Monday, July 5, 2010

The news from Mississippi

Humongous walking stick!

Last Wednesday, my parents, Mike, and I made the 16 hour haul from Baltimore to central Mississippi. I have made the trip a few times before, and it wasn't one I was looking forward to. In general, I don't do well with long car rides, especially over 10 hours. But this trip went remarkably well. With four drivers to share the task and 4 books on tape by Mr. Sedaris, the hours whiled away. It's always interesting to me how I can feel when I have entered the south (somewhere just north of the TN/VA border). The road signs change, the vehicle sizes expand, and the bumper stickers are, well, louder (or maybe that's just because I disagree with most of them). Still, there is something so nice about coming home to a place where family, land, and tradition are so very central.

Mike and I drove down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a reunion with my best friend's from college--Anna, Eden, and Chaeli (Alli couldn't make it :( Last summer, Anna accepted a post as assistant minister at a church in Long Beach and with her job came a big, lovely home-- a perfect place for a perfect reunion. We reminisced, walked on the beach (the oil is just reaching the MS coast, but clean-up crews were already out in droves), went antiquing, and ate...a lot. We also became acquainted with Anna's enormous Great Dane, Belle. Just a year old, she still romps around like a puppy, and leaps long-legged onto the furniture. She's an absolute doll, but she's just so huge! We also had a chance to visit with Ashok and Neha, two other friends from college who are expecting their first child in January. It's still so strange to me to see everyone growing up--marriages, new homes, babies, big dogs...

I didn't expect to be able to accomplish much of my homework for my jewelry course while in MS, maybe some sketches at best. But it turns out that my dad has several of the essential tools I need (a soldering torch, a small drill, fine files), and, being that he does custom wood-work, he had ample space for me to use as my "studio". I made matching earrings for my pals as well as a new mixed media piece.

My studio away from studio!

Earrings of hammered brass, silver, and sandstone

Mixed media: brass, copper, paper, gold

I made several mistakes and I am still developing my craftsmanship, but I do love this piece--Japanese decorative paper sandwiched between copper and brass. I am planning on completing a series of similar pieces. Also in the works is a pendant in the shape of a dress made from plexi-glass; plexi is not a medium I would choose to work with, but it's a requirement for class. Now that I've experimented with it a bit, I have to say that the material is growing on me.

We also got to hang out with my sister and her family. Her kids are just adorable. The youngest, Jude, is 3, and quite the conversationalist. They have recently adopted a few goats, and Jude likes to talk about them. He's convinced that a snake is terrorizing one of the goats; who knows where he got this idea, but his conviction is enough to rally concern from others. Cute kid.

Other than jewelry-making and some exercising, we are just enjoying being in the woods and reading. It's such a change of pace when we visit Mississippi, one that I gladly embrace.

PS: watch Gasland-very good, very important


  1. LOVE the mixed media piece - really amazing. Glad you are having a fulfilling trip!

  2. I love the necklace, too. Hope you're finding some time to relax!

  3. The necklace is AWESOME. I miss you.