Friday, May 28, 2010

Lilac Time on Mackinac

The lilacs are in full, glorious bloom and both the aroma and the view are completely intoxicating!

Marquette Park has many varieties; the Island is home to over three hundred species of lilacs

This image is the essence of Mackinac - horses, water, Round Island lighthouse, lilacs, the ferry dock and if you look closely on the dock, a bicycle rider.

The blooms are quite early this year, unfortunately, it's unlikely we'll have any left for Lilac Fest in mid-June, but we'll enjoy them now - there's just no where on earth like Mackinac when the lilacs are in bloom!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Grand Tulips

Every autumn, the gardeners at Grand Hotel make an investment in spring beauty... planting an incredible display of tulip bulbs.

It's always a sign that the season is coming to an end, when the lush summer flowers become frost scorched and are removed, making way for an elaborate patterned planting of thousands of huge tulip bulbs. Those bulbs slumber away the winter and I'm always excited to see the first green tips emerge from the soil, for soon we will be viewing a new blaze of color.

And the cycle continues as they fade away and are in their turn replaced with the new summer plantings...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lady's Slippers

I spotted my first lady's slippers of the year yesterday, very early, they don't typically bloom until June.

In fact, on my latest beaded piece, "Cycling", I chose them to represent early summer.

Here's the original photo:

And here's my beaded interpretation:

Friday, May 14, 2010


This is my third entry in the upcoming Contemporary Art Exhibition at the new Richard and Jane Manoogian Art Museum here on Mackinac.

Those familiar with my work are probably wondering if I've posted the correct image - yes, this really is my work!

This exhibit was the perfect opportunity to challenge myself and move forward in my work and this piece is the result.

We were asked to submit work inspired by Mackinac and this piece has many inspirations:

One of my favorite forms of year round entertainment is walking the many trails on the Island and taking photos of all the many natural beauties to be found in the woods. These are the natural wonders of the Mackinac that most visitors are oblivious to - tourists tend to focus on our big, obvious attractions.

I have literally 1000's of images, taken in all seasons and all places, the complete seasonal cycle.

I wanted to have my beaded pieces rotate or cycle, and what better way than on a discarded bicycle wheel? After all, most of us cycle everywhere, to work, to play and home again.

The cedar base was a fortunate find, it had been blown down in a wind storm, destined to be broken down and cycled back into the earth.

Here's the piece representing the present, a trillium with three dimensional petals. The woods are full of drifts of trilliums right now, they're simply glorious!

And here is the original image, the beaded piece is based upon:

Each piece has a tag on the back, identifying the plant life - this is a proper herbarium! Yet another "cycling" inspiration, as herbariums represent my obsession with the botanizing women of the Victorian period.

Will I do more work of this type?


Thursday, May 13, 2010


Horses power this Island, this bunch have just arrived, fresh off the ferry. Just behind them are a horse drawn taxi hauling people and a horse drawn dray hauling freight, exactly the work these horses will soon be performing.

Horses don't enjoy the ferry trip and today was windy and blustery, making for a rough ride; it takes a firm hand to calm them down enough to walk up the hill to the "Big Barn", their summer home.

Horses really do come over on the same ferry we all use - look close , they even have luggage tags!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Margaret's Garden

Margaret's Garden, Grand Hotel's floral shop, opened this week... and they always have the best flowers, large, lush and frequently unusual types not usually seen in the average florist. It smells wonderful too, just one of my favorite places to shop, enjoyable on some many levels.

Here's some hot colors, especially pleasant considering our cold and blustery weather at the moment.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ripple Effect

This is the second piece I hope to have accepted for the exhibit at the new museum here on the Island.

It has personal meaning for me; my first forays into beading involved creating reproduction Edwardian era purses or reticules. While this piece uses a antique frame and could be used as a functional evening reticule, it doesn't have much resemblance to those early reproduction creations!

The base is right angle weave in beads of a variety of sizes and colors, which shifts from the top to he bottom of the bag.

The main ornamentation is a triple layered "splash", constructed in free form peyote, again with beads of many colors, sizes and shapes. There is also a piece of drift wood, being pushed adrift.

The main inspiration is, of course, the water my home is surrounded by, an attempt to capture the elusive everchanging colors and textures.

It also illustrates how interconnected everything is in such a small community, an action that seems no more significant than the toss of a pebble can cause an everspreading "rippling effect".

And just for fun, here's the pebble - when I can make it work, I like to include a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Breaking Loose

This is the time of year when the natural world struggles to break free, pushing through the soil crust, fighting to loosen the coverings that function as protection from the cold - slowly unfurling and growing.

This new growth provides great inspiration for the artist, the shapes, colors and patterns always seem to find their way into my work.

This is dutchman's breeches, a wildflower I've only found growing in one place on the Island. I've been trying to capture good images of the blossoms for several years now. Up to this point, I was always just a little too early or a little too late, but this year I caught them - finally!

The trout lilies, named for the speckled leaves, are carpeting the woods, an exception to the usual pastel spring flowers.

I spotted quite a few of these moths, I'm not familiar with this particular species, but they are definitely prolific.

Here's a patch of early blooming trillium, we don't usually see these for a couple more weeks.

This was a very brave hare, he allowed me to approach withing five feet. He's trying to break free too, in his case, free of the remains of his white winter fur. When he finally hopped away, I could see that even the bottoms of his large rear feet are white.

These are not flower buds, but leaf clusters, ever so slowly unwinding and spreading, starting to soak up the sun.

I've finally finished my winter projects and it's time for my work to move in a different direction; I'm walking, trying to pay attention to the details - nature always provides if we are willing to view things with a new eye.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

An Island IS Surrounded by Water

I've been asked quite a few times in the last several weeks, "have you given up beading - where's the new stuff?".

Well, no I haven't quit beading. In fact, I've spent the past six months beading nonstop and I think it's some of the most interesting work I've ever created ... and all for a very special exhibition.

Mackinac Island is going to have an incredible new addition this summer, the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. The inaugural exhibit is an invitation only, juried display of Island artists - and I received an invite!

I have a bit of a wait now, before I will know if any of my three pieces have been accepted. I stepped out of my usual box on these pieces, they are not what anyone will be expecting from me and no one has a hint of what I've done - until now.

Here's my first piece: "An Island IS Surrounded By Water".

It's an attempt to visualize the creation myth of the Island, a great turtle arising from the waters, the rock of the Island forming on his back. The turtle itself is primarily bead embroidery, the water is a cobination of peyote, netting and fringing.

He's very dimensional, but yet has movement - quite a feat for a turtle!