Sunday, September 30, 2007

Waiting for Godot

No, not really; he's not coming. I'm not waiting for him at all. But I am waiting; sometimes it is time to stop doing things and just wait for awhile. It used to make me crazy when the waiting times came; I was afraid that all my creativity had dried up and blown away. I was certain that I'd never make another thing, never write another word. Fear is a fearful thing, indeed.

But now I see these times of deep breathing as a respite; a time to let my mind go silent, my fingers rest, and the seeds of new ideas germinate. Without this time, they cannot push their way out of the darkness; without this time, they will never see the light of day. They will grow, flower, and fruit in good time. And I don't have to do a thing to help them; all I have to do is watch and wait.

And when they're ready, I'll be ready, too.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blue skies

"Nothin' but blue skies, from now on." Yup, I have that song stuck in my head, and looking out the window, it's appropriate today. The storm that raced through here yesterday is gone; the wind remains, but the skies have been scoured clean. It's the sort of day where I'm drawn to using turquoise. I don't know what it is about windy, clear days, but they just say turquoise to me.

I have some beautiful wooden beads that have also been whispering turquoise...perhaps it is time to play with them. I don't know exactly what they want me to do yet; perhaps if I go out into the garden and do a little work there, they will tell me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Taking Stock

It's Friday. It's been a rough week; I've had a lot on my mind, and a lot that needed to be done. I didn't get everything done, but that's the way it goes. Sometimes I need to give myself a break and just let things be what they are. I'm listening to our parakeet sing as I type this; he has the most amazing range of sounds and tones. He makes me laugh; he is such a silly bird. Yes, it's very good sometimes to just stop running around doing things and listen to the rhythm of the world.

Today is that sort of day. Maybe I'll get some more done, and maybe I won't.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A special request

Today, I have a special request for anyone reading this; please take a moment and think about what you can do to help stop abuse. It need not be a big or dramatic thing; stopping the smallest abuse can make a difference. If you know someone who is being abused, or who is perpetrating abuse, do something. Even if you can't stop it, speak out.

Today is the Bloggers Unite to Stop Abuse event. Bloggers all over the world are writing with one theme in mind: stop abuse. Any and all abuse, large and small. If you have a moment, please read my story, Heart's Ease, on Jewelry Tales. And if you have a blog, please consider adding your voice; if we can stop even one instance of abuse, we can change someone's life forever.

I know, because mine was changed 15 years ago.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What do I do all day?

Well, today, I'll be taking photos and listing new items in my Etsy shop. But first I have to clean off my desk, because for the past two days, I've been making jewelry. Sometimes I'm very neat when I work, and I put things away when I'm done with them; but other days, nope, I'm on a mission and things get scattered all over creation. I've just had two of those days, and I don't think there's an inch of wood showing on my desk. I've even encroached a bit on the floor. Can't take photos in this mess!

So, after I clean up, I'll set up my equipment and take some pictures. Then I'll finish up their stories, start posting them on my Blog, and list the ones that I'll be selling on Etsy. I'll most likely steal a few minutes for making up a new design that's bouncing around in my head even as I type; but I really have to focus on the part that lets you see my stuff.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Paperback writer

I'm working on some new tales and some new styles, just for fun. They're not "serious" jewelry, they're playful, inexpensive, and cute. I was getting grumpy with trying to live the life of a Real Jewelry Designer; I finally realized that I just can't take myself quite that seriously. I need to play! Get off the swing set kids, Mom wants her turn.

Oh, and in case you were worried about me, I'm not setting the precious metals aside forever; just tempering them with a bit of steel now and then. I expect my designs and I will both be stronger for it. I had such a wonderful time yesterday, playing with maille and glass, and today I'm going to make some more. Umm, right after I do the grocery shopping. Yeah, there's not a lot to eat around here!

So keep an eye out at Etsy for my Paperback Line, 'K? It will be debuting in a day or two. I'm really excited about it, and I'm having so much fun putting it together!

Monday, September 24, 2007

In a quiet place

There is a quiet place in my life that I enter when I create; a place where time and thought cannot follow. It is, as Dali described it, a place where my hand is guided by an angel. Oh, I know what you are thinking: What gall! How dare this ordinary woman claim to be consorting with angels when she works? But it's not like that at all. The angel who guides me there does not care about the work, does not guide my hand in the manufacturing. No, it is not for the sake of improving the work that the angel takes me there.

It is for my spirit, not my work. In that place, I do the work I was made to do; not divine work, but the work of my hands and my heart. This quiet place is a gift, a very great gift. When I enter, I am given comfort and joy in my own ability to work. No matter if the work is good, bad or indifferent. The outcome is not important. The privilege of going there, is, I suspect, the only reason that I make anything.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sisyphus Envy

I have not walked lightly on this earth; I have made too many things. I have left too much evidence. I do not make things for a purpose; the things are not important, they are not the reason for the time spent making them. They are here only as a result of my need to make them. Sisyphus, was, perhaps, lucky; he started every day without any evidence of his previous day's work. He was free to begin again, to spend his entire day making. There are times when I am tempted to take everything I have made to bits, to give away the excess and leave myself only one small box of materials to reuse every day, in a different way.

Yes, I was cleaning out my studio yesterday. It holds the evidence of a lifetime of arts and crafts; my lifetime. It is an amalgamation of material objects that says too much about my life and how it has been spent; I found far too many unfinished items for which I have no passion left. I have given away a lot of it; so much of the excess has gone to people who care about using it. But the things I have made, or had begun to make, remain.

I cannot tear them apart. Not yet.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Make lace while the sun shines

So I'm back to making lace. Simple, comfortable, bobbin lace ground with silver wire. No, I don't know yet what I will do with it; did you really expect I would? I't's just time to make it.

OK, yes, it might very well be part of the weaver woman's plan. But I'm fighting her a little bit on this one. I'm not sure I'm ready for it; but I will make the lace and find out.

Faith. It's all about faith.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I'm dithering! Too many options. Too many things to do -- can't decide what to do first. Hmmmm; staring into space is probably NOT my best choice. Seems to be the one I'm falling back on, though.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Time for thought

Today my muse wanted me for my mind, not my fingers. She asks a lot, that weaver woman; today she kept me thinking, working on making some important decisions. I think we've got it sorted; we've lots of work to do in order to make this idea a reality. More thinking, too, I suspect.

But I really like this new idea of hers; I'll keep you posted as we work through it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The more things change

Oh, yeah, the only constant is change. Yesterday morning, I thought I needed to make settings for two moonstones to go with the six Not Tao 3 links I had made on Monday. So I did. And I was really happy with them; all those Art Nouveau books I have been lugging home from the library lately seem to have seeped into my brain; I made up two very swirly Art Nouveau bezel settings and popped a pair of nearly matching moonstones into them. They look great with the links; good balance of weight, size, and style.

So why is this entry about change? Because the moonstone links are just too big to put two of them into a bracelet. The original plan was to alternate a mirrored pair of Not Tao 3 links with a moonstone, making a balanced bracelet with three chain sets and two moonstone links. But that would have left the moonstones either sitting awkwardly (and uncomfortably) on top of the wrist bones, or having one up and one down and a clasp on the side. Uh, no. Not pretty. Yeah, the bracelet looked great sitting on the bench, but it was not supposed to be a paperweight.

So it was time to let things change. Hmmmmm . . . if I make two more Not Tao 3 links and put one of the moonstones in the center . . . with four links on either side . . . oooh, yeah I like that. All it needed was a simple hook to hold it together. Between the weight of the links, and the size of the focal, I don't suspect there will be a lot of slippage.

. . . and the other moonstone setting? Remember that mosaic bracelet I want to make? Yeah, I think so. Unless it has other ideas.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The wire knows where the wire goes

After setting it aside a few months ago, I suddenly had a burning interest in Not Tao 3 come over me this weekend. I let it percolate on Sunday (we were out all day, enjoying the Ferry-Go-Round, a series of all day festivals in several towns along the Hudson River, with transportation provided by ferry, so much fun!) and then I woke up Monday morning, ready to make some links.

My usual way with maille is delicate; I like tiny, thin, rings and chain that serves more as a background element than as a focal point, but yesterday, I reached for 16 gauge wire and began coiling and cutting rings. That is very thick wire for me; I am most comfortable with 18 and 20 gauge. I had a vague idea (OK, you caught me, NO idea) what I was going to do with the links, but I went to work and made them anyway. Six of them.

I set each one down on my bench as I finished it, and looked at them, rather askance, as they marched across the surface. They're big. Very big. About 15mm across. Whatever am I going to do with these behemoths? They are certainly not going to go with the 4mm turquoise cabs that I'd originally envisioned using, and nope, they are not going to be part of the mosaic bracelet that was enticing me . . . what to do, what to do?

Walk away, I decided. Let them sit there. They wanted to be made; now it's their turn to do some talking. Let them decide what to be; they'll tell me when they are good and ready. And they did tell me, much later, when I was almost ready to go to bed, as a matter of fact. Luckily, what they wanted to do only took a few minutes. Oh, yes, there's more to be done today; but I'm going to tease you the way those rings teased me, and stop right here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More adventures with Jens Pind

Small, medium and large were not enough! I had to try doubled, which I love, and working a bead into the middle of the chain, which is pretty cool, especially from a technical standpoint. It wasn't easy, but I like the way the bead just floats there. That one also features two different sizes of chain in the same bracelet.

So am I Jens Pind-ed out? For now, yeah, I think so. Not that I won't be using it again, I surely will, but my obsession with it seems to be waning. It's thread is moving to a less prominent part of my mind. My mind works rather like a serial: one story is beginning, another is in full bloom, and one is ending at pretty much any given moment. Lots of overlap! There may be a Jens Pind or two still in me before it makes its way off-stage; I never know what will happen next.

But I do know that there is a very exciting new story line bubbling to the forefront of my mind; I can hardly wait to see what develops with this one! Stay tuned; same bat channel, same bat time . . . .

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The weaver woman

I saw my muse at her loom this morning, weaving the tapestry that is my life; as is her way, she was beginning to set aside the threads that have most recently been dominant; she had, in her hand, a new color that excited me, and she picked up some old colors that she had teased me with and set aside months ago. What pattern will she create next?

I didn't see.

She never shows me the pattern, just the colors. She is the weaver woman, the lace maker, the embroiderer of my creativity. She leads; I follow. There are days, weeks, and years where my only task is to thread the warp of her loom. I used to fight her; I would argue and rage against the mundane chores she set in front of me; complain that she didn't understand me, didn't support me, didn't give me what I needed and wanted. She would look at me sadly and wait for me; she placed the threads in my path again and again, until I reluctantly picked them up and did her bidding.

I'm older now, and we've been together nearly half a century. I trust her. She has never withheld the threads I needed, never designed anything that hurt me. I have come to understand that the pattern is not for my eyes; not for my glory. It is not mine to know. I pick up the threads she is offering me; feeling the comfort that comes from working with faith.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spying on the big kids

Yesterday, I went to a wonderful Arts and Crafts Fair at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, NY. It is the best show; all of the exhibitors are amazing and so very creative and they simply do not allow anything that is cheaply mass produced to slip by. Most of the pieces are one-offs, actually, and most of the booths are staffed by the artist. It's not just about jewelry; the woodworking, textiles, ceramics, photography and sculptures are also superb. Anyway, I wandered up and down the aisles all afternoon, my eyes as big as saucers, spying on the big kids to see what they know that I don't know.

I must say, they were very, very nice about it. Of course, I didn't tell them I was spying; and since I look a lot like every other New York matron of a certain age, I had a really effective disguise for my secret agent task. They let me handle their pretties and try them on, and they were very quick to show me their special details.

My mission was a complete success.

I came away with so many ideas . . . so many pieces made me think. My mind was reeling by the time I left. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Mobiles made with teeny tiny origami cranes. They danced even when they were motionless. Repeated elements in asymmetrical juxtaposition...YES!!! What a great idea.

  • Wooden jewelry chests that hang on the wall and look more like art than cabinetry. Well, besides the fact that I want one, maybe sometimes function should follow form.

  • A hidden hook on the back of an earring can be used to secure the ear wire. Form hides function on that one.

  • A loose rivet lets everything twirl and move. That's fun.

  • Ear wires can be any shape. Really.

  • I have to make a mosaic bracelet. Soon.

And to top it all off, it was a beautiful day.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Which comes first?

I've had a lot of people ask me if the jewelry inspires the stories, or the stories inspire the jewelry, so I thought I'd clear that up early in the life of this blog. Really, they are both separate, and it's more like a marriage. The stories come from my imagination, but they are based on things that have happened to me, or to people around me, or things that I have heard or read about. Their themes are always floating around in my head; they are about the things that matter to me.

The jewelry is like that, too. Some of it is very ornate, some of it is almost stark -- and some pieces are just fun and playful. They all come from different places in my mind, from my many moods and desires. My inspiration for a piece may come from a stone, from a weave, from the arc of a rose cane climbing into a tree in my garden, or from a baby frog sitting on a lily pad in my pond.

Now: how do the stories meet and marry the jewelry? They meet in the spaces between thought. Quite a lot of the time I spend making jewelry requires much from my fingers, but very little from my brain. Coiling and cutting rings; weaving chain; wrapping teeny tiny faceted rondelles and briolettes; all of these take a good deal of time and dexterity, but not a lot of conscious thought. And so, my mind wanders.

One day, I was thinking of a friend whose only son was going off to college, and then I noticed that the bracelet I was making looked like the Xs and Os that I used to sign my letters with when I was a child; the story for Hugs and Kisses came from that meeting. Another day, I was pondering my own faith, and the seed beads I was using looked like grains of sand . . . which of course led me to the thought that small as my faith seems some days, if I have faith only the size of a grain of sand, I can still move mountains. And from that comforting realization, I created another woman whose faith was small, but perhaps large enough, after all.

There are more stories of the marriages of words and jewelry, but that's enough for now. Both ultimately come from my heart and soul, but I think you already knew that . . .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm addicted to Jens Pind!

Yeah, it's very strange -- I'm in love with a chain. But it's just the coolest thing going; it looks like a spiral that met a braid and shared DNA. It took me forever to figure out how to do it -- there is a right way and a wrong way and I had a lot of trouble figuring out the difference between the two, but then I suddenly got it, and I love it.

I've done it big, medium, and small.

I've done it in copper, silver, and gold.

And I'm not even going into some of the other things that I've done with it, 'cause, I haven't taken pictures of them yet!!! But I'll make another entry when I take some pictures and tell you about some of the other things I've been doing with Jens Pind.