things, memories, or activities that bring you smiles and gratitude. 
Here is my reaction one sense at a time ~

smell ~ a freshly harvested pepper.  My students have mocked my glee, but what do they know.

taste ~ lavender brownies, ahh now that is something I have taught my students

sound ~ Keith Jarrett emerged from an illness that stopped him from playing piano with possibly my favorite jazz CD.

touch ~ pulling my grandmother made quilt over Mosaic Woman and myself on a cold winter evening.

sight ~ a friend's face...

“When you remember me, it means you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.” 
 Frederick Buechner

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Drumming The Lord's Prayer

I have returned to the Examen with a new twist. When the blessings, the emotions, the flaws, the expectations have been talked over with God, I pick up my drum. Then as the Lord's prayer flows into my thoughts, I drum.

Sometimes the drumming ends with amen, other times it goes on and I send out my hopes for others and for myself to God. One day I may record how it goes, but for now it doesn't seem like the right thing to do.

Anything changing in your routines?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Apartment Therapy For Our House

Mosaic Woman surely has kept the house less cluttered since she became a full time artist, but it has never been a strong point. She found a source of motivation at Apartment Therapy. Her commitment has been strong so I am getting drawn into it. Yesterday I took on the dumping zone our mud room and today I have pulled out the vacuum.

Hope that we can keep the momentum. Just need to get some flowers to brighten up the house. However, for now we are keeping our wall of lights plugged in to brighten the winter days...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012, The Second Half

Our church finally stumbled upon a new rector,
 she is wonderful.
I greeted her with this card.

I began what will hopefully be more mosaics
inspired by the photographs of KerriFar

I started making 3D suncatchers
and when our good friends moved
out of our neighborhood,
I gave this one to warm their new house.

My friend Deborah began leading interfaith services at our church.

Finally, I set up coloring pages for sale on our etsy shop

in the midst of self doubts, I created a pug mosaic

The Fit got personalized

A client saw one in our house and asked for three bigger ones.  One of the biggest commissions of the year was created by Margaret

Any time any one asks for three Dr Ed's mandalas, has to be a highlight of the year.  I also was commissioned to make one for Dr Ed's daughter

End of the year date at the art museum

and there was that magical time
being inside what I called
 The Wernersville Tree

and I made pizza
and taught
and listened to jazz

Friday, January 11, 2013

RevGals Ask ... Where is its home?

Today I am playing the RevGal Friday Five: Where is its home?

Tell us your favorite homes for five things, the places that you can always and reliably find them. 

  1. a few years back a friend gave me the above handmade pouch, it hangs in my studio and it where I keep my scissors that is made to cut out stained glass pattern pieces.
  2. A drum that Mosaic Woman gave me sits by my chair of contemplation. Lately it has a new role in my spiritual life, but that is for another post.
  3. I never wore a pendant around my neck until a friend gave me cross she made based on one of my designs. It's second home is on the door knob next to our bed.
  4. Wallet, keys, phone, iPod, all goes in a tray on a bookcase by my bed. Only problem is all the papers I stuff in my pocket at work that also ends up in the tray.
  5. The pizza wheel is found in the same drawer every time we have guests over.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Looking for super powers ~ Southern Fried Science inspires this week's homework

I came across this blog post that matched five organisms with comic book characters who have the same super powers.  The creature in the video is one of the five, which character can do this?
    Thought it would be a fun homework assignment.  If anything I want my students to be amazed by life and learn the state assessment vocabulary along the way.

    So here is the homework, after reading the blog post and answering some questions about those organisms.  Come on people, really the life form that emerged from Chernobyl, check it out.  Here is the part I hope to see some creative juices flowing, even if it doesn't flow from all of them. 
    1. pick out five comic book heros and/or villains and find an organism with the same super power.  
    2. choose a character and imagine up an organism that has the same power.  Write a paragraph describing the organism.  Or draw it and label its power.
    3. find an organism that can do something which the average human cannot do and imagine a comic book character.  Write a paragraph describing the character.

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    RevGals got me thinking about 2013

    recent date at the Philly art museum

    1. Start by sharing your success stories with us: In the past, what resolution has been your most successful? What change have you made that has been the most beneficial, to your mood, health, finances, or other way of being in the world?

    Making pizza for friends.  We ended up hosting 22 gatherings in our house and made pizza for friends in 2012.  A ritual formed where Margaret would greet the guests bring them to the kitchen, then take them to see our studios as I got a pizza baking.  Then we would sit, converse and eat for a few hours.  
    2. What is one thing you hope to do differently this year with regard to health, either physical or spiritual? If you are satisfied with your current status in both areas, perhaps you would be willing to share something you've already done (or regularly do) to care for yourself.

    I need to exercise with my free weights, for who knows it may snow this winter and it always helps when I reenter the garden in the spring.  I return to practicing the Examen prayer would be most splendid for my spirit.
    3. What is one thing you hope your family (of origin, of choice, however you define your primary place of mutual emotional sustenance) will do differently this year? A new tradition for birthdays? More vacation time? Game night? Feel free to really dream about ways to deepen your connections with those you love. 

    More dates to get out to do fun things other than eating out.  Live music, museums, movies... , these activities have slowed as our mosaic and stained glass business has grown.  But, it is where we find joy and peace and inspiration.
    4. What is one thing you hope your community of faith will consider doing differently this year? New music? Different approaches to preaching? Rearranging the furniture? If you are in a position to try to introduce change, share some of your enthusiasm and/ or anxiety with us!

    The vestry of my church met this morning.  I sent a link to our rector and our rector's warden to achurchforstarvingartists post about church bucket lists because the idea of random acts of kindness done by a congregation caught my eye/spirit.


    5. In what area would you most like to learn to be gentle with yourself? For what would you most like to forgive yourself? Share your ideas and strategies for extending yourself the kind of grace we know we are assured of. 

    on a spiritual note... a general lack of prayer though I have shared with many my desire to set up a daily routine.  No daily routine has formed and very little prayer is happening. 

    see other responses here 

    Friday, January 4, 2013

    2012, just thinking about it tired me out

    The year began doing a bunch of special pieces for our exhibit at Pebble Hill Church

    The other day we were driving to my parents and we began thinking about 2012.  I thought, "I should be exhausted."  The next morning I woke up sick and am still recovering.

    some of the highlights from the first half  of 2012 in no particular order except how blogger chose to do it ~ 

    my first and currently only Hex sign mandala,
    inspired on one of my silent times with the Jesuits
    I set up a place on etsy for my cards of Hope.
    The commissions that flowed in have been amazing. 
    My parents commissioned
    peace, hope, and love
    from us and it looks great
    in their living room.
    Margaret was commissioned to make
    another bowling ball
    In June we stopped at The Corning Museum of Glass
     after several nights of jazz in Rochester with our friends
    crazy early tulips
    after a crazy warm winter
    which left us crazy gardeners
    wondering what the heck is going on here
    The Hippo Project ~
    it sounded like a practical joke
    but it emerged from the studio and is in California
    The Angel Wings ~
    another of those places
    only clients could take us in 2012
    Margaret started collaborating with
    our friend, Suzanne Halstead.  
    We celebrated our 20th anniversary with a trip to see
    Jane Ira Bloom, a favored sax player

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    A Few of My Favorite Things 10 ~ starting afresh

    Collaboration by
    Margaret Almon andWayne Stratz

    New years, new places I called home, new friends, new hopes, new colleges, new jobs, new faith, new glass, new students, new genres of music, new bird sightings, new types of food, new understanding, new color pencils, new ways to cope, new designs, new scientific discoveries ... 

    to live an unfolding life is the best thing of all.

    and really how better to end this string of posts, with a man who was hanging out in my parents' album collection when I emerged into this unfolding creation ~