July / August 2019 Newsletter
The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
Oprah Winfrey

Dear Readers,

I love to go camping, and sometimes go alone. There is something magical about the solitude and silence. Nature is a sanctuary, and in the stillness you can go within and find deeper contemplation. A couple months ago I was sitting in my camping chair and took a break from reading to observe a beetle crossing my campsite. I don’t know what would be on its regular menu, but apparently my campsite didn’t provide it. I found myself mesmerized by the arduous journey of this beetle as it crossed the large site, marching across my astroturf, climbed a curb and proceeded to cross the road. I found myself rooting for it, hoping a hungry bird or passing car wouldn’t end its journey prematurely. I was relieved when it made it across the road, climbed another curb and entered landscape quite similar to what it had just left. Not sure what its driving mission was, but observing it was a curious respite.
Recently I was pondering the different ways we look at our environment and remembered a presentation several years ago by a Los Angeles artist, Sally Raskoff. She had taken photographs of a lava field in Hawaii. If you’ve ever driven by lava fields, at first glance they can appear ugly, barren, bleak, and forbidding. But Sally got down on the ground to discover the minutia and nuances of this miraculous landscape. She took extremely close-up pictures of the lava, exposing a fascinating world of texture, depth, and variation of color that was not visible from a distance. By looking closely, she discovered and exposed the miraculous beauty of the lava in its microcosm. As Geogia O’Keefe says, "When you take a flower in your hand and REALLY look at it, it’s your world for the moment."

Definition:  “encapsulating in miniature the characteristic qualities or features of something much larger.”
A photographer who has taken the microcosm to a whole new level has micro-photographed plankton. Most people know that plankton are a main food source for whales and that’s about all we know except that they are just tiny specs in the sea. This photographer took a closer look and see the wonderful surprise he discovered! 
I just want to encourage my readers to remember to pause and look closer at life. Maybe when taking a stroll rather than admiring the vegetation from a distance, instead take some time, get up close with a single leaf and study it. Does it have raised veins, does it have a fuzzy back, is it shiny or matte, are the edges scalloped or smooth? Are there gradated shades of color? Maybe the colors, textures and shapes will find expression in your artwork. You can find inspiration everywhere. Pause. Be amazed. Be in wonder. Discover the magic of life.
A few months ago I was teaching a workshop and happened to mention I had an OTT floor lamp in my living room that was a huge disappointment. It was flimsy and every time I would try to move it, the vertical pole segments would separate into pieces. My maids were terrified of getting anywhere near it! I had tried black electrical tape to reinforce the segments, but that didn’t work. And the light was so shockingly bright, it wasn’t comfortable to use. I had stopped reading or weaving in the evenings. A student piped up and said she had the same light and had the same problems with it. Then another student raved about her floor lamp. I researched it, checked reviews, and decided to order it. I am so impressed, I wanted to share it with my readers. It’s manufactured by Trond. The light is so pleasant I am now weaving and reading at night again in my living room. I cannot recommend this lamp enough. It has several lighting modes and dimmer, the soft light is flicker-free and anti-glare, you can set the color temperature and adjust the brightness, it offers choices of cool white to warm white, it greatly reduces shadows, the gooseneck is very flexible and easy to adjust, the lamp is extremely lightweight and easy to move, and it’s inexpensive. It comes with several poles so you have several choices of how tall to make it, and you can decide not to use the poles and use it as a table lamp (how versatile is that??!). My only complaint is the cord is very short. Fortunately my favorite chair is next to a light socket so that isn’t an issue for me. Here’s an Amazon link, although I’d sure you can find it other places https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FDF27R0/ref=emc_b_5_t

Recently I saw a post on Facebook that I feel it's important to address in my newsletter. Someone had collected alot of green pine needles from a golf course. Firstly, I wonder if she ripped them off the tree. If so, DO NOT do that! It weakens the tree making it more susceptical to invasive insects. Anyway, how would you like having your hair ripped out by the roots!! Secondly, if you coil using pine needles collected from a golf course your hands will absorb the deadly chemicals sprayed on the courses. The chemicals can not be washed off, in addition to the chemical spraying, the tree absorbs the poison systemically, so the poison runs throughout the tree's foliage. People who golf or live downwind from golf courses have the third highest rate of Parkinsons Disease (per Mayo Clinic) in addition to other high-risk cancers. Golfers who pick up their ball and then touch their face or eat handheld food are at particular high risk for mouth and other cancers. But definitely do NOT use pine needles from a golf course. You may as well stick your hand in a bottle of poison.
Met this adorable little motorcycle rider recently. His leather riding jacket is hand tooled with his name "Brew" and a logo for Indian motorcycles. When his owner put on his goggles and helmet in preparation for their departure, Brew was completely comfortable with his riding attire and ran outside and sat right beside their motorcycle ready for their next adventure. Not sure if our dog Sasha was envious!

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists
Through August 18
The first major exhibit of Native American women artists honors their centuries of achievements in ceramics, textiles, basketry and other mediums. MIA worked with a panel of scholars, curators and makers to choose 115 historical and contemporary artists.
Through July 31
Fargo, North Dakota
The exhibit celebrates Native American women artists as bearers and innovators of culture. Work by 25 contemporary Natives.
Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century
Through August 25
Bellingham, Washington
The 60 quilts in this show are made by members of The Modern Quilt Guild’s which has 12,000 members from 39 countries.


There are several options to attend my pine needle basketry workshops.

July 27
1-Day Workshop
Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum
Vista, California

Students will learn how to coil a delicate basket around a lovely polished stone. It's an easy way to start a basket and makes a beautiful center. Students will learn to coil so their stitches are identical on both sides of the basket. Pine needles and Irish waxed linen thread are provided, but the coiling technique can later be used to weave many other plant materials. 

Pine needle basketweaving is a wonderful way to recycle from the environment and it's a portable project - so you can take it anywhere to work on!

Click  here  for more info and to register (scroll to the bottom of the link for the basket class)

November 1-3
Whidbey Island, Washington

Coming up in the Fall students can come learn an amazing variety of techniques – I contact my students prior to class to inquire what they want to learn, and I tailor my instruction to each student’s interest. This workshop is perfect for both beginners and experienced coilers. Some of the techniques students can learn include how to coil a symmetrical basket around a stone, fancy stitches, how to create free-flowing sculptural pieces, how to coil around antlers or branches, how to coil on a gourd, Teneriffe, lids, footed bases, handles, beads between coils, and MUCH more!!!

The location is the Pacific Northwest School of Art in the darling town of Coupeville on Whidbey Island, a short shuttle/ferry ride from Seattle. Coupeville is a great place to spend a few days. If you can walk 1/2 mile, you can go just about anywhere in town, including walking to the art school! The local restaurants are superb and a culinary delight. Click here  for full information.

December 7
1-Day Workshop
9 am - 4 pm
California Center for Creative Renewal
Students will learn how to coil a delicate basket around a lovely polished stone. It's an easy way to start a basket and makes a beautiful center. Students will learn to coil so their stitches are identical on both sides of the basket. Pine needles and Irish waxed linen thread are provided, but the coiling technique can later be used to weave many other plant materials. 

Pine needle basketweaving is a wonderful way to recycle from the environment and it's a portable project - so you can take it anywhere to work on!

The workshop will be held at a garden retreat located in the coastal hills of Encinitas, southern California. The Center’s 1.5 acres include a fully-equipped Craftsman-style art studio and relaxed, informal meeting spaces, meadows of flowers and scented shrubs, a fruit orchard, a garden labyrinth, and a short canyon walking trail. Native and exotic plants flourish along meandering paths. Meditation benches provide privacy for reflection and expansive views of Southern California’s coastal hills. Breakfast provided.

Workshops in Nadine's home (about 25 minutes north of San Diego in Olivenhain)

$60 plus $40 materials (if needed) Time 10 am - 4 pm.

July 13
August 3
October 26
November 16
December 21

My home workshops are limited to 6 students, so everyone gets plenty of instruction. All skill levels welcome - beginners come to learn how to make a basket, and experienced coilers attend to take their skills into exciting new territory such as learning how to make Teneriffes, lids, footed bases, handles, beads between coils, creating patterns with sheaves, using objects with holes such as black walnut slices, how to create free-flowing sculptural pieces, and much more!! I will also teach how to coil on gourds (contact me so we can discuss before class). To inquire or register, email me at info@nadinespier.com
Website   |  Artist Gallery  Workshops  |  Videos  |  Contact
Nadine Spier
Contemporary Pine Needle Basketweaver
​Basket Weaving Classes and Basket Art for Purchase
1084 N El Camino Real Box B184, Encinitas CA 92024 (760) 533-1000