Heart in Texas

I’ve been trying to maintain normalcy since August 25, but there is a lot of emotional upheaval when the town you spent 8 years in is devastated by a catastrophic storm.

My mom and brother still live in the greater Houston area, as do many of my high school classmates whose parents are still rooted in the subdivision I finished High School in.

Since the airports were closed and the surrounding infrastructure tentative, I wasn’t able to rush out and be with my family. Now I keep tabs on them daily, watch the Facebook feeds of my friends in the aftermath, and feel helpless and guilty and on edge. I was too agitated to go into the studio last week; it felt too trivial to make art when lives were in danger.

The beauty is that so much unity is coming out of this. A lot of kindness and helpfulness and an abundance of love.

With my heart heavy, I decided to get back into my commissions yesterday, and worked on a Texas angel as well. Concentrating on the wire and pieces I have been assigned to make helped settle me again. I should remember that art is therapeutic, and that it would have helped me last week as well.

This storm has marked my family and friends. The full extent of the aftermath is not yet known. Neighborhoods that made it through numerous storms have become floodzones. My family was lucky in spite of the material losses. For my friends, their kids are displaced as Kingwood High School undergoes repairs, some of their families are dealing with devastating home damage, and emotionally everyone is spent.

I am aware of raging wildfires, more water damage around the world, political craziness going on, and all the microcosmic events my friends in non-disaster areas deal with day to day. I see the cynics utilizing images and opinions to promote their divisive agendas.

But Hurricane Harvey is deeply personal, and it is OK to sit with that for a moment while the rest of the world rages on.

What gives me peace is that my firefighter brother is utilizing his skills to help his neighbors, completely in his element, as weird as that seems. I know mom will be OK, and we all still have each other.

As volatile as the world and life seems just a few weeks after my birthday, I will continue to pursue what I am called to do, which means sending more angels out in to the world as I gear up for my mid-September fairs.

A family angel collaboration

Recently a friend asked me about various angel options, and when she mentioned having her children draw something, I couldn’t wait to start on this project.

I gave my friend my angel paper to use (handmade scraps and teabags), and the family sat down to decorate.

I received two drawings for the body, and two quotes for wings.

The young girl who drew the family had a preference over which picture to use, so that gave me the dimensions of my angel.

This body would be much bigger than my jig setup, but I started with the template anyway.

Then I resized the circle to fit the size of the family picture.

I also fit the wings around the quotes I had been given, and soon a wire angel emerged. Because the young girl had drawn a heart, I knew that would be the angel bodice embellishment.

Then I waxed the paper in encaustic medium on my skillet.

Safety is key, and I always wear my mask when the encaustic is hot.

I couldn’t let the extra art go to waste, so I made a bonus pendant as well.

Because the mom loves purple, I added a dash of purple encaustic paint to the wire.

I fit the wings so the quotes would be legible.

Dashes of color.

Then I fused the paper to the wings, the body, and added a head.

Exacto knives are my friends in the trimming process.

It is always fun to see the translucent effect the wax adds to the paper.

I hope the Su family enjoys these two mementos marking a transition in their lives. This is a fun way to memorialize chapters in family life, and I could see this as a family ornament tradition.

Let me know if you need a custom piece that incorporates a quote, a drawing, or vintage heirlooms wrapped in wire. I am always happy to collaborate on special pieces to reflect the owner of a handmade creation.

Making Angels

Angel is literally making new friends.

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When I signed up for Bead & Button workshops there was a reverse engineering option but due to lack of registration the workshop was dropped.

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Instead, Brenda Schweder offered to help me reverse engineer my angel ornaments remotely, and I sent one in.

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Soon I received an email with the required Now That’s A Jig! Parts, and I ordered the pegs to supplement my StartrKit.

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I got my very own angel design template in the mail, and decided to test the design prior to working on a commission. Getting the violin clef right took some effort after being out of practice for 6 months.

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Then I set about picking out pink paper for the memorial angels. I traced a musical score onto the handmade paper.

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Then I added a sparkle bead.

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I picked out outfits for the other angels and waxed them up.

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The delicate hearts are so sweet.

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Soon they were all dressed and cooling off.

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You’ll see them at the upcoming Main-Dempster Sidewalk Sale.

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I’ll be taking up See Jane Sparkle’s Sidewalk between 10 and 4 July 19-31 with new wares.

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Turquoise Frosty got a new outfit too, in hopes of it making him more attractive at the holiday fairs.

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Come October I’ll be jigging up a whole collection for the holiday season! Any color requests?

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A Merry Year-end

It’s been fun to create new goodies for my friends this season. Their inspiration has sparked my creativity, and I have more spin-offs in my head from the pendants and ornaments ordered for their loved ones or themselves.

ChunkyBeads

My chunky beaded bangle got a few admirers, and fortunately Dakota Beads had two more strands for me at Ayla’s Originals Highland Park Bead Bazaar so I could make two custom bangles for my friends.

ChunkyBangles

Her wonder woman powers will only be used for good and adventuring.

WonderwomanBangle

This set of portraits has special meaning to the recipients.

StraussCommission

They are now traversing the world.

StraussPendants

A transgender symbol adorns a proud owner.

TransMaking

I wonder if I will see these pendants around town or if they flew elsewhere.

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Some of my favorite Angels got adopted.

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Frosties weren’t as popular due to the lack of snow, but some found new homes and What Linus Said sold twice this year. Destinations include Mexico and Portland, Oregon.

Ornaments2015

Earrings were admired, one pair converted to clip-ons at the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow, and ‘write’ actually went to a novelist.

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Musical pendants continue to be bestsellers.

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My Delft Blue set stayed in the family.

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Two of these sets will be auctioned off in Houston on New Year’s Eve.

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Thank you all for your support this season. It’s been very affirming to make these goodies and know that they are meaningful to you.

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I have re-opened Etsy, and The Collage Cafe has my bangles and pendants in Evanston. Moon Art Gallery will get an inventory update in January. I’m exploring additional venues, and will keep you posted on upcoming fairs and pop-ups.