Post Tucson

Sunset at the end of another Tucson show.

I’ve been home for a week and have spent most of my time plowing through papers and other crap in my office getting ready for tax time and the annual appointment with our accountant. A top priority for me this year is to get a JOB. After so many years being self employed, it’s just not enough. I would like a job that I can go to and leave at the end of the day and that will allow me to continue with my creative endeavors because I will never give up my art and music or I should say, art and music will never give me up. I have my heart set on a couple of places that I’d like to work, I just hope they will like me too. My resume is long and varied. My mission is to write the most kick ass cover letter that I possibly can. Wish me luck in my search!


Ok, I’ll try this again…

Blue “chalcedony” beads

I gave up in frustration trying to post the other day. Blogger kept changing everything with regards to fonts, formatting etc… Looks like it’s working properly so far today so I will repost my original.

This is the 13th year that I’m going to Tucson to sell my beads. I’ve been at the same show for all these years and have had offers and opportunities to do other shows in town but I like the laid back vibe and the many artists and vendors that make up the Best Bead Show. It’s like a family reunion each year.

There have been changes. Some people have moved to other shows or dropped out completely and others are just taking a break. It has been tough for me to keep doing shows and in order to still have a major venue for my work I stuck with Tucson. I did Embellishments (later Bead & Button), Recursos (now Bead Fest), various bead society shows and I loved them all but at some point there became so many shows with payment deadlines, hotels, airfares all at the same time that I could not keep up. I scaled everything back to one major show a year and it works just fine for me. It gives me time to explore and play with new ideas and also spend more time on music.

I am so grateful to have Kate as my wonderful hostess, it helps ease the stress of an otherwise intense but fun week and I get to be around a bunch of creative, interested and interesting people. I’m also looking forward to seeing Andrew Thornton, speaking of interesting and interested. This year I’m trying to make some room in the car for the cello and a bit of gear.

I love making this road trip, I never get tired of the desert scenery and as crazy as Arizona may seem, it is a physically beautiful place and I know some excellent people that live there.

Tucson 2011


My dining room table covered with goodies to take to the Best Bead Show.

I’ve had to re-write and reformat this stupid blog several times. I saved what I originally

wrote in order to save my sanity but this thing doesn’t want to cooperate. I’ll try again later…

WTF blogspot!

Shop Independent, Shop Local

Some of my current beads.


Sorry, but I have a beef with “Black Friday”. I know it’s the day that retailers say that they go from the red into the black but the term has such negative connotations and people’s behavior seems to reflect that. I mean really, do these folks look joyous to you?
As a self employed creative type it pains me to see people pretty much wasting their hard earned money on things that often are not very meaningful and hold no intrinsic value in the long run. Now I would love it if more people bought work from me or books and art from Ducky Waddle’s and so I present to you How To Be a Better Consumer from Reverend Billy’s Church of Life After Shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against shopping but things are totally out of control in our culture. Just because it’s shown on TV or advertisers push it or personalities say that you must, doesn’t mean you have to. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the best marketer when it comes to my own work and I will never be able to compete with the corporate beast but I still want you to buy from me and I hope the things that I make will give many years of pleasure and will not lose their value over time.

New tool

Again with the fonts….

This is a new tool I purchased this summer. I am loving it but it makes me want to get a pair of French shears too. I got this nice pair of German cutters so I could cut some of the awesome copper sheet that I’ve been hoarding for a lot of years. I’ve been stamping cutting and filing pieces for jewelry making. Pictures of them coming soon!

Musical project in development

I just noticed that I have fonts all over the place!


I thought that I would be doing a different performance project this fall but things have changed drastically. I have ended up with 2 different things to work on along with every thing else I’m trying to do. A few weeks ago I was invited to a birthday party at the home of Marcelo Radulovich. We have known each other on and off for at least 20+ years as musicians playing locally during the late 1980’s. Jim Call was also at the party and the seed was planted that we should get together for some musical experimentation to see what comes of it. I’ve know Jim since my days of singing back up for the Penetrators where he played sax and keyboards. We decided almost immediately on what the project wasn’t going to be and are still working out ideas and forms but instrumentation includes computers, cello, theremin and assorted sound makers. Our first “gig” to the public was a week after we got together. It seems like things want to move quickly so we’re going with it. We played at the Studio Second Street in Encinitas for their once a month art jam. Students come draw, paint or sketch a variety of musical entertainment. It was fun and we have our first flyer artwork by Mark Adams. It was drawn on some type of cardboard packaging, recycled by art.
We have thrown around a lot of names in our few short weeks together and one day while setting up to “rehearse” (the word practice doesn’t describe it either, it’s more like a fun lab time) Something was described as being part of a “nicey nice world” and it somehow clicked when it was said again. It sounds like a ridiculous and improbable place but Marcelo described it as making him feel like a good citizen. We just want to move your mind as well as your behind.
Nicey Nice World at Ducky Waddles on Thursday October 28, 8:00 p.m.





Workshop at Whaley Studios


If you have been making or collecting art beads in any media but are still not sure how to use them, I’ll be teaching a one day workshop called “Designing and Making Jewelry with Artisan Beads” at Jay Wahley’s jewelry studio on October 9. Back in the days before I made glass beads I used to string beads and make jewelry using broken pieces that were either given to me or with beads that I would find at garage sales and thrift stores. Later when I learned glass bead making I always kept the idea that beads could and should be worn and that there are so many ways to design with them. This will be the first time for me to teach this class as I usually teach glass beadmaking or glass fusing so it’s exciting and a little nerve racking to try out a new thing. One thing for sure is it we will have fun and create some fabulous things and get a chance to play with some nice materials. If you haven’t been to Jay’s studio it’s a beautiful facility in the wonderful Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. For more information and to sign up please visit Jay’s website www.whaleystudios.ning.com
I’ll have kits and beads available for you or you can bring your own beads to create with. I’d love to see you there!

Here is a bracelet with lampwork glass beads, carnelian seed beads and a silver Mercury dime button clasp.





Make Art Not War

I had a pretty successful trip to the Tucson Best Bead Show, a trip that was marred by one annoyance. If you haven’t traveled on the I-8 from San Diego you wouldn’t know that the border area has been effectively militarized, complete with dogs, checkpoints, walls and helicopters. The young woman border patrol agent at the checkpoint right after I crossed into Arizona said her dog liked my car so I was waved into secondary inspection. I pulled up under the little carport and I see another woman with her little girl waiting for officers to finish searching her vehicle. What are they looking for there? Mind you that I have driven through these checkpoints many times over the years and have never been stopped. I got the feeling that these guys and girls needed something to do on a slow hot day in the middle of the desert because they certainly were not making me feel more secure or safe in my own country. I got out of the car and opened all the doors. The back was filled with my beads and display stuff for the show. The dog climbed into the car to sniff at my dog’s blanket on the back seat. Nothing found, I was sent on my merry way. A few miles up the road I see these two billboards less than 100 feet from each other…



All I can think is, wow Arizona! Was I profiled because I’m black? It’s a place I don’t like to go because I am always hoping to be judged on the “content of my character” instead of how I look, middle aged black woman with dread locks, but I’m thinking that anyway. Then I think maybe it was my bumper sticker, the wonderful “Make Art Not War” sticker by Shepard Fairey. Who knows? Whatever the criteria they use it’s all f’d up and I feel pretty powerless when I’m at their mercy. The sentiment expressed by my sticker can really screw with a persons thinking, especially if they like to think that humans couldn’t possibly exist without war. What a concept, I like to think it! I feel bad for people that want to hate and kill everything that they don’t understand, it’s like they have some kind of illness.
The rest of my drive was uneventful, a couple of Jan Brewer for governor signs assaulted me along the way and I finally arrived at Kate’s house. Safe!



September Song

Boats at Lake Henshaw.
We took a Sunday drive out to the back country this Labor Day weekend. It was surprisingly quiet on the roads and at the lake as everyone seems to be wrapping up their summer.

I’ve been making beads for 4 days straight in preparation for the Best Bead Show this coming week in Tucson. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this much time to work since I only managed about one day a week of bead making this summer.

I love Arizona, even with its crazy disfunction. I debated whether to boycott the state or not since I in no way agree with their immigration stance. I live less than 1 hour from the California/Mexico border, 10 minutes away from the San Onofre border check and about 20 minutes from the Fallbrook/ Temecula border check. I have witnessed firsthand the positives and negatives of immigration both legal and illegal as a Southern Californian. I decided that a boycott of the state was not in my best interest as a good portion of my livelihood depends on Arizona and I can show some solidarity with my peeps who are not down with the nuttiness of their state government. Besides who are we in Cali to decide, we have our own crazy politicians that would love to implement similar kinds of laws and have tried to in the past.
The Best Bead Show starts Friday, September 10 and runs through Sunday the 12th. It’s located at Kino Veterans Memorial Community Center, 2805 E. Ajo Way. Tucson, AZ
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Please stop by my booth and say hello and check out my beads, jewelry and glass.