Fall 2023 Newsletter

Sculpture VI: Earth Murmurs – 12.5” x 9.5” x 8.5”, 2023, $ 2,100
Rose quartz base; Front side: lepidolite pegmatite; spheres of rhodochrosite, banded agate, snowflake obsidian, rhodonite, calcite; Back side: spiderweb rhodonite; spheres of larimar, rose quartz, amethyst, unknown green and white, ruby and fuchsite,

In The Studio

People who know me well know that I am a huge fan of science fiction.  Stu even bought me a little green man who proudly graces a corner of the studio next to a Spock card from my daughter.  But when I say there are UFOs in the studio, I am not talking about the extraterrestrial kind.  I am talking about every artist’s worst nightmare:

UFOs = Un – Finished Objects!

 This is a term coined by the quilting community several decades ago.  They noticed that many quilters started more projects than they finished.  These phenomena clearly are not limited to quilters.  Psychologists say finishing projects is a challenge for several types of creatives.  We are stimulated by new ideas and often lured off task by shiny new objects.

Little green man meets Spock

Cosmic Flower was almost a UFO casualty.  It had languished on a design table for nearly 2 years when one day Nina asked me, “Why has that just been sitting there the entire time I’ve worked here?”  Hmmm… Well…  Let me see if I can remember…There is always a reason, a very reasonable reason, why a project becomes a UFO.  In my case, there is usually some challenge I don’t think I can overcome.  In the case of Cosmic Flower, it was the eceptionally deep geode at the center of the design.  It was so thick I thought it would stick out the back of the substrate and there was no possible way to grind it thinner without ruining it.  What to do?  What to do?  With no solution in sight, it just sat and sat.  But it was not forgotten: whenever I passed by that table the Zeigarnik effect would kick in and I would get pangs of guilt.  Zeigarnik believed we yearn for closure and without it we are in a stressful state.Meanwhile, in the intervening two years since abandoning Cosmic Flower, we had successfully completed a piece with a very thick central crystal – A Tear in the Fabric of Space Time.  And what did we do when confronted with the extra thick chalcedony crystal?  Simply glue two pieces of substrate together and route out a hole deep enough to accommodate its depth.  That was Stu’s genius at work, of course.  He didn’t even think twice when I asked what to do about that challenge. So when I revisited Cosmic Flower I thought, “What is hard about this??”  It was embarrassingly easy now that that hurdle had been surmounted.

A Tear in the Fabric of Spacetime – 21.5 “ x 26.5 “ x 3.0”, 2023, $4,500
Slabs of rainbow obsidian, charoite; chalcedony crystal

Cosmic Flower29.0” x 23.75” x 2.5”, 2023
Quartz geode, stalagtitic amethyst, cobaltoan calcite crystals; slabs of marble, slate, ruby in kyanite; dumortierite; spheres of fuchsite with ruby, jade, agate

Other UFOs have not been so fortunate. There was a Ribbon-esque piece I started in Feb 2020.  I laid out a possible pattern, did some auditions of materials, especially blues and golds, and then… hmmm… Maybe it needed a pop of another color… Maybe it was not as compelling as I had thought it would be…  Maybe that was too much precious material concentrated in one artwork… Whatever the problem, it was swept into a box and moved out of view. Then there was the time I had some extra letters from a project I had completed.  It was an odd grouping of 15 black gabbro letters, but ever the analyst, I found a website in which you could plug in letters and it would crunch word options.  I had WAYYY too much fun playing with the 624 word options.  From shipwreck to pipeworks to prophecies to microsphere the list went on and on.  I had thought maybe I’d use them in a sculpture? Or maybe I’d use colored mortar and camouflage them in some wall art?  But nothing gelled, and so they sat.

1. Ribbons II UFO                                                                  2. Letters UFO

I even went so far as to find inspiring quotations about “thunder” for another UFO. The idea was to have waves fanning down from the sky but I got stumped when I tried to figure out how to make my rectangular wave shapes into narrow isosceles triangles without a lot of grinding ;-).I have other boxes of UFOs hidden around the studio.  Please don’t ask… But what is on that design table now?  A melange of purple and orange stones with some white thrown in to sooth the eye.  Some of it is new material that inspires me.  Some of it is rare and needs to be used.  So far there is no design or design challenges, but I need to make sure that doesn’t stop me from moving forward.  More importantly, I don’t want to start anything else until I have completed my five recent priorities.I learned about the Rule of Five in Charlie Gilkey’s book, Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done. He has a section devoted to why you need to limit yourself to five active projects and let go of unfinished ones.  Getting rid of UFOs involves making a list of all of them and asking the hard questions that help you sort through what matters most.  Which project, if removed from your list gives you gut-level anquish?  Which will set up your future self for thriving?  Which finished project would you like to celebrate with friends a year from now?  He says the best way to finish something is often times just to drop it.  Maybe  like a bolt of lightening in a thunderstorm…

1.Thunder UFO                                                                       2. Design Table Today

In The Field

Stu and I went to the Jurassic Coast a couple of weeks ago.  Not the one of Mary Anning fame, but a much closer yet quite impressive one:  the Dinosaur Stomping Grounds north of Moab, Utah. The area has about 2,300 single tracks of mostly theropods in a two acre area.  Some of the tracks are stunning!  Equally impressive is a rock formation we visited a few days later: Secret Spire.  It stands alone in a remote area we found after several hours of ATVing…

1. Susan with theropod tracks                                             2. Stu with Secret Spire

In The Exhibit Hall

Over the last few months we have exhibited at the Creede, Colorado rock and gem show, the American Association for Petroleum Geologists convention in Houston, the Denver Mineral Exploration Summit in Golden, Colorado and even had an Open Studio at my home a month ago.  Hence, we are taking a little break until December when we will be in Reno at the AEMA convention.    If you are in Reno please join us!

American Exploration & Mining Association
Nugget Casino Resort
1100 Nugget Ave
Reno, NV  89431
Wednesday December 6th  9:00 am – 6:30 pmThursday December 7th  9:00 am – 6:30 pm
Friday December 8th  8:00 am – 11:00 am

Color Study 22 – 7.5 x 6 x 1.5, 2023, $175
Rhodonite, slate, aventurine, mookaite, marble, snowflake obsidian, chalcopyrite, Devonian hexagonaria coral,  lepidolite

Color Study 23 – 7.25” x 6” x 1.5”, 2023, $175
Metasomatite, variscite, malachite/azurite, travertine, jasper, amazonite, barite, turquoise

All the best,

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