Friday, March 30, 2012

Things That Happened Because of a Good Hike

Tribal Archaeology, Umtanum Canyon
This is a wild place. We came here when the fishing was good and the camas roots were ready. We didn’t own it; in time the ashes of our cooking fires, our blood and our bones became part of the volcanic soil.  And now the rallying cries of our fierce leaders echo in the canyon walls when the falcons build their nests, our beautiful women dance in the breezes of spring in their new green dresses, our children laugh in the rapids, our drums still beat as your heart does climbing higher to our secret place. This is a wild place, we are still here.

A bangle stack of 9 distressed recycled bangles antiqued with the fine soil of Umtanum Canyon in Eastern Washington. If you visit, do it no later than mid-April. After that, it is also known as Rattlesnake Canyon. The snakes begin to stir when the night temperatures rise above freezing. And when you visit, listen for those who came there before you.


That's Umtanum Canyon in Eastern Washington.  It's a fine hike that can be as long or as short as you want it, on trail, or off.  It's dog friendly, as long as you go before the snakes wake up.  Abbie proved her stout heart by swimming a creek crossing, while I teetered over slipperly logs and tippy rocks like a total NOOB.

And a week later, I finally put up my gear and such -- and that's when Abbie found the glove.  She likes to let me know she has my glove or sock (wool preferred) by dancing in front of me with it dangling from her lips and scooting off when I reach for it.  You may not be able to hear her thoughts, but I can, it's NEENER-NEENER, you shoulda put up your stuff before now, so bribe me to get this nice wool thing back.  Slobber and tooth marks are extra.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Icons of Wisdom, Owlets

For more on these charming young ones, visit Quigley's Cabinent, easily the best blog on the 'net, and see her entry for March 23.  You may just make a visit to Ms. Quigley a daily habit, as I have.  There you will find lots of random, inspirational, quirky, often dark, information from Christine, who gleans it from who-knows-where and edits it and presents it for your edification and delight.  She is one of those rare folk who shine a bright, but gentle, light into the shadows, and helps us keep a clean and rational perspective on our world, past and present.  Reality is a great inspiration!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bangle Inspiration from the Ships of the Desert

Now that's a stack!  See how a nice stack of tassels and beads and beautiful textiles can beautify a person?

I love the way people decorate their valued transport!

And it seems that the camelids, new world and old, have a special relationship with red tassels, regardless of ethnicity.

Or a special relationship of drivers to their valued source of income?

or maybe it's those beautiful, sloe eyes . . .

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bangle-o-rama II

You say "stack" and I say "how high?"  Each time I make a set, I want to add it to the previous one --   my latest resulted in a stack of 13, so I had to add just one more.  Something about starting the project as two separate ones results in a richer color and texture when the two are joined.

Here's an arty shot of the results, all stacked up on my po' ol' mannequin hand with the crackled skin and melted fingers.

And here's a close up shot showing the array of charms.  None of yer readymades, m'dears, but an eclectic grunged-up assortment of things that an acquisitive, sharp eyed traveler might have found along the road and cobbled into a personal treasure.  Charms include: a vintage scarab souvenir, a holy medal, a bit of abalone, a peach pit with a star on it, and other bits 'n bobs of found and recycled jewelry.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Found Object du Jour

Another beach walk yesterday with some cool small things that have some pack rat appeal, at least to me:  A shell, perhaps just the lining, all nacre, a whelk that has been broken to show its spiral staircase inside, all tumbled white; the tip of another whelk with a pretty nova striped pattern, a barnacle with a plume of kelp; a bit of aluminum with chipped paint in black and red, with mysterious encrustations, sea glass and a bit of charcoal tumbled into a pretty, flat oval.

And my best find, a sign of spring in deep waters, an egg mass, that looks a bit like caviar, but it is solid and rubbery.  Perhaps the young have already hatched and this is just the old nursery; it bears close, magnified examination.  I love the color and the texture, and think it would be wonderful in a resin pool.

These treasures may seem ordinary, but I follow a design discipline that disposes of that notion.  Nothing is ordinary if you open your mind, eyes and heart!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I think the craze for wrist-to-elbow bangles was restarted by Marina Rios of Fanciful Devices.  She has been making stacks of them and just released a tutorial loaded with hints and inspiration.  She makes wonderful piles of them that look ancient and rustic. Check it out!

Bangle stacks offer a great opportunity to use up the little bits and pieces you have hoarded, and to stretch your imagination with simple techniques such as wrapping or lashing with pretty fabrics or wire.  Think of the acquisitive traveling tribal trader who finds things and cobbles them together, over years of time and grime, and you have the right idea.

This project started with a handful of thrifted bangles, oxidized and then variously wrapped or hitched with sari silk, racked (a nautical knot) with waxed linen, or lashed with wire and beads.

Next, charms were added:  a souvenir scarab, an antique green bead with cap, a frosted jade cross with copper wiring, an ancient spun glass bicone, two-toned bead, and a contemporary sugar-glass bead.

Also, since we associate coins with that gypsy look, a fine old Chinese coin and a coin charm from tribal Afghani jewelry.  And an altered hamsa charm.  And hand-stitched 20s era seed beads.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Flowers for Diego

My cousin Bob lives in the Bay Area and he does love flowers.  He has sent me some lovely pics of floral arrangements from the Bouquets to Art Exhibit and the deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park, which I would like to share.  

Bouquets at the deYoung's Exhibition
This show is "the glorious annual floral exhibition and fundraiser" in which floral designers create tributes to the museum's collection and display them as compliments to the museum's fine collection.  My favorite is the tribute to Diego Rivera's works that calls to mind his paintings of flower markets, and thus expand the viewer's horizon, referring to other well known works of this monumental Mexican genius.

Isn't it a very beautiful and subtle tribute?  The shape and color of the arrangements evoke so much more than is actually in the room.  Definitely glorious!
Another work by Diego Rivera

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Right Down to the Shine

The Nose detects a few parts per million of butter, pancake and maple syrup.  This must be eradicated and the fine hotel ironstone platter must be restored to its original shine.

I will perform this invaluable service.

All done!

Shiny plates, it's what I do.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Great Northwet

It's true what they say about Seattle -- days and days of rain.  Partly sunny is not what you hear in the forecast; you hear partly rainy with showers.  Or 50 percent chance of rain, which means that it is 100% over half the area, or worse, if you live in the convergence zone which is right over my roof, everything brewing happens in your yard.

At this time of year, we dream of the desert or high-tailing it over to Hawaii.  My friend Deb did that, but it was too shocking to come back home -- nothing had changed here.  Spring comes slowly, almost painfully; you have to tune your senses to very subtle changes!  Still the soft, middle gray tones make the greens stand out brightly and the rains ensure that there's plenty of green everywhere.  Moss, and algae, you know!

Oh, and we have snow showers at 500 feet of elevation forecast for the next 24 hours, as the temperatures drop and another sort precipitation  arrives.  You see, we have more than one kind of rain,  we have "snain" or mixed snow and rain, or partly snowy.  I am not complaining about the weather, oh no.  I'll just break out my handy light box and dream of tropical shores.  And guess what?  Some of these rainy weather systems are called "The Pineapple Express."  Oh irony, oh iron gray skies.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Late Stage Found Object Love Disorder

I love the grunge on old things, the film of dust on a mirror, the crust of rusty oxidation where the paint has chipped away from painted tin, the random, uncontrived marks of time that has passed over things that have survived its ravages.

I love things that are not easily identifiable, that provoke deep curiosity, that force us to notice them in the abstract, without context.  They write their own poetry in the imagination.

So here's a couple of shots of the most recent things I have acquired, the ones I turn around in my mind's eye as I drift off to sleep, hoping to find what they must be when they reincarnate as art.

A loop of worn ornamental cord and River Thames
pottery shards  from Fagin's Daughter, in Australia;

Animal chewed walnut husks and fossil oyster shells,  from Treasurehider, found kayaking in Chesapeake bay;

Hand carved African Mokolwane Palm Nut beads from Isle Brevelle Botanica and the veve included in packaging;

A crusty, chipped, broken folding ruler from I-can't-remember-where.

Rustic clay beads of unknown origin from BJ Supplies.

All found poking around on Etsy; check the links!