Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In Organic We Trust

I just watched this documentary, In Organic We Trust; I'm all about making informed (from both sides of an issue) decisions. Based on the title and description, I expected the film to be the con side of the food issue; I know that "organic" does not mean "certified organic", just like "whole wheat" does not mean "100% whole wheat."

This film is inspiring! It was a well balanced documentary that touched on all my buttons, was incredibly informative and educational, and the whole point was about making informed decisions about food by being connected to how it grows, how it is industrialized, and how you can have the best food. Healthy should not be, and does not have to be, only for the wealthy!

This spring/summer is my third gardening year. Every year I learn something new. Gardening has all the emotional benefits of raising a child. My plants are my babies, and they will grow up to change the world. This movie inspires me to share, learn, and teach about my "children"; I think I'll start a new blog. Stay tuned for MonaRAEgrows (or something like that!)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Being of Service to Judgement

Being of service to judgment is a healing thing, but what does that mean?

I am going to play pool soon, but had to get this out, so just words with this post and no pretty pictures. Maybe you can send me (or post to my Facebook Profile or Page) the images this post brings to your mind.

I had a conversation yesterday with a friend who goes to church EVERY Sunday. We like to joke with each other. I asked him, "Are you going to church tomorrow? Who are you going to pray for?" He responded, "You!" I said, "Ask God to give me presence: for the gifts that have been given, and ease: not to struggle with worry and fear." I think he said his prayers early!

Here it is Sunday morning, before church (I never go.) I am thinking about my waking dream and realizing its meaning. I dreamed that I was arguing with my ex and angry and abandoned to be left alone to deal with the responsibility that is ours. I find myself in a new living situation; a communal type. We are having group discussions after a demonstration of some with musical talent. Along the time I've been there, I've often heard one ask another, "Are you feeling stressed?"; it was even asked of me, and I felt it was a strange question. After the music demonstration, a man came forward with a suggestion for a better sound and demonstrated it to the musician; my response was agreement that it did sound better to me. The musician did not respond in any particular way, however another responded in defense of a perceived insult, and returned with a statement that the one who was being helpful was not qualified to do so. And the "defensiveness" trickled outward, and coalesced into a river of criticism. The original suggester left the room. I spoke out, as an unexpected fork in the stream; a river with the unseen (even to myself) potential to be strong enough to cut more deeply into the substrate than expected.

I said, "I can understand why he left. He is being perceived as judgmental, this makes you uncomfortable, your response is to be defensive. You defend "another" without seeing that the other is not offended, that no one is offended, but rather without looking at your own feelings. You pretend you are helping, without acknowledging the helpful attentions of another because your own voice of discomfort is begging for a response. You are judging him because his helpfulness makes you uncomfortable, NOT because you feel the musician needs defending." And then I took this statement and began reflecting it onto my own action of defending another. I did not intend to come to a defense, but it is what I did. I spoke in the cloak of "protection" and the undergarments of "teaching."

My waking thoughts were, "What am I feeling, really?" Perhaps when I judge myself, or others, I am not acknowledging what I'm really feeling. Am I reacting to a discomfort? When I judge myself it often begins with "should"...I should have been (pick one: smarter, wiser, less trusting, more trusting, better, kinder, generous and the list goes on. I react to this discomfort with words and deeds that deflect from my own self reaction PUSHES me from being present to what is and letting it be.

My dream is the answer to my prayer. I have learned from my dream, which was so clear and the message was so easy to get, that to be present to the gifts given me is to ask myself, "What I am reacting to? What is it that I will not let 'be'?" And then I asked my dream self, "what was I really trying to say?" The answer was not to ask "Are you feeling stress?", but rather to ask, "How can I be of service to you?" Because, if I really want to be a stream that cuts deep in this world, I need to let my discomfort be a clue to what I am really feeling, to serve my feelings not my judgments, to let them be and then be the river, and provide a surface that is deep enough and strong enough to carry any who need passage. I need to be authentic and sincerely "In SERVICE" of myself and others by letting them be who and where they are (who and where I am) in that moment, just as they are meant to be.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cleopatra's Conundrum: Scarab Amethyst Necklace

Cleopatra's Conundrum: Scarab Amethyst Necklace

Well, I was almost done with my most recent necklace and then it started developing holes! So, here is a picture of a work in re-progress. I hate making something more than once, but I've changed and maybe now I can more easily see redoing this piece as an opportunity to make it even better. So, I thought I'd show you before I took it all apart.

 The part I've already begun taking apart was where I began. Yes, it's tedious to take apart, but there is $60.00 worth of beads in it! I began with 3 pound Fire Line thread and it quickly developed holes, so I bought some 8 pound. I thought that would be enough to make it last forever, without holes developing. Wrong! So my friend and fellow artist Sue Horine suggested I reach out to Suzanne Golden. What an amazing woman and artist!

Suzanne is as colorful as her pieces, and as generous with her knowledge. When Sue described Suzanne as a mature woman with bright red hair, crazy cool fashion sense (especially her shoes), and a super talented bead weaver, I immediately thought of Betsy Johnson. I know they must be best buds!

Photo: Idiosyncratic Fashionistas

That's Suzanne on the far right. Aren't you immediately in love?!

Here's a sample of her work, and just one doesn't do her portfolio justice! If you want to see more of Suzanne's work, check it out here. I contacted her with my problem on Face book, and she immediately replied with great, new tips for me!

While I'm waiting for my new supplies, I'm planning my next project. In my last post I showed you some of the new beads I received. I can't get the scarabs and amethyst off my mind! My process doesn't usually involve a "plan", and any drawing I might do is on the back of an envelope or napkin. Well, I've changed, I tell ya! I'm so excited about this necklace. It will be in a collar style that is traditional to Egyptian fashion, other than that the concept is all mine inspired by symbols, such as the Egyptian Lily. The lily will be the hardest part of the design because it will require each ring to be hand wrapped with fine copper wire, and I've never painted with lines of beads before! I also still need to decide if I should add the agate fans to the bottom, or some turquoise drops or briolettes, or both. What do you think?


Monday, February 24, 2014

Design Elements for new Jewelry

Design elements for new Jewelry

I don't even wear jewelry that much! But I love it, I love making it, I love the beads, colors, and designs! I love gemstones especially, and I'm coming closer to creating with high quality materials. I recently bought from my friend Lea (LAJewelryDesigns) some nice elements and I'm excited to create with them.


I have some ideas of what I want to do, but I thought I'd look for some inspiration in new places: London Fashion Week and New York Fashion week! When I create I am inspired by the elements and put them together from my heart. I often feel my own style is a little "odd" for the mainstream, but I'm beginning to see it as art. But I don't want to be a famous artist, because (with the exception of Picasso) artists aren't appreciated until after they're gone! I'd like to sell my art, not wear it or store it, so I thought I'd look at what is being sold in the fashion world.

Arik Levy
Alice Cicolini is "charming" for Autumn/Winter 2014. Atellier Swarovski's four designers have familiar pieces some of which remind me of other jewelery artist friends. Geometric, organic, asymmetry is still in fashion. Christopher Kane's necklace reminds me of the one I made a couple months ago (I wasn't thrilled with it so I'm rethinking the design...maybe I was already on to something! pictures for you when it's done.)

Christopher Kane
Fredrikson Stallard reminds me of my friend Lisa Liddy's beautiful, hand made, etched and colored disks.
Fredrikson Stallard

Lisa Liddy and Metal Me This
Zaldy's Cleo Bracelet sure gives me some great ideas (twist on a cellini and right angle weave?)!

OH EM GEE...Christina Ortiz...freakin' amaaaaazing! Can you believe the top left piece is a ring?!
Fernando Jorge is so creative and talented with stones; his organic designs seem to be inside out.

There are so many places from which to gain inspiration. On my Pinterest I collect colors, other lampworkers and jewelry, DIY's, and cultural inspirations. I'm 3/4 done with the piece I'm working on now, and I can't wait to show you! Until then, I would love to see your inspirations and creations! Share them with us on my Facebook page here!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

London Fashion Week #LFW

London Fashion Week #LFW

 I really do love fashion, and I long to be a more fashionably dressed person….however….

I’m not into fashion per-se, I’m into art, the way something looks, the way it makes me feel emotionally. From show highlights as shown by the British Fashion Council, I spied my favorites:

Day 1: Bora Aksu’s silhouette is unique but what I love is how “girly” they are, and love love love the fabric textures

Love the crazy cats eye glasses by Linda Farrow Projects, but I probably wouldn’t wear most of them. I’d love an everyday indoor pair.
Of Jasper Conran, the long flowey look is so elegant, the prints exotic, and I just love this cute dress. It’s feminine, long with the illusion of short will hide the flaws in the saggy knees, and the comfy, girly stripes in the upper. 
Day 2John Rocha’s silhouette was repetitious, and reminded me of The Flying Nun, but I love the poppy field sundress. Julien MacDonald is so glamorous and art deco! Not sequins but mosaics! Mark Fast’s style is so cool and rock and roll, and I love the texture of this skirt. Orla Kiely is worth taking a look at; very Alice in Wonderland-ish.       


 Day 3L’Wren Scott’s show was fun, fantasy, and functional fashion! Everything by Unique was wearable, feminine, elegant, and silky. Mary Katrantzou is my fave above all days so far. Art, art, art! Daring designs, silhouette, and pretty prints. Temperley London and pink!!! Vivienne Westwood Red Label construction details! MathhewWilliamson combines orange, pink, and red which reminds me of salwar kameez and India.



Day 4: Erdem had a pretty black lace over shirt gown. Peter Pilotto has fun prints and shapes. Giles' pieces are cool-elegant, and I loved this gorgeous, classy gown in buttery fawn. 

 Day 5: Nothing terribly exciting. I had to check out the shoes and jewelry of course!  There are so many jewelers listed in the display showrooms for the autumn/winter show, I'll save that for another post. I'll be showing you similar pieces that friends and I have already made; seems we're an avant-garde bunch!

 Aside from LFW have you seen Peeter Pilotto for Target? I love the commercial, and I’m sooooo intrigued with the model with no eyes!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Exorcising the Demons: The Act of Killing

The Act of Killing

This is what an exorcism really looks like. Adults who try to teach children that they should think about consequences and consider they might have regret, use their words as examples of what it feels like. This documentary shows, really shows, what regret looks like. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2014) is a documentary that follows former Indonesian death squad leaders as they reenact their war crimes, the murders they committed. They reenact precisely how they captured, interrogated, and garroted their victims, the “communists”. This is THE most disturbing film I think I have ever seen; this is the BEST teaching tool I’ve ever seen for youth in terms of attitude and regret.

In this film we have the self-proclaimed “gangsters”, proud of being such and sanctioned by a huge para-military faction established by the coup rulers and still in existence today, the Pancasila Youth. The gangsters identify themselves as heroes, characterized and supported by the cinematic images of American films of their youth. They are given an opportunity to tell their story through any medium they wish and they choose to make a film. They expect to become famous; they already are famous and revered in their home land. This film shows the thought processes of mass murderers in reflection, from arrogance and self-aggrandizement to (for some but not all) pensive and remorseful…almost.

The synopsis on the film's web site could not sum it up better, however the potential for this film in middle and high school classes is unspoken and evident to me. This film has purpose. At a developmental stage where children appropriately depend on their peers, they do not have the experience of regret to teach each other and are destined to have regrets, some potentially deafening, unless they “get it”. This film can help students “get” the impact of decision making to the “nth” degree, and demonstrates the process of self-justification, and the consequences both globally and personally of harming others in both minor and life-determining ways. Fortunately, for those who “get it”, this film also demonstrates that one can exorcise their demons and survive. Whether the students are children or adults, this last benefit is the most crucial, and necessary lesson of this film.

 Because we are “merely” human beings, we go through life with menial and self-centered purpose. This film has the potential to elevate our thinking, and our behavior, outside our selves. This film shows the cultural values of people, the influences that create those values, and so important to the "western" citizens, the consequences of those values and the attainment of the materials that represent the values; the things we hold to represent our status….the symbols that say “I made it!” This film is about the consequences of greed; it is the justification for being inhuman and inhumane.

Photo: TheGermansMakeGoodStuff Quote: George Orwell, Animal Farm
This is THE most disturbing film I can remember ever seeing (other than The Exorcist.) This is the most important film I’ve seen. This film is not as romantic as our idea of an exorcism might actually look like, but it is the only real exorcism I’ve seen portrayed. You must watch through to “get it”, but like any good film the cliff hanger at the end leaves you wanting more, and in this case wondering “Did he really get it?”, and hoping he does, and hoping I will get it too, when I exercise my own demons.