Outdoor Adventures

Today, my adventures were no so much outdoor as indoor, and with kids, and running around...a lot. And now it is almost 8 pm, I have orders to finish, and simply have not had time for a walk. But, I am giving you lovely glimpses at what is going on in our courtyard! Yay! The Peonies are here, and the Irises not far behind!

On Forgiveness

Looking for a Definition

I think as children, we are given the notion that by forgiving someone, you are somehow saying that their actions are okay, or you are dismissing them, and you can be friends again. Ever watch children at play when someone gets hurt? How do they resolve it? The aggressor apologizes (either on his/her own or with prompting from an adult), there's a bit of a time lag, and soon enough the kids are playing once again as if nothing happened.

What is your definition of forgiveness? As we get older, our relationships and experiences get more complicated, along with the emotions that go with them. "Anger" can turn out to be a melting pot of frustration, helplessness, sadness, and hurt. Of course, it could just be anger, but that shows the complexities that come once you learn to sort through and dissect your feelings. I see a lot of people (including myself) struggle with forgiveness because of how we are taught about it growing up.

I have worked very hard to create a working definition of forgiveness for myself--one that makes sense and can allow me to let things go and move forward. Already I have had people show concern that by delving into this, I am living in the past. I disagree. I look at this as a way of moving forward.

Here's an analogy: Imagine yourself as a trunk or chest. Inside are all these memories, some good, some bad. Imagine those memories are something like clothes or photos or cards. I'm going through this chest and purging. I'm picking out things that have been inside that chest for years, maybe down at the very bottom. I'm trying them on, realizing they don't fit or I don't like them anymore, and throwing them out.

Here is my definition of forgiveness...in forgiving someone else, or myself, I am looking at what happened to create the negative emotions. I feel those emotions. I accept the situation. I make amends with myself or the other party. I let it go, and move on. Even just thinking about this gives me a sense of peace.

Now, having said that...there are some difficulties. Sometimes, we have been so hurt by others that even if we want to move forward we don't want to "forgive" them, per se. Why? In my case, there are a few reasons. The first is the age old concept of what forgiveness is. I am amazed at how deeply ingrained this concept is. Something that person did was so wrong, that I could not fathom forgiving them...they do not deserve it. The second reason is something along the lines of feeling like, if this person knew I had "forgiven" them, they might think that what they did was okay. So, in instances like that, my definition or process would change. Instead of the term "forgiveness" being used, I would use something more along the lines of "I am letting this go". It still means that I am moving forward, but it does not send the message that the actions of that person were okay.

Some people may wonder why I am putting all of this out there for people to read. That is simple. I hope that in seeing what I am going through, and seeing my process, others will be inspired to forgive themselves and others in their life, or at least go through some process of letting things go and moving forward. Forgiveness is not an easy process by any stretch...in fact, it can be one of the hardest processes to go through, and I want people to see that, and know that it is okay to struggle with it, too.

Now, time to get to work.

Outdoor Adventures

Overcast weather makes for brighter colors...I heart Dogwoods

Interesting orange flowered bush

The base of Mt. Tabor

First set of stairs, from the dog park (I always walk through the dog park)

Third flight of stairs

Top reservoir--there were "sidewalk closed" signs going up to the top of Mt. Tabor, so I took the path going down...

This dirt road was off the sidewalk...had no idea where it went

I love weird trees

Some lovely plant graffiti along the way

View from the second resevoir (below is the lower resevoir)...this is our drinking water! In the very foggy distance you can see downtown, and the West Hills.

I went on another hike to Mt. Tabor today. 45 minutes, again, but I think I walked faster this time because I know I covered more ground. It is overcast but still warm today...I think it might rain a little bit later. Of course the forecast for tomorrow is rain....sigh.

Reusable Coffee Filter

Here it is!

In she goes...

Enter coffee, center stage...

Houston, we are ready for lift off..(and the coffee tastes wonderful!)

Sometimes, it's the little things that count. Like using one coffee filter for months on end versus 60 or 100. I used to use a french press for my coffee, but with partnership comes compromise, and Dave hates french pressed coffee (something about little grains ending up in your coffee cup). So, when one of my bosses offered to give us an unused coffee maker, we took it. I have always bought unbleached paper filters for it until now.

The other day while on Etsy, I somehow came across this reusable cotton coffee filter by theScenicRoute. I immediately purchased one for a size 4 filter and am using it for the first time today! Visit theScenicRoute for these wonderful items that are only $7!

On Forgiveness

photo by Marc Duke

I will soon be starting a series of work based on Forgiveness. I don't know exactly how the pieces will come out, if they will be wearable or not, or even the materials involved yet, but that is part of the process, just as forgiveness is a process. This idea was sparked months ago when it became clear that in order to move on with certain parts of my life, I would need to let a few things go. Enter, forgiveness. I have worked for years on forgiveness...I think the first time I ever truly actively worked on it was around the age of 16. My father had moved me up to my mother's at the age of 14 because I'd been breaking rules a lot, and I told him then that I would never forgive him. A couple years later, I decided it was time to forgive my father. I went to my counselor and we talked about what it meant to forgive someone. I think it was easier then because he was my father and beneath all the teenage angst, I loved him and knew that he'd been right.

For other people, it's not so easy. I think we are taught as children, maybe not intentionally, that when you forgive someone, you are basically saying that what they had done is okay, and you are ready to be friends again. As we get older, things get a bit more complicated. A large aspect of forgiveness is the ability to forgive yourself. Sometimes that has to happen before we can forgive someone else.

Without exposing too many details yet...a few years ago, I went to see a counselor. I had become someone that I had vowed never to become, and I had badly hurt someone that I loved. We talked about my definition of forgiveness and I realised that forgiving myself or someone else doesn't mean that what they/I did was okay, it just means that I am recognizing what happened, acknowledging it and the consequences for what they are, and letting it go to allow myself/them to move forward with life. At the time, I was afraid to forgive myself, because that old ingrained definition still hung on. I didn't want to make the same mistakes and hurt someone else, and thought if I hung onto it, I would remind myself never to do that again.

Today, I know that I am older and wiser and won't be hurting anyone anytime soon. My 19 year old self who was aloof and without consequences has grown up. We turn 26 in a few weeks :)

I have actively started the process...and will be documenting it here as well as in my work. Wish me luck, and if you wish to share your stories of forgiveness, please feel free to leave comments or email me at chandler.catherine@gmail.com.

New: Outdoor adventures

Spring is here, and after a long and dreary winter, it is time to get up and get outside more often! As part of my goal to start walking at least 30 minutes every day, I am setting up a challenge for myself. To take photos on my walks each day and post them here to share. Today it was 60 degrees in Portland! I went and walked part of Mt. Tabor and chatted on the phone to a friend I haven't talked with in months! I'm sure people think I'm crazy, walking and talking on my phone, but I'm a multi-tasker. I like to feel productive at all times :) Unless I'm trying to relax...or sick. I hope it's sunny where you are!

Friday Finds--Enric Majoral

via 18KT

Enric Majoral hails to us from the island of Formentara in the Mediterranean. His work varies in its inspiration, but the pieces that have caught my eye are those inspired by eroded coastlines and landscapes. These "Sand Jewels" carry with them the textures of the ocean, and remind me of ancient vessels that have been corroded away by surrounding salt water. The forms and textures are beautiful and intriguing, and speak not only of the materials one finds on the coastline, but the creatures inhabiting it.

More of Enric's work can be found here and here.

The images displayed here are those from Velvet Da Vinci's website. Have a look to find more beautiful pieces!

Friday Finds--Gemma Draper

via .amy tavern

Gemma Draper is an artist from Barcelona, Spain. I absolutely love her work and its use of bone, found objects, stones, and metal. The colors and layers cry out for attention, and they've got mine! Although it is not really part of my own practice, I absolutely love the use of found objects. Growing up around hunters, I've been around bones my whole life, and never would have thought to make them wearable. I absolutely love the colors that Draper uses, especially with her use of pearls and stones.

Gemma Draper's work can be found here and here.

So I missed Earth Day....

Lotus Flower, Adelaide Botanical Gardens, 2004

What can I say? I was at work. And then busy with production stuff. But here I am with a bit of an eco-post.

I have tried my best to live environmentally friendly. I'm not perfect, by any means, but I do try. I learned a lot about conserving water and energy while living in Australia, in addition to learning about the effects of non-native plants, erosion, salination, etc.

Flinders Ranges, 2003

My ideal living situation would be to own my own eco-friendly house that uses solar energy, and has a grey water system, along with a garden and green house to provide veggies all year round. Eco friendly paints and recycled paper would adorn the walls, and there would be plenty of windows and natural insulation. sigh....to dream, right?

Recycled/Upcycled shelf by Michael Chapman, 2002

In the spirit of being eco friendly, I thought I would share this little shelf with you. A good friend in Australia made it for me when I lived there, and unfortunately, I had to leave it behind (he took it back) when I moved back to the states. I loved this shelf--it is one of the best presents I have ever received. Michael (Mic) used scraps of wood he had in his shed, along with steel pipe and a steel screen for the back. The only bought part of this shelf are the little -u- shapes to hold the pipe against the wood planks for stabilization. They were copper and could probably be made by hand, but that was not his specialty. You can see this photo on my flickr stream, with notes. I think it's a great project for anyone that has scraps lying around!

Also, another little tidbit. I used to use paper towels to wrap lettuce in so it wouldn't get soggy and rot in the fridge...now, I use linen dish towels for wrapping lettuce, spinach, cilantro, etc. in and they work great! Your produce stays fresh for longer, and you're not using paper towels!

Pieces of My Heart

Pieces of My Heart, 2006

Pieces of My Heart was originally created as part of a school project. The assignment was to create four pieces, utilizing hollow "beads" or forms. The first piece should be whole, the second piece altered once, the third piece altered twice, and the fourth piece altered three times. Pieces of My Heart, needless to say, was the fourth piece of the series. Because it was so different from the others, I created a chain specifically for it that would carry the aesthetic through the necklace.

I also created hangers for each piece that could be nailed into a wall to hang the necklaces on for exhibitions or as art objects when not being worn (above).

This necklace has been hanging from a bust in my house for a number of years, and has now found a new home. I'm somewhat sad to see it go, but excited for it to find a new place in the world.

You can find my other jewelry in my Etsy shop.

The "babies" turn 1 today....

Sammy & Amber

....and by "babies" I mean Sammy and Amber, our two cats. They were born from the same litter, which I guess makes them twins, but they couldn't look or act more different! Here are some tips and tricks for what has worked for us the last year, when it comes to our cats.

One of our first battles was deciding on cat litter. We have gone through just about every type of litter out there. Here's the break down:

Clay litter: bad for cats. Click here to read an article on clumping clay litters and the health dangers to cats.

Silica crystals: contains silica, and much like clay litter, can be a health hazard for cats.

Pine based litters: we tried these for a while but they track EVERYWHERE. Even with regular scooping, the pine pellets break down into dust and get in everything. The couch, the bed, the shower...anywhere that cats go, the litter goes.

Recycled newspaper litter: We used Yesterdays Mews for a long time, because it's flushable and recycled, but it STINKS. Maybe our cast pee a lot, I don't know. After about 4 days, our house would smell like a urinal.

World's Best Cat Litter: corn based and flushable, but it smells sour, which did not help with our smell issue. We switched back to the recycled newspaper after a small bag of this.

Arm & Hammer Performance: I read on moderncat that Arm & Hammer Performance is actually corn based. We're on our first bag of it, and it's working pretty well. It's a little too perfume-y for me but it's better than the smell of urine. It clumps and is not flushable, so we are using up our paper bags disposing of it. In my new quest to drastically reduce our use of plastic, I will go hunting for biodegradable bags to scoop the litter. We will probably stick with this one. It does track as well, but with the addition of a litter mat under the box, that has reduced drastically.

Sammy the helper...he's so clingy!

The other battle we've had is food. The cats loved Trader Joe's natural cat food, but it's not very economical. While at another store one day, I picked up a large bag of natural pet food by Purina...the cats were fine until we got almost to the bottom of the bag. Then they started throwing up multiple times per day. We were also using The World's Best Cat Litter at this time, so it could have been one or the other. We got rid of both. I called one of my vegan/health nut friends and asked her the name of her cat food. Evo. I love it. It's in a purple bag and is found at smaller pet stores (not chain ones like Petco). It's made from vegetables and meat. Yummy and good for the babies.

We also used to supplement their diet with raw food. I get the frozen kind that comes in nugget form. It's easy to regulate and all you have to do is thaw it in the fridge before giving it to them. They are being a bit snobby about the pheasant at the moment, though.

Amber, "smelling" the warmth of our daylight lamp, mid-winter.

Recently, some things have gone wrong with the kitties' claws, and after a trip to the vet's, I've added an omega 3 fatty acids supplement to their diet. Hopefully this will help with their dry coats and splitting nails.

Now all they need is a cute cat scratcher/tree from IKEA and they'll be set :) Some people say I baby my cats too much, but they are my equivalent of kids, and I would do anything for them. Wouldn't you do the same for your children?

The Carrotbox

Paralucia spinifera series, 2004

The other day, I was featured on The Carrotbox, which is an amazing website. I think I had heard of it over a year ago but it got pushed to the back of my mind. The Carrotbox is dedicated to showcasing rings--mostly glass and plastic as well as other non-metal rings, since the person behind the site is allergic to most metals, although I have seen a number of metal-based rings on their blog.

Hardware, made pretty by Chave

The artist behind Carrotbox has rings available as well, made out of plastic, wood, lucite, glass, which are definitely worth checking out in their Shop.

Claudie Rinneberg

Have a look through the Website and discover all these goodies for yourself!!!

Pieces from my Paralucia spinifera series are available in my Etsy shop, and can be made in your size.


Poppy, 2006

Poppies have been one of my favorite flowers for a while now. Once upon a time, someone told me that I was interested in flowers with lots of layers and bright colors, like roses. They were right. I love roses (although I don't really like the aesthetics of their bushes), poppies, peonies, etc. In 2005, I took a raising class at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. One of the projects was to make a copper bowl that we would patina. I decided to make 3 nesting bowls, and see how small I could work.

Poppy, 2005

Originally, I riveted the bowl onto a rather squat base, which looked better in my mind than it did in reality. The patina was supposed to be a vivid green/blue, but turned out to be brown with blue splotches. I was pretty unhappy with the end result (although I do kind of like the patina now looking back on it.)...

June of 2006, I was invited to participate in a Post-Baccalaureate exhibition, exhibiting the work I had made that year. Prior to the exhibition, I decided to make a few drastic changes to my Poppy sculpture. I built a longer stem for it, to emulate a flower stem better, and changed the patina to a black one, using Liver of Sulphur.

Poppy, 2006

"Poppy" can be found in my Etsy Shop.