Sunday, September 28, 2014

Once Upon a Time

With no television in the home, we often have no idea what is going on in the world of entertainment but on occasion, we do find a show or two that absolutely thrills and inspires us. A simple Netflix account lets us keep up with old and new favorites, ( Dr Who, The Hobbit, Larkrise to Candleford, documentaries etc etc) but every once in awhile we come across a gem.

The latest of these is the network series "Once Upon a Time" which weaves the characters of every fairy tale ever told into one story. I had my doubts. . . trying to modernize fairy tales can be like stepping on sacred ground. . . and often is poorly done. With the exception of some pretty noticeable CGI effects the show is really intriguing and solidly done (though one could argue even the CGi "works" as the scenes using it all take place in the old fairy tale realm and, hey, everyone can't have the Game of Thrones budget!).  The character or Rumpelstiltskin/Mr Gold is truly the anchor of the show. You might recognize the actor from roles in The Full Monty and Trainspotting. . . but he takes the character of Rumple to a new level and carries the weight of trying to tell such a tale very well.

It is so delightful to watch a "fantasy fiction" show that is not focused on death, misery, war and gruesome effects. And to see the old fairy tales brought into a new, modern light is the most inspiring part to me. Like any show, it takes time to build such a world so the first five or six episodes take a little patience to let it develop (something I am amazed at when a show is actually given that time these days) but here it is two full seasons in and beginning a third. . .  and I find it interesting that the show's viewership has declined each season after a really strong start.

And that, my dear friends, is the real point of this post. . . It's hard to build a lasting fairy tale, let alone watch one every week. . . it somehow makes perfect sense to me that, over time, a show like this might not have the staying power to hold ever-decreasing attention spans. And perhaps, most of all, the idea of a short, classic fairy tale is more alluring than the drawn out reality which all tales eventually become without the viewer or the person experiencing it, making the effort to see it through. . . just as in real life. Making life magic is more than a short jaunt. . .it's a journey of the heart and soul and one that requires complete investment of us to make it a reality.

That's magic
 That's life. . .

And as the dark and devilish Rumpelstiltskin says often in this production; "Magic, always comes with a price."  

And maybe the truth is that most, in our modern fairytale seeking world, just aren't willing to pay that price.

As always, thank you for reading. . .

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Work from Shadow of the Sphinx

Just time this evening for a few images of four pieces just finished for some of my delightful customers. Enjoy!!

Small 5" Statue of Seshat the Goddess of Writing, Arithmetic and Architecture

Serqet or Selket - 7.5" tall - Scorpion Goddess - Protective Deity - The form I chose borrows from the famous gold statue of Her that guarded Tut's burial sarcophagus/shrine.

The Sutekh on the right I posted yesterday but he goes with this second Seshat as a pair. Aren't they a formidable duo?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Short Epiphany About Inspiration

Last week I received a message from a customer asking what inspires me. . .

I must have answered this question a couple of hundred times over the last 20 or so years throughout all of my creative endeavors.

But this time as I went to respond, I had a little epiphany. There used to be some "things" and things here meaning external input, that inspired me. While this certainly remains true, I had to really think before answering because, after all these years, the external is now internal and the inspiration is now a part of everything in my world.

This was, I should say, a very conscious decision.

These days and, shall I say, for the last five years or so, I have been weeding out anything from my life that is simply not inspiring. I do not read books or watch anything visually that does not fit into the world of imagination and what I create.

People too. . . be they Etsy folks I follow or friends in the flesh. . . I've always had very strong boundaries about what got into my inner world and while people are the hardest to master in that regard, I have had that down for awhile now too. Not a minute is spent with anyone who does not understand, appreciate or add to my creative world.  Of course, there are the unavoidable times when the car needs fixed, the groceries need bought or the door needs answered for deliveries.  . .but other than those sort of encounters, it is a very small circle of people who get in.

The point of this all is really just to say that I have made my entire world a source of vibrant inspiration.  I have left no time, no room and no reason for anything else.  The results, I must say, are that I am as happy a creative soul as I have ever been. Life gets better each day and all I could ask for is more of the same each day going forward.

So now the answer to what inspires me is simpler than ever.

Everything around me.

And if I could give one gift to anyone else it would be to say you have the universe's permission to do this too!!


And maybe that happiness is why this fellow, another commission  I finished yesterday, though He is the God of Chaos, has a rather satisfied and almost "cute" look on his face. . .

Set / Seth / Sutekh

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sign of Aquarius

When I was a boy, age 14, I walked into my first New Age bookstore. A little, literal, back-alley shoppe of enchantment called "Sign of Aquarius Books". I was, for lack of a better word, "searching" for answers to something that had happened in my life when I was 7 that no normal or spiritual/religious explanation could possibly explain.  So, here I was,  7 years later still seeking answers when I stepped through the old, bell-laden, victorian door and into the shop.

No bigger than a modern studio apartment, the place felt cozy and inviting to me as soon as I set foot inside. This was not the typical soon to be cliched "new age store" of the 90's with all the trappings and merchandise galore. . . no, this was the old school,  throwback, specialty book store that once thrived in this world when uniqueness and niche selling was part of the brick and mortar world. There was one room off of the main room and I heard voices in there so I assumed it was an office/storage etc and proceeded to begin browsing the shelves.

I was fascinated by the books I saw on topics I had never even heard of.  I might have been wandering for 5 minutes or so before I heard a voice say, "Helo dear, is there anything we can help you find?" I turned to face a short, stout, beaming silver haired woman in her 60's, her eyes so alive. . ..  and her husband who was also short and stout and rosy cheeked. I smiled and shyly said, "Umm, no . . . I just was . . .. looking. . .  " but that sentence did not end as a statement but as an unfulfilled expression. The couple both smiled and the woman said, "Well, if you have any questions, I will be right over here but take your time and enjoy"

Oh, I did. . . I think I may have spent hours that day sitting on the floor leafing thru books on everything from Taoism to Tarot to Guardian Angels and Fairies.

My mind was alive with the symbolism and possibilities within. . . and while I may not have found my answer then and there, I definitely walked into a place that allowed me to explore and dream. One of the few outside of my home world that did so and, as was often the case in my life,  one that I would come to look back upon as a small but important event. 

I feel, with a nod to my guardian Angel loving Grandmother, that I have been "watched over" since I was a child. . . though I have come to see it, thru my own passing of the years, as an unbroken connection to something inherent. Not an external force that helps and aides but an internal one that, if we remain true to it and do not get so caught up and lose ourselves in THIS so called reality around us, will serve us infallibly until the end of time.

It's what we all know before we are "taught" anything here. Before our parents realities and those of the ghost world around us take hold. It has saved my life on occasion and has always guided me back to creativity and self fulfillment no matter what turn I took off the path.

That turn, down an old alley, into Sign of Aquarius, was a gift at the age of 14. That's a time when teenagers can be wholly consumed by their internal angst, lack of self comfort and incessant desires to "fit in" and yet I was turned outward and into new mysteries to indulge in and to digest. They took me deeper within. . . past all the bullshit of peer pressure and "coolness" and pop culture and steered me back into my own imagination.  Sign of Aquarius, in our high proced realty-crazed, big box store nightmare, is long gone. But inside, it remains alive and that dear couple, then angels in my midst, are forever with me again.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fairy Garden Obelisk. . .Elf Approved!

Fairy garden obelisks edition number. . . oh I don't know. .  I've lost count!

I have been working with these for a quite awhile now.  .  .changing the construction constantly and finally feel I have a form and size I love.  They're 5 1/2 inches tall and the sea glass spheres comes in five colors and the finish in copper (as shown) as well as brass, silver or bronze patinas.

I am rewriting the obelisk story as well and will share that with you all when it is completed and I have a few more obelisks to show too. 

I think I knew this rendition was the one when I found these discerning little elf-fellows inspecting it verrrrrry closely!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stargazer Fairy House at Bewilder and Pine

Just a minute to blog today (not even really but I AM trying to be consistent!) so here is something I just finished for Bewilder and Pine. A new "Stargazer" Fairy House complete with crescent moon, silver stars and a very big telescope protruding from the attic window!

I have plans for a few more featuring telescope with tiny gear wheels affixed under them but, for now, thisis the first of it's kind! Enjoy!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday all!


Monday, September 15, 2014

There She Is. . . (with a little help from the fairies)

Behold the magic of the fairies!!!

I received an order for one of my Alpine Fairy Houses on Monday last week and, as I went to thank the buyer, I saw that they had left a message asking me if I could bill them for Express shipping on the package to guarantee two day arrival at it's destination.

I went immediately to respond to that request so I did not, at that time, take a look at to whom the package was for or where it was headed exactly but I did see that the zipcode was an east coast location.

It was only after I replied that I looked at the address in full and saw that it was being sent to the woman who is the Miss NY entrant at the Miss America pageant on the boardwalk at Atlantic City. This really made me smile.

I've had some well known people (entertainment field and otherwise) purchase or commission my work but this one really had a special feel to it. It is my understanding that the young women who are part of the pageant receive gifts from all over the world during pageant week and, though this would be just one among many, I was still delighted that the fairy realm was being called upon to lend it's magic to someone in this way too.

Short story shorter, package was sent, delivered two days later and, other than sharing the story with my local postmistress ( I asked for her help as the address came back as undeliverable when I went to print postage but that was simply due to it being a temporary address set up for all the gifts that arrive that week)  I forgot the whole thing rather quickly.

Until this morning when a blurb on my homepage caught my eye. . . Miss NY is now Miss America. . . or is that Miss A-Fairy-ca?  For lo, though they often are known to help with many human problems and grant a few wishes to the fairy-kissed among us, it seems that the little sprites of this house may have lent their magical hand in assisting one young lady's dream come true over the weekend. . . and as we all know, the fairies DO love a sparkly crown!

While I have no proof that they helped or were at all responsible. . . I am going to give them a WEE bit of credit anyway. :)

On a closing note, I know that many of the gifts given this week end up going to charities and, if that is the case with this house, I could not be happier knowing the next recipient will be reaping the reward of the same fairy magic, in some new way, one day very soon. :)


Miss America can thank the inhabitants of this house for her new shimmery crown. . .

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Tidy History with Sutekh the Egyptian God of Storms and Chaos

I had no way of knowing when I was a child that the "Osirian" character of Sutekh from the Dr. Who, 4th Doctor Serial, "The Pyramids of Mars" would one day be a major part of the world I create now.

I am certain this Dr Who episode was shown around the same time I was given a book about the tour of the treasures of King Tuts tomb which were in America for the first time and my world opened to the first ancient civilization that would shape my imagination in ways I could not grasp.

The character of Sutekh that was out to destroy Tom Baker's Doctor with his bulky mummies frightened the 7 yr old me while the protective, anthropomorphic and animal creatures I found in the books of Ancient Egypt were presented in ways that made them feel more like companions of my own.

It was only in the last few years I understood that the Dr Who Sutekh and this fellow below, more commonly known as Set or Seth, were one and the same in origin. And since I have been creating Him in statue form for my shop, they have become one of the most requested which inevitably is due to Set's association with Chaos and Storms. So much a part of all youth isn't it?

There is still much mystery as to what exactly Set is derived from. . .

And I tend to stylize the often boxy ears a bit but I find Him to be a regal form. :) 

So these days, when I make a statue of Set, I always think back to that wonderful time of discovery. As with so many of my creations, the past and present are inextricably linked. . .

If you have never seen The Pyramids of Mars, it is available as a streaming watch on Netflix under Classic Dr Who. I highly recommend it if you would like to know why Tom Baker is such an icon to fans of the show. He made every episode shine and in this one, he is at his very best. :)

So here's to Sutekh. . . Set. . . Seth. . . whatever you choose to call Him. a mystery and an inspiration for a lifetime. . . or several millennia. . . again, whichever you choose. :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

New Fairy Houses on Stars in Bewilder and Pine

It took a bit of fairy magic to get these four pieces all done today but somehow, when I need it, it is always there for me!

I've been experimenting with  new styles based on old single room school houses and even a Reliquary cabinet turned into a little house style too!

And I am working in a new idea this evening as well tha I hope to be able to show next week. . .

But for today, justa little magic to spread around and, hopefully, bring a smile or two to your world. :)


Little Red School House style.  . with a touch of Autumn Splendor!

Fairy Towers Upon a Star.  . one of my faves to make!

The Fairy Abbey / Monastery  (inspired by an old wooden Reliquary) because even fairies need a place to regroup in silence. :)

Purple Mushroom Fairy Houses upon a Star

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Genesis of an Idea - Taoist Stones

It would be easy to miss the Taoist Stones  I sell in my shop.

Amid the colorful and whimsical and the detail lush creations, these seem to be an odd-one-out you could say. But they have actually been around almost as long as Bewilder and Pine.

They began as an idea to combine simple symbols with a mini-monolith form.  The stone titles all came from one of my favorite Taoist books, "365 Tao" which I also pulled from for inspiration about 20 years ago for a series of multimedia art shows where I invited 30 artists and dancers to interpret the one word titles from the book that I used in the show thru their own creative medium. It included, video, dance, painting, textile art, sculpture,  poetry, spoken word and improvised movement . The music I wrote back then for the shows was also inspired by the one word titles out of this book.

So it is no surprise I turned to the book again to create something new.

The main thing I want to say here is that it has taken four years to really perfect these stones.  I've tinkered with the symbols and even the words used for the set have changed a bit over time.

But last week I sold a set of all 11 and decided that they are, for now, "done"

So this is really the first time I've written about them. They quietly move thru the shop at a pretty good pace and often will sell in bunches with some people ordering one and some two or even three for their altars or for friends.  Often I did not have the entire set available when I first introduced them as finding the time to remake them among all of my other projects was iffy at best. Now I just list them as in stock and make them to order as it only takes a day from start to finish do do them and I really feel I have them down.

I've also had people request custom stones for words of their choosing which I am always happy to dwell on and create. . . even one that was inspired by a symbol from the "Legend of Zelda" for a very sweet UK customer! :)  

But it was just this week, after making the complete set and photographing them all together, that I realized they are indeed, "something".  SO here they are, my own set of Taoist Meditation Stones. Inspired by many things but all my own. :)


The entire set of 11 Taoist Stones

The Taoist stone for "Flow" and you just have to love an item that photographs so well in sunlight! :) 

Simple, clean packaging for a simple product.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Beauty of Silence Returns

Living in a coastal town that runs on the fishing industry means that the summers from Memorial day to Labor day are, as you might expect, overrun with tourists and fishing boats. RVers and campers.

Today, walking down to the bay at 8am with the tide at it's lowest, we went to cross the street and, by the time we hit the crosswalk, we realized that we have "our town" back again. Looking north and south down the road, there was just one single car visible as far as we could see.

And that, is a lovely thing. . .

The sound of the town is different these 9 months. You can hear the kingfishers, gulls, herons and terns all the way from the bay, the ravens and crows are a little more likely to come by in the mornings for bread again as the digs on the street are not nearly as good. The nights are a little less rowdy and the harbor itself, though still filled with boats as salmon season approaches, is decidedly quieter too.

In my life I have always been an autumn child. I'm willing to say some of it is the school year schedule that allows September to take on the feel of possibility and newness every year since.

Though I also think it is the change in weather,
The feel in the air.
The leaves beginning to turn
The shorter and shorter days

The change in season  stirs my soul like very few things can and never more so than from the boisterous warmth of summer to the slowly turning and fading of Autumn all around me.  .  .

The creative fires burn brighter too in this air of Autumn alchemy
I could work round the clock in this season and dream endlessly of new things to make.

But the best part of all is, it all comes in on the blissful echo and the beauty of silences
As the season that subdues so many, brings the world here and within myself,  back to life

Happy Autumn


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Bubble Factory

These days I spend zero time working on new visual art. But the two or three times a moth I sell a print from my first Etsy shop, I am often reminded of the passion I once felt for creating it. I have written about it before. . . the visual art was my last great attempt to create "adult art" with adult meaning and life perspectives but, while it provided a wonderful creative outlet for my energy, and I am proud of everything I ever did that is listed, I look at it all now like diary entries really.

This morning I awoke to the sale of a print of this piece below called "The Bubble Factory"

I am instantly reminded of a few things.

Created in 2011, this was one of the last original pieces I made while living in the city of Portland. That industrial building was right outside our apartment's art studio room.

Over the two years living there my feelings about that building and view went from grateful as, at first, there was the beauty of the total lack of people. . . only birds came to visit that roof and our windows.  . . eventually to feeling the ugliness of the utter lack of closeness to untouched nature. While it was better than staring at traffic or the masses, it still lacked soul.  It was during that mood/time I created this image hoping to put a little magic back into the view and in city life. 

And it was during that time I felt the entire shift inside to wanting magic all around me. . . all the time. . . whichever way I looked. And that feeling led us to live here

Ok, we do NOT live with this view out our window, our place in down there in the midst of that tiny town just across from the bay and marina.  But the magic of this place. . . and seeing sights like these that follow, every day, were exactly what my soul needed.  :)


 magic. . . indeed.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

New Work in Bewilder and Pine

For today's entry. . . just showing a few things finished in the last week for custom orders and new pieces for the B&P shop. 


Custom order for two Adobe houses in HO scale.  Hoping to get back to making more of these soon!

And definitely going to be making more of these little Labyrinth Hermitages.

TINY Windmill on a Star. I could dwell in these miniature worlds endlessly!

With Winter on the horizon, it's time for the 2014 versions of Winter Fairy Houses upon a Star to begin appearing. Icicles at the roof points are new this year. ;)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Stories We Tell - Part II

(Continued from yesterday)

Why so many people carry the worst of their lives forward is hard to grasp.  Sometimes I think it's a fear of letting go. . . or perhaps an issue of scarcity. If you don't have the past to hold to and define the present and the future is completely a mystery, , what do you have?

Well, in my world, that has always been answered with "limitless possibility." One that is not present when the past casts it's shadow over the present. It's soooo like the Vashta Nerada from Dr. Who. Shadows that swarm, consume and grow by feeding on our life force.So I always like to remember the good Doctors words. . . "Stay out of the shadows!"

So the items we sell are extensions of our lives too. The light of them actually. Our creations become part of the story and even in my world, retelling ancient Egyptian tales, sifting through the nostalgic past of my childhood, making up new fables about Fairies, Elves and inventing and sharing worlds that only I know all fit into the story of who I am now. They all, quite simply, make me happy.So why would I not sink into them completely?

They are at the heart of the version of "me" I care to express most of all. And the more I delve into these worlds. The more I allow them to rule my days and my day dreams, the more happiness I find in life. . . the more the shadows receded and lost their power. . . and the more successful my endeavors become.

The world of our human leisure/spare time revolves around, and is immersed in, stories. Travel, TV shows, theater, movies, song lyrics are all about stories. The products you buy, the labels, the name brands, the reputations we believe in. . . all stories. All created.  And even hobbies and the skills learned thru them have a legacy and history behind them too. . . more stories. . . all of it is a tome that we are intrinsically a part of. A world that we escape into and through.

And THAT is what people want in the things they spend their hard earned money on.

Take two crafters who make the exact same thing. Same price, same style. If one tells a story around their work and one does not, the storyteller will, all other things being equal, be the more successful of the two.

Tell someone why they want your work. Give them the slightly open door in. It's no different than how we sell ourselves in the "real world" through how we dress, how we speak, how we treat others. . . these are all stories we tell too.

And it's why I believe in the happiness they can and do  create.

It's a choice, obviously, and one that each of us has to make.
My point is simply that we are doing it whether we think we are or not.
We ARE storytellers.
And we are all capable.
And we are all deserving.
That's MY story.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Stories We Tell - Part I

Anyone who knows my work knows that it is inherently connected to the stories I create that go with each piece. I will hold a finished item back from the shops for weeks if I do not have the story that goes with it ready for the listing as well.

Many times when I offer the advice "Create a story for your items"  to sellers and artists about their work it is met with, "Oh, I am not a storyteller" or 'What sort of story could a piece of jewelry or an abstract painting have to tell?"

For these folks I like to give them an exercise to try that I remember from writing workshops past.  Head out to any thrift or Goodwill store and pick out a simple little doodad from the knickknack shelf and take it home. Sit there for 15 minutes and write a story about it. Where it came from, who owned it, where it has been. That's it. No editing, just write!

Inevitably this is far easier for people than writing a story about their own work and creations. It almost always ends up with a fairly well imagined tale about the piece they just bought. Histories, legacies, treasures of the heart etc etc. Wonderful stuff!

The truth is, most people tell stories ALL the time. Every tale we tell and retell from our lives is really no different than the ones we may create about our offerings in the art world.  With the exception that the ones we invent can be anything. . . there are no boundaries and no limits. I think, often, it's THAT which keeps people from writing at all.

So much of what we tell about ourselves is truly a form of fiction anyway. . . or at least a skewed bent of reality. One side of a story. And they do tend to change with time as we all know. . .

Which is all fine too.

But the main reason I believe in using that power of storytelling for my work is this:

 I believe the stories we tell about our lives. . . about ourselves. . . becomes the single most important factor in how happy we will be in life.  The spin we put on things. The pieces we chose to carry forward. The power of storytelling is immense.

Those who dwell in the negative, the painful, the betrayal and losses and the common-among-us-all poor choices are doomed to relive them again and again with each retelling.

It's how we frame the stories that decides how we experience them in the retelling.

Maybe this is just another spin on my world of paracosms? Maybe it's a "cheat" that I leave out entire sections of my life. . .  that I have reinvented who I am again and again and why I carry almost nothing and no one forward from one incarnation to the next.

The past is a world of ghosts.  . and as I recall from my childhood, ghosts almost never have good intentions. . . .

( Part II tomorow :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Recent Commissions in Shadow of the Sphinx

A trio of statues from Shadow the Sphinx that were all custom requests. always a favorite of mine as I get to make pieces that are not normally in my shop but then, as it turns out, end up getting seen and requested again!

I hope you enjoy the peek at these custom pieces!!


The Set Animal,  also known as Sutekh and Seth.  . The God of the Desert, Storms and Chaos

Hecate - I DO venture outside of the Egyptian pantheon work quite often actually. This Hecate was one of my favorites to create this summer.
An Anubis Sphinx - no actual record of one ever having existed in Ancient Egyptian iconography but, in my mind, the two are perfect together. Guardians of mystery and time. When this was requested, I jumped at the opportunity to make it! Plus it is just SO darned cute!!!

Nefertem - "The One Who Never Closes" - A Solar Deity often associated with the blue lotus and with the creation of the sun in earlier dynasties.  The headdress represents a lotus blossom.      

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I've lost count of the number of times I have heard someone express frustration that they can't seem to get of the ground with their creative work.  In the last five years, as our business has thrived and grown with each passing year, I have been keeping notes and trying to find a short summary of what I think are the most important things that are conducive to creating this success.I have always wanted to share it openly if I thought it could help others.

These have ranged from the grand: "Tailor your entire life to fit your art. . . not the other way around!" to the ethereal: "Find the threads that have run throughout your whole life. . . from your earliest imaginings, and follow them." and to the obvious: " Only do what you LOVE!"

But there is little practical "how to" knowledge in those and, even if we explained them from our perspective, they must be adapted to each individual and their situaton.  .

But today I think I can put it in one word. The one that absolutely WILL make a difference and help generate success.


As in, the evolving realization of the potential of your creative abilities and every idea you'll ever have.

And that realization comes with these simple things. . . practice, repetition, dedication and time.

There is no quick fix. No Instant success. Four years later I am still creating some of the same things I did at the very beginning, like these fairy mushroom houses upon a star:

But four years later everything about them is more realized. The mushroom shapes, the grass blend, the flowers, the trees, the tiny mushrooms under the trees, the windows. Each part has improved.  . even the spots!

And four years from now they will be better still. . . 

That is the essence of realization. Nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. . . but that also means loving what "is" at the time too. And it goes for the skills of your craft as much as any one product. As they improve, so will you!

And this is hard for people to take in because ultimately so many want the success and the payoff NOW. But like any great thing in life. . . and creating one's art from the soul is certainly among the greatest. . . it takes a lifetime. Not one day less. 


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Chronicle of Secret Riven

"On the nights when she wasn't too tired, she studied folklore and tales written in languages she could now read fluently. She welcomed the return of old, almost forgotten enchantment. She discovered again the promise of wonder . . . no matter what good and evil was involved."

from "The Chronicle of Secret Riven" by Ronlyn Domingue

I have been engrossed in this book the last few weeks. This is the second volume in the "Mapmaker's War" trilogy by this author. If you have not heard of or read these books, i highly recommend them. While considered a trilogy, it is not necessary to read the Mapmaker's War first. They are so different that one might read both and not realize they are connected in any way. The Mapmaker's War  takes place in a distant past from The Chronicle of Secret Riven and there are only slight allusions to the first book's story in Secret Riven.

What the Chronicle of Secret Riven IS, however, is a slow and gentle unfolding of a young girl's life story. . . truly a chronicle in form and verse. . . beautifully told and meandering through mysticism and fantasy. . . heartbreaking and reassuring all at once.

The paragraph above is one of the touchstones of the book for me. A girl who is born to enchantment and magic but tries to ignore it and move to the "grown up" world of expectation and "normalcy" is reminded, again and again, that her path is not the same as others. That she is fated to something few will understand and fewer will share.

What I often  take from books like this is a reassurance that the stories we tell about ourselves are, ultimately, what decide the degree of happiness we will experience in our lives.

What we carry forward, repeat and reshape. . . even re-create is OUR reality. I have reinvented my life many times. Changed locations, name, career and, ultimately this all led me back to the origins of my own mystic beginnings and experiences.

No matter the shadows or the light, it is a choice. . .. every day a new chapter and what carries forward with us is, ultimately, a result of our own authorship.

I read books like this to remember.  . and to return. . . to my own origins.

To do otherwise would be to turn my back on what simply is, and always has been, my reality. 


Monday, September 1, 2014

Ten for Thirty

I am, by all accounts, at my best in a strong routine. I don't fit creativity in here and there. . . it is the main focus of my days. I found, thru the years, that when I maintain a fairly monastic-like schedule that is centered around one or two main things, I am able to be at my most productive.

And as it turns out, my happiest.

But this means that many things and activities are sacrificed and get left out. It is  harder for me to make time for something once a week rather than every day.

It is one of the main reasons I seem to be unable to keep up a blog with any regularity here too.  I'll think of so many things I want to say or show but, often, the thought of trying to squeeze in half an hour here and there without it being scheduled is just hard to make a reality.

And there IS so much more I want to share here.  Ongoing work, thoughts, plans and experiments.  .

So I decided to try an experiment this month. I want to blog every morning, scheduling it into my morning check in's and day planning. But to do so I have to be realistic and say that I am only going to allow myself 10 minutes each day to do this.

Ten minutes for thirty days.

I hope you'll come along for the ride and enjoy the things I share here this month. If it works and I find that it has become a beneficial part of my days, I will continue it beyond the end of the month. 

So, without any delay ( as I am already 8 minutes in for today!) here is something new that I just finished for a client. It's a custom set of five miniature terracotta warriors.

This was right up my alley as I have long held these figures in my imagination and am overwhelmed by the thought of them being created in such scale and arranged as an army of the afterlife for Qin Shi Huang the first Emperor of China.

I'll just add that it is probably a good thing I did not know about these figures in my childhood for, as the boy who created an Egyptian tomb in his bedroom closet by drawing hieroglyphs on the walls and making royal statuary and jewelry out of tinfoil, fake jewels and paper I shudder to think what I might have tried to create to represent this in my paracosm. I can just see my grandmother going into the canning room in the basement of our house to be confronted with an army of papier mâché and cardboard warriors watching over the peaches and preserves!!! : )

So I will see you here daily this month then. . . short and sweet.
Thanks for coming along!