Monday, July 26, 2010
Some of you may have noticed that I have spiritual symbolism in my jewelry. Alot of my designs are based in early Christian catacomb art. I decided to develop them as the tide of popular opinion has more and more turned anti-Christian, and also anti-Semitic, as a way of those of us who haven't caved to "world view" politics can identify ourselves. I think that most people would find them inspirational, and that is my hope, to draw people to faith and to a God who loves them very much.
I recently went to a Christians United For Israel Conference in Washington, DC, this past week. In addition to hearing Israeli, Jewish, and Christian political leaders speak on Israeli's right to defend themselves and of the growing antisemitism in this country and the world, the point was also driven home by my seeing the Holocaust Museum and within the conference itself, a stunning art exhibit, also titled The Holocaust Memorial, done by High School and young college students, from Word of Faith Fellowship in North Carolina. Please ck out the following link to see the gallery of art from it; it was all done from photographs meticulously painted or created into sculpture or models by these students:
I wondered why this school and it's students did such a labor of love, and found that it was because of 10 years of persecution of being labeled a cult, wrongfully accused by disgruntled members, and for standing up for Christ, to finally being vindicated in the courts, that helped them to identify with the persecution and death of 6 million Jews from WWII.
They serve as an example of how the Lord uses those who enter into the fellowship of His sufferings, to effect change that can be achieved by no other means except by the laying down of ones life. In Nazi Germany, a group of young college students also risked their life to tell their fellow German citizens of Hitlers murderous rampage against the Jewish people. Sophie and Hans Scholl were guillotined, along with their compatriots, for speaking out against evil. Their story is on this link: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/rose.html
I'm reminded alot by well meaning people, that everyone's "right" is relative, and that there is nothing that is really a sin, or wrong. For Sophie and myself, as well as the students from Word of Faith, that is a philosophy that is full of holes. We must have standards on which to base our morality, otherwise we will become like the Nazi's, a little more than a savage animal, with an unquenchable blood lust, particularly against those of faith. An excellent article by Christina Hoff Summers, says it all:
"For evil to prosper, let good men do nothing". That saying rings truer now than any other time in history. Whether it's for our country, or in politics, or even standing up for morality and ethics in our family, we, who profess Christ, are the litmus test for "whatever is good, lovely and pure". It is for "such a time as this" that we MUST stand firm, hold true, and declare boldly, we are Christs, and no others.
Fused and Carved Glass pendant symbolized an orante - a praising man in the midst of fire.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
This past Sunday, I was apart of a Portraiture class, taught by my dear friend Lauren Floden, at the Cooperative Gallery in Binghamton, NY. It was a wonderful class, which continues next Sunday, and I know will help me improve in drawing faces. In introducing ourselves, I mentioned that I learned fusing from Sasha Zhitneva by offering to help her with work in her studio, in exchange for lessons. Barbara Bernstein, a wonderful glass artist specializing in glass cast sculpture, asked me if I would help her in sanding and finishing an order of sculptures she needs to get out, in lieu of learning how to cast glass!!! Can we say, "heck, yeah!!!??" So hopefully, by the end of August sometime, I will spend a week with Barbara, working hard and learning a new technique which I can't wait to try and put my own spin to! I'm grateful, very grateful, for the opportunity - thank you Barbara, and many thanks to Papa God!!
Monday, July 12, 2010
I'm so excited!! I'm one of the Featured Artists of the Month on MyIndieJunction.com blog!! Please check out - http://indiejunction.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/indie-junction-featured-artisans-for-the-week-of-july-11th/
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
It wonderful how God directs people into your life. I mean, people who become like that cool, sweet, drink of water, you know? They are the ones that pour into you, and you walk away like you've been basking in a ray of sunshine in a clear, mountain spring!!
In my last post, I talked about Dr. Bill and Ellie Hurst, giving encouragement to women. This post is about being thankful for those friends, old, new, and re-newed, that recently have been such a blessing to me, in more ways than they will ever know. I'm not a loner. I don't feel proud that I've done alot of things by myself. I'm grateful that God has enabled me with His wisdom. "No man(or woman!) is an island unto themselves", the Word says. We aren't created to live life exclusionary of human interaction, good or bad. And it's from others, that God has shown me His profoundest wisdom.
This past weekend I met Bernice Craft, ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/DaleBCraft ; also ck out her blog: http://dalebcraft.blogspot.com/2010/06/glass4him.html ), who designs absolutely beautiful and stunning, beaded, wrapped, semi-precious, stone necklaces. We were both at Tabernacle of Faith's (Lord's Valley) craft show to raise money for their church building renovation. The weather was beautiful, and signs were everywhere, but few people came by.
That didn't stop myself and the other vendors from making the best of it, and we all bartered back and forth with each other, laughing and joking, and making new friendships! Bernice and I swapped necklaces; I swapped her my pendant above(in a very plain wire wrap!!) for her beautiful golden beaded and wire wrapped Picasso Marble pendant!( Will have to post pic soon!) She fell in love with my "Mountain Serenity" pendant, and asked me if I would be offended if she redid it. I said, heck no! I was actually tickled, as I knew she would do a beautiful job, and the evidence is above!!!
From Bernice, she connected me with MyIndieJunction.com ; a site for indie artists for support and networking! Alot of very helpful feedback! Not only that, but she offered to share her space in an upcoming craft show this weekend, and if my car can only get tires and oil change by then, I will be there! (Will keep you all posted!) Bernice, I love your sassy, adventurous spirit, and can't thank you enough for your encouragement, wise words, and help!
Next, is Lauren and Nana, pictured above at the Parker Diner(beautiful place overlooking the river!) in Binghamton, NY. I had a wonderful day before I met up with them, with Joyce Bebe on State Street, who runs a Stained Glass shop. She kindly showed me how to hand cut glass circles without a circle glass cutter!! I am eternally in her debt!! Then I met up with Lauren and Nana, who are like a mom and sister to me. Everyone should have a Lauren and a Nana, who you can run to for love, encouragement, and a good kick in the pants when you need it!
Finally, I would like to celebrate a renewed friendship, with JoAnn Grey, a friend that I lost touch with, but God brought us back together again. She has some pretty profound things to say, and is a fellow artisan in fabric and cloth, making unique and beautiful praise and worship garments! Her company, Love and Company, is on the web. I'm grateful for her passion for her Savior, as well as her gifted discernment. She gave me a beautiful book for these times that I highly recommend to everyone: Heaven Awaits the Bride by Anna Roundtree. Anna had 2 experiences where she was taken up into heaven and shares wonderful insights that the Lord gave her. As this is where I am going to be for eternity, I thirst to know more about it!
I only hope that I'm a blessing to all of them as they are to me....and in other posts, I will tell you of other wonderful women that have graced my life. Why? My point is this, no one can get through this life alone; it's more fun to share it, then to keep it to yourself! My prayer is that some of you will take that step to form circles of love, because it's in giving of yourself, that you find true happiness. True friends, love you at your worst, and reminds you of your best. Kinda reminds me of Christ, you know?
In May, I had the honor and pleasure of not only being a vendor, but also a prophetic artist, for a woman's conference with Dr. Bill and Ellie Hurst, that was organized by Cindy Noonan and others. It was held at the Radisson Hotel in Clark Summit, and they all did a marvelous job, particularly the teaching by Dr. Bill and Ellie on how women are empowered and elevated by Jesus, was very encouraging and inspiring, something all of us there badly needed.
The painting on the right was one of my first of four paintings that I did there, and it's my favorite. The past seven years has truly been a time in the furnace for me. Anything that I held dear or was precious has been reduced to ashes in the fire. I've become a "dead woman walking". I think few see it. On the outside, I seem fine. But inside, I've let go of this world. There's nothing that really holds me here anymore. And with that realization comes a freedom. A freedom in finally accepting myself, and knowing completely that He loves me regardless of whatever variables are otherwise in my life! In a time when nothing is certain, not the economy, not relationships, or freedoms, this one thing I know.....
That I will dance on those ashes in this life. And He will dance along side of me. I will defy the powers that be who have tried all my life to crush my spirit, and destroy my soul. They could not prevail, because He has held me in His hand. And that joy coming from that dance, that praise to Him alone who is my King, will crack open the darkness, with His precious blood, creating light again to that which once was so dark. And that is my dream now, my only hope.
And it's all I really need.......
Thursday, April 29, 2010
During this whole time of "becoming" His artist, it has been a time of much joy, and much anguish. Other artists will relate to the tug-of-war that grips your soul as you fight to become your destiny, despite loved ones and the world's, expectations of who they think you should be. And all the while wondering, somewhat floundering at times in faith, if God has really called you to be this thing, an artist.
When Jacob was directed by his father to go and find a wife to the house of Bethuel, a near relation, he spent the night in Bethel on his way there. It was the night before his destiny, the night before the blessing became reality. With a rock for his pillow, and the cold earth under him, I can imagine him looking up at the stars, and saying to God, " Do you really want me? Was I wrong to take that blessing? Who really, am I , God?" The brazen young con man, when faced with the reality of his actions, suddenly wondered what he had gotten himself into and was he really man for the job. He closed his eyes and dreamed. He saw a stairway from the ground to the heavens with angels going up and down it, and the Lord was standing there beside him, saying to him, that He will give him and his offspring the very land he was sleeping on, that his offspring would be like the dust of the earth, too numerous to count, they would be spread over all the earth, and the people of the earth would be blessed through him and his offspring!! Not only that, but the Lord tells him He would be with him and watch over him wherever he went, and He wouldn't leave him until He would do all that he promised Jacob.
Jacob, awestruck, awoke and calls the place, Bethel, or house of God. He makes a marker there, and makes a vow: That if God will be with him, and watch over him on this journey, and if He gives him food to eat and clothing to wear, and if he returns safely to his father's house, then the Lord would be his God, and he will give God a tenth of all He gives him.
We fledgling artists, are much like Jacob, and are in the time of the night before our destiny, at the cusp of our change, feeling alone, uncertain, and wondering, like Jacob, will God provide? Will He carry us through this? Like Jacob, we say well, IF He does this, and IF He does that, THEN I will honor Him with my devotion and my tithe. Until then, God, you are on notice with me...is that what we're saying?
If Jacob had only said, God WILL provide, He WILL give me food to eat and clothing to wear, I WILL return safely to my fathers house, and God IS my God, and I will give Him a tenth of all I have, maybe he won't have had to work so long and hard at Laban's.
Times are tough, and the fatted cows are getting lean, still, who is my Provider? If I look to the Labans of this world for the fulfillment of my destiny and calling, I will be a slave to the Labans of this world, for alot longer than I ever wanted. So I call those things into being that are not, and I rest in knowing I am in His perfect will. I make a marker in this place, of recycled plate glass, having no money to buy the glass I want, I use what He has provided. I fuse the pattern of steps going upward and downward, I carve feathers for angels out of glass that was given to me, fuse them and carve again, fire them again, carve their shadow on the stairs. This studio, is my Bethel, and He is here, and I knew it not. Selah.
Jacob's Ladder pictured above, I recently completed after 2 months of hard work. It is priced at $500.
Friday, April 16, 2010
I have had a little antique plaque for years, probably done in the 1920's, that simply says "Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery; today is THE DAY --LET'S GO!!" I loved it, but to be honest, I haven't lived it.
Until yesterday. For some reason, I finally got the revelation, that meditating, dwelling, remembering the past, will keep me in the past. If I keep those sorrows, regrets, mourning's, ever present, I will be defined by them.
In Christ, I am much more than my past. With Christ, I can live in the now, unburdened, and unchained. Living for today, I am remembering that THIS is the day the Lord has made, a day not made for sorrows past, but a day reflecting on His hope for our future!
I am not my past - Christ has redeemed me from EVERY curse spoken against me, and daily, I am being conformed into His image, not the worldview of me. And I know the more He transforms me into His image, the more I will be hated by some, but I will also be loved by even more.
I will arise, once broken, now transformed, fused together by the fire of His love, not a vessel of dishonor, but of honor; not by any works of mine, no, only He makes me worthy, His love for me that no man, government, demon, can take or shake.
He is My Christ, He is My King only. And when He threw me into that fire He fashioned something more beautiful than I could ever imagine.
In the fire, what satan bound me with, was burned off of me.
In the fire, the coverings of shame, were burned off my body.
In the fire, every accusation, curse, condemnation that satan threw at me, was burned up, destroyed, and made no more.
In the fire, He was there with me, and He was enough.
To all who are going through a season of brokenness, the fire of discouragement, I can testify that He IS with you, and He is enough.....
Sunday, April 11, 2010
On April 11, 1981, I gave birth to Alana, my first born.....but she never saw me or her dad, because hers was a birthday back into heaven. The unthinkable happened on a beautiful, spring day. When all of life was coming back and blooming, life, that I had longed to hold and see, was denied. When I left to go to the hospital, I left behind a nursery full of circus themed nursery decorations, that I had lovingly made for her arrival. When I came back, there was nothing but an empty room. My husband and family had put away all the decorations, thinking it would be too painful for me to see; instead, the emptiness of that room was more than I could bear.
Her life was cut short by doctor negligence. The umbilical cord had wrapped around her neck, and though there were signs of distress, the doctors and nurse chose to ignore it, despite my cry's of alarm --"You first time mothers think you know it all!", the nurse said. But every Mother knows when her child is in trouble. And so, as my husband prayed for her resurrection that never came, I held her beautiful, still, body in my arms, and looked at the beautiful eyes that couldn't see us, the beginning of curls on her head, her aquiline nose, and lovely mouth....
One day, I will see her again. Until then, she is safe in Jesus's arms. I can't forget her, though it's taboo to talk about a dead child, I don't care. "Stillborn" doesn't negate the beauty that didn't have a chance to be. Somehow, that term has the connotation that maybe that life didn't count; she wasn't, in essence, born, if she wasn't born alive. She was real, though, not a dream, though there are very few days that I don't think of her. I don't tell anyone. They would think it "morbid". I have news for the world. Alana's life was precious, and for that matter, so is ALL life.
Time passes, and another spring comes. This time, there is joy; this time, another doctor doesn't take any chances. It is a tricky delivery, but in the end, my beautiful Shoshana was born. I am so ecstatic, that I can't sleep for a day...I am forever at the nursery window, totally awed at the most beautiful baby....
Time passes, and more springs....and that beautiful daughter has grown distant....the tears I cry for her are no different from the ones cried for her sister...but still the same hope; that Jesus is holding her in His arms, and one day, He will give both of them back to me.
My piece, "Tears for My Daughters" was created on a glass canvas of broken shards of glass on the right that transitions to more solid pieces, that illustrates the brokenness of my life and the process of healing. Various shapes were cut and fused on top, and then illustrated with translucent glass paints. For all mothers with broken hearts, He is our Peace.....
Friday, April 9, 2010
Sunday was a beautiful, clear day top of our friend Cord's hill. He had erected 3 very large crosses using large telephone poles on top of his hill on his farm. We knew the weather was going to be nice, so we decided to have it there. Cord is undergoing chemo right now, and he was really weak this past week. So Beth, his wife, shelpped the chairs on the golf cart up the hill. My friend Lauren, was there with her harp, and her husband Nils. Barb came and did a wonderful job of worship, and my husband, Dennis gave a great message. There is something so inspiring when you are on a hill overlooking beautiful, rolling farmland, with the wind gently blowing, and hitting the strings of the harp, in an aeolian mode....(you have to hear it to believe it!! - It's out of this world!)
I looked at our wonderful "family" and could see the power of His resurrection in each of our lives; Cord and family, getting through his illness, with an overcoming spirit, Irmie and Ralph, serving and loving each other through a major stroke, and back problems, Barb, Bailey and Tom - who constantly keep me in awe with their faith walk through every major illness, family crisis, and "mountain" that the enemy tries to throw at them. Lauren and Nils, my models who mentored for me the life of His grace in all the trials they have gone through, with children, and most recently, Nils bout with cancer.
And then there's myself and Dennis whom He has brought out of ashes into truly a "new song".....
Thank you, my dear Savior, thank you, for healing THIS heart.....
Friday, April 2, 2010
It was a glorious day today, sun shinning, temperature 74 degrees. I was running around getting things for Sunday's dinner, not as mindful as I should have been on this day, the day of our Lord's suffering...so know, when the business of the day has settled, I'd like to give a moment and meditate on one thing: how when Pilate asked Him what He had to say for Himself, He said nothing. In that moment of betrayal, with His accusers shouting for His death, He didn't defend, justify, or prove to anyone who He was. He could have, but He didn't. He had already done that, and there was nothing more to be said.
The times ahead of us are fraught with danger, persecution. Have we lived our life to the point that when we are to stand before our accusers charging us with "intolerance", and other "crimes", we can stand silent, knowing we have lived a life for Christ where nothing more needs to be said?
Lord, give me the grace to get to that point.
In creating my Blue Ice Recycled Glass Heart necklace, I was inspired how beautiful broken shards can become when put into a fiery furnace. Just like His love for all of us, He will transform the brokenness of our lives, as a beautiful adornment for His glory!
Bless you all, and Happy Resurrection Day!
Monday, March 29, 2010
I'm so excited about a recent breakthrough I had over the winter.
I was so cold in my basement studio, as it didn't have any heat, and my light is poor also down there. My dear friend Lauren, offered to share her space, so for about 2 months, I hauled my equipment up there and was working at sculpture and jewelry in her beautiful studio, an upstairs of a barn.
One thing I discovered, was how wonderful it is to work together with a fellow artist who also is a mentor. It was so great to have feedback, and a word of encouragement; boy, was that motivating! Not all artists are meant to be alone, and I've found I need fellowship.
That said, it was exhausting going back and forth an hour each way. Sometimes I stayed up there two or three days, depending on what I needed to get done, and of course, missed my hubby and doggies! So, I was daydreaming one day, and praying, asking the Lord how could I fix my studio space so I could work here without being cold and depressed in a dark space. I was staring at an old armoir in our study that was filled with books. Opening it up, I looked inside, and a light bulb went on -- could this possibly fit my saw and grinding equipment? I measured quickly, and found, EUREKA!, it did!!! After one full solid day, of reorganizing our very disorganized study, cleaning, bringing up another desk, and storage cabinet, I was able to organize a cutting/grinding station in the armoir, a glass cutting station next to that, and on the opposite wall, my jewelry making station! What so great, is that I can relax on the couch, look through my books for ideas, go on the computer(not shown) and watch tv and listen to music!! The only thing that's missing is my friend Lauren....so to balance this new life out, I made a promise to myself, to make time for a "retreat" every couple of weeks, to see her, and also, to get involved with other artists locally. This woman can't be an island unto her self....because it's my friends that inspire me, and push me to a higher level because they see what I'm capable of, more than myself!! We truly need each other, and I wouldn't have thought outside the box, if it hadn't been for Lauren showing me by her example how she turned an old barn loft into a knock out of a studio! It got me to thinking, how can I use what I have? We sometimes do have all we need, it just has to be rearranged and re-invented a bit!