Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vicarious travels through worldly beads...

The stormy days of late summer have given way to cloudless azure blue. Warm sun falls deliciously on bare skin, in the cool dry air of the season on our doorstep. Where did the time go?
No souvenir shells and beach glass from vacation seaside strolls are found in pockets. No ticket stubs from checked baggage with foreign airlines either but I have been traveling…vicariously, in my heart and mind.
Spread before me is the season’s bounty… not the heirloom tomatoes that stoic New Englanders are still patiently waiting to ripen,but beads… strands and strands of beautiful beads.
Ever since my grandmother provided me with a wax-tipped thread and her treasured box of buttons as a small child, I have relished stringing various colors and materials together to create something totally new from something old and well-traveled.
This summer slipped away, dissolved, in rain soaked afternoons, as I explored the surfaces of antique carnelian, worn smooth by time and touch. It was probably mined in the Ramtanpur area of Gujarat, India and shaped and polished by lapidaries in Cambay. Here they were masters at deepening the color of paler agate to the fiery orange of embers, the most desired shade. Cambay still is a leading supplier of this handsome stone, thousands of years later.
These beads, like all others, traveled in ships and across ancient trade routes via caravans around the world.
Instead of summer beach glass, I’ve designed with beautifully pitted cobalt blue beads from the Netherlands, several hundred years old and collected in Africa in the late 1970’s, when “tradebeads” were reintroduced to these shores. The subdued luminous sheen of these delicious beads resembles the most sublime beach finds, softened by sand and water. Adding to the deep cobalt is every shade of blue and green translucent glass handwound in Peking in the 19th C.and beloved by tribal groups everywhere.
I also marveled at faience beads of delicate hues from the ancient city of Persepolis, made a thousand years before Alexander the Great sacked this major metropolis of the Persian Empire. Holding and wearing these venerable world travelers is quite humbling, when you consider the stories they can tell and makes those smitten by their delicate beauty into modern day “time travelers”.
For those of you who are inclined to do so, I highly recommend spending quality time with Lois Dubin’s major contribution, The History of Beads from 30,000 BC to the Present (ISBN 0-8109-0736-4). Her maps of trade-routes and history of bead production will inspire you to do your own vicarious traveling and to learn much more.
I hope your own summer travels were pleasant ones and prepared you for the busy season ahead. Enjoy the waning days of summer and may your harvests be abundant ones.

Please visit: to see a small sampling of the summer harvest featuring wonderful beads.From the Homepage go to Adornments then Asia/Page 3

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The dramatic elemental evidence of Earth Changes, producing fires, floods, tornados, and earthquakes across the US and around the world has been unavoidable this summer.
Here in New England, we have experienced almost daily severe electric storms, monsoon-like rains and several destructive micro-bursts in the month of July. The vegetation is thriving in this new northern rain forest and exotic looking mushrooms and colorful fungi are popping up everywhere. Frogs and salamanders are the happiest campers in these parts…

Power outages and power surges have been playing havoc with internet connections, telephones and electronic equipment of all kinds. I am only recently back online since the first round of technical difficulty. During this period of “disconnect” from the outside world, with no television and spotty audible phone service, space was made for reflection… of course this came about between extreme bouts of total frustration and hiding out with hyper-ventilating cats on the basement stairs, while adrenalin producing lightning strikes are close misses.

It is glaringly obvious how accustomed I’ve grown to being “out in the world” via cyberspace, when I choose to live in a remote area and can easily go a week without seeing a “live” person many months of the year. I thought I was alone out here…

The technical disconnect actually made it necessary to connect “in person” (what a concept!) with neighbors and friends dealing with much of the same thing. This was quite an epiphany for someone that has figured out accurately when the Turk’s Cap lilies will unfurl their speckled orange petals, gracefully arch their backs and transform into the elegant arabesques of form that take my breath away. Or knowing when the last goldfinch will leave the feeder after dusk, so I can prevent the bear from absconding with it later in the evening (again). I am paying attention… I am aware or am I? Hmm?

Actually going out into the world “in person” brought an amazing experience. A dear friend that I had lost touch with three decades and a thousand miles ago reconnected with me. She had been within a hundred mile radius for three years and I had seen her face passing through art events several times. I always thought “she looks so familiar somehow”, but then she was gone. What a shock and thrill when we looked into each others eyes this weekend and finally saw the youthful girlfriend whose gypsy ways left few clues to whereabouts for so long. A day later, as life stories were shared with tears and laughter and as rich and challenging journeys were revealed, an old connection came full circle. Its potent electricity delivered an unexpected gift for both of us, a feeling of wholeness, of a part unnoticed missing…a sense of being home in where we stood today, not nostalgically looking back, but instead looking out from within. Priceless!

Thank you dear reader, for being part of this circle of thought… I missed our connection during this time. Thank you for checking out these pages from time to time in your busy life.

Don’t forget to venture out there and allow reconnection with parts of yourself that are waiting for you to stumble upon them. Wishing you pleasant surprises and heartfelt connections when you do!