Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Night Drum Circle...

Every Friday night, locals and tourists alike gather in the downtown square in Asheville for the weekly drum circle. It's an interesting cross-section of people. Definitely an interesting place to people watch. My one suggestion: A little less patchouli please.

Left: Azalea and her friend Nathea were inseparable. You can't see it in the picture, but their hands are firmly locked. Azalea usually likes to dance, but she was not feeling it tonight. She kept pulling her little friend over to sit on the side with her on the rocks.

Right: Sheila was dancing with the littlest of the bunch, Nathea's little sister Cassie. That little girl wasn't afraid to dance at all. As pictured, she was shaking a maraca. Tomorrow is Azalea's birthday party, so it promises to be an exciting time. My parents are also coming tonight. So, it'll be a little crazy around here with all the festivities.


Cynthia made her famous slow-cooked beef with buttered egg noddles for dinner and it was DELICIOUS! When I'm away, I dream about this dish. It is the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy. For the girls, we made macaroni and cheese.

Busy Day...

It's been a whirlwind of creativity and activity here! We're working on an oracle deck, making fine silver chain, and making resin pieces. Azalea has had some friends over. Tony and Lisa of Zoa Art brought their grand-babies over to play. SO CUTE!

Breakfast of Champions...

We started the day off right with a scrambled egg sandwich with caramelized onions, smoked ham and yellow cheddar and American cheeses on a toasted sesame bun. It was just perfect with a cup of hot saffron milk and my Baby singing a song.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wig Break...

Just to break things up during class-time, Cynthia brought out her Wig Box. Cynthia, Lisa, and Azalea were having fun trying different hair colors and lengths. It was a good time and very funny trying out new looks! Azalea looked especially cute with the long blonde wig. She looked like a little fallen star. SUPER CUTE! (See what kind of crazy fun we get up to!)

PMC Class with Lisa...

Today our friend Lisa Blackwell of Zoa Art came by to show me how to make PMC chain. She's a really great teacher. I suggest that anyone who hasn't taken a class with her do so. She is very thorough and very patience, always answering pertinent questions and full of inspiration. I am so happy with my newly acquired technique.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Biscuits and Gravy...

One of the perks of being here is all the good home-cooking. It has been really nice to make food and bring it out to be enjoyed around the table. For instance, the other morning Sheila made biscuits and sawmill gravy. What a way to start the day!

Right: Here is a picture of my plate of eats. Crumbled up buttery biscuits with sausage white gravy poured on top.
It keeps our energy up for our mountain of projects. We have been very busy making things and planning out ideas.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Azalea's Birthday in Greenville...

Today was Azalea's birthday! We went down to one of her favorite places to celebrate. The ZOO! (We're having another party on Saturday when my parents and all her playmates can come as well.) The zoo that we went to was in Greenville, South Carolina. It's about an hour and a half south of Asheville. For some reason, Greenville always seems to be about 20 degrees hotter than wherever I just came from (I usually fly into the airport there).

Left: Here is a picture of Azalea and I in front of the elephants at the zoo. The zoo is actually a really nice one. And it's just small enough for her to run around without getting too exhausted. In front of the zoo there is also a really HUGE playground. Makes me wish that they had these when I was a kid.

Right: Greg, Sheila, Azalea, and I on top of the bronze bear at the zoo. (Cynthia was taking the picture.) When we were about to leave, Azalea ran back, gave the bear a kiss on the muzzle and said, "I'll see you later."

Left: One of my favorite animals at the zoo that we saw were the red panda bears. They were so cute! They reminded me of our cats. I was going to take a picture of the Great Horned Owl, but we were on our way out and Azalea was excited to get into that playground.

Right: Azalea sitting next to Stuart Little at Chuck E. Cheese Pizza. She's becoming such a big girl! She buckled herself in and put the token in the ride all by herself. She was having so much fun!

Left: Azalea with the presents that I got her from the toy stores. She loves Playmobil sets and I can't blame her. They're so meticulous and detailed. Here is a picture of Azalea sitting on the table next to Cynthia unpacking the Playmobil sets.

Elizabeth Murray...

I just found out that the artist Elizabeth Murray died earlier this month. It is a strange thing, when one of your icons dies and only much later does the news trickle back to you.
Left: "Her Story" by Elizabeth Murray. Oil on "irregular-shaped" canvases.

When I was deciding to pursue a career in the visual arts, I saw a movie called, Art City: Making it in Manhattan. It was an interview style documentary with several different critics and artists at the time and their stories about the art world. One of the artists interviewed was Elizabeth Murray.

When I finally made it to New York, I set out to meet all the artists in the movie. Most of them I have, Elizabeth Murray included. I was so moved by her art and what she has contributed. When I met her, I didn't know what to say. Instead I smiled and she smiled back.

And she asked, "What artists are you looking at..."

Monday, August 27, 2007


Above: Baby One playing her guitar and singing me a song about the boy who went outside in the dark and got killed by the vampires and the sasquatch.
I still haven't found my keys yet. Eventually I just had to leave to go to the airport. I was going to take the M60 out to La Guardia, but had to take a car service instead since I waited till the last minute to leave still looking for my keys.
I flew into Tri-City, which is about an hour and a half north of Asheville. We drove through the mountains with the windows down and the cool breeze swirling about. It was so nice to absorb some of the greenery and notice that the leaves on the trees are dark green and starting to brown a bit and turn ever so slightly golden. All of the pressures back in New York seemed to melt away in the sunshine.
When we finally got to the house, I hugged that Baby so hard! She told me about how much she loved me and missed me. I've missed her too! We saw Sheila off for work, then made some tea and talked for a spell. Tony Blackwell of Zoa Art swung by and we set off to go to some music instrument stores. Afterwards we went to the Paris Bakery for lunch and picked up some chocolates at the Chocolate Fetish. We picked out a few pistachio and basil flavoured truffles and some chai flavoured ones as well. Then Cynthia and I started the daunting task of organizing her bead collections. It's a lot of fun though and Baby One helps. After dinner, we looked at the Penzeys Spice catalogue.
It's been a long day for me. No sleep. But it has been a good day. We've been having so much fun that I've forgotten to take as many pictures as I would like. Maybe tomorrow when we go to the zoo. It's bed-time for now!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I am leaving late tonight to go to Asheville and still yet have many errands to run. After I got out of work, it was a mad dash around Manhattan to finish up some last minute things. First, I dropped by Canal Street in Chinatown to pick up some presents for the family. Then I made my way up to SoHo.

Cynthia and I are both addicted to Rice to Riches. They make the most heavenly flavors of rice pudding. I was once skeptical, until I put the velvety yumminess in my mouth. So, I stopped in their location in SoHo for when I go down. While I was there, I discovered that a Pinkberry opened up. Although the summer-time line was ridiculously long, I braved it for excellent frozen yogurt! It was great!

While I was in SoHo, I dropped by the Young Designers' Market on Mulberry Street. Lots of interesting artisan goods there. I was surprised that it wasn't very crowded. It used to be packed every time I used to go.

A certain young girl's birthday is coming up! So, I had to go up to Mid-town to go to the Toys 'R Us and the FAO Schwarz. I think she will be happy with her small dragon's horde of gifts.

I can't wait to get down there. Now, if only I could find my keys. I'm having a bit of a panic attack, because I can't find them. I am absolutely positive that they are in the apartment. I didn't leave after I got home, but I just can't find them and I've looked everywhere. Flipped mattresses, went through grabage, through laundry and pockets! Perhaps it's because I am tired and still have to pack that I'm freaking out. I could have sworn that I put them next to the toaster oven with my iPod when I came in, but I can't find them! I also can't run out and do some last minute things like buy wrapping paper or drop off my monthly Metrocard to Liz. I told her that since I already started it, I would let her borrow mine while I was out of town. Now I feel like a jerk, because I can't leave without being locked out. Alas... I hope I find them before I leave for Asheville in a few hours.

Beer Garden...

Having worked so hard, I decided to reward myself by hanging out with Brian Mills. I ventured out to Astoria to go to a party at the Beer Garden. It was packed with hundreds in various stages of drunkenness. I wasn't feeling it and went home for a hot bath instead.

Far Above: View from the N train platform of the Tri-Borough Bridge in Queens.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Commission Piece...

For the past couple of days I've been trying to finish up some commission pieces before I went on vacation (among other things). Here is one of my simple and what I like to think of as elegant designs that is fast becoming a signature piece for me. Though in this one, I used blue vintage German glass and a sterling silver rose that says, "beauty" on the back. The rose is from my family at Green Girl Studios.

RAINN Benefit in Asheville...

If you're in Asheville this Sunday, you should check out the RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) Benefit at the Grey Eagle. (I unfortunately missed the one here in New York.) It's this Sunday, August 26th at 6PM. The cover is $8 and goes towards this very important group and worthy cause. Performances by Kellin Watson, Kyler England, Amy Cook, Mieka Pauley, Jim Bianco, Gary Jules, and Brianna Lane.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Four Eyed Monsters...

Jen Tong and I were supposed to go to the Bushwick Film Festival. Unfortunately, between my deadlines and her train delays we were running on the late side. So, instead we watched the feature film, Four Eyed Monsters via their MySpace page. I quite liked it. The dark humor was right up my alley and I really connected with the New York-ness of it. I definitely recommend it and sign up for, by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I've been busy as a bee trying to get some projects done before my vacation. I've had my nose to the grindstone lately and am wearing myself a little thin. But, I know that it'll all pay off in the end. (I'll update my blog with all the latest projects as soon as they're all wrapped up.) When I get back from Asheville and finish the show out on Long Island, I think I'm going to have to pick up a part-time job or find a new day-job altogether. I've got some really great ideas and dreams and won't be able to do it on the shoe-string budget that I currently am on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The African Traders...

Needed some Nag Champa and stopped in this store on my way home. They sold various goods from Africa, including incense, statues, metalwork, and BEADS! They were pretty much giving away these lampwork ones - so, I couldn't refuse.

For Adrian...

One of my very favorite customers got promoted at work and is being transferred to a different location. This means I won't get to see her anymore! Adrian is often times the little bit of sunshine that helps me get through the day. So, I made her a quick little necklace (to say farewell and reminder of our friendship), not too dissimilar to the one I made Riva for her going away present. This one is slightly longer with faceted moonstones and a different sterling heart also by Candice Wakumoto. I love Candice's work. She'll be coming to New York from Hawii in October for The Whole Bead Show.

Bushwick Film Festival 2007...

Over three days, 15 films will be screened in the Bushwick Film Festival. Bushwick is a vibrant, emerging neighborhood in Brooklyn. Film selections reflect not only the diversity of the Festival Committee, but the community-at-large.

Below is the calendar of events that lists venue locations, show-times, and pricing information. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Swarovski Thailand Piece...

This entry should be (for maximum truthfulness) called, "My Sparkling New Ideas Create Your Style with Crystalized - Swarovski Elements Thailand Competition Piece That Never Was..." but it was a bit of a mouthful and too long for a blog title. That, and it was eventually completed (just never sent in to compete). I didn't want to spend all that time working on it, just to shelve it somewhere without anyone ever seeing it. So here it is, in all it's sparkly glory:

While working on my "Urban Jewelry" book, I created a wire-wrap pattern that I wanted to utilize and expound in this necklace. I was originally inspired by chain-link fencing. In my competition piece, I wanted to create a fun, funky, and hip asymmetrical slightly-chaotic stunner that would layer the "fence" motif.

I used a combination of various shapes and colors of Swarovski crystals to achieve the final product. It incorporates a range of bicones, rounds, and rondelles in different sizes. The composition is primarily made-up of siam colored crystals, with sassy fuchsia accents and a blend of tanzanite and white opal colored crystals to compliment the silver wire work. All of the crystals and wires come from Fusion Beads. Going along with the Thai theme, I used a sterling silver clasp by Saki Silver.

I couldn't find a model this early in the morning before work, so I put it on for the picture to give a feel for it being worn. I don't think I did it justice! Ha. Although it looks fairly jumbled together, it was highly premeditated and hopefully comes across as a confident and artistically designed piece. Perhaps I'll save it for next year's competition...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Tools of the Craft...

'wichcraft and La Colombe will host an "art, food, fundraising event" entitled, The Tools of the Craft. This event (with 25% of art sales going to The Pat Hearn and Colin de Land Cancer Foundation) will feature the paintings of Steve Ellis.

Opening night is September 6th, 2007 from 6PM to 10PM at 629 West 27th Street (between 11th and 12th Avenue), NYC.

Above Left: Studio view of two Steve Ellis paintings from his recent body of work.

Illustration Friday: Captain...

His men had taken to calling him "Old Man Neptune" behind his back. He did not mind this. Season after season, the salt, sea, and sun had etched their lines upon his face. His mop of hair smelled briny and looked like a wounded seagull; his slicker had become a second skin. One eye stared out across the placid, glassy surface of the ocean expanse. The other was fixed upon the ever-churning depths of his dark Mistress. The Captain thought how the crew's nick-name fit him, even better than his own.

I haven't done an Illustration Friday piece in a while now. I really wanted to get back in the swing of things. This is my submission for the theme, "Captain." It's a pretty quick one, done in various layers of mixed media. After I read the theme, a little narrative formed in my head (posted above) and that is what I drew my primary inspiration from.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Readying...

I am getting ready for the bead show out on Long Island in the beginning of September. I've been working extra hard on some new (special) beads and will hopefully have a stash of nice surprises after my trip to Asheville! So, in addition to the great fine pewter and sterling silver that my family at Green Girl Studios makes, there will be some extra goodies. Perhaps a prize or two for a few lucky customers!

Here are the details for the (one-day-only) show:

Long Island Bead Festival
Sunday, September 9th 2007
10 AM to 5 PM
Marriott Islandia, 3635 Express Drive North
Islandia, Long Island, NY 11749
(Exit 58 off Long Island Expressway/ I-495)

Naho Taruishi and Ava Luna...

Naho Taruishi (an amazing video artist and good friend) will be showing a few video pieces she did for a Brooklyn-based band called Ava Luna at MonkeyTown on September 14th. They'll be celebrating their debut album, Lemming with a multi-media extravaganza! Please join, it should be a stellar time!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Jean Yates, amid her very happy tidings and busy schedule sent over a little encouraging note to lift my spirits and promote me towards universal oneness. She sent an Altarcito Greeting Card devoted to Beauty. I just got it today, as I am a bit delinquent in checking my postal box. It comes at a perfect and much needed time.

Photo by Brian Mills...

Brian Mills sent me this photo he took of me outside P.S.1 with his camera phone. I think that I was either emptying the gravel out of one of my shoes, or I was kneeling down after dancing to check my messages on the curb in true hobo fashion. I quite like it.

After-hours with Jen...

After saying farewell to Brian Mills and Chris at P.S.1's Warm Up, I met up with the lovely Jen Tong. Due to conflicting schedules, we haven't been able to hang out much. So, it was especially nice to see her. Jen Tong was recently featured on the Proimos Management blog. "So good she'll make you sick."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Summer Warm Up...

Unfortunately, I could not make it down to Pennsylvania to celebrate Margot Potter's birthday as I had originally planned for today. However, I had a wonderful time hanging out with my buddies Brian Mills and Chris in Queens. We attended the Warm Up at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City.

The weather was so nice - very sunny and clear, but not too hot. As we approached P.S.1, we were greeted with a festive vibe of music and colored canopies. Food trolleys had set up outside, which added to the festival feel.

As the light filtered through the giant tents, colored patterns shifted onto the crowd, the gravel, and the concrete walls adding to the giddy energy abound. While waiting in line for drinks, we also enjoyed one of the water sculptures that would dump troughs of water onto unsuspecting passersby.

As we got deeper into the fold, there were literally thousands of people all dancing and having a good time. It was quite crowded, but still lots of fun. Naturally we gravitated to the very center of the throng of people, pulsing with energy and an almost blind euphoria.

Right: A picture of Brian Mills and Chris near the much less crowded water sculpture area. I told Brian Mills that I wouldn't put a picture of him on my blog if he insisted on making faces in all the photos. Alas, I couldn't find any pictures of him where he wasn't.

Left: The most "serious" picture of Brian Mills and I. It has been so nice to reconnect with him. Before a week or so ago, it had been years since I saw him last. Brian Mills has ever been the character intent on seeing me have a good time and being happy.

Right: Reunions abound, I ran into Michael Crachiolo! I haven't seen him in years. It was a delightful surprise. Apparently he's my neighbor and is going forward with the NYC Teaching Fellows position. He'll be teaching ESL. Unfortunately, I decided not to go forward with teaching special education. I also saw in the droves of people Harei and Emil from the studio program and a few other studio-mates.

The festivities went on into the evening. (I got elbowed in the head by Eric Duncan a.k.a. Rub n Tug. HA! I'm fine though.) Lots of dancing, music and fun. The Warm Up has such a great vibe and goes towards supporting a really great cause. These happen every Saturday, starting at 3 PM at P.S. 1 in Long Island City up until September 1st. Be sure to check it out.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Rain Trees...

Behind my apartment building, rain trees grow. I am familiar with them. One used to grow in our front yard back in Florida. It got struck by lightning and I remember us running out to see that it was on fire. Today has been a muggy and rainy day, not conducive for much activity at all.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ranjit Bhatnagar...

Picking up a copy of Edible Brooklyn, I recently discovered artist Ranjit Bhatnagar's Greenmarket images and fell in love. He takes his acquired goods and arranges them on a high resolution scanner. The results are remarkable! CLICK HERE for his website and CLICK HERE for his Flickr account.
Left: Produce Scan Picture by Ranjit Bhatnagar, featured on THIS German website.