Thursday, February 28, 2013

Angelus Color Test

A beautiful mixture of acrylic and dye (though not combined - when that happens the paint just simply turns into a glob and never mixes with the dye)
that took me over a week to complete...

A color test for my upcoming June workshop at The Ranch in Snohomish, Washington.

The preparation for this weekend class has been the catalyst for stretching into new territory
and the wonders of these new worlds are rich.

Wallpaper florals and white wolf, a take on my city-critter subject matter...domesticated wildness.
Digging deeper into the well.
Seeking and finding.

I have bubblegum pink garment leather I've cut out for a big hobo bag...
I have plans for it to be paired with some rather gritty subject matter...
when did these shifts happen?

I have a clutch to share with you tomorrow...the magic clutch...
oh it is something to behold!!

On the subject of Angelus:

any of you lovelies that work with leather will be pleased as punch to know that there are other options besides Tandy's offerings - I would like to introduce you to these dyes as another possibility with a great and varied color line and a really nice result on tooled hides.

I give the dyes an emphatic thumbs-up!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lady Tiger Ring

This is a ring for the regal feline that resides inside of every woman.
How aware we are of her depends on how much sex we're enjoying,
how much sensual delight we're finding
and how wild and delicious our day-to-day life is.

For most of us then, that would be in peeks and pops, Saturday nights and lingering over fries and dessert with our besties.
It's in painting and catching up,  reading while we soak in warm tubs
or resting in the arms of our beloved all dewy and blushing

Then the dishes pile and the laundry is divided and we fret over 
running out of daylight for tasks that multiply like rabbits
There's the breasts that engorge when we've gone too long between feedings
and the sweet potato flung on our shirts from the sneezes of a baby at lunch
(these would be mine, obviously!)
There's forgetting to wear nice underwear because we're trying to remember our names
and what we promised to whom this week that we didn't write down....

but I wear that she's there sleeping in that dry cave
licking her hungry chops
waiting for night
or the blessed day you get enough sleep to think of indulging in life's delicacies once more

For the moments you forget, consider this your reminder ring.
Australian Print Stone, sterling and fine silvers
size 9.5

One pair of conch shell and pearl magic mushroom 
earrings will be heading into the shop momentarily.

My parents are here to celebrate their grandson's first year on earth
and they are napping in tandem with Orion.

The house is filled with the dreaming sighs of people I love

and I nurse my coffee and work, grateful for all of it.

A beautiful day to you, dear friends!


Monday, February 25, 2013


My Beauty Well had completely run dry a few weeks ago.
You see, I was putting every bit of inspiration the days and weeks were giving me into my work without refilling the account, without going museum-ing or taking the camera out on neighborhood walks.
There were no hikes or bike rides at night with my blinking light to guide the way...


as a treat for the three of us I booked a night at a favorite place brought to my attention during a trip
with a dear dove.

to Hell with 7-11: thank heaven for Inverness!!!

We packed up Brock and wound our way North across the Golden Gate and through the culinary treats of Petaluma

settling in for a while under the duck blind and watching the Great Egrets and Herons
slow down our breath and take it away.

I am forever amazed at how well Orion travels, at his wonderful comfort level in new places.
Whenever we go out to eat with him there is the inevitable comment from another table or a server as we're leaving: "Your baby is so calm, so good" -
I think it's because the world has been such a lovely place for him so far,
every outing showing him the best of people.
Smiles and fun and questions that help him come out of his shy shell...
May it continue to be so!

It's not like we were broken when we came up to our true home this Saturday (a year in Petaluma and my heart belongs to the earth of the North Bay, to those ancient mountains that time wore out)
but we were frayed.

Our hearts needed ministering to by birdsong and irish hills.

Orion saw his first significant ocean waves at a Favorite Beach
we fell asleep to the sound of Hoot Owls calling to each other in the dark
We watched hummingbirds fight over the sweet nectar of a feeder

I think we owe it to ourselves to get out of Dodge as frequently as the soul needs
and fill all the empty places that outside things can fill
as soon as possible
because even though the world has proven great art can come from tortured and parched spirits
I've certainly never known that to be true.

I've known fire and inspiration to come from ache and healing, but none from 
a dry and exhausted well.

Driving home tonight they began their slow and tremulous waltz through my psyche,
the nymphs of inspiration.

I listened, I sketched in my head the things that they whispered
and oh my is so good.



Are you taking care of you, oh dear Reader?

Tell me what you've done to tend your dry places
and we'll compare notes.

With love,
Sunny Bearing Water

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Magic Mushroom Earrings, Beach Escape Edition

End of February blues: I feel the weight of this month like whoa!
Should I duck from you east-coasters throwing tomatoes?
I probably should...

I hear it's cold out your way. Like real cold cold.

don't be so quick to heave those out-of-season reds at me:
I have a cure for the February blues!!

It's one part enamel on copper toadstool 
equal parts hammered sterling circlets
gorgeous silver chain

Asymmetrical hang, three conch shell tube beads
and a dash of pearls.

Mix together and wear on your gorgeous lobes, Ms.

Two colors are available right now:
ombre red
ombre marigold

Trust me - you cannot wear them without a smile
and in these silly old dim days of late winter that can take a bit of doing!

To reserve one of two pairs,
convo me

Sending you beachy thoughts,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Simply Riveting

This weekend
I had a wonderful conversation with Merry-Lee Rae
 over a delicious slice of princess cake
We talked about many things from children to work and back.
It was all inspiring, all totally informing and wonderful to see that someone whose work 
I die over (she was wearing one of her pieces, and they are even more astounding in person)
is such a down-to-earth and good soul.

I look forward to the next time I see her luminous face!

In trying to express where I am in relationship to my craft
I said something about being a few words in to the sentence that would define my body of work someday
in retrospect.


It's as close as I've ever come to finding the right words for this middle place.

There is a glorious creative dangling carrot in front of me, these threads of a woven tapestry that are finding the language to explain their pattern


I am listening.

In the meantime, there is delight to be found in revisiting designs I adored making before
adding little flourishes and sweet spots that make the work feel new and fresh.


Three pairs of cleanly riveted natural wonders will be flying into 

if one of them belongs only to you, please feel free to reserve
them today

Wishing you mounds of joy and warmth on this chilly rainy Nor Cal day!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Magic Clutch, Phase II

Fine sweet peridot set in sterling and fine silvers...
squirrel skull and magnolias 

Antique candle, lit again
golden halo
wing of bee



Thursday, February 14, 2013

L'Heure Exquise

I sang this song in college when I was trending towards more operatic material.
It was one of the most beautiful pieces of music I'd ever heard,
and it still


It translates as 'the exquisite hour'
and we have one of them every evening here at the little California cottage.

The light goes golden
and deepens to amber, pouring from the west into our front windows
and setting our rooms aglow.

It is also Orion's second nap of the day
and his sweet little curls rest against my chest
as we soak in the luminous together
before I nestle him down and tend to supper
and business.

 I am falling behind on things this last week:
please bear with me as I try to balance
these many hats
and keep us all full and content.

Convos and lingering custom orders are delayed a bit (I promise I'll get to them soon)
but my son is never hungry
always comforted 
his gums are popping teeth left and right (now we have six!)
 my husband's cheek gets kissed right on time
and because of the magic that technology affords us
both grandmas will share in our evening
light bath tonight.

Family comes first in this exquisite hour.



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Adventures

I've been working on this beautiful Magnolia Magic clutch for some time,
strengthening a new soft and vintage-y-warm color technique I plan on sharing

in June.

Each tooled item is part of a spell for the woman who will carry it: I felt pretty witchy while I worked,
weaving a lot of intentions into the cuts and muscle of hammering.

Looking forward to teaching has gotten me all aflutter about having even more gifts to give my students who take the two day journey with me at The Ranch in Snohomish, Washington.

I am scouring books and the interwebs for all manner of unique approaches to surface treatments.
Feeling like a student and a kid, buying up bits and snippets in lots of different places...

Time in the studio is at a premium these days with major amounts of teething
and just a general desire to spend days cradling my babe to sleep
and celebrating life with him when he's awake.
O's place in my life grows and stretches with his little feet and arms.

He's so much less a baby and so much a little boy:
just inches away from words and walking.
Orion nods his head with vigor when we inquire about 'more' with his food
and tells us with a horizontal sweep side to side when he's done...
clear and fair.
It's so amazing to watch the communication opening more every day and night.

We take long walks, cuddle deeply after we wake up and chatter at each other like pals
We eat every meal at the kitchen table and marvel over the scrub jays eating peanuts I leave for them in the back yard, working on getting them closer and closer to my palm
We celebrate standing and fret over falls, though I give a really good brave face so he doesn't see me hurt for him...

I am so in love, so painfully wholly in love with all of it, with him and his Daddy and life.

I swoon daily over curls and teeth and tender clammy palms on my cheek while he nurses
and when he goes to sleep I celebrate a return to quiet studio activities,
tending to this thriving thrumming business of mine.

It's so alive, like a child too.

I've never worked so hard or been so tired
nor have I given up things like tv with this ease:
time is a precious golden thing now and I tend to it with care and economy.
I waste not, but I still want: it's the nature of things.

Sleep calls.

Hello and goodnight to you, friends!

Please tell me what you're up to, won't you?


Monday, February 11, 2013

Good Morning, Studio!!

How I love to put up the blinds in the morning - you can see the earth tilting towards summer now...

As slow as hammer engraving

sure as the treasures of the earth

and things that grow in the damp and dark.

The happiest of beginnings to you all today!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Gold Star for You!

Do you remember the feeling that you'd get when you were little and the teacher would give you a gold star, a tiny merit badge for a good deed or a good grade?

I do.
It's stuck with me for most of my adult life.

When Orion has been fed and loved to bits
and the house is warm and smells like what's in the oven for dinner
and my business is tended to
hides and metals humming for my return on the benches
I get a hankering for those little celestial paper bodies.

The first time I shared my need for a gold star with Anthony I believe it was tearfully,
and I am pretty sure I was pregnant and doing too much.

He was gentle and kind, as is his way toward me, and he told me I could always have as many gold stars as I want, but that it would be great if I could also give them to myself.

Sometimes after I've kicked a major amount of ass I'll think, "Gold star!!"
and sometimes when my ass gets majorly kicked I'll give myself a gold star in humility and 

To balance out our inner critics, I think it best to have an inner second grade teacher who is really generous in doling out those little badges of reward.

A gold star for everything, I say.

In the 



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Creative Reset, Day Twenty One: Fin.

Well, here I (we) am (are) !

Twenty One days of my winter focused on the refilling of the creative well that has been so uniquely overflowing/empty since the birth of my babe.

Time and diligence are the two things that will show me the fruits of my work, but I have to be willing to invest in both with a dedicated heart.

I definitely noticed a cleaner flow between the introduction of concept
and the implementation: less of a feeling that the inbox would over-pile and leave me with a creative to-do-list ten thousand designs long.

They're still coming in hot and heavy, but I am using faith and reason (and a great sketchbook) to make sure I am not reading more into the parade than it is. It's a glorious spectacle, one I am blessed to be privy to. I think this level of activity shows that the pump is indeed primed for work, even if the work cannot always be done.

At this phase of my artistic professional life I am allowing more space to come in to the process because I want to enjoy this time with my baby as much as possible. I never forget that it is a luxury few can afford and my gratitude shows in my work and in his health and happiness.

I light candles daily for so many reasons, and one of them is often for mothers who are struggling with any number of things. This is the hardest job on earth, this gentle partial-domestication of the wee wild soul...just enough to give him the world, not too much so that he's a slave to it.

The reset has shown me almost even more than the work I do with hides and hammers and flames that my son is the most divine piece of work I've ever contributed my time and energy to. How he'll turn out is a mysterious alchemy, unlike the mathematics of pressure and heat with my work.

I feel more comfortable with intangibles right now, more courageous than I did before I started this little mini-journey.

I hope you do, too. 
In sharing these last three weeks with you I was encouraged with the breakthroughs and mining some of you shared with me through emails, convos and Facebook messages. Thank you. Anytime you dig, your shovel is bound to encounter darkness and treasures: they are often married to each other.

Today (well, it would have been yesterday but Lord that child is teething right now!)
just breathe and take it all in, all that you did or did not do.
I did not do everything.
I do not feel a lick of bad about that, and I hope if you weren't a model of absolute punctuality you also have the grace to take it easy on yourself.

Healing is not linear
Creativity does not obey
and you are a dear and beautiful work in progress.

Thank you for your kindredness in this endeavor.

Your Assignment for today:
raise a toast to your magnificent self
get tipsy on something sippy.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Creative Reset Day Eighteen: Do something else, but make it fun!


Today was a day off, a blissful one.
That feels so good to say since between being sick  
and feeling overwhelmed this kind of nice has been hard to find.

Orion and I played a lot: since his scoot has gotten super-fast he chases me around the house shrieking with delight, this hyper-wonderful open-mouth drool-smile constantly on his face.
He chuckles and chortles and then has to stop because he's laughing so hard.

So am I!

I treasured this so much and took life-flashing-before-your-eyes mental snapshots.

His hair is getting so long now with little curl wisps behind his ears like a little angelic hockey player
and he is imitating everything he hears.

I have to stop myself from squeezing him too hard because I just enjoy and love him at this phase so much: he makes sense right now. A tiny human.

Save your 'terrible two and three' asides, I know, I know.....

When I get overwhelmed with the pressures of earning a living from art,
I step away. I hug my baby and play.

Ha - I say that like I actually do it gracefully!

It is SO hard for me to do this, and I normally have to hit some sort of rocky shoal before I am willing to let go.

Just as with giving what you most wish to receive, you cannot do this with any motive - it requires a purity of intent, in this case to get the fuck out of the massive hole you're digging for yourself by obsessing and indulging in fruitless and repetitive behavior.

Put DOWN the brush
or pen
or flamey-thing
or spoon
or hammer

Once you've come out of the thick of it, plan on doing something really nice for yourself.

When I have gone too far in the direction of work, my Saving Grace becomes baking.

While you can absolutely alter recipes (which is its own creativity)
I take such comfort in the wonder of measurements someone else has done that will (when combined according to mathematical and scientific magic) create a resulting delicacy.

Earlier this week it was 

sugar cookies. Oh my God, you guys. Oh my God.

Today it was my mother's Shaker recipe for Orange Cranberry Bread

and my own(!) for magic maths for chocolate cornstarch pudding with Kosher salt flakes dusting the top.

Here's how I make it:

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup (plus a scant 1 tsp) corn starch
dash of salt
4 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a heavy saucepan
and add the milk slowly, whisking to ensure a smooth pudding.
Continue whisking 
allow the mixture to boil (while still whisking) for two minutes until thick
the remove from heat.

Stir in the butter and vanilla
and pour in to nice cups.

and refrigerate until set

Baking is my something else
in a really therapeutic way
and Anthony really appreciates the desserts!

So do I.

Ok, now

Go fly a kite
or play in the ocean
swing in the park like a kid
or bake the living love out of a loaf of bread

but please


Today's Journal Entry: 
Do Something Else.
Write about the relief if that's what you feel
or the guilt
or the joy.