The Ramblings of a Creative Soul

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Inspiration Series - Part 9

One of my favorite things to do when making jewelry is to play with wire. There are so many things you can do with it. I can take fine wire and use it to make a bouquet out of beads. Heavier wire can be flattened with a hammer or shaped into a swirl. The possibilities are endless.

I think my love of wire goes back to my childhood. I can remember my mom giving me a paddle of florist wire to make creations out of. One of my favorite things to create were small flower sculptures. They would line the windowsill of my bedroom. Some were embellished with beads. I guess I should have known I would end up playing with wire and beads when I got older.

I enjoy seeing how other artists incorporate wire into their work. One of my favorites is the Etsy shop Sparkflight. Their sculptures are amazing. The sculpture shown, Baseball Player, immediately caught my eye since I love baseball. It can be found at

I asked Ruth Jensen from Sparkflight the question -

What inspires you?

I never have to think about "What inspires me?" because EVERYTHING does!! My family jokes about going on "non-walks" with me, during which I dawdle along picking up every old stick and rock to say "Ooh, isn't that pretty?" or "Doesn't that look like a person sneezing?" or some such remark. Uncontrollable free association, combined with ignorance of limitations, leads to amazing things!

I love her last line. I think that sums up inspiration and creativity so well.

You can find Sparkflight at

Thanks so much for sharing, Ruth.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Inspiration Series - Part 8

When my sons were younger, my house looked like one massive art project. The boys were highly creative (still are). They used Legos, boxes, paper bags, and other such items to create sculptures. These masterpieces often took days to complete. I was always amazed by their imagination to turn a common household item into something really cool. Now that they are older, their artwork graces the second floor of our barn. I often find myself saying, "That is really clever", upon seeing the newest creation. I love that they make art and that it has a sense of humor to it.

When I discovered the work of Reclaim2Fame, I knew my sons would love it. You are first struck by how the sculptures make you smile and then, you start analyzing all the parts and find yourself thinking how clever. It takes a very creative mind to think a camera and a lunch pail could make a great dog. The sculpture pictured is entitled Fannie Flathat, The Accidental Fashion Plate Of Faversham Kent. Her story is a hoot.

I asked Will Wagenaar of Reclaim2Fame the question -

What inspires you?

For me, right now, it's all about recycling materials.
The work starts with the need to create something new out of something old.
My materials inspire me.
Sometimes they talk to me... sort of.
I take a thing, look at it from every direction while considering what it could be.
A new purpose usually comes to mind.

You can find Reclaim2Fame at

Thanks so much for sharing, Will.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Alien on the Planet Three Stooges

I am the lone female in my house. Okay, if you count the dog, there are two of us. If we are counting the dog, we then have to count the two cats so that means there are two females to five males. I often joke that I am an alien on the Planet Three Stooges, and I am waiting to be rescued.

I have learned a lot living with males. For example, to the male mind, putting something away means adding it to the already large stack of things that over time, had also been asked to be put away. In their mind, job done. Clutter doesn't seem to bother them. Also, putting dishes in the sink counts as putting them in the dishwasher since the dishwasher is right next to the sink. They don't see well, either. They never notice the large pile of laundry, the food items left on the counter or the empty trash cans at the curb. They also miss things like keys, remotes, cell phones and IPods. Remotes are their lifelines - whether it is to the television or video game if it is missing, chaos ensues. They like to eat pizza, Chinese food and cereal...a lot.

They make weird noises and think it is funny. The youngest one when he was age 4 was proud he could burp the alphabet. My God, he could burp the alphabet!

They also seem to like to get undressed as they move through a house. You can find a sock in one room, a shirt in another and the other sock in a third room. And let's not even start on their shoes.

Being the only female poses challenges. If for example, I am working on a jewelry design and want some input, these really are not the people to ask. They usually provide their pat answer, "Looks fine" without even looking at the item. They are good sports about some things. They tolerate having bouquets of flowers throughout the house and especially like it when I try to be creative in the kitchen.

They are handy to have around at times. They can lift heavy items, program the DVR and fix things. I am sure there are other good things about them but my focus is on that stack of laundry, dishes in the sink and items all over the island. Can I get back to you on that?

Friday, May 7, 2010


Being a mom changes the way you look at the world. Being the mom of a child with a learning difference more so. I hate the phrase learning disability. My child can learn, he just learns in a different way. His way does not fit into the assembly line method we call public education.

It has been a long battle to get where he/we are today. We knew there was something going on in kindergarten but got the classic response, "He's a boy. They take longer." That wasn't an answer but an excuse to not look into things. Even after we got the diagnosis of dyslexia, it took three years before the school district would address it. By then, his educational foundation was shaky. If you were building a house, you wouldn't want that foundation holding up your house. Those years were spent full of outbursts caused by frustration. My son felt his teachers thought he was stupid. He said he knew he was smart inside, he just couldn't show it outside. I learned I had to become an expert on dyslexia and be his advocate. I used to joke that my name was written on the wall at school under Pain in the _ _ _. There were days I had to physically take my son into the school because he didn't want to go. He often pleaded with me to home school him. We both relished the weekends and summer when school wasn't in session to give us a much needed break from the stress of school and low expectations. Finally, in the the fifth grade my son got a teacher who got it. In fact, she lived it with her own daughter. Under her guidance, my son started to soar and believe in his ability. She looked him straight in the eye and told him he was smart. She even told him how smart by telling him his IQ. He began to excel under her guidance. I compared him to a kite. His teacher was giving him more and more string so he could soar. It was the greatest gift a teacher could have given him. He continued to soar in middle school until eighth and ninth grade when the teachers started to pull in the string and lower the expectations. Once again, I went into advocate role. I had to fight to get him into the higher level courses he so desperately wanted to take. Thanks to the support of some of his teachers, his sophomore year has been a success.

My son is intelligent and highly creative. He is a gifted artist and musician. He is a history buff and soaks up information like a sponge. He is finally starting to believe all of this.

This morning, I dropped him off at school and wished him luck on his AP History test. I smiled as I noticed a kite flying across the way. It seemed fitting today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Inspiration Series - Part 7

When I was a kid, one of my favorite places on earth was the library. I loved the look and smell of the books. I would spend hours sitting on the floor in a corner. As I got older, I found myself spending more time in bookstores than libraries. I loved (and still do) cracking the spine on a new book with anticipation as to what the journey will be as I travel through the pages. I have passed on that love to my sons. My eldest is quite the reader. His taste is vast and wide - everything from American classics like "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "On the Road" to the work of Salman Rushdie and Gabriel García Márquez. We both share a love of poetry. To me, poetry really demonstrates the power of words to convey images and meaning. Being a calligrapher, I also love how poetry can be presented in unique ways.

Today's featured artist, Meliors Simms first drew my attention with her beautifully photographed work. The photos got me to look but her words made me a fan. She uses creative ways to present her poetry so they really are works of art. Here is Meliors response to the question:

What inspires me? Probably more than anything else I am inspired by reading widely and the impact that my reading has on me. My work is inspired by
science: ecology, evolution, geology, biology, physics, astronomy; science fiction novels of ideas and theological writing especially contemporary Buddhist and Jewish thinkers. In the past few years I have discovered many websites with intelligent podcasts, so I can be inspired at the same time as I am making.

I am also inspired by the natural world as I experience it- living in the Daintree, Australia's tropical rainforest next to the Great Barrier Reef, was incredibly inspiring. Sometimes I'm directly inspired by the unlikely images and scenarios of my sleep dreams. I feel inspired pretty often so that I have many many more ideas than I ever develop into anything concrete let alone completed. Ideas that can be expressed through materials and techniques that inspire me come to fruition: letterpress printing or the sensual heft of old woven woolen blankets. But since my practice is always deeply meditative and thus slow to produce visible results, I have to be selective about which inspirations deserve ongoing enthusiasm. If I ever run dry of inspiration, flicking back through my journals will provide plenty to go on with.

Meliors work can be found at

Thank you Melior for sharing your inspiration.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Inspiration Series - Part 6

I have had a thing for ceramics since I was a kid. My house is filled with pieces that I have collected over the years. My collection is eclectic. It contains items I have inherited with names like Rookwood and Weller as well as pieces found at art fairs and galleries. I love the fact that ceramics are functional but also art that has been shaped by hands.

One of my favorite ceramic artists is Gina DeSantis. Gina uses bright colors in her glazes which first drew me to her work. Here is Gina's reply to the question - What inspires you?

As for an answer to what inspires me...
I have also been compelled to make functional art. I find joy in making something that will find a life in a person's daily routine. While I am inspired by other potters and artists I find most of my inspiration in the environment of Cleveland. We are lucky to have industry and lush green spaces in close proximity. We also have the extremes of climate. I think I chose many of my bright colors to counteract the long, gray winters.

I also find fashion to be a huge influence. I'm always curious to see how people put together outfits and what accessories they chose. It plays a part in how I put together colors. The materials may be different from clay but the way color interacts in fashion affects the decisions I make with color and texture.

Gina's work can be found at

Thanks so much for sharing, Gina.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


It is has been a rough week for me. My eldest made his choice for college, and I wrote my first of many checks to a college. I have been fully aware that this is was going to happen but still, the realization got me misty. I swear it was just a few weeks ago we walked hand in hand into his kindergarten classroom to start his educational odyssey. He also experienced his first heartache. That was rough to watch. I miss the days when a superhero band-aid made it all better.

This kid is most like me. We have gotten along since we first locked eyes. I brainwashed him into believing OSU is THE team to support, baseball's opening day is sacred, Bruce Springsteen rules, and there is nothing like opening up a book. I'm proud of the fact he is interested in the world around him and has a better understanding of our government than most citizens. He can converse on the great novels, what is happening in the U.K. election or the merits of Batman vs. Superman. He is a true renaissance man.

He is a wonderful judge of character and is extremely loyal to his friends. His circle of friends is diverse. Our home is their headquarters so I have learned to get to know each and every one of them. I couldn't have picked better friends for him. The door is constantly opening with the ebb and flow of the group. They have an uncanny ability to know when I have just returned from the grocery story. What amazes me is that they like to visit with my husband and I. Many nights, they are just eating and talking with us. We find that surprising given the fact when we were kids, (hubby and I were best friends growing up), hanging with parents was the last thing we wanted to do.

Now, their discussions center on their college choices, the AP and IB exams and their student internships. Graduation parties have been carefully planned to not overlap. It is a hectic time. That is probably good for me since that keeps my mind off of August when everyone will scatter. I'm getting misty again...