Friday, April 27, 2012

Messy Workshop Blog Hop Party

Welcome to the lovely B'sue's  (of B'sue Boutiques)  Messy Workshop Blog Hop!  

So here it is... time to reveal the disaster that is my workspace...  I tend to be in the middle of a dozen projects and ideas at once.  Without further ado... here is the best "large" shot I was able to get.  My table is in a corner, under a window, so please forgive the bad lighting :)

Stacks of papers that have nothing to do with work on one end lol, parts of displays, trays for holding partial projects, a glass vase that is square that I use to hold my tools... three cubbies for holding wire and findings... recycled plastic cases to hold my artisan beads..   As you can see I have a cupcake tin, which holds more in progress projects, or at least bits of projects?  I tend to put things together that I intend to get around to finishing someday... and set them aside like that.  When I took this shot the current project in the middle of the table was the tiara on Rade's lovely head (Rade is the Blythe to the far left in the picture, Stella in the middle, Janet to the far right).  Eli (my husband) calls the Blythes my familiars lol.  They are fun and I love having them around.  

So what comes out of my creative chaos?  I swear it is creative most of the time...  here are a few examples:

So there you go!  My messy workspace and what comes out of it :)  I hope you enjoyed my little bit, now go on... see everyone else's messy worshops!  :)  

Thank you for stopping by!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne
Robin Delargy:
Kim at Cianci Blue
Jennifer Jazwick-Smith
Mary Shannon Hicks
Tracy Swartz
Jacqueline Marchant
Lynnea Perry Bennett
Terry Matusyk
Laurel Steven
Dr. Brassy Steamington
Pamela Takeshige
Kris Lanae Binsfeld
Outre Art
Linzi Alford
Deb Davis
Tamara Jones
Harry Wood
Gerry Nickerson
Elizabeth Owens-Dwy
Georgene Lockwood
Charisa Sloper
Jennifer Justman
Mary Deis
Cheri Reed
Sondra Kolner
Sonya Ingersoll-Stille
Lori Anderson
Sandra McGriff
Shelly Joyce
Joan Williams
Kashmira Patel
Deb Beechy
Ginger Bishop
Kelli Jacobson
Natalie McKenna
Andrew Thornton
Mary Govaars
Kate Mulligan
Lisa Lodge
Tami Luchini
Monique Lula
Lee Koopman
Jayne Capps
Susan Lloyd
Cynthia Wainscott
Stephanie Amanti
Alicia Marinache
Sam Hamp
Lennis Carrier

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beautiful Soul Spotlight: Gennifer Ciavarra

Hello everyone!  Do you remember over a month ago when I promised you beautiful souls? (Post HERE) Well, at long last, I can present you with my first beautiful soul...  the lovely, talented, and incredibly sweet Gennifer Ciavarra!

I met Gennifer through Etsy... I remember seeing something of hers in a treasury, clicking on it and falling into the beautiful world that is her shop.  Full of delicious descriptions of handmade balms, scents, and jewelry all to soothe the soul.  I felt a connection with her instantly and decided to pop over to her FB page  for Sage and Mage (she also has another shop called Altar and Mantle, though both are on vacation at the moment).  On her FB page I was able to begin to get to know her, reading her posts, the way she worded things...  how sincerely she cared about each and every person who she interacted with there.  Over time, Genn and I became friends, we feel connected.  She lives all the way in Melbourne, Australia... the other side of the world, but she is one of my favorite people.  We tease that we are twins because we have the same name barring one letter.  We share a deep love for the sea, for gypsy tents, for secret places, for images that leave us feeling small next to their beauty.

When I decided I wanted to share real women, real beauty... soul beauty, I knew she was someone I wanted to feature.  I am so happy she said she would!  Here is an example of her incredible mixed media art called "The Secret Book":

Isn't it just breathtaking?  I could stare at her art all day.  So I asked Gennifer to tell me about her ideas of beauty, to think about it, and to share her thoughts with us.  Here is what she had to say:

"To me, beauty doesn’t necessarily have an object. It just is: you sense it, you feel it, but it is hard to define. It’s both personal and universal: physical and ethereal. Women are beautiful. Men are beautiful. My aesthetics have changed over time but beauty, it seems, hasn’t - unless it has become more of itself, somehow. 

I was a total grot and tomboy as a child. My idea of gorgeousness was gumboots and a t-shirt that had some sort of trade union slogan on it. The (then) socially acceptable ideals of feminine beauty had escaped me personally, apart from a short-lived phase of white curls like a halo when I was two, for which I was chosen to be a flowergirl at a distant cousin’s wedding. Apparently I had a heat rash on the back of my neck at some stage before the wedding, so my mum cut off my hair. I look like a boy in a dress in the wedding photos. I remember feeling like I was a disappointment somehow because I wasn’t pretty for posterity and it upset me. Perhaps this is why until I was in my thirties, I didn’t revisit the idea of human or feminine beauty much, apart from knowing that it had absolutely nothing to do with pretty.

Growing up, I had two categories of people: I perceived them as either ‘kind’ or ‘not kind’. And I think it is that sense of kindness that has shaped my sense of beauty since. The only thing that has changed about my sense of beauty now is that I don’t categorise as much. I lived for it and ached for it and I still do. In women and men. That kindness, to me, is like a ribbon of beauty that runs through people, a sort of silky truth that is absolute and everywhere, just looking for an opening to flow through. I get glimpses of it, weaving through someone, out of their hands or mouth or eyes. I see it in flaws, scars, in wounds. In the turn of a gaze or a wrist. In moments of unguardedness and vulnerability, in sheer delight and pure terror. There is a photo of my mum that I cherish – she is sitting at a sewing machine and has turned to the camera – perhaps someone called her name - not knowing it was there. Her face is unmasked and candid, ancient and young at the same time, and if I were to paint the Holy Mother, the Goddess, in her aspect as Truth, it would be based on that picture. 

But actually – and quite incidentally, I think – I first noticed this beauty in men. There was Clarry, who I remember as being mainly comprised of beard and clods of earth. He had faraway eyes that knew things and felt things that seemed to be located in the middle distance. There was Motorcycle Jeff (as opposed to The Other Jeff, who didn’t have a motorcycle) who was big and burly and swore a lot but he shone like a lamp and laughed like a waterfall. 

The first woman I consciously thought of as beautiful was my primary school librarian, Mrs Fison. She could have been anywhere between thirty and seventy – to my eight-year-old eyes, anyone over twenty mysteriously dropped into a blurry sea of adultness where age is indistinguishable. I do remember she was slightly portly and had grey  hair. On my last day at the school – my family was relocating from the West to the East Coast - someone stole my immaculate and large marble collection out of my desk during recess. Oddly, they left a few marbles in its place – broken, chipped and decidedly last season. I was devastated and bawled my eyes out – not so much for the marbles but for my last day to be marked with theft. Mrs Fison hugged me – I don’t think there was a law preventing it in those days - and I could feel this wave of warmth come over me. I looked up at her and she was so incredibly beautiful, like a smiling bodhisattva, and I cried more. She felt huge and towering and enfolding; as if her physical form had swelled to accommodate the size of her capacity to love. We wrote to each other for years after I moved. 

There’s an exquisite beauty in women who have just given birth. I think it enthralls me because I am not a mother, and the deep unknown of it makes me in awe of women who are. Two of my girlfriends have had babies recently and it’s like they have been blown open with love and  exhaustion and pain and bliss: I remember the same sense when I first saw my sister with her newborn daughter. She seemed to have touched the edge of a mystery and come back to tell the tale only to find that it was wordless. It’s a kind of shocking beauty, like having been blasted away and left bare. 

It is ultimately that bareness, that utterness of being completely true to themselves, to their own deepest nature, that I find beautiful in the beautiful women who have filled my life. Being themselves, boundlessly creative, unashamedly sensual, doing what it takes to survive and to thrive. Taking risks. Leaving art or music or generosity or comfort and – I can’t think of another word for it - glory in their wake. Laughing at convention. Perfectly imperfect: not hiding anything of themselves and navigating their own way in a world that I have so often found confusing and full of dead ends. They have held my hand while I have hidden and they have taught me to come out of hiding. Their commitment to personal truth – sometimes at great cost and danger – is inspiring, humbling and ultimately contagious. It touches you. What a beautiful thing to catch."

Thank you Genn, for sharing your thoughts of beauty.  You, sweet sister of my soul, are so incredibly beautiful inside and out!  I am so blessed to have you in my life!  

I encourage you all to check out her blog, it is full of her thoughts, her art, and more of her lovely spirit!

Later this week I will be participating in B'Sue's Messy Workshop blog hop!  Keep your eyes wide open ;).


Friday, April 13, 2012

Hello there!

Where have I been?  Here, I swear it.  But I have been a very naughty blogger.  It isn't that I didn't want to talk to you, I promise.  It is more that I am a wee bit overwhelmed with life in general and it has me blinking sleepily at my screen often these days.  A large part of it is... *looks around anxiously, then at you earnestly*  I am itchy.    I have been itchy for about a year now.  And sometimes it is worse than others... the last couple of weeks it has been a bit much.  I have discovered new allergies *wince* thanks to my wonderful dermatologist.  Hopefully removing these allergens as much as possible from my environment will help my skin calm down :).

I promised you an inspirational lady and I will fulfill that promise, but she's been a bit busy herself the last while.  So for now, I am going to share some of my current favorite things... things I am wistfully sighing over ;)

This is from the wonderful Erin of Tesori Trovati... I love to write, someday I hope to be published!  My wonderfully talented friend Marjorie and I have been writing together for four years now... so this pendant of Erin's just made me gasp with delight:

Click on the pic to go to the listing :)

I also love to dance... though just for fun, I'm not trained or anything lol.  And I love this gorgeous piece by my dear friend Janice over at JLynn Jewels:

Click on the pic to go to the listing

As some of you know, I've become enamored with dolls again... I collected dolls for many years (my first "special" doll was given to me when I was about 8) but stopped in college (lack of space...).  I decided to combine my loves for making jewelry and dolls... and am making jewelry for dolls lol.  I have started making friends with the wonderful Blythe community and found some incredibly gifted people through it.  One of these is the amazing Cindy Sowers, she customizes dolls (new hair, face carving, face ups etc), sews the tiny costumes, and even makes wonderful hats!  I fell in love with this gorgeous dress she made...

Click on the pic to check it out :)

Another shop I just love to stare at is Mab Graves'... it is the most deliciously, eerily, charmingly beautiful shop I've ever been in.  Truly.  I am currently eyeing about twenty things in her shop, bemoaning many that sold already... here is one of her prints I'm fond of:

Click on the pic to check it out :)
The details on everything she does are incredible, she makes the tiniest paintings you can imagine for cameos too, using an itty bitty paintbrush!  

And the last one is... this gorgeous pendant from the sweet and kind Yoli of Yolanda's Clay:

Click on the pic for more information and to check out her amazing shop :)

Ok, dear friends, I have little girls who are late to bed, I will hopefully have my special beautiful soul up next week for you all!  Have a beautiful weekend :)