Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Working with the Otter Totem for the New Year

There's not enough Happiness in the world today. Yes, there are pockets of people who are happy or at least content, but if you truly look around......there is such a huge amount of sadness, stress, anger, and negativity. Wars, hate crimes, bullying, and violence spill over our communities and touch us all. These atrocities are not just happening across the oceans, but are right here in our sights.  Sometimes you never know how the girl in the coffee shop who is frustrating you by making you a latte when you asked for a cappuccino. While you get stressed that you're going to be late for work, she hurriedly starts over, while her mind keeps flashing back to the beating she endured from her husband the night before. Or the boy who lives next door, the trouble maker on the block...while his parents stand over him, screaming at him for breaking the neighbor's windows, his mind is somewhere else thinking of the bully at school who embarrassed him to tears in front of their classmates.
Our hearts, souls, and our Earth are all being affected by this.

Our happiness has to begin with ourselves, so we can then spread that light to others. What better animal totem to learn from but the Otter.
The Otter represents a pure joy. Their character is one of curiosity and living in the moment. Even though they have work to do, they are able to infuse their playfulness and make those times full of smiles. They tackle each action as if it is the first time, symbolic of Life being an Adventure. The Otter emits Happiness, changing the energy of those around them. Everyone could learn from the Otter's wisdom.

May you carry Otter Wisdom with you into the New Year. Happy 2015 !

Original Painting titled "Dance of the Otters" 11 x 14 by Jeanne Fry
The painting is listed in our Etsy shop here

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New ways to Connect the Writer and the Reader

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I love reading blogs, especially those that are artistic and inspiring, but I have to admit that many times I lost track of those favorite ones. I am now using Bloglovin to follow the blogs that I love.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Root Bound No More - Space Clearing for the Soul

When the seasons arrive, each have their own special meanings in our hearts. They conjure up memories, urge us to look at the past and the present, and prepare us for different phases of our growth. When Fall arrives I feel myself go into a "nesting" mode, instinctively getting ready for the Winter's "inward" time. It prompts us to do a Fall cleaning, or Space Clearing if you will...a cleansing of the prior activity and get our house ready for our  journey of quiet contemplation.
This Fall, as all the others for the past several decades, I began my space clearing. This time though I was adamant that I needed to work with my plants as well. I decided that certain ones were going to be pulled up from the ground and potted to be brought indoors, and others were going to be re-potted into larger containers. 
I set up my garden table on the deck and worked first on all of the herbs I was going to have in my Winter's kitchen garden. Then I decided to create some new sacredness for my indoor plants, giving them an opportunity to grow in new ways. I foraged through my many planters, choosing just the right ones for each plant, cleansing and prepping them, then started filling them with rich organic soil - healthy surroundings just as our own spirits need in order to flourish.
My peace lilies, patchouli, sage, philodendron, and zebra plants were ready to be transformed. I was in a sense shocked when I began releasing them from their old residences...finding that their root systems were bound so tightly that they couldn't even creep their way out of the drainage holes on the bottoms of the pots. I softly loosed their roots and dusted the old impacted soil away and I could almost hear a sigh of relief......"Ahhhhh I can Breathe". 

I continued this process with each of the plants, saddened that I had waited so long to help in their growth. As my hands gingerly worked with their life source, I began thinking of the process on a spiritual and philosophical level in relation to our own lives. I thought about how we as humans so often put our own needs aside and procrastinate on doing the things we need for ourselves to flourish and grow. I thought about how this little bit of meaningful time can have such a long lasting impact on our own personal growth. I reminded myself that I needed to be sure that I put my own needs first on my priority list, and how my not having done so may have prevented my own spirit from evolving  to higher levels. 
I made a promise to myself that I would ensure that I always had enough room to grow, and to make sure that there was always time and space available for the exploration of my soul.
These events on this cool breezy Fall afternoon inspired my new painting, "Root Bound No More".

The painting  brings the Tree of Life forward in a symbolic tone, portraying Personal Growth that allows one to overcome challenges, reaching out of the conforming self limits that we sometimes place on ourselves.
The canvas was textured with a Golden product medium, swirled in a large circle and painted deep rich colors of burnt umber, brown, and burnt sienna, to be symbolic for the self created limits we put on ourselves. The Tree was painted rising through the circle, its swirls of roots reaching not only below but above those "self limits", allowing it to grow beyond its wildest dreams. An abundance of small detail work was done in the many leaves of the tree, as new and vital growth. 
If you are interested in the painting you can see more of it in its listing on Etsy here

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Selugadu Festival 2014

Last weekend was the annual Selugadu Festival, a Native American celebration, at the Hagood Mill Historic Site. This has been a special event we attend every year, not only because of the theme itself, but because of the relationships. It's a time when we get to see many of our friends (artist, dancers, drummers, and demonstrators) although it's even more special when we get to see the people that come to visit us year after year that often we don't get to see otherwise. 

This particular time it was bittersweet, being the first Selugadu without the presence of Ed Bolt, long time curator of the Hagood Mill site. Ed was like the Father overseeing the family at the Mill. He was the glue that held it together, and that kept a relaxed and homey feel to the space that made me as a demonstrator never feel like it was "work" but a family get-together. He worked hard creating this family and was always a man that was respected and endeared. 
Since Ed's passing, the Mill is still in operation...evolving into what it now will be. The things that need to be done are done and it will continue to grow. I do miss that family feel, but as in life we all grow and change, and a new family will be created.

This year many of the dancers and storytellers were new to the Mill. The Nu Nu Hi Warriors (Immortal Warriors) representing the Eastern Band Cherokee came and offered the main event performance, along with the "Order of the Arrow" dance team and the "Keepers of the Word" drumming group. 

Flute playing, storytelling, blow-gun demonstrating, and basket making filled the day, while at the same time the Gristmill was turning grinding cornmeal and flour. But I have to say that the one thing, my favorite thing, that speaks to my Spirit are the Horses.
The Dan Buckheister  family and the Twelve Mile Indian Horse Association were present with their Spanish Colonial Horses. (Their horses are descendants of the first horses brought to this continent by the Spanish)

The children are allowed to paint their hand prints on the horses throughout the day.
Visiting the horses is a must for me. It is the one thing throughout the day that speaks to my spirit so deeply and authentically. Stroking their mane and looking in their eyes, brings such a strong connection with this animal, that just emanates freedom and riding the wind.  
Even though events, families, and life changes.....Spirit always remains the same.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Monarch Migration - Advocating through Art to Raise Awareness of their Decline

The existence of one of  Mother Earth's most popular and well known creatures, the Monarch Butterfly, is in danger. The delicate little beauty has amazed us with its endurance and ability to travel its 3000 mile migration to its winter habitat in Mexico each year. Their arrival coincides with the widely celebrated Day of the Dead festival, symbolically being said that they represent the ancestral spirits that are being celebrated. 

"Monarch Migration" Original Painting by Jeanne Fry

The Monarch's numbers have dropped drastically, one study showing a decrease from 1 billion of these orange beauties, down to 35 million. Several factors are being attributed to this decrease, notably an increase in logging in their Mexico habitat as well as a decrease in Milkweed. Milkweed is important to the Monarch and is in decline because it is treated as a weed by farmers. 
People ask, "What can I, a single person, do to change the decline of the Monarchs?"

One simple remedy that can help save the Monarchs is to alter our behavior in the destruction of Milkweed as a nuisance. Thanks to an article from National Geographic I was able to find some Milkweed Resources.

The National Resources Defense Council has a funded project that provides Free Milkweeds to schools and non-profits, an excellent social justice program for children to be involved in. 

Monarch Watch is another valuable resource for this effort

You can also look to see if there is a Training Center near you, with a Monarch Larva Monitoring project. You can find more information about a program near you here

And, if you are interested in seeing more of the Original Painting that I created in honor of these beautiful creatures, you can find it listed in my Etsy shop here

Butterfly Totem Symbolic Meaning:
Butterflies represent Change and Transformation, the Joy of life, and Presence in the Moment. They help in reminding us to Keep it Simple, and look at what is truly important. The Butterfly encourages us not to fear change, but embrace it, for Life IS change.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Giraffe Totem and its Symbolic Meaning

The Giraffe Totem is one of the most unique,beautiful and graceful mammals. His symbolism is deeply meaningful, representative of one being balanced and trusting in themselves in order to "see" where they are going and how to get there. The giraffe's tall height keeps his head in the skies, lending to a stronger connection with his higher self and the Divine, while his long legs keep him grounded and balanced in his decisions.The act of sight is indicative of being perceptive, aware, and intuitive. 

They are social creatures, affectionate, and enjoy being near one another. They are mostly silent, only occasionally making any sound, but will communicate with others through their bodies and actions. This is especially true of the mother and the baby giraffe. She will often extend her love, bending down to nuzzle and be close to her young one. Their bond and expressiveness are symbolic of close families and relationships. 

The Giraffe totem is a very useful totem to learn from for those who have goals and dreams they are trying to realize, or are trying to formulate new directions on their path.

This painting has SOLD, but you can order a Print of it from our Fine Art America Shop here
Mother and Baby Giraffe Art Print on Fine Art America

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Symbolism of the Female Mallard, a Totem for Personal Growth

I am very conscious about my personal growth. As I grow older and change, I reflect on the lessons from my past and look at where I am now. In some of my life lessons I see a wonderful progression of evolving and am proud of myself for the learning and applying. And sometimes I look back and I will still see a lesson that continues to resurface. Those are usually times when I understand the lesson and the changes that need to be made, but am having a problem with consistency in applying  what I have learned. When that happens my ultimate response is to not be too hard on myself. That's when I look to my animal totems, in particular the Female Mallard.

We need encouragement and nurturing as we grow and change. Beating ourselves up over our choices on our journey is self defeating, for we are all truly students of life while we walk on this Earth. During those times of struggle we need to take extra care of our selves 
The Female Mallard, associated with the Water element, revolves around Emotions. Her symbolism and wisdom can teach us how to move through our emotions with grace and balance, for those times of upset and imbalance can influence us to make choices that we would not otherwise make. She is loving, affectionate, and nurturing, reminding us that when we take care of ourselves first.. we can then love those around us to a greater level. Mother Mallard is a social creature, happy when surrounded by others. This urges us to reach out and surround ourselves with others, especially when we are feeling low, to help heal the spirit. Her wisdom also reminds us that when we are feeling a bit lost on our path to immerse ourselves in those things that make us feel safe and comfortable to build up our confidence. Taking respite is just as important as forging ahead, again all in Balance.

As I thought on the female Mallard this weekend, I painted her on a Greeting Card. Above her is a Circle, symbolic for the circle of life and the cycles that we navigate through. The circle was painted using the Mallard foot tracks, reminding one to walk their path in balance and peace. 
The painted Greeting card is available in our Etsy shop here

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Releasing, a Portrayal of Women's Empowerment

Finally, when the world slowed down for a minute, she was able to able to hear the whispers from her Soul. It had been speaking to her for a long while, although she hadn't been listening.
She also realized that even if she had been listening, she wouldn't have understood it before now.
There is a time and place for everything, but now was her moment of Letting Go.

Letting go...of the rigid standards she had placed on herself, allowing the need for perfection and the suitcase of guilt to fall away.
Letting go...of the worn out patterns that seemed to follow her, even though she thought she had healed them.
Letting go...of the Fears that once held her back, the illusion of being stuck.
This was her Releasing, and its energy flowed with such a loving Ease. She had nothing else to lose, this was her time to finally, finally be who she was always meant to be....and this time....her spirit was her highest priority.

She is listed in our Etsy shop, where you can also read a bit more about the painting's symbolism. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

White Swan Symolism in an Affirmation Gourd Art Bowl

As we grow and change over the years the concept of Self Love becomes richer, deeper, and more authentic. While we have always known the importance of caring for ourselves and spent time grooming our self esteem, it often wasn't to its full potential. Those years of exploring life (developing relationships, marriages, divorces, having children, building careers)  are the layers of wisdom that we accrue that teach us what we are made of. Venturing through our life's lessons gives us a peak inside our soul to truly see our own authenticity. It is then that we can see the Beauty of our existence, and upon that realization we open ourselves and allow our vulnerable spirit to shine for others. We don't need to fear that openness, because just as our souls seem to have the delicacy of a feather ...they are also strong as steel. We can stand in our convictions and move through life with Grace. This space is our Personal Power, and it in itself is paradise. 
This is the wisdom that the White Swan teaches.

This weekend I created the White Swan Gourd Affirmation Bowl from the Earth's beauty of the Gourd. The bowl was meant to hold positive self love affirmations, treasures whispers of wisdom, so that on those days when you are feeling less than Beautiful and Powerful you can pull out an affirmation to meditate and focus on for the day.
I wrote three affirmations on handmade paper and have included them inside the vessel. You can then add more affirming quotes so that it filled to the rim with pick-me-ups for your Spirit. 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Turtle Moon - The Creation of the Sky

I am intrigued by the Sky. Every element of it brings me joy and wonderment. I sometimes sit in the evenings gazing at the Moon and the Stars and my imagination will wander. Fragments of stories will flow on how things could possibly "be" in that realm. I often drift away from the science part of it and entertain stories of how things might exist there otherwise. That is how my painting, "Turtle Moon" came to be.

One evening the Moon was as large as it could possibly be. The child-like part of me started thinking about how heavy it was and how it could just hang in the sky as it does. Surely it was being held by something. A vision of a very large turtle came. 
I could see Mother Turtle walking along the edge of the Earth. Her shell was translucent and you could see the stars twinkling through each section. As her feet slowly stepped along the Earth, the tip of the Moon was resting on her back. I thought "My goodness, Mother Turtle, isn't the Moon too heavy for you to be carrying?"  She replied "No, certainly not. The Moon needs help glowing her magical shine on the Earth. I'm happy to help." 

Then I thought about the portrait of the sky scene and how that could possibly be hanging for all of us to see. Mother Turtle whispered to me "Look closer,dear. All will be revealed". As I squinted to look harder, I saw her children helping her. Her son and daughter, one in front and one behind, were holding large bundles of black balloons and the stars were inside them. Again I exclaimed, "Oh my, don't they get tired holding all of those balloons in their mouths while walking through the night?" Mother Turtle said "No, they don't get tired. It brings them joy and they are happy to help." 
I closed my eyes and thought about all of the beings who's unseen actions go unnoticed while they do their part to create our World. They continue to do so everyday, because they are happy to help.
And so it is.

Thank you for letting me share my story with you.

This painting has been sold.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Great Horned Owl Symbolic Meaning - Under the Terracotta Moon

I was recently inspired while camping at a mountainous state park to create "Under the Terracotta Moon". I sat and listened one evening to the call of an owl. There were five syllables in his call, a common trait of the Great Horned Owl. I had my painting satchel with me and some wood canvases, and soon began to paint.
It was dusk when I began, and under the light of the lantern I brought forth a blue purple sky to give it a spiritual mystical backdrop. I meditated on the Great Horned and visualized him sitting regal on a branch, the Strong Warrior that he is. I could imagine him as a "warrior" because of his great strength and skill at hunting. Even though he is a Winged One associated with the Sky, he has an important connection with the Earth allowing him to hunt such a wide array of prey.
This Earth Connection was related in the painting by the color scheme used in his feathers - of terracotta, raw sienna, and shades of brown. The moon that shone above him was adorned with four of his feathers. The silhouette of a dream catcher was painted over the moon, accented with pieces of turquoise, symbolic for keeping the sleeping mind focused on positive adventures. 
I wanted him to represent being comfortable in his space, as the Great Horned Owls become permanent residents of their territories once they have mated. 
The following morning I continued with the painting, working on the detail in his feathers and his insightful eyes.

The Great Horned Owl is a beautiful animal totem to work with for those that desire the wisdom needed to become a Master of their own life, to obtain that which they seek, and to have a balanced confidence in doing so. The tufts that are on top of his head are not ears nor horns, but are feather tufts. Still they are symbolic for being able to "hear" what is not being said. This makes one more successful in their seeking by being aware of their environment physically and spiritually.

 "Under the Terracotta Moon" is available and listed in our Etsy Shop here
Under the Terracotta Moon Great Horned Owl Painting for Sale

Not Everything is Black and White - Original Symbolic Tree of Life Painting

Each one of us are here to walk our Path in Life, and the road is different  for each person. We have a lot of conditions and expectations put on us: by society, our communities, our politicians, our families, our friends, and even ourselves. What others think we "should of " or "could of" done isn't always possible, for they're not aware of all the steps that led up to this space on our path called Now. 

Wouldn't Life be easy if there were an instruction booklet that was passed out on our arrival. It's all a Learning Curve, and we try to do the best we can with what we've got. 

Some think that the Directions are so simple, as if the map has been written out in black and white, "This is the way you are supposed to go". While we are all heading to the same destination, we all have to find our Own path. Some may have a straight flat road to journey, while others may have to navigate rocky terrain. We're going to get lost, we're going to make mistakes, and sometimes we may have to back track to get on the right road. 

We're Humans, and while our journey might be messy and difficult at times, we also have those times when it is joyful and sweet. Not Everything is Black and White.

When I created this painting I wanted to symbolically portray colors of our human existence amidst the starkness of the literal black and white. I used the Tree of Life to bring our emotional colors out in its leaves. Within the center of the Tree the shadow of a Face can be found. Abstract direction is given with the black and white, while as you get closer to the Tree you will find shades of greys and beige and alternate movement - our own personal navigation on the path. 

It is available for sale in my Etsy shop here
Not Everything is Black and White Original Painting for Sale on Etsy 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crow and Bear Protection Totem and it's Symbolism

Animal Totems have always been very important in my life, even since childhood. I look to Nature when I need to feel Peace, and I look to my Animal Totems when I need a different perspective on things. Resonating with the Earth gives me the Grounding that I need to make decisions in a calm and balanced way. 
I study the animal kingdom daily, their ways of survival, communicating, and cycles. When the totems come to me, either physically or through vision, their message and wisdom always can be applied to my own current circumstances. 
Last week as I sat in my studio I had two beautiful yet oddly shaped gourds sitting on my work table, waiting to be transformed. They had been their for a few weeks, waiting for the inspiration to materialize. Then late one evening while I was quietly writing in my notebooks, I knew. I would sculpt a Totem, one for Protection....for the home, and it would honor the Crow and Bear. 
The base of the Gourd would represent the human, our spirit. Above would be the Crow - as the Watchmen, alerting us with his messages and voice as he watches over our realm. Under would be the Bear - the protector, who nurtures with tender love but at the same time will guard their family fiercely.  
I sculpted in entirety that night, the Crow and Bear, wanting their energy to stay in a continuum.
I kept the natural shape of the gourd, which had a looped end on the top, perfect for the creation of the Crow. By the next day I began the painting, giving the Crow and Bear their richness.

 A Tribal Face was painted in the center to represent the human, detailed with the Sun and Moon, symbolic for the protective qualities to be present Night and Day, while walking in both worlds.

 A Star scene was painted withing the Bear's fur, as he carries wisdom from the Star Beings. 

Crow tracks were painted up one side of the Totem, and Bear Tracks up the other side of the Totem. One of his feathers painted drifting down, as a gift.

 The Crow's tail feathers extend down the back of the Totem, resting above a branch from the Tree of Life. 

The Crow and Bear Totem was created to bring it's protective essence to the home, to place near the front door to always remind one they are watched over.

Please contact us if you would like to commission a similar piece.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ceremonial Gourd Rattles as Spiritual Tools

Ceremonial Gourd Rattles as Spiritual Tools
Every religion and spirituality has a set of Spiritual Tools that facilitate a deeper connection with ones faith and beliefs. Some are specific and unique to the philosophy, and others are common among many. Altars, Flowers, Incense, Music, Songs, Chants, Drums, Candles, Statuary, Rattles.....all are tools that can be kept in the Spiritual Toolbox.
One that is  very important to us, and that we create many of, is the Ceremonial Gourd Rattle. These Ceremony Rattles have many uses and their diversity can lend to many cultures and faiths. The Rattle can be used in Prayer as a calling, an asking, and in gratefulness. It can be used in spiritual and energetic Cleansing, to remove negativity. They are often used to space clear homes in the making of Sacred Space, especially after an argument or illness in the house. The Ceremony Rattle is common to have at Gatherings of the Spirit, to assist in a Collective Consciousness, and even Drum Circles to celebrate and rejoice in our humanity on this Earth in song and dance. Those who explore Shamanic Journeying can use the Rattle as they enter and depart the other world or state of consciousness. And simply, they can assist us in Meditation, as a focus, as the slow rhythmic shake reminds one of the heartbeat. 

Painted Gourd Ceremonial Rattles from Conscious Art Studios
Creation Process of a Ceremonial Gourd Rattle
Our creation process is done on an intuitive level, and when we create we only do so when we ourselves feel balanced and peaceful. We use Gourds when we craft the rattles, and enjoy working with this Earth element and feel that it lends to the character of the piece. It brings a naturalness and integrity to the purpose of its creation. 
The Gourd are carefully chosen, cut, and cleaned. Focused attention is paid to the addition to the noisemakers that are placed inside the gourd. Sometimes the intention is to create a rich, full, and deep sound. Other times it is to create a light and delicate sound. We use a variety in the combination, including  dried beans and seeds, gemstone chips, and metal beads. Once the perfect assortment is found, the gourd is sealed and we attach a wooden handle. Handles are wrapped with leathers and suede and then adorned with extra embellishments such as cord wrapping, feathers, wooden pony beads, tin cones, or additional gemstones. We add leather loops at the very end of the handle to serve as a wrist wrap for when you are shaking them (optional to use), or to attached the rattle to your belt loop or waistband of regalia while at large gatherings or ceremonies. 
We paint our Ceremonial Rattles with leather acrylics, usually with animal totems or other spiritual symbols.  Many times this gives people a more  personal attachment to the piece and allows them to resonate with it more fully. We offer custom paintings on our Rattles.

Available Gourd Rattles
Our Ceremonial Rattles are listed and available in our Conscious Art Studios Etsy Shop.
  Here you can find our current inventory.

Brown Bear Totem Ceremonial Gourd Rattle

Lizard Totem Ceremonial Gourd Rattle

Blessing Trees Ceremonial Gourd Rattle

Black Bear Totem Ceremonial Gourd Rattle Staff

Peacock Goddess Ceremonial Gourd Rattle

Sea Turtle Totem Ceremonial Gourd Rattle

Moon Goddess Ceremonial Gourd Rattle

Dragonfly Totem Women's Winter Ceremonial Gourd Rattle

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