2010 February Archive | Amber Jean

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Monthly Archives: February 2010

“Swan Lake”

Restless.  A blue funk had hold of me so I took a few days ago to visit my dear pal Yogi up at Swan Lake (near Big Fork).  His house is tucked into the forest in a narrow tree-filled valley between the majestic Mission Mountains and frozen lakes.   No cell service.


The last stretch of road to Yogi’s bends and winds for an hour through thick forest.  Deer must be watched for.  Glimpses of lakes were a respite from trees.  Ice fishermen sat like salt and pepper   shakers on white linen – the remnants of a grand white-table clothed feast stained here and there with abandoned fishing holes.

We had a few shots at Yogi’s before attending the “Fireman’s Ball.”  Slipping in cowboy boots, I navigated across the obstacle course of slush and ice toward the community center where pink and red paper Valentine decorations hung from the paneled ceiling and cornmeal dusted the dance floor.  Yogi scored some Rose Tequila, Jack Daniels and a giant propane torch in the silent auction.  Other items included a delivery of propane, a load of gravel, a basket brimming with hand knit washcloths and a crocheted quilt. 

I met a  bubbly animated writer – a pretty little gal married to a big handsome clam grower.  They wintered in the Swan Valley while their clams hibernated in Vermont.  The cheerful big-boned ladies in the kitchen joked with me as we unwrapped tinfoil and plastic wrap from potluck food items.  The tiny community has less than 200 residents and it seemed like most of them were at the ball.

I’m guessing many of the Fireman’s Ball attendees were nursing hangovers the next day but we were out skiing with the dogs.  Yogi adopted two abandoned puppies…fluffy little bouncing fur balls. 

Insight Excite Play – another Eagle Mount Day

“Do you know why they put us together?”  Becky asked me. 
“Why?” I asked her. 
“Because we’re BOTH crazy!”  she said.  I laughed.  “We’re CRAZY!!  We’re both from the funny farm!” She said gleefully.  “"You make me laugh because you’re crazy!  You’re really crazy!!  Laughing is good.  Do you know why?  Because laughing makes me feel good!  Laughing is good for you!!  You’re funny!!”  Becky said with exuberance. 
We cackle.  We giggle.  We shout.  We throw snowballs.  We sing.  We make up songs.  We HOOT and shout encouragement from the chairlift to other disabled skiers and their volunteers below.
I listen.  She teases.  I tease her back.  We hug…lots.
We talk about boys, food, chocolate, movies, mountains, countries, people, places, chocolate and boys (yes…I said chocolate and boys twice – we say many things multiple times).  She apologizes when she is scared.  She brags when she accomplishes something beyond her fear.  I coax.  I encourage.
We ski. 
But mostly we laugh. 
Eagle Mount is a volunteer program for the disabled.

“Fun” Raiser Results

I feel blessed – blushing, and beaming thanks to the kind efforts of Paul and his father who crafted more than woodwork when they launched an auction for me at Vern’s Wood Goods. Thank-you everyone for visiting their site and sending me healing thoughts, prayers, and good wishes! Being the benefactor of a benefit has pushed my comfort zone AND warmed my heart. The auction was a success on many levels.   Vern’s Wood Good’s website had almost 900 visits including visitors from 22 countries and every state except Oklahoma.  Vern and Paul raised $1000.00 for me – and I have never even met them! 
How’s that for a sweet Valentine?!!  Paul read a feature article about me in WOOD magazine 8 years ago.  I admire the open friendly way he approached me with his idea and the kind way he launched the project.  I am glad so many people have been exposed to Vern and Paul’s fine woodwork.
Due to the incredible outpouring of support, the bid levels for many of the items in the auction jumped above the comfort level for many people so Paul offered suggestions for other ways to support if you are interested: http://www.vernswoodgoods.com/amber-auction Of course just the positive energy and warm fuzzies have been a blessing!!  I am amazed that two fellas whom I’ve never met have stepped up and “have my back.”
What an incredible journey all of this has been!!

“Coyote” goes to Philly


Vibrant and fun, my Works on Paper series are playful pieces created in the studio as a break from the intensity of labor-intensive large scale sculptures.  The artworks are small (about 5×6 inches) and especially affordable because it makes me happy to make it easier for ANYONE to own art.  Technology has even made it possible for people interested in my work to purchase art and be a patron for $5.95 a month

Artist’s need Patrons.  Michelangelo needed the Medici’s. 

Thus…I launched the Patron Program exactly one year ago as a twist on the traditional relationship between artist and patron.  The idea is to gather LOTS of patrons who can invest a small amount toward my creative endeavors.  I offer affordable art and share an intimate peek into my bumbling honest authentic creative  journey.  Fostering a relationship between me and you; artist and patron – the community on my website is called the Patron Place.  Benefits include free art, special invitations, gifts, stories, audible downloads, webinars, and “insider” stuff – like the first chance to see new work.  People can even become a Patron Member for the cost of one fancy coffee drink a month via the automatic payment plan.

Rosina signed up as a Patron Member a year ago.  She was the first patron to renew her membership this month.  “Coyote” was  shipped to Rosina in Philadelphia this week…warm fuzzies and fun for both of us.  Interested?  Visit the Patron Place.  Join me and others on the creative adventure!

Window Chewing

“What a BEAUTIFUL day,” I said looking up at the Bridger Mountains from the chairlift where I sat next to Becki.  “I am so glad to be here.”

“YES!!” she shouted triumphantly.  “I am so glad to be here.  Do you know where we would be if we weren’t here?  Guess where we would be.  Do  you know where we would be?”

“Where would we be?”

“We would be STUCK.  Stuck.  We would be stuck like a window chewing up the walls” Becki said.

I repeated her statement.  She repeated her statement.  “Chomp chomp” I said with a grin.  Becki’s eyes were barely visible behind goggles; the helmet with yellow lightning stickers matched her jacket stained like a child’s bib down the front of her giggling jiggling body. 

I sat next to this mentally disabled being, our feet dangled below the chairlift above the white snow slopes.  The image of a window occupied my mind.  Clean.  Clear.  The wonderfully pale blue wall crumbled like a cookie as the window made loud destructive satisfying chewing sounds.   Sunlight beamed  through crystal clean glass.  How wonderful to share the lift with this special gleeful person. 

Each Thursday I ski with Becky as a volunteer for the Eagle Mount program.   Time with her on the mountain is a gift that charges my heart with energy even while my healing body struggles to keep up with the physical effort.  The image of the wall-eating-window has stuck with me and I wonder…

…perhaps being an artist is a bit like being that window.

I’m curious – do you think being an artist is like being a window that chews up the walls?


Eli Isaly Benefit

_DSC1499 “Storm Bird”

1985 dog fine art “Honest Abe”

While I am happy to be able to donate artwork for important fundraisers – I never actually select the art myself.  Thankfully, Eli’s good friend Bev selected two pieces for the upcoming benefit for the Isaly family.  Eli Isaly sustained serious injuries in a car accident December 28th.  He is a young exceptional being from the kind of family that makes our little community shine.  Laura Bray of The Frame Garden donated time and materials to frame the artworks for the auction event taking place February 21st (1:00- 4:00) at the Elks Lodge in Livingston.  I just love how much my little town bands together at times like this!!