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digging out and carving some new ones … here

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Woodland walks, rushing creeks and vintage pics with some really bad 80’s hair … check out my new post here!

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.

Christmas talismans

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

Years ago, my ongoing theme was ‘vestiges of an imagined history’.  The following is an old journal entry that, for some reason I was compelled to include in one of my rubber stamp sheets.

“unlocking the mythology of my soul finding and releasing the pagan priestess locked within the flesh of this pasty white anglo saxon body scraping through the layers of cheap Danish modern furniture suburbia and the absolute absence of meaningful conversation that was my youth rhinestones and Lillian and poodles and milquetoast americana looking for my inner self in library stacks disappearing into Byzantium the dark ages and the early renaissance losing myself in fantasy novels and things that might have been looking for ways to create things out of time creating my own cultural heritage since the real one doesn’t seem to fit”

I didn’t come from a super eccentric family, there were no high achievers or spectacular role models and for years felt it was an almost unbearable uphill battle to be a ‘true artist’.  Mine is a middle class, middle of the road family with roots in the rural deep south.  I grew up feeling like an outsider, not fitting in, not too many friends.   My poor mom – she didn’t have a clue what to do with me.  I can look back now and see the unhappy disconnect that was a pervasive theme in my life.  I had yet to discover that all those urges and dreams and longings weren’t about an imagined history, just one that had been temporarily forgotten.

I do still love the work I created during my disconnected years.  Lots of production work, but my favorite pieces are always the ones that were inspired by the Middle Ages – you know that imagined history …

jeweled pendant '02 or '03

matching jeweled earrings

I did a three piece series for an ArtFest workshop that never happened.  The Faerie Godmother’s accoutrements – a wand, tiara and book of wisdom.

Faerie Godmother's Wand

Her Tiara

Faerie Godmother's Book of Wisdom

I loved this little book.  Especially the angel on the back.

full view

Sadly, the book was stolen from my table at the 2004 ArtFest Vendor Night.  I often wonder who has it and how that person feels about stolen property.  I have to trust in karmic debt on this one.

I spent many years bemoaning my unadorned history;  it never occurred to me to embrace and celebrate it.  Today, the disconnect has all but dissolved; what felt like a crazy puzzle with missing pieces, is sorting itself out.  All those seemingly mixed up pieces have been laid flat and they do indeed all fit together … beautifully.  My ongoing series of work has been renamed – ‘vestiges of a forgotten history’ – I just chalk up all my different personas to bits of past lives bubbling up in my subconscious.

And always a favorite pastime …  I love to look for things that challenge my skills and my perspective … much more productive than whining about what never happened.  Here’s a couple of more recent additions to the Vestiges series …

labradorite faceted cubes with 22k accent

And a jewel encrusted cross that I gave to my sister …

Shirley's cross

And a tiny box I made for an exhibition.  I love boxes, especially tiny ones.  This one has reduction frit embedded into the edges and the top knob is beach glass.

Faerie Box

Periodically things come into my life that make me uncomfortable, fiction or biographies or blog-posts that challenge my sensibilities, artistically and life in general.

A recent opportunity …..  The current issue of Selvedge has an article about J Morgan Puett and her Mildred’s Lane project.  Here’s a highly intelligent woman, deeply passionate, living and breathing creativity from every pore.  The descriptions of her surroundings and collected objects are from the strangely compelling department – “the stairs designed in an algorithmic pattern based on her antique flour-sack collection … seemingly random steps of different sizes, which makes walking up an down an exercise in intense concentration.” ; “framed over the bathtub are a year’s worth of nail clippings and two plaited pigtails from Grey Rabbit…” that’s her son.  Like I said, curiously compelling.  I don’t know, maybe just plain strange.  It does make me think.  Another one of her ideas – after closing her final store, she petrified all the remaining clothes in beeswax, making them into still-lifes now sold at an art gallery.  The workings of this kind of mind are incredibly intriguing and ever so challenging –  at least they are for me.

I do love a good challenge, especially if it makes me squirm a bit.

BTW – for my birthday I got a cold.  The day was spent running just a few errands and taking it easy – Chick Fil A for lunch, bought a copy of Ever After, one of my favorite movies and the new Oprah magazine – okay, so my milquetoast roots show up every once in a while.

And for today’s local news, there’s a bunch of blog posts from folks in my part of the world showcasing our ginormous snowfall.  Thankfully we were well prepared and our power stayed on.  Our neck of the world got about 8 – 10″.

a couple of snowy pics …

backyard wonderland

a bit of snow sculpture …

frigid chaise

With that I’ll bid a good evening.  My mom flies in to Charlotte on Monday and will be here through the week; my brother drives over, hopefully, on Wednesday.

So I’ll be wishing everyone a joyous and safe holiday.   Thank you all for visiting.

With enormous gratitude and many blessings – kvk

I’m getting there.

I had a brief bit of a setback late afternoon.  Did I need to do inventory tracking or not?  Did I need to put in actual numbers of on-hand inventory or not?  For a bit I decided – yes, then set to going into each of my 80+ sku’s plugging in inventory info, then plugging the updated code onto my product page, until I realized … I don’t need to track my inventory.  So I stopped.  Luckily I wasn’t too far into the process.  At that point, I was feeling a bit off  and decided to slow down.  Not content with just hanging out, I uploaded the bones of the new website … click here for the new look.  Very clean.  I like the new border graphics and white background.  The view cart button will be upper right and each jewelry image will link to a page with descriptions, pricing, drop down menus and add-to cart options.  I’m still building the collection pages, but I think I’m more than halfway there.

And a bit of follow-up … After my dark night, opportunities for giving something back keep presenting themselves.  I’ve decided on the two organizations that will receive a portion of my profits, one local – the Manna Food Bank,  here in Asheville, and one international – Barakat, Inc. .  I found out about Barakat through the owner of one of my galleries, Karma in Newton Center, Mass.  Phuni and her husband, Daja,  have extraordinary life stories and this is a cause she supports.  To be truly inspired and gain a sizable perspective on how graced we really are, read their stories here and here.

I’ve also got a couple of opportunities, through my brother’s humanitarian work  in Nashville, to make talismans for some people in very difficult situations. One man’s about to be released (after spending half of his adult life in prison) from a maximum security prison into the world and then there’s a small group of young and single new moms at a halfway house.  To make special talismans with specific blessings for people facing such enormous challenges, well that’s a gift to me for which I feel very very grateful.

The shift is on … rock the shift!

blessings – kvk

I lay awake last night till well after 3 consumed by an overwhelming sense of lack.  Logically, this is utter nonsense.  But this is my arch nemesis – an underlying sense that there’s not enough – that has permeated my entire life.  What finally allowed sleep to come was a systematic listing of everything in my life for which I am grateful – the small … finding little treasures on Etsy … to the big … my good health, my amazing family and friends, financial stability, making my living from something I love, a comfortable new home – well, you get the idea.  I’m really struggling to let go of this wretched old belief.  I want to be rid of it, once and for all, now and forever more!  A process, lord mercy what a process … deep breaths … clasping the talisman that rests over my heart and giving thanks for all the gifts and wonders in my life … deep breaths.

I just came across this inspirational ‘to-do’ list that was shared by a dear friend in P.T.  So, before heading back to the actual ‘to-do’ list, I wanted to share it here.

  • make art with passion; try new approaches in your artwork  – you may find a new vision that helps you experience and enrich the lives of others
  • love and be loved by those who elevate your spirit
  • honor your friends as a wonderful work of art
  • be in tune with one another
  • be excited seeing something that catches your eye
  • celebrate the small ordinary things in life that make you happy:  good food and wine, beautiful music, serene surroundings
  • respect your family and friends, children and grandchildren for the unique people they are, and let yourself be enriched by their life touching yours
  • allow yourself the grace of happiness

Well said.  Thanks Missy Laura.

now back to work for me.

with enormous gratitude and blessings – kvk

Luddite:  after Ned Ludd – an English laborer who was supposed to have destroyed weaving machinery around 1779.   One who opposes technical or technological change.

I’ve been mulling over the concessions I’ve made to technology.  Where once I balked at having a home computer, it’s now an absolute necessity.  I have a cell phone, but it’s a  ‘pay-as-you-go’ that I’ve had for almost 5 years and does nothing but make phone calls.  I’ve dipped into Facebook as it was suggested that the social networking thing was a good way to grow my business.  The more I’m there, the less I want to be.  So I keep going back and forth … to Facebook or not to Facebook.  To Twitter or not – definitly not going there.  Gotta say, I do love blogs.  Oh and I am liking that flat panel TV with 5.1 surround sound we got for a housewarming/birthday/Christmas present.  I digress…

So, my mulling lead to wondering with what faction of humanity I might be aligned … can’t help it, it’s just me and my obsession with naming things.  I like the idea of the Steampunk movement, but most of the work that claims that moniker is not my flavor.  I’m thinking I’ll start my own movement – Neo Luddite … maybe Revisionist Luddite.  Some concessions are made, but my preference tends towards a mix of the old-fashioned and relatively minimal.  Sort of the 30’s meets wabi-sabi.

Here’s a visual aid.  Tis the season to exchange my summer ruby slippers (wabi-sabi) for freshly polished brown oxfords (30’s re-dux).

ruby slippers

ruby slippers

lil ol man oxfords

lil ol man oxfords

As of late, there’s been a lot of ‘ruby slipper’ conversations.  Then last night I was reading Mike Dooley’s new book Infinite Possibilities.  Something to the effect of one way to help you get to where you want to go is ‘buy the shoes’.  That’s one reason it’s time to haul out the oxfords – it’s what they represent for me.  Five years ago, owning this pair of shoes would have been a total pipe dream.  Today, I can put on these shoes and every step is an affirmation of how far I’ve come, what I’ve accomplished so far and how easy it is to keep on keepin’ on.

Thankfully, this day has  brought several glimpses of clarity.  Naming things is fun and could be useful as a marketing tool, but the bottom line and my ultimate goal is to simply enjoy each day.  Have fun with my work, be open to new things and accept inspiration in whatever crazy form it appears.

A couple more things to consider:

“Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.” Hugh MacLeod

“#38 – Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.” – Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto

Avoid balance – I’m thinking it’s a lot more fun to have a raucous ride on the playground swing than to sit calmly on the see-saw with it’s well-defined boundaries.  I want the wind in my face and the better view.  Danielle makes a good case for this here.

I think that’s enough for now.  This will be me clicking the heels of my oxfords and sailing joyfully into the night.

blessings – kvk

I went on a minor shopping trip this afternoon.  It’s not often I allow myself unlimited time to roam aimlessly, but this afternoon it seemed like the thing to do.  I started out at one of my favorite haunts called the Screen Door.  An antique mall sort of place with maybe 150 different vendors – basically a lot of stuff, not overwhelming, always inspiring.  An added bonus is there’s also a whole side of the building that is an outlet for a book distributor – mostly garden and home and design and cooking – you know,  pretty books.  All together – translates lots and lots of eye candy.

I scored two sweet little finds.  The first, a book that I owned at one time.  I gave my copy to a friend, one of the most talented artists I’ve ever met, who was dealing with serious health problems.  I gave the book to him without writing down the name or author.  I have had it in the back of my head ever since, hoping to come across another copy some day.  Well today was my lucky day.  It’s called Meditative Spaces by Michael Freeman.  This is one of those books where I start to hyperventilate just flipping through the pages  …  “places solely designed to reinvigorate the mind and spirt are not an indulgence in our fast-paced, stressful world  – they are a necessity.”  Feast on a few pages …

meditative spaces 5

meditative spaces 1

meditative spaces 4

meditative spaces 2

meditative spaces 3

That last image is a ‘briefcase room’ , a portable meditation space.  Oh my, 239 pages of glorious inspiration and half price to boot!

My other find was from a vendor that actually has a spiffy clothing store about an hour from here.  I’ve never been there, but like to peruse her website and drool.  The shop is called Niche and the owner has a booth at Screen Door where she sells all kinds of miscellaneous stuff from her shop at big discounts.  A side note about me and bargains, it doesn’t make much sense, or maybe it does – anyway … I’ll spend three hundred dollars on a pair of shoes (well they’re handmade in Italy for heaven’s sake!), but hate to pay full price for clothing.  I’m always on the lookout for BlueFish anything and today I got one!  It’s the same vintage as a vest Nina gave me years ago.  It’s a jumper in a heavy waffle weave knit in taupe with woven (linen?), block printed pockets.  I’m trying to wean myself off boring clothes and incorporate some skirts and jumpers.  I’m quite pleased with my find.

bluefish jumper

I’m feeling so incredibly grateful for these little treasures, but what I’m even more grateful for is my friend Lynne.  Lynne and I met in Port Townsend and had just a few months of being best buddies in the same town before she moved back to California.  Lynne is my favorite kind of person – WYSIWYG, absolutely straight forward, no b.s. EVER, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and I love her dearly.  Now we’re thousands of miles apart, but manage to stay in touch on a pretty regular basis – thank goodness for blogs.  A week or so ago, I emailed Lynne for suggestions about changing the energy in my studio and around our house.  After a few questions, my answers referring to the jumbo cell phone tower down the street and an all electric house, she had a couple of suggestions and would send help right away.

Yesterday my goodie package arrived.  Inside, one of her wonderful muslin paintings (I love the lotus blossom awakening in her 3rd eye) and a miraculous little obsidian orb.

LH postcard and orb

Beneath these treasures was something new to me – orgonite, aka ‘tower busters’  –   to help with what is probably massive amounts of EMF energy here on my property and in my neighborhood … a big ol’ haul of the stuff.

orgonite tb's

Right now it’s outside doing a bit of off-gassing (click the link above to find out more); tomorrow I’ll do some strategic placement around the perimeters of our property and when the resin is fully cured, some strategic placement inside.  Interesting stuff … I have no idea what to expect.

Interesting stuff and interesting times.  I still feel like I’m hydroplaning.  My days are productive, work is getting done, my magazine ad sent off … but I don’t feel fully engaged.  That’s why I’m wanting to do some energy shifting.

What I always have to come back to is gratitude.  My life is absolutely awash with abundance.  Good and bad, challenging people or effortless creation, I am enormously grateful for everything in my life … everything.  So many opportunities to learn and grow and continue on this inexorable path towards waking up.

and please know that I am always wishing you …

many blessings – kvk

I got to thinking about my, well not quite, but almost … obsession, with braids and fibre and fabric.  Daily life got in the way for a few days – deck finishing, prep and painting … my knees and back still ache, working on my magazine ad which I think looks pretty good for a first-time effort …

bust ad copy

Where was I … ah yes – braids and fibre and fabric.  Thinking back, this is a lifelong fascination.  I’ve been sewing since they’d let me hold a needle.  Muslin and scraps of gingham and rick-rack transitioned into silks and brocades and velvets then onto linen and specialty silks … I’m dying to get my hands on some hand-woven Dervish Cloth, which looks like silk burlap – yummy!

I’ve been playing around with fibre in combination with my jewelry for several years now.  I just have a hard time going the steel cable or Beadalon route.  I do like ‘industrial’ components, but at the back of my neck gives me the willies.  Finding my ideal stringing medium was a long time challenge.  My cache of assorted potential stringing material is extensive … lord knows what I’ll ever do with all of it … spools and cards and hanks and coils and I don’t know what all.  I finally landed on Gudebrod silk with a huge sigh of relief.  It’s been hard to beat for strength, sheen, size and color selection and it’s just downright wonderful to work with.  Not so with my bamboo experiments – not strong, fuzzy, limited colors and no size choices.   Even better, Gudebrod silk is also turning out to be quite beautiful in my braid experiments.

The thing is, what IS it about braiding?  Plain old three strand braids to the fancy-doodle 5 loop and square 5 loop braids are so very much fun, so engaging, so mesmerizing.  Now I’ve got it down to entering a meditative rhythm while I weave the strands.  If I stop to think or if my mind strays, I’ll drop a loop or miss a grab.  So it forces me to empty my mind and let my thoughts wash away – an especially wonderful side effect since my meditation practice went right down the toilet when we moved last year.  A surprise gift from my new-found technique.

Which leads me to the concept of contemplative textile studies and the work of  Gizella Warburton, discovered in the pages of my delicious new issue of Selvedge.  So very reminiscent of Asian hand-sewing techniques.  No surprise the exquisiteness of Japanese stitching and just as compelling the quilts of Gee’s Bend – seeing those bordered on a religious experience.  Here’s one of Gizella’s pieces …

gizella k warburton textile

So here’s the common thread in my work (sorry couldn’t resist).  Repetition  …  of forms and components which leads to repetitive, contemplative techniques for assembling – knotting and braiding of the silk.  Jewelry making as a meditation practice.  It seems to me that kind of deliberate focus and intent can transmit to the wearer, which makes jewelry making even more inspiring.  Goodness, a blessing of the highest order.

Two more things …

foglinenwork

Fog Linen Work – a lot of the site is in Japanese, but so many luscious things to behold.

And in keeping with the braids and fibre theme, another musical selection from 1 Giant Leap – Braided Hair

okay, I lied – one more thing …

My word for the day, week, month … Liminality –  period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed – a situation which can lead to new perspectives. Good word, no?

with deep gratitude and blessings – kvk

Yesterday continued to be something of a roller coaster, ending with me staying up very late reading, well – more like skimming, until almost 1am.  I sort of tip-toed into today, testing the air and my mood, curious what the day would bring.  Again, see-sawing a bit … our morning walk through the thick fog and 46 degrees, a yummy batch of fresh made carrot/celery/beet juice followed by my favorite strong black tea; then there were errands that yielded few results; a haircut that was not quite the pampering I had in mind.

When I finally settled back in to my studio, I was itching to work on my finger braiding technique and put all my ideas together.  I’m quite pleased with my results – nice even 5 loop braids, clean closure, well balanced and just kind of sweet little things …….

turtle bead bracelets

turtle bead bracelets

I really do love those beads.  I’m also quite pleased with my new KVK icon stamp on the button closure.  I think this is a better view …

turtle beads and kvk button

turtle beads and kvk button

Next I’m wanting to do necklace versions and then I’ve got some ideas for a different take on some theme specific pieces – initially gratitude and unity in diversity.

So I’ve eased on through most of the day and my dark mood and sadness has not returned.  The pendulum swings on.

I may need to get this book, To Bless the Space Between Us, by John O’Donohue.  This blessing from the book ended Malaprop’s (our local independent bookseller) newsletter.

“To Come Home To Yourself”

May all that is unforgiven in you

Be released.

May your fears yield

Their deepest tranquilities.

May all that is unlived in you

Blossom into a future

Graced with love.


perfect way to end my work day.

blessings – kvk

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