Friday, August 28, 2009


I bought a new issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry today. One of the featured artists' is Lori Wilkes.
As I was looking through her Web site, she had a section of pieces called Metaphoric Doors. She writes beautifully about doors (her doors are beautiful also), and I quote her:

"Doors are a perfect metaphor for change. Like chapters in a book, they provide us with fresh beginnings and intriguing endings. They swing open to future possibilities and close quietly on past (and sometimes painful) experiences. Doors can protect us, entice us, mystify us and make us pause. It's amazing how much of our lives are lived between the opening and closing of doors."

After posting my poem on doors earlier today, and then reading this, I feel like there is some kind of synchronicity. I feel there is a new door opening in my life, and have been feeling this way for a while. There is something awaiting me on a path that I have yet to explore, but am getting ready for. I am eagerly looking forward to the change!

The Clearing

In the summer of 1997 I went to a wonderful place called The Clearing, in Door County, Wisconsin. I took a class on journal writing taught by Darlene Cole, which was just lovely. Darlene was a person you felt comfortable with, and her suggestions for things to do with your journal widened my journaling experiences. The following poem came out of that week:

I was looking for an exit.
I tried the door, and found that
rather than opening out, it turned in,
and that is how I found myself.

By going inward, to the interior of myself,
I found what I had never lost
but had misplaced, forgotten, left unattended.
I began to recycle.

A mystery: Why did I leave myself at the roadside?
An answer: It remains unsolved.

The past is fertile ground for becoming whole.
A completeness nurtured by loss,
A compass guided by mourning,
A path that leads to my Self,
A greeting that beckons hello.

August, 1997, The Clearing

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Vein of Gold

Sometimes life throws us unexpected curves. On this day, August 23, 1996, I was fired from my job as a medical hospital social worker after a very traumatic event that involved the daughter of a patient and myself. My life changed forever on that day. I never truly recovered from being fired. I lost my desire to continue with social work, and I never found a replacement career.
What I did discover, though, was The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, a book that helped people recover their artistic creativity. I saw an ad for a session being held at the local art center a few weeks after I was fired. It was like a message was being sent to me that this was my next step.
The class lasted 12 weeks. It was my saving grace. Everything else in my life had crashed and burned.

After I finished The Artist's Way program, I signed up to do Julia's next book, the Vein of Gold. The above mandala reflects the influence of that process for me. I titled the mandala My Vein of Gold. It was the beginning of a new awakening of the artist I had always wanted to be. In a sense, social work is an art, because you are always looking for creative ways to help people. But it was an outward art, not an inner one. Now I was looking inward, exploring the call to art that had been with me since I was a child. This mandala reflects that experience. I remember it took me hours to draw and color. It was a healing process, a coming together of wholeness, and a vision of the future.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rug from New Orleans

I thought I was the only person who took pictures of hotel rugs, but I saw that Marcia DeCoster does also on her blog! Mine is from a hotel in New Orleans last winter.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Bracelets

A few new bracelets to show off! Above, a hugs and kisses bracelets with a beaded bead closure and siam 3mm crystals down the middle.

Below, the Razzle Dazzle Bracelet I mentioned in my last post.

Beading Chaos

Beading Chaos! When the boys are away, Susan makes a mess on the kitchen table. It's the only time I can really spread out. I can work on several projects at once and leave them overnight. Usually I have to clean everything up so there is room to eat! The bracelet on the mat is by Kim Stathis, called Razzle Dazzle bracelet. What a terrific design. In the upper photo, the beaded beads are a variation of the Spinning Top Bead from Bead Infinitum (it's a free pattern) and lots of fun to make.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Red Bracelet

Remember Wendy's wedding bracelet that I showed a while ago? Well, I made one in red, using an array of red and pink drop beads and a rainbow of red crystals. I love this bracelet!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Myth of Death Panels

The debate about the future of health care has taken an ugly turn. President Obama's attempt to provide health care to all Americans has been hijacked by protesters who fear death panels. The real issue, however, is that what people fear is death itself. No one likes to think of their own death. However, people die, for all sorts of reasons. In most cases, death is a process, and within that process, there is time to contemplate one's death, how one would want to die, and to learn how death occurs. Simply discussing death does not mean you are going to die. For many people, discussing the dying process helps take the fear away. It gives them time to determine what is important to them, what needs to be resolved before their death,and time to see family and friends.

When I was a renal social worker, advance directives were an integral part of the work that I did with dialysis patients. Having an advance directive gives people power and control over their death. It allows them to say what they want or don't want. The important thing about an advance directive is that it allows the person to have their wishes followed when they are no longer in a position to say what they want. I found that people welcomed the chance to express their feelings. An advance directive can be changed, so if a person changes their mind about an issue, the a.d. can reflect that change.

It is good to talk about death and dying. Dying is a part of living. How many times do you hear that a beloved grandparent has died just weeks before the arrival of a new baby? The circle of life is a beautiful one, and by talking about it and showing respect for the individual, we honor that person.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Big Reveal

I entered the Use the Muse contest hosted by Scarlett Lanson. Each participant purchased the same kit from Scarlett. The goal was to complete a piece of beading that was wearable in a relatively short time. Above is the front of my completed necklace.

Above is detail from the back of my necklace. Here's something really cool - I thought I made this photos smaller, but they keep uploading large. However, if you look into the shiny beads, you can see my shadow taking the photo! I am outside on our deck, and the house is behind me.

The photo above shows closer detail of the front.

I enjoyed designing a piece with a given set of materials. I was very fortunate to actually like the beads in the kit. I've done other projects where the beads are predetermined and have really disliked them. It's much harder to make something in that case.

I didn't win (I didn't expect to), but you should definitely check out the winners and look at the galleries of entrants There are a lot of wonderful pieces to look at.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor

Congratulations to the new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor! May the pearls of wisdom learned by a wise Latina woman illuminate your way, and may your path be one of respect and justice for all citizens of our country.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Jason's Home!!!

Yay! Jason is home after being away for more than 6 months in Israel. We are so happy to see him! I missed him so much, but was happy that he had such a great time and an experience he will never forget.

Giving him a big hug, hard to do when he's so tall!

Sam and Jason, mirror images.

Jason and Dennis. Look at those bedroom eyes on Jason. He came home, regaled us with stories over dinner, then he and Sam took off...that's how it goes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

July BJP

My beloved father died August 2, 1998, also the 10th day of Av, which is Tisha B'av, the commemoration of the destruction of the second temple, during which the Book of Lamentations is read. My father died at the age of 64 of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The day he died the Blue Angels flew over the house as part of the show at nearby Hanscom Airforce Base. It seemed a fitting tribute to my father.

My father became an avid birder in the last several years of his life. He and a pal enjoyed spending time going to the Audobon Sanctuary and other places and watching birds. It was a relaxing contrast to his normally busy work schedule and gave him a much needed respite.

In honor of my father, George A. Kolovson, I have made a mandala in memory of him for my July BJP. If you read my blog, you will know that a little while ago I posted a photo of a birdbath that I can see from my computer window. Initially I thought that the birdbath was what I was beading. But as I beaded, it became apparent that I was really beading memories of my father.

Below you can see a mandala I drew shortly after my father died. In keeping with his love of birds, my parents back yard was designed to attract as many different birds as possible.

This mandala was drawn the day before my father died. I was sitting on the front steps of my parents home and started this mandala. Initially it was part of their garden, but if you use your imagination you can also see that I incorporated an oceany feel, because my father also loved the beach.

I was fortunate to be at home when my father died. My father-in-law had just died 6 weeks previously. My husband and I were spending as much time as we could in Massachusetts, while the kids were at overnight camp back home in Michigan. It was a difficult summer. Both of us feel honored and saddened that we were with our father's when they died.