Friday, 12 June 2009

A Shell Necklace with Mysterious Origins....

I was asked to design and make an unusual and interesting necklace to be worn at the Canadian Shell Collectors convention - apparently the wives of members get very competitive with their spectacular jewellery displays each year at the annual convention so - Phew!!! - No pressure at all! I can imagine it would be a really glamorous and grown-up version of an under-the-sea party (lol)..
So here is my attempt to meet the brief. I used some beautifully smooth Cowrie shells which my boyfriend brought back from Mali, West Africa and some spiky mother of pearl pieces which were reclaimed from a broken necklace which belonged to my mother, And the rest are shells that I'd found in the Baie de la Mont st Michel in Normandy-France.
It's this most amazing bay which stretches about 10km across and when the tide goes out, it looks like one huge expansive dessert. And when the tide comes in, it's in one big tidal wave which moves at the speed of galloping horses! It's spectacular to watch but only from a distance - up on a cliff-top or somewhere. The local people keep a close timetable of the tides because if you're out walking on the bay when the tide comes in, it's so easy to get cut off and washed away!!! It's a very dangerous, sinister and magical place!! You can often see the silhouette of the Mont st Michel through the fog and people have waded out to it on pilgrimages and to hide for hundreds of years. so when you're there you can almost imagine all the ghosts that are roaming around that great wide expanse of sand and water. It's a place where you can feel more alone than anywhere else - I like to go there and sing because I can be absolutely sure no one else can here me (except abstractly on the wind maybe-lol).
The shells I found are not rare or of any special species but they are very different to shells I have picked up on ordinary beaches. I think this has a lot to do with the formation of the bay and the silts and minerals which get brought in on the tide and trapped in the basin. So you can often find completely black cockle shells or really dramatic stripes and markings which is fantastic for making jewellery!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A Chance Encounter with a Memorable Ending

I've met a lot of great people since I entered into the creative online world of etsy, it sounds funny to say that but it makes sense really, that there are a lot of like-minds in this community. Maybe because my real-life day-to-day world seems so culture-starved at the moment - I'm not meeting many people who talk about their passions and their drive to create...that it's so refreshing and I'm so touched when I talk to someone creative online and I really see eye to eye with them.

I got talking to a woman called Kris Hass on etsy, and her shop: is just one part of her work (I so enjoy the energy in those mini masterpieces), but she sent me a link to another website which catalogued her other paintings and I got quite drawn in to it! Some of the pieces were so rich and full of life, the kind I would have loved to stumble across in a gallery and spend hours pondering over....and it was so nice to be talking to the artist who created them (you can find more here: http://// ...but anyway, I thought I'd show you some which stood out to me:

On the left is "Early Spring" and on the right is "3/30" from a series of 30 paintings done in 30 days. I just love the textures of the paint and the light qualities. They're a bit like the sorts of images I see in dreams. I don't know what else to say exactly but I don't suppose it really matters and I don't want to impose my interpretation onto anyone reading this.
Kris Haas also shared with me a quote which she said she keeps in her head at ALL times! I think it's important if you're the sort of person who has those uncontrollable creative urges, so I decided I would try and carry it around in my mind too:
Quote by Agnes DeMille to Martha Graham
"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."
See? I told you it would be one to remember!! I know I said this was a "memorable ending" but I sincerely hope it's not the end - I plan to stay in touch with all my new-found creative friends!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A Dream Deferred

My Uncle (Steve Spencer) wrote a book a few years ago on "Guyanese Identity and the Shadow of Colonialism". It was really exciting for the whole family as we were so proud to have a published writer among us but also because he dedicated it to my grand-parents (his parents-in-law -statistically I wonder how often that happens?) which was very touching. The subject of this book is incredibly important to my Grandfather and, by default, me too!

In the front of the book he posted a poem by Langston Hughes (the poem's title was also used for the name of the book). I think it's quite powerful - maybe you'll like it:


What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes 1902-1967

Well this should be the start of something....

I'm planning to catalogue little events and occurences which will catch your attention for more than a few seconds, which is more than enough these days. Enough to make you think or pause in a world which moves faster than the speed of light.

Everything comes and goes in an instant, a click of a button - which is shorter than a breath, a heartbeat or even a if you stay around for longer than any of the aformentioned, I'll feel glad about it.

Hello and welcome to this little snippet of my world.