The most magnificent collection of carnelians I ever saw…


It was 2011, in the month of June. I was back in the village of Walberswick, Suffolk, UK for a visit after more than a three decades long absence. Of course, I went down to the beach. It was a windy day and even though the sun was out, nothing glinted the warm bright orange color of carnelians up to me from the pebble beach.

Walberswick beach

Walberswick Beach, June, 2011

I sauntered along thinking of my father, my siblings, my mother–all the things we did and did not do–during so many Walberswick days of my childhood. I picked up a few shells and put them in my pockets. Bending way down to the sand, I did find a grey stone with a gray heart rimmed with white. Second-best perfect, I thought! I kept this one in the palm of my hand, enjoying the smooth raised heart.


My heart-shaped stone

During my stay in Walberswick, Tassie, the daughter of our family’s village friends,  whisked me off in her car to visit her mother Diana, this beautiful warm woman my whole family loved. Tassie’s father Clifford, Diana’s husband, also a most beloved family friend, was no longer alive. Tassie brought out artist Clifford’s’ paintings to show them to me. Oh what lovely landscapes he had done of Walberswick! While I studied them, I could still see him hard at work when I used to come upon him in the village. My chest heaved with the wistful memory.

Tassie didn’t stop there. While we sat on the back patio, she brought out her family’s collection of carnelians on a gray stone tray. If I didn’t gasp out loud, I am sure I laughed with delight, or at least smiled broadly.


Clifford, Diana, and Tassie’s Carnelian Collection

Diana held the tray out to me. I lifted a beauty from it and lay it on top of my knee.

large carnelian

large carnelian

It was not wet, very dry in fact. But, still utterly amazing. Beautiful!

Yes, I wished I could take it home. No luck there. It’s part of this family’s magnificent collection. A family heirloom.



An artist’s work brings hope, comfort, and energy to help beat youth cancer odds.

My brother Stephen, an artist, sent me an email on September 20th with a link to a September 18th Huffington Post blog by Jim Luce about Stephen’s installation “Whisper” at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The installation is part of The Lounge, a newly created space for teens and young adults with cancer at MSK.

I gave the blog a quick read and have since gone back and read it several more times in order to grasp the meaning of what Stephen is trying to convey with his “Whisper” piece.



“Whisper.” Photo: TYA@MSK

I found that I like what he says about his work; that I can relate to it very well.

Here are some of his words that I have taken out of context but are all interesting words to me: whisper, hope, membrane, perceive the intangible, universal, search to find the spiritual, the mindful passage, elements, break through restraints, sensory world, cumulative knowledge, belief. These words in and of themselves draw a person in. In context, they take shape with meaning.

I wanted to go beyond art. “Whisper,” for me, is hope for the patients, the family and friends of children living with cancer. My work springs directly from envisioning humanity’s cumulative knowledge and belief encapsulated within an ever-expanding membrane that emanates from the Elements themselves.

My work stands for the universal Membrane and involves my search to find the spiritual, the mindful passage, to allow one to break through our restrains and to see what lies beyond our sensory world. To perceive the Intangible – that which is unable to be touched or grasped, that lacks a physical presence.

~Stephen Burlingham

Stephen says his yellow “Whisper” piece “offers a way to look through and beyond.” I am looking at the photo of The Lounge right now. My eyes are immediately drawn to the wall where his painting hangs. I love the yellow color. It is so vibrant. I like its soft shiny texture. I like the wispy wire imprints that suggest movement, undercurrents.



The Lounge at MSK

The title of the Huffington piece is “Stephen Burlingham Going Beyond Art for Youth with Cancer.” I think Stephen’s “Whisper” goes beyond art with the hope the art piece provides. It offers comfort, belonging, and the energy of a steady daring to beat the cancer odds.