Mary Jane Elgin: Ceramic Enchantment

Elegant.

29 artist studios open to the public | Aug19-21, 2016

Sited along the coastline of Eastsound, Studio #6 offers garden and cloud vistas that are intimately captured in many of Mary Jane’s breathtaking vessels.  Spending hours at a time on leather-hard clay, Mary Jane cuts through her pieces allowing the spaces to bleed into each other, revealing a fresh, complex new balance.

The relationship of form, the tension and interaction between the exterior and interior spaces of a piece intrigues me.”

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This past year I have been working on expanding my vision and techniques. I am enchanted with bringing more movement, spirit and fantasy into my pieces, breaking out of repetitious viewpoints and esthetics and providing my viewers with new visual roads to travel on.”

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A native of Altadena, CA, grew up embracing the forms of the Craftsman Style which surrounded her.  For two years Japan was her home while she studied weaving and sumie painting, all the while absorbing the…

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In a white room, and other modern colour schemes: 1934

How Do You Become a Writer?

Someone’s read my thought bubble! Thank you.

Untying My Hands

What do you do?

Washingtonians are so career-driven that “what do you do?” is typically the first question people ask in this city.  I find it difficult to articulate what I do sometimes.  To say I’m a teacher seems limiting in some ways. To explain that I teach English leads to confusion.  To answer that I’m a college professor receives stares of doubt. To say I’m a writer seems too grandiose.

What I did.

At age 14, my first job was through a summer work program, and I was assigned to be a janitor at a clinic.  Picture me mopping floors in a figure eight stroke.  Later in college, my first job was as a telemarketer, a very humiliating and painful job — people hang up or they shout, scream, call you names then hang up.  After I quit that job, I worked as a shoe salesman at Florsheim.  I…

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Sarah Howe – Loop of Jade

Dave Poems.

Full Disclosure: Met Howe at this year’s Sabotage Awards on a panel regarding the Culture of Criticism. Review copy provided by Vintage Books.

Review:Loop of Jade is Howe’s first collection, in part an account of the poet’s journey to Hong Kong and China to learn about her and her mother’s past, in part a set of imaginative lyric adventures taking in Kung Fu-tzu, Pythagoras, Titus Andronicus, LA Confidential, Cormac McCarthy and Chinese political blogging, amongst others. I’ve slated writers before for wielding their education like an overseer’s whip; Howe’s poems are close-read and empathetic explorations into each text that recognise their value as real-world artefacts above and beyond their capacity to bestow literary authority. The giddying breadth and scope of attention the book achieves is held together by Howe’s calm-but-engaged, precise-but-emotionally-present narrative voice, its open-minded, casually unshakeable dedication to presenting uncomfortable and occasionally devastating stories and ideas…

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Top 6 Wines That Pair Best With Your Child’s Crappy Behavior. Epic News for Parents.

Finally science we can use.

Life as a Rambling Redhead.

There is a lot of science that goes behind deciding which wine goes best with your chicken, seafood or steak dinner, but what if I was to tell you which wine would go best with the kind of day you experienced? The data is out, and studies now show that certain wines pair up best with different parenting situations and child behavior.

The world’s most renown wine sommeliers have released this list exclusively to us at Life as a Rambling Redhead. Lucky for you, we are kind enough to share this life-changing knowledge. Parents everywhere are rejoicing.

We just want what’s best for your sanity.

Listed below are the best Wine Pairings for all stages of parenthood. 


1. Riesling pairs perfectly with an explosive poopy diaper.

If your newborn baby had an explosive bowel movement, leaving your hands literally shit-stained from the yellow substance we call “poop”, we suggest chugging a glass of Riesling immediately. Riesling…

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Textile Geometry – “Spring of Nüwa”

Who brings along a little time, should really have a look at the AW 12/13 collection of the young, chinese designer Yiqing Yin. With “Spring of Nüwa” she presents artful pleating, feather details and cut outs and creates wonderful organic volumes with layers of shimmering surfaces – like a romance meets a future world.
Very beautiful and very sophisticated.

Wer ein bisschen Zeit mitbringt, sollte einen Blick in die AW 12/13 Kollektion der jungen, chinesischen Designerin Yiqing Yin werfen. In “Spring of Nüwa” präsentiert sie kunstvolle Faltungen, Details mit Federn, Cut Outs, und erschafft wunderschöne, organische Volumen aus Schichten schimmernder Oberflächen.
Sehr sehr schön und anspruchsvoll!

Spring of Nüwa from Yiqing Yin on Vimeo.

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Brandolini: Queen of Haute Bohemia

Genius!

A DECORATIVE AFFAIR

Muriel Brandolini is a decorator in her own world – where all is beauty, dazzling the eye and feeding the senses.  NY Times once crowned her “the newly minted arbiter of Haute Bohemian Chic”.

An emerald green silk velvet pouf centre stage in a living room.

Brandolini grew up  in war-torn Vietnam after her Father’s death age 3. Quite a journey then: from chasing GI troops in 60’s Saigon for sweeties (where my aim was to establish a candy trade monoply on my street) to the ‘World of Muriel Brandolini’ published by Rizzoli last year.

Along the way she lived in Paris, modelled, arrived in New York with her 1 suitcase, got hired  on: I can sell anything, married Italian aristocracy, worked for Vogue and  found herself a decorating career after her rental apartment was photographed 11 times in one year. It reads like the back cover of a…

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Quixote and Me

images-1Image by Elizabeth Kelman, 2012

By the time you read this the caballeros of Altadena will long be done. Done leaning back on their homeward mounts, done clip-clop climbing the too narrow sidewalks north of Lincoln near the stables toward Castillo, done stomping code of crisp days coming.  Clip clop, clip clop, the sound of clocks, clip clop, a knock-knock joke, clip clop, a slow castanets, hoofs on concrete, quarter horses, half-bloods, the chestnut mare with wild eyes, clip clop, dusk dropping into chaparral baskets, under cover of crimson sky.  Mexican wedding cookies, crusted bread, churros, callouses, chores, tradition, pair of tan hands caressing trust, squeak of shifting leather, dungarees, chaps, changing directions.  A “Chk-chk” kiss catching back of cowboy cheek and chops, smooch between amigos, chums, confidantes.  Quixote, time you and me headed home.

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The Post-Adopt Crawl

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The speaker tells our packed meeting room, “Best use for the baby’s “Exersaucer Sit-n-Spin” is — first — taking the baby out — put saucer on drive, back car up. That, if you know a kid who used one, was in a jumper, has ADD, ADHD, math or reading problems, or, autism-like behaviors, probably he or she didn’t crawl enough.

“A kid cannot crawl enough,” a woman named Bette Lamotte says, “Nothing like a baby squishing his or her hips through the birthcanal, then on the floor.”  Bette says, jumping, rotating, wiggling in front of our group.

“And,” Bette says, “Don’t prop your baby up.”

This, akin to parking your child on the street like a Honda.

“Babies need to crawl, crawl, crawl, creep, creep, creep.  The floor, she says quoting someone quotable, “is the athletic field of your child.”  And, about that, “Wear your baby, up close and personal, so he or she can feel your feel, feel your heartbeats, smell your calm, your passing fears are not worry ones, gazing into your eyes, building left to right brain connections – his or her inner securities.  And, parents, this means, no strollers, no joggers, no walkers, no kidding, or else,” she says, “learning problems.  Nature has prepared us in increments for all.”

Oh, is that all, me thinking about my biological son’s ADD, dyslexia, my second son’s adoption, a built-in formula for loss, how I never considered his apparent ADHD, dyslexia, autism, ongoing tantrums relative to his not crawling much, my using an Exersaucer with our first child, the high chairs, the cribs, the carseat. I thank God at least I “wore” my kids, though I could have done so much more. Anyway, I’m awake now.

“Go back to the beginning,” Bette says, “start over, no matter your child’s age, your age.  Reconnect.”

But, how, I wonder, can I do it like he grew in me?  Like how he went through the birth canal, wasn’t a “C” section baby, wasn’t picked up from his birth mom per hospital protocol, set in an incubator for three days, prodded by doctors, nurses, left with us, baby-hungry strangers, ready to pounce like he was theirs all along, their bio babe, not someone living out of a hotel far from his birthright familiar, not with his birthmom and birthdad who seeded him beyond our reach.

“Turn on the switches,” Bette tells us,  “Do your work.  He will mend,” as she relays the story of a town near her where 17 out of 23 kids were labeled ADHD, how the learning problems went back to the baby jumpers at daycare.

Body, then mind, the day’s speakers say.  Yoga.  Spine, body, brain.  First, crawling.

I spend the next day, the weekend, near fetal, integrating a tsunami.  The learning what I missed and started to appreciate at the Celia Center Adoption/Foster healing conference, from word go about the adoptee “Sarah” and her journey to West Africa to the “Bio-Mom One Show,” what I could not stop reading, writing about in my journal, trying to retool my head — articles, parent, parenting, doctors blogs, Webinarjam, how my journey, my children’s differed.  I felt the riptide.  Today, I promised myself to renew bridges, our commitment to our sons, my son’s birthmom, how open dare I be?  Can we both be?

I can do it.  Yes, we can. We’re all in. We do our Brain Gym calmers, his taekwondo and swimming waiting for our Bette appointment in January, building on our daily special time. Today a train store with dad, tomorrow the beach. I buy The Body Keeps The Score, by Bessel Van Der Kolk.

“And speak to your child’s sleep,” one blogger says, “to his angels, his sorry, scary, sad places, ‘holding’ his experiences about the loss of being adopted, talk to his sleeping self, that something scary happened back there, he was powerless, tiny, that I don’t smell right, heartbeat right, am not her, him. How two of our triad are irreplaceable.  But don’t “talk it to death” — even if he’s sleeping — that that’s “TTD Syndrome.”  Grow bigger shoulders Mom,” a blog doc says.

I flashback, remembering our son’s “Gotcha Day,” the very name, not mine, aggressive, reminding me of my thin veiled greed, at the sight of our infant son and us, the pile up of tough days since with all these labels, his flight fight brain, the doctors, the schooling, the programs, camps, therapists, the questions, work. So far come, so far to go.

Today I promise myself to soften up on myself, on us all, my love language toward our challenges, not to walk away, ever, reconsider even the minor walks across the room, around the corner, the next room, as I’ve been counseled when I am trying to recover my cool, to communicate a line crossed.  Walk toward him, with him, walking away feeds feelings of abandonment, triggering more fears.

Be safe, him, me.

“Build permanence,” a Celia Center Conference doc says, “healing in the family setting.”

Create emergency plans for the big emotional stuff.  Typical kid, or not, they have, they will come.

I promise myself to be compassionate to myself when my kid says, “I hate you Mom,” this, might mean is, “I hate feeling this way.”

There is time, I tell myself.   Take a minute, or five.  Lighten up.

“Parents have 72 hours to revisit issues.”  A friend says her son’s talk doc told her. She suggests over dinner “Maybe get your need for him to show up a certain way out of your dynamic.” Ohm….my, that too? Was I projecting again? I loosen another expectation.

“Twenty minutes wires us for the good,” another speaker doc says.

Good or bad, I promise to get on the floor more, play with my son, play trains, crawling, rewiring our relationship for the long haul.

I laugh when I read this one on a blog, “Lay down.  It changes the body’s dynamic, our mindset, quieting our defenses.”  Maybe buying a mom or dad the time he or she needs lest one say or do something regrettable.

“On the kitchen lineo if you must,” I read.

By Saturday afternoon, I am an open cruciform, where I lay on the edge of my son’s soccer field, promising myself to pull over later in my car on an as-needed basis — on (but, not in) the road. My son a statue in the middle of the soccer field, unenthused, in a med fog, until he sees his dad and big brother step onto the field. “Look my brother, hey Dad look at me!” I sit up.

Webinarjam Kathy Gordon, an adoptive mom parenting counselor working with Bette says, “Make special time.  Set a timer, one on one play time, listening to your child with intent, asking a friend, neighbor, comrade be your “Listening Partner,” calling him or her, once a week, once a day with no idle chit chat, holding your time and theirs, sacred.” Crawling on the lineo if you must.

Every Man An Immigrant

Back home on Long Island my father’s family of origin knew within an Irish radius of 20 miles where his family had come from. A one-room straw and mud house tipping it’s roof hat to passersbys, half in the main road, halfway uphill, halfway to Roscrea, County Tipperary, halfway to the coast. Somehow it didn’t add up.

“See,” Dad would say years later sitting in our suburban living room, he at his old oak roll top desk, the eight of us born already, Dad looking from the curling black and white picture of his mother’s family’s house in his hand back to me, “Roscrea, means ‘earthen wood,’ something that lasts forever, like family, God and St. Cronan’s, the local church back in Roscrea.”

Years later, as an adult, I stood rain soaked on a still frosted July day in Roscrea, my husband, our five-year-old son, and my Mom with us, with me, scratching my head at our finding not one but two St. Cronan’s Churches and two St. Cronan’s cemeteries. One, Catholic, the second, Anglican — not 200 yards from each other. Miles of cemetery markers between them, stone walls all around, a brick castle moat wrapping a medieval town
nearby. Without speaking I knew from which side of the aisle my family harkened from.

“Well, if that’s not Irish irony for you,” I said standing next to the Catholic St. Cronan’s. “With all the saints from eternity forward to choose from they pick the same one for both churches. Like how we supposed to pay our respects? Don’t call me the shadow voice of Celtic doom but looking for one’s ancestors between two wet meadows of death in the frigid waning light — not my idea of a vacation. I’m going to the car. Anyone coming?”

Mom already there, running the car for the heat, my husband hanging back, a black crayon and paper in his hand bending, rubbing a little Irish from a headstone.

Mom had zero interest in the town, her cousin had determined her father’s side of the family tree came from Dublin, her mother’s side, from Cork, occupations? Seafarers, with her, the sea beat all.

Back at our bed and breakfast that night, looking for a clue to our unsubstantiated blue blood, I queried our proprietress about our family names.

“Yes,” Mrs. O’Neill, said drawing close to me, “The Sullivan’s, surly bunch they, the name mean one-eyed-red-haired-cyclops. Mean one, that.”

“Which county do you think they came from?”

Her arms folding across her bosom, she looked at me across the top of her wire rimmed glasses, a round linen cloth covering the table, basket of brown bread between us, she said, “That’d be a wee bit like finding the first Rodriquez in Los Angeles.”

All I needed to know, I put my map away, pulling the bread to me, slathering it with Devonshire and jam I took a bite.

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