Thursday, January 4, 2018

Here we come, 2018!

Happy New Year, Beady friends! May this year be filled with love, hope, happiness, health and all the good things one can wish for. Personally, I can't complain. As far as I can tell, this is going to be another wonderful year filled with lots of travel, a veritable amount of shinies with holes- aka beads, and surfaces to stitch them on. What else can one hope for? I am healthy, my family is healthy, other than Baby Karl having staples in his little ear, all is well, and the staples no longer itch, so I can honestly say I am happy as a clam. So is he, because by not scratching, he does not need to wear the cone of shame.

Sweet Sammy is entering her golden years with a surprising amount of grace and dignity. A whole lot of hopping and barking too. There are old lady dog cankles and creaky backs to deal with on some less fun days, but hey, life is such. May that be the worst to ever happen to any aging beauty, canine or human.
As for Paul and I, our whiskers are getting gray a bit too. I would be fine with that if they were existing whiskers, but in my case the real surprise is when I find them where they ought not grow in the first place.  Again, life is such. But all in all, we are doing pretty spiffy.
Thanks to a large number of fortunate circumstances, we got to go back to visit my family in Hungary and visit our best friend in France. In fact, the past two years really made up for the previous ten, when I did not get to see anyone. Good things are worth waiting and working for, one might say, which might be true. On the other hand all the hard work and waiting does doodley squat without some luck, so I am not going to get on a high horse and pretend that I deserve all the wonderful things that have been happening to me. In general, I don't think anyone deserve anything any more than other people. Hard work and patience are virtues indeed, ones a person should cultivate during her temporal existence out of the sake of joy they cause, but they are no guarantee for anything. And so I am all the more grateful for things like being able to travel to Europe.

I have been to the Beaders Best Show in Stuttgart, as the featured guest artist this spring. The good people of Perlen Poesie who organize this event even featured me on the cover of the summer issue of the magazine. The show was fun, and I got to meet beady peeps from all over Europe.
Here is Claudia Cattaneo signing an autograph on my back, with Joanne Zammit next to me. I got to spend time with Joanne, one of the best things about that trip. She is not only a wonderful artist and a designer with an eye for perfection, but smart and interesting! We went sightseeing together.

Here is a picture with Joanne, Thorsten Grotke-Wegner and Julie Romero. If you are not familiar with their names, it's time to look them up. You are looking at the beady future!
Another exciting thing that happened to me this past year was creating five more online courses for Interweave publishing to follow up the previous year's two videos. Kristal Wick was in charge of the process, and her expert guidance helped me through this challenge.I had a wicked cold at the time, and weighed 30lbs more. Consequently, all the new people I meet this year think that I am "taller" (isn't that nice), look "better" (hehehe) and sound better. I am going to just say that I haven't seen any of the videos because I can't imagine torture more acutely tuned into tormenting my ego than watching myself for hours, but I was told I did good. The crew liked me, even the sound guy did who had to listen to me blowing my nose and gurgle for days.But the videos are selling, and I am told that viewers find them useful and inspiring, which makes me very pleased.

I now have a deeper understanding and admiration for movie magic, and seeing my beautiful but somewhat overly rotund shape scared me into instantly dropping some weight.

 Hell, who am I kidding. It took countless hours of slo-mo hedgehog - like scuffling, an activity I like to refer to as running, a lot of green smoothies abundant in kale and the initial very strict diet.

I have been all over the US, traveling  a lot to bead stores and bead societies and retreats, hugged many of you, fellow beady peeps and had grand times. It was a good year, and the way I see it, 2018 is shaping into being another one just like it. For one, I get to go back to France. This time for a beady cause non other than a grand tour of "Beads, Bordeaux &; Chateaux".  
Let me show you the projects I will get to teach.
Monastery Windows at Dusk
 Here we have the super model herself wearing this exciting new piece...
 On the Nature of Daylight Pendant. Yes, double ropes of size15 CRAW. You are seeing it right. I am thinking: there is nothing better than hanging out at a French castle, drinking tasty wine in good company, while  picking away at never ending craw. It is a paradisaical vision of mine to devise exquisite tortures for all who are willing to submit to my beady rule. Muwahahaha!
 It is so worth the effort, though. The finished piece is like the last rays of the sun shining through Gothic windows. I think at almost 38, I can admit to a life long obsession with the aesthetics of Catholic churches. May they be Romanesque or Gothic, whenever I am near one, I go in, walk around, go to the crypt if it's allowed; and in general; breathe it in.  Musty dead saints and all. The macabre opulence, the rich history of power, suffering and divine joy, the wrongness and rightness of it excites me, and remain a central element of inspiration in my admittedly somewhat twisted little world.

No great surprise that the third, last piece in the collection is called Relic. It's a set of earrings, which is exciting to me, because I personally don't care for earrings, and whenever once in a while I design a set, they are ok, but not outstandingly so. This one is beyond ok. I like it. Not only will it do in a design sense, but I actually like wearing it, and it flows like magic. It is a good feeling when things I make flow like magic.
You see, sometimes the nicest things are not the most complicated things. I know for me it took years to "edit" my beady self from wanting to do too much in every piece. It is all too easy to hurl everything onto one design. It is a lot harder to strip things down to the most desirable elements where every bead matters.
Meanwhile, as you are reading this, listen to Max Richter's  On the Nature of Daylight.
Thank goodness, you can for 10 hours if you feel the need for it. I have listened to this a lot last year, even named the pendant after it.
 Here we have the pendant in situ. I ran out of models a long time ago. It is a major pain in the butt to be the photographer and model at the same time and I don't like it. Models, please knock on my door. I miss the days of taking pictures of other people.


Now, onto the things I have seen in France last time. This is of course the tip of the iceberg of the images stored in my noggin. I could stay in bed all day and visualize inspiring architecture and art and have a great time. But I wanted to give you a window into what gets me excited.
And to tell you, that travel is good for the soul.
This trip is in dire need of adventurers signing up. I am saying this of course having an ulterior motive: I want to go, and it will only happen if there are enough people signing up.

 Just in case you have been wanting to go to France and you can wing this trip, please sign up quick. I promise we will get into all sorts of trouble. I have a way of doing that. Only the good kind though.






At any rate, here is a doorway. This door is leading in and out of  the courtyard of my friend's house in Dijon. It might just be the most magnificent door I know. I have come to know this door, having visited three times. The stories it could tell, if it was able to speak... May this door symbolize for me-and throughout me for you too- all the good things that this new year shall bring.