Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I had a small epiphany yesterday; I wanted to make a very simple looking pair of earrings using some gorgeous little lampwork beads from Melissa at Inner Realm Creations. Nothing complicated; just the bead sitting on top of a ball of silver, and a small coil of silver above the bead to keep it on the over sized ear wire.
I wasn't happy with the first way I tried it; it was the obvious way to make it, but it just didn't work up to the look I wanted. The silver ball wasn't big enough, and the bead was floppy on the 20 gauge wire required for the ear wire. So I mucked about, made a bigger ball, soldered thicker wire to the smaller ear wire, and was really unhappy with the results.
I set the beads aside.
And then it happened. Serendipity. A whole new way to look at the problem dawned on me; it was easy, and, better yet: it gave me exactly the look I was going for. I just had to be open to doing things differently.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Draw your own metaphors from this one, I'm keeping mine close today!
Monday, October 29, 2007
But I am making it to soothe my soul. Yes, it's all in the details. Those tiny stitches comfort me and ease my mind. Creating something beautiful, stitch by stitch, gives me strength and courage. It will take many hours to finish; and that is comforting right now. I can see my progress, and that is reassuring right now. I'm moving forward.
Time is on my side.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I'm not a statistic; I'm alive. I made it out, and I made a good life. Yes, I still have challenges, and life is not always easy; (as the past week or two has certainly proved!) but I know now that I do not have to suffer abuse ever again. I wanted to share my story in the hope that it might give someone else a chance to learn that, too. I faltered many times along the way; I wrote, erased, rewrote, and quit many times before September 27th. I didn't really finish writing it; I simply ran out of time.
The bead that I used in the necklace was a very strong factor in my decision to persevere; it was listed on ebay shortly after I made the decision to go public, and I could not get it out of my mind. It said everything that was in my heart, and, although the bidding was fierce, I knew I had to have it. At the very end of the auction, there was somewhere else I had to be, and I could not stay to make sure I was the winner. I put in a final bid, and left. No one else bid after me.
After that, there was no turning back.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Sometimes I use them immediately; other times they sit for quite awhile. Some lampwork artists only sell in large lots, so after I've used a few from the string, they end up in a sectioned drawer with my pliers; if I'm between projects, I pull them out and think about them. Sometimes I even use one or two. A few of them have been in there for so long, they've actually surprised me into almost regarding them as new again.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It's hard not to think about how things are formed while making jewelry; every day I'm shaping and filing and sanding and polishing; wearing away the scratches and deposits that my work puts into metal, doing my best to smooth out the damage that is an inevitable effect of shaping it to my vision.
I am made of softer stuff; I wear faster than stone or metal. But even my changes, which seem to happen so quickly to me, become invisible in the trajectory of smaller creatures.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
So no more staying inside, I'm outta here!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Can you say proud mom?
It hardly seems possible that he's almost 17 years old. I can still see that wiggly, talkative, full-of-ideas 6 year old (and I know Sensei can, too!) and, although the evidence of that little boy is not always visible in the square-jawed, muscular young man he has become, he still has the capacity for pure joy and unadulterated fun. Today we will celebrate ten years of karate lessons, and we will recognize that all of us have learned more than kata and kumite.
Friday, October 19, 2007
So today, I'm expecting a friend to drive up, and from here we'll go up to Cold Spring. It is a lovely old town, named by George Washington, who noted on his map that there was - you guessed it - a cold spring of water there. Cold Spring is now known for its antique shops, but it should be known for Momminia, a darling bead, gemstone and jewelry store. It's one of my favorite places.
So we'll head up there, and hopefully the rain that is threatening will hold off!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Yes, the Robert Burns lines did spring, unbidden, into my head just now,
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley
from To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough, and yes, my nest has been very recently turned up! But we have not given up making plans, we just make new ones; we build our nests again and again.
But enough of nest building. Today I will be invincible; I will bend steel to my will!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
So now we've settled in to walking this new road; the unpleasant will become ordinary; the unthinkable will become routine. We will live with what we never imagined we could bear, we always do. Our resilience is astonishing. What is it that we need to learn this time? I don't have any answers yet, but I am very grateful for the overwhelming urge I had a few weeks ago to clear the decks and get myself extricated from unnecessary activities and responsibilities. The Lord was looking out for me and preparing me for what I need to do now.
For that, I am very grateful.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Beauty is functional.
Oh, not at the expense of food, or a roof over one's head; there are issues of subsistence that must be addressed before the aesthetic can be admitted; but, to risk cliche, a thing of beauty is a joy forever.
After the home show, we stopped at a local bookstore for a cup of tea and a browse, and I found myself looking through the art books. It's something I do a lot of, actually, and yesterday I was very aware of how lucky I am to live in an age of print. I don't have to own beauty to enjoy it.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
It's the not-quite-but-almost ones that give me fits.
That's when I discover that sometimes it's better to just leave well enough alone. For example, the ring I made yesterday was an experiment, and, as experiments go, it was a good one. I learned a lot; both what to do, and what not to do. I'm not quite happy with it, but I don't hate it, either; and that makes it very hard to set down. This morning I woke up with a few ideas for "fixing" it; and yes, you guessed it, no matter what I tried, it just didn't work. It's gone right back to where it was yesterday, and this time, it's going to stay that way.
The weaknesses in the project could not be turned into strengths. And covering them up only made them look, well, covered up. It's not a bad ring. It's not a good ring. It is what it is: a lesson learned.
Friday, October 12, 2007
"...the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."
Remember the old philosophical discussions we used to have in our late teens and early twenties? The ones that started out assuming that we were dreaming a world that was dreaming us, and what about that tree falling in the forest?
The center of the universe, we were; our perceptions defined everything. Infinity plus one; the eternal conundrum. How heroic Rick was to give up Ilsa: we all knew that he knew that their problems were bigger than the rest of the world, but he gave her up anyway. We wondered if we could be as selfless; we liked to think we could, but secretly, we had our doubts.
Fast forward to today. No beans. Really. Not a one, much less a hill. Rick was a realist, after all.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I've turned into a reactive automaton. Answer the phone. I'll go to the store right now. Delete, delete, quick answer. Yes! No! I'm sorry! Uh, what was I supposed to do? Did you do your homework? Pot roast! They're in the drier! It's in the car. Worse than this?
And yes, this is the point where I stop. These things won't go away, even if I deal with them all today, they'll all come back tomorrow with the same urgency; the same shouting, touting, self-importance. But when will I have the chance to tell my son how pleased I am with the young man he's become? Where will I find the time to build a relationship with my daughter-in-law? Do I have enough love to let my daughter choose her own way? Those are the things of consequence; they wait patiently for me, they do not tug at my hem or shout.
But they will not come back if I let them go away unanswered; they are important, but not urgent.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I've been spending too much time on the high wire lately; pushing myself, feeling the pressure of time and wanting to do so very much. More, really, than is possible for me. Perhaps others can do it; but I just can't. Not and stay sane, and sanity is a very good thing.
So it is time for me to weave a cocoon; to wrap myself in the quiet, slow, and steady march of tiny beads.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Counting calories is still not part of my mindset. I spent too many years burning them as fast as I ingested them; I still expect my body to work that way, though it has been awhile since it did. How many other things do I expect to continue forever, just as they once did? Erm, too many. I like consistency. I like knowing that if I do x, then y will follow. I'm not thrilled about the fact that z has taken over from y and given me a whole new paradigm to understand.
Odd how I love to learn some new things, but not others.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Tedious: too long, slow, or dull: tiresome or monotonous : a tedious journey.
Erm, that's housework. Not making lace. Not embroidery. Not quilting. Not making jewelry, for goodness sake!
I'll concede too long, slow, and even monotonous moments. Dull? Uh, sometimes. But never tiresome. Oh, no; quite the opposite. The process of making things, those small, repetitious movements, serves to quiet the turmoil in my soul and concentrate my energy. Why this, and not other, equally small and equally repetitious movements, like washing windows? I wonder.
It isn't because of the end product; no, I am notorious for putting the things I make away and forgetting about them. I actually spend a lot more time appreciating the results of my housework. But the process of cleaning does not have the same effect on me. I rush through it, intent on the goal of finishing, seeing only the results, which never last long enough. Spiders are even more industrious than I, and I see defeat on a daily basis. That's tedium in my eyes.
Hmmmmm. Perhaps I need to live my life as I create: one bead at a time, put the results away quickly, and welcome the chance to make something new.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Nope, no big problems or concerns to resolve; nothing that needed my immediate and undivided attention; things are going as well as can be expected in a house with two teenagers and a retired husband. I'm even caught up on the laundry and the visible cleaning; those dust bunnies under the couch can breed for another day or two without running out of room under there! So I gave in, and let my mind wander. A few new designs came of it; I don't know if I will make them or not. I am terribly wasteful of designs; so many times I am entirely finished with something immediately after visualizing it. The path between imagining and creating is not always a straight one; quite often it veers suddenly.
I don't know how long I stayed awake; I don't remember falling back to sleep. But suddenly, it was light out there, and there was no more arguing with my stomach: it was breakfast time.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
I don't know if this will be something that reaches fruition soon, or if it will go back into the recesses of my mind to perk again. It's been up here before, but thinking about the mathematics of it is new. All I know is that today it's so close that I can almost see it. Not quite clearly enough to take out paper and pencil and make the calculations, but just there enough to make me want to figure out the formulas I'll need to use.
If I make it, that is.
Friday, October 5, 2007
But it's not just my lungs that can breathe again; over the past few months, I had gotten myself in over my head on a project that didn't turn out the way I'd expected it to; in fact, it had begun pulling me in a direction that I didn't want to go. It seemed like a good idea when I started, but it just got to be more than I could handle. I was making compromises that were not comfortable for me, and I was getting pretty cranky about it! I finally had to admit that I just couldn't breathe, and I took on a more manageable role. Others will pick up where I left off, and they will be more capable than I of seeing it through.
Breathing is good on all counts.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
- making a maille ringinto one project.
- learning euro 4-in-1
It was a very cool project, actually. I did the weave the way one would for a maille shirt, instead of the way it is usually done for jewelry, and I really like the way it looks and feels. It sort of hugs my finger, and stretches and contracts as I move. It's not the least bit rigid, like other rings; and done this way, it really looks more like a knit than anything else. I added some labradorite dangles to it which give it sort of a funky medieval look. If it were oxidized, it might look goth, but it's shiny bright, so it looks like me!
If you want to see, click here.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Every once in awhile, I have to just stop and remind myself of that. I can easily give into the temptation to make things too ornate, to hide behind a very decorative facade. I like pretty things, and I like to make them. But when they begin to take on a life of their own...when they pull my life out of balance...then it's time to knock them back to their very foundations.
What is important to me?
People, not popularity. I don't need to be well known or important in my community; I need the loving fellowship of my friends and family.
Making, not validation. I can't please everyone, and if I try to, I'll please no one.
Honesty and loving kindness.
It's reality check time. This is who I am, and this is what I do.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I wanted to use this very unusual bead to begin telling Greta's story; I wanted to use it to express her hope, loneliness and anticipation of a new and better life with this bracelet. It's always hard to leave behind the people and places that we know well; it often takes something out of the ordinary to make us begin.
Greta's journey has begun; where will she take me next?
Monday, October 1, 2007
Yeah, a few hours spent sketching is a really good time.
But here's the kicker: I never refer back to the sketches and notes I've made. Once I've made them, I'm done with them. And here's a secret: I've made the same sketches over and over again, I know I have. I stick with the same book for several visits, dipping in and out of a few favorites on a regular basis. My eye often goes to the same thing I sketched the last time I was there; and as I start drawing, my motor memory kicks in and I feel the lines etching their way deeper and deeper into my mind with every repetition.
When they've cut deep enough, then I can use them.