Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Here, Monkee, Monkee, Monkee

I started out with three perfectly ripe bananas, but by the time I grabbed the camera and returned to the kitchen, there were only two bananas. No one here is talking, but since the S.O. doesn't peel his own bananas (some people peel grapes - I peel bananas for my loved ones), I assume my husband nicked it when I wasn't looking (who does he think he is, anyway?). Still, I'm hoping that the two look enticing enough to convince the cute monkee backpack that currently lives in Bristol, England to come live with us. Not only do I read knitting blogs, I read blogs primarily devoted to knitted primates. As a friend of mine who recently starting reading this blog commented, "Who knew how badly the world needed a monkey-knitting blogger?" Even if you aren't a knitter, Monkee Maker's blog is wonderful. You might want to check it out.

Monkee Maker's blog also reminds me how much I miss England. I spent two years there on the South Coast, doing postgraduate work in English Renaissance Literature a long time ago. I love England - I love the people, the culture, and especially the vernacular! English slang is so much more colorful and appropriate than a lot of American slang in my opinion. I like words like "chuffed" and "snogging".

I remember "The New Yorker" had an interview with Daniel Day-Lewis a while back in which he was quoted as being "chuffed" about something. The magazine apparently received so many letters from readers about it, that they published a little statement in the next issue that "chuffed" was not in fact a typo, but was an English saying for being excited. The closest equivalents I can think of on this side of the pond are words like "psyched", "stoked", "pumped". I don't know, though -I still like "chuffed" better. It goes without saying that I would far rather engage in "snogging" than "necking", as well.

The husband, S.O. and I are heading out of town for the Labor Day holiday. Given that the last time we took a vacation, the S.O. barely slept 4 hours a night and voiced his displeasure quite, er, vociferously whenever I tried to put him to bed, I'm not so much looking forward to this trip as girding my loins, if you'll forgive the expression. I may have time for one more post tomorrow, but, if not - have a great week. I'll see you in a few days.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Debi Cogwell

Well, I was trying to save this until October to show you, but I've been thinking about Halloween-themed pieces recently, and I just couldn't resist flashing my Halloween bead stash a little. I love over-the-top Halloween beads, and, to my mind, no one does them better than Debi Cogwell, aka, The Palm Tree Queen. On top of this, Deb is really sympatico, which is always a plus, from my point of view. I love this bead. She had a photo of one in her gallery last year. When I had an opportunity to buy one, I snapped it up. This is probably the height of the season for Halloween beads. Please visit Debi's website to see what she has to offer now.

On the knitting front, I'm starting to think about my son's Halloween costume. I ordered some blue yarn to make him a sweater in the spring. When it arrived, the shade reminded me so much of the Short One's favorite monster (hint: "C is for Cookie"), that I saved it for this fall. I actually have a hat knit already, but it's in storage at the moment (also, who knows if it will fit now). I'll dig it out in the next couple weeks.

I can't believe that that time of year is approaching already. Am I the only one feeling a little depressed that the days are already starting to get shorter? I love autumn, but I really want to know where the time went and what the heck I was doing all summer (apart from, you know, chasing after a fast moving little target).

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

By the pricking of my thumbs...

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

I've always liked these lines from "Macbeth", spoken by one of the three witches about Macbeth. This is the other donut I made a couple days ago. What with fall fast approaching, I thought I'd try to make a necklace for Halloween. I will probably use the bead as part of a focal and not a clasp. I'm going to try to incorporate the whole quote into the piece. We'll see if it works.

Just a bit of trivia - can anyone identify the authors of the two books that take part of this quote for their titles? One book takes the first line and the other the second.

This will probably be my last stamped piece for a while. Although I feel that I still need more practice using the stamps, relying on words or quotations as design elements seems a bit too limiting to me, right now. All of this doesn't mean that I don't want to own practically every bead Anne Choi ever made, though. Are you familiar with her beads? They are really beautiful. She incorporates wonderful quotations into most of her work. I finally started collecting some of them this year with a focus on quotations from early modern English poetry. I'll try to post a blog entry about them in a few days.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Touch Me Not

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

This poem, by Sir Thomas Wyatt, has been running around in my head ever since I started designing the Love-In-Idleness necklace. "Whoso List to Hunt" was reputed to have been written about Anne Boleyn, one of the ill-fated wives of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. Here, Anne is the deer and Caesar is Henry VIII. "Noli me tangere" translates as "touch me not". I don't exactly know what I'm going to do with this donut which, as usual, I made from PMC3. I just knew I had to make it.

Oh, and regarding the Love-In-Idleness necklace, I received word yesterday that it has been accepted for publication in BeadStyle Magazine's Gallery. Calloo, callay! This is the third piece I've made since I started working with PMC three months ago that BeadStyle has accepted for publication. I am Extremely Excited. No publication date yet, but I will let you know once it is set.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Urban Fairies

fairy door
Jonathan Wright's Urban Fairy Door

I was reading Janet Snowden McDonald's blog earlier today. She's had a lovely little fairy door appear in her fireplace - here's a photo of it. It made me think of the Urban Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Above is a photo of one of the original ones, which resides in the side of the fireplace of the home of Jonathan Wright, who documents the comings and goings of these wee folk in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is apparently a very inviting place for urban fairies, as they seem to have taken up residence in about nine commercial properties and at least one private home. Please go to Urban Fairies to see more charming photos and read about them.

I love the concept of urban fairies. These doors actually exist in various stores in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, they suffer from vandalism from time to time by people of less perfect imagination, but it seems that Mr. Wright is keeping up with the dream of the wee folk inhabiting his home town.

My father built me a doll house when I was a child from one of those extravagant kits where you have to glue the wooden roof tiles on individually, and I really loved miniatures for a number of years (I still do, really, when I come across them). I sometimes think that my obsession with making lampwork ice cream and banana split beads is a holdover from the time I used to make tiny food out of Sculpey for the doll house. I even still have a set of really beautifully rendered 1/12 scale copper kitchen pots and a kettle that I found in Paris many years ago, during a family trip.

Anyway, here's to childhood imagination and those who strive to preserve and encourage our sense of wonder. And do take a look at Janet's blog and the Urban Fairy Door photos. Regardless of what you think of fairies, they really are charming!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sarah Moran

I strung this necklace earlier this year. I love, love, love Sarah Moran's borosilicate beads. Yes, those five beautiful beads are boro. Can you believe it? A friend told me I could get a nice garnet color out of Vetrofond Rainbow Red, so I bought some and learned how to strike making the spacers for this necklace. I finished the piece with amber and a turquoise clasp.

I wore this necklace to one of the big bead shows earlier this year and received comments from Kate McKinnon, Stephanie Sersich and Kristina Logan among others. Heather Trimlett made me spell Sarah's name and website and wrote it down. Even though I wasn't responsible for making those buzzworthy beads, it still made me feel like a rock star.

Sarah makes boro beads only a few times a year. She maintains a "boro list" for people interested in buying the beads (which come in sets of usually seven beads). Unfortunately, I believe the list for her October boro session is already full, but if you're interested, you could always get on the list for next time. To see other examples of her beautiful boro and soda lime beads, go here.

Thanks for reading, as always.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Beatrice Killeen

I was quite surprised to see more traffic than usual at my blog this morning. Then I noticed that people seemed to be coming from Fried Peas, Beatrice Killeen's website. Well, it turns out that, very quietly, without telling me, Beatrice put up a link on her site, asking people to come vote for the necklace I submitted to Stringing Magazine. That's the kind of wonderful person Beatrice is.

One thing that has been surprising and very gratifying since I started making beads earlier this year is how generous other lampworking artists have been. Beatrice has been consistently generous with her time and resources, since I told her that I wanted to start making beads. Thank you so much Beatrice.

And thank YOU, as well, for visiting. If you have come here from Fried Peas, the necklace and the link can be found two entries down (August 17th post), or you can go here to vote. I hope you'll stay and look around more, though!

If you have not come from Fried Peas, what are you waiting for? Go here to visit Beatrice. She is a wonderful person and her beads are to die for. The photograph above is of my favorite Fried Peas set. They are sitting in my stash right now, because I am hoarding them and can't quite bear to use them. (I get them out and coo over them once in a while, though. I know, I know, weird, right? Don't tell anyone else.)

Thank you!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ill Met by Moonlight

I'm extremely tired, but I wanted to get this up tonight. Sorry if this is a little short. "Ill met my moonlight" is the greeting Oberon offers Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". In this case, the moon is one of the ceramic cabochons Melanie Lukacs of Earthenwood Studio provided me for experimentation. Thank you, Melanie! I made a firmament (ie, stars) clasp out of PMC3 as well. The leaf beads were an experiment with resin. I made the molds for the leaves from polymer clay and silicone mold material. The end result was a little cruder than I'd hoped, but I think they still work in the necklace. I finished the necklace with black freshwater pearls.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 17, 2007


Hi there. I have a favor to ask today. I entered this necklace in the Stringing Magazine Design Contest earlier this month. Voting has now opened for the contest. The top three necklaces will be published in Stringing Magazine. Will you vote for me? My necklace is #40.

Please go here to vote.

By the way, the wing-heart pendant and all beads except plain spacers are by Michele Goldstein. I made the plain spacers myself.

Thank you!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

When I work with PMC, I usually work in dead silence, or with the television on in the background while my husband watches something. It never even occurred to me that I might turn on some music until Melanie Lukacs mentioned that she often works to music. So, then I started thinking about what kind of music to play (aside from Fred Small's "If I were a Moose and You were a Cow", of course). Two names that immediately came to mind were 1. Jonathan Coulton (more on him later) and 2. OkGo.

My husband and I discovered OkGo when we attended a live taping of NPR's "This American Life" a few years ago. They're that kind of band. We're really fond of them - I took my husband to see them perform for his birthday a year or two later and they were even better than we remembered. Their YouTube video of the single "Here it Goes Again" has been floating around for almost a year, I think - it's the best video with treadmills that I've ever seen. (I love the little speed-skating move that shows up in the middle of the video.) If you haven't seen it already, why not take a look?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wood Nymph

I decided to take a break from the PMC and try to make a necklace with those lovely porcelain leaf beads from Mary Harding that have been sitting in my stash. These beads were actually part of my prize when I won (by random drawing) the May Art Bead Scene Challenge.

I started to think of what a wood sprite might wear for adornment. Instead of jewels, a beautiful leaf, stones, moss and other earthy elements. In addition to Mary Harding's beads, I had a couple strands of raku beads in my stash, some of which come in wonderful shades of brown, blue-green and a rust color. In addition, some have a matte finish, some are glossy. Amber beads seemed to complement these colors and continue the earthy theme. A darker amber chunk (left over from a different project) served as a forest "stone". I added just a few green glass, resin and lucite beads to tie in with the color of the leaf focal. I finished the necklace with an unobtrusive copper lobster claw clasp.

I like the way the necklace turned out - it is quite light and comfortable to wear. I only wish I knew the name of the artist who made the raku beads. If you have an idea, please leave me a message!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Love looks not with the eyes

...Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew'd thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.

So says Oberon to his minion Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". As Oberon desired, the little purple flower caused Titania to fall in love with an ass and also caused the lovers, Demetrius and Lysander, to dote madly on a poor, confused Helena. Because the small purple bloom is so central to the story, and because I love the name "love-in-idleness", I thought it would make a nice focal for a necklace.

In fact, love-in-idleness is actually one of the old, romantic names for the wild pansy. I have used a little creative license in this regard, as the flower bead in the pendant does not really look like a pansy. As it happens, I had ordered the bead from Maria Grimes of Garden Path Beads a day before Art Bead Scene announced the subject of the August Design Challenge. I originally thought I would try to make a pansy out of resin, but Maria's bead arrived the day I started working on the mold for the pansy - I thought the little flower was so attractive, I decided to use it instead. Thank you, Maria!

The clasp that finishes the piece is stamped with the first part of one of the more famous quotes from the play: Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind. Because the flower was applied directly to the eyes and caused the recipient to fall in love with the first person he or she saw, I thought the quote was an appropriate reminder of where true love actually lies.

As usual, I made the pendant and toggle clasp from PMC3. I added purple seed beads and Czech pressed glass leaves, green Swarovski crystals and green resin beads. I seem to be having trouble customizing the size of my photos in this blog. If you want a closer view, please click on the photo, and it will take you to a larger version in my flickr account.

To be perfectly honest, I usually don't design or wear traditionally floral pieces, and, as a result, I am a little bit on the fence about this necklace. However, the necklace design seemed appropriate for "A Midsummer's Night Dream", and I hope that I've finished it in a way that remains true to this theme. Thanks for stopping by!

Huzzah for the Bookaneers!

I and a certain other person in this house were extremely excited this morning to discover that the new season of "Sesame Street" has finally started. Before the Short One arrived and started demanding that this establishment provide him with quality children's television programming, I must admit that I hadn't watched "Sesame Street" in about 30 years. Aside from the shock of seeing the current-day Bob, Maria, Luis and Gordon (they are all still in their 20s and 30s in my mind's eye), it's been just as enjoyable for me to watch the show this time around as the first time. My companion gives the show two thumbs up, too. (Okay, and while he's riveted, it does allow me time to sneak off and get a few things done - I cannot tell a lie.)

Today's episode featured the Bookaneers, pirates who love to read. I love this concept. I really admire the folks at Children's Television Workshop for coming up with such creative ideas.

On the bead front, I've decided to use the focal I made last night and just try to position the flower bead strategically, so that the words are still legible. The next time you see the pendant will hopefully be when it's in the necklace.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Love In Idleness

Well, I just took a batch of PMC out of the kiln, including the focal and clasp for my first "Midsummer Night's Dream" necklace. The photo above is of the focal. The glass flower bead (by Maria Grimes of Garden Path Beads) is not fixed in the pendant yet - it's currently free standing. Unfortunately, although I tried to take the 10-12% shrinkage rate into account, the PMC3 shrunk enough that the leaves of the flower bead now obscure the words, slightly more than I intended. I have to figure out how much this bothers me. Can you read "LOVE IN IDLENESS" here? Incidentally, "love in idleness" is the name of the flower that caused all of the romantic confusion in the play. More on this later, when the necklace is actually finished. Hmmm. What to do, what to do.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Belle of Amherst and The Yellow Rose of Texas

Focal by Michele Goldstein

We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.

The heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the cubits warp
For fear to be a king.

This is one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson. I memorized it when I was in grade school. It is a sad fact that I can still recite this poem by heart, but I can never remember if I've locked the door after I've left the house.

Anyway, the meter that Emily Dickinson used in her poetry is a little unusual. Indeed, it is so unusual that it lends itself to a bit of a peculiarity - almost every one of her poems can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas." Go on, give it a try - I'll wait here. ("Beeecause I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for mmeeeee...") See what I mean? There are a few exceptions - "Safe in their Alabaster Chambers" doesn't really work, for example. By and large, however, Emily Dickinson's poems are eminently singable. I suppose it says something about my education that this is the one tidbit of knowledge that I picked up in college (from a friend,
not from the classroom) that has really stuck with me. Yup.

By the way, if you have any interest in Emily Dickinson, watch "The Belle of Amherst", starring Julie Harris. It's a wonderful, wonderful production. I believe it was filmed by "Great Performances".

Finally - the beads. The above photo is an older piece - the focal is by Michele Goldstein. The accent beads are all of my beginner's lampworked beads of which I was very proud, when I made them. Sorry, Michele...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Michele Goldstein

Heart-Bone Pendant

Guess what arrived in the mail today? I love Michele Goldstein's work - I find the combination of her hearts and bones irresistible from a design standpoint. Her shop is currently open, so why not head over there and take a peek? While you're there, be sure to check out the beautiful "A Pirate's Valentine" necklace that is a collaboration between Michele and Stephanie Sersich. It's on the last page of the shop.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Full Fathom Five

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that does fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell.

Well, it's dawning on me that, no matter how hard I try, I won't have new work to show you for at least another week. Life is just too busy here at the moment. I thought, instead, I could talk about the inspiration for this piece. This is a pretty happy looking bead and necklace, but the original inspiration for the diorama focal was actually the song "Full Fathom Five" from The Tempest. Despite the grim subject matter (it's about drowning), I've always loved this song. I'd been wanting (and still want) to make a necklace based on it.

It so happens that the July Art Bead Scene Challenge had a "Mermaid's Grotto" theme, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try the "Full Fathom Five" necklace. I sketched out three large shadow-box style focals, each containing a fragment of verse at the top and shells, pearls and coral at the bottom. I sketched out stylized silver bones as accent beads. Once again, I just ended up not having enough time to make the whole necklace, so I made this similar but simpler, sunny day at the beach theme necklace instead. By the way, the lovely shells in this necklace are actually ceramic Terra Trinkets by Melanie Lukacs of Earthenwood Studio.

My project book is filling up with ideas, but I've barely been able to try a tenth of them. On the one hand, it's frustrating, but on the other other hand, I really look forward to the hour a day or so that I can devote to this. Speaking of which, I should stop blabbing and get out my PMC box. Thanks for reading!

ps. Something funky is happening with the formatting of this entry. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong, but I can't seem to correct it...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I strung this simple necklace out of spare beads from a project on which I'm currently working. The boro focal is by Sarah Moran. I made the simple button clasp from PMC3 dipped in liver of sulphur. Shell and No. 6 seed beads complete the piece. Thanks for looking!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lady at The Beauty Shop, You Make My Heart Go Bippity Bop

I was reading Melanie Lukacs' blog this evening (http://earthenwood-beads.blogspot.com/ - I have no idea how to create a hot link here. If anyone has any tips, I'm all ears). She was ruminating on Dream Academy, the band that had the hit single "Life in a Northern Town" back in the mists of time that was the 80s. Being in the right age group, it had the effect of: 1) making me hum "Life in a Northern Town" while I worked at the torch tonight and 2) making me think of my favorite songs from the 80s. The former pretty much speaks for itself, but, regarding the latter - well, I have two songs.

The first is the best song I never actually heard: "Lady at the Beauty Shop, You Make My Heart Go Bippity-Bop" by Little Joe Cook and the Thrillers, as performed at the Cantab in Harvard Square. I just never made it down to the Cantab to hear them perform when I was living in the area. I have a sneaking suspicion that no song could really live up to such a great title, though. The second is "If I were a Moose and You were a Cow" by Fred Small. A college friend was a big fan of Fred Small, went to his concert and came back sporting an autographed shirt with the first verse of this song, which goes something like this:

If I were a moose and you were a cow
Would you love me anyhow?
Would you take me home to meet your folks?
Would you tell your friends, "No moose jokes"?

Needless to say, after reading such fine lyrics, I was hooked. I still have the CD in my collection. (By the way, I believe the song is based on a true story of a moose that developed a tendre for a cow somewhere up North.)

What does any of this have to do with the above photo of the banana split bead? Nothing, really. I am still making 'em, though. (If you would like to see earlier versions, please click on the photo to visit my Flickr account). Still not completely happy with the way the beads are turning out. I'll get it right eventually...

The Magic Melon

Well, I received very nice compliments on the cherry tomato photo I posted a few days ago, so I feel that I should at least take one or two more fruit/veggie photographs. I have to say, though, the traditional watermelon with seeds is more picturesque than the seedless, even if the latter is so much easier to eat. In a desperate effort to tie this into beads and knitting, I will say that the pink/green color combination is a favorite. I love watermelon tourmaline, too.

Why is this a Magic Melon? The picky eater in our house (who shall remain nameless) decided that he liked _this_ melon and ate about a third of it by himself, yesterday. (While it was not the largest melon at the store, it certainly isn't a small melon.) As he was chowing down on his fourth big slice with no signs of stopping, I wondered at what point I would need to wrest it away from him to prevent his little tummy from exploding. He seems to have taken it all in stride, though. I wish I had his metabolism. On the other hand, if I did, I'd probably end up seven feet tall by next year.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Fortune Cookie

Fresh from the kiln. When I was pondering what I could make in a cherry tomato color the other day, I happened to notice a fortune cookie fortune that we'd brought back from the local Chinese restaurant. Since red is the color of prosperity in China (I believe), I decided to make a Good Fortune necklace. This prototype fortune cookie is the first bead for the new piece. (Although, really, I suppose this is more properly a Chinatown necklace, since fortune cookies are an American invention.)

The kiln is wonderful by the way. Now I can properly fuse my PMC - calloo, callay!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows

Beads by Mary Harding

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine

Art Bead Scene at www.artbeadscene.com has announced the theme for its August Design Challenge - A Midsummer Night's Dream. I love this play. I was actually Helena in a high school production - I find, much to my surprise, that I still remember a decent number of lines. If you are not familiar with Art Bead Scene, I highly recommend that you visit the site. It has been a great source of inspiration for me - most of the PMC jewelry I've created has been in response to their monthly design challenges.

Anyway, I rummaged around in my stash for beads that might be appropriate for the challenge. Pictured above is one set - lovely botanical beads by Mary Harding. These were actually part of my prize package when I won the Art Bead Scene Challenge for May (by random drawing). I don't know yet how exactly I'm going to use them, but I think that they fit the theme perfectly.

The kiln arrived! It turns out that there are a few things I need to buy before I can fire it - and I currently have my nose in the manuals right now - but I still hope to set it up over the weekend.

The Kiln is Coming!

Cabochons from Earthenwood Studio

I learned that the kiln is scheduled to arrive today. Woo-hoo! That means I can start working with PMC again, and I can use these lovely cabochons that Melanie at Earthenwood Studio gave me to experiment with setting porcelain in fine silver. Thank you, Melanie!

I have so many projects in my book right now, I don't know where to start. Hopefully, the babelet will sleep well tonight (he was up around 5:30am this morning - I am _not_ a morning person and everyone else in this house is) so I can try a few things out...

I friend of mine provided me with firing schedules for glass, as well. I hope the digital controller is not too hard to figure out.

I'm off to dance my happy Snoopy dance! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Variations on a Theme

This drawing was the result of a collaboration between my son and his grandmother. Grandma calls this a Pollock-inspired piece. I've been wanting to incorporate my son's artwork into my jewelry for the past month, but I just haven't had time. Also, I'm on hiatus from working with PMC at the moment. I purchased a kiln a few weeks ago, and I intend to wait until it arrives to fire any more pieces. The wait thus far has seemed verrrrry long.

I saw a program in England back in the early 90s, when I was living there, documenting a children's art contest. The kids were divided into two teams, and each team was led by a group of adults. The challenge was to turn the children's drawings into appropriate artwork for stamps, with the winners' pieces actually to be used on Royal Mail stamps. One team decided that the children's work needed to be "improved" and had professional artists render new drawings based on each child's piece. This concept just flabbergasted me. How do you "improve" a child's drawing? I felt very sorry for the kids on this team, who were understandably upset by the artists' attempt to turn their wonderful art into something more "professional". Needless to say, the end result was a complete failure - art that had completely lost its freshness. That team didn't win. I still wonder what those people were thinking. It only keeps me up at night a couple times a year now, though.