Monday, January 31, 2011

Dancer Doll from India

It's not every day the MOTH brings home something that knocks everything else off its pride-of-place display spot. But that's what happened this weekend when he dug this clay doll out of the bottom of a Goodwill bin. Her arm was missing, so he dove in hopes of finding it, and, amazingly it was there. He brought her home, a bit worse for the wear, and reattached her arm while I was off studying.

I had not seen one of these before although I did find some less realistic versions of her quite easily on the Net. Apparently, she's pretty common -- I wonder if she's the original bobble head doll!

The design is wickedly clever and simple -- each section of the doll hangs onto a bit of notched wire at the top of the piece below it, allowing the skirt, torso and head to nod in an imitation of classical dance moves. (The MOTH calls her the "oh no you ditnt" doll).

 In my humble opinion -- ours is way more refined than most of the gaudy souvenir dolls on the web. Scuffed and scratched to be sure, but we love her already. A couple of websites said this kind of doll is doing the Kuchipudi dance, from Andhra Pradesh. Which got me curious -- here's the Wikipedia page on classical Indian dance in case you're curious too.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Free Background Image

Here's a little something to use in your digital or real life ;-) collage. It's a closeup of a few little drawers from a larger set of them. Nice for layering and for backgrounds when you want a bit of repetition to riff off of. (You might need to resize it to about 75% if printing directly to an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet.)
Click the image to go to the larger picture.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Computer Room/Study Redo

Just before the holidays we rearranged this room, in preparation for having a bunch of people over. You don't wanna know what it looked like before. Those of you who saw, I know you were worried, LOL!!!

We painted the main wall turquoise, and the others a creamy vanilla. We moved the computer desk, with all my Etsy clutter, where you can't see it from the living room.  (Pretend you can't see those boxes in the corner -- someday soon they will become a storage/display of vintage jewelry boxes.) Those weird sparkles on the wall are from the MOTH's solar powered crystal prism...

My grandfather made the bird's eye maple lazy susan on the table, and the little bird pottery dish on top of that was made at Tesuque Pueblo in 1941. The huge Buddha thangka on the wall is beautifully embroidered -- the MOTH bought it for $8.00 (why I stay married) and we had it tucked away for a couple of years, intending to give it away as a gift or something since there was no place for it. Guess we'll be keeping it now. :-)  

Yesterday the MOTH rehung one of our printer's boxes and now I can put my favorite stamps back up on the wall. Honestly, I'd like to have a whole wall of these things!

The two tall black chests contain my beads. I got them on sale at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago, intending to go in my studio (that dangerous land of avalanches and piles). Maybe someday they will, but right now the one above holds my grandmother's handpainted metal mail basket, a very old peacock-colored antique tin, a big honking quartz crystal, and this AMAZING pink bottle that doesn't go with anything else in the room.

The MOTH found it at Goodwill yesterday, bless 'im. I've never seen one like it! He has correctly anticipated my moving-into-pink phase. But THIS room is for the peacocks. For more color inspiration, I created this Etsy Treasury (click the picture to go there):

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

William Chittick on Beauty

Yesterday on the Huffington Post, Professor Chittick blogged about The Notion of Beauty in Islam. Here is an excerpt (w/some gender modifications, sorry I couldn't resist)...

Anyone with the vaguest knowledge of Islamic culture knows that it has produced extraordinary works of art and architecture -- Persian miniatures, the Taj Mahal, the Alhambra. Few are aware, however, that this rich artistic heritage is firmly rooted in a worldview that highlights love and beauty.

The link between love and beauty is clear. We love what we find beautiful. Beauty attracts, ugliness repels. Nor are beauty and ugliness simply physical characteristics. We all know people who are outwardly attractive but personally repellent, and vice versa.

Beauty makes a massive appearance in love poetry like that of Ibn al-Farid, Rumi, Yunus Emre, and countless others. Their verses stir up wonder and delight by evoking the beautiful characteristics of the beloved....

Those with a more theological bent preferred to cite the saying of the Prophet, "God is beautiful, and s/he loves beauty." They understood both beauty and love in terms of the axiom of tawhid, "There is no god but God." If God is beautiful, then there is nothing truly beautiful but God. And if God is loving, then no one truly loves but he.

...As for the universe, God loves it because, by loving her/himself, s/he loves everything demanded by her/his beauty and mercy, and that includes an infinity of creaturely possibilities. This view was encapsulated in the oft-quoted divine saying, "I was a Hidden Treasure, and I loved to be recognized, so I created the creatures to recognize Me."
God loves the way things are because "S/He made beautiful everything S/He created" (Quran 32:7). All things are lovable because they make her/his beauty manifest. Each thing plays its own harmonious role in the infinite web of relationships that the Quran calls God's "signs." The signs in turn display the characteristics of what it calls God's "most beautiful names."
God loves the way things ought to be because s/he created human beings with freedom to change themselves. Unique among all things in the universe -- so far as we know -- human beings have the capacity to recognize themselves as works in progress and to intervene in the manner in which they develop.
Read the entire post, along with links to some of Chittick's books, here:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Start the beading year with Beki

This past week I pawed through my tiny pearls, rugged gemstones and itsy bitsy seed beads, planning my upcoming projects. I also revisited some of my favorite beading sites for inspiration. . . and free tutorials.

Beki Haley from Out on a Whim has some of the bestest, and easiest to follow, beading tutorials on the web. I haven't seen her since Bead Expo in Oakland! (Where we spent a memorable couple of evenings in the hotel lounge -- and by lounge I mean bar -- dodging and colliding with other beady characters from that part of the world) Maybe she'll see this and say hello!

Here's her latest offering, the Peyote Channels Bracelet:

peyote beaded bracelet beki haley
And here's a direct link to the rest of her wonderfully concise tutorials: