Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inspiration-a favorite place

Image by Jack Jennings, courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

One of my favorite places in the whole world is the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, and in particular, their Japanese garden. The Japanese garden is called "Seiwa-en," or garden of pure, clear harmony and peace. It's a magical place of water, pathways, waterfalls, raked gravel zen gardens, cherry trees, Japanese maple trees, water lilies, carp and bridges. For me, it is a place of incredible peace and calmness, and a wonderful source of inspiration for my jewelry.
I have a line of jewelry called "Zen Geometry" that was largely inspired by the quiet calm of Seiwa-en. The pieces called "Pebble Path" are inspired by both the secret pathways in the garden a beautiful beach of smooth polished river rock. The "Waterfall" pieces have a texture that reminds me of the rushing water of waterfalls found in the garden. The stone beads I've used in these pieces reflect the blue of the sky and the lovely green of new growth in the spring. A couple of "Zen Geometry" pieces are below. You can view the entire collection on my website: www.annewalkerjewelry.com/geometry.html

Pebble Path earrings with faceted peridot (above)

Waterfall Pendant with faceted Amazonite (above)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Yesterday we celebrated Valentine's Day in several ways. One of the things we did was go to the birthday party for the daughter of a friend of ours. They called it a "Love Fest," a combination birthday party and Valentine's celebration. I decided to toast her daughter's second birthday by making her a love bracelet. I don't expect her to actually wear it; I made a baby bracelet for my own daughter who will be two in a couple of weeks, and she won't keep it on, but at the least, it can be a sentimental souvenir of birthday number two.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Brandeis Closing its Art Museum

Today I was forwarded a shocking story from the New York Times about Brandeis University closing its art museum due to a budget deficit and decline in its endowment. (Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/arts/design/02rose.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2) Times are tough for all universities right now, but does that merit such a knee-jerk reaction? Quick, let's find something to sell--what can we sell? I know--the arts aren't important to us, so let's sell everything in the museum. What's most galling is that Brandeis' art museum is pretty much self supporting and their budget is balanced. They are not a drain on the university's budget. In fact, they cost the university almost nothing. And yet the university feels it is theirs for the taking. Most of the museum's art has been donated--I know how angry I would be if I had donated work to the museum only to have it sold off. As the last sentence in the story states, when the going gets tough, "art is dispensible."

I work at a university that has an art museum. Times are tough for us too. Our endowment has also declined, and there is a budget deficit. And yet the administration is taking careful and prudent steps to figure out how to deal with the situation. They are not making any hasty decisions and I doubt any one part of the university will take such a big hit. I believe the solution will lie in cuts in all parts of the university, as it should be. Why should one university institution shoulder the burden?

For more information about what you can do, including an online petition, go to: