30 March 2013

Week Thirteen: The Three Great Days


The Three Great Days.

I am currently in the midst of one of the busiest, most intense, brightest and most meaningful days in the life of my faith. If you profess the same beliefs, you will understand. My daughter told me that she loves each of these days for different reasons. The ritual, the symbols, the stories. Each day has something important to teach us and I marvel at the wonder of it each time as if I am experiencing it anew.

As I write this, we have just come home from the Holy Thursday mass. We have a community pot luck meal before heading over to the church for the Mass. This one always makes me feel so humble.

"Jesus took a towel and he girded himself
and he washed my feet,
yes, he washed my feet.
Jesus took a basin and he knelt himself down,
and he washed,
yes, he washed my feet."

We sing those words while we watch as members from all over the community, all ages, all types of people come together to wash each others' feet. Such a powerful model of service to others from Jesus' actions. He did something so simple, but something that would have been the domain of a servant for each of his disciples.

I watched as my husband knelt down and lovingly poured warm water over the feet of our daughter and gently bathed her feet. Then he took them carefully, one at a time, and dried them. This cycle is repeated until every person that seeks this symbolic blessing has received it. This is such a powerful extension of not only community, and banquet but of service to all. It is a good reminder to me that I need to throw off the cloak of power I may think that I have and get down to the work of serving those around me more fully without any reciprocity or expectation.

"Will you let me be your servant?
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I may have the strength to
let you be my servant, too."

I wept during the singing of this song. The tears flowed so quickly and completely that I couldn't hold it back. Those around me were wondering what was wrong, offering me tissue, a hand of support. I am not sure if it was the monument of that moment with the people coming forward to participate in the washing ritual, or if it was that words to verse four that did it, but I couldn't keep the tears from coming.

We are pilgrims on the journey.
We are travelers on the road
We are here to help each other,
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony

This song holds deep personal meaning for me. It was sung at a crucial part of our wedding ceremony 20+ years ago. But on this night, I felt a bigger, more powerful meaning. I feel it speaking to my own relationships yes, but more to that of my parents who are going through some rather tough changes and challenges ahead. I had just had a meeting with my father about the fact that things are moving on to a new phase in their life of 45 years... the Alzheimer's that my mother has, that we have been watching creep up on us these past seven years or so, is claiming her at far too young an age. She will be turning 67 next month. This should be a golden time for them, but it is turning to twilight far too fast. So these words were even more poignant to me this year.

Good Friday will be the most somber of days. I usually struggle to get through the penetrating depth of these readings. There are no Hollywood sound effects, no close up of the blood, sweat and tears, and there doesn't need to be. What always strikes me most is that there is no holy water to bless myself with when I arrive there. It is such an automatic to reach for that little dab of water to splash on my forehead and on my shoulders in the form of a cross. I always forget that it will be missing and that touch of dryness shakes me every time.

"Behold, behold the wood of the cross
on which is hung our Salvation.
O come, let us adore."
We have this immense wooden cross that is carried into the church at a certain point. It usually takes about 15 people to hoist it above their heads and make the long trek down the aisle while we sing those words. Outside of singing that several times, this ritual is done in silence. It is laid at the foot of the altar and we are invited to come forward - no lines, no order, just to come - and venerate the cross. I usually cannot contain my emotions at this point and when I kneel there to touch the cross, or bow to kiss it. Everyone has their own way. Just pausing to own what I am bearing, I sometimes find that I am weeping. But it is a cathartic action and just knowing that we are all baring our souls to the moment is very powerful.

Saturday is the Easter Vigil. Starting at sundown with a bonfire behind the church, we get the first of the symbols - fire and light. This year there are piles of snow on the ground so I doubt that this will be done. The church is in total darkness and the community lights their candles from one flame to the next filling the room with a glow that is spectacular.

This year will be extra special. Our church is Newman University Parish. We exist to support the Catholic students on the campus of the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. I am honored to be the sponsor for a UWSP student who is getting her First Communion and Confirmation at this mass. As her sponsor I have been attending religious education classes with her since last fall. She is a lovely young lady and I feel that I have gained a deeper appreciation for the faith that I was born into by supporting this young lady in her call to conversion. Which leads me {finally} to my picture for this week.

{Faith as small as a Mustard Seed}

I created a special necklace for her (and for my young niece Evelyn who will be making her First Communion in May) that is a tiny 1/2" pendant with a mustard seed encased in resin. On the back is her initial. I have made mustard seed necklaces before, but this one with its diminutive size, really speaks to me. I think I will have to make more and perhaps start offering them in my Etsy shop.

"You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move.
Nothing would be impossible."
~Matthew 17:20

I plan to gift this to her on Saturday to let her know that this faith that she is affirming will have a great power to transform her life. I hope she will keep this as a touchstone, a talisman, a reminder that I will be praying for her and keep this time with her in my heart as a critical time in my faith formation as well. That little mustard seed is a good reminder that nothing is impossible. Even the word says, "I'm possible."

Sunday, I will be the cantor at the morning mass. There will be a baptism of a baby there and I love singing on that morning. The church will be so transformed from a bleak and stark simplicity on Friday to overflowing with light and lilies and the brightness of a new day. And then I will be celebrating by hosting the Hintz family at my house for a party in the afternoon (thank heavens for Arby's roast beef and ham and the deli at Copps Market for supplying the entire meal ;-). 

Wherever you are, whatever you might believe and however you might celebrate it, I wish you all the glory of the season and the realization that the simple truth of faith has a great mystery and power.

"Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!"


29 March 2013

Resin Bubbles Blog Hop

"I am drinking the stars!"
~Dom Perignon on his first sip of bubbly Champagne

When I saw that Miss Lorelei was hosting a little Michaels beading blog hop I jumped at the chance. Never mind that it was the going to be during the most busy week for me. I just had to do it!

I have been on the Halcraft/Michaels beading design team since last May. Each month we are sent an assignment for a particular style or using a particular set of Bead Gallery beads that are usually not even in the stores yet. Back in June 2012, we were given the theme of Vintage and sent lots of metal sliders and pendants to use. That is the first time I saw these resin bubbles. Their holographic quality mesmerized me.

{Jewel of the Nile}
I created a necklace that used a few of them as connectors called 'Jewel of the Nile.' I just used the holes at each end to connect to the pearls and the blue color brought out the turquoise in this pretty pendant.

But in the spirit of Miss Lorelei's challenge, I knew that I wanted to challenge myself to create something new. So I decided to buy the purple and peach color combination.

Their shape is what vexes me. I love the irregularity of it, and in this colorway, there are two sliders with the peach and purple and one with the purple only, which appeals to my asymmetric soul. As I moved them around on my beading table, I thought they looked a bit like a honeycomb. I wanted them to look like they were floating there. The trick was getting them to attach to one another in a way that made use of the negative space but also held a shape.

I had to go slow and connect each one individually to the next using jump rings, turning them over as I did so. And with each one that I connected it led to a whole new dilemma about where to place the next. It was as if I selected a 1000 piece puzzle and all the pieces were shaped the same but fit together in many ways, with the picture the only way to tell if you got it right. The pieces only have holes on the ends, and they only face in one direction. So it is more challenging to construct than it looks.

I wish that it didn't flop around when I pick it up. but when it is on and lying flat it really does have a stunning presence. To keep it simple, I dug through my stash of silk cord from Marsha Neal Studio and knotted a total of seven strands, doubled for the back part. And then I figured out that I made it a little too long. Doh! The silk cord stretches from the weight of all those metal sliders. But I do like the effect.

I call this Sweet Sparkling Rosé as this reminds me of a bit of pink champagne! Maybe I should take that as a sign that Mimosas are in order for Sunday's festivities! ;-)

Thank you Miss Lorelei for proposing this creative challenge. It was frustrating and fun at the same time, as all great challenges should be. Please go over to her blog and see links to all the other participants in the hop.

23 March 2013

Week Twelve :: Observe the Curve

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." ~Abraham Lincoln (Random Acts of Wisdom on my Mary Engelbreit desk calendar today!)

I am supposed to be doing this weekly series of photo prompts from my friend Sally at The Studio Sublime.I have been so busy that I forget to check the prompt each week until Friday. I actually have missed the past month of challenges, but I have been thinking about them, and even taking some of the pictures, so this is a bit of a catch up. This week, the theme is "Observe the Curve."

I suppose that means that I should pay attention to shapes and shadows or things that are round. But that is not what I thought of first. Life arcs around you in waves of emotion and memory all the time.There are times of great high, life-is-sweet, I'm on top of the world that can turn, inexplicably, to periods of lost, stuck-in-the-mud, I've fallen and I can't get up moments. Life is a spiral and spirals are made of curves and right now I feel that my life is curving around on itself so that is what I am observing, along with some images to get me caught up on some missing weeks. I haven't been able to do them all, and I would like to go back to some, but I felt that I should at least share what I have done that hasn't been seen yet. And while I won't apologize for my absence, I think you will see why I have been riding the waves as well as getting sucked into the undertow a bit in this rollicking journey.

{Week One :: Self Portrait :: I didn't start until the 2nd week ;-)}

Someone stopped by my office today and asked if I was alright. You seem so sad lately, she remarked. And she is right. I am usually pretty good at keeping my emotions away from public view, fake-it-'til-you-make-it, glass is half full. But this month has really been a strain and I guess it has been wearing through to the outside, letting the cracks open wider than normal. And I don't really know all the reasons why I am feeling this way. But I do know that I am feeling a bit like Silly Putty. Remember that stuff? I always got that in my Easter basket. You would stretch it out and press it down on top of the comics in the paper and it would peel off with the impression of Snoopy that you could pull in different directions for a funny result. Yeah. That is what I feel like right now. Silly Putty. I am not here to bitch and moan that I am sometimes sad, or not always as upbeat as I might appear on the outside. Heck, everyone has those days. But I am real. My life is not always rosy, but it is mine. And I have to accept the highs and the lows. What fun would life be if it were just flatlands or smooth sailing all the time? And cracks are how you let the light in, right?

I feel like this article I just read... "Find the One Thing You're Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life." Oh, heck yeah. I could have written that!

{Week Eight :: Monochromatic - my Tiny Dancer performing in a dance for the Harmony Living Center}

Of course, there are reasons that I can point to, to observe those curves, if you will... we have not hit 40 degrees once in March and that is a record (it is Spring, right?) plus there is no end in sight to the piles of snow... I have spent every weeknight, and some weekends, since March 1st where I have not made it home before 8:30-9:30. This is due to commitments that my daughter has with dance performances and rehearsals, and this week I have been doing a sort of trunk show at the dance studio during the costume pick up for the annual show themed commemorative limited edition jewelry fundraiser (40% goes to their chapter of the National Honor Society of Dance Arts - we are the only studio with a chapter in the whole state so it is quite a big deal. So far this week the donation is at $220!).

{2013 DEC Jewelry - Every dancer is a color in the Kaleidoscope of The View. Each kaleidoscope, dancer or hand painted sparkly heart pendant is engraved with "View-DEC-2013" on the back as a limited edition keepsake.}

March 23rd is a special day that cannot go unnoticed. It is the day that I became a mommy. My son 'Rocket' was born on March 23, 1998. He was breach so I had to endure the rather painful external version (where they push quite hard on your stomach to 'encourage' the baby to turn. Didn't work.) and ended up with a C-section. I can barely remember those early days, except to know that I was scared out of my mind for the first three months and thoroughly exhausted. He was not a baby that was easy. Rather demanding. Shrill, as I recall. An I-want-it-now-and-I'm-not-going-to-wait sort of babe. But I suppose that is how all infants are, right?

{Then...and Now... although this could have been the perfect picture for last week's endless possiblities...}

He is a great kid and I am so excited to watch him grow into a young man. That picture on the left was taken in September. We were rolling around with him and told him that he was going to be a big brother in the spring. He lay on the grass looking up at the clouds overhead and told us that he was going to tell the new baby about grass... and clouds... and football. The picture on the right was a totally rare smile for a 14 year old. We took a fall hike up a nearby mountain and were standing on the top of the lookout tower. This candid shot is the way I love to see him, laughing and full of life. My, how he has grown. I am not sure I would have believed it myself if I hadn't put these two pictures next to each other. It gives me a ridiculous amount of pride to see him do the things he loves - like baseball, which will be starting soon, best time of the year - and to watch him do great things in school. These next three years will go by quicker than the last 15 have, I am sure of it. I already feel like I am being left in a cloud of his dust as he speeds away. And he isn't even driving yet. (Oh Lord, help me, I just realized he will be driving next year!)
{Week Ten :: All Wrapped Up - in my Tiny Dancer's 12th birthday slumber party complete with hand made recycled t-shirt scarves, epoxy clay and rhinestone bling rings and amateur music video making}

Because I haven't been home, I am starting to feel like a stranger in the homeland. I barely have time to high five my husband as we pass in the hall shouting out to each other our pick up and drop off plans for the kids. I am desperate for a date night and have been asking for one since the beginning of the year. Hasn't happened yet. I haven't yet started on my taxes and they have to be done next week. I can't forget it is Holy Week and I am singing at mass for Palm Sunday as well as Easter. It is a very special day on Saturday for the Best Day of the Church Year - the Easter Vigil. I am the sponsor for a university student who will be making her First Communion and Confirmation at that event so I will be with her and her family to support her in this very important time and also attending a retreat that day to prepare (so happy for her!). My home will be the host for the Hintz family Easter luncheon. So I am trying to figure out how many people will come (mostly adult nieces and nephews with their significant others) so it could be anywhere from 9-20 people. Hard to plan the right amount of food, especially since I won't be there to prepare it! Arby's Roast Beef to the rescue! I plan to order the beef and ham and buns from there and then I can just pick up the rest ready made from the deli and grocery store. I am all about convenience and paying someone else to do what I can't or won't do. The good news is that I am taking off Wednesday through Friday to hopefully get all of that done, and maybe spend a little time with my kids for their spring break watching the snow melt (so jealous of all those heading to sunnier destinations!).

{10 Year DEC Dancer Gift}

I have to start on the 10 year dancer necklaces that I make each year to honor the students who have danced continuously at the studio for a decade (thanks to Cat Pruitt for her awesome etching help! I feel so much more calm knowing I don't have to tackle that step!). I need to create two special necklaces for the studio director to wear during the show performances as well, and I have a Toast of the Town variation that I am making for myself to wear with my emerald green Easter dress. I want to finish some meaningful mustard seed jewelry for my university student and my favorite niece making her First Communion. I also have 3-4 pieces due next week for Halcraft/Michaels as well as the Art Bead Scene March Blog Tour. Most of that will happen in the next week... or two. ;-)

But lest you think that I am forgetting to put my own oxygen mask on first, on Saturday I am having a 'me day.' I am heading to Madison for the Art Glass and Bead Show. I have never been because it never works out. This year I just decided it would regardless. I am taking two classes with artist Debbi Simon whom I have admired from afar. It will be refreshing to learn something new (hopefully I can apply it instead of buying all the tools needed and then never accomplishing anything outside of the class!). I hope to get a wee bit of bead shopping in (breaking my bead fast!). And I just discovered there is an Anthropologie store in nearby Hilldale Mall. I have never been to an Anthropologie store so I am excited about seeing that. I can't quite fit into anything they sell (maybe the shoes!) so it will be more of a fact-finding mission to see displays and soak up the ambiance. Of course, I feel a bit guilty doing this on my son's 15th birthday, but it is the State Basketball Tournament for 8th grade and our organization is the host. It will be going on all over town this weekend and my husband is on the committee and my son will be making money scoring all the games. I do feel bad for my poor daughter who will be left all day. Maybe I can bring her back something special from my trip to the Anthropologie store to wear for Easter.

{Week Eleven :: The Possibilities are Endless. A client asked if I had ever considered mushroom spores as a subject for my pendants. Umm, no, but intrigued! Recently I found a medium that allows me to carve out my own sketched designs so I tested it out and the results are very exciting! I have made spore prints and two other mushrooms as well as birch bark and my new favorite - the pussy willow. I am working on another client request for yin-yang and I have come up with a new series based on flowers. Very cool new direction that these possibilities are opening for me!}

So I haven't forgotten about all of you, dear readers. You may have noticed that I have been lurking here and there a bit, surfacing for air and popping in for a comment or two. I hope that I will be able to get back to righting my ship and riding the crest of a wave real soon. At least before it falls off the edge of the world and I get sucked under again. ;-)

{Week Twelve :: Observe the Curve :: Frozen tundra landscape from my office window enhanced with a wee bit of color}
Is your life in an arc or a valley right now? 
Are you riding a wave or getting sucked in by the undertow?

P.S. If you have read this far, thank you. I feel like a flash sale in my Etsy shop is in order. How about 25% off any listing in my Etsy shop from now until the end of the day on March 26th with the code: OBSERVETHECURVE with a minimum $25 purchase. (Does not apply to the Simple Truths Samplers, sorry.)

12 March 2013

Lost Time

Lost time is never found again. ~ Benjamin Franklin

You know that feeling where you have lost a week and you don't know how or where? Yeah. I have that feeling right now. 

I am sorry that I have been MIA, but I truly have not had a moment to think of anything other than who needs to be picked up when and what drive through might have the most nutritious meal for my family next. Right now is a pretty busy time for me at work - never enough hours in the day - and I have not been home before 9:30pm since March 1st. Can it already be March 12th? I see no end in sight for my own March Madness that has little to do with basketball, although there is that sprinkled in there, too. I can't seem to be trusted with deadlines right now and I see a few that might be slipping through my fingers as we speak which makes me sad. Oh well. I simply cannot do it all and all the plates I am juggling are about to crash spectacularly. It will be a glorious mess.

Today is my day over at Earrings Everyday to share some new earrings. Of course, at 9:42 pm last night on the way home from the Band Extravaganza concert I realized that I had nothing whatsoever to share. So I sat down and whipped up some earrings from - yes - what I had lying around.

I found this beautiful set of lampwork beads from StudioJuls sitting there. In the package. Unopened. GAH! What a shame! (And not the only bead artist that I am neglecting. I have a whole bin of them that have yet to be opened and touched, much less played with and put away). Then I spied a roll of this 16 gauge flat aluminum wire coated in a silky chocolate color. (My picture makes it look lighter than it is). The nice thing about aluminum is that it is very soft, so very light tapping later, I had these sticks that I filed and shaped.

The swaying of the sticks hits just above my shoulder and reminds me of a pendulum, hence the name 'Tick Tock Turquoise'. They were easy to pull together and make me feel more with it now that I am wearing them. I think I will be making a lot more like this. I wonder if that wire comes in any other colors? So what do you think of this design? I am thinking that there are a lot of beads that I could use this design with just staring at me in bins and trays and bowls on my table.

If you want to see the outfit I created to go with it (and I do have pretty much all those items in my own closet - I just might have to wear this outfit on Sunday), head on over to Earrings Everyday.

01 March 2013

The Challenge of Music Reveal

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Challenge of Music! Over forty participants have joined me in sharing our creative journeys through music. But this year the twist - and Challenge - was to find a {mostly} instrumental piece of music that would allow our imaginations to tell the tale.

The first time I saw a show under the Big Top on the Navy Pier in Chicago I was hooked. The Cirque du Soleil ("Circus of the Sun") is a marvelous feast for the senses and is one of the most amazing experiences live. While you can certainly see performances of the various shows on television or in the movies, I cannot recommend the live shows highly enough.

Cirque du Soleil has revolutionized performance art, in particular blending circus arts with stunning original music spotlighting elaborate sets and lavish costuming and makeup into shows that transcend the traditional big top approach of what a circus is known for. Founded in Quebec in 1984 by Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier, the original group was comprised of local street performers. Animal acts found in traditional circuses were scrapped to focus exclusively on human spectacles - stilt-walkers, jugglers, fire-eaters, and the like. Their live action art produced a loyal following throughout Canada, eventually spreading across North America and around the world. In the 1990s and 2000s they went from one show in Montreal to 19 shows in over 271 cities on every continent except Antarctica. That is impressive growth!

Wallpaper image depicting the characters from Ka. Photo from the Ka website.
From the costumes to the sets to the characters, the Cirque has produced incredible dancing, death-defying acts and heart-achingly beautiful music. The music is so central to the performances that the musicians are in costume and make-up and usually seen onstage as part of the action unfolding. Each show has characteristic sounds that permeate every single scene, bringing out the nuances of the performances and resonating in your whole being from the soulful sounds and weaving a story with haunting albeit mysterious lyrics.

I love that the music in each show has this sort of timeless appeal. It sounds as though it could have been composed 300 years ago or 300 years in the future. There is always a harmonious blend of instruments from across the globe and a melodious blend of voices in choruses that take my breath away. Some of the songs have lyrics but they always sounds otherworldly. I have discovered that the language that is used in most of the music is an invented language affectionately called "Cirquish" and features sounds blending cultures from African, Italian, French, Slavic, Celtic, Indian and Asian influences. That makes each note filled with mystery and gives me a sense of an otherworldly place and time.

The Big Top for La Nouba at Downtown Disney
I have seen La Nouba (permanent show at Disneyworld in Orlando) twice and several other shows that have popped up in Chicago on tour. But the one that made the most impression on me was one that was unlike any other Cirque du Soleil show: Ka at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Story board for the Flight scene. Photo from the Ka website.

Typically, the Cirque is a collection of acts loosely woven around a theme. Ka deviates from the normal Cirque production in that it is an epic tale from beginning to end rather than just an abstract melange of acts. But instead of using dialogue and characterization to tell the story, the action and music weave the story and carry you on a journey. The theater itself that was constructed for this show is incredible. Each of the 1951 seats in the $165 million theater have speakers built into the headrests so that you are completely enveloped by the music. Some of the scenes feature screens that project images that respond to the actors, like bubbles rising and rocks falling. The stage is an incredible free floating platform on an immense hydraulics system so that action can be tilted, moving and even go vertical (that fight scene is mind-blowing). There is a four story drop into a pit that all but devours some performers in the show.

Photo of the floating stage deck in the Battlefield scene where performers scale the wall and swing from the pegs in incredible feats of strength and choreography. Photo from Ka.
This epic tale of love and honor, quest and self-discovery, has a soundtrack that I love to listen to. Ever since I saw that show, I have wanted to represent each of the 14 scenes through a piece of jewelry. Today I will share with you two pieces I created inspired by distinctly different musical numbers in the performance. Each of these musical numbers evoke very different feelings, colors, textures and patterns, yet they are related and tell of  pivotal moments in the gripping story.



I have to admit that I cheated a bit on this first one. I suggested that the musical inspiration be instrumental. What I really was hoping for is choosing songs without recognizable lyrics, since it is those lyrics that can influence the creating. But this music so moves me when I hear it that I knew that I had to use it.

To escape the Archers and Spearmen, the Nursemaid drags the Twin Sister onto a boat and they escape by sea, only to encounter a massive storm that capsizes their vessel. The specially-designed boat structure weighs almost 1800 pounds and the rocking and turning movements are completely manipulated by the artists onboard. Photo and caption from Ka.
In Ka there is a 57-piece orchestra that plays in the bowels of the stage four stories below the action in small lounge-type soundproof rooms while watching the action played out on monitors. That was a fabulous revelation as typically in Cirque shows the musicians are right on stage as characters. Along with the musical accompaniment, there are 40 voices that provide the chorus, and while there are some songs in the show that have what might pass as lyrics, most of the human voices provide a sort of instrumental vocalization. In this piece entitled "Storm" there is great sense of urgency created by the repetitious 'Cirquish' sounds of the mostly male voices. These chants and harmonies act as another instrument rather than tell a tale through lyrics. The rise and fall of the music and the driving force is what I wanted to capture in my piece.

Click this button below to listen to the music:

I heard these sounds as being rather dark and ominous, with flashes of red and punctuated by forceful jabs of the beat. I wanted to bring the sense of urgency and driving power to this piece through the choice of the materials and the placement.

I used a variety of beads including dagger shaped ivory magnesite, jagged quartz, a slice of horn, faceted carnelian, matte peanut beads, tribal polymer clay rounds from Pam Wynn, ceramic link and Wooly Wire from Karen Totten, ceramic beads from MaryAnn Carrroll and Lisa Peters Art, a beautiful copper spiral from Artisan Accents by StaciLouise and some hand patina-ed beads that I created along with some spicy sari silk ribbon and a coiled clasp that I created to mimic Staci's component. I think it accomplishes the tribal sounds and forceful nature of this music.


Not long after the frenzy of 'Storm' is a softer, soulful piece called 'Shadowplay.' This piece has a sadness to it, a sort of melancholy after the intense action of the previous musical number, as if you might reflect on the events that have just unfolded with a sense of loss but yet a hopefulness for the future. In my minds' eye I can see swirling and twisting that builds through a sweet melody with a feeling of happiness and serenity.
Full sketch idea I created while listening to the music
I have a goal this year of working through a stack of books on my table, one per month. This month I was inspired by a butterfly wing wire wrapping design in the Wire Jewelry Masterclass by Abby Hook. I also find that when I sketch an idea there is a higher likelihood that I will actually make something from that.

Click this button below to listen to the music:

There is an elegance to this music, a sort of playful dancing feel that is light and airy. For this piece I decided to fabricate links in a freeform wire style. I created swirls of 16 gauge copper wire, hammered for strength and texture and darkened with liver of sulfur, wrapped in tiny grossular garnet, peridot gemstones and teal nugget pearls on the swirls to catch the light and lead the eye. I finished with a deep teal blue sari silk braid as this music feels blue to me.

It looks very substantial, like a decorative breastplate, but it is surprisingly light and flexible. I like how closely it mimics the drawing I did. Score one for my rough sketching!

Oh! And I almost forgot! I made a coordinating pair of earrings to go with this necklace and created a Polyvore style board with a whole outfit. You can check that out at Earrings Everyday!


Thank you for staying with me through this blog post!
I know it is a long one, but I hope it is worthwhile.
I am looking forward to taking the next few days and really diving into
the musical experiences of the other participants who were able to participate.

{Note: There were quite a few in the list below that had to excuse themselves from playing for various reasons. I completely understand when life gets overwhelming. I hope that they will all get back to creating again real soon!}

As I stop by each blog, I will replace their links below with a direct link to their blog post and add them to the Pinterest Board that I have set up for the occasion. 

Join me in the musical journey, won't you?

The Challenge of Music participants
Erin Prais-Hintz
Alenka Obid
Ali McCarthy
Alicia Marinache
Amy Severino
Amy Grass
Carolyn Lawson
Cece Cormier
Cynthia Riggs
 Ema Kilroy (bowed out)
Emanda Johnson
 Emma Todd
Erin Kenny
Evelyn Shelby
Evie and Beth McCord
 Gerd Andersson
Holly Westfall
 Jennifer Justman
 Jenny Davies-Reazor
 Jess Green
Judy Campbell
 Karla Morgan
Kay Thomerson
Kristina Johansson
Lola Surwillo
Lynn White (bowed out)
Malin de Koning
Mallory Hoffman
Mary K McGraw
Melissa Meman (bowed out)
Melissa Trudinger
 Michelle Escano
Michelle Bourbonniere
Michelle Heim (bowed out)
Michelle Mach
 Molly Alexander
Molly Schaller (bowed out)
Monique Urquhart
Niky Sayers
Pam Farren
Rebecca Anderson
 Sally Russick
Sharon Palac (bowed out)
Sharon Driscoll
Susan Kennedy
Tari Kahrs
Tracy Stillman (bowed out)
Veralynne Malone

P.S. The next Quarterly Challenges will be in May (Literature), August (Travel) and November (Color).
Know that I will plan to do them no matter who signs up. And if no one does, well, then you will have at least my post to look forward to for inspiration! And if it happens to work out for you, I hope you will consider joining me!


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