Thursday, November 6, 2008

Live Handmade

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

I think there are parallel currents reshaping and redefining American life. On one hand, corporations and government continue to formalize and commercialize our lives. On the other hand, the green and handmade movements highlight our interest in recognizing a social interconnectedness independent of big business.

With the stock market heaving and the government scooping up broken financial institutions, I think we are definitely looking at increased government control of the economy. Additionally, the G-8 and other global powers are already talking about banding together to combat the global economic crisis. If there’s one thing that increases government power quickly and mercilessly, it’s a crisis. Just look how the Patriot Act expanded executive power, trampled civil rights, and justified the discrimination and detention of Muslims. On a more individual level, I think the shaky economy will force more families to choose inexpensive, corporate businesses like Wal-Mart instead of alternative markets. Many families who would rather buy organic tomatoes from the farmer’s market simply don’t have the extra 2 dollars.

At the same time, for the very same reasons, I think some individual and families are trying to step away from big box stores and commercialization. Christmas is coming and our bank account is dry. I realized over the summer that times would be hard, so I bought gifts for my kids during garage sale season and then purchased handmade puzzles. With the national economy in a messy transformation, I feel it’s important to send the message that I support independent artists and craftspeople, not big business and the exploitation of underpaid workers. The economy is also a reminder of how dangerous it is to spend unwisely and get into debt. Therefore I hope more families choose to focus less on buying, and more on making, recycling, and trading for wonderful, meaningful gifts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Wars America Forgot

As the stock market lurched down the morning after Election Day, most Americans were more worried about our economy than our wars. Exit polls show that only 1 in 10 voters considered Iraq an important election issue.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Archive - Soul Song

I sing of soul coiled,
At the root of my spine,
Wrapped in red veils,
Kundalini, the bride.

I sing of soul rising,
Amber as flame,
Dancing, sweet Lakshmi:
I sing in her name.

I sing of soul changing,
Even when still,
I sing yellow birds,
On a cracked windowsill.

I sing of soul patterns,
In word-tangled art,
I sing the green maze,
Of hands and of heart.

I sing a soul river,
That flows from my throat,
In silence, reflected,
One timeless, blue note.

I sing of soul amethyst,
The luminous mind,
I unfurl my soul,
and sing what I find.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mid Missouri Pagan Pride

Today Ozark Avalon Church of Nature and Hearthfires of Columbia hosted a Mid Missouri Pagan Pride gathering. Peace Park was beautiful and the day flawlessly bright. We were lucky enough to have our vending space beneath a tree, who offered us shade and a continual swirl of green-yellow autumn leaves.

Today was a big step for Tangled Macrame, so I would like to thank everyone who visited my shop, especially those who took home hemp-y treasures. Thanks to Taz and Alex for encouraging me to take out the space. Thanks to the pirate crew on our left...see you all at Bacchanalia!

Friday, September 26, 2008


The macrobiotic diet combines vegetarianism with Zen Buddhism to create meals that balance the body and spirit. Foods are characterized as yin (cold, sweet) or yang (spicy, salty), then paired within recipes. Individual dishes balance one another as part of a seasonal menu of local, organically grown foods. Brown and water form the high fiber core of the diet, accompanied by sautéed veggies and seaweed. Fatty meats, alcohol, refined sugars, dairy, and tropic fruit are all restricted. In addition to restricting food choices, the macrobiotic diet reminds people to eat slowly and thoughtfully.

I’m thinking apple bread and pumpkin pie, but this is close as these recipies go…

CousCous Cake with Vanilla Sauce
6 cups apple juice
2 pinches of sea salt
1/2 package agar flakes
2 cups CousCous
3 TBS rice syrup
2 TBS almond butter
zest and juice from one orange
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, toasted in the oven, skins rubbed off and cut into pieces.

1. Bring the apple juice and salt to a boil.
2. Add the agar flakes and cook on low with the lid off for 5 minutes until flakes dissolve.
3. Add the CousCous and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the rice syrup, almond butter, orange zest and juice and toasted chopped hazelnuts.
5. Pour into cake pan and let set.

Vanilla sauce
2 cups apple juice
pinch of sea salt
2 TB rice syrup
1 TB almond butter
2 TB kuzu diluted in 1/4 cup cold water
dash vanilla, dash nutmeg , dash cinnamon
fresh orange

1. Bring the apple juice, salt, rice syrup and almond butter to a boil.
2. Stir in the diluted kuzu and simmer for 1 minute.
3. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.
4. Serve on Cous Cous Cake and garnish with thinly sliced pie-shaped pieces of fresh orange.

Autumn Recipes
Macriobiotic Diet Overview

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This Body, This Body Holding Me

Women have bodies that are graceful as a maple sapling, bodies that are round and sweet as an apple. Don’t ask your body how much it weighs; ask your body how well it lives. Can you pick up a fallen child? Can you feel pleasure? Can you laugh? If your body does the things you want to do, if it carries you through your day, then it’s good enough.

The health and beauty industry can shove its annual $50 billion up its air brushed butt.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

First Journey

After his descent into the mysteries of death, the hero emerges with new insight and knowledge. Both Odysseus and Aeneas learn, through observation and direct dialogue, the fate of souls once mortal life ends. However, Aeneas discovers an afterlife that promises transformation, in contrast to the grey monotony found by Odysseus.

In the Odyssey the dead are a “blurred and breathless” procession of heroes and queens, wandering aimlessly until empowered to speak by sacrificial blood. Achilles describes their hopelessness. “Better to break sod as a farm hand for some poor country man, on iron rations, than lord it over the exhausted dead” (XI, 544-546). The irony of these words, coming from a man he once urged toward glorious death in battle, was not lost on Odysseus. Nearby Tantalos reaches eternally for water he can never reach, a mirror of Achilles who also longs for unobtainable release. Thus confronted by the tragic similarities between the fate of heroes and sinners, Odysseus emerges from the Underworld terrified, but determined to manifest Teiresias’ prophecy of peaceful death at the hands of age.

Virgil’s epic, by contrast, presents a more diverse Afterlife, one profoundly affected by how a person lived and the manner of his death. Here the unburied are trapped on one side of the Styx, while suicides, heroes, and the damned are sorted into specified regions. The most striking difference between the two realms, however, is explained by Anchises. “For some the stain of wrong is washed by floods or burned away by fire. We suffer each his own shade” (VI, 602-604). In other words, death isn’t the end. In time, the soul is transformed into a new human incarnation or ascends into heaven, based on his character.

Aeneas emerges determined and enlightened, more aware of his role as Founder and as a spiritual work in progress. This knowledge is a kind of compensation for the fact he will die pitifully, before his task is complete. Odysseus, on the other hand, received no reassurance, only an affirmation of the preciousness of mortal life and his desire to return to those he loves.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spaces Between

I sit on the bank of a rippling creek, watching the long arms of a sycamore sway. This place feels holy to me. Of course it is beautiful, most of nature is, but its beauty is heightened by the sight of a Macy’s parking lot only a few yards away.

I’m in Joplin, at the Southern Missouri State College campus, where my husband is having dental work done. Instead of waiting, I decided to walk, to follow the small campus “nature trail”, while chattering to a friend on the cell phone. He was singing about his trip to San Francisco, where he and a tribe of Deadheads are seeing Phil Lesh perform a final concert at the Warhouse Theatre. The jealously was enough to kill me, until the trail intersected a gravel road and bright, rippling water carried my frustration away.

I followed the water along another path, till the old stone-work drainage canal gave way to a rocky creek bank. The sight took my breath away as I stood with wilderness over one shoulder and urban sprawl behind the other. Bright purple flowers peeked up from the mud. They inspired me to pull a Wal-Mart bag from the sycamore roots and start picking up trash. Such a magical place deserves a little love, and the cleaning was my exchange for the two fossil stones the water gifted me.

I met an old man down by the water. He told me he worked for the campus, though I still clutched my phone and worried he was some lunatic fishing for lake chub and telling strange girls about the creek’s mineral deposits just to disguise his terrible intentions. Whatever they were, he never acted on them. He left, carrying a bucket of chub, and left me sitting on the bank, holding a stone in both hands, and gazing about across the rippling water.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Healing Rituals

Though the techniques and attitudes of the Navajo shaman and the typical American physician differ greatly, both traditions are steeped in ritual and personify unique cultural beliefs about health, healing, and illness. By examining the two systems side by side I hope to illustrate how they can coexist and how together they work to meet the diverse needs of American medical patients.

In 2000 about 11.6 million people were employed as nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and in a multitude of other professions associated with the 1.3 trillion dollar a year medical industry (Jonas 7-8). Given these numbers, generalizations about a physician’s philosophy are difficult to make. Modern healers are as diverse as their patients. However, the Medical Practice Act of New York State testifies that, “the practice of the profession of medicine is…diagnosing, treating, operating or prescribing for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition” (Jonas 28). This definition illustrates the primary focus of the American physician on the treatment of symptoms. There is no mention of the patient or of preventive care. Instead, the Act offers a list of human frailties and the skills a physician possess to cure them.

The Navajo healer’s world-view, by contrast, is one of “good hope”, one that connects land and its inhabitants in a timeless, spiritual reality. Illness is perceived as the price of breaking natural laws. Therefore the shaman, gifted his or her healing powers by holy spirits, must treat the cause, not the symptom of illness. Rituals are used to bring a patient back into alignment with their planet, community, and spiritual and physical self. In the sand painting ritual, the chanting shaman creates an image whose shape and colors are used to interpret the patient’s illness (Spector 219-221).

Lori Arviso Alvord, a Navajo surgeon and teacher at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, remembers the winter night an entire tribe danced and chanted for an ill woman. She explains that, "The latest breakthroughs in research and methodology are stunning achievements and should be recognized as such, but along the way we have forgotten some of the things that heal us best--our relationships, how we live our lives, our feelings of wholeness and belonging" (Mangan A12). For Alvord and her shamanic predecessors healing is a natural, continual process, and one that is compatible with modern medicine.

In fact modern medicine possesses many of the same characteristics as native traditions. M.L. Elks of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta draws this thoughtful analogy between the work of the physician and that of the shamanic healer:

Traditional healers often have required the patient to confess misdeeds, wear special garments, and perform certain tasks, while the healer might touch the patient with stylized gestures or interpret various physical signs. In modern medicine, the doctor takes the patient's history, or "confession." During an examination, the patient wears a paper drape, and the doctor often touches the patient's body with a stethoscope and other instruments. Later, the doctor interprets the results of laboratory tests and requires the patient to take certain actions, such as exercising, dieting, or swallowing pills.

The paradox of modern medicine is that the work of the physician is not considered sacred, but his or her decisions are still sacrosanct and wrapped in ritualistic mystery. Patients repeat the physician’s diagnosis to friends and family, often without fully understanding their meaning. The patient begins taking medications with unpronounceable names, sometimes without even seeing the prescription.

Patients, more than physicians, seem to recognize the similarities between modern and ancient medicine and understand the need to unify the two traditions in a healer who is skilled in treating disease, but also sensitive to spiritual and emotional needs. According to a study conducted by David Larson, M.D, president of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, nearly forty percent of the population wishes their doctor would pray with them, and sixty percent are interested in discussing their spirituality with their doctor (Marty). It seems clear that spirituality connectivity is an important issue for patients and one that should not continue to be neglected.

The intuitive rituals of the Navajo shaman, and other faith-based healing traditions, are a reminder that there is more to illness than its physical side effects and more to the healer than certification or superior knowledge. Treatment is an exchange between patient and physician and it takes place within a shared reality, shaped by cultural tradition and world view. Though the modern American medical system has focused primarily on the tradition of science, ritualistic practices still exist and patients still desire to have their spiritual needs recognized. The shift toward a more pluralistic health care system is to acknowledge the diverse and ever changing needs of patients and to begin the complex work of healing.

Elks, M.L. “The Key Role of Ritual in Modern Medicine.” Bulletin. Aug 1998. 24 Apr

Jonas, Steven. An Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System. New York: Springer
Publishing, 2003.

Mangan, Katherine S. “Enlisting the Spirit in Medical Treatment.” Chronicle of Higher Education. 45:42 (1999): A12.

Marty, Martin E. “Is Anybody Out There Listening?” Bulletin. Nov 1997. 24 Apr

Spector, Rachel E. Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness. Stamford: Appleton & Lange, 1996.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


George Gershwin wrote his American folk opera "Porgy and Bess" in 1935. You may recognize "Summertime" as performed by Janice Joplin or catch bits of Gershwin's lyrics in Sublime's song of the same name. In celebration of warm weather and babies with good lookin' mamas, here's a delightful animation set to the sorrowful, soulful voice of Billie Holiday.

The cat who made this video's from the Netherlands...his website isn't in English, but here's the link.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

We are sisters...

We are sisters, of the goddess,
we are keepers, of the flame,
we are sisters,in a circle,
and we sing, to this flame.

We are sisters of the maiden,
dancing, drunken in the rain.
We are sisters of the maiden,
this I sing, in Kore's name.

We are sisters of the goddess,
we are keepers of the flame,
we are sisters, in a circle,
and we sing, the soul is flame.

We are sisters, of the mother,
whose child, mid-stanza, wakes again.
We are sisters, of the mother,
this I sing, in Hera's name.

We are sisters, of the goddess,
we are keepers of the flame,
we are sisters, of the wise crone,
who walks alone, in dark and rain.

A Poem by Jelaluddin Rumi

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From any embryo, whose nourishment comes from the blood,
Move to any infant drinking milk,
To a child on solid food,
To a searcher after wisdom,
To a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo,
You might say, “The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheat fields and mountain passes,
And orchards in blood.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
The beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.”

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays copped up
In the dark with eyes closed.
Listen to the answer.
There is no “other world.”
I only know what I’ve experienced.
You must be hallucinating

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Local Love

I love to drive the old, rambling highways north of Sedalia and see the fields spread like a patchwork quilt across the earth.

Goddess Gathering

The Goddess wears many faces, some of whom I met last weekend at the Triple Goddess Gathering. I saw the bright maiden Kore in newborn leaves and the tribe of young women who invited me to their fire. We chanted and chattered and in the middle of the night organized ourselves enough to move my tent into their village.

As we passed the magic mirror around our Circle, I saw Demeter gazing back at me. I am the mother of two beautiful children and a multitude of knotty hempen creations. My friend Waterlilly is the mother of this trio of polymer deities.

There is a grandmother dragon who sleeps in a cave at the foot of Cumberland Hill. I wandered down to visit her after closing ritual and returned to see Rose, Sorshia, and Cat sitting around the fire like the Norms sitting beneath the Tree of Life. These three women always make me feel welcome at Ozark Avalon…and sometimes humble, because my voice will never carry like Rose’s and my scrambled eggs are never as fluffy as Soshia’s. One day…

Friday, March 28, 2008

Full Moon at Ozark Avalon

Over the weekend our family traveled to Ozark Avalon Church of Nature, where Abigail met the "Star Bunny" and Azurehawk and I hosted a planting ritual. Typical of Missouri, we celebrated spring, then saw snow swirling the next day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vernal Equinox

Welcome spring with fire, friends, and a chihuahua wearing pajamas!

We had a wonderful night with our good friend. Tim and I sang while Chris played guitar. Everyone marveled at the luminous moon and the thin whisps of clouds drifting past. Our fire was bright, crawling with fire fairies who swirled in the gusting wind of spring. Good times, yes, good times...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


What will you grow in Earth's garden this spring?
What song will you join with the sparrow to sing?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hebrides Overture

Felix Mendelssohn took a grand tour of Europe in his twenties and visited all the continent’s great cultural centers. However, it was the lonely island of Staffa, off the coast of Scotland that was the inspiration for his melodic Hebrides Overture. In the Overture Mendelssohn entwines two themes: one expressing the majestic beauty of Fingal’s Cave and one reminiscent of the rolling sea. He created the first theme that very day and later wrote Fanny, "In order to make you understand how extraordinary The Hebrides affected me, I send you the following, which came into my head there.” ( Listening to Hebrides Overture the listener is transported to a land of serene beauty, as honored by a man who declared, “It is in pictures, ruins, and natural surroundings that I find the most music.”

From Felix's 1827 letter to his sister Fanny


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Earth Mother

Thou art goddess,
thou art the womb of the world.

I walk with the goddess,
I walk with the trees,
though my belly's round with child,
I walk with ease.

Strong as a goddess,
wise as the trees,
blessed is the child,
who walks with me.

Congratulations Spiritmama!
Congratulations Rachel!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Crocus wears a yellow gown, while the world still sleeps in winter brown.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bird Haunt

Just south of Hughesville is an old, decaying house. It looks like a ghost haunt, but the only spirits I met there were birds. They flitted among the brown grass as I crossed the sun-set field. In the brightness of early evening I wondered, “Why is this place empty? How many neighborhood kids have lingered on these broken steps, dreaming ghosts and double-dares?” The instant I crossed the threshold the old house groaned. Ten dozen sparrows leaped into the air, shouting among the bare rafters. I stood a moment as silence returned, gazing at the stripped wood through my camera lens. Before I could capture images of my brave trespass into forgotten space, the camera beeped once and the battery died. I turned slowly back toward the bright doorway and the song-filled fields beyond. The house moaned a second time, like an old woman asking one last moment of companionship before nightfall.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

..take a pool full of water to cool him down

When Coyote caught her tail on fire, she fled the city for the hills. Dragon Man followed, swallowing up the ash, and all the world went still. Nothing grew for a long time in the city or in the hills. Coyote waited, nursing her burns, until spring. Then she found a lonely puddle and asked her to grow a seed to two. Soon there was green on the hills and folks walking through the tall grass. Nothing grew in the city. Only Dragonman walks there now.

You're it...

Hedgewitch tagged me yesterday afternoon, so here we go. Seven facts, seven rules, and seven more souls in the game. Haha!

Seven Facts:

1. I’m wearing my tie-dye bandanna today because I haven’t brushed my hair
2. I replaced pancakes with yogurt for family breakfast so that I can blog in the mornings
3. I’m a Capricorn rising with my sun in Sagittarius and moon in Scorpio
4. My favorite author is Ursula K. LeGuin
5. My favorite movies are “American Beauty” and the original “Star Wars” trilogy
6. I love veggies raw, but not cooked
7. My husband and I married at a music festival while tripping mescaline

Seven Rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Seven-ish Victims:
Rainbow Mom
Inky Spider
Linden Tree Photography

Monday, March 10, 2008

there's a dragons with matches loose on the town...

Many folk tales associate the Maiden with apples. Snow White falls asleep with one crisp bite; the golden beauty of “Silver Hands” is betrothed to the Devil as she sweeps beneath her father's apple tree. So it was that a fallen branch beneath the old neighbor apple tree inspired me to honor the newborn spring with a blaze.

The family will light the season’s first burn tonight. I hope Abby is still awake, because she was a joy as we collected firewood. She road down in the storage area of the stroller while I pilled the wood into the seat.

Hope you enjoy these photos of the old dragon-man who lives in our fire ring. Hopefully we'll see him open his wings tonight.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Had a wonderful time doodling last night..and turning my doodles into something useful. I've been contemplating ways to increase the perceived value of my jewelry and to make it looks great on display. I think these charming little tags will do both those things. What do you think?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Gaian Conspiracy

I am a tree, in a seed, in the earth,
I am a river, I flow through the earth,
I am a thought in the mind of this planet,
I am a dream in the mind of the goddess.

Hey ya'na hey, weave away,
we are all a part of this,
hey ya'na hey, find a way,
the song returns my soul to this.

I am a tree, in a seed, in the earth,
Winter is sleeping, dreaming rebirth,
I am of flesh, giving form to the spirit,
I share this song, that the goddess may hear it.

Hey'ya hey, weave away,
we are all a part of this,
hey ya'na hey, find a way,
this song connects my soul to bliss.

Two Sides of Winter

The winter solstice divides the year and divides the winter as well. On the far side of the axis is winter dark and on this side is the secret spring. Winter dark is time for dreaming who to be, whereas secret spring is the root-work that allows these dreams to manifest.

When most people speak of winter they describe a day like today. Snow fell in the early morning, then puddles upon puddles of rain. The yard is a bog of mud and wet leaves. Everyone thinks its cold, but when I put my eye to the ground, I discovered the earth preparing for warm days. Bright tiny shoots gazed back from the water. They are the children of secret spring

Life begins underground. Before the crocus lifts his head, before the birds choose their mates, the seeds germinate. They send their roots down through the warming, wet February soil, protected from nighttime frost by the last leaves of autumn.

In secret spring the sky is a million shades of grey. The clouds are heavy, but moving fast. The geese complain as they drift among the clouds, buoyed up by the same hurrying wind. In a few weeks the birds will make their long flights back north and end their winter pilgrimage. They gather in massive flocks, chattering and pecking the first green food of the season.

Scientists believe that migrating creatures react to the changing angle of the sun, not the weather, as was once thought. In winter the sun travels south and lingers, pale and solitary, at the horizon while the earth turns cold. Only humans seem unaware of the change. We roar across a sentinel planet with the help of our heaters and gas guzzling machines. Meanwhile, bear sleeps and monarchs gather by the drowsy thousands in the hilltop forests of Sierra Chincua. In February the butterflies will follow the geese north, lay their larva on milkweed pods, and die.

Back in Missouri, I enjoy winter dark with a walk beneath the cold night moon. The earth is still and frozen solid; the air is sharp and clear as glass. My thoughts follow my feet across the glittering reality as my dog and I follow the moon. I marvel at the shape of the naked trees that, without their leaves, appear like tall, patient men waiting in the snow. This is the winter everyone recognizes. It’s the season of three hundred dollar electric bills and family celebrations, of snow and silence.

If I were to mark winter dark on a calendar, I think it would begin in November. The ancient Celts believed that the boundary between life and death was thin this time of year. Romantically, the belief invokes thoughts of fireside conversations with the family ghost. In reality, cold nights and hunger drew many across the Veil unwilling. On the night of the winter solstice our ancestors kept vigil, praying for the sun to return. Different cultures gave the sun different names, but even modern Christmas remembers the awe inspiring birth of light from darkness with song and prayers.

However, by January the sun has visibly begun his journey home. The seeds begin their underground work and modern humans calm down long enough to file their taxes and pack up the Christmas tree. Secret spring marks the weeks between darkness and the vernal equinox and contains the ancient festival of Imbolc. This early-spring holiday celebrates the birth of season’s first lambs and calves. It also acknowledges the return of the earth as a maiden goddess. The ancient Celts dedicated these days to the goddess Brigid and medieval Catholics held a feast to honor the purification of the Virgin Mary.

Today, few people celebrate the green touch of secret spring or experience the clarity of winter dark. Both seasons are beautiful, but cold. They last only a handful of weeks and tend to blur into a conglomerate season called sweater weather. Their details are microscopic, like the structure of a snowflake or the root of a newborn seed, too small to notice when I’m in a hurry. Yet when I slow down I see secret spring as the promise of color and tiny life stirring underground. Winter dark is a moment rest as the seeds and butterflies wait the time of rebirth. Both are a gift to those who observe the journey of the sun and the metamorphosis of the earth through her many seasons.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Featured Artist: Beadfreaky

Tell us about yourself: your interests, family, ect : I have a big family, 5 kids, and I think that's one reason I love goddesses so much. They symbolize all that is important in Mothering, which is something I really need to reaffirm to myself. I also have always loved making things. Ceramics is something I've been doing for about 15 years. I also love to paint and am planning on learning glass.

Can you describe your studio/work area? Right now it's just half of a two car garage :) My work doesn't really require much space. I have a small electric kiln for the bisque firings and for the porcelain beads. I usually just use one table to work at, whether I am formimg beads, making plaster stamps, cleaning pieces, or applying glazes. I just clean up in between :)

Tell us about the creative process. What inspires you and how do you turn those inspirations into art? I am simply drawn to ancient symbols. I feel they represent all that is missing in modern life: our connection to nature, our bodies, our families, the cycle of the seasons. Sometimes I make a model of what I want and then make a plaster mold. Other times I carve into plaster to make a stamp. I also like to use found objects and textures for a more abstract, less representational piece.

What do you enjoy most about crafting/creating? For me the most fun is the firing process. I love taking a item made of clay and changing it through the heat of the fire. Wheter it is in the pit outside with salt, copper, and leaves or in the kiln with glazes, the transformation is magical.

What inspired you to fire pendants in your backyard instead of a traditional kiln?
About 15 years ago, I had a friend who worked with pit-firing. At the time I lived near the Pacific Ocean, and it was wonderful to do the firings by the ocean. Adding seaweed was a great way to get cool salt effects. I was making small pendants and beads, and they seemed perfect for pit firing, actually much easier, because breakage due to thermal shock is less likely with the smaller pieces. The random, stone-like effects were a perfect fit with the natural subjects of the beads.

Why do you think ancient symbols, like the labyrinth and Kokopelli, continue to speak to people today? Well as much as we like to pretend that we are not part of nature, we are natural beings who are dependent on and affected by nature. We know that deep inside, and that awareness attracts us to these symbols.

Well... I really love the moon goddess in my avatar because she is such a big, bold goddess. I also like the moon reference in that piece. She looks a bit like me :) which also endears her to me.

Visit beadfreaky's Etsy store

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pattern of a Goddess

Some patterns are life-patterns; some patterns live in our hands. This pattern was inspired by the goddess who inhabits its center and the rest of me had to learn the knots as it unfolded. That makes for a long night hunched over 20 yards of hemp, tying and retying knots, trying to keep faith that the pattern exists even when I can’t see it.

The beautiful goddess who inspired this design was crafted by beadfreaky, an artist I met through Etsy. Her pendants speak of the earth’s raw power, a power that sleeps within women, even today. In a world dominated by stick thin models with haughty expressions, beadfreaky recreates the goddesses who watched over our ancestors as they gathered, planted, and birthed.

I’m honestly still unsure of the name of this goddess. The square, volcanic beads told me she is Pele, but the weather is singing the name of Brigid. I know she is the heath/fire goddess. What do you think?

Show, Arlo

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Today I’m singing connections
And the shape of a blog, like a sphere.
Today I decided to wander, type, listen, and hear.
If you, like the mind, choose to wander,
And read what I'm writing while here,
Then down with that strange, thirsty empire,
Singing commercials into my ear.

(1st published under the title "qassai" because the chaos that site created at Etsy inspired me to contemplate the power of blog advertising. However, I worried that qassai would be interpreted as the "strange empire" when I was actually refering to the octopus of consumerism)

Winter to Spring (a meditation)

The energy around our house is strange this month. Both my husband and I are busy, busy with our projects. He’s building a Playstation 2 mod and I’m crafting like mad, working on this blog, and immersing myself in a number of on-line networking endeavors…in addition to school and raising children. I’m happy and proud of my work, but beneath this feeling of well being is a layer of tension that explodes into directionless anger or drops into despair when things go wrong.

I feel the specter of self doubt warning me to beware beginning so many projects at once. He argues that I’m notorious for abandoning my work, not to be trusted. Yet I feel that’s changing. Maybe I say that because of the moon or the momentary prosperity granted by a sizable tax refund. Maybe it’s true.

I look back at the woman of last winter. She and her husband were at war over feelings neither fully understood. She took off her wedding ring and vowed to make a new life for herself, only to discover herself pregnant with a second child. She cried a lot that winter and sketched sad-eyed woman with round bellies, gazing thoughtfully into space. She constructed a belief system that allowed her to place all the blame for sadness and wrongdoings on someone else. “Reality is made of a multitude of perspectives,” she told herself, “Some people have more passionate perspectives than others. These domineering, strong willed people overpower the stories of passive people like me. Passive people are bullied into living lives that fulfill the stories of others instead of their own.”

So she lived a story that she told herself belonged to someone else, only to realize a year later that she is the one who wrote the tale of mix-matches realities. Winter melted into spring and she found herself a tiny place among the stone circles up top Cumberland Church Hill where the old witches live. She asked the Hill how a woman might best live. She asked the Hill how to balance Motherhood with Self, Wife with Woman, and the Hill answered her with wind moving among the dappled sycamore branches.

I don’t fully understand how the thoughts of last winter and my thoughts on today connect, other than an observation of February. February is Brigit’s month and tells the story of secret spring.

I’ll tell you a story Brigit told me...tomorrow.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Switch Knot Tutorial

Today we’re tying a switch knot. This exotic looking knot is it’s really just the space between two square knots…with a twist.

To tie this knot you need to be working with an even number of cords, usually four.Tie a square knot with two fillers and two knotting cords.

As you pull your knotters to the middle make sure they lay over the original fillers. This is important, because it wraps one set of cords around the other, holding them in place.

Now bring the original fillers, which are now the knotters, around and leave a little space before tying a second square knot. You should have a groovy hourglass shape where the cords crossed one another.

Since a switch knot has open space it has a tendency to slide. I usually clusters of 2-4 square knots for every 2 switches to give the design more stability.

You can also adjust the length of the switch by tugging the knotting cords as you make the first half of the square knot. The second half holds knot in place. You can even out the hourglass by tugging at the filler cords.

If you add beads and tie a few-dozen more knots you'll have created your own unique piece of jewelry.