Saturday, July 28, 2007

My favorite birdhouse EVER (so far)

I did this one in Spring of 2006 and it remains a personal fave. It was one of the five slides I submitted to the Southern Highland Craft Guild and it will be one of the five pieces I take up to Asheville in August for the in-person jury for sure. I'm lucky that it lives here in my new hometown and WAS hanging on a friend's front porch until a few months ago when I snatched it for some professionally shot photos (these are my funky photos, not the pro's.) I snatched it just in time as the other birdhouse of mine hanging right next to it had a teeny baby birdling with a gaping mouth living inside. Momma bird watched me very nervously from a nearby tree as I took this one down, and I watched her (very nervously) from the car to be sure she flew back to her baby. I was afraid because I'd touched their home she would not go back and how could I live with that, huh?

I think the roof blows my mind. What's not to love about those great contrasting California pottery colors...purple, orange and chartreuse? The Universal Ballerina Iris on the front is another big plus, along with the Fiesta yellow tea cup handle as the front door knob. I even used vintage Fiesta ringware cups on the roof trim. Love that deep yellow. I was living in the southwest when I did it and it has such a vibrant, Santa Fe vibe to it, complete with stucco-colored grout.

As of today I have 9 new pieces done, ready for grouting. Any day now I'll be grouting. Really. I'm on a vase binge right now. Two done and three in process. I go in phases like that. Next I'll do wine coolers, and then I really want to get back into some photo frames and mirrors. It's a treat to bounce back and forth between curved, 3-D surfaces and flat, one-dimensional stuff like lazy susans, mirrors and frames.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A very fave from my North Carolina "early" period

It's odd that I'm so enamored with this mantle clock, being the color freak that I am. I was very dubious about combining the seafoam green glass and African jade beads with the neutral tones of white, brown and black on the clock face. But I love it! There is a richness to this piece and a sense that I wouldn't do one thing differently if I did it over. I don't always feel that way. It helps that I used some very old and very rare brown and white and black and white transferware pieces. But down to the perfectly-matched six pairs of vintage earrings as the number markers, this piece did border on the mystical for me. It therefore makes a great photo for this blog header. (As CoCo the Cat is the perfect header for the cats' blog.)

I've got the clock listed on eBay right now, but if it doesn't sell in the next few weeks, it will definitely be one of the five pieces I submit to the Southern Highland Craft Guild in August for the second phase in the jury process. Got my instruction sheets today. Five of my BEST works, they suggest, from the last two years. Luckily, I've sold most of them, but I do have access to several good pieces that belong to a friend/collector nearby.

I wouldn't have been so concerned with the BEST work issue but I recently learned that only 10% of the slide submissions make it on to round two, and only 10% of those artists are accepted into the Guild. So we'll see how I do in the final qualifying round. Won't know till the end of September. This thing drags on! (I did not make it up to the semi-annual folk art fair last week after all. Too much going on with the fur kids and their health issues for me to want to take a full day away.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Proof that I hate to grout

A bad photo of five new pieces that have been waiting for grout forever and ever. Grouting is the drudgery part of doing mosaics for me, surpassed only by housecleaning, cooking and grocery shopping in terms of my ability to procrastinate until I have no choice but to perform said drudge. I even have an idyllic wooden picnic table out in the front yard with a bit of shade over it on which to grout. Soon. Really. Soon.

I was very happy with the wine amphora. It's going to get dark purple grout. I want to find more of the big wine bottles now! I'm also pleased with the mirror. They are impossible for me to get good photos of, those pesky reflective objects, but I will try once it's grouted in antique white. Birdhouses are the bane of my pique assiette existence, and if the sharding is time consuming, you know the grouting sucks me dry. Ha! Those are lazy susans, the round mandala-like things. You can see several completed examples here.

You can see the wine amphora in its infancy, if you care, here...and I'd love it if you visited my new auctions over on eBay. I moved all my pieces from etsy to the Bay today since they just finally added the Mosaic Art categories in Home Decor. Have I mentioned anywhere on this blog that I love custom work? Email me! (lauraw at citcom dot net).

I've got about half a dozen pieces in various stages of non-completion right now so I've got big plans for upcoming weeks. I plan to drive up to Asheville for the Southern Highland Craft Guild show Friday. I'm so hoping that will inspire me. I'm halfway through the jury process for acceptance into the guild and depending upon what I see on Friday, I may just try to snag a booth for their October show.

Happy Sharding to you all!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Er...Fire the Grid Tuesday?

Now that the cats have their OWN BLOG for CAT STUFF ONLY, I can get back to the original intent of this one: mosaics, mysticism and madness. You can decide if this post falls into the mad or the mystic file.

Tomorrow, 7/17/07, is Fire the Grid Day. I surfed upon this subject and must've spent two hours watching Shelley Yates talk on YouTube. I just tried to click on, but the server is a tad busy. One can imagine! Anyway, it's of interest to me and maybe you. The deciding factor for me to consider participating was when I saw that the precise moment of the galactic grid meditation was 7/17 at 7:11am EST. I was born 2/17, 7:11am (PST). If I were still in Colorado it'd be 5:11am. Always looking for signs and synchronicities to quell the chaos between my ears -- I'm there.

I'd planned to go up the stone steps in the back yard to the cool picnic table on the landing and have contemplative time with whatever fur kids wanted to join, but Leah the Dawg has to be at Animals of Eden Vet Hospital (nice name, huh?) at 7:30am for surgery to remove what may be a tumor on the top of her front, left paw. God forbid a week should pass and we not be there at least twice for something. More on all that tomorrow.

And here's the mosaic part. I'm nuts for this mirror. It's relatively new, and probably a good companion photo for this post, even though the colors looked a bit washed out in these shots. Much more vibrant in color contrast in person. It's in my etsy shop right now (see shiny sidebar ----> ) but I'm moving all my pieces, and hopefully some new ones, to eBay as soon as they add some mosaic-specific categories over in Home Decor. I'd prefer the new mosaic categories to be in Art, but at least it's something, I suppose.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Weekend Cat Blogging by Sadie -- It's my 5th Gotmeversary!

Hi Everyone! Thanks for letting me celebrate my 5th Gotmeversary with all of you! We are so happy that we discovered you and will play in the cat blog box every weekend. There are so many beautiful, smart, stylish and FUNNY blogging cats around here! Go visit many of them all rounded up in one place at Dragonheart's blog. Dragonheart is this weekend's cat herding host and has something very special to celebrate too! Because it's such a cool week for me, I want to share my happy story with you.

Five years ago right now when I was not more than six weeks old, I was so over the feral life that I was enduring in the cat commune down by the San Juan River in Pagosa Springs, CO. Of course that was not the life I was born to live, but I knew I had to start life there so my destiny could intersect my Mom's. She was working at a liquor store back then (glug glug) and I knew that on this very day she'd stay a little late to help a group of wild women assemble a mixed case of wine. (My Mom knows a LOT about wine. Practice makes purrfect!) She left work later than usual that day. I executed my plan to perfection, dashing in front of her car like a darting furball flash of lightning as she drove through the alley. A confluence of graces! Mom threw the car in neutral, put on the emergency brake, and was on her feet running to catch me before she even realized what was happening. She knows a kitten in need in her sleep, my Mom, even one traveling at super sonic speed. It took her two tries to reach down into the bush where I was pretending to hide to GOTME. She was surprised that I didn't keep running. I tried to keep up the wild, resistant, feral kitten pretense, but I caved in quickly, allowing her to snag me. I sat on her lap the whole way home, trying to keep up the resistant feral pretense, but I never moved from her lap.

The Angels in Charge of Cat Distribution and Dispensation (ACCDD) sent me to her because:

1) She and my fur siblings had just been through a very scary foreclosure and nothing brings joy and cheer and hope to a life more than a kitten.
2) I look just like Gracie, the founding feline member of our current tribe, who came to Mom in 1991 and left in 2000 due to hyperthyroidism and heart disease. Some say I am Gracie returned.
3) My mom is very patient with feral kittens. She is not very patient with humans, which is kind of funny. (Unless you're a human she is not being patient with. Then not so funny.)
4) My mom is a tiny bit obsessive compulsive and prefers an even number of cats, perfectly balanced between male and female.
5) There is no 5. She has a teeny number fetish and insists that I keep this even.

So, on that fateful day in July of 2002, Mom took me home to the funky, dark, bug-infested, stinky, skanky, slanty-floored, freezing cold, ancient farmhouse my family was renting and immediately gave me a bowl of cream. I was so dehydrated and starving, I sucked it up in seconds. Then I got big diarrhea. I shat all over my behind and promptly got my first, (and only), bath. To this day I insist upon my dollop of cream every morning as she stumbles for her first cup of coffee. (Unrelenting screaming is very effective with Mom.) I spent the next several weeks living under a bed in a guest room. My dawg, Leah, and my big brother, Walter, kept close to me. Leah laid next to the bed all that time, keeping a very close eye on me. I love my dog. Walter taught me how to play when I eventually got brave enough to come out from under the bed. I loved my Walter. He went to Fur Heaven very suddenly two months ago. You can see lots of photos of him on this blog, including a very wonderful Snapfish collage poster we just got in the mail. Losing our Tubbo Walter has been a great tragedy for all of us, most especially Mom and Leah Dawg. Walter raised Leah. That's how it is in our family...the youngest fur takes the new arrival under their loving paw.

We all moved from Colorado to North Carolina at the end of last year and I love my new home. I have 9 lush, forested acres to play on, but I stick close to my home. I sure miss playing outside with Walter, but there are snakes and lizards, birds and bunnies, butterflies and fireflies to play with here. We did not have fireflies in Colorado! Whatthe?? I am not allowed outside after dark so I try to grok them through the windows. Mom can't believe that the heat does not bother me outside but our new fur doctor sold us a furminator. Who knew I was all bottom coat? I try to help my Mom with her mosaic art -- that's me, advising her on a big lazy susan project on MY consulting table -- but since Walter died, she is not so creatively inspired. At least with her mosaics. She seems to want to write a lot, which is why I'm so happy we found all you eloquent cats who blog. Mom still cries almost every day about Walter and thinks her mosaic promotion blog has turned into a fur kid promotion blog. I say: the problem with that is...? I give her free mosaic consultations, talk with her more than ever, and share extra love and attention to try to fill up some of the emptiness in her heart. We all know she loves us in very special and unique ways, but we also all know that Walter was extra-special and uber-unique in her life. If he were still with us, Walter would surely have his own blog today! (And he would certainly be cyber-courting Miss Lilly.)

Mom tried to help all of us after Walter died by consulting pet communicators. She started getting very interested in pet communication and pet reincarnation and did a lot of reading and researching. She had sessions with three women: Leonora to talk to Walter, Lydia Hiby to help Leah, and Cindy Smith for the whole family. That's where I got to talk. I told Cindy Smith to remind my Mom that I am very independent and also very content and happy with both my life and my place in the family. This was a great comfort to my Mom, and she knows it is Truth. Cindy also told my Mom that I would LOVE a new kitten. More Truth. Because I am the youngest, the new kitten will be mine!!!

So the best anniversary present the ACCDDs can give me is a new kitten, hopefully Tubbo Walter returning to us! Mom believes 100% in Fur Fate -- she knows that her four-legged companions always come to her, or wait for her, without her having to look for them (Truth again). We are all keeping a vigil for our next fur family member. Nothing brings joy and cheer and hope to a life more than a kitten.

(PS: Does anyone know if Fat Eric has a girlfriend? He reminds me of my Tubbo Walter, and like my Mom, I get weak in the paws over orange guys. Especially fat, fluffy, frequently-peckish, orange guys.)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Willie & The Awakening

Willie looks pretty good for gonna-be-16-on-New-Year's-Eve-2007, huh?

Life imitates art

Here we have Willie in his dignified posturing, splayed out in front of our favorite painting EVER. Long long time ago, in another lifetime, or at least another galaxy, I came into a wad of cash rather suddenly. (Daddy died.) One of the very first things I did was buy original art from a few women artists that I loved. Of course they all paint animals! This one is by Vicki Ledray Grabicki of Washington state. I first discovered Vicki's work in the gift shop at Nepethe, Big Sur. A greeting card knocked me out! It was a boldly colored image of a Celtic goddess. The back read: "Queen Hanorah and her beloved Sylvester -- goddess of creation, arts and CATS." The red-haired maiden is naked, under a sliver moon, cradling my Willie in her arms.

Vicki and I began a snail mail correspondence and I learned her Sylvester looked a lot like my Willie. I also learned that I was addicted to Vicki's art and sense of spiritual mystery. My collection includes a few of her prints: Shaman Calling Her Allies; Remembering Who She Is; Queen Hanorah -- all images of women and their power animals -- along with this original from her "Cats and Flowers" period. I also own The Awakening, another original you can see above this post, hanging on the fireplace wall behind Willie on his couch.

When I was deciding which of Vicki's originals I could not live without back in 1996 -- I had already selected The Awakening as a must-have -- she sent me a photograph of this brand new, woman-reading-with-cat painting. I gasped...c'est moi! Vicki had no earthly idea what I looked like, so when I sent her a photo of myself with a decent perm, she too gasped. I love meant to be art. And cats, and flowers, and color and creation. All crucial components of what is mystically inspiring to me.

You'd think with all this inspiration flowing I'd get back to the mosaic studio. Manana. Today I have wonky DSL modems to take to the doctor and compounded tapazole for Bianca to refill and health food store shopping to do. Poor Bianca...two vomitting episodes last night between the time I finally fell asleep and midnight. I'm getting closer and closer every day to insisting upon a surgical consult for her. I don't think tapazole is the key, long term, and I don't think the vomiting frequency is fair to her, me, or the carpets.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Palate Cleanser

Elton my brother, you are older than me...

He's 60, I'm, closing in on 50. Time flies regardless of the fun factor. I saw him perform at the Hollywood Bowl when I was in my early teens. He was at the height of his mania. I remember what we both wore.

I can't stand pulling up my blog and seeing the poster of Walter. How am I gonna deal with it in life size form, hanging on my mosaic studio wall? Baby steps, Laura. Plus, I needed a good excuse to post this Elton photo from the Diana Day Debacle. I wrote a long diatribe about how much I hate the 4th of July and chronicled Bianca's third bladder infection in the last nine months necessitating an hour long drive (her screaming all the way) to the emergency clinic in Asheville last Saturday, but it bored me so much I couldn't even edit it.

Still no blood test results. I'm expecting (hoping for is better) a call later this evening. Thursday's sample had "coagulation" issues so we had to go back in Friday afternoon for more torture. Why Bianca couldn't pee in an inappropriate place at some point on Friday is beyond me. She waited until 6:30am Saturday to do it on my comforter, between my legs, ensuring that our vet, and every other vet in western NC, would be off for the holiday. The only good thing about the episode (aside from the fact that it was just another UTI cured by Clavimox), is that I got to drive to REACH in daylight under non-emergency conditions. Should I ever have to make the drive again, god forbid, in a life-threatening panic, I'll have been there once. Not that this guarantees I'll remember the way, since I can't navigate myself out of a paper sack. "Lack of grounding" some could say. "Not fully incarnated" others might offer. Moronic idiot with directions works for me. I pray that if and when this ever occurs I have had no wine that evening. That would be very inconvenient, and frightening, for all concerned. I suppose I could always call the town's cab service. Note to self...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Snapfish Rules (Bottomless well o' grief)

I was just in the bedroom sobbing over Walter again, wondering if it's ever going to get easier. Will I ever string a few days together in which I don't dwell in guilt, regret, grief and despair? I printed out some of my favorite final photos of him (all the years prior are trapped on a dead iMac and a dead iBook for now) so I was shuffling through the images, thinking of how I might frame and display them when I can bear it.

In my inbox was notification from Snapfish that my poster has shipped. I had to get a new HP printer to interface with my new MacBook Pro and along with all that came 20 free prints on Snapfish. I finally got up the energy to upload a ton of my fur fotos last week and order a lot of prints for me and to send to friends and fam. AND, then I saw their collage poster feature. You can guess the rest. I'm going to hang it in my mosaic studio, which happens to have the perfect empty vertical wall space. It also happens to be the room he dragged himself into that horrible morning and the room in which I struggled to get him into the crate. He did not want to go, in more ways than 22.