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Thoughts and video and new jewelry inspired by my landscape. For the full story and lots more, check out my little experiment here…..
How does your sense of place or your landscape play into your inspiration and influence your work? What about imagined realms or cultural differences? How important is the ‘backstory’ to what you do?
Inquiring minds want to know!
blessings – kvk
Woodland walks, rushing creeks and vintage pics with some really bad 80’s hair … check out my new post here!
many blessings – kvk
Hop on for a link excursion. I’ve been saving up for a bit, so there’s quite a few …….
business – womenwise marketing, some interesting ideas to peruse
empowering women – women on the edge of evolution, weekly series of inspiring topics and speakers
~ a musical interlude … an old favorite Tanita Tikaram
jewelry makers – you’ll notice some commonality here, work that is traveling a similar path, hence my challenge to not be derivative and stay true to my heart and deep inner voice … botticelli’s niece, nightingale jewelry, scoshanyc.
~ musical interlude no.2 – fairly new FeverRay video – love the palette and imagery
And here’s a special KVK health note… being the season of clogged heads and sinus ills, I’d like to share my sure-fire cure for de-gunking, dubbed for the time being as my concoction: 1/4 – 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (ACV), unfiltered and ‘with the mother’ – I use Braggs; about 3/4 tsp of baking soda to cut the acid; 1/4 tsp (2 capsules) true cinnamon; a bit of sweetener if needed – I use a few drops of stevia extract, honey’s delish, but I don’t want the sugar; add water to make 1 quart. Drink through the day. I’ll drink a couple of batches if my head is really clogged. A couple of notes – make sure to mix the vinegar and baking soda in a large enough container so you don’t get a mini volcano; there’s quite a bit of on-line info about all the wonders of ACV and cinnamon – they’re both supposed to be help the body process sugar. It’s not an original idea or recipe by any means, but it’s proved pretty amazing.
Phew! I’m better now. Okay, one more video to share. Garmarna’s decidedly different take on Hildegard von Bingen:
love that Nordic groove
many blessings – kvk
Lord mercy – it’s New Year’s Eve! So appropriate that the last few nights I’ve gone to bed with my mind swirling about new directions and my ongoing efforts in the world of fearless creating.
This week’s challenge: pay attention to all the little things that normally go ignored – you know things that don’t ring true, those little niggling annoyances, or maybe not so little – but pay attention to them and, if possible, actually do something about them. This got me thinking about my website …….
So yesterday I decided to soften up the header on my website. This is in the niggling little thing category. I’m slightly obsessed with fonts and can easily spend hours (and I do mean hours) looking at and downloading fonts – a girl can never have too many fonts. (my two favorite font sites are DaFont and Fontasy) Danielle from WhiteHotTruth is all gung-ho about Helvetica. I tried to go there, but it turns out I’m a serif kind of girl. My initial re-vamp of the header had Baskerville Old Face Caps and good old Times New Roman for everything else (except my KVK icon). I always revert back to T.N.R. So yesterday, I decided that the edges of Baskerville were a bit too sharp – et voila’, now transformed to Oldstyle. A wee thing maybe, but I really do believe that “God is in the details” (thank you Mies van der Rohe). For you font geeks, here’s a fun quiz from a segment of the PBS program Independent Lens – What Font Are You? And guess what … I’m Times New Roman – color me surprised!
An integral part in the quest of fearless creating and staying authentic is making a concerted effort to ditch anything in my life that feels derivative, where have concessions been made, jettison anything in my surroundings that I’ve held onto for some long forgotten reason that no longer speaks to me. Also, what can I do to support and uplift my self-image?
Attack implementation thus far……
- our families were very generous with Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift certificates. I’m in the market for inspiration and already ordered a pile of books off of my wish list. I did well in the used books and even found a couple of close-out deals – who knew that Amazon had close-outs? Not me. So I’ve got a whole stack of books on ethnic and ancient jewelry, a couple on contemporary fashion designers and a couple interior design eye candy treasures – all OTW in the next week or so – yippee! Look for specifics when the treasure trove arrives.
- today we joined the YMCA – I absolutely cannot wait to get back to some yoga classes.
- switching back to a low-glycemic diet. So long simple carbohydrates. We’ve been doing this for a while, but of course the holidays wreck havoc with good eating habits. Being back on track is a relief.
- we’ve got vision insurance with Dave’s new job, so next week I’m making an eye appointment. Here are the glasses I’m wanting. I had some similar Ray Bans in black a few years ago. I’ve always loved horn-rims, kind of ties in with my old fashioned fonts.
- through the years I’ve been prone to doing ‘my version’ of popular trends. I want that to stop now and forever more. This one will be a process for sure.
- pay attention to things in my life that are there because I listened to someone else rather than my own inner voice then adjust accordingly.
It’s been an interesting year (ya think?) and Christmas was no different. I think I mentioned making talismans for some people that are being helped by an outreach program of my brother’s church in Nashville. Chuck was released from maximum security into the world on December 22nd, no parole, no caveats – just a check for $75 that he couldn’t cash because all he had was his prison ID. Seems like he’s got a whole team of angels, earthly and heavenly, working for him and a string of small miracles falling into place to get his life sorted out. Apparently, the cross I made for him made a powerful impression. I got to talk to him on Christmas Eve … that made quite an impression on me – I don’t know many convicted felons. Chuck’s cross is pretty straightforward, with LGLG and his initials stamped on the back; the blessing is “change my thoughts, change my life” … it’s already working.
The three matching talismans I dubbed the ‘Miracle’ Talisman went to three new moms at a home called Wendy’s Place. The silver medallion is stamped with a hummingbird, a symbol for life’s little everyday miracles, embedded in the side a faceted ruby as a reminder to stay heart centered and stamped in the back ‘LGLG’ for let go let god; beach glass for life’s unexpected gifts; the blessing, “dream it, believe it, live it” on bronze silk lashed with rose silk, a mustard seed for faith and a fenugreek seed to honor one’s past, nestled within. The ladies were equally thrilled with their new pendants.
Such a powerful gift for me as well.
So, that’s where I am on this last day of the year, this decade, this blue moon of a New Year’s Eve … with so much gratitude for the road I’ve traveled thus far, so much excitement and anticipation for the road ahead.
be well, be safe
blessings and thank you – kvk
That’s my goal these days – fearless creating. Funny thing, taking a bottle of cheap shoe polish to and slicing the handle off a really expensive handbag, followed by a successful shoulder strap assembly, bolstered my courage quite a bit. Refurbished courage in hand, I jumped right into my next project – making my own silk ribbon and designing a new series of jewelry.
First note to self … any new project, especially developing a new direction in one’s work, carries with it a steep learning curve. There will be goofs and not so greats and well that’s pretty close. My initial goof, cutting up half of my silk in the wrong direction – not on the bias. I figured out I can still use these pieces, just not as single strands. Even though these sections fray like crazy, they’re working really well for braiding and weaving. Second half of yardage was A-okay.
After the strips were cut, it was time to haul out my dye pots and transform my kitchen into my little color alchemy studio. There’s something so satisfying about mixing colors on top of the stove. I never go into it with much of a plan, just a starting point of at least 5 or 6 dye colors I like and then the mixing begins. Here’s how the dying process took shape …
I am absolutely in love with my results … I mean really in love! The colors are flat out gorgeous and perfect and impossible to reproduce, which is why I like them so much.
So now that I’ve got my raw materials, what to do? I started with translating my existing silk knotting technique to the ribbon.
This first draft in knotting was too messy for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like messy. There’s just got to be some order within the chaos. This one will need to be re-done.
Next I was trying out some braiding with the straight cut ribbon. Really like the look, but the ends were WAY too bulky. Gotta re-do this one as well.
So then I just went for the simple pendants on the bias cut ribbon. Here’s where I nailed the finishing details. Now on to fixing the first, gobbed up attempts. As I’m learning how to work with my new materials, I’m pooling so many techniques. That’s one of the best parts about designing – each new series builds on everything that’s come before.
Second note to self … as the new work starts to come together there’s the inevitable wasted materials. I hate to waste materials, but it’s a necessary part of the process. The thing about fearless creating and something I remember from a high school art teacher – use plenty of whatever is at hand. Don’t be afraid to grab and just go with it.
Third note to self … don’t edit, at least not at first. I find myself trying to edit designs much too soon. To create successful new work I’ve got to max out the design … take it as far as I can … go over the top … then decide what can be left out or scaled back.
So I let the works in progress rest a bit. Yesterday, I came back to the work with a rested eye and a fresh perspective. Here are the final products …
The retro-fit needed thinner ribbons, this made the ends significantly less bulky – much more better.
A much cleaner version of the pearl choker. Still raw, still somewhat messy – just more refined.
I got brave with this longer pendant. It’s chock full of really yummy elements. In anticipation of getting more Basha Beads, I included one I’ve been hoarding for about 8 or 9 years. There’s also tiny rings with tiny raw diamonds interspersed throughout. There’s also a bunch of my new chunky and very raw cube beads. Really really love this necklace!
So that’s where I am today. I want to get these listed on Etsy and then work on several other designs including some new bracelets and earrings. A great thing about this new series, all the components are what I have on hand – no new elements. That’s an important part of my design process – re-purposing components. I take components from existing designs and turn them this way and that, layer and stack and stitch or weave, bend or link or whatever I can come up with … a process that I started years ago with inspiration from the Ken Bova workbook (here’s the list from an earlier post).
Fourth note to self … I’m very pleased with the new work, but it will continue to evolve. Nothing about my work or my process is static. Everything is subject to change and evolution in the relentless pursuit of fearless creating.
One last thing – some links to share …
Darcy Miro – jewelry designer and sculptor found in the current issue of Vogue or W, can’t remember right now. No surprise why I like her work; website is fun as well.
Robin Richman – cool shop in Chicago with a good blog
Henry Darger – okay, so all you people who follow outsider artist types probably know about him, but lord have mercy, this will take some serious perusal … so much work in a lifetime.
Stories From the Ground shadow puppetry collective – just amazing. Here’s a video as well.
Such a lovely afternoon of show and tell and stories and laughs and sweet babies.
Okay, this is really the last thing … 9 days and counting.
with enormous gratitude and many blessings – kvk
So first and foremost … It is officially my birthday month!!! I like to celebrate the whole month – I think that’s best. The actual day is the 17th, but my celebration starts today. Let’s hear it for an easy slide into 54!
Goodness, such an amazing week – where to start …
I’m thinking the biggest stunner of the week was an out of the blue phone call from Barbara Metzger, aka Basha Beads! I was blown away. She has Google alerts set up for her beads and saw my blog entry, followed links to my work on my website and the Etsy site, liked what she saw and read and decided she needed to give me a call. We chatted for the better part of an hour – easy conversation, much common ground and shared aesthetics and lots of laughs … lots of laughs. You’d never know it was our first conversation. The upshot of the conversation – Barbara’s going to send me a ‘pick box’ later this month. This also means that I don’t have to nudge Lynne out of lampworking retirement! My mind is swirling with possibilities and I’m about to bust with excitement. Bzzzzz, Bzzzzz, Bzzzzzz – my little brain is just a buzzing.
Which got me working on the next part of the project – the vehicle which will support the new work. I’m still on my weaving and fiber thing, not that I’ve ever been off. Lynne told me about some sari silk ribbon on Etsy. Of course I had to check it out and immediately bought three skeins. The colors are gorgeous, but I’m thinking it’s too irregular and the seams too bulky for my needs. Then I thought about a small stash of hand-dyed silk ribbon that looks pretty cool woven … bulky, though. Just as well. For my next design phase, I really want to focus on generating virtually all of the content own my own – Basha Beads excluded. I bought some really luscious silk a while back with plans to cut and dye my own strips. Here’s three of the experiments and the initial ‘ribbon’ cuttings.
After trying to cut slinky silk into ribbon with scissors, it became quite clear there must be a better way. Tools, must have more tools … Enter the world of rotary fabric cutters and mondo self-healing cutting surfaces.
So, I should be all set.
I’m also thinking about doing a bit of ‘retro-fitting’ to some jewelry. I’m wanting to replace the chain elements with either my own silk ribbon – woven or plain, or braided silk cord … soften the look and bring out the color of the raw sapphires.
The essence of my aesthetic is raw yet refined, organic but contemporary. As my hang tag says, “… rustic elements in classically inspired silhouettes … jewelry designs that, while being firmly rooted in my own urban sensibility, have a primal and somewhat ancient quality.” I love how the components are coming together. Oooooh, it’s going to be interesting!
Having spent so much time and energy on updating the website and installing the shopping cart, it was time to take a few days off. I got to cruise around town and do a thorough perusal of a couple of my favorite haunts. On Friday, Dave and I rounded up my darling friend, Marilyn, in Bryson City and headed off further west to the Stecoah Valley studio tour to catch up with old friends. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting than the home and studio of our long-time friends, Jeff and Crim Bassett of Bee Global.
Such a glorious day, crisp and clear, seeing old friends and enjoying the special charm of Stecoah Valley.
I’m still taking a bit of a break, well for maybe another day or so. I just finished up another project that I’ve been thinking about for months. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect bag for – well seems like forever. I accost people on the streets, I frequent T J Max, consignment and thrift stores. I guess the caveat here is I want a really nice bag, but I don’t want to pay a fortune for it. A couple of years ago, I thought I’d found it. I got a bunch of gift certificates to Sundance Catalog one year and put them together to buy what looked like the perfect bag. Turns out the color was not great, the shoulder strap was too short and would not stay in place and I decided I didn’t like the white accent stitching – phooey! So that fancy, expensive bag’s been sitting in the top of my closet for a good long while.
I struggled with this for a bit, but figured what the heck, it’s better than just sitting in the closet … I got out the black shoe polish and scissors and went to work. Gone is the annoying shoulder strap, replaced with a new adjustable black cotton webbing one; the odd reddish color and white stitching are now a much improved mottled dark brownish/black.
It took multiple trips to multiple stores to round up the antique brass snaps and rivets and eyelets and all the appropriate tools, cannibalizing an old belt for it’s buckle and other hardware, but I’m quite satisfied with my finished product. Not bad for 20 bucks.
It’s been a good break, very good. My Yogi Tea ‘fortunes’ have been spot on …
My updated table shrine brings me such joy whenever I sit down to work …
And, thanks to Dave’s constant search for new and different music (he’s a bit compulsive actually, Amazon downloads are so addictive), I’ve got some new background music. I haven’t listened to everything he’s gotten, but this one is especially lovely. Sufjan Stevens …
Now, I’m stopping to take deep breaths. I can feel the forces assembling … creative impulses, ideas, concepts, motivations. It’s the inexorable current beneath the icy crust. Exhilarating, joyous anticipation. Readying myself to leap, for I know without a doubt, the net will appear.
blessings – kvk
I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from cruising the internet. Granted, not what I’m supposed to be doing, but it’s been my only outlet for a bit of distraction. On a recent foray into surfing, I came across something that was that wonderful combination of compelling yet disturbing. What I love is how I went from a design blog – Style Bubble :
to Pieter Hugo’s startling The Hyena and Other Men images:
Really extraordinary imagery and I’m not sure what I think about all of it, but man does it suck me right in. I think these images are showing up different places, but this was my first time seeing them. Be sure to read the back story – really amazing.
Then, a couple days later from a WhiteHotTruth post, a Q&A session gave me this:
“What would I do if I were not afraid?” I’m going to be working on this one for a while. Interesting that the fears are so deeply embedded it’s hard to nail down just what I would do. Curious and compelling yet again.
Moving along … on another surfing trip, I checked in on a jewelry site that I really like – Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons. He’s got a new group of work called Theft of Light. I love the images for this work. Here’s one of my favorites.
This necklace got me to thinking about a sculptural coat that was in a Fiberarts magazine from several years ago. These days I keep a little pad of neon stickies around to mark my favorite pages and passages in my magazines and books. Unfortunately, I hadn’t done that with my Fiberarts collection. I had to stop everything and haul out my modest collection (thank goodness) and rifle through them all to come up with the image I had in mind … Erica Rasmussen’s wearable sculpture from the March/April 2002 issue of Fiberarts. How do I remember this stuff??? Anyway, you can see the similarities:
Layers, I absolutely love layers. Even more better, layers combined with the repetition of form. I’ve been wanting to translate this idea into my own work … been thinking about it for years. I got a little ways there with my plank components – I just need to figure out how I want to do the layering. This one’s been in the line for a couple of years:
This is the most recent addition:
I love both of these pieces and really love the folded planks. I’m liking them even more knotted on silk – more expensive, but very luscious. I seem to be getting much more inspiration from things woven than from things forged. I’m looking forward to taking some time to do a thorough perusal of my fiber magazines. Soon my little collection will be rife with a neon fringe.
Through all of this, I’ve been working on orders and getting quite a bit done. Of course music is always a vital component to creating and I’ve been drawn back to some old favorites. A couple of years ago, I couldn’t get enough of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith. I thought it strange that I was being so inspired by a couple of tragic figures from the musical world – it was my ‘suicidal young men’ series. These days I can get to a similar place with Jose Gonzalez – he seems to be doing well, no signs of a death wish (at least not that I know of).
And then I made a radical turn after watching a couple of on-demand music videos. Now I’m on a hurdy-gurdy quest. I’m quite pleased to have found the two favorite songs that came to mind.
Loreena McKennitt’s The Mummer’s Dance
And then for something out of left field … Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Gallows Pole. The embedding code was disabled, but here’s the link. I especially love this version. The set design is glorious and Plant’s wardrobe is divine.
All in all, it’s been a very satisfying and full week.
One more thing. I got it in my head I want to do an updated version of a necklace from many years ago. What I need are some of these beads. They’re dichroic beads by an artist that I thought was named Basia. I’m thinking that’s not right since I can’t find her anywhere. I do know someone who has a stash of them and could tell me who she is or how to find her, but my friend is otherwise engaged with a newborn. So, the questions are … #1 – anyone recognize these beads or this artist? #2 – anybody know if she’s still making and selling these beads? #3 – if yes, anyone know how to find her? Any help is appreciated so that I can stop obsessing. BTW – the raku beads are from Rory Raku – I’ve got lots of those.
blessings – kvk
All of a sudden I’ve got a ton of energy and ideas and feel like I’m scrambling to take advantage of the sudden burst. It probably helps that the sun is finally out, the temperature is a divine 70 and the humidity is an even more divine 40% and there’s a lovely breeze blowing.
I continue to work on my samples, but last night I got an idea for a new component and had to act on it immediately. Today, I liked the look so much, I decided to make up a few more.
I’m calling them ‘turtle’ beads as the shape reminds me of a turtle’s back. I started thinking of calling them ‘sandwich’ beads – boring, not very appealing. I’m sort of challenged in the naming of things. Like so much about me and my life, I tend towards the unadorned, minimal, a sort of Bauhaus approach to most things (like all things, there are exceptions). I have artist friends with such a gift for the eloquent and poetic naming of things (Nina, that would be you). Eloquent I can be, poetic, not so much, kind of a nuts and bolts girl. That said, here’s a close-up of my new ‘turtle’ beads.
I debated a bit, as I’m running low on PMC and I really should keep working on the samples and all the other things on my to-do list, but I couldn’t resist. I’m thinking they’ll look really cool on my other recent diversion … finger loop braids. I sat down and watched a couple of YouTube tutorials and then started working on them. There is definitely a learning curve. You might be able to see my progress here. The brown bamboo thread is the before, the grey silk is my third attempt, better, definitely not perfect. Using 5 loops results in a square braid, well it’s supposed to. I’m getting better, just need more practice, practice, practice.
I’m so jazzed about my new component! I’ve got a bunch of ideas swirling around in my head about how to use them. They’re going to be small, probably about 3/8″ average. What’s so gratifying is I’ve had the concept for these in my head for a while and I just now figured out how to make them. That’s been happening a lot in recent months. It’s amazing how something that looks so simple is not simple at all. It’s taken all of my years of working with ceramic clay and then precious metal clay to get to this point. How’s this for a number … total years working with clay of some sort – 26.
My first coin necklaces were a revelation, that was early in 2006. For years I had been ‘trying’ to make jewelry that met my ideas of ‘wabi-sabi’, the Japanese aesthetic of imperfect beauty. I would spend hours pouring over Tim McCreight’s work. Here’s a master silversmith that works in such an exquisitely raw and minimal style. No amount of ‘trying’ was ever going to get me to that place. It took going all the way to the other extreme, making necklaces that took hours of stringing and knotting, a whole table full of components tied up into over-the-top creations.
Here’s a sample from August 2005. Cerebral and complex – it makes my fingers ache just looking at it …
After a winter of not working and deep introspection … not quite ‘dark night of the soul’, but intense nonetheless … I arrived here …
This new direction was life altering. This is the direction that took me places I had only dreamed about … The Real Mother Goose in Portland, Ansel Adams Gallery, Seattle Art Museum, and the centerfold of San Francisco MOMA’s 2006 holiday catalog.
My path towards maintaining simplicity continues. It’s remains a challenge and like I’ve said before, I always come back to Occam’s Razor … the simplest answer tends to be the best answer. This is what’s true for me.
And to liven things up musically, thought I’d throw out a bit of diversity …
with gratitude and blessings – kvk
Some may have noticed the addition of Pia Jane Bijerk to my daily favorites . She of the Paris Mady by Hand book that I adore. Her blog entry today links to another artist’s site that can only be described as sublime. Please visit J Morgan Puett and prepare to be swept away.
Just to pique your curiousity …
Stunning, exquisite, well … sublime.
Another exciting happening on the fashion front.
Carol Lee Shanks now has a website. Granted it’s not a particularly sophisticated site, but it’s current and it’s finally a regular on-line source to see her work. My favorite ensemble of hers from years ago …
And then a recent one from the new site. BTW, that’s Carol in the pics.
I guess that’s it for now. I just got excited about J.Morgan Puett and Mildred’s Lane and Carol Lee Shanks and had to share.
blessings – kvk
Many years ago, I was ‘this’ close to taking a Ken Bova workshop at the Campbell Folk School. I can’t remember why it didn’t work. It was pretty early in my jewelry making days and I was seriously short on techniques. I heard about his class workbook, The Soft Tech Jewelry Workshop Handbook, and decided to track him down and see if he’d sell me one. I don’t think I was on-line back then (late 90’s), but I found him in Montana where he still lives. Anyway, the book is all about cold connections and, what I call ‘low-tech’ he calls ‘soft tech’ techniques. He thought ‘soft tech’ had a better connotation than ‘low-tech’.
For me, the most lasting section of the book has been the ‘Do It To It” list that he compiled with a college chum many years earlier. It has never failed to inspire. As best as I can tell, he doesn’t have a website and has recently retired from teaching in Montana. I did find an address and phone number for him. I’m going to give him a call and see if the workbook still exists for purchase.
Here’s a very slightly abridged version of Ken Bova’s “DoItToIt” list:
turn it over turn it around pierce it pattern it draw on it paint it repeat it cut it split it in pieces rivet it flatten it enamel it frame it soften it look at it from the side elongate it hang something from or on it hang it patina partof of it/all of it make a secret space stripe it – remove some stripes dot it scratch it gloss it matte finish it make it functional make it non-functional wrap it write on it type on it number it look at the back tenderize it diagonal horizontal vertical fill it in empty it photograph it draw it again xerox it fold it zig zag it overlay it texturize it smooth it wrinkle it transparencies reflections make a pedestal – stand platform – plate plate it coin the edge soften the edge sharpen the edge sharpen it point it round it off solder it warp it make it movable spread it out bring it together ask youself questions – is it worthwhile … on all levels? write about it write for it/to it line it carve it roller print it remove parts stitch it (as with thread) engrave it stitch it (as with engraver) compare it filigree it hinge it make it primitive make it contemporary romanticize it emotionalize it twist it fill in the holes make it two … make two of it (3,4,5 …) make it natural – don’t force it force it! make drawings of it/ for it render it etch it extend beyond the edges forge it color – hi key, low key, gray scale pierce the edge loosen it/tighten it give it life change its function if it’s a knife, make it a brooch if it’s a cup, make it a bracelet, etc. make it colorful make it colorless – clear let the “guts” show vacuum form plastics photo etch it photo enamel it consider – reconsider: >> scale it right sew it chase it put it through the mill put arms – extensions on it give it depth let it breathe marry the materials in it break the line send it in a new direction make it negative make it positive put what is above below trade places cut it up – put it back together throw it away graduate it mokume’ reticulate it file it
Okay – if this doesn’t get you unstuck, it’s time to take a break. Also, if you don’t know Ken’s work – check it out. He’s one of the people that laid the foundation for much of the mixed media jewelry that’s out there today. Here’s a link to the Ornament magazine article about him last year.
blessings – kvk