Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sculpting a Life: Patterns in the studio.

In the last few days in the studio, I’ve been swirling, twirling and spiraling around and around. I’m not dancing, although I am listening to music from jazz to celtic dance to Jimmy Buffet. I am working on my sculpture.

I’m working on masks in copper and aluminum screening. Both have been keeping me busy creating patterns of swirls, spirals and lines. And I love patterns. I love the rhythm, the repetition, the roundness. When I get the pattern that works, it just feels right.

Here are a few pictures of the patterns I’ve been creating on both of the masks I’m working on right now. One is a dragon mask done in copper using a repousse’ technique, the other mask is an aluminum mesh material and the pattern is created with acrylic paints.

Swirling and twirling…I just love patterns!

If you'd like to see more of my work in the studio, check out my website at Susan Gallacher-Turner Sculpture You can also keep up with more of creative activities on my new blog Sculpting A Life at Read more!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sculpting a Life.

By Susan Gallacher-Turner

Bright sunshine, frost on the grass and daffodils waving in the wind are what I see on my way to the park this morning. But it's what I don't see at the park that makes today different. And it's not until I cross the bridge over the lake that I get it.

Here's what I don't see...waves, ripples or birds bobbing for fish. What I do see is the blue sky, puffy white clouds and trees that surround the lake mirrored in its surface.

I see reflection and stillness. I think about that word...reflection. What does it really mean? The dictionary definition of reflection is to bend or throw back light, sound or heat; to give back an image, mirror or reproduce; the fixing of the mind on a subject, serious thought contemplation; the result of such thought in words; blame or discredit.

I see that the word works to describe my physical and mental experience walking around the lake today. The still surface of the lake is indeed reflecting, throwing back sunlight and images of the clouds, trees like a mirror, I see that with my eyes. And I am reflecting on it...fixing my mind on the idea of reflection, with serious thought as I walk around watching the clouds and sky on its surface.

My reflective contemplation leads me to a 'resulting thought' - that stillness is possible in nature and in life. All I have to do is see it.

I'm an artist working in copper, clay and metal mesh, you can see my sculpture on my website Susan Gallacher-Turner and read about my travels in the world of creativity on my new blog, Sculpting A Life. Read more!

Garden Views: Free Newsletter - Join Thoughtful Gardeners in Reading Cultivating the Inner Gardener

The gardening season unofficially launched in the Northeast this week, with temps predicted to swell to near 70º on Saturday. The (really hot) sunshine has brought out the best of my very early bloomers: Snowdrops, purple hybrid and yellow species crocus, Winter Aconite, Christmas Rose, and Lenten Rose. I was surprised to also see some of the Hydrangea leaf buds bursting out of their brown, scaly shells, as well as early growth from Wood Hyacinth. Before we know it, our spring gardens will be three steps ahead of us as usual.

With cabin fever behind us and spring fever before us, you may want to take a few moments to think about what internal fulfillment your garden can give back to you this growing season, beyond the mere enjoyment of the garden’s physical beauty.

I’ve written about how to approach this before at and .

At the end of this month, I’ll be instituting a monthly newsletter, Cultivating the Inner Gardener, for gardening enthusiasts who want to learn how to garden from the inside out and experience the transformational power of gardening. I’d love for you to subscribe and join me in turning this new adventure into a global movement to reconnect people to the Earth through gardening.

To sign up, just look for the “Join Yahoo Groups” icon in the sidebar of ,
fill in your e-mail address, and click “Join Now.” This is a double opt-in subscription that ensures that only those people who want the newsletter will get it.

Lois de Vries' thoughts on gardening and environmental issues run the gamut from gardening in her own back yard to promoting land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth. To discover how to express more of your personality and creativity through your garden, or how body/mind/spirit can play itself out in your gardening activities, visit: or contact me at
Read more!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Television Musings- Rants and Raves of a Romance Writer

Academy Awards 2010
By Kathy Carpenter

I would be remiss if I did not comment on the Academy Awards. I mean one of the most watched Television shows of the year.

A first this year best director Kathrine Bigelow. Director of “The Hurt Locker.” Also best picture. A great picture I would not know. I hate all war movies except Civil war. Although war stories tend to do well with the Academy. And at least “Avitar” did not win. Just because it’s the biggest grossing movie of all time. And no I did not go to “Avitar” either. Nothing about the movie appealed to me. I did see one nomination. “Up in the air” and though I liked the movie okay. Did not care for the ending. I did not think it was Oscar worthy either. I mean Cloony played himself or the guy we believe him to be is that acting?

Oh well, and I do see a lot of movies me and Oscar rarely agree. But there’s always next year. And the red carpet never gets old.
Read more!

Sculpting A Life.

By Susan Gallacher-Turner

Tree of Life-Completed!

About 4 months ago, I met with Brenda and Lisa about doing a copper project for their school auction at Valley Catholic School. We talked through many different ideas. One thing they were sure about, the project had to use copper and it needed to include elements made by the children in the third grade class.

That's how the tree sprang to life. The idea was to have each child choose a word that inspired them. I would visit the class and work with the children to do the repousse work on the cut out copper birch leaves. After I did the patina on the leaves, they would be attached to the branches on the copper Tree of Life.

Back in my studio, I went to work making the trunk and branches of the tree. I wanted the trunk to be sturdy and beautiful. As I twisted and turned the copper, I realized that the trunk I was making for the Tree of Life was, well, a lot like life. Life spirals up and out in many different and unexpected directions. It branches out growing stronger as time goes on, yet even the oldest and strongest branches can sprout new tender shoots and leaves at any time. The three spiral roots link together, just as our bodies, hearts and souls entwine in our lives.

The Tree of Life is an age-old symbol that appears throughout history in many cultures around the world. Different cultures use different types of trees ash, yew, oak trees to magical trees made from dragons. It symbolizes birth, death and knowledge. In some cultures it represents a variety of pagan gods. In Christianity, it is used to represent Jesus Christ.

This Tree of Life has birch shaped leaves, and in some cultures, the birch tree is a symbol of rebirth and new life. I couldn't think of a better symbol for young children and even some of us who aren't so young anymore. That no matter what your age, you are always able to grow in any direction you choose.

To see more of my sculpture and writing, check out my website Susan Gallacher-Turner Sculpture and my other blog Susan's Art & Words. Read more!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Get the Most From Flower Shows

I’ll be speaking on Cultivating the Inner Gardener: Gardening for Personal Growth ( ) on March 12, 2010 at 3:30pm, at this year’s Springfest Flower and Garden Show in Augusta, NJ at the Sussex County Fairgrounds ( Come by and say “hello” if you’re in the area.

Flower and garden shows promise garden enthusiasts and other folks who need a break from cabin fever the chance to recharge their creative batteries. To get the most from your visit, plan ahead.

1. Comfortably cushioned flat shoes are a must, since most shows take place in structures that have concrete floors, which quickly take their toll. Some demonstration gardens will have flagstone or boardwalk-style paths that make for uneven walking, or may catch narrow heels.

2. Think about your main reason for going to the show and do that first. I used to go to one show just to purchase ornaments from a particular vendor. I’d put my treasures in her “holding” area and feel free to cruise the rest of the show without being rushed, because I was sure I wasn’t missing anything important. Look at the layout map to see what gardens or vendors interest you the most, decide which talks are an absolute must-hear, and locate an area, such as the café, where you can rest up for round two.

3. Dress appropriately. This means different things to different people in different locales, but wear something you won’t mind having soil from a tumbling flowerpot spill on, or an overactive fountain splash with water.

4. Take the minimum necessary and make it easy to carry. Even a relatively light bag will begin to feel heavy after two hours. Pack a fold-up tote in a backpack and you should have plenty of room to store your purchases.

5. Be courteous and mindful of other attendees. You will be sharing this space with thousands of other people. Don’t step in front of someone’s camera when they’re set for the perfect shot and, if you’re the photographer, wait until the crowd thins a bit. Don’t stand in front of a garden, or stop on a narrow path and chat with your friend while hundreds of others are waiting their turn. It’s often tough to hear in these cavernous spaces that act as echo chambers, so don’t make it worse by shouting.

6. Respect the hard work that’s gone into the show. Avoid stepping on plants and keep to the indicated walkways. Think twice about bringing carts or other bulky items and how you will maneuver them in a narrow, crowded space. Don’t touch plants, or pick flowers.

7. Consider the maturity of your children before bringing them along. Are they likely to take a fistful of mulch or gravel and hurl it into someone’s face? Will they pick all the daisies to make a bouquet for you? Do you really want to push a stroller up and down flagstone steps or across a curved wooden bridge?
8. Assess your limitations. People who need mobility assistance may get around more easily in the “off” hours, which tend to be weekday afternoons. If you are afflicted with allergies or other medical difficulties, be sure to bring along necessary medications and carry information about your problem in the event that medical assistance becomes necessary. You may also want to think about limiting your time at the show, or making two shorter visits instead of one long one.

9. Slow down, take a deep breath, and take time to smell the roses. The real spring is just around the corner!

10. Have a great time.

By the way, these tips apply to visiting museums and roaming the stalls at antique shows, as well. Creative work takes a lot out of us. Viewing other creatives’ beautiful things, whether plants, pottery, or paintings, is a good way to replenish ourselves. Indulge on a regular basis.

Lois de Vries' thoughts on gardening and environmental issues run the gamut from gardening in her own back yard to promoting land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth. To discover how to express more of your personality and creativity through your garden, or how body/mind/spirit can play itself out in your gardening activities, visit: or contact me at

Read more!