Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Star is Born

"Eta Carina"

Wednesday evening was cold here in Christchurch. You could certainly feel Winter's imminent arrival. At 1 degree celcius (33.8 degree's fahrenheit) - I would have far rather been seated behind my torch, nice & warm - or even in front of the TV....anywhere, rather than outside traveling through dark rural roads with a car full of giggling teenage school girls & a 10 year old, on my way to the middle of nowhere to look at stars.

Such is life! A last minute thing, when the other parent that was going to take them got sick, meant that I had left home slighty stressed (I do like to know where I'm headed - especially in the dark!) - without a chance to look up a map, but with the assurance that there was a map on the back of the form the other parent had - all ready for me when I arrived to pick up the two girls from that point. It wasn't a detailed map!

We headed out of the city, already late - a stop at an ATM machine for one of the girls ensured we were even later. The country roads were dark - half of the signs couldn’t be seen in the headlights & each cross road I passed, I feared was the one I should have turned we'd stop, turn on the interior light & double check. We finally got there 12 minutes late - we only knew we were at the right place by the cars all parked in the middle of nowhere, but there was no other sign of all!

Once out of the car it was pitch black - we couldn't even see where the gate was. Eventually we fumbled our way in - judging we had approached the driveway by the crunch of gravel under our feet.
When we got to the building, which was lit by a single red light (I know!) I realised I had left my wallet in the car! I herded the girls still giggling inside to be assigned to groups & made my way back to the car. I was actually quite scared - that's how dark & quiet it was. Once back I joined the smallest group along with Gabriela & we let the big girls pretend they didn't know us ;o)

One look up to the heavens told me all I needed to know – The Milky Way in all of it’s glory, with the beautiful Southern Cross twinkling brightly – oh my! That alone was worth it – you just don’t realise how much you miss in the city with it’s bright lights reflecting & dimming the view, it was superb!

The first thing we got to look at through the 10” telescope was a cluster. To the naked eye this appears as a star just to the right of the Southern Cross. Called the ‘Jewel Box’ (Kappa Crucis) it is in the Crux Constellation & was a sight to behold!
Next on the agenda was Omega Centauri – a cluster of stars in the Constellation of Centaurus – pretty darn special when it is nothing more than a dim & distant twinkle to the naked eye. We were indeed fortunate, as these first two can only be seen from the Southern Hemisphere – so it’s makes it extremely special to get to see first hand what a large portion of the world won’t ever see with the naked eye or through a telescope, but only one film - which I now realise in no way prepares you for the feeling of standing there & viewing first hand.
One of the last stars we got to look at was through a 12” telescope, ‘Eta Carinae’ – in the Carina Costellation. Expected to become a super nova in the near future, it was different to the clusters we had looked at, being a nebula it is a star being born. If others hadn’t been waiting I could have stood transfixed at the end of that telescope for hours – feeling so tiny in the grand scheme of things, hugely humbled by the immensity of all that is beyond this earthly existence & the planet we inhabit.

Last on the list (well for me anyway) was a view that stunned everyone who looked through the 14” telescope – a small distant twinkle that when you put your eye to the piece became a huge yellowish rusty brown ball with a ring around it – Saturn in all of it’s magnificent glory! While waiting we had no idea what we were going to see – but the intakes of breath & utterances of ‘oh WOW’ that came from each as they took their turn pretty much gave those of us waiting a hint that what ever it was going to be was pretty spectacular! It was. There really are no adequate words to describe the feeling…at all.

For me that was the end of the night – I managed to put my leg down a rather deep hole (well it was DARK - & I was pleased that it was right at that point) & felt my ankle click out of place as it hit the bottom & went over on it’s side. Any light headedness felt after that was not the result of looking at the heavens - & after 5 minutes where I felt I was possibly going to faint (something I have never done in my life), I made my way back to the car with Gabriela & quietly waited the return of the older girls, while reflecting on how any of the beauty I had seen could possibly be interpreted into a bead….. I didn’t realise I already had begun that particular journey.

A reluctant star gazer is now eternally grateful for the series events that led to this amazing experience & the beginning of a new adventure.

Carina Nebula

Seraphim FlameWorks: Double Helix Oddlots & Test Batches

Here you will find a direct link to Seraphim's absolutely indispensible visual guide for all silver glass afficionado's.
In particular it deals with Double Helix Test Batches & Odd Lots.

Seraphim FlameWorks: Double Helix Oddlots & Test Batches

Do have a look around the rest of this extremly talented studio's blog. There is inspiration & glassy eye candy in abundance, as well as 'recipes' given for all the glass used in the twisties & any given bead.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Riding The Wave

I haven’t thought of name for this bead – well not one that would ‘stick’ right now anyway!
Made at the end of yesterdays torching session – out of short ends or silver glasses laying about on my desk, I wasn’t overly optimistic about what could possibly result – then again I figured that it couldn’t be much worse than my attempts at getting colour out of Van Gogh Caramel – or as it has become known around these parts “getting blood out of a stone”.

I’m pretty darn happy with the colours that I got (bit’s of Elektra, Nyx & Gaia randomly swiped over a black & clear base) – the fact that one end went awol is almost academic , but I had started to lose colour & just wasn’t prepared to fiddle any more.

Lets just say for now I am happy to play with scraps in order to learn & hopefully enable myself to torch, rather than torture, the new shipment of silver glass that is hopefully on it’s way from Double Helix as I type.

Sophie's Bead

I've met a lot of people in the first year of my journey in lampworking - yet I have never met any of them face to face.

The incredible generosity of spirit in both sharing of materials & help/advice that is offered to this Kiwi way down at the bottom of the world often blows me away & frequently I am left feeling that I receive far more than I give.

One lady, in particular, has been an influence & an inspiration to me. Her wonderful ongoing enthusiasm, her absolute passion & fabulous sense of humour never fail to make me take a deep breath & rethink things before I deem them as being 'impossible'. And, boy, can she make me laugh!!!
All that & the fact that she's simply a wonderful warm hearted person ( you know who I'm talking about Ms M.!)

I have been telling
Rosebud101 - aka Ms M. about Sophie - I'd shown her links to the YouTube videos featuring Sophie's efforts so far.
Out of the blue I was informed that she had made a bead for Sophie & would be sending it to me to give her.
When I asked her why the response was:
"I just wanted to make a bead that would show the victory of overcoming a challenge because I think that Sophie has done that."

Those words really made me think - because I remember reading somewhere that Sophie said, one one of the many occasions that she was talking to a group of school children that she "didn't think of her disability as that, rather as a challenge - that was being turned into an opportunity".
Last year being awarded New Zealand's Young Sportsperson of the Year & now, at 15 years old, being the youngest New Zealander ever to be selected for the NZ Paralympics team - this young lady has most certainly shown us all just where a challenge can take you!

This is her beautiful bead, made by a wonderful lady that has never met her - yet in some way has recognised something in this beautiful young determined person.

I gave Sophie her bead today - she loved both it & the story that comes with it.
Like me, she couldn't quite comprehend the generosity from someone that has never met her - yet has given recognition to her achievements in a most special way. Ms M - Thank You!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Week Two

& still the prettiest by far! <-- That just popped into my head & not a single person will get my warped sense of humour unless you have read "The Secret Diary of Legolas".

On, on - week two has been somewhat more settled.....& I have made beads. My muse seems to have deserted me somewhat (secretly I suspect she has deflected to warmer climates for the duration), I can't figure why because she was rearing to go before I finished work, but there is no use obsessing over that as it will just compound things. Mum just said I need to give myself a bit of time to settle into a whole new routine - she may be right.
Not that many weeks ago a lovely friend gave me an wonderful analogy when I was talking about the leap of faith I was about to take:
"Think of Indiana Jones when he saw a chasm that had no bridge. He was required to take that leap of faith to cross the chasm and find the Holy Grail. He did and landed square on his feet! When he landed, we, the audience was allowed to see the bridge that had just blended in perfectly with the background. He didn’t know it was there. We didn’t know it was there, but he took that leap, and he was safe."

At the time I said to her that her timing was great in more ways than one, as TV was about to replay the first 3 Indiana Jones movies in a lead up to the new one coming out - & of course I had to watch them as there is a competition running to win a trip to Morocco!!!! Tonight I watched that movie - reminded myself that I had indeed taken a leap & that I will be 'safe'. I know that - I just need to sort out the 'life' that seems insistent of getting in the way.

Mum has recovered from her hospital stay famously! I am thrilled - a good sign is that she rang today & asked if I had any beads made up that she could wear out to dinner tonight with a certain outfit (hey - I'm all for advertising).
I had to explain that most of what I have is in at G&G with price tags on it, but that she was welcome to come over & go through my personal pieces as I had thrown myself something together the week I finished work...out of early odd beads of course. As it turns out, it was perfect to go with the outfit she wanted to wear. Maybe I should go into the jewellery hire business - lol!

On the 'not quite so up side' my Aunt is still in hospital - they are keeping her in there until they can operate. She is to have a double by-pass on Tuesday morning. I'm sure she will be fine - but Mum is already talking about the 24 hour in home care she has to have afterwards.... & how much she will be able to help.
That is what worries me - the thought of Mum rushing around at this time of year is just not good - with Winter approaching & her dodgy immune system, the last thing she needs is to end up back in hospital with Pneumonia again.

One day this blog will be about beads! Just a few things to get out of the way first.
I did make a beaded tassel this week though. It's going to Alaska.

Friday, May 09, 2008

What a Week!

My first week of being officially unemployed ...well actually self employed & I have done approximately 'zip'. Lots of planning & thinking, but nothing viable in the way of material productivity!

There have been interruptions - many of them, but two in particular were extremely good interruptions & I learned a lot from them. Talking with someone who knows marketing is always helpful & when it comes to that, there is no-one quite like my friend & ex-boss, Bronwyn.

Mum ended up in hospital again. On the up side, because she read the warning signs accurately & early, this time, she will be home tomorrow.
On the down side my Aunt was admitted to hospital last night. Two weeks ago she had a pain around her neck - a tight feeling. She noticed yesterday when she was carrying the rubbish out that the same pain came back again, so went to the Doctors - who admitted her straight away. It turns out that the pain two weeks ago was a mild heart attack - they are doing tests now & we will know more later.

I'm just thankful that she is OK at the moment, & being forced to rest.....not to mention that her & Mum are nowhere near each other at the hospital. The word that comes to mind - Chaos!
The thought of those two sharing the same room ..... well lets just say there would be no rest - for anyone.

The picture up the top - well it just reminds me of the kids when they were little. I caught Michaela doing that to Gabriela one day - LOL!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Check out my Guestbook!

I just had to try this out here before I embed it on my website - given that hardly anyone is likely to see it here right now, it seems like the perfect place.
If you do trip over this & would like to comment - feel free to do so.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Oriental Butterfly

I suppose since this log was orginally intended to keep a track of my needlework projects (& in particular my cross stitches) - that I should at least have one up here. This is the piece that came home from the Gallery - which I finally hung today. I meant to post it in my blog earlier - that was the whole intention tonight!

I think this particular cross stitch was single handedly responsible for me laying down my craft weapon of choice - the needle. I must add that it is not the patterns fault - rather the person who decided that she would like to create this butterfly on a lighter background fabric than the one used in the pattern - which to my mind was a touch on the garish side.

Yes - I like a challenge!
But some are just a tad more challenging that what you expect - especially when you have to change all of the shading colours used, because you have changed the background. Then you discover that they really don't make the colours you need - so that involves changing even more colours - & tired eye's find it difficult because the shading is so subtle in places it is hard to tell the difference between fabric & stitched area's. Full saga/visuals in the slide show below.
Anyway here is "Oriental Butterfly" - my way!!

I have a butterfly - now I need to be one. Pretty sure I have that the wrong way around though!

It's Sunday & I'm lovin' It!!

For the first time in a little over 3 years - I have actually enjoyed it!!
No work tomorrow - Yeehaaaaaa!!!

What have I done to actually celebrate this fact - zip, zilch, zero, nada!! I have been so relaxed that I haven't actually given it a thought - the day just happened & that's exactly as it should be, no dreading Monday :o)

I have tidied & sorted, more or less arranged things the way I want them in the studio aka "DaBatt Cave", of course my Dymo just had to run out of battery power right at this moment & I wont even mention tape. I even found places to squeeze some the framing examples that were mine into the little amount of wall space we have here....well apart from my certificate for "Professional Coursework in Framing" - no person in their right mind would want to have that piece of junk on their wall!

I went to see Mum, then took Michaela shopping for new jeans. It is such fun watching her turn into a teenager (just hoping it stays that way!). She's gaining a new found confidence in herself & displaying a total about face in her choice of clothes. She wants to look at girl clothes - more fitted styles & what's more - 'colours' !! No more blacks, browns & dark blues - rather definite feminine style clothes, still not 'girly girl' but after years of only looking at boyish clothes & loose fitting styles- it's a delight to see.
I guess she is feeling a bit more comfortable in her own skin.

I've just pulled out my sewing machine (hoping I can remember how to use it), in order to shorten two pairs of jeans. One, of course, must get both pairs done - just in case she has a 13 year old fashion crisis in the morning.

One of the things I organized today was all of the old newspaper clippings from exhibition openings & newspaper article about HoA. It has served as a timely reminder that never again will I have to look such a dofus as this ~

Well of course - there are more that I look even goofier in, but you'd have to make a special trip to goofyland to see those!

In short it has been a fabulous Sunday - the first of many.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Some Kind of New Record

I think this may well be a new record for me! Two posts in as many days - could this become a habit???

My plan initially for the rest of this week after finishing work - was to take stock, make lists & start putting some systems into action. Then I thought "Hey, why put pressure on yourself - isn't that what you've been doing all along.....putting undue pressure on yourself to achieve & then feeling inadequate when you don't". In short the answer was "yes".
So I made a conscious decision to just relax for the rest of this week, quiet contemplation would perhaps allow me the time needed to just quietly think about my options for the future, but I feel a few things will fall into place of their own accord.

The most unexpected, yet welcome, thing has been that almost from the second I finished work on Monday night, knowing that on Tuesday it would be all over - the need to create returned, after an extremely long absence.

A beautiful, yet in my eye's, inferior bead had been sitting on my work table for months - with me glowering at it every time I noticed it. It had gone wrong at the torch - a Bordello base laden with expensive silver glass decoration, it was imperfect on one end & therefore not suitable for the exchange it was intended for.

Monday night I was inspired, so I played with the meagre remains of my somewhat dry PMC. Then I attacked some Sterling Silver Wire - with pliers, a torch & a hammer!!! "Sacrilegious" - one might think.....
I, on the other hand, feel that the result was worth it ~

In fact I am extremely pleased with this piece, proud in fact - I can say that out loud & believe me that's a first!!
There is something else in my life that I am extremely proud of right now - or rather someone.

For years I watched while this child of mine with a higher than average intelligence, noisily waste both it & himself in the hospitality industry. My party animal, Kieran - the times I quietly hoped (& occasionally prayed) that one day he would follow his dream - the dream that started when he was 4 years old & was put on hold when he discovered girls at 14 ;)

He finally has ~

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Only 12 Days

Good grief - what's this? No two year gaps between posts?? Something must've happened ;o)

Well something needed to happen - that's for real! So instead of waiting for things in my world to come right - I made an executive decision & gave them a quiet nudge.
A little over two weeks ago I handed my resignation in at my 'paid employment' - i.e the "Awesome Gallery" mentioned in my profile .....that had become somewhat less than awesome.

I knew it was dragging me down - little did I realise how much.

Talking to someone very special some time ago who encouraged me to take a "leap of faith" made me think..... although obviously not enough at the time to do so with any degree of faith. For months I battled within trying to figure how I could afford to give up the money - my only means of funding my affair with glass.

The "what if's" kept clouding my brain & a huge fear of finally having found something I was passionate about only to not be able to afford it would take over.
The same special person had also advised me about it not being a leap of fear.

On December 17th I had typed up my resignation - ready to hand in in the New Year. On January 2nd I reworded some of it & printed it out. I was quite determined, until I found out that the framer was going to leave & felt some misplaced loyalty about not leaving my bosses in the lurch.

In hindsight at that point it would still have been a leap of fear.

Who knows what happened in the interim - I do know that whenever I mentioned it to my Mum or anyone else, apart from Allan, I was greeted with negative comments about having to find another job first.

I also know that every time I sat at the torch I'd get tense & angry - so much would spin around in my head. Sometimes though, not very often, I'd hear a quite voice - one that was telling me that he wished I could see myself with new eye's. Obviously that quiet voice was always there, just at times I didn't hear it - because something subtly & gradually shifted, without me even being aware.

On Monday 14th April I decided with certainty that I was going to hand my notice in & did so two days later. To be honest I really didn't give any thought at all to what I was going to do - or if it would it work. There wasn't a single "what if" in my head - the only thoughts were that I was going to put what I wanted to do before anything else... the world was my oyster if only I would take that leap.

So leap I did - with faith!

Last night I celebrated my lack of "paid employment" - which in reality is my freedom to be me - with some sinfully expensive oysters ;o)

This is one journey I am looking forward too - want to buckle up & come along for the ride?