Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tribal Dance

Tribal Dance with Inclusions. I worked with paints on this one, mixing paints, layering and then sanding, then painting some more. I like the ancient look of it, almost aboriginal. Makes me want to take the same paint and put my hand print on the wall but I doubt our landlord would appreciate it.

Reverse side. This is a larger pendant, with copper inclusion at hand of figure on the right, brass inclusion on top left.

Gold swirl tube beads. I'm going to start making more finished works to submit to magazines since it's been two issues since I've been in Belle Armoire Jewelry and I've long wanted to submit to Stringing and other jewelry magazines. One of my pieces will be seen in BeadStyle March issue on Lorelei's design so be sure to check it out. The component she used will be in stock on my Etsy shop within the next few weeks.

Still using up clay from previous projects. This was a lentil bead gone wonky, so it stayed in this shape with bronze bead inclusions on both sides. Sanding to 2000 grit, then polished with a soft buffing cloth for finishing.

Heather Powers' tutorial on shell logs helped these tube beads along. Seen here with metallic teal base. An infinite combination of colors combined makes these patterns particularly interesting and fun to make.

And finally, for more color inspiration... gelato, anyone? Florence, Italy, January 2009.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back In the Beading Groove

After a lengthy sabbatical, the clay finally came back out into the open last night. I have alot of leftover bits and pieces of this and that for polymer projects, so it got put into these tube beads and some others. I felt totally discombobulated making beads again after such a long time trying to make other things work and working on other art projects, had to think a bit to figure it out again.

This bead of dancing figures seemed plain, even after picturing it all painted, so I added some brass and copper inclusions and put a sterling bail on top, plus poked holes and put other little marks on it. Now it has a more celebratory look to it to match the little figures. It's cookin' right now...

"In the Pink" beads. These mokume beads remind me of poodles with little pink bones.

I was glued to this spot on the Ponte Vecchio for a while, admiring all the incredibly beautiful necklaces. I didn't buy anything, though. So expensive.

I didn't buy anything here either but just look at that display! Amazing... Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy.

Another photo from Italy. I am a huge fan of all of Frances Mayes' books (Under The Tuscan Sun) and have long wanted to see her restored house in Cortona, so we took a day trip from Florence and walked from one end of Cortona to the other without finding the house. Finally we nabbed a taxi and it took us right to the front gate. Isn't it lovely?? The colors were much prettier in person. I can imagine this house in summertime overflowing with flowers and sunshine. Of course what you read in the book and what is in person was slightly different in my mind. The house was fabulous but in my mind it was more of a giant that in person. It seemed a pretty typical country home, albeit a famous one. No, we didn't see Frances or Ed Mayes. I read after we returned to the US that they had been there for the olive harvest about two months before. *sigh* I don't know if they were there while we were or not but the house looked pretty shut tight and also, I know they have another restored property that is more remote, away from prying tourist eyes like mine. Too bad. They have terrific olive oil, though. Go to her website and look into ordering some Bramasole extra virgin oil. Yum!

Finished beads to come tomorrow...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Breathtaking Beauty of Vatican City

Leaving St. Peter's Basilica mass on 11 January, this is the view that greeted us...
Many people gasped "La Luna!!" Including us, but not in Italian. A full moon hovering over the Vatican Christmas tree, covered like a blanket with gold and silver ornaments and my favorite color combination, blue and green lights. The star on top of the tree literally pulsed. Below the tree was an elaborate life size nativity scene. We had no idea, going to Italy in the second week of January, that Christmas season would still be in full swing. Every city we visited was festooned with simple twinkling lights, nativity scenes and everywhere, the image of Mary cradling Jesus.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica, below, was another elaborate nativity scene, too big to encompass one Nikon lens, even moved far back as possible. The centerpiece was this lovely baby Jesus.

Vatican City with St. Peter's Basilica dome in background at night 11 January.

A small portion of the nativity scene (the left side, not pictured, had a mill with running water..) inside St. Peter's Basilica 11 January

At Vatican Museum, we saw many wondrous sites. Naturally the Sistine Chapel was the main attraction and many people blew by these incredible works of art to get there. For those who ran to the Sistine Chapel, they missed rooms right adjacent to it that housed these treasures. Below, a beautiful sculpture by Henri Matisse.

Salvadore Dali's rendition of Christ. I was mesmerized by this painting. It literally glowed.

Papal wallpaper, painted by Raphael.

My husband laid on his back to get this shot of the ceiling in one former papal apartment room. Painted (yes, this is all paint, nothing else!) by Raphael, it depicts the triumph of Christianity over paganism, as seen by the column of pagan statue lain crumbled on the floor and the passion of Christ above. Absolutely amazing. I can't tell you how many times we both looked at something in awe and said, how did they do that, let alone how did they do that five hundred years ago??
Everywhere at Vatican Museum, one walks and looks side to side and above at lovely works of art. However, as we meandered along the four miles of museum , we failed to notice until we saw a specific sign pointing out that all along we had been walking on mosaic tile dating to the first century AD, as seen below. There was no gum on it, or cigarette butts..

Hall of Tapestries. I particularly liked this one, showing Christ emerging from his tomb. The guidebook pointed out quite correctly that the eyes, feet and stone under His feet follows you when walking past this enormous tapestry. Quite haunting.

View from of St. Peter's Basilica from window of Vatican Museum.

Egyptian papyrus.

Mummy of a woman.

Baskets and sandals, grain and bread, four thousand years old...

The Stumpf's at Vatican City Museum 12 January

Friday, January 16, 2009


We have safely returned from Italy! New job is started! Jet lag lingers! Inspiration is flowing! It's time to get back to the jewelry bench. Here is a date-wise jumbled up taste of photos...

Colosseum at night January 12.

Michelangelo's Pieta. St. Peter's Basilica, Rome. 5 p.m. mass January 11.

A room with a view- from our hotel window, Florence, Italy January 7.

View from top of Brunelleschi's Dome, Florence, Italy January 9.

First full day in Florence January 7, on Ponte Vecchio, happily lugging all my handmade paper purchases...

Michael photographing Ponte Vecchio from window of Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

Feeling serene after mass and music at Vatican City January 11.

Happy New Year everyone. More to come.