Sunday, January 8, 2012


Happy New Year 2012. For about the last couple of weeks I have felt something lift in the air. A hopeful sense has filled the void. One war ended as far as our troops are concerned. Still other wars to remove ourselves from, but experience has taught me to take joy in small increments of change, and then fuss about all that is still to be done. Lasting change usually happens in small steps. There are so many messes in the world I know, but here and there in our country I see progress moving in the right direction. Good change is in the air. Crazy to say that during an election year but I think a majority of our country wants this new atmosphere to continue and if President Obama and Mrs. Obama stay in the White House another four years I believe progress will continue. He isn't perfect, but who is. And he is a far cry better than the last administration, and I don't want more of that point of view. "Hope springs eternal," as someone said.

Bruce has retired from teaching and discovering, yes teaching was the center of his life, but it was not who he is as a person. Seems harder for men to get this message, than women. Our jobs are only one part of us, since we mother, wife, befriend, and are workers: roles changing many times in each and every day, so we are not stuck with one picture of ourselves! It is wonderful to watch Bruce come into his own. He has discovered a talent: just look around our home and meditation garden to see his creativity. We now call our place Spirit Hill Meditation Garden and Art Studio.

My total knee replacement was a success! I can walk without limping. Stairs are sometimes a challenge still, but with continued exercise, and stationary biking I am sure that will be remedied in no time. Scheduling the next knee in April, at least that is the plan. Want to go to Delia's graduation from San Francisco State in May with two good legs!

1st Saturday in Three Rivers was yesterday. More visitors than we've had in awhile dropped by. Bruce and I decided to invite people into the house first, offer refreshments, and then they look out the window to see our garden. He takes them on a tour, we return around the kitchen counter, nibbling on snacks, talking, getting to know one another. When I feel the time is right I invite them to see my studio. When they finally left, I watched them carry my art away. Wonderful day of getting to know neighbors, old friends who dropped by, and new people from all around Tulare County. This is our 3rd year of putting on 1st Saturday in Three Rivers.


My sister wants to see some of the latest masks. My first time back to clay was this past week since surgery and holidays. I haven't made any masks in months but I can show her what was done before surgery. The masks are hanging on my shed here on Spirit Hill, some in the studio too, and two art galleries in Three Rivers: Colors and The Art Co-Op. 

This first series of 7 masks were inspired by a video I saw on the internet about children from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia. They go to the river, dig up clay, add water, crush flowers for the different dyes, mix with the slip (liquid clay) and paint their faces and bodies. The gentleman who did the video took one picture after another, dozens of kids, each one more elaborate than the next. Not only did they paint, but they embellished, a vine twisted around the neck and body, a flower stuck in the hair. Some painted their whole bodies and face white and then painted on color. Some looked very serious, others laughed through the whole shooting of themselves. I drew many of them and then started playing with images in clay. I thought I'd do one or two, but I have done dozens and dozens of them, each one as different as the children who inspired them.
Omo Child 1: "Smiley"
Black Mountain Clay, glaze, ceramic buttons $50
SOLD Omo Child 2: "Flowers"
Black Mountain Clay, Glaze, Beads $50
Omo Child 3: "Dottie"
Coronado Clay, Glaze, Ceramic Buttons $50
SOLD Omo Child 4: "Vine"
Black Mountain Clay, Glaze, Ceramic Buttons $50
SOLD Omo Child 5: "Red Flowers"
Long Beach Clay, Glaze, Ceramic Buttons $50
Omo Child 6: "Strips"
Long Beach Clay, Glaze $50
SOLD Omo Child 7: "Curls"
Long Beach Clay, Glaze $50

My love of birds inspired this mask. I participate in Project Feeder Watch, Cornell University, counting the birds that come to my property November through April. They find themselves in much of my artwork.
"Owl Mask"
Black Mountain Clay, Glaze, Beads $50

Gabby Gifford was shot. The next Monday I had a ball of clay in my hands. Worry about her recovery, and the others who were wounded that day, filled me. This mask emerged that night. But very soon after my husband Bruce had a serious bicycle accident. There was much in the news about Gabby's recovery, brain trauma, not an easy injury to recover from. There was my husband, also recovering from brain trauma, not nearly as serious, but still, a process had to be gone through and both patients seemed to have the same determination, with lots of work ahead for them both. By the time I returned to clay and finished the mask, glazing and then bisque firing, reglazing and final firing, both were in my thoughts.
 SOLD "Gabby with Bruce in Mind"
Coronado Clay, Glaze, Scarabs $50