Tag Archives: creativity

Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert


When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.36.40 AM© Stacy Alexander – 2015

Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.40.34 AM

© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

Naan and Kabob, ETC, Reno

Naan and Kabob, ETC, Reno

Located at 2740 South Virginia St in Reno, Naan & Kabob, etc. came highly recommended by my best friend.  I don’t think we would have tried it, if not for the recommendation, but both of us were happy that we did.  The chef, Maurice Afraimi, was a colorful character who strolled from table to table telling tales of being the former neighbor of Steve Jobs in Palo Alto, and about how he prepares his delicious cuisine.   When he stopped at our table, he told us about his former restaurant, Bourbon Street, that was for many years, located in Palo Alto, California.  After we tried his delicious food, we begged him to open another in Portland.  He said he would consider it.

chef maurice

Chef Maurice Afraimi

The prices were low and the food was outstanding.  Chef Maurice accommodated our vegetarian preferences perfectly!  We started off with pita bread and a freshly made red sauce, which is presented to each table with the chef’s compliments.  Additionally, we ordered the Tzatziki, which is a delicious blend of yoghurt, lemon juice, dill and garlic.  I serve this dish at home a lot, and is one of my favorite summertime snacks.  It was cool and refreshing served with cucumber slices and Kalamata olives.


For my entree, I had Maurice’s Vegetable Pasta Barcelona, which was a dish consisting of penne pasta tossed gently in a creamy saffron/garlic sauce with delicious fire roasted vegetables.  It was garnished with mild, crunchy, raw onions and chopped parsley, which  gave it that certain je ne sais quoi.  This dish was delightful.


I felt it fitting to include a glass of Greek wine with my meal, and enjoyed a glass of light, dry Boutari Moschofilero for the first time.  It was the perfect compliment to the pasta.

John was not feeling as adventurous as I, so he ordered the very safe and typical vegetable combination of falafel, dolmads, tahini and hummus.  It seems like he always orders the same thing, when we go to Greek restaurants.  sigh….but he did comment that this particular food was delicious.


We split a baklava, which was atypical to most baklava, as you can see in the picture.  This pastry was huge and absolutely wonderful!  It was filled with pistachios and honey in a light, flaky crust….but it looked more like an egg role than a piece of baklava!  Who’s complaining, though?  We loved it!

The chef gave us cards that we can redeem the next time we’re in Reno, for yet another dessert.  Both of us really enjoyed this little restaurant with its quaint atmosphere and friendly service.  We shall definitely return!  Thanks to my sweetheart friend for the recommendation!

Betsabeé Romero in Reno

Betsabeé Romero in Reno

I went to see the Betsabeé Romero show at the Nevada Museum of Art a few days ago and would like to write about two parts of the exhibit.  The exhibit is Romero’s first solo museum exhibition in the western United States.   She is one of the most highly evered Mexican artists of her generation. and is known for combining indigenous and folkloric designs with non-traditional art-making materials, and for creating inventive installations inspired by literature and diverse cultures.  She created a series of four new installations for the exhibition, with an overriding thematic focus on transportation—both literal and metaphorical.


The first pieces were large circular discs that were suspended about a foot away from the wall and facing a window.  The light from the window penetrated the surface of the various materials on the discs to reflect beautiful colored shadows on the wall behind them.


The soft light and color filtering through the discs were magically multi-dimensional.  Their overall affect was one of serenity.


Another part of the exhibit was Romero’s use of go cart wheels and gold leaf to make both physical sculptures and prints on paper.  Romero transformed tires in art from their status as a symbol of urban blight to one of progress and creative thinking.  This part of the exhibit was called, “Urban Stalactites and Stalagmites” and used Spanish and colonial patterns common to Mexico.


The tires were inked, at one point, and rolled across papers to create serigraphs that repeated the designs.


Redbird Moonshiner


My lovely daughter-in-law has the best taste in music.  I am forever learning about new musicians with whom I was not previously acquainted.  She posted this one on her Facebook this morning and I just had to share.  I told her I thought the style was like Eddie Vedder with a soda chaser.

Enjoy Redbird Moonshiner.

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Deryn Mentock’s Bezel Bootcamp

Exciting news!   Registration is now open for Deryn Mentock’s  brand new online jewelry making class, Bezel Bootcamp!  This workshop is all jewelry making and loaded fun for everyone.  Deryn’s work is magnificent and she is such a great teacher….loads of fun!  I just finished another class that she taught and I highly recommend her classes.  They’re fun, informative and the results are awesome!  My soon-to-be- displayed Silverthorn Studios pieces will have a definite Deryn Mentock flair….with Stacy Alexander originality, of course.
In Bezel Bootcamp, Deryn focuses on teaching her students how to create their  own resin filled bezel focals from scratch.  Students build the whole thing and, in the process, learn how to make a bezel focal, how to torch solder in a non-intimidating way, and how to work with two part resin.
There are many, many other tips, tricks and techniques, as well. As with all of Deryn’s classes, she has designed this one to boost the creativity of each student, the student’s skill levels and the professional quality of her student’s pieces.
Class Starts:  June 21, 2013Class Ends:   Aug 25, 2013

All of the videos are posted the first day of class so students can work at their own paces…in their jammies, from their i-Pads, in their studios…wherever!  They will be able to watch the videos as many times as they like, as often as they like, for the entire duration of the class, until the very last day…two full months. It’s a great value…no hotels, food or travel involved. Of course, Deryn is available for questions the entire class time and…is planning a couple of live chats via Facebook.

Registration is now open. I hope you’ll take a look at the details, at this link:


Big Sky, Beautiful Morning….


Went to bed late last night and got up early this morning to make breakfast/coffee for my husband.  We sat outside on the patio in the morning sunshine, although there is still patchy snow on the ground.

He has two offices in the Bay Area and has to spend hours in each of them today. Then, tonight, he will be teaching his class, so won’t be back here to Truckee until very late… close to midnight.   I have been sitting here sipping my coffee, listening to mourning doves cooing.    Paco, my little chihuahua companion, is snoozing peacefully beside me.

The sun is out in all its glory, and I will be out, too, once I finish my coffee.  Can’t wait to hop on a bike and explore this area.  When I return, I will try to get caught up with my photo a day and my jewelry class.  Really looking forward to those two things.

It is a glorious day and I feel happy and peaceful.  I hope you do as well.

A New Endeavor



These are baubles and beads. I have a surplus of them, bags and bag of them, in fact.   I have been making jewelry and mosaics out of them and donating the proceeds to charity, but have now decided to turn things up a notch.  I have just registered for a class that will help my jewelry making skills considerably….and I’m excited!  I’ve always wanted to make the kind of jewelry that I’m getting ready to learn to make.

I’ve always been good at repurposing things.

 When I lived in the San Francisco Bay area, I had a company that specialized in repurposing old furniture. In fact, the name of this blog comes from the name of my former business, “Arte California”.    I would get wooden furniture from Freecycle and paint it and add mosaics to it and resell it to fancy schmancy home decor stores, or I would do things with tempered glass on big bowls.     Did well, and had fun doing it.        Image

Each piece was a one-of-a-kind item.

 Every time I created a new piece, someone would usually end up commissioning similar pieces, or even something new.  It was fun coming up with new ideas and finding ways in which to convert things.   For instance, I once sold one of these mirrors, then got an order to make 30 more!


This is a tabletop that I made with collage work and tempered glass.


And here is a coffee table that I did:



I find myself with this surplus of jewelry.  Some of it is vintage.  Some of it is valuable.  Some of it is contemporary, and some of it is cheap crap…..I’ve been pretty good about repurposing it and making new pieces from old, but I’ve decided to step things up a notch and enroll in Deryn Mentock’s  Build Zone class.

 I have long been a fan of Deryn’s work, basically because it is FABULOUS!  I have purchased her jewelry and have admired it on friends.  I pour over it on the Internet.  I just love it.  It is a rustic style, sort of like steampunk….but sort of not.

I think Deryn will be an excellent teacher, and according to her former students, she is.   I look forward to learning how to make fancy findings … clasps and rings and links…. to learning how to do her famous wrap method of jewelry making.  I look forward to learning new design work.  I look forward to selling what I make.  I look forward to the whole thing!


I know the experience will be fun and rewarding, and it will give me something to do with all of this jewelry that I have now.  Will post pictures of my progress.  Don’t expect miracles. I’ve never done this type of work before… 🙂

Photo a Day – JANUARY 2013


Photo a Day - JANUARY 2013

Grab your camera and have a little fun with Fatmumslim’s January 2013 – PHOTO A DAY! It’s a fast and easy way to add something creative to your life each and every day.

Day # 21 – TREE



Photo a Day – DECEMBER

Day #21 – TREE

© Stacy Alexander – 2012


Original art by Stacy Alexander © 2012 – All Rights Reserved

Day #23 – Technology



Photo a Day – May


©2012 Stacy Alexander

Unless my husband is home, our television stays off most of the time.  I find TV to be a real time waster and life sucker, even though there are some great programs on right now.  However, when I’m alone, I rarely turn it on.  Once in awhile, I’ll turn it on very late in the evening, if I can’t sleep.

These are our remotes.  There is one for the flat screen, one for the cable box, one for the AppleTV, one for the sound system ….Did I miss any?   I don’t even know how half of them work.  sigh….