Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

As adults we aren't supposed to anticipate Christmas like we did when we were young-- after all, we are now the ones rushing around buying the presents, figuring out where to put all the holiday guests, planning all the festivities and paying all the bills. For many people, what's really special about this time of year just gets lost in the shuffle.

Although my husband and I will soon be celebrating our 10th anniversary, we still count having each other as our “bestest” gift at Christmas. And we're both still healthy and fairly active and that is quite a lot to be thankful for at our ages.

But I would be remiss if I failed to thank each and every one of you who reads this blog for making my days so enjoyable as I write down my thoughts and observations, knowing that someone is actually out there who shares my passions and takes the valuable time to visit and comment. I am so thankful that I have many good friends online that I feel closer to than any I have ever made in my lifetime, although I have never met you in person. Can creativity operate in a vacuum? Probably, but it's not much fun. I treasure the ability to share my discoveries, experiments and musings with all of you and am humbled by your enthusiasm for them.

I'm just bubbling with new ideas I want to share with you -- some of them are already scheduled to be out there in a public way around March. My wish list this New Year of 2011 includes making it to a major bead show, where I can meet in person some of the creative friends I talk to almost daily online.Also in the works in the next few weeks is a major update to my studio space, so I can get my kiln going and play with metal clay, as well as set up my bench with my flexshaft drill and soldering station. It's time to add in metals to my polymer creations in a big way, something I've been planning for over a year. I've used some found metal pieces and some  repoussé that Douglas makes for me but I've always had a better marriage of metal and polymer in mind for my designs. I'm so excited, I can hardly wait to get started!

Yesterday I played around with some old glass storage containers I found at a local yard sale. I plopped in some bits and bobs and built some seasonal tableaux with some of my latest polymer experiments.

Silver Leaves tableaux

Pinecone tableaux

Globes and Stones tableaux

  Here are some toys that Santa left under our tree.

"Red Fox" felted wool pin, from Under the Moon, Amanda Wiesenfeld, VT Handcrafters

Antique store find tool box, lovingly restored by Douglas

Present for both of us-- yipee! new techniques!

Polymer lentil bead from Mindy Jackson, Stray Cat Jewelry, VT Handcrafters

Lampwork bead from Wandering Spirit Designs -- present from my sis

And for a happy ending to the busted stove story, today I'm happily baking cupcakes and a pumpkin pie for Douglas. A wonderful repair technician named Gary from the Dead River Company in Woodstock, Vermont persevered through a snowstorm to repair my oven on Thursday night. Now, THAT'S customer service, Sears! I'm glad I went with a local company and supported my community.

Happy holidays to all and I'll see you again after the New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giving and Receiving or What's Really Important at Christmas

Winter on a farm is a time to rest from the endless routine of summer's planting and growing and autumn's hubub of harvesting and storing and finally take some time to breathe and contemplate. Have I accomplished all that I set out to do this year? More importantly, what do I have to be thankful for? And now looking back over this past year, that's quite a lot.

Blogs are great vehicles for communication but they are also primarily journals and so useful to document our works and progress. I try not to view difficulties in my work as problematic but rather as challenges to be overcome. Is this annoyingly optomistic? Well, what's the alternative?

This past weekend my oven quit working. Given the holiday season, it's not easy to find a repairman on short notice and since we live in a rural area, it's doubly difficult. So all my plans for cupcakes and cookies are kaput. Not to mention Christmas dinner. Luckily, it's just the two of us but now I have to rethink all my plans for a special breakfast and my husband's potluck contribution at work.

I called Sears yesterday and they said “Sure, we can have someone there today-- how about between 1 and 5 pm?” So I cancelled a previous repair appointment for a later date and waited. And cleaned the stove within an inch of its life. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, at 4:30 pm, someone called from Sears and said “So sorry, the repairman got hung up on a job-- how about next Tuesday?” I actually kept my temper in check but was firm about wanting to talk to the tech supervisor who had so cavalierly decided the tech could just go home early. So the “customer service” person -- that's a joke, of course-- hung up on me! THEN I was furious! I ranted to my husband a bit and then we had to pick up our truck, which was at the garage being inspected.

Now I know you've been waiting for the “It's a Wonderful Life” ending of this little parable. Our great auto repair guy, who I've known since I moved here in 1992, told us he had had a rough week. His wife went in for a routine checkup and they found a large tumor on her ovary. They immediately did surgery to remove it and found no cancer. She's now home and well on her way to complete recovery.

So are my problems with my oven still a big deal? No. Not compared to what my garage guy went through. And this morning my backup repair called and said they could be out today and could maybe even fix it before Christmas. But it doesn't matter anymore. I'll eat hot dogs and beans with my sweetie and be glad that we are healthy and our families are too and that he just got a job and that I made some really good sales in December. And I probably don't really need to eat cupcakes.

If you made it all the way to the bottom, here's some eye candy as a reward. It's what I sent out for Christmas presents this year. And on time, too!

Jurassic cuff - for my niece Gilly

Jurassic Earrings

Pendant in faux basse taille for my cousin, Missy

Talisman necklace for my brother-in-law, John

Gravure Earrings for my sister, Bonnie

Monday, December 13, 2010

Art for the Sake of It

It's fine and well to make art strictly for the joy of it. Nothing compares to the satisfaction of seeing a concept through to the end-- to make reality of a thought, a feeling, an interpretation.

Although I've spent many years making art, I previously had little to show for it. A rug here, a garment there. I gave everything away. Until I started making jewelry, I didn't even have a portfolio of work to show for the hours and years of creative endeavor.

Now I've got a blog, a Flickr page, magazines that have published my work and lots of pieces of jewelry, all testament to the fact that I'm a "creative person". Trouble is, I'm a bit swamped with all of it. Lately some other artists have blogged about their urge to clean out, free up and open a space for creativity. My cousin chastised me a little last week, urging me to sell more-- “you can't wear everything” she said. That's true. But those of you who also create know that selling your work is like auctioning your babies. Will any amount that you are compensated really be adequate reward for the love, thought and care that you put into them?

But maybe having the freedom to express yourself and let your ideas fly and hopefully touch another person is compensation enough in itself? Maybe when that person wears it they will feel a little of what you put into it, what you felt yourself, how proud you were of your creation. My best customer really gets me. She truly understands what I'm trying to say, even when I don't fully know myself. When I let something go to her, I know it will be loved, cared for, understood, appreciated. What more could I ask for?

So I'll be putting some old favorites and special pieces of mine in my Etsy shop in the coming days and also some new work I've just created. If you've purchased from me before, please convo me if you want to purchase something-- I have some thank-you discounts for you. If you're not familiar with my jewelry, I welcome you to visit my Etsy shop and browse. Until December 25, all domestic shipping is free. Maybe you'll find something you will enjoy wearing as much as I enjoyed making.

Serengeti earrings - now in my Etsy shop

Kandinsky necklace - SOLD - Thank you!

Depth Earrings - now in my Etsy shop

Marrakesh earrings - now in my Etsy shop

Dark and Stormy Night Necklace - now in my Etsy shop

Disintegration Earrings - now in my Etsy shop
 Thrones Necklace - now in my Etsy shop