Thursday, August 29, 2013


We all go through valleys and hills with most everything in life, right?  friendships, work, mood, inspiration, self confidence - hills and valleys, right?  I go through this with my work a real lot.  Not so much with liking and disliking my work but feeling like I don't know what the hell I'm doing or why.  I have never been able to put a finger down on exactly what inspires me.  and that's always kinda bugged me, especially when my work mood is in a valley...some days I get bothered or worried about my work being all over the place, not super consistent in terms of look or theme.  I see other metalsmiths whose work is immediately identifiable and i'm a bit jealous of that.  But I get bored.  I am quite possibly the most inefficient worker on the planet earth.

rich, coffee colored druzy paired with a simple white agate.  
the back simply says "starry eyed" - for that day dreamer in you...

This is a good guess at what my typical work day looks like:

coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee.  In that order.
Evaluate where I left off yesterday
Look at my clip board for what needs to ship soon (I have the best of intentions at this point)
Start on the order needing to go out next
Barely get started on that and then start making a band for a ring I haven't even started
Dig through stones to see what might go on said ring, play around with design
Pick up the unfinished necklace from 3 days ago, try to sand off the solder that oozed off to the side
Answer one or two emails
Print one or two orders
Go back to current orders and start another one
Package up a smattering of finished orders and take them out to the mailbox
Finish the two orders I started
Make more coffee
Clean up my bench because its covered in steel wool dust
Photo a piece in progress and Instagram it
Start another order
Go back to the ring and make the bezel(s)
Go kiss Tom because he just got home
Make Tom come look at the unfinished pieces and have him tell me if I'm on the right track
Skitter around a bit more before I decide if I'm gonna work all night or go watch tv with my pack

I'm very much an - oh look, a quarter! kind of girl.  jump around, jump around!

 "Be gentle with me."  This might be one of my favorite pieces I've ever made.  
I am in love with the back (pictured above).  
The layers of silver and the banner of text...its just so personal, so raw.  And the bright white, large, matte finish agate has the stark quality that is such a contradiction to the text on the back - it just really feels like there is a secret hidden there...

I was not what anyone would consider and excellent student when I was in school.  Part of the problem was that what I was good at I was pretty darn good at, but what I was bad at, I really sucked at it.  My senior year I was in advanced placement English and MOCE (mathematics of consumer economics) aka how-to-use-your-calculator.  When I had to study for any of the subject I didn't relate to I would start by cleaning my room.  By the time I was done with that I was too tired to study and would go to bed.  That lovely practice has followed me into adulthood.  If you ever visit me and my home looks nice and clean and tidy, it's a safe bet I'm avoiding something.

My point: if I'm not feeling creative my day might begin with straightening, cleaning, and organizing my studio.

But this is how I work.  It used to bother me, but somewhere along the way I realized that if I force something from start to finish I almost always make bad choices.  But at the same time I envy people who start a big, project piece and work on it all day and complete it.  That day.  Wonder what that's like?

Oh my lordy lordy!  This druzy is like a big chunk of candy!  I dare you to not bite into it!  My friend Jaime Jo said it looks like a sno cone!  It so does!  It's frosty and sugary and I want to eat it up!  But it is all snuggled up in sterling silver and accompanied by a copper enameled leaf.  The back of this beauty says "rebel rebel" - I had the David Bowie song and the Billy Idol song in mind when I imagined this hunk 'o love.

Recently I was reading another artists blog and I had kind of an oh-my-goodness-I'm-not-a-loser moment! She said something about being bothered by not having a distinctive look to her work but then realizing that that's ok, that she is inspired by too many things.  It felt good to read that another artist who I admire feels worried sometimes.  And even has similar worries to my own.

I've made a couple of rings in this new buoy series that feel conservative to me.  
But I am guessing that to a lot of people there is nothing conservative about this ring...
but in my brain this is conservative.  
I imagine someone who wanting desperately to branch out wearing this ring.  
The band reads: "gracin' the edge".  It is absolute perfection for you - you know who you are!!! 
 You are trying so hard to push out of that comfort zone.  You are gracin' the edge!
The red in this carnelian is just ridiculous!

I'm starting to think, if i really stress my brain for an answer, My schizophrenic work might come from two parts boredom and one part being over inspired. Not that I am bored by my work per se...but some things do get a little repetitive This opens a door to another one of my perceived inadequacies - where my inspiration comes from.  I've tried being inspired by nature, its a no go.  By poetry, movies, my dogs, weather, books, relationships, food, a good pair of shoes, anything!! - nope.  I read about these other artists who go to art shows and botanical gardens, book readings and fundraisers and "draw my inspiration from the emotions that welled up when I saw the brush strokes of blah blah blah blah blah". Don't get me wrong, I might sound cynical but really I'm jealous.  I want to BE that person.  But I'm just so not.  I like poetry, I'm a nut for Anne Sexton, oh, and Rod McKuen, but I don't read it every day.  I love art, but never ever go to art openings or see anything new...that said I have been known to cry my eyes out in museums over works I thought I might never see in person.  In fact the de Kooning retrospective I saw at the MOMA a few years ago is in the top ten experiences of my life.  So why don't those things inspire me?  One night I was whining about this to Tom and he said, kinda matter-factly, "for you it's materials".  I thought about it for a minute and danged if he wasn't dead on.  It's totally why I skitter around, my hands need to touch different things. I see some vintage charm and I want to use it, I find some cool pastel at Jerry's art-o-rama and I build a whole necklace around that that color, I hear a brilliant song lyric and I need to slap it onto a bangle, I accidentally crush a druzy so I pour the crumbs into resin...none of it goes together.  At all.  Is that okay?  Maybe it is.  I guess what I'm happy about now is just learning, figuring out a little bit more about how I work, who I that I know it maybe I can figure out what to do with it...  and maybe, just maybe this new work of mine is heading somewhere...

Dragon's Vein Agate super simply set in sterling silver with the words "fire in my soul" mushed right onto the back - don't we all need to remember that burn, that yearning for something...

ps...... I'm planning to post all of these babies in the shop tomorrow morning, so if something is just begging to come live with you, stop by the store soon.