Sunday, August 29, 2010

Earrings, Mage Con, Kittens and such...

I love this picture of myself, my daughter and my wonderful kitten Kass! He likes to sleep on me, and nothing short of a sleeping baby is more peaceful than a sleeping kitten! We could all use more peace and love and fun in our lives.. I highly recommend a kitten!
These first earrings already sold, but they are the web built on my own sterling soldered rings I make. You can't go wrong with pearls and sterling!!

I got a little time today to cut glass, and boy did I miss it! I've got 2 runs set up and I'm keeping fingers crossed that I can run one tonight and then again one tomorrow. Now that it's cooler out, hopefully we can run the kiln and Jesscera's air conditioner at the same time. ( got to love older houses and their wiring!) We had a couple of issues with that during the summer, and then with the kittens living in the studio, and I couldn't really play with my glass for safety reasons. I have several ideas bouncing around in my head, and it's great to actually think glass again.

Mage Con is this weekend, really looking forward to it... mostly because of the great folks I get to hang out with !! And it's a huge opportunity to catch up on inventory. I'm also thinking about Halloween and Christmas jewelry, and I've been pulling stuff to make at Mage for these holidays coming up.

These earrings are sterling wire and orange glass. I really like the weird off center orange "tooth" and wanted to make something that accentuated the shape of the bead. I believe these already sold also ( yah, I know, I need to get new pictures taken! )

I'm also working on my Challenge piece for this years Girls Weekend. The challenge is to make a piece that represents one of my friends, and we drew names. I got Cathie, and I've been thinking about this challenge ( got the details in Feb!) off and on for months. I mean, a single piece of jewelry to tell the story of my wonderful and complicated buddy! Wow! I finally got a hopefully good and workable idea a few weeks ago, but had to order some materials for it. Just got the shipment this past week.. so now it's finding a couple of long nights where I can work on it. Girls Weekend is Oct 7-10th this year, so I don't have that much time, considering I have shows almost every weekend til then!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Show Review....

This pendant is part of my "giggle" series. It's sterling silver wire twisted together in a fun way that just makes me happy to think about. It's sort of what I think a laugh looks like visually. Vintage crystal is the dangle. What would a belly laugh be without a dangle!

It's getting toward the end of show season, so it's really in my mind this week, everything I need to get done to get through this last real run of shows. I have a few shows sprinkled in Oct-Dec, and I'm thinking of doing a few others.. but for the most part I'm done at the end of September. Boy though, How busy I am til then!!

This Weekend is Market Day . I really like Market Day! It's a fun, easy to get to ( just a couple of blocks off Downtown Farmer's Market!) and there is always this amazing group of people to talk to.. both the customers and the other artists! Market Day Started last year and is apart of the growing local independent art scene here in Des Moines. Market Day is mostly arts and crafts, with a dash of vintage goods thrown in. If you are in the Des Moines Area between 10-2pm, be sure to stop by! I promise it's worth a trip, and if you are going to Farmer's Market, it's not out of the way!

The first Weekend of Sept is Mage Con. Now this is not my normal venue - art shows and farmer's Markets - as it's a game convention. I love going to them because I get together with my good friends Sue and Cathie and while we usually make just enough to cover costs, it's well worth it for reconnecting with friends! It's almost like a working vacation, as we gals sit together, gab, eat, and bead the whole weekend away. I often use our time together to fill in inventory holes and gear up for Christmas items. I've already started to pull projects for this weekend, and I can't wait to see my best friends again, it's been since June! ACK!

Next up, Sept 11Th is ARTapalooza on Main in Cedar Falls Iowa. This is such a lovely show, I wish we could make it every year! The organizers are just about the nicest folk period, and it's well supported by the community. I'm really looking forward to well run art show.

Sept 18 & 19Th is Riverssance in Davenport IA. This will be the first year I've been at this one, so I'm very excited! It's a huge, long running show, and I'm sure I'll have a great time and a great show!

Sept 25Th is my last Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market for the year.

See, busy busy busy! but I plan on having bushels and buckets of fun in the process!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

more musings and mutterings...

Today I got my studio back, more or less. I'm of 2 minds of that.

For those coming into the middle of this, We got new family members not quite 3 weeks ago: Kya and Kassanova. Two sweet little kittens! Our two older cats were not so happy, so the kittens have been living in my studio. We have brought the cats into the studio to visit the little guys, and we have been bringing the little ones down for longer and longer periods of time. While the big cats seem to want to ignore the kittens intirely, the kittens want to make friends! Mostly they get hissed at, and being wise little kittens they go away at that point. It seems that both parties understand the rules of co-existance, so today we decided it was time, and moved the kitten's kitty litter and food to the first floor, and left the studio door open. So I've been thinking of my littles off and on all day at work. When we got home they were downstairs, all 4 of them. Again, the big cats seem to be willing to tolorate them as long as they stay out of the way. I hope that in a few months they will be more friendly, but it's a big change for them! We are all trying to give them extra love, so they don't feel 2 left out.

So, this means I can, with more caution, start up glass and metals projects again. If I want to leave a project out, I will have to keep my studio door shut.

So while I'm glad I can do what ever projects come to mind again, I'm sad because I'm losing my company! I've grown quite attached to the little fur faces, watching their antics while I play with wire, and it's so sweet when Kass is ready to take a nap, he marches up to me, and on me ( leaving a trail of claw marks.. we are working on that) and curls up on my chest to sleep.

These 2 pieces are "redos" . The main wire bendy parts on both of them were once another bigger pendant, but I never was quite happy with how it sat on the wearer, and the bindings were not as nice and tight as I wished. And the one of the beads on it got broken! Since I wasn't happy with the design, I didn't want to repair it, so it's been sitting in the "what next" pile for some time.

So a couple of weeks ago I pulled it apart and reused the heavy wires with new beads and you see the results. It's good to reuse materials! With sterling you have the choice to recyle the larger peices in new pieces, like I did here. The smaller binding wires on the original pendant are in my scrap pile. At some point I will either swap it for new wire, or I'll melt it and reuse it that way. It's easy to recycle something like silver, not so easy on other things. What would you do with broken pencils, worn dice and a washer nut?

There is a growing market for "found" object art, even in jewelry. (Some folks call it mixed media jewelry)

Even when I see some of this mixed media stuff, I just can't help but think, well, that's kewl and interesting, but it's just not me. Probably the cream of the crop is Susan Lenart Kazmer . Again, some of her pieces are beyond incredible! Check out her website, you will be amazed at her creations! Like good art, they evoke emotion from me, but no desire to follow her style.

To be honest, I like the flow and gleam of sterling best, the almost liquid look you can get when it's all bright and shinny! and Crystals and pearls, all that magpie sort of stuff! I love to reuse sparkies and bits from old jewelry, but it's usually stuff that is all ready, well, PRETTY, all by it's self, without any help from me. Or at least there is a great deal of potential.

I was talking to some fellow jewelry artists about what materials "call" to us as individuals, and what it says about us. I have my theories, but I want to hear from you.

If you are a jewelry designer, what materials do you like to work with the best?

Why do you think?

Does your favorite materials shift by mood?

And if you have bought a piece of jewelry from an artist lately, what about the materials of the piece most called to you?

Did the component parts factor into your buying the piece?

Post Script: I guess I won't be as lonely as I thought. Kass came upstairs and jumped right up on my chest and demanded attention. I didn't get much done for the next hour or more, but somehow I don't feel bad about my lack of productivity!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Listening to my Gut

OK I'll stop whining about the ear infection now. I'm much much better today, and boy, do I like drugs! LOL Still, I'm absolutely amazed how good the drugs work. I spent 3 days in agony! Go to the doctor again and got steroids, antibiotics, and pain killers and I am so much better 36 hours later... I can't hardly believe it.. but I'm very happy it's so. I'm also glad I trusted my gut.. I knew Friday night I was worse than I was Thurs.. so I went to the doctor again just as soon as I could on Sat. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you gut says go to the doctor, even if you were just there, do it!

It's good advise in general.

Sitting here typing this more or less pain free ( but not able to drive heavy machinery, seems a fair exchange!) I just realized it's really good advise for the Artist. And something I forget from time to time, especially when I'm in the last 3rd of show season and I'm just trying to hold my head above inventory levels! My gut talks to me about my art all the time, but I get sooooo busy I don't always hear it against the backdrop of day to day life.

Below is a recent example of me listening to my gut though! This fused glass cab is sort of a happy accident. I was going for one look, and ended up with this tacked fused cab in 3 levels. I really liked how it looked, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to wrap it up like. So I set it aside for a month or so, and finally my gut said border wrap! Border wraps take longer, and they suck down tons of wire, which means I have to charge more for the piece. And the fact that I can make 2 or 3 "simple" wrapped pendants in the time it takes me to border wrap, logic dictates that when I have limited time and inventory holes, I need to either do it simple, or set it aside for when I have more time.

But I listened and found a compromise that I could live with. I took it along with me to a couple/3 of lesser traffic shows, and worked on it then. That way I didn't feel so "guilty" I wasn't using my time more effectively, but I wasn't saying no to my artistic heart. It took longer to get done that way, especially since I had to "start" and "stop" so often, but I so pleased with the results! The wrap was especially challenging because the shape is odd and has fairly "sharp" corners in it, which are tougher to do a border wrap in. My next show is Downtown Farmer's Market this Saturday, but this bad boy is going to The Art Store gallery sometime this week! ( I was going to deliever it last week, but well, let's go over the whole racked with pain thing again!)
Speaking of Cabs, I have just today started listing my glass cabs for sale to fellow artists/hobbyists today on my Etsy Site! I've been wanting to sell them but I wanted to get a good selection in hand before I offered them to the general public.

wow, chatty Cathy tonight, aren't I ? I'll end on this note, a favorite quote of mine:
I can live for two months on a good compliment.
- Mark Twain

OK so it's nothing about following your instincts, but it's true!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

wheeee! Pain Pills, part 3 of ear infection...

I'm feelin' good now, infact, approx 45 minutes on pain pills, I'm feeling GROOVY! and tired....

I woke up this morning.. well woke up is probably not the right word, as I'd had yet another night of very little sleep. and I just couldn't take it. I've been on the antibiotics for 2 full days and I'm worse than when I started. The whole left side of my face is swollen and painful to the touch. try to sleep like that! Add in my CPAP head gear, which I've not been able to wear properly for 4 nights running now. I'm TIRED, I'm SICK, I'm in PAIN and I"m getting CRANKY!

So I went back to the doctor this morning. Fortunately my normal doctor's office has Saturday Morning hours, and they got me in at 945am. My regular doctor wasn't in, but the Doctor I saw was very kind, very understanding, and talked loud, so I could actually hear him! ( I think he know I had trouble hearing at this point)

He gave me another antibiotic, steroids and pain medication. He warned me the pain medication was very strong, could make me alittle loopy and I probably won't need them for more than a few days. The infection has spread to my lymph nodes, that's why my whole left side of my face is so swollen and painful. It's not just an ear infection now. He told the steroids and antibiotic will take probably 24 hours before I see any progress, but on the pain medication I won't care. Sign me up!!
Most importantly, by Monday morning I should feel much better, and able to work. I can't afford to miss another day at work, so I'm very please that I went back into the doctor today! Mean while, the pain med is really kicking in, and I think I might try to take a nap... I'm not sure I'll get any designing done today ( though it might be interesting on the drugs I'm on!) I'm hoping tomorrow maybe I'll feel enough better that I'll get some studio time in. I've not been in the studio Since Tues! I want to make something! Not sure I'd trust myself with cutters right now!

Pictured is a copper, sterling and pearl set I made a month or so ago. All cold connections. I'd write more but I'm really getting tired.... and it's hard to focus! But no PAIN! Yeah!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ear Infection part II

I suppose I'm a pain wimp... but short of the birth of my child I've never been in so much pain! Today has been horrible. I've never had an ear infection make my face so swollen before either.... the entire left side of my face is "puffy" and some of the swellings are sort of hard to the touch. I'm on antibiotics, I've been using a heating pad, I've got some over the counter ear drops for pain, and I'm maxed out on ibuprofen and Tylenol. there were times today when I just sort of sat in my chair and cried. I can't even eat properly, I cannot completely close my teeth all the way.. the swelling/pain is 2 bad.

Around 6pm I started to feel alittle less pain, but now at 1018pm it's starting to come back.. thankfully I can take another Ibuprofen and another ear pain hit.

It kills me that this weekend was suppose to be a studio weekend, and instead it's going to be a "hold the heating pad up to my ear while I take drugs intravenously" weekend. What a waste! Little girl is off on adventures, so I was going to have guilt free studio time. Maybe I'll finally feel better tomorrow. Maybe I'll get more than 2 hours of sleep tonight. maybe maybe maybe....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ear infections, and why do we get so stupid /lazy??

It's 405am in the morning. I probably shouldn't be bloging, but I'm looking for distractions - any distractions! I've been up since 1am with intense ear pain. Anything I can do to keep my mind off of it until 7am when the urgent care clinic opens up... well I will do it. I'm so tired, but if I try to lay down, it hurts worse, though it's strumming so much right now, it's hard to believe it. I have a hard little knot just behind my ear... and my ear is so swollen it's at a different angle than normal. It looks like it's trying to detach from my head!

It's my own fault, my ear has been achy the last few days, and that usually means an ear infection is coming. I didn't want to believe it was coming, because I've not had an ear infection for 2 years. In the last 4 years I've only had 2-3 ear infections. In case you are scratching your head, let me explain.

I have allergies, my sinsius are shaped funny and I have asthma to boot. This means that my sincus/ears/throat systems get backed up easily, and at one point in my life, I had 4-6 ear infections every year, and probably 2 bouts of broncitis. And I was generally misrable, with constantly ringing ears.

After one very bad ear infection, the nurse practitioner I got instead of my then normal doctor suggested a neti pot.

It works! as long as you use it. Over the last 4 years I've only had 2-3 ear infections, and 1 bout of bronchitis. Some of this might have been luck... but I've had plenty of flu like episodes, I've just not going upper respiratory like I used to. I still have the ear ringing all the time, but if I'm using my neti pot regularly, it's not as bad.

This is major for me!!!

Anyone that has problems with allergies/colds/sinus issues I hardily recommend the neti pot. Most drug stores carry them now, and they don't cost much, usually $10.00. And instead of buying those fancy expensive packets I just use kosher salt. One $2.00 box lasts a really long time..

So why is this ear infection that is making me tear up my fault?

Because I get lazy, and don't always use the neti pot like I should.

When I'm not sick, I try to use it in the morning before work, and once in the evening at least 1 hr before bed. If I'm sick you can use it up to every 2 hours. Any time I start feeling more stuffy or the ringing gets worse, I try to use it more in the evenings.

But the last few weeks we have been traveling on the weekends, and even though I took the pot with me, I didn't use it like I should. That helped get me out of my good habits.

I like to use it at the kitchen sink the best, so sometimes especially at night, I'll skip it because it's too much bother to go downstairs, or it's already bed time and I don't like to use it right before bed.. my nose is alittle runny after using it, and as I have a CPAP machine, well, runny noses and CPAP hoses don't mix. And if Jerry and I are running late in the morning, it seems very easy to skip it, even though it only takes 3-4 minutes to do.

All bad excuses, and I swear, on my current ear pain, I will not be so lazy again!! and I swear, the next time my ear get's twitchy like this, I 'll go to the doctor before it hits psycho lunitic pain. I just can't believe how fast it goes from twitchy it kind of hurts to full out, swollen red pain!! I felt ok (just achy) until about 9pm last night. By 1230am I knew I had a serious problem... I gave up at 1am, I've taken the max I can of Ibuprofen, I've been doing the neti pot every couple of hours, and I've been using heat which helps. somewhat. I wish I could make jewelry right now, but I'm so tired and groggy I'd probably hurt myself. So instead I wait, wishing I could sleep, wishing I could at least lay down, trying not to concentrate on the pain because that makes it FEEL worse.

It's now 431am.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

more pendants

I actually have a break this weekend from shows, so I"m thinking of working on something larger than earrings or pendants, just not sure which of the many ideas floating around my head will actually happen..

Of course I feel like cutting glass or even doing some soldering, but until the "old" cats like the new kittens, I can't do anything up there that might hurt them! We have gotten the older cats to at least allow the kittens within a feet of them now without hissing, so we are making progress!

Don't feel bad for me, I have 2 wonderful kittens to play with, and I still get to play with wire!
So until I get my studio back, here are 2 more wire pendants. This first one I made using 21 GA wire for the bail, and 16 GA for the wiggly front piece. Since I love dangles, I added a blue crystal to match.

This one I wanted the bail part of the design, it's the back loop you sort of see sideways. It's in sterling and Indian glass.

Friday, August 6, 2010

new pendants just in time for West Glen Tomorrow!

While the kittens have been delightful distractions this week, I have gotten a few things done, honest! Here are just 3 of them! First is a really lovely, high-quality Turquoise donut wrapped in Sterling. I didn't want to cover too much of this lovely stone, it really is gorgeous! Next is "mystery stone" in sterling. OK it's probably a jasper, I bought it last year at the gem and mineral show from one of the random stone bins, so I am not sure exactly what it is, other than beautiful shades of color!
Now this last one is really interesting, it's a replica Greek coin I bought a few weeks ago at a antique mall. I bought a bunch of foreign coins to wire wrap, and it was in the mix. It's very kewl, and it's wrapped in sterling also.

Now to see these in person, just stop by tomorrow 10-2pm for West Glen Farmer's Market!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why I'm not productive this week......

but I don't mind at all! We picked up our newest family members last Sunday. Meet Kya and Kassanova (Kass for short) they are 8 weeks old, lovely, lovable and cute cute CUTE! and they have very sharp claws!! I forgot the really sharp claw thingie, but they are already learning to not claw quite so much. And they are into everything.. at least in my studio! See, we have 2 other adult cats, Jupiter and Jeezibel, who are 10 years old. We are slowly and carefully introducing the "old" cats to the new, and while they are getting to know each other, we are keeping the kittens in my studio as it's the largest area with a door. That Jupiter can't open.
Don't ask. This means that until we can let them have the run of the house, I cannot do any glass work or metalsmithing. I don't mind the sacrifice, and despite my title, I"m getting stuff done.. I've been working on more wire pendants, rings and anklets mostly this week. But as you can see below I"m getting some help!

I'm also taking lots of health breaks in the form of Kitten Therapy, and I couldn't be happier!!