Sunday, December 30, 2007


Last year I made a narrative box for a dear friend living in Hawaii. It was a gift for her partner in celebration of her 2nd year of sobriety. We discussed a lot of imagery and finally came up with crashing waves on the outside representing the chaos of alcoholism and the serenity of tranquil lily pads on the inside representing sobriety...the calm after the storm. The level vial is symbolic of seeking balance and the water that surrounds Hawaii. Inside, the two year coin rests on the steps which represent the 12 steps of the AA program. The door, with etched keys, opens to reveal the serenity prayer.

This box has handmade was my first attempt and I had no idea how challenging making smooth working, non binding hinges would be.

Etching the waves was real tricky. I used a photo that my sister took on her last trip to Hawaii. Crashing waves are hard to photograph and etching them and trying to create movement often yields a result that is somewhat abstract. In this case I think the waves being abstract worked with the chaos theme.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


For months I've been looking for a used metal shear. I need one to cut nickel and red brass for the doors of my narrative boxes and silver for my jewelry. I finally found one at Benoit Sheet Metal in Woodinville. I think it will be perfect for me and help move me forward. This is Chuck carefully loading it on my 52 Dodge. It was quite a load...estimated weight is 650 pounds and estimated age between my truck, my shear, and myself is 160-170 years. That's a hoot...I think I like old things!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007


My dictionary defines serendipity as...the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

Last Friday I headed to Seattle to pick up my new metal shear (more about the shear in the next post). On the way I was stopped, with other traffic, at the Hood Canal bridge as a submarine passed through. This happens from time to time but usually only when you are racing trying to make connections at the airport or ferry terminal or you are stopped so many miles back that you have no idea what the delay is all about. This time I had the good fortune of being stopped on the bridge...not in a hurry...on a beautiful day...and I had my camera with me. Here are some pictures of the submarine with two escort boats (the subs always look Darth Vader-ish to me), the struts of the bridge (I love those silhouetted lines), the metal grid pattern of the lanes with water below (I have no doubt that in the very near future this grid pattern will find it's way into my art work), and the Olympic mountain range in all it's glory resplendent with a fresh dusting of snow.

Monday, December 17, 2007


This is the kind of cuff bracelet that you put on and just don't take off. It is photo-etched sterling silver and is 3/4 inch wide. It can be made in any length to fit any wrist. The vine pattern is an every day, all the time look. Wear it casually with jeans or let it dress up your finest.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I love all things relating to water and stars. You can see that in my last post with the WATCHING STARS gate which I made many years ago. This bracelet, WHERE THE HEAVENS MEET THE SEA, continues that theme. The bracelet is a one inch wide, photo-etched, cuff style. It is made from 16 gauge sterling silver (substantial without being too heavy) and can be made to fit any wrist.


This is the last post about the steel sculpture retrospective...time to get back to the jewelry ( which you can see more of my scrolling down this page). It has been fun for me and quite educational to look back over more than a decade at the art that sustained me at that time...and how it relates to my art in the present.

This is my WATCHING STARS gate. What do fish do at night when no one is watching??? I like to think that they watch the stars. I really like the negative spaces and how the light shines through. I have a dear friend who has promised me that upon my death, this is the first thing that will be missing from my yard. She tells me so often, I am beginning to believe her.


This is Gunther...a smiling crocodile that holds a spun copper birdbath. Is he smiling because he loves seeing the little birds splashing about...or because he loves seeing lunch??? I had this sculpture galvanized. I love the look of galvanized metal and how it ages and reflects light. I have a version of GUNTHER that holds my mailbox.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Just three more posts about steel sculpture and then I'll get back to the jewelry. In my mind it is all connected. Some of these dogs have found their way into the jewelry...Silas and Ballyhoo ( the lab and the howling basset ) can be found in the JOURNEY boat posted on Nov. 3rd. In searching through my own photographic archives it has been interesting and fun to see how similar ideas and imagery keep showing up in my work...even though years have passed and mediums have changed.

When I started creating these steel dogs I was amazed that most were purchased as memorial dogs. Someone had either lost their beloved dog to old age or they remembered a steadfast pet from their youth. They wanted to be able to look out the window, toward the garden, and see the silhouette of their best pal and remember those happy times. Many tears were shed in my booth during those dog years.

This is Silas...steadfast...loyal...a great foot warmer...salt of the earth.

This is Lucy and Ballyhoo. Lucy is a homebody but Ballyhoo craves adventure...especially of the aquatic kind.

This is Ballyhoo on one of those aquatic adventures. Thirsty or not thirsty?...that is the question.

See...don't these guys look familiar???

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


This is a group of sculptures that were installed in a Bellevue park several years ago. Along with several other artists, I was asked to have sculpture on display for a year. At the end of that year I moved this collection to my own yard. They stand on a small grassy area near the bend of my quiet road. I often hear traffic slow down to have a look...or are they looking at the deer who use my property as their personal thoroughfare.

You will recognize the bears (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor) from my last post. I think that soon they will find their way into my jewelry or narrative boxes.

CHARTING THE STARS depicts a woman gazing through a starry flounder...using it as a map of sorts. Is she charting her future or her vacation via her personal flying ship??

MISSING HALE-BOPP is in reference to THE GREAT COMET OF 1997. It was probably the most widely observed comet of the twentieth century, and one of the brightest seen for decades. It was visible to the naked eye for a record 18 months, twice as long as the previous record holder, the GREAT COMET OF 1811. Like this sculpture, I miss searching for it in the night sky.

HEAVEN'S SPIRE is a triangular column with a mica covered weather vane on top. When the sun hits mica, it dances with light.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


These were a favorite of mine...Ursa Major (the big dipper) showing Ursa Minor (the little dipper) her namesake in the constellations. From paw tip to toe Ursa Major stands about 6 feet tall and Ursa Minor is about 4.5 feet tall.

In Roman mythology the beautiful maiden, Callisto, was hunting in the forest. She grew tired and laid down to rest. The god Jupiter noticed her and was smitten with her beauty. Jupiter's wife, Juno, became extremely jealous of Callisto. Some time later, Juno discovered that Callisto had given birth to a son and decided that Jupiter must have been the father. To punish her, Juno changed Callisto into a bear so she would no longer be beautiful. Callisto's son, called Arcas, was adopted and grew up to be a hunter, while Callisto continued to live in the forest. One day Callisto saw Arcas and was so overjoyed at seeing her son that she rushed up to him, forgetting she was a bear. Arcas thought he was being attacked and shot an arrow at Callisto. Jupiter saw the arrow and stopped it from hitting her. To save Callisto and her son from further damage from Juno, Jupiter changed Arcas into a bear also, grabbed them both by their tails, and swung them both into the heavens so they could live peacefully among the stars. The strength of the throw caused the short stubby tails to become elongated. Juno was even angrier with Jupiter and managed to exact still more revenge on poor Callisto and Arcas. She went to the gods of the sea and forbade them to let the two bears wade in their water or streams on their long and endless journey around the pole star.

Monday, December 10, 2007


When I was working with steel I got very interested in totems. I think mostly I was drawn to the tall, narrow uprightness of them. All these totems are approximately 4 feet tall.

THE FISH GUARDIAN wears a copper screen vest with a verdigris patina. Copper rivet buttons hold it in place. A small fish gazes up through the surface at it's protector.

HOLDING AUTUMN LIKE A CAT...This title came from a passage I read in a book many years ago..."the old woman held autumn on her lap like a cat".

BEATUS EST PISCICULUS...or BLESSED IS THE LITTLE FISH......what else can I say, I just like fish.

TURTLE RACES...this piece comes with three stone and steel turtles.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I arrived in Washington with my regulators, torches, grinders...and my kayak. I actually thought kayaking was the reason I was moving to this part of the world. For 3 years prior I had been leading women's kayaking trips on the Sea of Cortez in Baja for a small company called Paddling South. In hindsight, I think kayaking was just the vehicle to get me here.

I knew a woman on Bainbridge Island...we had kayaked in the Queen Charlotte Islands a year or two before. I ended up living in her sauna in the backyard for the next 8 months. It was exactly 5 foot 6 inches x 5 foot 6 inches. That also happened to be my exact length.

Bainbridge Arts and Crafts was the first gallery to represent me. I began making some blue herons out of steel. They were life size and had a bluish finish that was applied with heat. While my steel work supported me over the next 10 years, it was the herons that were my mainstay. To this day I would bet that there are over 50 pair of these herons on Bainbridge Island alone. A picture of my herons even made it into a book put out by Sunset called LOW MAINTENANCE GARDENING.

And then some other birds began to show up.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


This morning I woke up thinking about the twisting path that has led me to the art work that I am doing today. I'm realizing that every bend and turn and change of medium was essential to my growth as an artist and as a person. All those stepping stones... and the absence of any one of them would change where I am today...and I don't want to change a thing. Also, I am noticing that ideas and skills, from way back when, keep circling back around...another chance for them to get put into the creative stew. They keep rising to the surface like bubbles long trapped under water.

I moved from Arkansas to Washington in 1993 after the death of my older sister, Betsy. Betsy's last year was a hard one...she had been diabetic for 30 years and blind for the last 10 years. I moved back to my parents home for most of that year to be an extra pair of hands for my mother as she took care of Betsy and Inca, her guide dog. I needed some kind of creative outlet...maybe a steel fish sculpture for my yard.... so... my brother gave me a quick lesson with a cutting torch. I took to it like a fish to water...a pun totally intended.

I had done a lot of woodworking...building my own house in NW Arkansas and various craft I was familiar with tools. I found that I liked working with metal...steel. I liked that grain was not an issue and that there was no concern about checks and cracks and moisture. I loved the weight. I loved making something look like what it was...not a cartoon of itself. I am a fisheries biologist so proportion and scale are important to me. But I think I most loved the longevity...these sculptures I was creating out of 1/4 inch steel would, more than likely, outlive me. I'm not sure I knew it at the time, but I think I was trying to leave my mark.

For the next several posts I will show some images of my steel work. I called that business AS THE CROW FLIES.

Here are some of my early fish.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


This cuff bracelet is photo-etched, 16 gauge sterling silver. The band is 1 inch wide and can be made in any length to fit any wrist. Being so partial to fish imagery, this is a favorite of mine.