Sunday, April 9, 2017

Work in Progress


Need to add a finger or two and do some more work around the edges. The emotional processing with this one is intense...and I love it.




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentines 2017 Forcing Lens

    I love making valentines. I usually start thinking about them just after New Year's day. Every year I ask myself, what is Love currently teaching me? My valentines are born when one answer becomes more important than the others.
     Last Sunday night I was meditating on a few current themes in my life. On Monday morning I woke to three words, the exact sentiment of my Valentine this year: "[Love] requires context." I also woke up knowing I needed to use famous context to convey the message.

     I wanted to use images of Venus and Mars for very microcosmic reasons. For the nearly 23 years of love I have known with Cody, we have fought "great battles" together. I am rising while he regroups, or he is rising while I regroup, or we are both fighting together---and through all of it we are always side-by-side. To this point it has been very rare when both of us are "resting". Sometimes it hurts to feel/hear the judgment of others...but that only smarts when my eyes move off of us and who we were created to be and what we are co-creating.

     On a macrocosmic level this theme of inconsideration without context is everywhere I look. As an empath, I have always felt my way into consideration for others. It is almost impossible to have the unique lens of being a therapist and NOT consider context...but when it comes to the activation of my own basic human emotion, even I fail to consider what I might not know. I think about my clients who were on the news this past year...and how emotion causes others to speak and judge without context...and how sad it is for those of us who know there's more to the story.


     So this year I took Venus and Mars completely out of context. In the absence of surrounding visual cue, the viewer is met with disorienting, mystifying and hypnotic *imagery which force projection and judgment and ultimately curiosity.

     On the cover of the valentine, beautiful Venus stands exposed in the middle of Times Square. Knowing she is a fish out of water does not stop her from posing for the obligatory when-in-NY photo. She lovingly expresses a longing for her own "home" (as opposed to I *heart* NY) while her quiet, confident, presence transfixes the tourist, the valentine
     On the inside of the valentine, Venus confirms that even her own love requires context...or more importantly an awareness of the lack thereof.
     On the signature side of the valentine, Botticelli's "winds" blow for change.

     Humans are relational creatures. We are so threatened by our differences when we can not/do not understand each other. This reality does not have to push us apart. Let us wake up! Let us dialogue. Let us seek first to understand then to be understood. Let us seek context and create a relational benefit-of-the-doubt, thereby cultivating a world in which it is possible to give and receive love.


*Special thanks to Steve Cloud for the awesome find.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Mason's Pottery

This was the first week Mason drove himself to school and pottery alone!

He is turning out some beautiful work every weekend now. Thank goodness for Wichita Pottery and all the fantastic friends he has there. It's an awesome thing to give him another world to move in outside of school...and the family orbit.

I love imagining his fingers in the clay, shaping it, sanding it, dipping it.
The pot on the left is luminous and evenly glazed. The pot on the right is matte white in parts and rusty brown, shiny.



More cleaned up beauty

I think these beauties are oxidized sterling (unmarked/judging only by the ear wires)
I have always loved mesh for its fabric-like flexibility. These things sparkle and swing and dangle to my collarbone! Bridgette must have worn them often---and liked them enough to have them temp fixed. (See the tiny ring on the far right side of the photo.)










I also found this super-dirty Italian Omega chain. It cleaned up and polished just beautifully! The ring on the left is faceted by actual tiny bends in the sheet silver which catch the light. The ring on the right looks to be sandblasted to cause the tiny sparkles.

I think this is a glass cabochon in a deco setting---and its emerald cut is amazing!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Blue Buddha Ramblings

Chloe's/Mine


Every once in a while I allow myself to entertain this hopeful fantasy in which Chloe and Mason are positively influenced by their surroundings---emotionally, spiritually, & physically; the latter including, more specifically, my own artwork.  Occasionally concrete proof of this emerges and I love it!

Chloe has just started watercolor class in her 2nd semester of her 2nd year at college. She sent me a photo of this unfinished Buddha image on the far left yesterday.  I was blown away by the power of a few strokes from her brush. My immediate thoughts were "OF COURSE she's amazing at watercolor!" and then "Holy cow it's Cody at peace!"


Chloe and I have an agreement that I will not post photos of her art without her permission...especially if it's unfinished art. Well, I do not have permission to put this photo here...but I don't think it will bother her too much---and I highly doubt she will even see it for years. By then I will have the power of "that was a long time ago" on my side. (I don't really believe in said power. It would be a very different story if I were putting this on Instagram.) Anyhow, I haven't shared this with her so she can work freely until its completion. I do wonder if she will see the semblance or if she is/was conscious of it's possible influence? 


Ya know that fantasy I mentioned? It also works the other way around, too...these kids influence us and our surroundings.


Ohmmmmmmmmmm



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Treasure Hunts Me



 I met Bridget one time on this side of heaven. It was the summer of 1997. She was a Diva for sure---FaBuLoUs yet completely down to earth. I remember standing together, talking outside her parents' Branson hotel while she smoked and smoked. In that moment I mentioned how gorgeous her wedding ring was, and she launched into this story about hiding her real big fat diamond from court collectors. I liked her immediately.

It seems like an ordinary enough conversation...one that might even be forgettable (especially with my funky memory)...except that we were talking about sparkly diamonds, the human side of bankruptcy and I was there on my honeymoon.


I met Bridgette because her mom was friends with my mom.
For my wedding, Bridgette and her parents (Rhonda & Chet) gave me and Cody a gift certificate for a free stay at their hotel. We finally used the certificate and took our "honeymoon" when Chloe was several months old. I remember driving into Branson (Cody's childhood vacation grounds---the place of our first vacation together in 1994) and stopping to eat at Ruby Tuesdays, sharing a gigantic frozen margarita with a plastic goldfish in it. We then went straight to the hotel to sleep for a few days. We ended up leaving Branson early because both of us missed being away from our girl (the reason we were sleep deprived) so much.

Bridgett's mom Rhonda, is also a FaBuLoUs human. She and my mom took a road trip together in 1994 where Rhonda got my (then 42 year old) straight-laced mother to pose for a photo with some random "hot cowboy" at a gas station---she even gave Mom her lit cigarette to complete the rebellious look. It really is an epic photo; one of my favorites. Apparently they got into all kinds of shenanigans during that road trip which included seeing a Branson Wayne Newton....

In 1996 Rhonda threw me a fancy wedding shower at the Rolling Hills Country Club. A few of my friends and all three of my grandmothers dressed up for that shower. We ate a meal and ate delicious cake with Navy frosting detail that thoughtfully matched my wedding colors. It was a generous thing to do for me, the broke girl who changed my white wedding date a few zillion times that summer. Somehow Rhonda knew I would want to remember having a fancy wedding shower...and a honeymoon trip.

Last night I stood over a box of Bridgette's jewelry, disentangling chains and earrings and rings because she is not here to do it herself. I grew sad as I handled her things, and I considered her short life and her mom Rhonda. What must it be like to bury your husband and your only child within months of each other? I will continue to ask myself why this treasure made its way to me---and what I am supposed to do with it. I believe I've already received three more treasures from Bridgette: Don't worry so much about your weight, Remember me, and Remember/Pray for my mom.

I read a quote by the Dali Lama yesterday: "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." I am sure Bridgette and Rhonda are not saints (we have mutual friends ;)) yet I will always remember the FaBuLoUsNeSs, the human kindness they both continue to extend to me in this lifetime. These are a few of the beautiful things I will wear in Bridgette's honor. I will enjoy re-working and bringing new life to some of the other pieces.
Coral and jade rose pin. Carved moon faces in sterling.

These are my favorite things from the box. Gray button pearls and a gold starfish pin. The 1970's silver-plated shell locket has glace Aliage (a Chypre parfum) in it--- I am wearing both the scent (a tiny bit goes a long way) and the locket today. The gold dolphin earrings have the most amazingly pretty/realistic swing action in motion when on the ear. The Ammonite...well, we all know my favorite poem by now...I intend to set in silver. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stretchy Bracelets

     I never made stretchy bracelets because of my love for the toggle look. Maybe I'm getting too old or too busy to be fumbling around with my jewelry---whatever the case, I am excited to wear these new pieces:

     I scored these beads last year on the last day of an estate sale and have not had the chance to wear them yet. I paid $4 (50% off) which is a total shame to admit. I knew I'd found a treasure the instant I picked them up...the heavy feel is one of pure grounding. I have not identified the two stone carved beads. They are cold to the touch, not super shiny like marble and have tiny mica flecks. Quartz? Ideas?
15mm Blue Coral, Rutilated Quartz, and Stone (You really should click on the photo and then click again to see detail)
     Our friend Travis and his family visited from Redwood City, CA over the Christmas break. As they were leaving I complimented his wife Veronica's pretty blue stacking stretchy bracelets and she took one off her wrist and insisted I keep it. I had never met her, so there was/is no way she could possibly know how many times I have done this very thing. I was so charmed I couldn't speak! (For God's sake, when I went to China I lined my backpack with leather bracelets for the sole purpose of giving them away. I still hope those bracelets connect me back to the people I met someday.)
    The bracelet Veronica gave me "holds" essential oils---and I have loved smelling whatever it was she had on it---maybe a tea tree? I intend to find out. Anyhow, I gathered the holding beads were porous lava stone and decided to make a few of my own. Now I just have to decide which ones to send back to California.... 
Apple/Tiger Coral, Lava Stone, Fossil Stone and Chalcedony

     The black and white stones (below) were part of a 25lb auction lot---the best purchase I made last year. I bought the lot shortly before the Excel incident. I remember sorting and cutting my way through the massive tangled mess one knot at a time---an active metaphor for what my brain was trying to comprehend. I remember spreading it out over half of the basement floor for weeks thinking, my family should be mad at me and why are they being so cool? (about the mess). Even now as I type, I get nauseous and sick to my stomach...memories come back...so much to process...still. That time really changed me forever; I am healed when I make something lasting/pretty from it all.
  A little something I read about black and white marble: "Zebra Stone is a dolomitic marble in which the banded appearance is actually foliation caused by the heat and pressure of metamorphism." Fitting.
Zebra Marble, Lava Stone (the blue reflection in silver is my fish tank!)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Stationary and Website

I finally got my business cards ordered. I went with gold metallic accents! They are so pretty that I had to buy matching stationary and envelopes.
Had to put this quote about change on the back. Refrained from putting Alchemist (instead of LCMFT) after my name....


I also finally had time to update my personal website www.melaniecloud.com. I chose to buy my own .com before I moved from Empac so people can find me directly by my name. There's a link to the ACFC site on the contact page and links to my psychology today profile on each page. 
Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Glory! Love Like Frickin' Bazinga!

Since everything I attempted in the studio failed this weekend, I figured I'd drop some pretty goodness here. Well, I guess it didn't fail but it does mean I have to fire my kiln for the 3rd time...and each time I run it the process takes 12 hours. It's not very fun to open the kiln hoping for one thing only to discover nothing happened in the 1250 degree oven over 12 hours. Anyhow, here's the pretty, encouraging stuff:

My parting gift to Empac was this collage which incorporated most of the doodles I drew during meetings over my time there. I called it "Love Like Frickin' Bazinga" because of the few words I actually doodled on, those made the most sense.

And this poem. Wow. What more can I say? God knows I needed it when I "found" it. In true visual/kinesthetic fashion, I had to write it out to know it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My first day at the new office

The space looks complete with art on the walls.
My first day was a typical day of 1sts. How to code my sessions for the office staff? How to record a 45 or 60 minute session? How to consult the TOVA test? Email? Schedule? I went to write a physician and I needed letterhead. I went to print said letter and I had to figure to which printer to print. I went to fax and I had to learn using a new machine. I met several new clients and saw one familiar face.

I even experienced a form of my grandmother yesterday---I went to print and I was offered the most heavenly pumpkin cake dessert. Joann offered it to me, told me about how the condo she in which she recently cooked only offered a broiler pan so she had to make-do, cut a generous slice, warmed it in the microwave and added whipped cream before I could even refuse. No kidding, it was like someone popped right off my genogram and fed me. I probably would have cried if she knew me better.

It is a little strange to get back on the long-term horse...no more meeting people and holding back lest there be any bonding...and yet it feels so right. Mondays are scheduled to be my longest day---from 9:30am to 8:30pm. Yesterday I came home, ate dinner, and even had the energy to go on a long walk. I think I'm going to love this next phase of life. It feels good to know why I am doing what I am doing---I've had to rule a few things out over the last five years. Today I experienced feeling settled, something for which I've been hoping now for several years. Today I am Psalm 40.

I set up my Psychology Today profile this morning. Will you read it, offer suggestions and tell me if I should consider changing something? Thanks!

I ordered a custom frame for this piece yesterday. I love how the frame brings out the warm tones. Now I just have to wait 2 weeks.