There is an interesting phenomenon that sometimes happens to the creator of "things". You find yourself having a hard time letting go of them. The glass beads you see in the middle of the picture above is a set I made probably four years ago. I have loved them so much that I have kept them with me, floating around in my "one of these days I have to use them for something" box. Every time I ran across them I would enjoy the visit and then tuck them safely back in the box. Today was the day they asked to be released from the safety of that nest.
While in Santa Fe I was able to purchase a couple ropes of hand made Morrocan beads that are actually the buttons used on their tradition clothing.
I realized that the colors matched beautifully. I also remembers a second set of beads in my "one of these days" box which were glass beads that my friend Barry Hoff had given me from his travels in Africa.
Please welcome the piece that took a very long time to come into existence.
It's so funny thinking about how I was going to have so much time to write since I am traveling alone. It has turned out to be quite the opposite; meeting new and fascinating people takes a lot of time!
The thing that is weighing so prominently in my mind today is the freedom Post Patental Trauma. I can only speak for myself but it is said that we gather into our lives what we need to resolve our past issues. I've done a lot of work in that arena over the past five years and feel like I have turned over all the trauma laden stones in my life. It seems that I see much clearer now what I want and what I don't want - what I need and what I don't need and it all comesl so much easier now.
My advice from this mid-life point of view? As soon as the universe gives you an opportunity to resolve those hurts from your past, look at it as a gift and run with it. You won't be sorry.
In an earlier blog entry I mentioned a conversation with my instructor, Dale. After lunch one day I brought a couple of people back to the studio and gave them a little tour of what we were doing up there. Dale was in the room and when my guests left he came over to my bench and asked me if I would be interested in considering the possibility of coming back to The Ghost Ranch as an instructor. This is where I was at a loss for words!
Coming out here, I was so nervous that my skill level would not be up to par; having just started working with silver earlier this year I did not know how my ability would stack up. That is where having my own studio obviously comes in handy. Since beginning my work with Lila in Highland Park I have been steadily working on my own up in my studio, learning with every success and with every failure. He spoke to me about doing an introduction to jewelry making class and he felt confident (even if I didn't) that I had the knowledge needed.
The side note to that is the opportunity to meet with Judith Foster who usually teaches this class with Dale. Judith lives in upstate New York and, as told to me by Dale, came to Ghost Ranch and took his class 11 years ago looking for a new beginning after her job had been phased out. She now supports herself as a jeweler and in addition to private sales her work is displayed in art galleries around the United States. Whatever comes of this conversation with Dale I am so honored to have been recognized and thrilled for the opportunity to continue a relationship with both Dale and Judith.
I started this entry on my last morning at Ghost Ranch (22nd) and finished it on the flight home (26th).
Good morning everyone. Out here in the middle of nowhere my body springs awake at 5:50AM! It is now 7:41, I've gotten my coffee and found a little internet signal so I thought I'd touch base before I head out.
Our pick-up time is at 8:30AM and we will be taken back to Santa Fe, where I will pick up a rental car and drive north to Page, Arizona. People have asked me how I planned out the trip and I have to put a plug in here for TripAdvisor. My keystone reservation after the Ghost Ranch was the Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim. My best friend throughout grade and high school, Theresa lived in this area for many years so I sought out her advice about what I should see and do. The first thing on her list was the lodge, but she warned me that it books quickly. By the time I called they were completely booked for the month of July - with the exception of two nights - the exact nights and the exact size room I needed. I laughed and said, "Well, I guess you've been waiting for me to call!" I looked at a map of the region and decided that I wanted do as little backtracking on the roads as possible. With only two ways to get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Santa Fe I picked the most eastern route toward Page. Clicking on TripAdvisor you can enter the name of the city and then click on attractions for that area. Page sits just south of Lake Powell, which is home to the world's largest natural bridge. I will spend the night at Red Rock Hotel (clicked on accomodations and sorted them by price - $44!) and then I will take a boat tour to see Lake Powell and Rainbow Bridge.
The final day of my stay at Ghost Ranch is coming to a close and my mind is so full of things I want to talk about ............ but some fellow classmates have invited me to their campsite for some beer and/or Margaritas minus the lime juice so I'm going to give you some cliff notes and we'll dig a little deeper into the topics on another day.
They say that you leave Ghost Ranch different that when you came in and for me it is true. Maybe not in any earth shattering ways but more a reaffirming that I'm opening doors and finding amazing things behind them. And the doors just keep showing up - all that is required of me is that I enter.
Being here by myself has been so rewarding simply becuase I was drawn to and attracted such a variety of people. Some were older but with the exception of one married couple I have been surrounded by women my own age, each of us searching for the rest of our lives - whatever that may be.
As exciting as it has been for me to be here, when I tell people about the next leg of my trip they simply can't believe it. "You're going by yourself?" "You're going where?" "Oh, I think you're are going to have the most amazing trip!" I am leaving here tomorrow and renting a car in Santa Fe. I then go to Page, Arizona to go to the Rainbow Bridge, followed by the Grand Canyon, then Sedona, then Holbrook - then back to the east coast. But I digress! Let me get back to my cliff notes.
On being kind - I have had the opportunity to overhear many conversations, many of which were married couples that have been together for years. What has amazed me is their deep and honest kindness towards each other. MUCH more about that in another entry.
Remember our conversation about religion? That very same day our instructor showed us a video talking about Native American art; it's origins, growth over the years and the direction it is heading today. I was very intrigued about the constant reference to the people and the use of art as a means of worship.
I met a woman here named Susan who is a yoga instructor and teaches a class dealing with connecting our bodies with our spirits. She works with her group using ceremonies from every walk of life and religion and brings a physical approach to spirituality.
On another note, I want to talk a little about a conversation I had with my instructor yesterday that left me completely speechless and as many of you know - that doesn't happen very often. It was a very exciting conversation about the possibility of coming back here to the ranch. Cliff Hanger!
We ended the night with an art show for all the classes that took place here on the ranch this week. While standing there I was completely amazed at how much amazing art was produced in one wonderful week in this very Thin Spot between earth and heaven Enjoy some shots of the event.
I'll be in touch soon!
Days start early here at The Ghost Ranch but mine started REALLY early today. Wide awake at 5:50 and walked outside to complete silence. Nothing stirring except the deer making breakfast out of the apple trees in front of my cabin. The sun is coming up from behind the Kitchen Mesa and the beginning of my final work day here at the ranch has started. I have three pieces waiting for me up in the studio and I'm determined to start (and finish?) another ring. We have to have all of our silver purchased by noon and we have 5 working hours in the studio before we clean up the shop. My work day yesterday started at the bench at 8:30 in the morning and ended at 10:30 last night when me and another student closed up the shop. OK, five minutes to breakfast! I promised you a bracelet yesterday that didn't get finished but I the stones are set and I have started the grinding process. Below is what it looked liked yesterday!
I had pretty much planned my next project until I saw the sky that night. The photo at the left and on the top is what we look at every day out the back door of the studio. The picture just below it is what it looked liked on Tuesday night and everyone around camp is STILL talking about it.
All of that was on my mind when I went to the studio on Wednesday and was sorting through a big pile of rocks. The way you test what a rock will look like polished is by dipping it in water. I picked up a grainy piece of rock and when it was wet it looked just like the Mesa that was behind me. Bingo! I started looking around some more and found a beautiful blue stone. I got to work with my idea and I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. When you get to the final photograph tell me if you think I succeeded.
And by the way - a lot of water, a little Chinese Pressure Point from a fellow student and some much needed caffeine (thank you Gretchen) and the headache subsided.
Had a little extra rock left over so I added a ring today!
Tomorrow a bracelet and maybe some thoughts on religion!
Just a quick lunchtime update. The dehydration seems to have hit me this morning with a splitting headache. It's either that or the constant sound of stones being ground down on grinding wheels that are set at each work station. Imagine the sound and then multiply that by six!
I finished two of my pieces and set the five small stones in a ring this morning. Once everything is ground to the right size you tint some epoxy and set them in your piece. Dale came by and said remember you're on the clock and you're now at 3:20 out of the five minutes you have before the whole thing sets up. I laughed and then quickly realized that he was right on the money. I barely got my fingers out of that mess before it was too late. I will grind the ring down after lunch.
I have picked out the stones and started my first bracelet, now it is fajitas for lunch. I'll post some pics tonight.
Be joyous and be well.
I started my journey into jewelry making in 2005 while I was working in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, an area inundated with amazing artisans. I started with glass, which led to silver, which led to inlay, which led to joy.