the wall

I hit the Bead Wall the other day. It happens every time I have something big coming up, like a show, a vacation, or a major life upheaval. I spent all day Thursday making ugly beads. Absolute crap. There was nothing I could do about it, so I figured that was it. I was done making beads in Taos. It seemed sort of abrupt though, after eight years here in this studio, to just be finished like that. But the Wall sneaks up quickly. It's off in the distance. I know it's there. And then suddenly my face is smashed against it.

On Friday morning I wandered around the house, putting things in boxes, taking pictures off the walls, checking email and Facebook obsessively, and wondering if I was really ready to take the studio apart. I went out to have a look, and my hand reached for the "start" button on the kiln controller. I stowed some stuff in the shed, visited Rick in the trailer while he finished the flooring details, and edged sideways back into the studio. Before I knew it, I was sitting at the torch, wondering what to do.

I had already given myself permission to quit, for a few weeks anyway, so this was just for fun. I couldn't stand the idea of making another prissy, controlled little flower bead, or anything else I've ever done before for that matter. I didn't care if what I made was sellable, or even beautiful. I just wanted to play with fire and melt stuff, two of the main things I love about beadmaking. I was thinking about the cool silver pendant I was wearing, cast from a piece of driftwood. I was thinking about marbles. I was thinking about my cousin Mitzi's painting videos. And then I knew what to do.

I went in the house, grabbed my laptop, and set it up behind me in the studio. My TV and Bose CD player have already moved into the trailer, but I still have Pandora radio on the computer. Out of nowhere, I created a "Dick Dale" surfer music station, and lit the torch. And these are what came out of my hands...

I'm calling them Chaos Pendants. They aren't perfect, but I can see that they have someplace new to take me. I imagine I'll make more. Maybe today, and probably at the Grand Canyon in a couple of weeks. There's room to move in these. Room to wander in and look around, and for me, room to learn some new things about the glass. The Wall came down for a little bit longer, and the torch called me back to the art and play of what I do. That's what I'd hoped Taos would give me as a parting gift, but I didn't dare ask for it. Artists have come and gone from this place for decades, and sometimes they go away empty handed. I'm feeling full today. Full to the top.


  1. You should hit the wall more often if these are the result! Go for it woman.

  2. My heart is as warm as your kiln. As an artist--and a Miles!--I so know what it's like to hit the Creative Wall. You think your "stuff" is gone for good. The Muse has flown. Kaput. Then some weird thing happens and you're off to the races again!

    I'm glad my silly videos inspired you. They themselves came out of lengthy depth-of-despair. And to be forthright about my screwups and my little successes and my love for my art is freeing in a way I hadn't foreseen. Touche for both of us!

  3. Thanks MJ! That means a lot, coming from you - a true bead lover!

    And Mitzi, I will have you choose one of these for your very own when I see you this summer! Mwaaah!!!

  4. I think they look like vessels of water and the ocean. Not a bit of hot and dry Taos! You're on the move......

  5. Oh, I think I need that third one. We'll talk........

  6. Kim;

    WOW...i love first, that you describe your process. What you are feeling and going thru. Thank you for sharing that. Then i love these creations. I especially love the colored glass loop 'bails' on top ~ nice :D

    The speak to me of your surroundings....THE mountain, greening with some monsoon rain, the *STAR* water that runs thru the pueblo, the Blue Lake hidden beyond. The smoky evenings & mornings cuz it's still appropriate to light a pinon wood fire. The dust that rises so eagerly from the roads as everyone goes bumping up & down them, make for such wonderful colors in the ~clouds~ & swirls of light & sunsets.

    That's what i see in your Chaos pendants. Like this world, your world all shaken up, rugged and untamed, thinking a million thoughts all at once - and feeling, FEELING...everything!


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