Americans wrapped up in mala beads
Malas, ancient meditation toola, are now going mainstream in America. You’re probably seeing mala beads. They’re showing up everywhere: long stands of beads with tassels worn as necklaces or bracelets.
I’ve practiced yoga more than 25 years, and for the past several years I’ve wanted a mala. I tried on many yet never tried one on that quite felt right. My patience paid off. This past summer as a birthday gift to myself, I worked with my yoga teacher to tie a mala with my body/mind/spirit/ intentions. She had been to Nepal and learned from a Tibetan woman. She taught me to mediate with my mala using mantras — a powerful practice probably 8,000 years old.
Mala beads are beautiful, even artful — and I had the opportunity to write about mala beads for Art & Object. My sources include a Tibetan man and woman, as well as two Americans.
If you’re interested in the fascinating and lovely tradition of malas, here’s a link to my article. You don’t even have to meditate or change to benefit: just wearing one feels so good!
Just click here for more about mala beads in Art & Object.
Photos by RJ Sangosti of The Denver Post
Whenever you’re wondering what to give that person who seemingly has everything, the teacher who’s shown so much patience, the elderly person with limited space, the hostess with the mostest, the birthday girl or boy, the anniversary couple, the person to whom you want to show gratitude, consider a flowering plant.
published by The Denver Post focuses on houseplants as holiday gifts, but flowering plants make wonderful gifts any time of year. They last longer than cut flowers. They have a long shelf-life. And many spectacular flowering plants are “set it and forget it” plants that require minimal care.
In addition to the long list of possibilities in this article, remember orchids, which are easier than most people think. Kalanchoe is another terrific bloomer that doesn’t need mollycoddling.
When you give a flowering plant, you give life to a loved one and a spirit of anticipation. One size fits all, and a blossoming plant is infinitely more personal than a gift card.
When the forecast calls for the mercury to drop to zero degrees Fahrenheit or even sub-zero, the frigid weather is perfect for at least one thing: making Scandinavian ice candles. All you need is water, plastic buckets, time and candles (or a string of lights.)
I reported on the history of Scandinavian ice candles, originally used to mourn soldiers lost in war. And my article includes step-by-step how-to instructions for these gorgeous winter wonders.
Photo of Scott Fraser’s book cover
SCOTT FRASER is one of the nation’s most talented still-life painters, and he has a new book that beautifully presents his work. The Colorado-based artist shows his paintings, which range from large canvases to miniatures on copper, in 25 galleries across the nation.
My feature on the artist was published by Art & Object and includes a wonderful slide shows of his fascinating paintings.
The Gates Family Foundation Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Denver Art Museum, Timothy Standring said of the artist, “He’s not a surrealist and not a realist. He’s Scott Fraser.”
To see more of Scott Fraser’s work, check out his website.
Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz of The Denver Post
Chanukah begins tomorrow, December 12, 2017, in the Gregorian calendar. Researching my article on Chanukah lights for The Denver Post, I interviewed a rabbi and a professor of Jewish studies. I visited a Jewish cultural center. And I looked at menorahs of all sizes, shapes, materials and moods.
Even though I went on assignment to Israel in 1994, I didn’t know the difference between a menorah and a chanukiah. The temple menorah has seven branches, as instructed in the Bible’s Book of Exodus. The Chanukah menorah has nine branches: eight to represent the eight nights of miraculous oil and one “servant” candle to light the others.
The rabbi noted that the symbol of light is common to many faiths.
“The really interesting religious dimension is that Chanukah, Diwali [the Hindu festival of light], Christmas, and Kwanza [the African-American celebration that incorporates candle-lighting] all come at the darkest time of the year. Our religious impulse is to bring light,” said Rabbi Eliot Baskin of Denver’s Jewish Family Service.
“The torch held by the lady in New York harbor represents the liberty of religious freedom. And that’s what makes America so great. This Chanukah, as we recall the rededication of the temple, we rededicate ourselves to religious freedom for all.”
Happy Chanukah to all Jewish people, and may all people of goodwill stand in the light.
My article from December-January Colorado Expression magazine profiling Tracy Stuckey
Tracy Stuckey’s satirical Western paintings might lead one to believe that the Old West is heading south. Stuckey kicks the dust off the Western icons and pours on satire. For the December-January issue of Colorado Expression magazine, I profiled the artist — who’s an adjunct faculty member at Colorado State University — and found his paintings both amusing and thought-provoking.
An excerpt from my article:
“Stuckey’s oil paintings suggest quirky narratives that both amuse and disturb. He presents human figures in ironic scenarios. Contemporary cowboys wield plastic squirt guns or ride toy horses. Intriguingly attractive young Anglo hipsters wear Levi jeans and chic sunglasses, cowboy boots and mini-skirts, fur coats and feathery Native American headdresses.
“Or they wear just their birthday suits. A robust sexual tension underlies many of Stuckey’s paintings. He peoples his canvases with nudes or figures in various stages of undress: a Vegas showgirl, a cowboy with his jeans down, and bikini-clad, nubile young women near desert swimming pools or teepees.
“Stuckey says, ‘I’m interested in our ideas about the American west and its history, and how it continues to find itself within our mainstream culture, the interaction with the real past and the romanticized.’ “
To see more of Stuckey’s paintings, check out his website.