Chinese Porcelain

You’ve seen blue and white china around all of your life, at restaurants, grandma’s house, where ever. It’s often called “Willow Pattern”.   I’ve always loved the blue color.  But I
never knew there was so much more to the story.  This is the kind of thing your Grandmother had in a glass-fronted cabinet or on the mantel. Aishin Romance 1

Welcome to the 21st century.

Never Apart   After I saw some of the contemporary look of Chinese Porcelain my curiosity was sparked.
How did it get from “there” to “here”.
So here’s a very brief history.

I’ve always wanted to know Why Blue? Sure, I love the color and Cobalt Blue is a wonderful color to use as a decorating accent (or all over for that matter), but where did “Willow pattern” and all the rest come from? And why is Jingdezhen called the porcelain capital of China?

It seemed logical that the manufacturing of anything would begin with the raw materials. So…

They start with Kaolinite, a fine white clay, and the name is derived from Kao-ling or Gaoling, a village near Jingdezhen. (This is the same stuff they once used in Kaopectate. Is that weird!?) Jingdezhen’s porcelain has been famous not only in China but also internationally for being “as thin as paper, as white as jade, as bright as a mirror, and as sound as a bell”.

The development of Cobalt blue decorations was due to the combination of Chinese techniques and Islamic trade. Cobalt blue pigments were excavated from local mines in central Persia from the 9th century, and then were exported as a raw material to China. The blue and white designs on what we call ‘china’ were made possible by the Cobalt from Persia (called Huihui qing, “Islamic blue”), combined with the translucent white quality of Chinese porcelain. In the early 14th century mass-production of fine, translucent, blue and white porcelain started at Jingdezhen.

(My apologies to the original authors. Most of this was lifted from Wikipedia and slightly modified for use here.) 

Porcelain production in Jingdezhen today.

So that’s your brief history. But there’s more to this story.

Power of the People

I’m non-political. I was disenfranchised a long time ago. But I’ve had this kind of New Age idea and I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. Or be silent and join me.

There was research some time ago about how the power of prayer could affect social behavior on a broad scale. The study I’m thinking of showed reduced violence coinciding with a time when a large group of people focused on making it happen. Now I don’t believe in “prayer”.  I call it focused consciousness, but it’s the same thing if you call it meditation or just directed thought.

The problem I’m looking at is the upcoming election. The candidates that are presenting themselves all seem to have very limited perspectives. I don’t want to be governed by a President who has extremely focused religious, moral or economic views. Call me an idealist but I think a President should have the interests of the entire country as his/her main focus.

Voting is the process but without the best candidates, it just won’t help. And whatever you may think about the current candidates, there’s no denying that we need some very inspired leadership to raise us out of the economic and social problems we’re experiencing.

So what I’m thinking is this. If you agree about this, just a little, join together with me and all the other anonymous “you” out there. For five minutes a day focus on bringing to this country leaders from the next election who can provide the basis for a recovery from this state we find ourselves in. 2:00 pm New York is 1:00 pm Chicago, noon in Denver and 11:00 am in L.A. Climb to the rooftop. Retreat to the cellar. Retire to the restroom or join together in the conference room. Focus for just 5 minutes on wanting the very best for this country.

It is said that we get the government we deserve. Now obviously no one person makes up the government. And you may not agree with me on who is best for what role in government. But if you agree with me that the power of the people is in unity. And if you agree that unified thought and desire can generate change. Then join with me to focus on bringing to this nation the leaders we need. And maybe, with a unified focus, we can create something even better than we deserve.

Send a link to this blog to everyone you know. Or put the idea into your own words. But believe with me that if enough people join in, then we can make something wonderful happen.

Be Yourself

More of my TextTiles.

I’m a quiet person, not given to expressing opinions in public. These pieces really let me voice my thoughts.

The next step for these designs is to turn all of the TextTiles into notecards.  They’ll end up in the catalogue on my web site.

I like this one.  It’s a quote from Oscar Wilde.  This starts when you’re a teenager and it takes courage to outgrow it.  We’re all under pressure to live up to something or be someone else.  But it’s the same thing as lying.  When you be yourself you don’t have to keep track of what you’re pretending and who the real you really is.

This one follows logically.  It’s takes a lot of work to stretch your thinking to allow yourself to be yourself.  Just like any exercise, it’s worth it in the long run.

FYI about the process. The silhouette on Be Yourself is mine. It’s the first experiment for a series that finally became Faces. Techniques are a combination of reverse appliqué and embroidery.

The butterfly is another experiment in a technique of slashing the fabric and including pieces when it’s sewn back together.  The chiffon on the butterfly is all on the surface, attached only in the seams.   I finally got it all figured out and refined in the Fairy series. There were three that I finished but I only have one of those left.

I hope you like these.  Maybe they speak to something in you too.

Rainbows in the Snow

Winter rainbows 

So I’m thinking of how easy and hard it is to create anything.  Start with a simple idea and build with it.  That’s the path of life.  Everything seems simple enough, but twists and turns have a way of educating and inspiring me to do better, or at least more than I ever imagined.

I like the idea of winter rainbows.  Iridescent snowflakes and frost on the window.  I have new products in my shops and snow outside my window.  Here’s my first new listing for today.  Rainbow of votives

 I love the purity of the colors.  They’re like the snow, simple, elegant, and with their own power.

I also listed two new plates. Red Glass Offering Plate and Gold Glass Offering Plate 

Some time ago I was experimenting with weaving ribbon to make backgrounds.  It works well for quilts but I wanted to try it in decoupage.  This is one of those simple ideas that became really complex.  These started with the pieces of colored and white iridescent ribbon woven into a single piece.  Then I pinned it all down to a piece of plastic wrap so I could transfer it to the plate.  And it turned out to have no impact at all, blah in fact.  That’s when I got the idea to jazz them up a little so on went a border of glitter and a layer of tissue.

And they grew like snow drifts, gaining personality and impact as I worked with them.  I’m always amazed by the things I create after they’re finished.  When they leave my hands they take on a life of their own.  Perhaps completion generates synergy.  They become more than the sum of their parts.  The flow of life can do that, when every action I take sends a ripple.  Maybe it’s sharing a bit of beauty through my art and maybe it’s through just being nice to the lady behind the cash register.  This is starting to sound like a Christmas movie.  But I’m counting on this kind of synergy to lead my life somewhere I haven’t seen, around some bend in the path that will insprire and amaze me.

So I got to share these pretty things with you.  Pass it on.  Share something nice with someone today.  Maybe it’ll take your path someplace new and amazing!