A sneak peek at holiday ornaments...

I'm working up a few items for Christmas gifts. Above are some alcohol ink decorated ceramic balls. I decided  to hand dye silk ribbons to match. I love the difference that little detail makes.

I love these tear drop glass terrarium ornaments. I sprinkled sparkly gold metallic glass in the bottom, jazzed it up with a chain tassel, and added a tillandsia. What could be better than a plant that lives on and hangs in mid-air?






911 and the tree of life...

I am feeling shaky today. Like everyone who is old enough to remember the events of 911, I am reflecting. I was teaching art that day, and it wasn't until a friend brought her classroom of students to my door at 11:05 that I heard of the devastating news of the two planes, the twin towers, and the Pentagon. A friend of Jan's, someone as close as a brother, should have been in the are a of the Pentagon that morning, but somehow he was spared, but we didn't know that then. We prayed.

The photo above is part of a 2011 installation called "The Tree of Life Reclaimed." In scripture, the tree of life is said to span the river of life and its leaves are for the healing of the nations. Some say the metaphor of the leaves is related to medicinal teas. I wonder if they represent a place to gather for shelter. 

The news anchor at the Pentagon this morning noting how  much the crepe myrtle trees have grown since they were installed as part of the memorial to the souls who lost their lives fourteen years ago. "It was a bright blue beautiful day, just like today," she recollects, and then remarks on the trees as a measure of fleetting time.

I am out of touch with the friend who broke the news of the 911 attacks to me, but I still have her email so I jotted her a note, :

"Then we prayed for your friend Cindy's husband because he worked in the area of the Pentagon that was hit. The next day, you came to school in mismatched shoes. Our earth shook. They mention that the crepe myrtles at the Pentagon have grown so much since they were planted as part of the memorial, and it gave me new insight to the leaves of the tree of life being for the healing of the nations. Growing shade, like healing , takes time."


Cyanotype, toe tattoos and blue crime scenes... 










I experimented with cyanotype, applying photo chemicals to silk scarves, laying a variety of objects on the fabric, then exposing it to the sun.







Cut glass above, botanicals to the right and below, then plastic animals and barware.






                                                                                                                                                            Collateral damage. I wore gloves, but I didn't anticipate the dripping onto my toes. Cyanotype is not dye, it is a photograph, so have I just given myself a toes tattoo?                                                                                                                                                                   

When I taught young art students, we would sometimes use permanent marker. Invariably someone would get it on their hands and panic,"Mrs. Wayne, it's permanent!" "Don't worry," I would say, "when you are walking down the aisle on your wedding day, you will not have Sharpie on your fingers."

The ratty shirt I work in I think was improved by the spatter. I can't say the same for the floor in my studio. Have I been watching too much Dateline, or does this look like a Prussian blue crime scene?


Taking a gamble... 

On my ride home from the airport, I was greeted by a beautiful rainbow. I texted a photo of it to  John who was still on the Orlando bound train. We were returning from a trip to see our daughter Danielle's art show. We planned the trip in January, not knowing the week before we were to leave, John's retina would begin detaching again. He has had 4 surgeries in his left eye and now 2 in his right. The surgeries are long, 3-4 hours each. This time he was required to keep his face down for a week, as many of 24 hours in a day as possible. We had special equipment and a mirror that enabled him to watch tv. He kept his chin up, figuratively, not literally, and greeted me in the morning "Hi Honey!" reflecting his face in the tv watching mirror. I noticed his position in the  rented chair looked familiar... (see van Gogh painting)

He also looked like he was in time out, so I started calling it 'the naughty chair.'

His eye healed up enough for him to take the train, though flying is ruled out for a month since they put a gaseous bubble in the eye to help put pressure on the retina and enable it to heal. The air pressure from flying would be damaging. John took the train, and I took the plane since my hip was not up for the 20-25 hour train ride. Heather and her husband met us there, as well as Danielle's in-laws. John and I kept pinching ourselves that we had really made it there, in spite of all the obstacles. It was a great encouragement to overcome and press on, and a sort of milestone for me. I realized that situations are often not ideal, especially living with a spouse who has cancer. We focused on what we could do, and didn't cave into the luring temptation to give up.

Maryland Institute College of Art's Art education degree has a heavy emphasis on studio work, so the program culminates with a big art show. Danielle's  thesis focused on motivation in the art classroom and teaching  methods encourage students to take chances with their work.  Her show comprised a collection of photographs taken along a single run down street in Baltimore. We are so proud of  her artwork and the depth of thought behind her teaching. She really loves her students, and it's mutual. We can't believe how our shy little Danielle who went to speech therapy as a three-year-old, her speech distorted because she had suffered so many ear infections as a baby, is now a professional who speaks to groups of colleagues with grace and authority. Weston, her husband, surprised her with flowers after her talk. Here is a link to the show. Her name is Danielle Dravenstadt. If you scroll past her photographs, there is a photo of the installation portion of her work. She screen printed a separated image on giant sheets of acrylic, then projected light through the layers resulting in each piece of acrylic having interesting reflections, as well as the image on front a back wall of the room.
We celebrated our 36th anniversary while in Maryland, making our way to the Naval Academy where we were married. I am named after a dear friend whose husband was the superintendent of the academy at the time, and she invited us to be married at the historic Buchanan House. My dad walked me from under the green and white porch awnings, down the sweeping stairs to the ceremony in the formal garden. On August 4th 36 years later, we visited Diane ( I am Dale Diane) who now lives on a rambling property on the Severn River. She has 2 Mastiffs who enjoy sitting on the chairs!


Anniversary dinner! Then afterwards, we convinced Wes to take us to the casino. Just a little green with regard to gambling, I had to ask the Maitre d' ( bouncer?) how to put my dollar in the machine. I had so much fun and only lost $2.90. I  'cashed out' several times with my last 10 cents so that I could hear the virtual jingling of change. I kept the .10 credit for my scrapbook, or my next trip to Baltimore.

John and I playing poker. This photo is just before I got 3 of a kind and knocked John's drink over.

There's no place like home.


How I relieve stress:

Emergency glitter key chains. Stocking up on stocking stuffers.Herding dinosaurs and wild animals. Actually, making a gaggle of planters.

Paint pretty places.