Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Empty Nest...

Earlier this morning/late last night, Sheila and Seth said their goodbyes and took their bags out the door and were whisked away by a taxi. Their destination, Thailand. Sheila will eventually make her way to Burma, where she will spend time in meditation at a Buddhist spiritual retreat.

Due to a long day, I went promptly to bed to salvage what little was left of the night.

I woke up a few short hours later. The day rolled by; I met with one of my professors and worked in the studio. I have a couple of big papers due, so I decided to go home a little earlier than usual. My thoughts were focused on the likes of James and the Giant Peach, The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, and The Bell Jar.

When I entered the building, I checked the mail. That's when I saw the mailbox and our names on it. It hit me that I no longer lived with my sister. It made me miss Sheila something fierce.

I climbed the stairs, processing my thoughts. Even though I have lived here alone before for years and I have survived the torrents of New York, I think in some small way I came to depend on her a little. It's funny that I should say that, especially since we saw so little of each other, but I think that just having someone to come home to that was blood made things easier. Past demons didn't seem so threatening.

I sat inside what used to be her room. I didn't have too much time, as my papers needed to be urgently written, but I took a few moments to think on the few months that we shared in our apartment. We used to joke around about being poor and being skinny. I would sometimes introduce her as my twin. Sometimes we would go on field-trips or watch slideshows of Baby One. I could not have asked for a better roommate. And now the nest is empty - waiting to be filled.

Thanksgiving Highlights...

Thanksgiving in Asheville was great fun. It was a wonderful opportunity to see my family and catch up. Since we're all spread out, it makes it difficult to see one another, but when we do, we try to make the most of it.

Here are some image highlights from the trip:

Sassy Baby One with a slice of watermelon from her wooden kitchen and cooking set.

Sheila and Baby One laughing on the bed as mom tickle's Baby One's foot, with Robee.

Baby One and I posing for the camera.

Baby One giving Sheila a big hug! She liked to rub Sheila and my head since we were pretty much bald and meowed for her like cats.

Baby One having lots of excitement and holiday cheer as she finishes playing the harmonica to a room full of cheering fans. She's quite talented.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Trip South...

For the past couple of weeks, we've been getting ready for our trip down to North Carolina for Thanksgiving. Needless to say, both Sheila and I were swamped. I didn't even have time to update my blog.

Here are pictures that document our trip from New York to North Carolina.

Our trip began by leaving Brooklyn and crossing over the Williamsburg Bridge, where we found ourselves in a traffic jam in Chinatown.

Maybe part of the reason why it took so long, were due to all the police cars zipping in and around other people's cars and getting stuck in gridlock.

We saw the "Special Bus" which IS actually short. Who knew?

Welcome to New Jersey.

Down the road... again.

Here we are, rounding about over the North Carolina state line.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Voices in Wartime...

Normally on Thursday evenings, I have my Abnormal Psychology class. However, my professor felt that after we watched a short video on Freud, we might want to swing over to the main building to be apart of the audience of a symposium called, Voices of War: The Artist's Perspective.

Here is what the press release had to say:
To consider the Artist's perspective on war, a distinguished panel of SVA Alumni and current students with military service during the Iraq war/era will share their experiences, insights and observations regarding this controversial adventure. Participants will also discuss the art they have created as a consequence of their service. Come listen and learn from those who know war best.

Our class trekked through the rain, but we eventually got to the crowded and hot secondary lecture room usually reserved for film students.

I'm not sure if I would have gone to the lecture had we not went as a class. Apparently we're supposed to study post-traumatic stress syndrome next week and it was supposed to be of interest as a possible paper topic.

I usually try to steer clear of political subjects. Mainly because there is so much conflict that usually arises and I've already had my fair share of political nastiness. It's true that you might catch me glancing through various political articles to keep some what abreast of what is happening in our nation or across the globe, but it is not a priority of mine.

The symposium, I thought was flat. Of course I had to leave a little early and missed the Q & A session, but I felt that some of the speakers should have prepared better and that many of the speakers were simply not engaging.

Petty Officer Brian Neilson, whom I'm apparently graduating with, read a prepared speech. For some reason, I got a flashback of high school with the selected senior speakers. It was both awkward and sounded as though it were written as a homework assignment for an English class. I also thought that his work was of fairly banal quality. I guess I'm tired of seeing back-lit photographs of photographer's significant others standing in front of windows. Or of silhouettes of army men. I think the job of a graphic designer and photographer is to push the boundaries of what has been already done and engage the viewer and entice them.

Petty Officier Richard Hayden didn't show up.

Corporal James Martin sort of just went up there and talked about how he got drunk a lot and how Iraq was "boring" and how he'd go to war again, not knowing why, just "to die for someone else with kids, maybe." He didn't even show examples of his work. I thought the basis of the symposium was to show artists who've gone to war who've developed work as a result of their personal experiences.

Major Peter Buotte (who did the piece featured above) was actually a pretty decent speaker. I imagine that it's because he's well-educated, a translator and organizer of various international projects. He also had a pretty interesting slideshow of his works in Iraq as a rebuilder of schools and social programs. I think it was more engaging because the magnitude of what he worked on was on a larger scale. It wasn't simply, "They fired guns at us." It was about effecting positive change in a war-torn country and making it last.

I don't love his work, but I definitely respect where it comes from and has developed from an art historical view. It also is a little bit smarter than some of the work we've looked at. Martin's work, I think was too cut and dry and almost propagandist. Buotte's work dealt with a lot of different conflicting emotions and ideas, about power, struggle and the ways in which we mourn.

I will have to ask some of my classmates who stayed what they thought of the rest of the symposium. I had to leave just as Buotte was finishing up.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gallery Hop...

Laura Belkin is visiting from D.C. for a school presented by MICA. I thought that it might be nice to take them to some gallery openings while they were in town. She, her friend Virginia and I went around to various openings in Chelsea.

Jason Brooks is currently showing at Stellan Holm gallery. The opening was crowded with young, punkish, hipster types sipping Red Stripes. The pieces on view are photo realistic paintings and drawings of tattooed figures.

The Luo Brothers are showing at Sara Meltzer gallery. The opening was full of children running around and servers passing out tasty little bits of egg rolls and rice balls. The work up is very slick in a very manufactured sort of way. I guess it's meant to parellel or copy the clean, sleekness of contemporary marketing and advertising of capitalist-Western-consumerist businesses.

Ellsworth Kelly had several openings through the Matthew Marks galleries. His clean, geometric shaped canvases hung monolithic amongst the sparse groupings of people, often times swallowed up by the expansive spaces.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Video Intimacy 2...

The Center for Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY presented the next installment of their Intimacy and Aesthetics: Video Artists in Conversation series. The guest conversationalists were Tony Ousler and Constance DeJong.

Even though the weather was again rainy and pretty nasty, the turn out was much better. I think that they did more publicity for the event and that Constance DeJong is a professor in the graduate program at Hunter College and required her students to attend. Also, Tony Ousler is a fairly big name nowadays, especially after his show at the Met.

I found that this conversation was a bit lacking. Even though it was established that Tony and Constance knew and worked with each other quite a bit, it seemed like they were on completely different pages. The organization of their conversation was very hard to follow and it didn't seem as though they built upon each other's ideas. Constance constantly seemed to be cutting Tony off and interjecting her own thoughts as a final that's that. Some may have seen it as being "cute" or like an old married couple, but I didn't find it "cute" at all.

The only other thing that really bothered me was that it was very difficult to hear them at times. They should have definitely have checked out the sound equipment before the people all arrived.

I do hope that they continue with these lecture/conversation series.

I also caught the tail-end of the talk with Chuck Close at the Barnes and Noble on the corner of 21st Street and 6th Avenue on my way back to the studio. By the time I got there though, they had pretty much finished up with what they had to say and had moved on to signing books.

Flight of the Raven King...

A few months ago, I had started to listen to a book on tape called, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. One of the characters mentioned in the book is a figure called the Raven King. Apparently he was one of the strongest and most powerful magicians in England. Another of the characters, Vinculus, mentions a prophecy about how there is a language written in the barren branches on the trees and that no one will be able to read it. When I took this photo of the raven outside our window, I thought instantly of this story.

Ravens symbolize many things in different cultures. Native American tradition honors the raven as a symbol of courage and of magical guidance. The Arab culture calls the raven Abu Zajir which means "Father of Omens." They are seen as oracular birds, used in divination. They are seen as symbols of death, life, the sun, magic, shapeshifting, and tricksters. Their symbology is rich and diverse and provided a wealth of information that helped inspire this necklace.


1 Sterling Silver Toggle
59 Thai silver 4 - 6mm irregularly shaped spacers
30 Volcanic Stone Rondelles
6 Faceted Dark rutilated quartz
10 Gold Crimps
56 Silver 2mm cornerless cubes
1 Metal 3" twig pendant
1 20 X 25mm speckled riverstone
1 Faceted Dark rutilated quartz briolette
1 ceramic focal bead
1 small rectangular ceramic pendant
Beading wire
Sterling Silver and Copper Wire

Wire cutters
Crimping pliers
Round-nose pliers
Chain-nose pliers

Step 1: Cut 24" medium beading wire, attaching one end to the clasp with 2 crimp tubes.
Step 2: String 3 irregular Thai silver spacers, 1 volcanic stone, 1 silver. Alternating this pattern a total of 15 times.
Step 3: String Ceramic Focal bead.
Step 4: Repeat Step 2, reversing the stringing sequence for the other side.
Step 5: Attach loose beading wire with 2 gold crimp tubes to other part of silver toggle.
Step 6: Wire wrap riverstone, 1 gold bead, 1 Thai silver, 1 gold bead, creating a dangle. Repeat for ceramic pendant.
Step 7: Cut 6" fine beading wire. With a crimp, attach it to the main necklace, right before the focal bead. (This will also help tighten any loose tension.)
Step 8: String 13 cornerless cubes, 3 Thai irregular spacer beads, 9 cornerless cubes, riverstone dangle, 9 cornerless cubes, twig pendant, ceramic bead dangle, 9 cornerless cubes, and pass back through the 3 Thai irregular spacer beads featured earlier in this step, creating an enclosed loop. String 13 more cornerless cubes and a crimp; attach to the other side of the main ceramic focal bead.
Step 9: Using 2.5" of copper wire, wire wrap 1 rutilated quartz briolette to the twig pendant.

Finished Size: 20"

Detail of focal piece.

Detail of back of focal bead.

Resources: Sterling Silver Toggle, Thai Silver, Cornerless Cubes: Saki Silver. Rutilated Quartz and Volcanic Stone: Talisman Associates Inc. Twig Pendant: Scattered Light Jewelry. Focal Ceramic Bead: Raven's Journey International. Riverstone: WordStones. Gold beads: Jane's Fibers. Crimp Tubes: Rectangular Ceramic Pendant: Marsha Neal Studio.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


This was a very special evening! Earlier tonight, I was very fortunate enough to be able to meet up with my good friend, Aurea. I haven't seen her in such a long time and we've been trying to coordinate our schedules for MONTHS now. I am so glad that we were able to sit and catch up and grab a bite to eat together! I've missed her so much.

Aurea is an amazing actress and I hope that she continues to go after her dream. I really do believe in her talents and know that good things will come her way. Life can be distracting, but those who work away will eventually be rewarded.

I only wish that we were able to hang out longer. It's been such a long time that I don't think we nearly covered enough ground yet.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Studio Update 3...

I've been working busily away in my studio. Even though I've still been under the weather and have been trying to take it slow, I think I've got a lot of work done.

Here are a couple of images from my studio. It's actually cleaner than it looks. I fondly refer to it as my organized chaos.

The large piece from my other studio update has been reduced in size significantly. Even though the size has been reduced, it still has been a challenge working with this piece in its many incarnations.

Here is a more central image of the main piece that developed. I'm tentatively titling it: The World Undone. A lot of my work nowadays has been about modern life and about taking the pieces and fragments and trying to make a whole once more. This piece, I think really does come unhinged in many respects. But I think that in the raw ripping and the diagonal lines and the slashes of bright white... there is a cohesion in its elegant decay.

I've altered the large horizontal piece even from what's shown in the picture. I still am not feeling it. It needs something to have it all click into place. I haven't given up on it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Slaughtered Lamb...

Earlier tonight I went to a birthday dinner for my friend and coworker, Josh. He's a really nice guy who just moved from Knoxville, TN. I'm really lucky that I have the great luck to work with people that I enjoy spending time with. I really do believe it makes a huge difference.

First, we started out having dinner at a Thai restaurant near NYU. It was a great little intimate gathering. It was my boss, Andrea, Josh, his roommate Anna, and another employee of the company that Josh knew from home. I will call her "J" because it's either Jenna or Janine and I'm not quite sure which. She's a great gal though.

When we finished up with dinner, we walked Anna to the subway and the rest of us went out for a drink at the Slaughtered Lamb in the West Village. It's a great little themed pub. Andrea had to leave early to catch her train.

Here are the pictures of what was to follow:

This is Josh taking a Cherry Vodka shot. At first a girl came around with these syringes filled with the shots and no one wanted to do one. But I said, "Hey, I'm up for it." When she tried to squirt it in my mouth, the one she grabbed was frozen solid. So it wasn't really squeezing. So she got another one and left the frozen one on the table as a present. After I tried it, everyone else decided that it wouldn't be so bad after all.

Here is Josh, the birthday boy, posing again with the big alcohol needle. Looks like he's a plastic surgeon about to inject someone.

This is "J". She was giving him the "I don't know if I want any" look.

Eventually she gave in though. HA! This picture looks so wrong, but they were just playing pretend for the camera: Doctor Josh shooting up "J."

Above is a picture of me with Josh in the train station on our way back to our homes. All of us had to be up bright and early the next day for work! It was really great though to get out of the house and meet new people and hang out with friends.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stringing: Fall 2006...

The latest Fall 2006 issue of Stringing has just came out! It is very exciting. This magazine is presented by Beadwork Magazine and Interweave Press, and is full of amazing design ideas and various stringing tips and tricks. Also, two of my necklaces are featured in quarter's edition!

Not only is this a very lovely magazine, but the staff and vision of the group is so amazing that everyone should run out and buy a copy to support both the magazine and the jewelry component manufacturers.

Here are some thumbnails of the projects that I submitted and are featured in this issue:

The editor of the magazine, Jamie Hogsett, is a wonderful person and great friend. She sent me a copy of a CD by Antony and the Johnsons called I Am A Bird Now. I had it playing in my studio non-stop! It was the true source of inspiration for this necklace. I had some really great bird pieces by my sister's company, Green Girl Studios, and a lovely piece I picked up in Tucson by Heather Wynn that all sort of came together.

When I work on submissions for projects and design jewelry, I try to think of the most different and unique ways in which I can put these pieces together. Often times they are inspired and are deeply rooted in my training as a fine artist and studies in Classical Literature. I always like to think of each project as a design challenge and try my best at making something new a exciting.

This piece I created to pay tribute to my time in Asheville. I had found an amazing spot in the wilderness that I would escape to every now and then. When ever I needed time to think or clear my mind, I would try to make my way over there.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


This is one of my favorite times of the year. One of the main reasons is Halloween. Many pagans refer to Halloween as Samhain, but for me there is a difference between "Halloween" and "Samhain." I observe Samhain as a somber occasion to reflect on the those who have passed on and utilize it as an opportunity to reconnect for a bit. Halloween for me though remains deeply rooted in my non-pagan childhood. It was one of the few times that we could indulge on candy, stay out late wandering the streets, and dressing up and transforming our mundane lives into something fantastical. It is highly nostalgic for me.

Halloween in New York is one of the things that I look forward to every year. True, it can sometimes be a little bit dangerous, but it's the price one must pay for this unique experience. The weather warmed up quite a bit, which made it very nice for those of us who's costumes showed more skin.

A new friend and "Kristin" pose for a picture at the Halloween parade.

Left: Juan dressed as one of the Crazy 88 from Kill Bill.

Left: Jen sporting a bloody sports related injury. Right: Emily the house-wife and "Kristin," Ope's alter-ego.

Left: "OH NO! I've skinned my elbow!" Right: Tommy as a ghost.

Left: Kristin/Ope and Me (Andrew) as Apollo doing model poses for the camera. Right: Jen, looking like she's about to take a swing back

Me posing in Washington Square Park after dark.

Me in the park as Apollo. The wind was blowing my costume all-around. This is right before Ope and I got verbally assaulted by a gang of "bloods" who were convinced that Ope was actually a guy and that I should be beat up. Gotta love the thugs!

"Apollo" and "Kristin" in front of the restroom at 'Wichcraft.

Right: Fireworks at JD's apartment. We thought it would be a nice idea to set some off in the hallways. They would later be used to make "Peter the Pumpkin" blow up.

Left: "Kristin", "Apollo", and Jen. Right: My Apollo costume morphed into a Buddhist monk outfit once I removed my wig and exposed my shaved head.

Left: Jen at the parade - "I'm gonna get you!"

Peter Pumpkin. He only smiles because he doesn't know any better.

The sad fate of Peter Pumpkin. His charred innards ended up on the street.

Halloween in New York is a blur. Too quickly does the night pass and everything returns to normal for the next business day.

But the fun doesn't end street-side. Oh no! It goes below. The subway madness on Halloween. Not only are you pressed up against people in a compact space, but you're pressed up against Wonder Woman and Cleopatra and someone wearing full body-paint.