Less is More!


Linda’s Piece

As an experiment, I made a small crystal collage. I had to search my sources for small but interesting components since the frame was only eleven by eleven with a two-inch border. I was so delighted with the end result, I emailed a photo of it to my dear, long-time friend, Linda, just to share the moment. She responded immediately. “What a beautiful piece, Carole.  I love the heart and the seahorse, plus the blue marble. Can I please buy it from you?”

Taken aback, I replied, “Linda! I would LOVE for you to have my new creation. It is a favorite of mine —something about it — small but powerful! Yes! I will check with UPS about shipping on Monday. It’s small enough and on the lighter side, to where I think it’s shippable. I imagine you want me to wait until you are ready to move? One less thing to move…your call. I can send it now if you like. I would rather just gift it to you, but I know how you are — you are supporting me through your purchase. My artist friend, Jan, suggested prices of $499 for the large and $399 for the small pieces. Just send what you like. You’ve already supported me in so many ways.”

I’m a starving artist now since my pet-sitting days are over. During the pandemic with everybody staying home and walking their own dogs, I found myself out of business. I didn’t realize I was an artist until Jan declared me so. I had made one for her house a few years ago and she placed it in a prominent spot. Back in the olden days when people came over for dinner and such, several of her friends saw the piece in her window and asked who the artist was and could they commission her to do one for them?

I scoffed, “Oh, no. It’s too labor-intensive. Just searching for the components takes forever, not to mention finding frames that I can repurpose. I spend hours at yard sales and thrift stores looking for this stuff. Plus, it’s a pain to strip the frames, remove all the glue from the backing, and then schlep it to the glass shop to install the quarter-inch glass that can hold the weight of the sparkly crystal pieces. Oy vey! Nope. Not doing it!”

And then my beautiful goddaughter was getting married and I wanted to give her a special gift. When I visited her newly purchased house she gave us the tour and laughed about all the chandeliers the previous owner had left and said they would be replacing them.

“Replacing them? And what will you do with the old ones? The ones with the crystals hanging from them.”

“Dumpster,” she smiled. “Starting with this ugly red one.”

“Ooh, ooh, can I have it?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. It was ugly.

“I have a reason. It’s only the crystals I want but I can’t tell you why yet.”

When I unveiled the finished product my heart swelled with love as I watched the newlyweds take it in for the first time. It was worth all the trouble after all. My vow to never make another one went right out the window, and now I’m a maniac. My humble abode looks like a crazed lunatic lives there (maybe one does) with various stages of production as I prepare for an art show.

I’m going to throw in with two dear friends who create spectacular art but haven’t had a large audience like the famous Sally Bookman who has been a superstar for many years and, in many areas aside from her gorgeous art, but that’s another story. I’m talking about her husband, Lee, who paints fabulously in a style far different from Sally’s. You’ll see. The other is an accomplished artist and art teacher, Reid Winfrey, who has a ton of completed works that are stunning and sitting idle in his studio. You can see their work on their websites:

I’m excited to say I shipped Linda’s sweet piece via UPS this morning. It should arrive in two days. I must say it was easy once I found the right UPS store. I first went to FedEx and found out they don’t pack any items there. So I went home and gathered all the bubble wrap I could find. Then I went to the UPS in Capitola and I saw tons of people arriving in cars with many large packages. Got back in the car and drove to Aptos which tends to have less traffic and a higher class of people. I carried the piece wrapped in a bath towel, tucked the bubble wrap under my arm and was told (politely) they can’t re-use any packing. Once I got in front of a lovely young lady it went smoothly from there. And it was only $45 including packing. I didn’t get to watch them pack so I can only hope they did a good job. We shall see if it arrives in one piece. I insured it for $500 but, of course, it’s an irreplaceable work of art! Priceless!

Well, gotta go now. Amazon just dropped off a package of chandelier crystals and I have work to do. Plus, I have to put a workout video on so I can fit into that sequinned gown for the art show.

Oh, and not only that, Lynn, my wild and crazy expat friend from the old Costa Rica days, has some sentimental pieces of crystal she wants to use in her collage. She offered to ship me the parts. “Nope. I’ll come to you and we’ll do it together!”

Heh, heh, heh. She’s in beautiful Puerto Rico so if she wants me to create the piece she’ll have to fly me there. I know she has miles. And then, of course, there is wine to be shared. I know she has wine.

Life is good. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. I know — pretty random, huh? That’s a terrible expression. Maybe I’ve been home alone too long.

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