Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday/Friday January 28/29 ~ 2010

Today we lost an icon of American literature: J.D. Salinger, the author of the 1953 must read High School Literature Classic " The Catcher in the Rye" died . He last published in 1965 and retired to the seclusion of his home in New Hampshire. Where he spent his days scowling at the photographers who dared peer into his private world.

In 1997 in an NPR interview he was quoted as saying. "I refuse to publish. There's a marvelous peace in not publishing. There's a stillness. When you publish, the world thinks you owe something. If you don't publish, they don't know what you're doing. You can keep it for yourself."

Also from NPR "The Catcher in the Rye inspired censors, assassins and innumerable ordinary readers, who found in Salinger's hopeful yet disillusioned heroes an uncompromising kindred spirit."

He is believed to have stashed reams of unpublished fiction in a vault.
  "Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity."
~Henry Van Dyke~

 As I insanely get ready for the Gem Show next week I find that I am growing overly concerned with the passage of time and how swiftly it seems to slips from my grasp.

• Is there time enough to get all of my work done?
• How much time can I get out of each day to work?

Here is the truth about time: As soon as you surrender to time, surrender to it's inevitable rhythmic cadence, knowing that you will not get it all accomplished and that no matter how hard you try there will always be more that you could attain. Surrender to that simple truth and only then will their be a peace that fills you. The goals and tasks that you desire to achieve will gain even greater heights. Be warned, never fail to give time is due, it does not stop and it does not wait, it is ever flowing and much can pass you by if time is not given the proper payment of respect.


So, here is my big announcement, a few months ago I was invited to participate in a group design team in organized and by and in conjunction with Tonya Davidson and Whole Lotta Whimsy. The owner of this most excellent establishment just happens to be a friend and I am honored to be part of the group. 

There are 10 of us and we have been given the auspicious title: Master Muses and over the course of this next year each of us will present 6 projects that challenge us within certain imposed parameters. These projects are meant to expand our techniques and inspire each of us to new levels of creativity. I was "chosen" to be first so click on the above link and let us know what you think.

♥ ♥ "Time goes to swiftly when we are together and too slowly when we are parted…" ♥ ♥

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday/Sunday January 23/24 ~ 2010

A web-cam in Szentgotthárd, Hungary captured this curious bird looking into the camera. The webcam is set to shoot only one frame in every minute, so what are the chances?

I have had a whirlwind 10 days of travel and teaching and I am beat. My last 4 days of teaching for the most excellent Great Lakes Guild has been so wonderful. This is a groups that is totally full of talent and creativity all rolled up into one big ball of laughter and gaiety.

I love coming out here and seeing all of the people that I have gotten to know from my several years of teaching for them. It seems like another lifetime, my first trip out, all I taught was 4 or 5 days of double chain mail classes. Then to come out here and pretty much have an entirely different slant on my career within the profession.

I am now heading back home for a single day of recovery (NOT REALLY) and then I make the last and final push for the Gem Show. I have so much to get done and so much to finish up I just hope that I can accomplish 1/2 of what I desire.

I am pleased to see that our President is getting a little mad. This latest affront from the Supreme Court stating that there are really no limits on campaign contributions is a challenge to the democratic ideas that this country was founded on. We have delivered every elected office to the lobbyists and to the corporations. 

I want my politicians to have to sport their corperate sponsorships just like NASCAR driver!

I fully believe that each representative should have to wear patches on his jacket like and NASCAR driver so we the people can see who bought his seat in Congress.

 I am also glad to see that he is stiffening his resolve on the banks. They are close to getting back to business as usual and this can just not occur. So many people are in desperate situations because of the selfish acts of these people. We bailed them out and now we are still paying for their arrogance.

I need to see President Obama be okay with not being the man who wants the two sides to come together. I want him to be angry with their "childish politics" and to fight back. I want him to fight back because then all would see how truly inane the opposition party actually is.

I am patient, the truth will won out and we will be stronger for it in the end.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday/Wednesday January 19/20 ~ 2010

Check It Out! My friend Bronwen Heilman's  face bead made the front cover of the Main Show Guide.. Rock on for you Bron.

Well, I made it to Detroit and I finished my talk this evening. It was wonderful to be back here with this most excellent group of individuals; The Great Lakes Bead Workers Guild.

My topic for this evenings discussion; "Defining Your Creative Voice in an Overly Stimulated  World". It is a conversation that I find exceptionally relevant these days with our 24/7/365 lifestyle that has overtaken our society in the last decade. Finding a creative singular and personal voice in a sea of visual input overload.

I am looking forward to my classes over the next 4 day. Resins, Riveting, Chains and Viking Knit are all part of the slated entertainments. Looking forward to the frivolities.

During my last few crazed day of getting ready for my journey to the mid-west I had several errands that took me to all parts of Tucson. I am excited to see all the preparations  for the Gem Show really getting underway. I know that these 10 days away are going to bring huge changes as the vast open expanses are overtaken by the tent cities that are erected each year. It is such an exciting time of year here. IT feels as if the entire world of rocks, gems and beads descends on my small desert town. (Oh, Wait.. the entire rock, gem and bead world does descend upon Tucson and it is Fan-Tas-Tic.).

I changed venues this year. I switched over to the Best Bead Show ~ BOOTH SH-9 AT that the Kino Veterans Memorial Sport Complex. I am totally stoked to be in this venue with so many of my friends. I will miss my friends over at the Whole Bead Show but this move just seem like a logical choice for me.

Well, I am beat tonight/this morning and I am gonna tuck in and try to find my sleep. I have to say that I am totally dismayed by the happenings in Massachusetts. I find it hard to fathom the seat that was occupied by Senator Kennedy for over 45 years is to be taken over by a Republican. I thought that Coakley would have been a refreshing change for the Senate. Just knowing that she was not part of the Party Elite, and seeing her quiet  yet determined style that served her so well for so many years. She knows the law, she was a prosecutor not a politician, how nice would that have been. I am discouraged that the people are not willing to be patient and to give it a chance to get fixed and to be realistic about the total mess that we are in. This is not going to be fixed or healed in a few months. Eight years of the hellish course we were on cannot be corrected overnight.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday January 17th ~ 2010

What a week I have had. I have not been this up against the wall slammed in quite some time. The logistics of splitting up my workstations, figuring out when to send off those boxes to arrive in time and still worry about inclement weather has made my salt-n-pepper hair a little more pepper I think.

I altered my travel plans ever so slightly and instead of driving directly to Iowa I got to spend Friday with my friend Elizabeth Bartky. It was wonderful to see Elizabeth and to head out to the Art Institute to take in the Caravaggio exhibit. We had a great time looking at the Masters assembled in those few rooms and yet; the silliness and giggles came out and we had an even better time making rather inappropriate observations of some of the facial expressions and posses that these artists chose to represent.

Prior to the Art Institute Elizabeth took me to the Cultural Center, this building used to house the library but has been transformed and renovated for it's new life. I would have loved to have seen this building full of books and tables and that smell you only get in a library. The artistry of this building is amazing and the Tiffany dome was truly amazing. This is a must-see for anyone that comes to Chicago and is one of my new personal treasures.
Tiffany Dome:

After these 2 most excellent adventures we walked back up Michigan Ave. in the wonderful winter chill and headed for Joe's Steak House. We both had really good meals and really nice wine and we toasted to Scott and started to share our memories and more stories. Scott loved good food, good wine and a really good stories and we did our part to keep a wonderful tradition alive and well. The evening ended up with Elizabeth and I scouring through Borders. 

I drove to Cedar Rapids yesterday afternoon, got the classroom all set up last evening and relaxed last night filing and sanding the 19 cuff bracelets that I have been making and assembling piecemeal for the last week in the midst of all of my insanity.

Class today, relax and pack this evening and I fly to Detroit on Monday for four days of classes with the Great Lakes Guild. My whirlwind mid-west tour is off to a great start. I have two really fun designs for chains knocking around in my head and I am looking forward to fusing for 5 or 6 hours today!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday January 9th ~ 2010

I have stumbled upon After you sign up and click on the subjects that are of interest to you this site will randomly pick out web sites that match your selected interests. You will be amazed at what you will "stumble upon". This is one of the most addictive internet activities that has invaded my little insular little world. One of the topics that I checked was philosophy and today these are two of the sites that popped up. What a wonderful, interesting, insightful, informative and intriguing waste of time.

"Seven Blunders of the World"
1. Wealth without work
2. Pleasure without conscience
3. Knowledge without character
4. Commerce without morality
5. Science without humanity
6. Worship without sacrifice
7. Politics without principle
~Mahatma Gandh"

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man... I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence -- as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."
~Albert Einstein

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday January 7th ~ 2010

I am really liking the typing out the numerical twenty-ten... do you think that the start of a new decade brings out optimism? I kind of do...and saying it is even better. Comes out so much easier than 2009

With the passing of friends and loved ones you will always spend some time in reflection and remembrance. I have spent time this last week remembering the loss of two people that I considered friends in the last months. In those moments of tears would come flashes that would make me smile and even laugh out loud.

As Dolly Parton's Steel Magnolias character •Truvy Jones•  said: "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." Nothing could be more true than those words in times of remembrance.

I was recalling a late night with Scott & Elizabeth at their condo in Chicago. We were discussing all of the crazy toys and gadgets that we had collected over time and Scott told me he could put all of mine to shame in one-second: then he broke out the "THE VIOLET RAY". This quack medical device was sold in the 1920's & 1930's and it is a hoot.  We plugged it in and cured ourselves of all manner of ailments. Click on the link above and see what all can be cured. I just remember all of us laughing and tearing up as we each tried a wide variety of the attachments. My favorite was the comb.

 I did get a bit of a late start this morning; no matter how I tried I just could not remove myself from under my warm covers and the fact that I had two cats trapping me in did nothing to assist in the matter.

But, so far, the rest of day has a productive day, spent gathering all of the stuff that I need to ship out on Monday for classes in Iowa City & in Detroit. I have loads to accomplish in the next week and I am looking forward to the intensity that these type of preparations require. My dining room work table is covered with everything that is to be packed all spread out and me and my laptop have been relegated to a small corner of the once vast open expanse of wood.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday January 6th ~ 2010

Welcome to the new year and we are off to a running start. I usually do not get much work in January but this year is a bit of a shift for me. I leave for Cedar Rapids, IA in just over a week for a single day class of Fine Silver Fusing at The Bead Haven. Then I am off to Detroit to spend a week with the most awesome Great Lakes Bead Workers Guild. I am looking forward to a wonderful and FREEZING January.

Because I have been getting ready for this January's travels I have had to get a huge jump start on getting stuff ready for the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. I have to say that I think I have done pretty well where that is concerned. I have 2 dozen cuff bracelets that are almost finished up, a load of new pieces that feature Terri Caspary Schmidts work, finished necklaces and the like. So I am  feeling pretty okay with how the work is progressing. As usual it could always be better and I am determined to get much accomplished before I head out to the frozen midwest.

I am really getting excited about this years BeadFest Santa Fe Show. March 18th - 21st this is the first major gathering of my people for 2010. Even though so many of us gather in Tucson for the Gem Show we are so spread out all over town that it is almost impossible for us all to schedule time to see each other. At least when we all meet up for the other major show we are in one convention center.

My classes for Bead Fest Santa Fe are a very fun offering check them out and join in the fun if you are in the area.
(Too see the classes, scroll down through the very long Workshops Page)

Color & Patina on Metals with Metal Joining Techniques ~ Class #1412

Fusing a Heavy Gauge Fine Silver Bracelet ~ Class # 2424

Hand Formed Sterling Fused Fine Silver Cuff ~ Class # 3424

Explorations in Low-Tech Metalsmithing & Fine Silver Fusing ~ Class # 4424

Even if my year has gotten off to a quick start I was deeply saddened by the news that with the very turn of the new decade a dear friend of mine has succumbed to his battle with a variety of challenges. Whether or not you knew my friend, if you are at all involved in my industry, you owe him a great big thank you. Mr. W. Scott Bartky invented the crimping pliers and he pretty much changed our industry. I was honored to count him a friend and he will be missed by all of those who were touched by his generosity, kindness and humor.

One of my last questions to Scott "What haven't you done?" We decided that cowboy and astronaut were safe bets.

I was blessed that during my trip to Chicago in October I got to visit with Scott one last time and spend an hour with him and his beautiful wife Elizabeth for a little mutual birthday get together. I was also pleased that  they got to meet Terri and she got to put a person to my stories. 

You can read about this mans amazing life. Chicago Tribune Obituary

My visit with Scott in August of 2008.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday January 1st ~ 2010

Please read and pass it on:

Today I want to share with you all a post from Gail Crosman Moore regarding an urgent matter that we could use your assistance on. You--our friends, fellow artists and colleagues--can assist us in this task by reading this post, passing it on, and raising awareness for our friend who is in need. These are the times when our community with its deep collective well of creativity and generosity can come together and be a powerful force. Please be a part of this and join us in this effort.

a day in the life:

In my ego-centric world things aren't going so great, but my plight will be relatively short lived. I'm going to follow sage advice and bring your attention to my/our dear friends plight....Michele Goldstein is caring around the clock for the dying father of her children. (There is no time for their family to prepare for the end of his life. Steve's sickness was unexpected and the cancer is moving quickly through his body. His death is imminent, and it's only been three weeks since he was diagnosed.)

If you know Meesh, you know that she is the kindest of souls and is always generous and puts others first. She would never think about asking for money from others. That is why her friends are asking you to think of sending her something.

In looking at the dawning of a new 'age', a new year, I want to start it right and send a loving message of direct help to one of us who is in need. Meesh has been unable to work, has needed to cancel shows and is looking at an uncertain future for herself and her two young boys.

It is my hope that we could take some immediate heat off of her situation by laying down a little padding to her nest. Could you help?

If you can help, the most direct route would be through her Paypal account.( If you could forward this to anyone who might be interested in helping, please do!

We will be following this up with an interesting auction of donated items, if you would like to become a part of this please contact either me at or Anne Mitchell at to develop a trust for her children.

Michelle's On Line Studio & Her Collaboration with Stephanie Sersich Hearts & Bones Studio