Stacy Weeks Schoell

I love beads.  I am simply fascinated by the way in which they are made and strung.  A small player in a large symphony, a little bead is often overlooked.  As a mixed media artist, beads alone don’t lend a whole lot to the world of altering or distressing.  They can be seen as boring to some.  A bead is just meant to be strung, right?  What else can it do?

There are a lot of jewelry makers out there.  At some holiday craft fairs, half of the vendors seem to be making and selling jewelry.  Those vendors are like me, in love with wearables and in love with beads.  However, very few of us jewelry makers can match the level of craftsmanship and enthusiasm that I encountered over the past weekend, myself included.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a trunk show of Stacy Weeks Schoell’s handmade jewelry.  She is one of those driven women who works full time during the day and then crafts into the wee hours of the night.  She makes gorgeous lampworked beads and pendants, each one a little work of art.  She then strings them into bracelets and cuffs, earrings and necklaces, rings and more.   Here are some of Sandy’s pendants:

She’s not afraid to use sterling silver findings too, something I admire greatly!  I was quite drawn to these sweet earrings and their little glass bumps:


I couldn’t stop trying on these unique leather bracelets:

She uses Greek leather and makes her beads with extra large holes to fit on these beauties.  Most have a fantastic magnetic clasp.  She also had some extra time-embodied items, real works of art.  Below shows the pendant of a stunning necklace.

I’m always in awe after seeing the works of fine artisans like Stacy.  At first I want to rush out and buy a torch and a bunch of glass and melt melt melt.  Then I reel myself in and just admire.  Then I ponder that age old “craft vs. art” thing and am just thankful that there are the Stacies of the world inspiring us to push ourselves further.  I appreciate fine craftsmanship as a true art form.  And I couldn’t leave without this bit of fabulousness:


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Bumpy Gourds Mark Change

I have the house all to myself today!  The kids are at school and I don’t have to work.  Ahhh, the life.  I do however have a Mt. Everest of laundry piled in the basement.  No one has any matching socks and lets just say I need to load and unload the dishwasher… At least twice.  But I’ll crank some old school Metallica or White Stripes and motivate through it.  A little Jack White always helps with the chores.

I get to begin another drawing class adventure.  I’m enrolled in Kathy Boldt’s Combination Drawing course which continues exploring tonal (pencil) drawing and adds color pencil theory.  My first class is tonight and I’m quite thrilled to delve into this difficult subject again.  Drawing realistically is a challenge that I can only do in the evenings after the kiddos are in bed.  It requires uninterrupted peace and quiet.

I found a darling little bumpy gourd in my garden and thought that attempting to draw it would be quite seasonally appropriate.  After three solid hours and much erasing, here is my rendition of said little bumpy gourd:


I didn’t actually use any real color theory here.  I just drew in pencil first and then colored in with a few colored pencils.  Nothing magical, but I am pleased with the bumpiness.  While drawing this little guy, I have a new found appreciation for gourds.  They are really something else.  Their shapes and colors are quite amazing.  They are remarkably tough and have great underlying symmetry.  Did you know there are gourd lovers all over the world?  There is even a few societies of gourd enthusiasts out there.  I found one here  The gourd in my garden grew there unexpectedly.  I did not plant it.  To me it is a symbol of impending change.  Winter is coming and there is nothing I can do about it.  I love fall but winter leaves me a little nonplussed.  Maybe I can draw my way through it…

Anyway, for this class, we must also learn color theory. I am beginning to attempt some complimentary color wheels such as the one below:


They are rather labor intensive but a necessary learning tool.  Well, I’m off to rock the housework.  Wish me luck!



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Brunswick 10 x 10 Is Coming Soon

We’re gearing up for another awesome Brunswick 10 x 10 gala art sale event.  I can definitely say that this year’s event, marking our 5th anniversary, will be the best yet.  We have more participating artists than ever before and a special silent auction of ten original works from Dahlov Ipcar, John Bisbee, Katherine Bradford, and more.   Mark your calendars for Friday September 28th.  Doors open at 5pm.

Yours truly will also have art for sale as well.  One piece is pictured below:

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Orange Skies at Night, A Yard-Saler’s Delight

You know the old saying, “Orange skies at night, sailor’s delight.  Red skies in the morning, sailor’s take warning.”  Well, I like to believe that that saying applies to yard-saling as well, because there were definitely orange skies last night!  (Any irrational excuse to paw through other people’s stuff is fine by me!)  I happened upon one of those penultimate yard sales today.  The kind that comes around once every two or three years.  I am such a purveyor of fine yard sales.  I love good quality, inexpensive stuff!  I could probably maintain a blog on just that.  I could call it Second Handy Mandy.  Hmmm…Maybe not…But anyways, I love to share my finds with anyone who will give me the chance.  I scored an antique children’s book- perfect for mixed media collage.  Crisp, porous, and matte-finish paper, adorable pictures and vintage fonts.


The cover is quite perfectly tattered too:



I also found this very interesting card of jade stones.  It seems to have been some sort of jeweler’s catalog card or the like.



These stones will find their way into some sort of creation, eventually.  I couldn’t resist, it was only $1.00!

I also snagged this box of Japanese seed beads.  I do love Japanese seed beads, all well made and uniform in their sizing!


I found many more goodies, including an Olfa rotary cutter, a brand new shweeeet leather wallet, fun Zebra highlighters (did you know highlighters could be fun?), charcoal pencils and holders, and new art pens, to name a few.

Yard sale season is now winding down.  There will be more, but most likely it will be a year or two before we see a sale of that caliber.

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A Remarkable Post from Heather

“My Story”

On August 4, 2005 my sweet baby girl was born. Lily was the most
beautiful baby I had ever seen. I was sure no one had ever been
as happy as me, and I thought nothing could ever destroy this
newfound happiness.

Having a newborn is joyous, but also exhausting. At first,
I attributed my constant fatigue to the normal new parent
sleeplessness. When I continued to have no energy and difficulty
completing even the simplest of tasks without losing my breath, I
began to wonder if I had postpartum depression.

When my maternity leave ended, I returned to work despite the fact
that my energy levels were still terribly low. I finally decided to visit
a doctor with the hope that my fatigue could be treated and I could
return to my normal life.

After running a gamut of tests, my doctor came to me with the
news I never thought I would hear. “You have cancer.” I could
not have been more shocked. In just three short months I had
experienced the greatest joy and the worst devastation.

November 21, 2005, a day I will never forget. I was told I had
malignant pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer in
the lining of my lung. I felt like my world was ending. The chance to
see my little girl grow up was being ripped away from me because
of some asbestos exposure I had experienced 30 years earlier.

There was a small chance that my condition would respond to
treatment, but it meant going to Boston to be treated by one of
the worlds best mesothelioma doctors. It nearly ripped out my heart to
think of leaving my little girl to undergo treatment. Then I thought
of the alternative. I was determined that my baby would not grow
up without a mother. I knew she would be in the best hands at the
home of my parents, my childhood home.

As hard as this time was, it was made easier through the support
of my friends and family. My husband, in-laws, parents and

wonderful friends rallied around me. They all believed that I could
do anything, giving me strength even in my darkest moments.

My stay in Boston was full of such mixed emotions. I missed my
family and my home. The treatments were painful and exhausting,
but I met so many wonderful, supportive people. Through the
process of removing my lung and the subsequent chemotherapy I
underwent, their belief in me never flagged.

I was so touched to hear from my parents that my old friends were
stepping up to the plate to assist in caring for Lily. Knowing that
they cared so much was a constant source of comfort to me during
this hard time.

Today, I am home enjoying every moment of life with my family. I
never cease to appreciate them. Without them I may not have had
the strength to fight and win my battle with cancer.




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