Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A good day's work

I am carving a new cross design. It is a little more than an inch long and suggests the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor and Comforter who came after Jesus rose from the dead and returned to the Father. Here are the original drawing and the drawing reduced by half,  affixed to a piece of carving wax.  

I roughly carved the basic shapes today, and I hope to finish it tomorrow.  

I haven't worked this small for awhile. It's stressful. I have to take care not to snap the piece as I carve (I did that twice) because I hate repairing it. And the wax is such a tricky combination of shiny and translucent, it's not so easy to to see what's going on.

But there were many moments of peace and pleasure as I worked, and when I paused, I watched the snow sift steadily down the air.  Watching snow fall on windless days profoundly quiets me. The delicate substantialness of each flake touching the ground, becoming weighty all together, gives me a feeling of blessedness, as with the laying on of quiet hands.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Carol

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap, 
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
 But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a Crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down. 

by G.K. Chesterton

Madonna and child, by Marianne Stokes. Tempera on wood panel, 1907-1908.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Crosses on Etsy

We received five silver crosses from the caster yesterday.  It was a rush to see my design reproduced in a handful of shiny silver.

My husband applied medieval sounding chemicals to darken them. Doesn't "liver of sulfur" sound like something an alchemist would use?

Then he used steel wool to bring out highlights.

We posted them on my newly opened Etsy shop last night. We are offering them  for the extremely low price of $80.00 until the twelfth day of Christmas--January 6, 2014. After that we will be selling them for the still very low price of $125. (This price is low compared to standard prices of silver jewelry of a comparable weight.) There are over nineteen grams of  silver in each cross, so they feel nicely heavy in the hand. I hope this piece will aid in focusing on the love and sacrifice of Jesus, and remind of his complete engagement with our broken, suffering world--nothing held back.

There is a hidden bail in the back to slip a chain through.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The other night I dreamed I was at a friend's house helping him choose a therapist from among a crowd of therapists, who were sharing psychological insight and making toast. We weeded out those who made toast with hard crust. I really liked one named Skye Blue, though he hadn't made toast yet. "He made sense to me," I said, "and if he had made toast I'm sure it would not have been hard." I thought Skye Blue should be my therapist some day, so I memorized his name by picturing a little man in blue nestled in my paint tin. Then I heard the theme song from Sesame Street. My husband had set his phone alarm to remind him to go to dinner at 6:15, but he had set it for AM. How thick and heavy my eyelids felt, how warm and deep the bed. I laughed about Sesame Street and crusty toast. I did not get out of bed.

And here is a colored pencil drawing that feels like something from a dream, maybe a dream of Tolkien or George MacDonald: twin trees growing from a pearl of light in a gazing pool. I did it awhile ago when I was obsessed with trees and flowers growing in circles of water or sky. The stones are from Lucy's collection of Lake Michigan beach pebbles.