Saturday, January 31, 2009

January in movies and books

As it's the end of the month, thought I'd share with you the movies I've watched this month and the books I've read this month. A regular post thing each month.... I'll tell you my favorites and maybe you can share your favorites too.....

January in movies:

When did you last see your father
The Reader
Kenny - Portaloo Delivery Man
Enduring love
The curious case of Benjamin Button
La Rondine - Puccini (yes, an opera, but I saw the live HD broadcast of it from the Met at the movie theater!)

My definite favorite was The Reader. Highly Recommend it. Kenny was actually a really different movie - odd subject and just amusing. If you want something different, try Kenny - but don't blame me if you don't like it!!

January in books:

The Creative Entrepreneur - Lisa Sonora Beam
Prisoner of Birth - Jeffrey Archer
The Broker - John Grisham
Bordeaux - Paul Torday

My favorite was Prisoner of Birth. I listened to it as a audio book while I was driving to and from the city and got so excited in parts I had to switch it off and concentrate on driving instead! Jeffrey Archer is just a wonderful story teller. If you haven't read any of his - give them a go. Last month I tried "Not a penny more, not a penny less" which I loved, but this one was even better. And I'll read another one of his next month - just gripping stories. Good easy reads that really engage you.....

So what was the best movie you saw this month and what was the best book you read? Let's share some recommendations......

Friday, January 30, 2009

Merry go round - New craft

It's time for another ride on the merry-go-round! Jump on and join a group of artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

This month's question that myself and 8 other women will answer is " If you had the time/money etc etc, what new craft or art would you like to try this new year?"

Well this one doesn't take much thinking about for me. I would love to try stone masonry - particularly stone carving of large figures.

My interest in stone masonry was first sparked from reading Ken Follett's book "Pillars of the Earth" all about the building of a Gothic cathedral and the lives of the people involved. It is one of my favourite books of all time. I just loved it.

You learn a lot about stone masonry in the book - how they cut the stones, how they do the sculpting, how they discovered flying buttresses and lots of other things ........A great architectural novel but also a wonderful story with fascinating characters.

Add to the book that I sing in cathedrals and since reading the book, I spend more and more time looking at the architecture and details in the cathedrals, so I just think it would be wonderful to take some classes in stone masonry with a bent on cathedrals - those gothic vaults and arches, the windows.... . I know it takes years to learn a skill like that - and that's not what I want.I just want an understanding of what is involved and then I know I will be in even more awe! We have these enormous cathedrals in England build hundreds of years ago with very few tools and I would like to experience just part of how they were created.

And to be able to sculpt a gargoyle that would sit somewhere for hundreds of years - wow - I would just love that!!! Yes, I love my little jewelry sculptures but the large scale of things in a cathedral would just be so cool!

When I was back in England last spring I saw a demonstration by the stone masons at Gloucester cathedral and all the restoration work they were doing there. I spoke to one of them about his training and apprenticeship and how long it takes to learn all the precise skills......gosh - it just sounds wonderful......

Anyhow - I'll continue to dream about gargoyles and huge sculpted figures of saints and angels....

Take a look at what new craft the others on the merry go round blog would love to try.......

Please check my blog entry for Monday 26th January and enter my competition!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Etsy front page

I just listed my Bubo the flying owl necklace on Etsy today and he is now on the front page! Although I made Bubo a while ago, I re-worked him today by adding my own rivets instead of the larger ones that he previously had to make his wings flap. Then I realized he had never been on Etsy before - so off he went - and made it to the front page. Whoooo-hoo for Bubo!

(Thanks for letting me know Lily!)

Creativity sparks - ideas to inspire : Go shopping

One of my favorite ways to find inspiration for my creations is to go shopping. Actually, just window shopping - but I find it really does help.

Depending on what sort of art/craft you do - you may have your own type of shop or store that will do it for you. For me, it's toy stores! Especially those that have old style toys.

My husband is not quite used to this new source of inspiration and often wonders what I'm doing heading into a toy store - then it clicks and he leaves me to it for a while, to check out the different toys, from the wooden toys to little cars to animals to just the packaging design. Toy stores just are happy places with lots of bright colors and playful things that often inspire my creations.

For example, I'm half way through making a type of jack in the box necklace. I'm still figuring out how to work the clasp right now - but when I do that, I think it'll be sweet.

My Bubo the flying owl necklace was inspired by a toy, anyone can fly a kite, also my fish mobile earrings,.....I also keep looking at old toy musical instruments......and spinning tops and ....

The other type of store that I enjoy browsing around for inspiration are hardware stores. Sounds a little odd, I know - and I have never really been a hardware store person......but since I now use "power tools" - I'm quite into them.....I wander around and see all these different textures and shapes and little screws and tiny components and it sparks off ideas such as hinges and kinetic movements in items and more mechanical aspects to my jewelry.

So next time you are out and about - try doing some window shopping for inspiration and see what comes to mind. What kind of store inspires you the most ? Antiques, garden store, sweets, kitchen gadgets?????? Give them all and try and I'm sure something will catch your eye - whatever our style!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Business Matters - Part 3b - No man is an island

Continuing on from last week with the subject of "No man is an island" and who are the people that support us.......I then spoke of face to face support and the support of my family and friends.

This week I'd like to talk about the large group of people who sustain me in what I do, yet I have never met them and may never meet them. We have only "met" on the internet. This group has been the biggest the surprise for me as I never imagined such friendships would develop.

Two such people from this group, who have become wonderful friends I met online through the Dawanda marketplace website. They both contacted me initially and offered to translate my product listings for me into German and French for my Dawanda website in Europe. Marion and Fabienne have become such important supporters for me. They are often the first to comment on a new piece as I send them the text to translate and offer great feedback. But our correspondences are now much more than jewelry specific - we share ideas and experiences about many things, we share our lives... and also laugh a lot through our emails! They are precious friendships that I would never have imagined would have come about from online selling.

Then I am a member of a couple of yahoo groups for metal clay - one international and one local. Through these groups I keep in touch with what other artists are doing throughout the world with metal clay and hear about new books and classes and competitions etc.

I am also a member of the Etsy Metal Clay group which is a new group of other silver clay artists who sell on the Etsy marketplace. That group I find continues to push me in things like improving my photography, and helps with practical advice on casting and wholesale work and "the jewelry business" at large.

Then through this blog I have gained a lot of support: - from you - reading this now; from those of you who comment; and also from my merry-go-round group of blog posters ( our next merry go round is this Friday - so look out for a shared topic). It's nice that we all "jump on the merry go round" once a month and write on the same subject. It feels like a community.

And finally, through the websites where I sell I also feel part of a community through comments on my products and of course, from feedback from my buyers.

I feel a tremendous amount of support - and am so grateful for this. Thank you. It makes me think of the little saying I include with my "missing piece" bracelet:
"You are an important piece in my life’s puzzle.

You may never know precisely where you fit in my life or others,

but just know that without you, there would be a significant hole."

So what about you? Who are your supporters? And remember, don't be an island - you can find supporters in many different places - including people you'll never meet. Take a look......reach out.....You never know where that support will lead. And remember, powerful alliances are no longer bound by geography.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Etsy Metal Clay Trunk Show

The Etsy Metal Clay Team will be hosting their second Trunk Show on January 29th at 7pm EST (4pm PST) in the Etsy Virtual labs. This Trunk Show will display the work from eleven of the Metal Clay Team members. I am not participating this time but go take a look at what other people make with silver and bronze clay. The designs above are all by other members of the team.

All of the fine, handcrafted jewelry that will be presented during the Trunk Show will have a Valentine's Day theme. There will be nine door prizes to give away during the Trunk Show via Valentine's Day Trivia. So if you have fast typing hands and a quick wit, you will win jewelry created in fine silver and bronze. Hope you'll stop by.

The story behind the animal tracks

So I really started getting into animal tracks and tracking when I moved to New Hampshire. I wouldn't say I'm a tracker or anything remotely like that - but I do like trying to use a bit of detective work to figure out who has been around.

When I lived in New Hampshire, I volunteered at Squam Lakes Natural Science center. I became a docent and just loved the training and learnt so much. I then went on to help in the development department with their capital campaign. It is just a wonderful place and if you are ever anywhere nearby, you have to go and visit it - whatever your age. It made such an impact on me - and I wish I still lived close by.

Anyhow, we were new to the USA at the time and I just got interested in all the different animals that we didn't have in England. Opossums playing dead, skunks smelling the roads - ugh, bobcats, bears hiding behind trees, flying squirrels...... - it was all so new and fascinating.

But my most loved of all was the porcupine. Ah - I definitely have a soft spot for the porcupine. As a docent, my favourite prop was to take the giant porcupine quill model out on the trail, plus some real quills and explain about porcupines and how they live. I encouraged the kids - and adults - to feel the barbs and would tell the story of a man who had a quill go inside him and travel through is body and then get caught on his shirt one day as it was making it's way back out again! Sorry - too long a story to go into the details'll have to ask me some other time.

Then, the whole time I lived in NH, every single time I went outside, I couldn't take my eyes off the trees, looking for porcupines. I was constantly searching. They are so pretty. We had one porcupine at the Science Center who had been injured and was like an 'ambassador' - teaching children and adults about the species. I always loved to watch when they did a porcupine presentation.

But my whole time in NH, the only porcupine I ever saw - apart from the Science center one - was a road-kill porcupine :-(. I did however make my husband stop when I saw it dead on the road and I got out of the car and went to have a look :=D

While I was working on the capital campaign to raise money for the Science Center, I was involved in creating and designing a brochure for the campaign. The Center is a wonderful educational place and in everything they send out, they like it to have some educational component. So I worked on coming up with a design that would tell what the campaign was about, why we should raise money, why the person should donate and also had some educational component to it. The brochure turned out to depict pathway along the different pages - and on each page, I put in a different set of animal tracks/footprints...that followed on with subsequent pages. Like my bracelet, the reader had to try and guess which animal created the footprint. It added a fun and entertaining, yet educational element to a document asking for donations.

Anyhow - the result is that we achieved our goal for the capital campaign - and maybe someone even checked out the prints and had a guess.

So ten years later, I had this idea for a foot print bracelet and the Science Center brochure connection didn't even occur until later! And yes, I still gaze up at trees and can't take my eyes of them, looking for porcupine when I go to areas where they may live. One day.....
And in the meantime, I look at the tracks the animals leave near our pond in the mud, I look at the scat and wonder who has been eating all our grapes.....I look at the bird tracks on the beach....and so, my interest continues......

Hope you'll enter the competition to guess the bracelet tracks and win your own track as a key ring or bookmark.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Competition - identify the animal tracks

In my latest bracelet - "animal tracks", the tracks of 9 different mammals were used and impressed into the silver. Now your job is to identify which animals the tracks belong to. I know it's quite difficult, so I will tell you the animals used (apart from one) and you then just have to put them in the correct order and try and figure out the missing one.

So the animals are:

mountain lion

plus one more mystery animal for you to guess. (PRINTS NOT TO SCALE)

Start listing from the first footprints after the clasp (on the left in the photo above). Please put your guesses in the comments section. You can enter as many times as you like. Go on - give it a try. This first person with all the correct footprints identified wins - or else I'll keep it going for a week and the person with the most correct identifications will win.

And the prize - I'll make you a key ring or bookmark with the footprint of your choice (as long as I can find one to replicate!). The piece could also be a pendant.... Your choice. With your guess, please name the animal or bird footprint you would like to win and why. And if you don't like leaving comments you can email me your guess instead!

Let's get tracking!

(PS the book shown in some of the previous photos isn't where I got the tracks from - so while it may help, you still have to be a detective!).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday's spotlight -

By guest blogger Pete.

For some years now I have been a member of the Lincoln branch of U3A. For the uninitiated amongst our readers, "U3A" is the rather pretentious title of "University of the 3rd Age". Basically it is an organisation for those whose years have advanced more than a little.

Amongst the groups that I belong to is the Art Class. In actual fact "class" is rather misleading because we don't have, nor do we want, a tutor. I'm not saying that we don't need one but that we don't want one. Instead some twenty of us meet together once a week to do painting. Most tutors will want their pupils to be doing the same topic because this makes their job easier. However we twenty member of the Art GROUP are all awkward wrinklies and want to do our own thing rather than a common project. Within the group we help each other whether advanced or beginner and as a result we have struck up good relationships with each other.

My forte - another pretentious word but it does make me appear to have been educated when I use it - is detail. I just love detail. I've been told that I should take a photo rather than do a painting because my paintings tend to resemble photos in their detail. This criticism doesn't worry me. At my age I think I'll paint what I want to paint and how I want to paint it. I attended a Local Education Authority Art Class in the early days of my retirement and the tutor there demanded that we produce a complete picture within 90 minutes. It drove me mad. I only completed the course because I had paid in advance AND the coffee after the class was rather good.

Last week at my U3A art group I started a new painting and I thought it might be interesting for you (and fun for me) if I showed you the incomplete work and then, from time to time, showed you the various other stages right up to completion - that is if it reaches completion. My wife says that I'm a pessimist but Oscar Wilde reckoned that a pessimist is a realistic optimist. I think I'm a realistic optimist.

Any idea where the painting is set? Enter your guesses in the comments section......

Friday, January 23, 2009

Animal tracks

Here's a quick look at a new piece I've just finished which you can wear when you go hiking and use to identify the animal tracks that you see!

It's a bracelet with 9 different mammal tracks shown on the silver squares. I'll write more about it soon and why I created it and then I'm going to run a competition to see if you can identify the 9 animals who made the tracks!

Keep watching!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Creativity Sparks - Ideas to inspire: Chores

OK - so the title may not be glamorous in terms of chores - but doing something mundane that requires little brain power can really help your creativity if you are feeling stuck.

If no ideas are coming to mind, get on and do the job that you are currently putting off - like the ironing, clearing out shelves in the kitchen, cleaning the inside of the fridge, tidying your studio, or doing your annual sales tax return that is due at the end of the month ( current procrastination!).

That total distraction from creativity, either just letting your mind go where it goes or focusing on something like the sales tax return can spark of lots of ideas.

A couple of weeks ago, I was hoping to spend just 2 hours or so in my studio but when the time came to it, I just didn't know what to make. So instead, I started clearing some of the food cupboards in my kitchen, in preparation for our kitchen remodelling project that was due to start the following week. Not only did I quite enjoy the rummaging around and throwing things away that were past their sell by date and also seeing all the baking items I had forgotten about - it just cleared my mind completely. Clear mind AND clear cupboards! And the next day, I was full of new ideas.

Of course, the added bonus is that when you next sit down to create something, you not only have some good inspiration but also a clear conscience that a chore you've been putting off is finally done!

So get those chores done! (And yes, maybe I'll get my sales taxes done this week........)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Business Matters - Part 3a - No man is an island

No Man is an Island
John Donne
Creating art can be quite an isolating thing. I know I sit up in my studio on my own and work away, often for hours on end. Yes, I love it - but it's one of the most individual things I've ever done. I don't create with anyone else, I sit alone and happily go about making jewelry....

But no man is an island and while I enjoy creating on my own, I rely heavily on others for feedback, stimulation, support, self-confidence, reactions, encouragement, responses, input, practical help/advice and ideas. To be successful, we need to surround ourselves with others.

For many people, their support system is the face to face interactions with family and friends and maybe also participation in local business or art groups and the local community. Let me tell you a little about my support system:

Face to face, there is my husband John. He is amazing and patiently listens whenever I ask yet another question or bounce another idea off him. He's a real trouper! While I'm not always looking for an answer, he will always listen and support and encourage. (He also knows lots of "old" songs and sayings so helps with the inspiration and naming of my pieces too :-D ).

Face to face I also have some local friends who always ask what I am doing and want to see my latest creations. They always encourage my local shows and want to know when they can come and see my work.

Then I have another group of supporters - my family who live away from me, but who are there for me through phone calls, emails, my blog, and our visits. They are wonderful self-confidence boosters. This even includes my young nephews who help me come up with names for new jewelry and also offer their opinions (- and even model some of my jewelry!)

Next there are my friends who don't live locally. Again their support comes through emails, this blog, phone calls and our occasional get togethers. This includes friends like Marly and Angie whom I met last summer. They both also work in metal clay and have their own business. Their encouragement and feedback is of particular import as they understand the processes and frustrations.

Phew - what a lot of support I get! How lucky I am.

Are you lucky enough to have the support of your family and friends in your endeavors? In what way do they help you? How do you not feel like an island?

I have also found other avenues of support, the intensity of which, and the friendships that have subsequently developed, have surprised me. But enough for this week! I'll tell you all about them next Wednesday when I continue "No man is an island"...........

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Everything I touch turns to gold.....

Now try not to be jealous of my new found skill! Yes, in this economic climate, it could be particularly useful.......just one little touch and 'poof' - it's gold!!!

And here's the proof! I touched a fish and now it's a goldfish!. My necklace "living in the fish bowl" always seemed to me that it should be "living in a goldfish bowl" - but the fish was silver. So today, I changed that with my magic touch :=D

Actually I fused a layer of 22K gold onto the top surface of the fish. Now the little fish swims around feeling very special and glad that he is living in a fish bowl, so everyone can see him!

Wonder what I will touch next and use my new found power on?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Feminine floral necklaces

As Valentine's day is approaching, I am just listing some flower necklaces I made a while ago, during my "floral" days! They will be available on my Etsy shop soon.

They do always seem to be so feminine and pretty - and just perfect for a gift.

We may have differing feelings about Valentine's day and it does all seem very commercial nowadays - but the basis of it is good ie that it is a day when lovers can express their love for each other and it isn't a modern invention. Yes, maybe we should express our love everyday - but hopefully we can all make even a tiny little bit of effort for Valentine's day.

Valentine's day seems to me to be a bit unfair on the men - who tend to have to buy presents for the women - but in fact, 85% of all Valentine cards bought are bought by women - so maybe we could address that imbalance a touch, guys!!!???

Anyhow - hope you like the flower necklaces and maybe they also offer a hope of spring?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday's spotlight - Illuminated lettering

Written by (my now regular weekly slot) guest blogger, Pete - my Dad.

"Do you enjoy a Sunday snooze? Unashamedly I admit that I do. My post lunch "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" sets me up for the rest of the day but because my daughter, in a recent e mail, suggested that Sunday must be my working day I have risen from my slumbers and forced myself to begin the rest of my day with these jottings.

Some time ago I attended classes in illuminated lettering at Lincoln Castle. This is a very old but very well preserved castle within, quite literally, a stone's throw from the Cathedral. In days long gone by before anyone had even heard of the word "snooze", the last of the English Norman kings - Stephen - besieged the upstart mother - Catherine - in the Castle, due mainly to the fact that she thought her son should be the monarch. Stephen lodged himself and his supporters within the Cathedral but every morning he would come out into the modern "Castle Square" and exchange unpleasantries with Catherine, who placed herself behind the castle battlements.

Lincoln Castle seemed to be the ideal place to learn the rudiments of illuminated lettering. It is known that even to-day you can hear the occasional "unpleasantry" being shouted - although the voice now is not generally female but that of a workman, who has dropped a sledgehammer on his toes. It all, however, added to an "atmosphere". Is that a ghostly monk sitting there working with the light of a single candle? No. The tonsure that this gentleman is a natural one and not inflicted by any barber.

Illuminated lettering is different from calligraphy. My handwriting is so illegible - even to me - that I wouldn't dream of attempting calligraphy. I'm content just with the fact that I can spell the word. Illuminated lettering is the decoration medieval monks and other scribes decorated the opening words of their manuscripts with. My illustration this week is an illuminated rendering of the opening words of Psalm 67. However, I think I went over the top a bit because the word "GOD" is far from obvious. (Is there a lesson in that?). See if you can find it. (Is there an other lesson in that?).

I'll come back to illuminated lettering at some future date. I'll stop rambling now and then you might find time for a post lunch or post tea or post dinner or post supper or post anything snooze.

Happy "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing"

Friday, January 16, 2009

And the winning name for the necklace is........

Well......... it ended up with two names getting the same number of votes! Both "follow your heart" and "hold onto love".

So I've made the decision that up until Valentine's day, I'll call the necklace "hold onto love" as it sounds more romantic, and if it's still around after Valentine's day, I'll change it's name to "follow your heart"!

I actually think the name of the piece changes depending on whether the little person faces to the right or to the left. In the photo above, I see it as "follow your heart" whereas in the photo below I see it as "hold onto love"!! So maybe it is both and changes throughout the day as you wear it!

I'll list it on the websites tomorrow and link it here.

Thanks to everyone who voted!

There's a place....

Here's a new brooch that I finished this week entitled "There's a place".

The title may make you think of "there's a place for us"...the song from West Side Story, but that song actually inspired another song with these starting lyrics:

There's a place
Where I can go
When I feel low
When I feel blue.....

This brooch shows a little person tucked safely inside a silver purse. Just his head peaks out and his hands hold on. For me, it makes me think of how you sometimes want to just hide away in a cozy safe place....maybe that is underneath your favourite blanket in the corner of your favourite chair, or in someone's arms, or..... Anyhow - I think this little guy has found his place. He looks quite content, safe, and protected.

I love wearing brooches - and do frequently, but I think they are an underused item of jewelry. So many people I know don't have any and have never worn them. I just love them on a jacket or coat - and this one has a lot of silver in it - so it needs a coat or jacket (- not for a delicate blouse.) Maybe we should make 2009 the year of the brooch and lariat!!! I wonder how we could rally together and get these lovely items of jewelry back in adorning people. They have so much to offer..... So all you jewelry makers out there - ideas on how to promote lariats and brooches please!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hold on to love or Follow your heart....

The voting for the name of the necklace is currently even for "hold on to love" and "follow your heart". The voting ends tomorrow if you haven't voted - please do! See the full listing from Monday January 12th. The poll is on the right hand side of the blog - just enter your choice!

Creativity Sparks - Ideas to inspire: The Elements

In the ancient world, Philosphers used a set of classical elements to explain patterns in nature. The Greeks elements were Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Aether/Void. These same elements were also used in ancient India and Japan where they formed a basis of analysis in Hinduism and Buddhism. The Chinese used a slightly different series of elements, namely Fire, Earth, Water, Metal and Wood which they understood to be different types of energy in a state of constant interaction and flux. The Elements have also served as powerful symbols and metaphors.

The Earth alludes to the land of the world - its soil, dirt, clay, caves, mountains and also to the animals, vegetables and minerals that is sustains.

Air is all that is about the Earth, space and atmosphere, as well as breezes, swirling winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Fire is the sun itself, giving warmth and light, helping plants to grow but also fire causing damage.

Water is essential to life and also the dew, dampness, fog, rain, ice, snow, oceans, lakes, rivers and streams.

Aether or often referred to as Void or Quintessence, meaning fifth was added to relate to 'heavenly' things. It was reasoned that whereas fire, earth, air and water were changeable and corruptible, no such changes had been seen in the heavenly regions and thus the stars and heavens had to be made from a different, unchangeable, heavenly substance.

Earth, Air, Fire and Water can have both positive and negative forces: water can be refreshing moisture to the dry parched ground or it can be a torrent of destructive floodwaters; fire can burn out of control or purify; air can be stagnant or a refreshing breeze, earth can be barren or fertile.

As subject matter, the elements can provide an endless source of inspiration for artists... from the jagged mountains and canyons created by years of erosion, to monsoon rains or gentle drizzle, reflections in a pond, a fiery sunset, lightening and wildfires.

From what I've learnt recently, it seems that each individual seems to have one element that inspires them more than other. Dale Chihuly, the glass artist says that he is inspired by water. He says he lives in the North East because it rains so often there and thus is a constant source of inspiration. He loves to take walks in the rain and come up with new ideas or else sit by the window watching the rain come down. When he travels and the weather is dry, he says he takes lots of showers and baths each day, as he feels he needs the water! And in fact, every DVD I've seen of Dale Chihuly and his work has shown him lying in a bath. I hadn't quite figured out why until I learnt of his "water" inspiration!!

I think personally, the Earth is my main element for inspiration. While mountains and caves don't really do it for me - the life that the earth sustains does - the animals and the birds and plants. If I look out of my window now as I'm typing, I see a little gopher sticking his head out of the ground (don't tell my husband - he gets very annoyed with them!)....He's busy uprooting our plants (grrrr....) and running around......and he makes me think of making a little animal something with a whole big plant in his mouth - roots and all.....

Or else there is the moss growing between the slabs - it has found it's own little place, it clings on in there, has no real nourishment, but it hangs in there.....the moss could inspire a "hang in there" piece of jewelry or something nestled into a tiny crack - just peaking out.

So what element inspires you the most? Do you get your best ideas when you are by a pond or the ocean or in the bath tub like Dale - or do you gaze into a sunset or cycle fast to feel the wind in your hair? Consider the different elements and see what comes up in your mind.....