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2020 – So long… farewell

You know you’ve been away from your website for a long time when you don’t recognize any of the screens because the system has updated (probably multiple times). Sigh. I’ll try to do better.

At the start of a new year, reflection on the past year is almost inevitable, as is looking forward. We all know that 2020 has been a truly strange year that has impacted people in so many different and profound ways. In a year that found me spending more time at home than ever before, I would have expected a burst of productivity and creativity, but it has been completely the opposite. I feel the need to change that.

I’ve always had a fear of sketchbooks – really any notebook. That first pen mark felt so important – if my name was not written just right, it tainted the whole book and I didn’t want to use it (yes, I have many empty notebooks with only my name in them). Sketchbooks were a double whammy – I didn’t just worry over the first pen mark, but trying to get past insecurities over my lack of drawing skills.

In past years I have participated in several Instagram challenges for jewellery making, but I rarely finish them. This year I thought I would go a different route. I noticed that a lots of artists choose a word or concept to focus on or guide them through their year of creativity.

I’ve been working my way through a series of free mini classes from Carla Sonheim’s Presents online classes site – they are the “Best of” Lessons from their teachers, celebrating their 10 year anniversary. I first learned about the site from an artist at a show I participated in, and I like the quirkiness, lightness, and even silliness of many of the offered classes (several are free). As I watch, the word that keeps jumping into my brain is play. Sounds so easy, but I find it tricky. 

I watched Lynn Whipple’s List Painting class (part of the 10 year anniversary class), and decided the exercise she taught would be a good way to focus my thoughts on the word(s) I would choose. I have not yet created the painting, but I have been brainstorming on what is creatively important to me right now.

Could I narrow this collection of words down to just one for the year? Nope – I like lists, and I’m always over-wordy. So my list:

  • Abandon – as in “to create with abandon”
  • Permission – permission to play – not everything has to be perfect or ready for sale – playing is important
  • Mark-making – just make marks – there are no wrong marks – I will not break the sketchbook
  • Exploration / Experimentation – I put these together as they feel similar – explore new mediums – experiment with layers and how different mediums work together. Add and subtract materials, stop worrying about the end result – enjoy the journey
  • Learning – watch and learn from what others do, take classes (online these days). Don’t just watch, do!
  • Play – that had to be part of the list – just have fun with it all!

I’m always thinking about jewellery/artwork I could post on social media (for me that is just Instagram) to keep my page current and engaging. I find that limiting, as it changes my reasons for creating, and I start stressing about what people will think. This list, while it will impact the work I share, is focused on the work that is not shared – what I do to increase my confidence, skills and knowledge creatively, while having fun.

As I have done nothing artsy, I have nothing to share, but I will include a picture of my cat, because why wouldn’t I?? Sadly I lost my beautiful dear Smudge at the beginning of this year, and by mid-March I was going a bit crazy without feline companionship. Happily I was able to bring Sally into my home just as the pandemic was shutting everything down – she can be a monster, but I love her.

I wish you creative days and all the good things that are out there, and hope this year brings everyone some joy – it’s well deserved.

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I got stlefs….

I know what you’re thinking… You’re wondering if I know where the home keys are on my keyboard… Or maybe I’m creating my own language… Perhaps I’m just willynilly hitting keys… Nope.  “Stlefs” comes from my childhood.  When I was young, I asked what I was getting for Christmas.  I was told that I was getting stlefs.  I was baffled.  They swore that they were telling the truth.  Christmas morning arrived and my stlefs turned out to be felts – get it?  It’s backwards.

Today I found myself in the craft store looking for some hollow rubber tubing for making jewellery.  I didn’t find it, but I did find myself in the sketch pad aisle, where I decided to pick up a purse size sketch book.  Then I turned around, and was greeted by a wall of pens and pencils and pastels… Yummy!  I decided I needed some.  I found a huge pack of watercolour pens – one side is like a brush felt tip, and the other is a fine pen tip.  Perfect for travelling – the ink is water soluble so the image could be watered down, but the ink looks great on its own.  Yay!

I’m happy now… Took long enough… heehee!

Sketch book and stlefs

Sketch book and stlefs

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What was old is new again

Happy New Year!

I’m so happy to have started this year having spent some time in the studio… yay!  I have quite a few items that I’m not completely happy with, so I did some work on some of them and I think I’m feeling more content.

One of the items I was working on was my Reef pendant.  Somehow it turned into a full necklace.  I guess I had thought of it as a necklace when I first started doodling ideas, so it really just reverted back to part of the original plan.

While doing some tidying I found a necklace that I had made many years ago,  prior to learning any silversmithing.  I really liked the necklace, but as someone with curly hair, it was a dangerous item to wear… I think it ended up with more of my hair woven around it than I had left on my head!

Hair tangling necklace

Hair tangling necklace

I separated the links into pairs, twisted them together, and soldered/melted the wires to match the feel of the pendant.  Although I think I preferred the way the links looked originally, the new combined links work better on the new necklace, and it will now be worn instead of languishing tarnished on my wall o’ jewellery.

Here is the new necklace.  I used pearls of different shapes/colours, citrine, lemon smokey quartz, and a stone that I believe is Kyanite.  I purchased it from someone who was giving up jewellery making, and the supplies for sale were unmarked.  The bag it came in contained some Kyanite, and although this piece isn’t as blue as the others in the bag, it has the same feel (brittle).  From pictures I have seen, it looks like there is a broad range of shades for Kyanite.  So, unless corrected, that’s what I’ll call it until I find out differently.

Kyanite, citrine and baroque pearl necklace

Kyanite, citrine and baroque pearl necklace

I’m so glad that I’ve taken two pieces that I wouldn’t have worn (much) and turned them into a piece of jewellery that I think I will be happy to wear.  It’s a good start to the year 🙂

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