Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lily Pad Sapphire

My friend Tara gave me this beautiful natural sapphire several moons ago. The specs of her commission? Do whatever I want. Perfect!

After many failed attempts, the silver and sapphire finally decided to join each other and stay in one piece.

This completed ring is kind of a small victory...and another reminder to trust the process.

Back of the ring
Side view---so feminine.


This was my first design. I thought mixed metals would look good with the sapphire. I kept burning up the baskets, though, because that was a lot of metal and all were soldering at different temps. No bueno. 

With this latest version (2 mos ago), I was tightening the last prong when the whole basket popped off, sapphire and all. Evidence of  poor contact/a bad solder job. The patina was perfect---but the domed circle with half-shank did not want to exist. Another basket ruined. 

As I waited for another basket to be shipped to me, I began playing with the perfectly domed circle. I flipped the dome and punched the metal up in the middle. Eventually I'd hammered the metal enough without stopping to anneal that it began to stress crack at one point. That's when I had the idea to make it a lily pad. I broke off a wedge of metal at the crack, filed it down and added irregular waves around the edges. I'm so glad it all stayed together. I like the end version the best!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Paper Sculpture / Project Runaway

Chloe started her last quarter of high school a couple of weeks ago. While she could be getting out of school early every day, she instead chose to take advantage of pursuing more art electives. Her first assignment in Sculpture II (Bethany Jansen) was to create a costume constructed out of paper. This dress is what she created, and the following photos document the process from sketch to wear. She painted every drop of color and she sewed nearly every stitch (needed Grammy's help with the bottom of the zipper) (yes, there is a zipper and she received special permission to use it even though it is not paper).

The sketch that started it all. I'm sure glad she dreams big.

You can imagine how excited I was when she told me she wanted to marble. This was the first trough. The second trough had to be 54" X 42" to cover the panels large enough for the outer skirt. (Yes, that's larger than any trough I've ever built.) It was her brilliant idea to add the gold leaf.
I will never get over the glint of floating, spreading paint. This is directly on the substrate, before I helped her lay the paper down to "print"
Our feet. You can tell which one of us was the painter. Marbling is messy, gooey business.

Both cars had to be outside and we had to use the garage door to dry the panels. Of course there was severe weather both nights, so twice we packed it all up at the last minute to get the cars in from the hail. Chloe and Cody both got hailed on on separate nights. Kansas!
After the sheets dried, they had to be crinkled for "give". She even had a method for this so the paper would not get torn. We watched a lot of Netflix that night while we were waiting for the tornado to blow over.
Mock up on plain paper to make sure it would fit. All of the paper is butcher paper given to her by her art teacher.
Sewing the mock-up
Her Zamma and Grammy came two days to help piece and oversee her sewing. These two have always been suckers for their oldest granddaughter. (She has kept them sewing and doing all kinds of projects nearly all 18 years.)

This is how far they got day one. They worked from 10 am to at least 6 pm.
In the middle of all this she got so fired up that she decided to sew herself a fringy kimono, too. For several days there was no where to sit and eat. I finally put a moratorium on any side projects.

...and then there was the little matter of jewelry. She cast a mold of old gemstones and beads, ground up paper pulp in the school's blender, poured and dried the stuff into these perfect cabochons and half-pearls (they are glued back to back). The final step was painting them. You can see she had to try every shade of blue in my studio before she found the right one.
She ended up adding pearls and shortening the earrings to make room for her "ruff".

Here she is getting into the underskirt. Everything went on overhead. I thought she looked like the leg-lamp.

The catwalk from the third floor of McKnight. (How could Cody and I ever have guessed when we were in that building for photography/painting twenty years ago that we would one day be there to see our girl parade around in a paper dress?)

Catwalk rehearsal.
The fan ended up being a Friday afternoon project. I snapped this photo because it was the first time everything was on at the same time. What fun to see!

Needless to say, I was very proud to watch her wear it last night at WSU's Project Runaway, a benefit for ShiftSpace Gallery. She won first place in the high school category, $50 cash and a gnarly yellow assemblage trophy topped with little green army men and a "fly gun" loaded with hundreds of dead flies. If you click on the "watch her wear it" link you will see photos of all of the great costumes and fun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


I already mentioned what a crazy year 2015 has been so far.

Did I mentioned I almost broke a few weeks ago? It was one of the times I failed at maintaining peace and joy through a hard time. I actually felt hopeless. I believe my exact mumbled-through-snotty-tears-ugly-cry-words were, "It feels like I'm stuck on a treadmill and there's no paydirt." I think it was a combination of exhaustion on all fronts, no studio time, stress and paralysis about paying my taxes. 

Cody knew what I needed to perk back up. Last Tuesday night he called me and told me to get home. He surprised me with tickets to Fleetwood Mac. Excitement took over reason and I completely fell into the experience. It was so sacred, we didn't even take our cameras/phones in. After years of not having a complete band, they happened to all come right to Wichita...and I wasn't going to go? Was it ever amazing! I cried and smiled and death-gripped Cody's hand through the first three songs (you can imagine the energy of these 5 great players taking the stage together again)---and then all the way through the song Everywhere (below).

I used to swim at the public pool in Algonquin (my house was within walking distance straight south of the pool on S Vista Dr) while this song played. It was a crazy time to be growing up---lots of trauma and Trauma while I lived there. I do remember spending a lot of time in and under the water, and that this song would knock the pause into me. It was magical. It was huge. It sent me into some sort of transcendental, glorious alpha-space...and I was always in water while I heard it.

Hearing Fleetwood Mac play live was such a healing, dream come true. The crazy thing is, I did not realize its importance. I was so caught up in paying taxes I told myself I did not need the experience. Luckily Cody knows me better than I know myself. I almost missed one of my life's top moments because of a temporary set-back. And this is why it's important for me to document this: the very next day---THE VERY NEXT DAY---I opened my online banking to see that BC/BS had finally paid me for the first time ever, and all the money I needed to finish paying my taxes was deposited while I was at the show.

Major career and clinical milestone. Check.
Taxes. Check.

Today is a gift. Be present.

Binge Blogging

While I'm keeping this blog and growing as an artist, I'm also keeping and growing a family and keeping and growing a business. Sometimes the balance of all this gets thrown off by one or more of these three things. This year, the latter two have kept me on my toes. Having an ambitious senior (college stuff already, too!) to support is an amazing, demanding thing, something which I know will not last long. Transitioning my sweet boy to high school is scary and exciting on so many levels. Both kids do their own homework and provide their own motivation to succeed. Apparently I have easy, enjoyable teenagers...

...and it's a good thing, too, because keeping and growing a private practice is a lot of hard work. There have been many times when I have sacrificed money or time or resources to get to the good place I am today. I have set and adjusted and met my business goals, always with the balance of family and studio days in mind. There have been so many firsts in these three years. My three most recent firsts have been the hardest yet, and they are tied together in such a way that if one of them slips, the others slip, too. It has been hard to not let the stress of these issues wreck my joy and steal my peace. I have really had to practice what I preach. At times I sailed, other times I failed.

That's him in the middle. One his phone.

Through all of this great juggling, my best friend and partner has not only been an amazing support, he has also been doing his own juggling. At work, after five years with one particular machine, he has been transitioning to the use of this new machine. In between cases, he works hard to keep a band going, score great gigs, write music, and book tours. This year has been really exciting for the band---and I have neglected to blog about these things because of the aforementioned. (And did I mentioned my computer's internet tanked? I finally had time to figure that one out and fix it last week.)

At the end of last year, Vehicles were awarded Best Local/Regional Album of 2014 by KMUW's Jedd Beaudoin, someone who has reviewed/interviewed Cody a couple of times now and faithfully plays Vehicles on the radio. In March Vehicles opened for Gin Blossoms at the packed-out Orpheum for a really cool charity event for Dragon Master. It was quite a thing to witness Cody playing his songs to that many people. In March the band toured down to SXSW and played a couple of great gigs for cram-packed Austin, Texas. I keep hoping they will post the footage from Tony's GoPro recording of the gigs.

In May there are two more important milestones coming up: First, Vehicles will sit for an acoustic session and interview with Torrin for Creative Rush's Songwriter Studio. I was lucky enough to attend the session for April and it was pretty awesome. I am excited to hear Vehicles acoustic. The very next night Vehicles will play The Crown Uptown theater with Gooding!!! I LOVE Gooding's music and have only seen him/them play twice, so I'm really, really, really excited for this gig.

Good for music lovers. Good for Vehicles. Good for Cody Cloud.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sea Inside Finished

Sea Inside, Acrylic 2'X4'

Sea Inside, under blacklight

Detail Under Blacklight

Detail In Sunlight

Detail In Sunlight

I knocked back the resist one final time before adding the final layer of blue/green

“[...] it is a strange thing that most of the feeling we call religious, most of the mystical outcrying which is one of the most prized and used and desired reactions of our species, is really the understanding and the attempt to say that man is related to the whole thing, related inextricably to all reality, known and unknowable. This is a simple thing to say, but the profound feeling of it made a Jesus, a St. Augustine, a St. Francis, a Roger Bacon, a Charles Darwin, and an Einstein. Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things—plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”

- John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez

Next Layers Sea Inside

First Layers of Sea Inside

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MIA Culpa

So, I've been Missing in Action on the blog recently. Aside from having major technology problems these days, I'm also super busy. The former will be remedied after I pay my tax bill. The latter...well, I'm not holding my breath. I'm trying to convince myself it's a good form of busy, but truthfully, I am not getting enough studio time. Studio comes before blogging, and many things/people come before studio.

Saturday was an amazing day here in Wichita. Conditions were perfect for marbling---which is an excellent thing, because I had planned on spending my day that way anyhow. I can't even explain the thrill of the process of marbling. And every time I turn over a fresh "print"---the wow factor just bowls me over. Here are just a few pics for now.

These are for a visual chakra tuning series I am creating for my office---my coworkers and our clients. More on that later---

I had a couple of helpers at the end of the day. We brought out the fluorescents and made some groovy papers!