Arthurian Alphabooks: B is for Belakane

Belakane (aka Belacane): Queen of Zazamanc, wife of Gahmuret the Angevin, and mother of Feirefiz —who is himself the half-brother of the eponymous hero of Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, where Belakane appears. (Zazamanc is a made-up land somewhere in the Middle East, not far from Baghdad, apparently.)

I wanted to include Belakane in my alphabet in part to thwart an all-too-easy tendency (for me) to fixate on the knights of Arthurian literature and legend, given that many other very interesting characters aren't knights at all (even if, as is almost unavoidable in Arthuriana, they have close ties to knights or knighthood). Belakane is also very unusual among non-Christian women of color in medieval European Christian texts. While the narrator makes frequent mention of her dark complexion by way of contrast with the conventional blond standard of female beauty in medieval romances, he also declares that she is thoroughly beautiful. Furthermore, several other romances that feature love affairs between pale Christian knights and dark-complected non-Christian queens or princesses all too frequently transform the heroine by not only converting her to Christianity but by blanching her skin tone (that is, if she isn't already pale in comparison to her dark brethren, a contrast taken as a token of her inner readiness to convert).

Belakane does suffer for her non-Christian confession—her husband loutishly abandons her with no notice while she is twelve weeks pregnant with their child, on the pretext that he now has misgivings about marriage with a non-Christian. But she isn't literally whitewashed, and she is one of several non-Christians in Parzival who are treated with a sympathy that is atypical of European medieval texts from Christendom, let alone a text as saturated in Christian matters as Parzival (which is a story of the Grail in its religious guise—though it's also in the guise of a magical rock, which, again, is atypical).

Not too many art notes this time: I was in a hurry to get a drawing done after the end of Shavuot but before midnight (which is bearing down on me as I type), so this drawing was the first go. I began the penciling with reference to a photograph of James Baldwin, believe it or not, because the image on the cover of my edition of Notes of a Native Son has a really arresting contrast of light and shadow which I have more or less transferred to Belakane.

One of the only details that Wolfram provides by way of description (other than saying that Belakane's skin is dark) is that her crown consists of a single ruby. I'm not sure how that works, so I've just crowned her crown with a very large jewel.

As for her mantle, what may look like random squiggles is more deliberate than it appears, because my splotchy spot blacks are meant to pick out a pattern of intertwining hearts and anchors that alternative their orientation up and down, up and down. Why hearts and anchors? Because the emblem of Gahmuret, the husband who abandoned Belakane, was an anchor, but Belakane loved him all the same.

Anyhow, that's my B drawing for the Arthurian alphabet. I was this close to drawing Balin (possibly with his brother Balan), but changed my mind at the last minute. Maybe I'll save them for an Alternative Arthurian Alphabet...

Alphabooksbeasts: B is for Bobo

For this week's non-Donjon Alphabooks character, I'm choosing a little chimpanzee who has recently become dear to my heart.

This week, B is for Bobo.

Maybe you've never heard of this cute little guy. I had no knowledge of him before the last few months, but now I sort of adore him. He's the star of three picture books: Hug, Tall, and Yes. Hug is a current favorite around my house.

In it, Bobo wanders through the jungle and the savannah, gradually realizing that all of the other animals have someone to cuddle, and he's alone.

(Bonus: sequential images. "Where's Bobo?" is an interesting question for this two-page spread.)

When his loneliness finally takes over, Bobo lets out a tortured barbaric yawp (which is also the word "hug," but in huge wavy letters), then settles down amidst the other animals to cry to himself.

Don't worry; the story has a happy ending. Bobo's mother finds him, and there are several really happy hugs at the end of the book.

I know it's sappy and a little too sweet, but I think Jez Alborough's cartooning is fun, and the colors in the book are gorgeous. I have read this book at least once a day for the past several months, and although the dialogue only uses three words, I am not bored with it. That's a strong endorsement, right?

Bobo was actually pretty hard for me to figure out, as a drawing. He's such a top-heavy little coffee-bean. I tried and tried. Eventually I got close, but I think copying Jez Alborough gave me something like my Mercer Mayer problem: these are just not character designs (or curves) that I would naturally come up with on my own.

Next week: a very ancient and fishlike smell.

Alphadonjon: B is for Boobooloo, King of the Olfs and Brock.

A week has gone by already? Well, here are two more crazy character designs from Trondheim and Sfar's terrific Dungeon comics.

 For this week's Alphabooks, B is for Boobooloo, King of the Olfs, and for Brock.

You may note that these fellows are both sporting the same belt and sword that Ababakar Octoflea was wearing last week. That's because they are, like Ababakar, both former wearers and wielders of the Sword of Destiny. Herbert the Duck, one of Dungeon's main characters, retrieves the Sword from Ababakar's beheaded body, and discovers not long thereafter that if anyone tries to take the sword from him — or if anyone merely touches his belt — Herbert will be transformed in a cloud of bones and ectoplasm into a previous wearer of the Sword, to avenge the transgression. (This is handy, because the sword won't let Herbert use it until he accomplishes three great deeds without it. Also, at least initially, he's quite a wimp.)

Anyway, Boobooloo is the first previous wearer of the Sword that gets summoned up, and he's a firecracker. Oh, he's small, but he's like a little basketball with fists and feet of steel. He shows up a few other times, including an extended appearance in one of the Monstres volumes set during the cataclysm at the end of the world.

As for Brock, well,

Now you know as much as I do. In the entirety of Dungeon, he appears in just one panel. But he's got a really fun design, doesn't he?

It took me a little while to figure this drawing out, mostly because I didn't know how these two guys would interact. Would they fight? They're like brothers in arms, because they're both wearers of the Sword. Maybe they'd high-five.

(You'll notice that at the brainstorming stages I'd forgotten that Brock was a snake from the waist down.)

Then I thought, "Okay, one guy is big and beefy, and the other one's a little berserker. Isn't there some sort of baseball metaphor for that sort of deal?"

Then it was just a matter of drawing. And taking away Brock's legs.

Next week, one more wearer of the Sword of Destiny, and maybe someone else.

Alphabooksbeasts: A is for archy

Okay, first of all, I officially retract that image of Aslan that I posted late Sunday night. I'm going to need to draw from Narnia later in my Alphabooks alphabet, and I wasn't too happy with the way Aslan turned out anyway.

 Actually, as it turns out, A is for archy, the free-verse poet reincarnated as a cockroach who cavorted on the keyboard of Don Marquis starting in 1916 (about seven years before e. e. cummings's first book, if you're keeping track of poets with odd typographical habits).

Maybe you've never heard of this poetical cockroach, but I first encountered him when I was a mere tyke, in a Time-Life book about insects and spiders that excerpted "archy declares war." (archy never uses capital letters, because while he is jumping around the typewriter he is unable to push down the shift key at the same time as a letter key. Kids, ask your grandparents about the medieval technology I'm talking about.)

I don't still have that book, and I haven't been able to determine for sure, but I think that same poem may have given me my first glimpse of the cartooning of George Herriman.

(I'm pretty sure this particular image did not appear in the book I had; I borrowed it from this blog post.)

You can get archy with Herriman cartoons here.

When I finally did see Krazy Kat during my undergrad days, maybe archy had to some extent made me ready for what I was going to see. For that, I thank the Time-Life company, I suppose.

I didn't want to try to ape Herriman for this drawing, though, in part because I'm planning to visit him later in the alphabet, but mainly because I know enough entomology (and have spent enough time with cockroaches) that I wanted to aim for a little more fidelity to the actual critter form. Here are some preliminary doodles.

I gave him boots in one drawing because I figured he'd need a little extra weight to get those typewriter keys to budge. They looked silly, though, so I gave him some leather shoes instead. The next doodle was pretty close to what I wound up with for pencils. In some ways, as usual, I like the sketch better than the finished inks: more energy, and a sort of scruffy quality that seems right for a cockroach.

If you're wondering what rules led me to pick and then reject Aslan, here are my personal guidelines for the AlphaBooks project:

1. I'm planning to do two alphabets this time, one of which will consist entirely of Donjon characters
2. For my other alphabet, as with Alphabeasts, I'm going to draw twenty-six characters from twenty-six different sources
3. None of my characters will be human beings. (Mostly they're animals. This is because I have been enjoying drawing creatures for the first two alphabet projects, and because my skills as a caricaturist are really still too minimal to be honed by a project like this.) 
4. That said, they'll all still be characters—that is, they'll have personalities that go beyond their natural animal qualities. (There may be an automaton or two in the list, but even they will be distinctive individuals.)

I've got the alphabet all planned out now (at last!), and I'm psyched to get drawing. Next week, we'll meet a little chimp, and not the one who spent time with the fortieth president.

Title Sequence for NOVA

Title sequence for NOVA Cultura contemporanea festival in Brasil. novafestival

Spot PhotoEspana 2012

Promotional clip for the photo festival Photoespana 2012.


Somewhere in North Carolina, a Christian pastor preached that he would like to see homosexuals rounded up and put in cages.

It's no surprise that this caused some controversy, but really, why is this so shocking? Are we all not well aware of the mainstream Christian view on homosexuality? If this has gotten a little hazy and obfuscated in recent years, let's review:

Leviticus 20:13
"If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense."

Romans 1:26-27
Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 

1 Timothy 1:8-10
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.

That there is the Bible, folks. The Word of God and ultimate moral authority for Christians, the lens by which they are commanded to view the world. And other than that Leviticus verse I indulged in there, this is not just the crazy Old Testament that no one really listens to anymore, it's the Apostle Paul, author of the majority of Christian doctrine, just preachin' the gospel and givin' it to us straight.

So, it's pretty clear what the official Christian stance is, right? How could these verses possibly be misconstrued? They're not subtle. These are not translation issues. Homosexuality is a sin, placed in the same sentence as murder. And God hates sin, so therefore God hates everything homosexuals do in their romantic lives, from sweet little high school crushes to anal penetration to loving, committed, long-term relationships.




So why is there such an uproar over Pastor Charles Worley's comments? Isn't he just dramatically articulating the very same view that most pastors are silently thinking? Yes, his is an extreme expression of this view and very few Christians would approve of his choice of words, but what's the practical difference? It comes from the exact same belief: that being gay is wrong, and God hates it. Outside the murky waters of Lutheran and Episcopalian churches, which are officially supportive but internally conflicted, most Christian churches officially believe homosexuality is a sin. So who cares if they aren't always expressing it loudly or offensively? It's the thought that counts, right?

If anything, I might respect pastors like Worley more for actually embracing the full implications of their belief system instead of trying to brush aside their brand's harsher aspects in order to appeal to a wider audience. I absolutely disagree with him, I absolutely think he's a chieftain of a backward, primitive tribe, but at least he's not nervously avoiding the stance his religion actually, officially, takes.

I ask what's worse? Embracing a religion full of repugnant beliefs and acting on them with sincere conviction? Or embracing a religion full of repugnant beliefs and politely pretending they aren't there?

Note: I write this from the perspective of someone who was born and raised in Christianity, attended church twice a week in a variety of denominations, read the Bible cover-to-cover dozens of times, was a pastor's son and a pastor's brother-in-law, served as a worship leader, wrote worship songs, and didn't break away from any of this until I was 21. I know of what I speak.

You can't write a novel in an afternoon!

I've told myself that a few dozen times over the past year, and yet I still want to believe it. You can read a novel in an afternoon--either a short novel or a long afternoon, but writing takes time. It takes sweat and tears and a whole lot of effort. I used to joke that GoodReads, the website where everyone and their dog can review a book and give their two bits should really be called, "Disgruntled English Majors." I seems everyone who doesn't write has fairly strong opinions about those who do, especially those who write something that gets published. I guess I cant really claim to have gotten anything published since I self-published, but the difficulties in writing can be no less real, regardless of how the book comes to be.

I was excited to get back to writing as soon as the Mother's Day Open House was over. We had nearly a thousand people go through out home over the weekend and I was bushed after that. My kiln had some problems during the final firing before the open house which resulted in part of the door melting and leaving it very difficult to open. I spent a day and a half making the necessary repairs and then dedicated the rest of the week to writing.  Or so I thought. Writing, at least for me requires several consecutive hours of relative silence. Sometimes that is difficult to find. Okay, so maybe that is always difficult to find. I realized I am out of practice and the magic doesn't always happen exactly when I want or need it to happen. I made some progress, but it was slow. It is a little better this week, but if I am not distracted by people dropping by or phone calls, I am distracted by the fact that I have an art festival coming up in a month and I need to replenish my supply of pots. I am behind on orders, too. And I don't care that I'm behind on orders which is both liberating and disappointing. I am distracted--maybe that is the best way to put it. Distracted, feeling like I have returned to my nets after knowing I am supposed to be doing something else. Faith is tough, at least for me, and patience is even harder.

That being said, I am more excited about this story than I have ever been. I know all writers draw on their personal experiences, but I am a little surprised by how autobiographical this book is becoming. Some of it involves dark pieces of history from my younger years and family drama that is still going on. It has made me pensive and moody and somedays has made me want to avoid delving deeper. And yet I know I need to plow on. I feel strongly that this book will help others, offer hope and grace and love, and give people courage to plow forward. I am still hoping to have the book ready for Christmas, but if I don't make some substantial progress in the next few months, I will have to postpone it again.  I hate to do that.

I am not sure why other people write, but I will tell you honestly that I write because I have to--because the voices won't leave me alone--because the story haunts me until I let it out. It is never easy. It seems to always be expensive, and it takes way longer than I think it should.

So, I am off to write. I fed my fears by making pots this morning. Now I can feed my faith, by writing.

A is for Almost Arthur: Abortive Attempts

Isaac expressed some interest in my process drawings for yesterday's Alphabooks image of Arthur, so I'll post them here with some comments. (NB: If you are not interested in the minutiae of my drawing decisions, you may want to skim or skip this post—there are eight pictures all told.)

I started sketching loosely while thinking generally about the scene I wanted to portray, to see what sort of Arthurian face suggested itself without my trying too deliberately to draw something before my hand started moving. I don't have a scan of the pencils that resulted, but I have two different inked versions of those pencils. The picture below was my first attempt, drawn by tracing over the pencils on a separate sheet of paper—not tracing paper, however, so my view of the pencils was somewhat spotty. Nevertheless, this first drawing probably had the tightest inking of them all, with lots of bitty lines (maybe because I was trying to reassert my control of the brush after long desuetude):

The eyes were a problem, as you can see, and I can't really vouch for the mechanics of that brooch-thing. (I surprised myself by including the cloak and brooch, characteristic more of a Celtic-clad Arthur than the Frenchified/Anglo Arthur better known from mainstream medieval texts.) Arthur also didn't look mad enough, or tired and dirty enough. So I tried again freehand, and made this:

This one has its okay qualities, but Arthur seems too upset and not riled up enough. And again the eyes don't line up quite right, and they were a main concern of my effort to depict the conflicting emotions I wanted Arthur to express in a single face (rage/grief, exhaustion/resolution, the like). I also think this Arthur looks too old, and a bit too hairy. So I tried another one freehand, and made this:

A head-on view for a change—not altogether satisfying in its static quality, but I was trying to figure out how to arrange the eyes, eyebrows, and mouth, which I found to be the main expressive elements (duh, because they are a lot more mobile than, say, the forehead or the cheekbones or the chin and beard!). My sense was that, in order to capture Arthur's welter of emotions, I'd have to use a bit of asymmetry, with one eye more clearly angry (with a lowered brow, say) and the other more wounded or stricken (wider, perhaps), while the two corners of the mouth might bend differently, expose different amounts of teeth, etc. I also found I kept wanting to give Arthur a busted lower lip, though I didn't always draw it that way. This Arthur probably looks too young, to boot. But note that these freehand drawings have started to get freer with broad strokes of the brush—that was going to be the way forward, ultimately. But I wasn't there yet, so I had another go at inking the original pencils—inking them directly, this time, while still trying to use them as a loose guide rather than a firm directive. Here's what I came up with this time:

So this one (#4, if you're keeping score at home) is clearly close kin to the first, though I think this one is more successful. Arthur looks a bit more bedraggled, more angrily wary and less innocently startled. The big problem with these sibling pictures was the spacing of the eyes relative to each other. I tried to make corrections in ink (more evident in #1 than here)—an effort doomed to failure! But here again there are some nice fat swatches of black brushstrokes, in defining the hair especially. (And since I was using real waterproof India ink on a bristly brush, as opposed to the water soluble ink in the cartridges that I load into my brush pen, the black looked really nice on the page.) I was almost satisfied enough with this to send it to Alphabooks, but it still has an amateurish quality that bugged me. So I tried another one freehand, and made this:

Truthfully, this was more a facial study than a full-out effort. (I think its placement on the page relative to prior drawings meant I couldn't have finished the head even if I'd wanted to.) Here I was still trying to figure out how the essential expressive parts of the face needed to work. I kind of like this piece of Arthur, though it's too fragmentary to be really recognizable as Arthur without a label. (I am aware that the same could be said of the final drawing I posted to Alphabooks, however.) I thought I was getting closer to where I wanted to be, but I was still willing to try something a little different. So I tried another one freehand, and made this:

This one didn't work either. Like #2, it looks too old and too mournful—nowhere near angry enough. (This one might work for the earlier scene of Arthur on the field of battle against Lancelot in Benwick, when his heart is no longer in the fight and when he realizes just how far he has compromised his principles in going along with Gawain to wage war against his former best friend and lieutenant; the key scene for Arthur's realization is when Lancelot himself rehorses Arthur in the midst of the battle, an act of transcendent chivalry that baffles and frustrates Lancelot's allies even as it breaks Arthur's heart. But I digress!) The other reason why this one doesn't work is that it looks too much like Uncle Jesse from The Dukes of Hazzard. That would never do!  So I tried a much different tack, and made this:

I don't really care for this one, but it helped to draw a more youthful Arthur again, and I made at least a sketch of what he might look like in a crown, though you will note that the crown was an afterthought, added after the hair was sketched in, and I wasn't prepared to commit fully to a complete design. Also, it sits weird on the head. Also, the head itself is kind of weird.

One of the problems I faced throughout, besides the problem of how to convey Arthur's mixed emotions, was getting the age of Arthur where I wanted it. I think he looks too young in numbers 3 & 7, and too old in numbers 2 and 6. I actually like a lot of the fundamentals of 1 & 4, the images based on my original pencils, but the eyes were really bugging me, and I think I prefer a more broken nose in Arthur, and a head that's not quite as square as those are (though I'm not convinced that the one I went with for the blog/tumblr/Alphabooks isn't too long in the face).

And heck, for the sake of comparison here's another look at the one I finally settled on, sketch #8:

There's a Knight of a Dolorous Countenance for you!

2 Updates

Today we received an update on our adoption process and on Isaac. 

1. We found out that our last required paper work was received by our attorney...the last step before we get our court date!!!  We are so anxious to wrap our arms around him.

2.  Our little trooper has been ill with malaria.  He was taken to the hospital, received treatment, and is now back at the orphanage.  This made me ill to my stomach when first reading this information, but since then I've calmed down and realized that God has watched over him and will continue to. 

God bless,

Giant Living Room

Hey friends, tomorrow at 8:00 I'll be joining the famous Sean Nelson (singer of Harvey Danger) the infamous John Roderick (singer of The Long Winters, Seattle Weekly columnist, Twitter star) and writer/poets Mark Baumgarten and Elaina Ellis for a unique storytelling party at the Fremont Abbey. There will be lively readings, witty banter, comfortable couches, and beery beer.

Arthurian Alphabooks: A is for Arthur

As a card-carrying member of the International Arthurian Society (or, well, journal-receiving; we don't actually have cards), I have decided to attempt an Alphabooks alphabet that is altogether Arthurian. There are lots of options for many of the letters. A, for example, could be Agravain (troublesome brother of Sir Gawain), or Anna (one of several names attributed to Arthur's sister, or at least one of his sisters), or Accolon (who attempts to kill Arthur in a conspiracy with Morgan le Fay), or Amfortas (a Grail king). But come on—it's obviously got to be Arthur, though the image below may not obviously look like Arthur to you:

In fairness, it's not obviously Arthur to me, either, though I think it qualifies as an Arthur. One of the reasons I thought it might be interesting to attempt an Arthurian Alphabooks is because descriptions of characters are often limited, absent, or so conventional as to be unspecific. Another challenge is that some of the more prominent characters feature in decades' worth of narrative events, so that a drawing of Arthur needs to choose a particular age of Arthur: the boy ignorant of his patrimony (in most texts), the young king (who may or may not be bearded), the mature monarch, the dying warrior.

I wanted to focus on not just a particular age of Arthur but a particular moment, when, on the field of battle at Salisbury Plain, he catches sight of his traitorous son Mordred, still alive when almost everyone else has fallen. I made a number of attempts, which were interesting to me in two main ways: first, I discovered that I did have a basic sense of how I thought Arthur might look; second, I realized how devilishly difficult it was going to be to capture in a still image the range of feelings that I imagine Arthur to experience in that moment.

Anyhow, the drawing above is neither exactly what I thought Arthur might look like nor (even remotely) a successful rendering of a face that should register simultaneous regret, rage, hurt, hostility, etc., etc. (An actor would have better luck than a still image, I think.)

Still, I'm satisfied enough to post it here and to have sent it to the good folks at Alphabooks. I will also note that this drawing is the furthest from my original sketches, which were a lot tighter and controlled—and frustratingly stiff. This one I drew freehand with a brush heavily charged with ink, and I began with loose strokes focused on the hooded eyesockets and the drawn cheekbones. (In fact, the original sketch lacked visible eyes, relying just on the solid black area of the upper lids.) I then slowly built up the image, even turning the paper around several times to hold up to the light to check for symmetry and tones. It felt almost like sculpting in ink, and was a fun way to get reacquainted with a real brush dipped in real India ink. (I haven't used those tools in about eighteen months or more.)

Anyhow. My thanks to Isaac for single-handedly keeping the blog alive in a really rewarding fashion over the last long haul. Let's see how or whether I hang in there this time around.

AlphaDonjon: A is for Alcibiades and Ababakar Octoflea

I'm hoping that I will be able to draw one entire Alphabooks theme from the collaborative Dungeon comics (Donjon in the original French) co-authored by Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar, and a bunch of other great French cartoonists.

If you've never read any Dungeon at all, you can get started here.

In the very first volume of the series—indeed, by page four—you will meet two relatively minor characters whose names start with A:
That's Alcibiades the Gnomonist there at the bottom, who can normally be found managing the network of crystal balls that the Dungeon employees use to communicate.

Attacking him is Ababakar Octoflea, Prince Without a Principality, Whose Sandals Stomp on the Tombs of Kings, bearer of the Sword of Destiny. He dies a brutal death on page five.

But his death opens the path of heroism that defines the life of one of the series's main characters, and because of the weird chronology of the Dungeon books, you can also meet Prince Ababakar Octoflea in the first volume of Dungeon Monstres.

Alphabooks: A is for Aslan (redacted)

So: the next big alphabet project is going to be characters from books.

My plan is to draw characters from twenty-six different sources again, plus one twenty-seventh source that I'll feature in a separate post. As you may expect, my plans are a little more complicated than that, but my desk has been in such a jumble this month that I'm not sure how well the plans are going to come together.

Possibly it's best for me to say no more about them for the time being.

Meanwhile, if only to keep my foot in the door, here's a leonine Christ-figure:

A is for Aslan. If this guy looks familiar, it might be because of a theory of mine:

I don't have a way to prove this, but I think lions must have, as a species, the highest ratio of sculptural representations to real living specimens of the species. (Extinct and mythical species must be excluded from the calculation, of course.)

beaches, MOSES, and hot dates

so much to blog and so little time
as it is sooo past this lady's nap time

get a load of these two

 Reagan heard that I used to work on teeth for a living and she wanted
to try it for an afternoon and see if she wanted
to be like me when she grows up.

 they need to quit


Also...proof my sister loves me.

I got this little beaut and then got a phone call soon after...

I know you don't need any explanation because clearly that's Moses. No last name
needed because he a one of a kind celebrity!

(tiny behind the scenes info, He comes into Isaac's work, Sport's Authority, all the time and one day I SAW HIIM!!!!! I really wanted to tell him hi and that I adore him but could not muster the courage.
Come to find out Isaac "checked him out" (you know what I mean...) So I asked... "Did you tell him
I love him?" Isaac said..."No, I let him be a normal person for once..." Lame.)


Lucy called to tell me she saw him at Sams and told him that i adore him and am his biggest fan.
she rocks! 
(but I'm glad I wasn't there)

Then NO JOKE....FIVE SECONDS LATER (ok a few hours...)
THIS happens...

again...obviously you don't need an explanation because clearly that is Moses again.
this time WITH...

 the fam. Kaylee (also from Biggest Loser) and another daughter and wife.

 Yes I know... that is Kaylee's back side (plus her sis and mom in front of her!!!)

 this was me trying to take a pic over my shoulder, so they didn't know...


a hot (SURPRISE) date with this kid

 she's a doll...i know

ate some of this

 and was surprised by this!

"What to Expect, When You're Expecting"
I appreciated this flick 

 adored these two! "Rosie"? Great name

 couldn't get enough of THIS


Hello Blog world! Sorry for the long distances between posts. Life is busy. Some big news...I will be exhibiting this november at CTN in burbank california. This means I will be making much more work leading up until then so I will have prints and maybe books of work to give out. Here is the beginning of that mission, a small rough for a piece I would like to finish this weekend. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

Photo Meeting OjodePez 2012

Together with Julio Zuckerman, so much fun!

Going Private

After a lot of thought, I have decided to make my blog private for the forseeable future. Please know what we greatly appreciate the love, prayers, encouragement, and support you all have provided for us over the past few years.

If you would like to continue to keep up with this blog, please feel free to email me at Additionally, if you are looking to refer a friend who has faced a loss to my blog for encouragement, please email me as well.

This has been a difficult decision, as my greatest desire is for the Lord to continue to use Isaac's story to bring glory to Him. I hope that many of you will choose to continue to follow along with us on our journey, and that this blog will still be a place that can bring encouragement and hope to others.

Many blessings...

Long Overdue

Hello... It seems like it has been forever! I appreciate the comments and emails of concern. Truly, we have just been very busy and it has been hard to find the time to slow down enough to thoughtfully but anything about our day to day into words. But as a start, I would love to simply update you on what is happening! I am loving my time at home and not working. Well, let me rephrase that... Not leaving the house to go to work. :) As I am sure you know, staying at home to raise your children is a LOT of work... And it is the greatest job ever! I have been learning a lot about myself, and having two kids two and under definitely causes me to better prioritize the imperative versus the important...evidenced by the enormous pile of clean laundry beside me that STILL needs to be folded and put away. :) Eliana turned two in March and she is full of life and spunk. She talks all the time, and I am both impressed and amused by the things she often says. I love watching her develop a sense of empathy for others, including her stuffed animals, and to begin to devlop interests. She loves anything that requires movement, so it should come as no surprise that games of catch, running around outside, and dance parties are a typical part of our day. Eliana has learned to count to ten in Spanish and French, knows how to spell her name, and can usually accurately identify her letters and their corresponding sounds. I am amazed and what she picks up and how fast she learns. Her memory is amazing... Recalling details that in my haste, I often overlook. I love to watch her marvel at life's simplicities. Jacob is just ansolutely precious. He is incredible, amd has a smile(completebwith the sweetest dimple) that will meltm your heart. He is such an easy baby... Not a terrific sleeper, but sweet as can be even if he is tired. He just recently got over his first ear infection and is currently about to cut his bottom two teeth. He can roll from his tummy to his back, loves the bumbo seat and exersaucer, and laughs sweetly when you pull him up to a standing position and tell him how strong he is. He is captivated by the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" and is all around a complete joy. He is in diapers tnat are only one size smaller tha Eliana's, and I am pretty sure he will exceed her weight-wise by the time he turns one. He definitely takes after his Daddy! Spencer is a out to wrap up another school year and will continue to be pursuing an assistant principal position in the school system. We would appreciate your prayers that he would recei e that promotion this year. He has worked so hard to position himself for it, and I pray that God would honor his hard work and integrity. I am not writing this on my laptop where my pictures are, so I will add some updated photos at some point soon. It feels good to be back after a four month hiatus!

United Methodist Church Vote Against Divestment

Last week, the General Assembly of the United Methodist Church voted against divesting from International companies whose products are used by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories. The conference opted for a more diplomatic approach, voting in favor of positive investment in projects that benefits the Palestinians. In addition, the conference voted in favor of boycotting Israeli companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The vote generated a lot of heat and discussion. Prior to the vote, near 1200 Jewish rabbis signed an open letter to the conference, saying that a vote to divest would damage the relationship between Jews and Christians in USA. Other Christians also lobbied against the resolution, calling it one-sided and merely part of the anti-Israel advocacy, and in the process making it a conservative vs. liberal issue.

Yet Palestinian Christians, including Evangelicals, thought the opposite, and were discouraged by the vote. Rev. Alex Awad, a Palestinian Christians and a Methodist missionary in Palestine and Israel, attended the conference in attempt to convince the participants to vote in favor of divestment. Awad wrote after the conference:

Shouts of injustice prevailed over the shouts of those who yearned to see actions promoting justice in Palestine. United Methodists and Jewish allies had come from around the world to stand in solidarity with Palestinian Christians who called for divestment to help end Israel’s occupation. But opponents spread fear and misinformation that carried the day.

Palestinian Christians have in the last few years issued a calling to Christians worldwide to take a stand with them against the injustices of the occupation. The Palestinian Kairos document is a theological document written by Palestinian Christian theologians and leaders, and was endorsed by all heads of the churches in Jerusalem. The document, which called the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel as sin, called for nonviolent resistance to this occupation, and advocated measures of Boycot, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) to end the occupation.

Archbishop Desmund Tutu, who fought against apartheid in South Africa, was strongly in favor of divestment. He wrote a letter to the delegates urging them to vote in favor of the resolution, and wrote an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times, in which he addressed and the vote and the rabbis' letter.  Tutu, who went on record in calling the Israeli occupation "apartheid", wrote, "justice needs action," and called "to force an end to Israel's long-standing occupation of Palestinian territory and refusal to extend equal rights to Palestinian citizens who suffer from some 35 discriminatory laws." He drew a parallel from a letter written by MLK from a Birmingham jail, in which he was "gravely disappointed with the moderate white … who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action.'"

Christians are not alone calling for action to end the injustices of the occupation. Jewish Voices For Peace campaigned  in favor of a divestment vote and against the rabbi's letter. The words of Tutu were echoed by Jewish activists who wrote prophetically that charity is not a substitute for justice.

For some Palestinians, the fact that the issue of Palestinian and Israel was discussed openly in the general assembly of a major church in USA is in itself an accomplishment, in a time when many denominations still shy away from openly discussing injustice in Palestine. Yet a lot remains to be done. Christians cannot continue to ignore the elephant in the room: the occupation is real and it must come to an end. This is not the time for diplomacy and being politically right. Christians cannot remain apathetic about real injustices taking place under the pretext of security or the lame excuse that "all resolutions must come through the direct result of negations." Palestinian Christians are not asking for charity any more. We are asking for solidarity to end the occupation and obtain our freedom and equal rights.

Mother's Day Open House This Weekend

It's hard to believe I haven't been here to update the blog in over a month. I should have done this sooner and I am sorry if you missed it because of my lack of communication, but tomorrow begins my

Mother's Day Studio Open House and Home Tour

May 10-12

10am-5pm each day

1150 East 800 South

Salt Lake City, Utah

We have been busy getting the house ready and I have been crazy busy making pots. I just finished my fifth firing of the week and I am bushed. Because of the requests, we are opening our home again for a tour. We refinished our home last year, moving back in just before the holidays. Projects have continued since then and will continue after this open house too. Come and see the 500 square feet of handmade tile scattered throughout our home and take a piece of pottery home for the mom in your life. I will also have the books available and a lot of forget-me-not ware. I hope to see you soon.

If I posted more often.....

I wouldn't have the "throw up post" with never ending photos....

will never get old

 Reagan giving loves to Ashley!

 so lame that I am posting her 10 month crib eval pic... 9 days before she is 11 months (yes..I said 11 months :(  )

best crib eval pic taken.


 I'm aware that I am bias....but SERIOUSLY kills me... too pretty.

 chocolate covered Reagan! Got milk???

 she likes to show off that she has no limits these days...

 Oh how I need to teach you that, even though so many have made you the center of their world
(because you truly are wonderful)..... you can't know that!

 sitting forward is so one month ago mom!


 little people=her favorite!
Becks was so sweet to her!

 little brother's old hat. threw it on there. her reaction made me giggle.

for really?

the end look was different that I have envisioned, however it was so fun seeing her in curlers.

 Reaction when "her" puppy had to leave. no joke. (she was a little tired, but still)