Irish Inspirations: Part 2

After leaving Killarney National Park, we continued our journey south to County Cork and the home of my Irish ancestors, the McKewans and the Renehens. This was my second visit to this area; the first was in 1976 when my mother and I bicycled the Irish coast exploring the homeland of my great great grandfather.

As we journeyed south, I was intrigued with the craggy stone walls that seemed to be everywhere. Huge slabs of limestone stacked at all angles made for amazing sculptural formations. Having built a limestone wall myself I know how sharp and heavy this stone is to work with and that the larger stones must weigh well in excess of 100 pounds!


Southern Ireland, which is moderated by warm ocean currents, does not have frost heaves like we do here in the Northeast. This aids the long term survival of these wonderful improbable walls!

Our hosts took us on a hike along the wild southern coast where we spent a lovely day. The kids found a beach with an endless supply of perfect skipping stones and thus were happily engaged while I took dozens of photos of the stone walls and escarpments all around. Some of my favorite one of a kind and production pieces are from drawings made here.

Ireland Inspirations: Part One

One of the things that I love about traveling is the release from the usual responsibilities… like blogging!  In the spring of 2007, we received an invitation to visit the southern coast of Ireland from my long time craft show friend quilter Cherry Schacher who had recently inherited a house on the sea near Schull. The idea, which at first seemed impossible, gained traction  when I found tickets to Shannon at a great price, yay! We packed up the kids, (then 9 and 13), and were off on our adventure just a couple weeks after the idea was hatched!
Anyone who has traveled  to Europe knows that odd jet lagged feeling of being so excited and at the same time so tired after a long flight. We really needed to get out and walk after a long night on the plane, and determined to stop at beautiful Killarney Park. The opportunity to row out to a small island on the lake there presented itself, and provided for a lovely picnic and an exploration of the ruins of the 12th century Augustinian priory. As always, I was keeping an eye out for interesting rocks, and there I found many!  My geologist brother tells me that the combination of hard and soft rocks, (in this case sandstone and basalt), make for these very interestingly eroded specimens. Two of the rocks discovered on the island inspired the Fossil Pin and the Killarney Bracelet! 


It is my belief that most of us on both sides of this great political chasm that exists in our country want the same things. Peace,  prosperity, safety, clean air to breath, clean water to drink and a planet that can sustain us. The complex problems facing us as a country, but more importantly as a species, demand that we find a way to work together. These basic human aspirations shared by all people across the country and throughout the world should make for a unification of purpose.
I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking in the last couple months, searching for a way that I could make a difference.  Barbara Kingsolver’s recent essay urging everyone to contribute according to their own abilities, was inspirational.  “Craftivism” is defined as a world wide movement that operates at the intersection of craft and activism;  just what I had in mind! While I have done quite a lot of petition signing, emailing, letter writing and donating to charity since the election,  I wanted to also bring my own talents forward to create works that in some way could help to make the world a better place.
477I have been an avid outdoors person for the whole of my life, spending time almost every day hiking in the woods, cross country skiing, and enjoying being out on Adirondack lakes in various small boats.  I find  a great deal of personal solace and artistic inspiration in the natural world. I passionately believe that we must act to preserve our wild places and the balance in our environment. The Sierra Club, and NRDC are all working hard to educate and influence public policy to these ends. I have already donated to these organizations, but I wanted to do more to promote awareness about climate change in particular, and raise money to benefit these organizations. I designed a new  pendant and earrings which I am titling  “Rising Waters”.  I will be donating 10% of each sale from the Rising Waters series to the above mentioned organizations."Onward"
Like many of you, my family and I participated in the Sisters March on January 21. The world wide turnout was just amazing and a wonderful ray of hope amidst all of the negative energy. I believe that we must continue the impetus forward as compassionate caring people.  This piece, which I have titled “Onward”   came to me in a flash of inspiration. In the center of the circle I have put the arrow symbol indicating our direction and momentum, surrounded by the colors blending together, symbolizing our diversity and unity as a nation. For those who want to spend a little less, I will be offering this piece with no enamel for $55. Both are available for purchase on my website.   I will be donating 10% of each sale to Doctors without Borders to support their brave and important work.
I hope that you will join me in my venture in Craftivism! Onward!