Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Studies in Black

Black is such an interesting color... I love using it in jewelry. The variety of stones in so many different textures really makes for some interesting creations. Black Onyx, Black Agate and Black Tourmaline are some of my favorites. Pictured above are some recent creations.

In color theory, black is all colors, mixed. In lighting, black is the lack of any light, yet black will absorb light. Two opposite concepts, that apply to the same color. In metaphysics, Black is considered to be very protective... think black dirt of the Earth, able to protect a tiny, vulnerable seed while it germinates. I believe alot of the Goth dressers are like that - feeling vulnerable, so they wear aggressive black clothing in order to protect themselves, and tell the world to keep away. Black can also be like coal - with the ability to transmute into something extremely valuable (diamonds) or to provide the heat for other transformations - like grilling a great steak! Black is the night time, which encourages rest, reflection, and intimacy. Black is mysterious, with the ability to hide at will.

In Europe of the 15th century, black was the color of death and considered an evil color. Black cats were burned (causing an increase in the plague-carrying rat population), and the plague was called "Black Plague." However, Puritains considered black one of the appropriate colors for clothing, as did certain religious orders. Maybe because it washed out the complexions of the wearers and made them less likely to attract attention? Black is a difficult color to dye evenly and make it last, as anyone who has a favorite black cotton sweater will tell you. Old inks were generally brown, because of the difficulty in achieving a lasting black. Nowdays, with our chemical-based dyes, we have stable black inks, and our black clothes stay blacker longer!

In earlier cultures, black was thought of as a gift, not a curse. Night time was when you got to rest, and it was truly a relief from hard labors. Death was just a part of the life-cycle, and, although it was sad, it was often celebrated in ways that our modern culture finds difficult to fathom. Death was a transformation to the next step of the journey, not a total end. I rather like the protective, restful, and transformative associations with black.

April Birthstones

OK, so I've been avoiding writing about April Birthstones for some reason. Why? Been busy... traveling, working, family stuff, special orders & volunteer work. I should have had a few minutes to write it up, I had the research done long ago. So I'll ponder that a while.

April traditional birthstone is the diamond. A Girl's Best Friend if you ask Marilyn Monroe! Since diamonds are so expensive for the average person to be able to use in birthstone jewelry, somebody decided that any clear stone could be substituted: so, colorless topaz, sapphire, tourmaline, white zircon, Herkimer diamond or quartz are all great stones to use for April birthstones. The Aries (Mar. 21-Apr. 19) birthstones are Bloodstone, Diamond, Topaz and Jasper, and the Taurus (Apr. 20-May 20) birthstones are Sapphire, Turquoise, Amber, Coral, Emerald, and Aventurine, so those stones have also been used as April birthstones.

The Mystical birthstone for April is the white or black opal, with hints of fire.

The Flower for April is the Sweet Pea. The April Guardian Angel is Ashmodei. His Gem Talisman is Topaz.

Aries the God & Aries the ram are associated with the color red, all shades from scarlet to carmine. His Gemstone is Carnelian and red Jasper. Christianity also associated April with the apostle Phillip and Carenlians. I'm not sure what link there might be between Phillip and Aries, but that might be some fun trivia to discover.

Trees and plants associated with Aries include the Poppy, Honeysuckle, Bryony, Thistles and Ferns, Peppermint, Anemone, Alder, Blackthorn, Dogwood, Hawthorn, Pomegranate, Spruce and Weeping Willow.

Taurus is ruled by the planet Venus, and associated colors are pale blue, all shades of green, pink and yellow. Plants and trees that correspond with Taurus are Daisy, Dandelion, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus, Poppy, Rose, Apple, Blackthorn, Fig, Hawthorn, Pear, Vine and Willow.

So, April should be a good time to do a bit of gardening, then pull up a chair and sip some dandelion wine (or tea) while enjoying the fresh spring air and the marvelous abundance of growth all around.

Happy April!

Love is in the Earth by Melody
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic by Scott Cunningham
The Curious Lore of Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz

Monday, April 19, 2010

Treasury East - New!

So, Etsy now has Treasury East, Along with the Treasury and Treasury West. I knew nothing about it! Until Sacred Suds let me know she put my Labyrinth into a Treasury she made there. That's the best kind of surprise to get!

View her Treasury, Journey to Center, here : Treasury East Journey to Center.

So, After thanking her for including me, I browsed around & it appeared that there was a possibility to make my own treasury. So I did! Yay! Please take a look:
Splendid, Spectacular Spring

And I realized that I haven't posted birthstones for April. Diamonds, mainly, but there's more. I'll post that tomorrow.

Happy Earth Week to everybody! Leave a comment about what you're doing to make the Earth a healthier and better place to live in now and in the future. Our Kids N Kin family Sunday School picked up garbage in a park near the University of Minnesota.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I delivered my framed necklace to the Goddess Art show today. Exciting! It was a bit nerve-wracking, as I've never had an art piece in a juried show before. After my necklace (that I originally designed for the PaganTeam Harvest Challenge!) was accepted, I was hesitant... I don't have a mannequin, or half-mannequin. The necklace is pretty large, and a little grey neck sitting on a shelf or table wouldn't do it justice! Especially if it was surrounded by sculptures, and framed paintings (is my insecurity showing?).

Sooo... I decided I could have my Nettie Doll (burlap Goddess doll, about 2 feet tall) model the necklace, or I could frame the necklace. Why not? It's art! I've got a few containers of dupioni silk, and I could just picture the necklace against the silk. But the colors I first thought would look great, didn't quite do it. Then I ran across this two-toned embroidered Spring green iridescent dupioni with leaves and a few sequined flowers... perfect! And I can use the leftovers for a little bag I have planned...

Then for a frame... ran to Joann's looking for a rough wood frame - couldn't find what I wanted in my price range. So, went for an antiqued wood with a few flecks of metallic. Looks aged and organic...and it was on sale for 40% off! I dug around and found batting (luckily, I'm a fabriholic) for a little dimensional feel. There were already holes in the back of the frame, so I used those to wire the necklace in. But... the glass was glued. Glued?!? They never glue the glass in... no wonder it was on sale! I loosened it with nail polish remover, then tried to get it out. Ended up breaking it. Thankfully, it broke in large pieces, and I was wearing gloves. Easy clean-up, no cuts.

Took pics, packed me, the framed piece & the child (on Spring Break) into the car & headed down to St. Paul (about 30 miles). Dropped off the framed piece, visited with the people at the shop for a while, shopped for some candles & stones, and headed home in traffic. Was only stopped on the highway a few times, and it was a beautiful day. Good tunes on the radio, and the crazy drivers were 2 lanes away from me - thank the Goddess! Got the child fed & my friend came over for some facebook lessons. We had fun setting her up.

I feel like I accomplished alot today! Just framing the necklace made me view my creations in a way I've never seen them before. I always say it's art, but today, I really feel it. I highly recommend that everybody take one of their creations and treat it like you are putting it on display. Frame it, feature it, gussy it up like it's going to a museum! Then step back and see how you feel about it.

I should have known this. I had my husband frame one of my son's drawings for me for Mother's day one year. That's all I would tell him I wanted! He did it. And my son is so proud. People notice his art when they come in, and ask me if I'm painting again (I used to oil paint when I was younger). It makes him feel worthwhile, and he just beams. Why is it so easy to show approval and pride in our child, and not ourselves? I'm changing that today!