Sunday, January 31, 2016

Alan Rickman

Vintage enamel flower parts make up these stacked component earrings.

Variety of recent earrings, most using some vintage bits.  
A couple of weeks ago we lost a great actor: Alan Rickman.  Now the funny thing about Mr. Rickman is  I adored him as an actor for years before I really "knew" him.  

The Movie that did it for me was Galaxy Quest .  Rickman plays Alexander Dane / Dr. Lazarus, a cross between Mr. Spock and Warf - the whole movie is probably one of the best parodies of star trek, and science fiction tropes, period.  I shan't discuss plots in case you haven't seen this movie, but Rickman is so damn funny in it!  Actually the whole cast seems inspired, and if you haven't seen it before, it's definitely worth chasing down... both Netflix and Amazon have it streaming.

Anyway, the second time I watched it ( when it was first released to video) I got to thinking, hm.. he seems really familiar!  believe it or not, in 2000 we had the internet!!  just not conveniently on our phones.  Still one quick trip to the IMDb and I realized I've seen him in all kinds of things!!

And for the next several years, when I realized Alan Rickman was apart of the cast I could sit back and know some part of the movie would be unforgettable, cause he would make it so.  The man never disappoints.  He's the shinning redemptive grace of Prince of Thieves, the wonderful, steward hero of Sense and Sensibility, and the deliciously ambiguous Snape in the Harry Potter series.

The sad fact is I haven't seen all of his movies, and now I really really want to.  So copied the list from the web, and as I watch, rent and what have you, I'm gonna track them all down this year and enjoy myself some great Brit acting.

Alan Rickman will be greatly missed by all his fans, friends and family.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Iowa Caucus Time Folks

Vintage Watch face, crystal, american brass stampings.
The amazing thing about DVR is you get to skip past the commercials, which is fantastic, especially in Iowa right before the caucus.  Unfortunately I can't completely escape them -- I actually got what I think was a Cruze ad, or just a generalize conservative republican group spot against Trump on a free cell phone game app.

What I found really offensive about the ad is it made me ALMOST LIKE TRUMP!  gahhh!

I feel dirty, and need to brush my teeth.

I don't like Trump, he's a bully.  He lies and gets away with it because he's rich.  What message are we teaching our children that we don't call him on everything that comes out of that mouth?

Anyway, the ad was trying to smear Trump because he's pro-life , once supported Hillary and the democrats in general, and is fairly liberal on many social issues .  Or he was... the man changes his opinions based on what he thinks will get him elected as many times as he changes suits.

Still the tone of the ad was very negative, even if all the negatives in my books would be positives, the intent was not good.

I have to admit to a certain bias to the Dems, but so far the Dems are so darn .. civil... in contrast.  As things heat up between Hillary and Bernie, I can only hope that continues.

I think I'll just stop playing games on my cell phone until after Monday night.

Still If you are in Iowa and are not planning to Caucus --- well, that's darn near anti-Iowan.  Besides it's fun!  
It's Politics at it's most democratic -- you vote with your feet.

At least the way the Dems do it, I understand the Republican caucus are not quite as free form.

For the Dems we actually get to stand (or sit) in groups based on who you support.  People give speeches and try to lure you away from whichever camp you are in... and we vote by a show of hands on platform items for the convention.

See ya Monday

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Just hanging out today

recent jewelry I've made, all incorporating vintage bits of some sort
I've got a new schedule at work but today is the first time I've really got to enjoy it... I'm working 4x10's with Wednesday as my day off.

Most normal and sane folks would be enjoying every Wednesday - but I've been working several hours of overtime instead.

Now work needs as much help this week as they have needed for months now, but through some quirk they only called up to 4 hours of OT, and I decided this was a good week to take a break.  If I'm going to sacrifice my day off for overtime, I want it to be a big chunk of time-- but still get to sleep in.

So far I've enjoyed myself by hanging out in the studio, mostly lining up new projects to work on in the coming weeks, and giving the bathrooms a good cleaning.  I recently got a new 32 incher TV for the studio, so I've been enjoying watching movies on a huge screen... It's amazing how cheap TVs are right now, and I of course used coupons and gift cards to make it even cheaper cause I'm well, cheap.  At least when it comes to luxury goods for myself. ( I really need to work on this )

The other item I've worked on today is my show schedule for next summer, such as it is.  Because we are doing a limited season, it seems like a good time to try out a couple new venues... more on that if it pans out.

So really, it's been a nice, relaxing day.

I still have half of it to boot!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The same is not the same

I really like this design.. here I've made essentially the same design but with different vintage keys and mixing the components up a little.  It's amazing how different they are in character with these little changes.  One of the bonuses of working with vintage materials.  Even when I make the "same" thing, it's not the same at all.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Good morning !

Vintage watch face embellished , makes a lovely necklace 

Fly Home In Pictures

See the wings are now painted, patined and sealed 

Laying out process.. deciding what goes where before i drill holes and rivet stuff on 

Finished! calling it Fly Home because it felt like it.. I've been pretty burnt out creatively this winter, and finishing this piece, getting in touch with my creative side.. heaven and home all in once

The center is part of a door embellishment, very old.  The dark brown is natural patina.  A mix and clock and few bits of watch parts.  I'm very pleased  how it finally turned out!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Beady Garage Sale coming up

I've been trying to clean up the studio and get rid of stuff I don't want anymore.  Seems like the thing to do in January... out with the old, in with the new.  With that in mind I've been sorting stuff and pricing it for the Artistic Bead Annual Garage Sale / Bead Swap.  Artistic Bead is a lovely shop in Des Moines (now with a branch in Northfield MN!!) and every year Cheryl gives people a chance to sell stuff they no longer want of a beady nature to other like minded folks.  So it's truly changing trash into treasures.  Not that anything sold is trash, but if you are "over" it then well, it's not doing you any good is it?   It's in the rubble heap of your mind artistically.

I haven't had time to participate the last couple of years so I'm I'm making time this year.  In Des Moines the sale is January 23rd 10-3pm.  

I love when I can take hard industrial stuff, like a cog and a watch face, and transform it into something that's delicate and elegant to wear.... 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Anyone want to buy some lampworking stuff?

excellent books on lampworking, including out of print hard to find Passing the Flame
 About 10 years ago, I flirted with lampworking.  Now , I'm a notorious bead flirt... when I get interested in some aspect of jewelry making, I can't just merely wink-  I have to pick up my skirt and do a can can apparently.

I can't just dabble.  Part of my charm really.  (no, really!)

So when I got interested in lampworking, I had to do massive research, buy all the books I could find, watch video's, buy tools and buy glass.  Boy, did I buy glass.

After playing around for 4 odd years, I just decided I really didn't like it.  Doing it in my house was hard-- for awhile I had it set up in the basement, and with my allergies and Asthma ever worsening, I couldn't do it in the basement anymore.

Actually some of the fumes associated with lampworking didn't agree with me either.. mind you I'm very sensitive - not everyone has problems with the gas and fumes.  (yes, that might be why I rarely use hot connections anymore... that and the fact I adore rivets!!)

Even with very good ventilation it can bother me.

While certain aspects of making glass beads thrilled me, the overall process did not.

I realized a couple of years ago I hadn't even tried to make glass beads in YEARS.

I floated the idea in my head to sell all the materials I had gathered.. and I just couldn't bring myself to do it, at least not yet.  AT that time I had started to fuse glass ( which I actually quite enjoy --much much more than I ever had making beads) so I guess I thought to keep my options open.

So I kept it all... and thought about it once in a while.

This summer I finally made up my mind... it was time to give up the idea.  It's just not me.  Nothing wrong with it.. I have several lovely friends who you can't barely pry away from the torch!

I learned some very important things while I "flirted" with glass beads, not the least is a great appreciation for those artists that do make beads.   My hat's off to all of ya... I'll just enjoy buying them, instead of trying it myself.

So I'm looking for a buyer.  I am hoping to sell it all, but I'll consider offers on individual bits if I have to.

Lots and lots of glass rods and stringers.  Seriously, this represents over $1000 in glass.  

lots and lots of frit, including specialty frit that was beyond pricey

tools, more books, and even a crockpot with vermeil

More books/booklets on torching

Hot stix Dichroic glass rods.. again, very pricey and about $360 bucks work in 2007 dollars

Monday, January 11, 2016

chainmaile Commission - team spirit

I'm cleaning out my photo folder, and ran across this picture... A good customer ordered chainmaile earrings in Viking & Green Bay colors as Christmas presents.

If I haven't stated it recently, I do love to do commissions.  And I thought it a wonderful idea to do these earrings up in team colors!  Such a thoughtful gift for friends who are really into sports!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

planning a big big trip

A bed and breakfast we will be staying at this summer, in New Mexico.  It used to be some Millionaire's private home nestled in the foothills of the mountains.  Isn't it fantastic? 
Since we are a 2 income family again, and since I won't be doing so much art jewelry selling, we decided to take big family vacation again this summer.  Since I'm a crazy person, I've already started to research the trip... get ready to laugh, cause all my friends do... In fact I've already spreadsheet-ed the entire 12 day trip and booked all the hotels.
And this is the room I've booked there! 
Done laughing yet?   Actually it's not as rigid as it sounds.  The "main" goal is the Grand Canyon, and we are driving it, which is a ton of miles and 8 states by the time we are done.

Since the Grand Canyon is such a tourist destination, you have to plan it early... would you be shocked to know that some hotels were already booked up in that area?  If you are, you have never planned a trip to a big tourist destination before.  Thinking of one right now for the summer? start booking then!

In order to place reservations for the Grand Canyon area, I had to plan out the rest of the trip as well.

Most days of travel have 2-4 hours extra in them, so we can really do a "tour" ... I love traveling when we can mender at our own pace, and stop and visit anything that looks interesting.  But I also love knowing where I'm gonna sleep that night.  So it's a mix of surprise and plan,  unexpected and known.

I really can't wait!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Time to Slay my Dragons......

OK, I don't have pity words tonight, but I thought that was a catchy title.. and it fits this piece.  So what "dragons" in your life do you wish where gone? what Challenge do you have yet to face? Maybe today is the day......

Monday, January 4, 2016

Catch and Release.....

 I've been trying to finish a 2 statement pieces for a month or more, and finally got this one done this past week.  I call it "Catch and Release"

I'm not exactly sure where my head was when I started.. but by the time I finished I had definite ideas of what it means to me.  That might be why it took so long to finish, I knew it had something to say (I had something to say?)  but I couldn't focus.  

 Let me explain the elements of this piece... the big patina back piece is a vintage clock gear.  The gold is a vintage drawer knob base.  At some point in it's life, something bad happened to it and it got smashed and bent and cracked in places and the knob disappeared.  It would have been round and hollow and concave and about 3/4 inches tall.  It's embossed with a lovely floral pattern.  So when I got it it's was kind of a misshapen lump.  I decided if it's already broken, why not go for broke? and used my hammer to flatten it completely out, making the cracks actual rips in the brass.  Even in it's abused form it has an elegance of beauty to it.  The last vintage part is the "release" which is from a LC smith typewriter from the 1920's.

To me, this is taking the negatives life throws you (and boy life's got a good pitchin' arm) and making it as positive as you can and letting the still bad parts go...

Now a online friend said that she thought I meant fishing... so yeah, releasing fishes is good too.

Friday, January 1, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! and new year's hopeful ramblings....

This is a picture from maybe a month ago, honestly my desk top hasn't changed much.  I'm still working on the big wings necklace and most of the stuff pictured here!
 It's kind of been a rough year both physically and emotionally.  I won't get into details because well, except for my family it's boring.  And it's private.  But how well you are doing in life reflects in one's art and that's taking a beating the past few years as well.  Add in how essential income from the business has been the last few years in keeping my family safe.   All the stress of living on whatever I make in my day job and in my jewelry business.  The stress of family health issues, my health issues, and various other life stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I have never considered my jewelry as a hobby, but until the last three years, any money I made in the business was pretty much used in the business, or I might fund a family vacation or something.  The business income was for extras in life, not the essentials.  Or more pretty somethings to turn into jewelry!

Cog from a clock, new key, old typewriter key.  I really want to express myself more this year in my jewelry, and part of this is letting go, or releasing some old baggage.  
The last 3 years most of what I made became mortgage payments and electric bills and food on the table.  I'm very grateful I had the ability to make the business work to help float my family, but I can't say I'm not very relieved that I don't have to going forward.

I felt right after the season ended in November, and still feel to some extent, burnt out.  Artistically, emotionally, and just about any -ly you can think of .

Don't get me wrong- it's not all been bad!  But it's been busy and stressful - and i'm tuckered out.

I've decided 2016 will be low-key.  The last several years we have done 18-20 or more shows every year.  (I just looked and one year we did 27 shows, most between May and October!!! )

This year we are going to do maybe half that.  I might look at galleries again.  If I'm not doing such a punishing show schedule then doing galleries is much more possible.  Or I might not.  I don't really have new year's resolutions per say, but I do plan not to stress as much.  I want my bliss back when I do jewelry.  I want it to be more like therapy again instead of deadlines and profit driven and scary.  I want it to be apart of my happiness again, not part of my stress of making ends meet.  Overall I  don't think I've been particularly happy the last few years.  I haven't had time for it.  I need to slow down, if not actually pause or stop.

If I have a watch word for this year, I think it will be "thoughtful".   So many decisions in the last few years were based on the stress of immediate life demands.  I want to be able to sit back and make decisions that don't feel so damn rushed.  I want to be able to spend more time contemplating my jewelry as my art.   I need to find the time to be happy again.

 I still plan on writing my blog 2-3 times a week in 2016.  I plan on doing Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market this summer , if they will have me and for how ever many slots they allow.  I'm hoping I can beef up my etsy store with more offerings.  Anything more than that, I will think about... calmly, deliberately, and with an eye to my happiness.

It's going to be an interesting year!!

Here's the general outline of my statement piece... now working on the embellishments.  I love how the colors turned out on the wings!