Monthly Archives: September 2011

This is a bookshelf.

This is a bookshelf.  I took the photo on my iPhone at my parent’s house on Texada Island, BC.  My dad built the bookcase and the books on it have been around since my very early childhood.  I can’t even recall the circumstances in which I took the photo – the when or why – but when I look at it, something inside me that gets caught up in my busy everyday life just chills out a bit.

This image might be a little tiny one – a phone photo – but it makes me pretty happy inside.  I’m reading “The Architecture of Happiness” by Alain de Botton right now, and a lot of his book centres around the idea that we are drawn to spaces, places and objects that “speak” to us of what we want ourselves to be.  We surround ourselves with scenes and items that remind us, somewhere deep in our brains, of what we believe in and the qualities and ideals we hold dear.  That’s a pretty small part of what the book is about, but it’s one that is capturing my interest right now.

Following this theory, then, what does this bookshelf say to me?

It reminds me primarily of the simplicity I seek in my life.  The bookshelf is unfinished fir, unpretentious and serviceable first and foremost.  The books speak to me about playfulness and fun – their jaunty colours and tilted angles seem casual and relaxed.  The book collection itself speaks to an unfussy air – the titles are anything from philosophy to history to children’s bedtime tales.  The two artworks on the wall are block prints.  I love the sturdy, steady nature of this art.  It grounds me, echoing the simplicity of this scene.  It reminds me to slow down in my life.  Take the time out to read the book titles, perhaps actually spend an hour reading with a cup of tea.  This bookshelf says to me, “Don’t forget about the basics.  Don’t get so caught up in wanting things and running around trying to get them that you forget about the joy in the little things, and taking time out to appreciate them.”

I think the message is one that is close to my heart, and says a lot about who the best of me is.  So thanks, bookshelf, for reminding me that joy is attainable in the details of the world around me and pushing me to be that better version of myself.

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Some stained glass design

Stained glass has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl.  My grandpa did a lot of stained glass and first taught me about the techniques when I was about 11.  I was fascinated and enthralled by the beautiful end products – shimmering, colourful lamps and window hangings – as well as by the methodical technique.  There is something so rhythmic about the process – the basic steps are always the same, regardless of the end achievement.  I wanted to post some pictures of a few of the pieces I have done in the past couple of years – you can also find pictures of them on my Portfolio/Stained Glass page.

This stained glass piece was created by making long strips of glass and then soldering those strips together into a cylinder.  There is a three-pronged spider welded to the inside of the lamp, so that the fixture sits a couple of inches below the top.  There are over 300 individually cut and soldered pieces in this lamp!  I was inspired by window lights in high-rise buildings at night, and how they make a cool random pattern of squares on the building’s face.  I built this lamp for my mom.

This second piece was created for my little sister.  I was inspired to do something with round circular shapes, and to mix that with triangles.  My grandpa originally taught me how to do stained glass, and he made a few lamps that looked like this one, but entirely with triangular pieces. I really loved the deep purple glass – without light shining through it, it looks black!  This piece took a really long time to do, as cutting circles in glass, especially the little tiny ones, was not an easy job!

The third piece I wanted to post is my favourite.  I used a play of pattern, colour and texture to create this small table lamp.  I was inspired by many of the Prairie-style stained glass lamps out there, and the design is quite traditional.  I made the lamp base myself, out of a piece of Douglas fir and a repurposed lamp fixture.  The lamp itself was constructed in four panels, then joined into a box shape and reinforced with wire.  Corners are always tricky in stained glass, because the copper foil tends to want to pull from the glass if there is any pressure on it.  Reinforcing the corners and the top edge is really important.  I am so pleased by the final product, I hope you enjoy it too!

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Finally, a first post…

Well, this is my very first post, hopefully of many!  It’s intimidating, sitting here and trying to think of what to say in the very first one…  Maybe something like the stereotypical artist contemplating a blank canvas.  But the first move is the most important move, not for its content or accomplishment, but because it is a move… an action, the decisive stroke that builds that first momentum.  Wordcount says that I have so far put down 75 words.  Maybe not a lot, but empowering nonetheless.

My hope for this blog is to use it as a forum for my thoughts, a place to share things I like or find interesting, a spot to get what I think or feel or wonder out there.  I’m still learning how to use this tool to make my blog dreams a reality.  I’m sure I don’t even know all the directions that writing and posting will take me in.  I have some ideas, and I’m sure more will come.  It’s exciting!