Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Well, only one more day before we start gaining some daylight hours. It's after 9 am and it is still pitch black out. These short winter days make me feel less productive, or maybe it's all the the holiday sweets I've been consuming. Sugar Blues... But I've got all my packages sent, cards mailed , presents wrapped and now I can get back to the bead table. Had to take some beadwork out on this one,(one of my least favorite things to do). I had drawn in a boat on the river and when I beaded it, it looked stupid, so I had to rip stitches, pull threads, tie knots and start over. Now I'm working on the endless sand, oh so boring. The sky will be so much fun by comparison. I need some little elves to come in the night and finish the beach for me...

Friday, November 11, 2011


Happy Veterans Day! A very special one, 11-11-11. A once in a life time occurrence. I'm one of those people who is always looking up and seeing elevens on the clock. Does that happen to everyone?

Thank you to all the troops who are serving and have served in the past. Especially to my wonderful husband who has been sick all week with a bad cold. Poor guy. He was just out of the military when we met. A hot young tough guy who was all muscle (after jumping out of airplanes with heavy equipment strapped to his back, Robert was Airborne in the Army). He was camping at a park that was across the street from the little cabin where I was living in Haines. Needless to say I was impressed and that was 25 years ago. Yikes where does the time go...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


So here's how the sand came out. Mixed all the colors together and then I attached them two or three beads at a time. I tried to be random but I ended up choosing the colors, just couldn't let it be. I like it but will probably try something different on the next piece. If any of you know a good source for sand colored beads or dirty water colored beads, let me know!
On another subject, the audit went fine, I was really nervous, the man was official but nice and it looks like I'm doing okay with my bookkeeping.  Kate's Gallery will be opening up in the spring and things will be business as usual. Whew...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Ever wonder what it would be liked to get audited? Well I'm about to find out. Opened the letter and was shocked, why me I'm such small potatoes? Should be interesting, the guy is coming to the gallery on the third of November, they want to see the books (3 years previous and the current ones). I'm pretty organized, but still I feel nervous, I'm not very happy to have to deal with authority figures. Anyone out there have any advice? As far as the beadworking goes I'm getting ready to start the sand, these are the colors I'm using. I guess after I mix them all together I'll apply the beads in a haphazard way and try to make it look like a beach. I'll post the progress in a few days and we will see how it's looking. Hope it's not muddled. Also, here's a shot of Crazy the cat getting in her winter mode. It's starting to get cold and she's finding all her sleeping spots, in this one she's cuddled up next to the bead box...

Thursday, September 22, 2011


So, I'm starting on my first piece of the dip net series. This one is going to be from the seagull perspective. They are such a crack up on the beach when you are fishing, fighting over fish heads, hopping around hoping to get fish eggs from someone who is cleaning fish.
I realized as I started designing that these are going to complicated and challenging pieces. I'm working on the side panels for this bag and while the seagulls went smoothly, the little fisherman was tricky, (small,small beads). Now the water is going to be even trickier, if I can bead it the way I have it drawn. Or I could sort of cop out and make it super simple. Tomorrow I have to make up my mind.  I really struggle with realistic wave, shading, getting the right murky water colors. There's going to be a lot of this in this series so I might has well dive in.

p.s. I'm not looking forward to doing sand either...

Monday, September 5, 2011


Just had two people stop into the gallery on their bikes, they were riding from Soldotna to Homer and then going to catch the ferry to Kodiak. Seems like a lot of labor and makes me feel like I don't exercise enough... At least the wind was at their backs. Labor day means fall has come and the end of summer. It always comes to soon and makes me feel wistful.
These are my Labor Day pieces . The Hawk Vest, I made years ago but I can still remember the many, many hours of labor that went into it. And this gear and raven bag is appropriate because I think it was the machinist union that started labor day, maybe, does anyone know for sure?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The wolf is done! I am about one day away from finishing the side panels and then there will be lots of lazy stitch to do. I'm so happy with the way he turned out, lots of personality. Some other things I like about this piece is the forest in the distance, just did some abstract swirls and circles but I think the effect is cool. Also, decided to leave out the orange I had penciled in and went with turquoise instead. The orange was too much. I do like the shading on the mountains.
    Finished a spool of thread on this project. It use to be such a mile stone when that happened, now I just unceremoniously throw it away and move onto the next. I'm not a fan of how the new spools unravel in a big tangled mess. Really, a very small complaint in a good bead life...

Monday, July 18, 2011


So, while I'm merrily making my fish beadwork, I've  been putting off an order that I need to get done.  I don't like doing fur, (you might remember my struggle with the last howling wolf) you have to  lay the beads in so many different directions, and noses are tricky, yada,  yada, yada, so the white wolf was not getting done. Once I get started, I'm okay. At least 11 whites, lots of grays and the all important carefully placed black. All the while keeping the gallery open and dealing with customers. Had the anti customer today, this guy from Fairbanks selling beads and Alaskana in the driveway.  Anything can happen on these long summer days, bought some great old trade beads...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Working on the water behind the fish now. The blue colors are beautiful, not realistic to the murky waters of the Kasilof River. Took the day off and went dip netting. Eating fish tonite!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Here's what I'm working on now. Getting ready to go dip netting and was inspired to bead red salmon! At first I designed the belt to start with the fresh fish at one end and the spawned out salmon on the other. But, I didn't like it that way so I put a single spawned out fish in the center.
You can see the progress, it's coming along swimmingly...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


 Just returned home. Ah, you could say we were snacking our way across Alaska. Pretty hard to make a salad when your eating out of the cooler, right? The whole trip was a blast, the interior is like a whole different world.Tons of deciduous  trees with blooming wild flowers and huge rivers cutting across the vast landscape. Bought this hair tie in Nenana, an Athabascan Village on the Tanana River.( the artists name is Connie Stevens, not the movie star), I love it because of the traditional rose motif and the white reminded me of the paper birch that is everywhere.

We went to Chena Hot Springs and soaked in the steaming rock pool. Spent time hiking and being chased out of the woods by swarms of hungry mosquitoes! I really fell in love with Alaska again, the long stretches of roads with nothing but wilderness that just goes on and on.  I am glad to be home now and out of the tent. The old bones don't like the hard ground but it's so worth it to experience the road trip...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


at the hotel
Sitting in a dark room with three projection screens and a group of hushed but excited people. The speaker is saying Kate Boyan and I have to go up the stairs, stand on the stage while the president of the Rasumson Foundation is talking about me and pictures of my beadwork are flashed on the screen.  After the hand shake/hug and photos are taken the package is presented. I was chosen for the fellowship grant which is $12,000.00! It's too exciting. To be recognized as a worthy recipient is wonderful. After years and years of beading this makes me feel really good,that they (the art community) gets it. Anyhow I made my pitch a few months ago, see ARTIST STATEMENT BLOG, and haven't given it much thought since then. What a great phone call and then trip to Anchorage. Thought it was appropriate to show you the finished Our Lady piece since that was what I was complaining about in my proposal. I struggled with the clouds, always tricky for me but I am happy with the end result and I think the customer will be to. What a wild couple of days it's been. Still feels a little unreal to me...

Friday, May 13, 2011


In the spring we always have the sandhill cranes flying over the house. They are in gorgeous V formation, rattling their calls. But yesterday I was up at 6 in the morning walking our house guest Sadie and was shocked to hear this incredibly loud racket, two cranes ( I think they were mating) back in the muskeg, chasing each other around and making this blood curdling noise. Sadie who is a 15 year old Australian Shepard  and normally up for anything was aghast! I love the cranes and am surprised to know that this is the only piece of beadwork that I've done to honor them.

Friday, April 22, 2011


So, my niece Annie (who is a wonderful photographer and has a very cool blog with her work,  http://anniedennisphotography.blogspot) has sent me this award. Part of the deal is I have to tell you seven little known things about myself. Hummm, right off the top of my head:

1. I like watching HGTV, especially House Hunters International. So many cool places out there in the world!
2. I got married 24 years ago in Dawson City, Canada. Just my husband Robert and our dog Max, standing in the Justice of Peaces back yard with some blackjack dealers as our witnesses.
3. I have a best friend who I've known since the 6th grade. Susan Anniskett, she is a beader extraordinaire  http://globalbeadwork.wordpress.com/ She lives in Florida now so we talk on the phone.
4. I had an outhouse until my 50th birthday, yea flush toilets!
5. When I was a kid I did a cartoon strip, Bug Boy,  and I wanted to be a cartoonist.
oldest bird fossil beadwork
6. Left my parents in Connecticut and went to live in Juneau Alaska with my 19 year old sister when I was 15.
7. I love Alaska but if I was rich I would probably live in Hawaii, I just love swimming in a warm ocean!
So now I have to pass the award on and I am sending it to Kid Lit North. I love keeping up with Ann Dixon's  information on books and all things related. http://kidlitnorth.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Awhile back I did the blue butterflies and I really liked them. Thought they looked great with red so I designed this bag with that in mind. It's an example of doing certain elements of the same  design twice, sort of perfecting it. Then because I liked the simplicity of the big flowers I decided to do another one the same shape and with big up close flowers. I chose tulips because they are my favorite spring flower, the shape is so classic. My tulips haven't come up yet, but I am a little worried about them because we have soooooo many rabbits this year! The little guys have already eaten all the fresh chive sprouts and every other bit of greenery that is popping up!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Spring is my favorite time of year. Today I went to Bishops Beach and walked and walked. The tides were way out, rocks that you never see were sticking up and the sand went on forever.   Probably the big moon is affecting the tides. We have wonderful tide pools with intriguing  mollusks and invertebrates. Warm balmy 40 degree weather. Ah, spring...

Monday, March 14, 2011


What a incredibly terrible disaster! I feel so bad for Japan. They are huge bead makers, I wonder if the bead factories were destroyed?  I can relate to them on many levels, the ring of fire being the major similarity that comes to mind. Alaska has the same pacific volcanic rim and we get lots of earthquakes but haven't had one like that since 1964. Tsunamis are scary and here in Homer we have the sirens that warn us and the possibilities of horrendous waves. My heart goes out to the Japanese and I'm really impressed with the way the people seem to be handling it, without panic and a calm politeness. These pictures on this page are worth taking a look at.     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1365569/Japan-earthquake-tsunami-Aftershocks-10k-missing-Minami-Sanrik.html

And then there's the nuclear disasters happening and looming...    Love and respect to Japan.

Monday, February 28, 2011


So here's what I came up with for an artist statement (for the grant proposal.) It's really difficult to know what to say, but they suggest that you make it personal so that's what I attempted to do. Would love to here any comments or suggestions. I can use all the help I can get!
  I wake up, clear my head, grab the little notebook by the bed and write down an idea I have before it leaves me. Turn the radio on, pad into the kitchen where I drink some tea and give the cat her morning treat. I take a shower, maybe have some breakfast and then grab an arm full of wood and head upstairs to the gallery/ studio. After the fire is rip roaring I’ll organize a bit. Put some beads away that are colors I’ve used and am done with. The table usually looks like a messy palette. Then I’ll start sewing. The method is bead embroidery with an emphasis on the couching stitch. (A two-needle technique where you thread the beads on a double thread and then with a single thread you go over the double thread and lock down every two beads.) Right now I’m working on a commissioned piece for a patron from the Santa Fe gallery. It’s a little over half done and I am happy with the way it’s turning out. Arriving at the finished piece is not a straightforward task, simply following the design I’ve laid out. The relationship between my knowledge of the materials, 39 years of experience, and the desire to try something new, is what moves the piece to completion. The days/weeks go by, beadwork is very labor intensive.  I can feel intense happiness, simple contentment, minor annoyance, and full-blown angst all in the course of one project. I work 8 hours a day, sometimes more, and at night I take my beadwork downstairs and when I lay in bed before I fall asleep, I stare at it, whisked along on the adventure of creating, making mental notes of what I will do tomorrow. It’s all good.  So, who is the heavy in this little story? It’s the commissioned pieces. My next order is another; yes another, Our Lady of Guadalupe! It’s funny when I think about it, all the lean years of praying for sales and now I would like to get away from doing what is selling and onto the ideas that are experimental and have meaning to me, not to my patrons. I’m so grateful to have success in my artistic life but if the end to this story could be a fellowship grant that would give me the ability to do some of the projects from that little notebook by the side of the bed, it would be a happy ending indeed…

Sunday, February 6, 2011


First I'll just get this out of the way. I received the letter on Friday informing me that I will not be having a solo show at the anchorage museum. I was disappointed but not really surprised. Sometimes I think that beadwork is just not trendy or avaunt garde enough. But I want to keep some momentum going so I'm applying for a fellowship grant. I'll keep you posted on how that's going. I have to say that writing this blog has been useful in that I'm just bla blaing along, and when you have to write artist statements and such, it's good to be in practice. So I finished the Roses bag, I think the customer will be happy. She is from Chile and loves bright colors, flowers and butterflies so I think it fits the bill. I'll put it in the mail tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Tomorrow is the first day of the Chinese year of the rabbit. The predictions are not great, something about the rabbit being wood and that clashes with the fact that 2011 is a metal year. Could be some turmoil, seems like that might be true, but I choose to think more literal. It really is the year of the rabbit around here. The are so many of them, I've seen 9 of the cute little guys in the yard all at once hopping about. The shear numbers intimidate my cat which is highly unusual for her. Unfortunately I can't get a good picture because they don't come out until dusk and they are very white, so with the snow they just blend in. Here is  a picture of a trail. I was thinking about it and I believe I've only beaded one rabbit and he was a desert hare. I'll have to design a piece with one of our short eared inhabitants, they are so sweet!

Monday, January 17, 2011


  I'm doing a class at Gigs, (in March) the owner of the local bead store,  Gig's Beads and Things . About once a year I try to do this, although I'm definitely more comfortable at the lone bead table rather than  teaching. I confess to being a nervous public speaker. You would think I would be over that by now.  These little pins are what I came up with, fun, pretty easy, but with the ability to interject  lots of creativity. The smallness of the pins really started to distract me, I have to get back to my orders, but it's fun to make things that go quickly, ahh, instant gratification, at least in bead time!    My simple observation this week is the ice on our little pond. Again I think I can somehow work the semi-transparent thing into my beadwork, I'm always looking for that angle.

Monday, January 10, 2011


To start out 2011 with something different I thought I would begin a simple observation Monday. Making observations on things that catch my eye and have an artistic impact. My first one will be this picture I took today of the gallery ceiling. I thought the way the shadow of the stain glass window was hitting the beaded curtains and then the wall was very interesting and possibly something I could use in a future piece of beadwork. A triple shadow! Cool...
Also including a picture of the ROSES/BUTTERFLIES piece. Finished all the flowers, greenery, and butterflies and now am moving on to the background. Yea, progress!