I’m doing something a little new with my focal beads, trying to evolve. Of course, this step makes things take longer, more detail. And I have no idea if it’s going to work, in the end.
I’m impatient. Stuff is in the electroforming bath, but I hopefully will know by nightfall if I like it. Which doesn’t mean customers would.
Going a new direction, even if it’s just a small trail running alongside the main road that you know, can be nervewracking. Especially when it looks like such a good trail from afar.
I think my soldering station is finally usable. Good thing, too, as it’s hot this week. When the weather is baking it is actually better for my glass work, I have more time to work the glass before having to make sure it’s all heated up in the flame again. But sitting in front of fire when it’s 90 degrees out isn’t so fun.
So, I am hoping to get some soldering time in this week, perhaps, instead. It’s a busy week, as they always seem to be. And my son has only one and a half weeks of school left. There’s camps and trips in there but also a lot of time where I will need to work with him home, with no camp at all.
Friends visiting, summer adventures, all sorts of things ahead in the short term, and I need to keep on keeping on in the studio. Make a schedule of times to work, when to work, what to make, who to drop them off with.
I am excited for the soldering station, and to see what happens next, there. But, now, I wait on the blue bath, to see if what comes out is anything interesting as wearable. I hope to have photos here of the direction soon… if… it works out.
The kiln is slowly ramping up. I have some glass chocolates to make today, for an event happening in my town next week. I don’t usually make glass chocolates, so the variety will be fun. I am not sure how many I need to make I will just go until I burn out, I guess! There are other beads I want to make to work on some new ideas with focals. I am not sure I have time for both today. I need to go do some shopping errands and then go take my son to an appointment after school.
The extra hours I have now sure get eaten up fast. A lot of it is related to my business, as it should be, but I still feel a little like I am spinning wheels. I have been to Home Depot many times this week, and I am almost done with my ventilation system for soldering. I just need a stud finder…. for walls, people, for walls… 😉
Once I have that I can hang the intake fan, I hope, and then connect everything together. I made the collection box over the past couple days, using old wood that my friend Raya gave me. We did a dump run emptying out my backyard and hers of excess junk and wood, and I salvaged one piece from the wood recycling pile of hers and kept it in the trailer to use later, which I now have.
This box will sit behind my soldering station. I could have it done in a day or two, if I had the stud finder!
And then I can really get going on the soldering half of things. Glass, I can do right now, but I am busy building the soldering station! It’s frustrating but necessary. I checked in with myself if it is some sort of fear, busywork to avoid actual work that could sell, or wouldn’t, but no, that really isn’t it. But life has way of crowding in on you. Space opens up and it quickly gets filled with all those things you think you must do. I will protect this time that I have gained and simply not let anything else get in the way of what belongs there. My work. juiceglass. Priority studio time Wednesdays and Fridays.
I’ll settle into the routine, once there is a routine. I’m building it. But sometimes actual building knocks it off kilter.
My guy, Grant, calls this sort of thing “faffing.” I think I’m not quite truly faffing here, as stuff IS getting done that needs to be done. But it sure feels like it when I have bills and I need to get things churned out for the summer galleries. Even with the extra time, it feels…scarce.
Life sure fills the holes that appear pretty quickly.
I tried to start my day filling it with something other than direct work, before I got sucked in. I took a photo to share on my walk this morning, before returning the glass studio, the kiln heated and up to temperature.
This has been my first week with my new schedule, where I have three days to be in the studio instead of one. “In the studio” this week means setting it up.
I have two of them. One, which I posted in my last post, is the glass studio, built for me by my amazing father. It’s set up for glass work with total safety in terms of materials, air, ventilation.
I soldered in there, now and again, when I was dabbling in metalsmithing. Now that that is the direction I plan to go, with my glass, I need to set something up just as safe in the area where the metal and jewelry studio will be. That room is in my house, separate from the glass studio. So it needs its own ventilation and safe area for playing with fire.
The financial outlay is a little scary. I know I need these things to do my work safely. So I am gathering them this week. It won’t be perfect in terms of seamless venting out the window without outside summer heat getting back in, but within the week I think I should have things set up to go.
I’m not going to give up beads. I will make my favorites and continue to learn and expand on my favorite designs. Find ways to combine the two, beads and sterling, with fabrication. I don’t really know what all of this is going to look like yet, in terms of where my voice goes. But all the while I will be making the things I love to stock the galleries I am in, and in some FB groups I am a part of.
But I am also going to work on, and take care of, me. Yesterday I went out and got makeup. This is a rather large thing for me. For most of my life I have considered it a frivolous expenditure beyond the very basics. I have not wanted to put the time into learning how to do it well. But, what the heck. I’m comfortable wearing what I want into my old age, but I may as well have some fun while I still don’t look like a Grandmother. So I splurged (a little) on myself and got a couple makeup brushes, and have some things to practice. Like not getting eyeshadow in my EYES. I definitely didn’t get the girl gene to be good at this stuff. But, it’s fun.
And walks. I will be taking more walks, now that time is available to me. To get me moving and thinking and out there early in the morning, before the heat of the day slips in.
Also, my son has a school fundraiser tomorrow, and I made all these homemade Oreos to sell.
I mean, LOOK. AT. THOSE. Maybe I should sell cookies instead. :p
There’s a quote. I am sure you’ve heard it, about losing sight of the shore. I think I first came across it at one of my string of years at summer camp, out in the trees living in a big canvas tent with all my belongings in a footlocker at the end of my cot.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”- Andre Gide
Trite, well-worn. But, I suppose, true in many circumstances. At the root of it, you can sit in your safe box and be safe, but grow bored. Or you can get uncomfortable, and grow and experience new things. This is true in work, in home, in relationships, all of it. Excitement and fear, uneasiness and nervous butterflies all go hand in hand.
In all my years I’ve never made a true stab at supporting myself on my glass, and beyond. The little span of time I had a chance, I leapt at a temporary opportunity to work as a tour manager, traveling around in vans and tour busses supporting musicians from backstage and behind the merch table. I’d not trade those days for anything, but they did take me away from my studio during the year I had the opportunity to sit down in it the most. And before I knew it, in terms of time, I became a mother. Awesome. Overwhelming, and one heck of a giant, lovely, incredible time-suck.
My son is now 8. I am now a co-parent instead of a married one. Like most of the statistics, I took a huge pay hit with the end of the marriage, and changed my life to fit that so that I could be home for my son when I have him. His Dad and I are great coparents, and I am grateful for the awesome relationship we now have raising our son.
Events at my work shifted last week, and I have been cut adrift, to a degree. Not entirely, but enough to look once again, finally, at the studio, and see what I can do within it to support myself. I had been questioning this the very day before, on Facebook. And, if one believes in such things, the Universe took notice, perked up and said “Oh yeah? Well, then… here you GO!”
So, I’m going with it. I’m taking the lesser hours at my job and am going to fill them with my own work. It will be longer work, harder work, but my own. I’ll give it my best shot. It’s real this time.
More studio time. More blog entries, newsletters, networking, and creating relationships with the wonderful humans that enjoy what I do, and want to have pieces of it to call their own. I hope, if you are reading this, you go on this journey with me while I start losing sight of the shore.
So, to facilitate that, here’s a quick list of where I can be found, and my glass and silver and stone work can be found. I love looking at art online, it’s like a little oasis when it scrolls by in my feeds. If you feel the same, here are ways to add me to that art stream. I’ve done social media as a job for years, I know the rules and what to post when and how to not blanket people with STUFF TO SELL. It will be a fun ride, more than just my art, I promise you, and all channels will not be identical. Please, come along with me!
My goal for November is to clean up the gallery images on this site.
And keep working in silver and carved glass! I’m carving glass now, which adds so much new possibility to my electroformed pendants.
Every year the Gathering of the Guilds is such a fantastic show to be a part of. Every year I do so much work to get ready, creating inventory, making sure I have enough business cards, jewelry displays, enough silver for last minute pendants, getting all the pricing figured out and on stickers. Having cash on hand and finding the paypal reader each year. Trucking all the stuff down to the Convention Center, setting up, adjusting everything just so. Figuring out what to wear to look like a welcoming, interesting artist and human.
Every year I walk in thinking “Well, if I make what I made last year, I will be happy. Even if it drops by a little bit, with the economy and everything, it’s all good.” And every year I show up and it works out just fine, with a little bump. This year, I was concerned about sales because for the first time in the seven years I have done the show, the guild was not allowed to do open torch demos at the show. Without playing with fire in front of an audience, I felt less customers would wander over to my booth. And demonstrating how I make beads is SO much fun for me at shows, talking to people and letting them experience how it’s done.
The fire marshal said no this year, so….
But it didn’t make a difference to my bottom line that I could see, in the end. Sales were still up over last year, even with no torching available for eager learners and curiosity seekers. I had some new designs with me that were well-received, with lots of comments, which I appreciate. I really like knowing customer preferences and what they think looks best with a particular style of bead or work.
It is a three-day show, and very busy, with Friday being an 11 hour day of the show being open, plus 2 hours or so getting final setup ready in the morning. Exhausting. But a great feeling, coming home totally wiped out, sitting down with a book and a drink. A foot massage would have made it perfect. But a purring kitty on my lap was a very close second.
The Gathering of the Guilds show at the Convention Center happens next week, Friday – Sunday, the first weekend in May. That means I am in huge production mode until then, trying to get as much work done as I can.
I want to have lots of stone necklaces, earrings, and straws this year. I have been having a challenge with my electroforming, so I don’t have as many of those pendants as usual, which is a shame. I still have time to sort it out, so there’s hope, but…. I need to figure out what’s up with it, so that it lays down the copper correctly.
Business cards to order, start packing up all the display items, make sure the lighting rack can be zip tied to the top of the car….I need zip ties! The list just never ends with show prep!
Anyway, the show is free, all you Portland locals should check it out.
May 2-4, 2014. 3 Days. More than 200 Oregon artists. 1-of-a-kind artwork, handmade from metal, beads, glass, wood & hand-woven fabrics.
If you are on Facebook, there is a page for the event here.
Busy two days ahead of me. Two days to cram as much glass in as I can. I have been playing with rocks, drills, new ideas. The Gathering of the Guilds show at the Portland Convention Center is about a month and a half away. So it’s when production really should kick in. But there’s so many other things going on, as well! A Trunk Show at the Art on Broadway Gallery, a few trips, and it’s spring break for the next two weeks, which means a lot less time to work when the kiddo is at school.
One step at a time. Right now, I’m going to go turn on the heat in the studio, get the kiln ramped up, and go have a quick coffee with a friend. Then it’s to work, to work!
Here’s the first new design with stone I have been messing with, I hope to make something more complex like this at the end of the the next 48 hours!
It’s October! Cider and donuts and crunchy leaves. The colors are peaking on some trees right now here in Oregon, the brightest reds and oranges are afire on the trees. The days are still sometimes sunny and warm, but the rains have come as well, earlier than usual. The heat in my house has started turning on in the mornings. I treated myself to some really good, organic hot cocoa mix this week. It’s time to start burrowing in for the winter.
But I have been having a good time making “spooky” earrings, ghosts and bats. The bats needed some work on the wings, and I have developed them to look a lot more like wings, so that my little black critters aren’t mistaken for spiders. I can make spiders, too, and they will look truly like spiders.
Fall and winter are often times of introspection for me, and this year is no different. Lots of changes, and a lot of inner growth. It keeps happening. I am repeatedly challenged to be more than I am, or at least, to dig deeper into what is me, and bring it forth to the surface. So while I am doing all that work, emotionally, mentally, even physically, it’s fun to just make cute ghosts and bats. Balance the work with laughter.
If you want a pair to call your very own, they are right here
My life is so full of new directions these days. So many thoughts about where to go next, in life, work, passion, mothering, so many places, so many paths. It can feel overwhelming sometimes.
When that happens I try to take the advice of Anne Lamott’s Dad: “Bird by bird.”
One piece at a time, one small step to focus on, and then the next one.
With glass, It’s playing with rocks.
I have had an idea for awhile, and yet, even though I got some of the materials I need to work with it, I have yet to do so.
What is stopping me?
Fear of failure? Trying something new? It just seems to busy, too hard, to different?
I’m not sure. Maybe that is it, fear of failing and my new idea not being something that is an evolution of my work. But I’m smart. I know that if I never try, then failure is a 100% sure thing with this idea.
I’m going away this weekend with a bunch of other women for a Moms/women’s weekend off. I have a new knitting project, a sweater for my son, that I am going to work on while there. As well as the usual hanging out, swimming, and wine that these sorts of weekends hold. Next week, the new idea will be my bird. Bird by bird. I will start and see what happens. For surely, something will, and that is more than what would happen if I just daydreamed over my tools, as I have been doing.
I’m waiting for something to emerge. The voice spoke, the idea sparked. I should listen deep, and follow it. Trust in it. And go.