Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A NEW BLOG

Today, I started a new blog. Why? Well, when I started this blog almost 5 years ago, the blogs were very different. So, was I.

When I started here, the blog choices were very limited. I had only a few templates to choose from, limited picture space and loading. I wasn't able to get a blog address that matched the blog name. And as my blog grew, I really outgrew the name.

Back then, I wasn't sure what my blog would be about, but knew I wanted to share my art and some of my writing with other people. And I have met some wonderful artists, art lovers and writers! And I want to keep growing with all of you and the new world of blogs.

To do that, I want my blog to cover a wider range of my creative life. I want it to be a place to celebrate my joy, passion and creativity in all aspects of my life including my art, writing, friends, family, my dog, Jilly and maybe even my not so little secret hobby, crochet.

My new blog is named Sculpting a Life because I really feel that my life is a lot like sculpting in many ways. Every day, I carve out my life around time working in my studio, writing in my journals, walking my dog, Jilly, enjoying time with my husband, Michael, children and friends. Whether I'm exploring new materials like acrylic paints on clay, trying new things like crocheting socks, discovering the joys of baking, rediscovering old story ideas, I want to be able to share my passion about creativity with all of the like-minded people out there in one blog space.

So, come by and visit my new blog, Sculpting A Life. Let me know what you think and share how you find joy and passion in your own life.

Monday, March 01, 2010





Tree of Life-"Courageously Taking Root"-Completed!

About 4 months ago, Lisa Smith and Brenda Boylan met with me about doing a copper project for their school auction at Valley Catholic School. Although we talked through many different ideas, including a wreath, Lisa had a tree in mind and showed pictures of iron trees that she'd found on the web, representing the Tree of Life. I suggested the children could put words and textures on the copper leaves. Brenda did a small sketch of a tree with 29 leaves, beads and wire. I explained how I envisioned the tree to be more sculptural by incorporating copper tubing along with the leaves, wire and beads.

The tree sprang to life.

I ordered the copper and cut it down to squares, then Lisa and Brenda cut out the birch shaped leaves. I visited the class and worked with the children to do the repousse work, writing the words into the copper. After they cleaned the copper leaves, I did the patina on each and every leaf. I painted a chemical patina into each of the children's hand written words and colored them with a heat patina. I did heat patina on the textured leaves. Then, with the help of my husband, Michael, we soldered and wired and beaded each of 45 leaves onto the many branches of the copper tree I made in my studio.



Although I had their input and reference materials, the tree took on a life of its own as I worked on it in my studio. I made several sketches of my vision of the tree as I worked out the size of the trunk, limbs and branches. Then I made a working drawing of the tree in the original dimensions of 2x3 feet. The finished tree is almost 4x4 feet.

Once the drawings were done, I went to work constructing the trunk and branches of the tree to be sturdy and beautiful. As I twisted and turned the copper, I realized that the trunk I was making for the tree was, well, a lot like life. Life spirals up and out in many different and unexpected directions. It branches out growing stronger as time goes on, yet even the oldest and strongest branches can sprout new tender shoots and leaves at any time. The three spiral roots link together, just as our bodies, hearts and souls entwine in our lives.



The Tree of Life is an age-old symbol that appears throughout history in many cultures around the world. Different cultures use different types of trees ash, yew, oak trees to magical trees made from dragons. It symbolizes birth, death and knowledge. In some cultures it represents a variety of pagan gods. In Christianity, it is used to represent Jesus Christ.


This tree of life project entitled, ‘Courageously Taking Root’ has birch shaped leaves and, in some cultures, the birch tree is a symbol of rebirth and new life. What a wonderful symbol for young children and a beautiful way to raise money to build a new school. I couldn't think of a better symbol for young children and even some of us who aren't so young anymore. That no matter what your age, you are always able to grow.

Lisa wrote this about the project for the auction catalog, entitled, "COURAGEOUSLY TAKING ROOT". "Nature holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives. This will be portrayed using a birch tree which has symbolic meaning both for our children and for the Valley Catholic community as we move towards building our new school together. The tree of life is approximately 3x4 ft done in copper. It can be hung inside or outside and has a built in hook on the back. The children have chosen words of inspirational and beautifully engraved their words on the leaves. This piece would look amazing inside or out and will have gone through a "patina processing" embellished with various "jewels" that have been added through out the sculpture. Beware and be ready as you will want this for your your home, office or special place."

Thursday, February 25, 2010





Now it's Summer!

The Tree of Life is almost done. All the leaves with words and without words are soldered and wired on. The beads are on, although, I may be tempted to add a few more. There's still some patina work to do and a few places to polish up. And I have a few branches to 'prune'. Then it will be ready for delivery.

My biggest challenge right now is stopping. I'm in that 'futzy' phase where I tend to get bogged down with adding and subtracting elements that, in the end, I realize I really don't need. I've loved working on this project and it's hard to see it end. But what I really need to do is face up to the finish line and acknowledge the that the project is done.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010





From Winter to Spring in just two days!

Here's the latest photo of the Tree of Life project. All the words that the children pushed into the copper sheeting are up and soldered on. Half of them have beads and wire as well.

There's more to come...more leaves, beads and wire, too! I'll post more photos after my studio session tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010






Leaves are bursting out in my studio.

The Tree of Life grew leaves today. The picture today shows some of the leaves with words attached to the ends of the branches. It's only about 1/2 the leaves with words and then, there are the leaves that are textured and smaller. And then, there are beads and wire to add. And then? I guess I'll know when I get there.

This Tree of Life is a lot like life, of course, a process that requires passion, hope, faith, courage, and love. Look closely and you'll see all those words and more up on those branches now.

Stay tuned. More to come!

Saturday, February 20, 2010






A tree grows in my studio.

You can see it here in process. The large copper tree will be adorned with copper leaves and beads.

The project is called, Tree of Life, and just like life, it’s a creative adventure. The trunk has many layers of spiraling copper that twist, turn as they grow upward a symbol of how we all grow in many different directions. The branches are heavy and light reaching outward, again, like life; there is a need for strength and delicacy. The base has three main roots symbolizing the body, heart and soul.

The leaves were given to the children in the class to repousse’ with words and textures. I had a great time working with them and found their word choices fascinating. The most popular words were peace, wisdom, faith and life. In second place were the words, dream strength, courage, joy hope and grace. Five children chose these words; friends, vision, thrive, passion and energy. No one chose the word, love.

So I added my own leaf with the word, love. Because, this tree project is certainly been a labor of love for me. I’ll keep you posted on further progress and pics of the finished piece.

Monday, February 15, 2010





Celebrating Love before and after Valentine's Day.

I'm lucky to do what I love...art and writing and teaching. But it's not always easy. It's very easy to get side tracked, blind sided and disappointed by things that happen in life. So I don't take it for granted when life delivers me a weekend of what I love and sharing in what the people in my life love as well.

I went to congratulate friends on their new gallery shows. My husband did what he loves to do as well. The next day, we had time together walking, napping and watching the Olympics. Then later, we both got to share our daughter's performance doing what she loves to do, singing. And we enjoyed a delicious meal of salmon, salad and bread.

Sunday was restful and relaxing as we took turns cooking up a storm in the kitchen. We both love to cook and cooking together in the kitchen is always a labor of love and a way to connect and create. It was harder when the kids were little, but we still made time to make these heart shaped cookies(in the picture above) that the 'Valentine Fairy' magically hung on their bedroom doors just in time for Valentine's Day.

This weekend, we were childless...something new to us. Caitlin has a home of her own now and Kyle was out of town snowboarding with his friends.

Alone in the house, Michael and I made a puff pancake for breakfast, spinach Parmesan omelet for lunch but we saved the big adventure for dinner. We cooked a live lobster! It isn't as hard as you might think, you just steam that lobster in a big pot for about 20 minutes, crack it open, clean it out and serve. It was delicious with the fresh asparagus and hollandase sauce. We shared one of our heart shaped cookies for dessert.

Love comes in many ways in life and I'm very grateful that this weekend, I got the chance to cook up ways to connect and share it.