Thursday, November 26, 2009



On this Thanksgiving Day, I'd just like to take a moment to thank all of the many new creative and artistic friends that I have met on Facebook this year. You have and continue to inspire me each and every day with your wonderful art. Seeing the beautiful things that you create make the world bright and keep me going in my own "creative dryspell," as I struggle to fit in the smallest projects, now that my time is at such a premium. I thank God for your gifts of beauty and your inspiration!
Most especially, I'd like to mention a new friend that I've made on Facebook. Her name is Tracy Owens Chasteen. She lives in Austin, TX and designs some of the most lovely earrings and necklaces I've seen (she sells them on Etsy at She works with beads and cinnabar, and does some very creative things with wire. Tracy also makes pendants for her necklaces out of oriental pottery shards! I've just purchased my first necklace, "Peony" (see above), from her and am anxiously awaiting its arrival! Tracy, your creations are a joy to receive and wear! I encourage everyone who reads this to visit Tracy's Etsy site and view her jewelry. She really does make lovely designs, which are guaranteed to attract attention when you wear them - I know this from my own experience!
So, once again, thank you to all the wonderful creative people in my life on Facebook. And thank you to all of the wonderful and creative people in my life, in general - I am blessed to be surrounded by people who are creative in so many, many ways!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Creative Philanthropy

I was reading an article in the December issue of "Oprah" tonight, about philanthropists, when I came upon one in particular that just took my breath away. I had never heard of Joan Hornig, but it seems that many of the beautiful women in Hollywood are sporting her lovely jewelry designs, two of which are shown here in this post. Now her work is very lovely, and while I would truly love to have a piece, it is a tad out of my price range. What then, you might ask, took my breath away about this story? Let me start by explaining that Joan Hornig is a Harvard and Columbia educated MBA, who loves to create fine jewelry. And while that isn't too unique or suprising, what is, is that she does not keep a single penny for the pieces she designs and sells, but donates that profits - and here is the really unique part - to the charity of they buyers choice!
What an amazing thing to do!! To be able to do!! To take your gift of creativity and use it to better the world in so many countless ways. To put the beauty of your art out into the world, but not for profit - only for the betterment of humanity!!
Yes, we may say, she can obviously afford to do this, because she has some other source of income or wealth. And while that's true, the point is, she doesn't have to do what she is doing. She could still, as high-end designers do (casting no aspersions on them, mind you), create her art and be rightly compensated for doing so. Instead, she chooses to create her art as a gift to the world.
What joy she must have in that kind of creating!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Partake of the Honey" (DeLiba Mel)

I read an article in the November/December issue of Spirituality & Health, written about artist Dianne Bennett, who among a variety of art forms, creates "retalbos". These are known as altar boxes. Spaniards originally brought these small and richly decorated boxes with complex scenes to Peru. Originally of Christian design and carried by travelling priests, the indigenous people of Peru (and later throughout South and Latin America) used retalbos as a symbol of resistance to Christianity. With time, large, ornate retalbos of religious scenes were sometimes integrated into church altars.

These sacred portraits have evolved into a unique art form depicting a variety of aspects of Latino life & culture. Retalbos are painted on metal, tin, or wood, and they will frequently celebrate the occurrence of a miraculous event.

Dianne Bennett uses salvaged building materials and old metal signs from the area in which she lives in suburban Los Angeles to create these works of art. Growing up in this area during the 60's, she remembers a time when orange trees were much more numerous than they are now, and when she could easily hike into the wilderness. She says of her work: "My hope is to shine a light on the ephemeral beauty of life in this world, while raising questions about what we value, what we hold sacred, and what is disappearing before our very eyes."

You can see her work, which includes so much more than the retalbos, at Of the many retalbos on her website, I found one in particular that spoke to me ... of the sweetness of life, and the importance of seeking that sweetness out, each and every day. Please visit her website and enjoy her work.