Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thank you

This year has been full of surprises; ups and downs both in my business and personal life. One thing stands out to me - I'm most surprised by the connection others feel to me through my art and craft.

What's life without getting to know the people who choose to come into our lives? For jewelers, we can choose to simply display a piece, take payment, and box it up. Sometimes that's all that happens. Or, we can choose to find out about the man or woman interested in our work, why they like a certain necklace, and learn about what amazing things in life we have in common. Ask questions, listen hard to the answers - spoken and unspoken.

I have enjoyed this process more than anything else this year. Thank you to all who took the time to share your lives with me this year. My art has taught me more about others and myself - and has become less about what I create with my hands and more about who I am becoming.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bright and Twinkly

Thinking of the holidays makes me think of shiny, twinkling things. Icicles, candles, tinsel, glowing stars...

Here's a sparkling Rutilated Quartz pendant on a handmade Roman chain. It's the first prong setting I've made by hand - quite tricky to figure out without any instruction; just trial by error. I'm proud of how it turned out and can hardly wait to make more and get over my fear of them!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

turkey power and snow showers

The turkey this week was plump, and now that I've eaten it and consumed its powers, I'm afraid I look more like it than me today. I think the turkey had this all planned from the beginning, plotting his phoenix-like return through this transfiguration!

If only I could grow wings...

Anyway, I thought I'd share these photos of our winter wonderland - so beautiful.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

work update

Are you busy yet? The holidays are coming and I'm starting to feel the crunch!

I didn't think there'd be much to do since I didn't sign up for any big shows during the holidays, but wow, was I wrong. My gallery sales have gone up, and I have to recreate pieces I haven't made in a while to restock their supply. A good problem! I also entered a couple of exhibits/competitions, which have resulted in some modest sales, too, but has impacted how many pieces I have on hand.

There'll be a lot to do in the next few weeks (not to mention eating turkey, and mashed potatoes, and corn, and sweet potatoes, and green beans, stuffing, pie, cream!).

Gobble, gooble


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shower, anyone?

While working on the bath renovation today, I discovered something interesting. Our plumber put a new type of valve on the water line for the toilet. It's designed to turn easily. Guess what happened?

I was putting down the new subfloor, realized I needed to add a brace underneath, and picked it up. Well, it bumped the oh-so-sensitive new valve that I didn't even know was on the water line. I thought the water line was capped. Nope.

Imagine an instant shooting geyser right in your own home. Ah yes, we had water. Water on the ceiling, water on the walls, water cascading through the downstairs ceiling. By the time I got the water shut off and surveyed the mess, I also realized I don't have an emergency number to reach my plumber.

We found a lot of towels, cleaned up, and had a good laugh! this will all be over soon, right?



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Goals, work, and rest

There's been a lot going on in the studio and at home in the last couple of weeks.

First, I've been working towards the goals I wrote out in the beginning of the month. I've joined Ganoksin, a wonderful resource for jewelers, metalsmiths, and enthusiasts, which has blown my ideas about how wide the jewelry community is clear out of the water! Visit them; they're an amazing resource I've used for a long time before joining.

I've also spent as much time as I could afford to building my line of recycled beach glass jewelry. A custom job came in - two loose peridot stones to be set as matching stud earrings. Unfortunately, one had a flaw in the cut that needed to be worked around, and the other stone was 25% smaller than the first. Wow, what a job! Thankfully it came out well in the end and my client was happy!

Then there's the huge project on the homefront right now... remodeling a full bath. Omigosh, I want it to be done now! I've completely gutted the ceiling, walls, and even part of the floor for the plumber to work in. It's finally at the stage where we can start rebuilding and feel like we're making headway. I say finally, but it's actually gone very quickly - about a week, maybe week and a half. By the end of this week we'll have our new toilet, vanity, floor, tile, paint... all the creature comforts I found I really like!

I took some of the weekend off to breathe a little and gather supplies to finish the bath, but more on that next time.



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who says what about art in politics...

Ever wonder if the presidential candidates have an opinion about the arts? If they do, what is it? Can or will their opinions affect us as artists?

Go to Artsvote and read what this bipartisan group has gathered about Obama, McCain, and current statistics about arts and the government. Be informed!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

time to think

I've been battling a cold lately that almost won, and in the process took over two weeks of time away from me. I normally don't fall victim to germs this easily, but too many hours of work took its toll. I'm doing pretty well now; it's just a nagging cough that's left.

The nice part about being sick (there's a silver lining in everything!) is that I gained valuable time to read up on fashion trends, professional insights, industry news - all the good stuff I usually only skim over. I even had time to reflect on my professional goals and the direction I want to go in. That's very satisfying... a luxury I don't get enough of. I've listed all my goals and am working on a time line to plan out how to meet each one - exciting! I'm already starting to see some returns on these efforts!

I feel much more organized, re-focused, and chompin' at the bit to forge ahead (excuse the pun!).

Several new shows have come my way (actually, I've worked really hard to be able to participate in them), filling up the holiday schedule and keeping me busy in the studio. I'll keep you posted on the dates. This will definitely challenge my time management skills and newly laid goals to balance production, creativity, and business.

Bring on the holidays!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

the upward climb

Well, I've done a few shows and worked my hiney off for the last month, so it's been awhile since I've posted. I've had mixed reviews about the shows this year. It takes time to learn what works and who appreciates my pieces, but I'm steadily getting an education in both! I've learned not to do art/craft shows that have the name of food or drink in their title, and any focus other than art almost always falls short of success.

This coming year I've committed to apply only to the better shows, and won't give in to emotions or nostalgia for the shows I'm leaving behind - even if there's a hole in my schedule that is begging for me to jump back into them. There. It's in print and I can't go back on it (my husband says he'll hold my feet to fire on this one anyway!).

Applying only to better shows is a bit intimidating for me - but that's where personal growth comes from, right? This means I need to be more organized and focused on doing what it takes to get into these shows. Much of my free time this summer (what is free time, really?) has gone to building a better booth, complete with custom made display tables, tent zippered sides, additional display forms like neck pieces and earring holders, coordinating fabric, and soon nice backdrop curtains. Next on the list will be professional cases and lighting, I think. All of this will give me a better public image and photo for the juries who choose which artists get in and which don't.

So much money and time goes into this, but I believe it will pay off. I've done amazingly well over the last two years and should be very proud of what I've done. I just got my first gallery check (it's official!), people are starting to recognize my name and work, and I'm developing a following of jewelry lovers who really appreciate what I do. Even with this, I'm still amazed when some one gasps over my work and wants to know how a real live person could actually make something so beautiful! That's the best part.

Since my last post I've also taken the plunge to get professional photos. This is another step in helping me compete for a place in the better shows. Since I've paid a lot of money for them, I figured I would share them with you and ask your thoughts on them! Feel free to write me here or email me personally...


Monday, August 11, 2008

I like the found object theme a lot...

I think the beach glass work I just did has really sparked something in me! I've been thinking of several different things I could use in place of the glass - and it's so exciting!

I'll keep you posted as I start bringing out new things. For now, here's a peak at one of my Roman Chains in progress. I just love the drape and feel of this chain!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Here's the other photo...

Going Green

You can tell that I'm busy by the lack of posts! Forgive me for not checking in for almost a month - the crazy schedule will lighten up in a little while, and then my fall routine can kick in. I keep telling myself there will be more time for updates then!

I've been whirling around ideas for a "Green Event" I'll be attending this weekend. I never really thought of myself as a green person, but it turns out some of my natural habits lend themselves well to earth-friendly practices. I use my old acid bath from metal working as a plant booster for the azaleas and rhododendrons in the yard, I melt down metal scraps to create interesting textures on pieces, and I'm a bit of a pack rat for certain things - trying to keep them for something other than obscurity, or worse, the landfill.

A glorified term might be... I'm a collector of nature's beauty, but let's call it what it is: I'm really more like a crow; collecting colorful, shapely, or shiny bits of things that catch my eye. I like my quirks, and lately I've harnessed that urge to save things with any hint of beauty or potential by creating something wearable out of it. Turns out that's a very "in" thing to do right now.

Here are a couple of artsy pendants I've made from beach glass around Lake Erie, and some sterling and gold scraps. I love how they turned out, and they'll be featured in my new "green line" this weekend. If you're near the flats this Saturday, I hope you'll stop by and say hello!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Seasonal musings

Summer's starting to zip by, and I've enjoyed the last week or so meeting new artists at several different art shows. I finally got to meet Megan Auman, another blogger jewelry artist who's bubbly and into all kinds of fun! I also got to meet Noel Yovovich, Grace Stokes, and a few enameling artists that make stunning pieces. It's been wonderful to say hello to them in person, not to mention seeing their work up close!

I embarrassed myself and a couple of them by asking for autographs, but there was some need in me to have some physical proof of our meeting. :) I will enjoy following their progress over time even as I get better at my own craft.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I've been MIA for awhile, and wanted to drop a quick note to say all is well. I've been having clumsy trouble in the studio off and on (I've been told that's common when you lose some one). No big accidents, thankfully; I'm just trying to find the good days when my head is clear to work on projects.

This past Monday we had the memorial service in Tucson. It's hard to believe I won't see my dad again... During the commitment ceremony the temperature was 110 degrees F, and as we said our goodbyes a single rock dove cooed above us in the garden. Everything out there was starting to bloom as the monsoon season trickles in. If you've never seen the desert, imagine everything in shades of brown and dull green suddenly popping out fuchsia, yellow, and day glo orange! Life was bursting out - beautiful and hard to see all at once.

Life is a funny thing...


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

new lives and missing dad

This past weekend my brother got married to a wonderful young woman who is perfectly suited for him. They are just simply made for each other! Our dad, who's been struggling against cancer, was able to fly in with our mom for the celebration. It was so good to see him, although it was hard to see what cancer had done to his body just since our visit four months ago.

I took turns with mom staying with him in his hotel room during the reception because he was too weak to sit at the table. We borrowed a wheel chair for the weekend to help him get around the resort grounds, so it was easy to get him back to bed when he got tired. I stayed for the toasts and cake cutting, then switched with mom so she could have the first dance with him. Then I came back to the party for the late night dancing and overall silliness. It was so much fun... I even left all my work at home, including the laptop if you can believe that!

My brother and I saw mom and dad off for their plane, then packed to travel back to my brother's new house he just bought with his bride. As we pulled in the drive we got the call that our dad had passed at the airport. It's hard to get past the shock of what just happened - I feel a bit disjointed. I will miss him so much.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Eleven pieces to the Gallery, several custom orders, and an art show later, I finally have time to write! Everything's been going well; there are so many stories I have to tell you, but the most memorable is one of a client I met at the show.

She was drawn to the necklace in this photo, and I wanted to tell her the story behind it. I made it after thinking about the proverb "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" - it turned out exactly how I saw it in my head. When she heard the proverb, she said her pastor had spoken that same passage to her several times before he passed away, and that it had special meaning to her. She said she had lost her parents not long ago, and while caring for her mom in a nursing facility during the final days, they stayed in the "Apple" wing.

We talked like long lost friends about caring for parents, cancer, pain, loss, and life going on. We were so teary-eyed by the time she decided to take the necklace, the exchange of money for silver and gold seemed superfluous. What happened surpassed anything I've ever experienced. It wasn't business, wasn't just art expression, wasn't just a client feeling a connection to my work. Something strangely wonderful on a deeper spiritual level will mark that moment forever for both of us.

enjoy deep happiness,

Monday, May 12, 2008

With a sigh of relief, the gallery meeting today went fabulously well! In the next week or so I'll have 11 new pieces in there. It feels so good! I don't know why I get worked up over things like this; there's never anything to worry about. The owner had some really good feedback, and I appreciate the patience of the two purchasers that were there. I pummeled the one nearly to death with all of my questions, but she didn't care and was sweet the whole time!

Everything was laid back, fairly quick, and to the point. Nice. I am so tired now... I think it'll be early to bed tonight and start cranking out studio work early tomorrow. Until next time, enjoy our flowering quince bush in the photo.

I love this work


Monday, May 5, 2008

Isn't spring beautiful? This is a photo of the grand old magnolia seen through my eastern facing studio window. Wonderful and gorgeous!

Just got done with a small art show this weekend, and met some interesting artists. I have to say the highlight was talking to John Jude Palencar, internationally recognized illustrator. Oh wow. He makes all of the dragon covers for the Sci Fi series Eragon, so if you've ever seen the very dark and regal looking beastie profiles, you'd recognize his style immediately. He also illustrates covers for Stephen King, TIME magazine, National Geographic, and holds two Gold Book awards from Spectrum. What else can I say - he's awesome! Unfortunately, he doesn't have a web site yet so I can't post his link, but here's a pic on Wikipedia and hopefully he'll get one soon so we can see his work in one place!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mini Portraits

Lots of people have heard of cloisonne; this technique is a related one called champleve.   The difference is that the walls of each color section are formed differently.  In cloisonne the walls are built up or added in, for champleve I create the walls by etching into a solid piece of metal until each section is the proper depth.

I mix my own colors and add them in drop by drop using a toothpick, adding patina to create age and depth.  I love the vibrancy of the colors and especially the sense that I'm wearing a miniature portrait.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Blood, sweat, and happy tears!

The letter opener is finally done, and here are the results.  The picture doesn't capture the detail the way I'd like, but you can still see quite a lot.  I ended up adding in a sterling back plate for strength and stability, and then oxidized it to
 create a dramatic back drop.  I love how it turned out!!

I have just had a wonderful week since I last posted!  Good news seems to come in bunches, and despite getting another rejection letter, I was pleasantly surprised to get an acceptance letter to a holiday show in Pittsburgh.  On the heels of that I've been invited to show at an exhibition near Toledo that runs next month.  It's small, but nice. :)  ...And a trunk show I had this weekend did terrific and added to my list of folks who want show updates to see new pieces.  

It's been good to be this busy with orders and creating new work - I'm going to really have to step it up so that I have enough to display at my next art show (and then the gallery meeting).  That's why it's been so long since my last post.  I've been working full speed ahead and balancing my home life; going to bed exhausted only to start again in the morning.  But I'm so happy!

During my long hours this last week I also managed to run the drill through my finger not once, but twice.  The second time it happened, the thin bit broke off and stuck out near the nail - hope you're not squeamish!  I've never done anything quite like this before.  I think it's important to expand horizons and try new things (snicker, snicker!).  No stitches, thank goodness, but I'm wondering should I charge a little extra for the actual shedding of blood during the creative process?


Monday, April 14, 2008

There is no whine before it's time!

So glad I whined the other day!  I'm glad it's out of my system, although I don't want to diminish the real concerns about the difficulty I'm having getting into higher end shows.  Of course, it's easier to say this after what happened the very day after I posted...

Almost a year ago I visited an upscale and trendy-ish gallery in a fairly large city.  Impressed by the flood of sales they were having (on a Monday or Tuesday nowhere near a holiday), I asked to speak to the person in charge of purchasing to see if they would be interested in carrying my work.  After speaking with her over the next several months I was able to send in a portfolio sampling.  I tell ya, the waiting was like pins and needles up and down my legs!!!  I waited as long as I felt I possibly could in polite society, called to see what they thought, and then found they hadn't viewed anything yet.  (oh gosh. must not have made much of an impression?)  

A week after that I got the most beautiful call in the world.  I screamed!  I laughed!  I was near giddy hysterics!!  An appointment with both gallery owners along with the instructions to bring either pieces for immediate purchase or samples with order sheets.  What a change from the other day (I guess I should crab more often if this is what happens)!

As for getting into the shows, it dawned on me while I was working in my studio - totally out of the blue -  that it wasn't my work that was the problem.  I never took pics of my booth display last year, so I hastily set up inside my house for a quick photo.  Probably the worst choice I've made yet.  The light was yellowed, the background not professional enough, and it was slightly out of focus.  It didn't seem to be a big deal in the moment, but it's proven fatal for my applications.  I'm just glad I finally figured out what was going wrong.  I won't make the mistake a second time, so I'll use the time off this year to prepare for all guns blasting in 2009 - watch for me!

Oh yeah!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Good and bad...

This year I've committed to submitting to better shows, more calls for artists, and contests.  As an emerging artist I still haven't settled on a single look; I'd rather explore different techniques and materials.  That doesn't always work well when applying to the higher level fine art/craft shows.  I've heard they prefer a strong, cohesive body which may not come through in my photos.  For me that's translated into waitlists and rejections that I was not prepared for.  Yes, the jewelry category spot is one of the most fiercely fought for, but that doesn't make me feel any less sore!  My work is well-liked locally, and I've done great at the shows I've attended in the past.  It gives pause for me to reflect...

On a happier note, one of the boutiques I wholesale with just purchased a huge order yesterday.  I feel a bit redeemed!  They've consistently sold my work with a steady increase in sales - they've more than doubled since this time last year, even in the light of the current economy.  So how does it work?  I do well in retail but struggle to get past jurors and into the better shows.  Is it I'm out of step with the cutting edge trends or need a more cohesive look? Is it just not my year for shows, or will there be acceptance letters for the remainder still out there?


Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring really is trying to peek out from under winter's blanket - finally!  There are fattening buds on the quince bushes, crocuses (croci?) smile cheerily, and the iris' are sprouting quickly.  I've had little time to enjoy it all the way I'd like because of a recent bout of flu, but thankfully spring has just begun. :)  

Lots of custom jobs, project research, and new designs (in time for the starting show season) have kept me busy while waiting for warmer weather.  I picked up some absolutely beautiful and rare stones at the Tucson gem show that I'm starting to use in my new designs.  I've been looking forward to trying out some new styles and techniques, too.  I'll post more as I get the photos in.  

Here's a copper shovel with an apple wood handle to help bring in springtime.  I had so much fun making it; I kept thinking of some tiny little garden gnome using it to plant his vegetables!  I even took a specialized hammer to make miniscule tool marks on the shovel blade so that it looks real.  Crazy, but fun!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'll have some spring, please

March came in like a lion and is still roaring... so where's my lamb?!?  I'm really ready for spring.  If I see one more snowflake I think I'll lose my mind!  

So here's a pretty picture of green, at least the way I remember it! :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Letter opener update - all together!

It's getting there little by little (in between all the other projects on my bench right now).  I've gotten all the pieces assembled, each little curly cue in its place, every silver granule where it needs to be, and only a small bit of skin was sacrificed on my rotary!

Today I started the rough and then medium filing/sanding on the blade and handle.  All the rough spots have been taken off, alternating direction to make the deeper sanding grooves show better so that I don't miss any. My fingers are horribly sore, but I really wanted to make some progress on this project!  

It's starting to look beautiful, just like I saw it in my head, and soon I'll work the patina and finishing polish, and then finally set the stone.  There are so many designs I want to move on to - my ideas hit me faster than my hands can create them.  And I want to get as much done right now as I possibly can.  With so many shows this coming season I really need to plan ahead to have enough pieces in my high, low, and mid range pricing so that I don't run short.  I should still be able to work in between the shows, but I'm going to guess that I'll be pretty tired!

Until next time,

~Jeni Buckingham

Friday, March 7, 2008


I love it when life bursts in on you (in a good way!) and draws you into some one else's life.  One of my joys in doing custom work is getting the story behind the piece.  It helps me to connect with my client, it gives my intuition and creativity a boost, and there's somehow extra soul in the piece when I'm finished.  Sometimes it's just the everyday "I need a necklace because I have nothing to go with my favorite earrings", or "I've always wanted something in turquoise!".  Every once in a while I hear a gem of a story that really touches my heart like the one last weekend.  

I got a call from a newer collector who breathlessly rushed into a story about her partner in a weight loss program.  They work out several times a week, go to weekly meetings, and even talk on the phone for encouragement and accountability.  Her partner has struggled with diabetes, several different other medical conditions that make weight loss more difficult, and was just recently diagnosed with one more very serious condition in which her pancreas is shutting down.  Her doctor immediately put her on yet another medication (she's only in her early 40's!) to help slow down the process, but it has horrible side effects - one is weight gain.  Imagine being nearly triple your ideal body weight, working your butt off for months to lose it, eating only 1,000 calories a day, and then finding out that your body is fighting so hard against you that you're actually gaining weight. 

Does she complain?  No.  Instead, she still works out with my client, encourages everyone in the group to keep their heads in the game, and never says a negative thing about it.  This month the group is going to honor the top "loser" by giving a gift, and my client wanted to do the same for her partner for her amazing character and winning attitude.  She won't be the top loser, in fact she's already gained back every pound she lost during the program, but she's not giving up! 

I'm finishing up the necklace that is to be the gift; it's a sterling and 18k gold star pendant on a sterling chain.  I feel so privileged to be able to work on this project and haven't stopped thinking of the strength of this woman the entire time I was cutting and filing.  She's an inspiration to everyone.  


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Letter opener update

Getting closer, but lots of show pics and apps have been slowin' me down!  The photo shows how all the pieces are assembled separately, and then they will be joined together as the last step.  I decided to throw in the labradorite, which is a .40 carat beauty.  It takes hours to get this far, and there's still a good chance something will melt and have to be rebuilt...
Thank goodness February has one extra day this year, huh?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Letter Opener project - new!

It may sound silly, but I'm really proud of myself for keeping up with a blog.  I'm incredibly busy and get a bit pre-occupied now and then, so writing 4 or 5 times a month is pretty stinkin good!
By the way, the pieces I posted for Valentine's Day sold out - my apologies for those who inquired about them.  But the good news is I've got a lot of new pieces in process that should be available soon!
The last post was a hard one; I'll write more about the happier side of Tucson later - the gem show - but for now I have a treat for you!  I've been working on a project that I sketched out in January for a letter opener.  Funny thing, it almost looks like a lady's dagger - yikes!  I wanted to design another table top piece and incorporate filigree somewhere.  There really wasn't a better place for it than in the handle, so I created a fern leaf motif that swirls around inside a stronger, heavier-duty frame.  Ferns grow wild in the woods around here, some of them even stay green all winter long.  They're incredibly beautiful.  After sketching it out a few times, I added in a small oval labradorite stone where the fiddle head forms.  It just needed a little sparkle. :)
So, here's the final handle sketch and the pieces in progress... hope you enjoy, and I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Visit to Tucson

It's been a very busy couple of weeks, and I've just returned from Tucson to the cold bitter weather of Ohio!  The temperature difference was more than 70 degrees - and then add in the wind chill.  WOW!

I originally planned the trip to attend the Tucson Gem & Mineral show and visit my family, but it turns out my dad hadn't been doing very well so the focus switched to seeing them.  He's been struggling with cancer for several years, had half of a lung removed, and we thought he was out of the woods.  Then last year he hurt his ribs, and when they didn't seem to heal up, the doctor did a scan and found lesions on his ribs and some shady spots on his breast muscles.  He went through two heavy duty rounds of chemo and radiation only to lose his voice in early  December to another area being attacked by cancer.  By the end of December this evil disease had wrapped itself around his spine, causing him to lose feeling in his feet and lower legs.  Within a period of less than a month he went from walking a few miles a day to struggling down his short driveway with a walker, stopping at the end to sit on the little fold out stool attached on it's frame.  When I saw him this weekend, he was so thin and tired looking, and  could barely catch his breath.  

This man once considered playing professional baseball and wrestled criminals into jail cells.  It's so sad to watch him disappear into the shadows with no voice.  It's almost like he's already half gone.  Although he hasn't said anything, he wants to go, I think.  He's supposed to contact hospice - hasn't done it.  The last attempt the doctors have for him would sequester him to a radioactive room with no contact with the outside world for six weeks.  He cancelled the appointment.    

I love him, told him so, and gave him a hug so big it nearly crushed his frail body.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hot hearts!

It is TOO cold today!  Luckily, I always have my torch to warm me up...   
Here's today's Valentine contribution - a pair of swirlie heart earrings just in time for the holiday!  Instead of the typical traditional filigree I make, these were made with less tradition and more of a fun, modern feel.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

For the love of Filigree...

Here she is!  I am so proud of how this heart pendant turned out - it took long hours of work, but it's completely worth it when I see this photo!

I use very old traditional techniques based possibly as far back as the Middle Ages to craft in the filigree style, and it takes more time to yield results that are authentic to the historical roots. I then apply the techniques to design pieces that have an Old World feel, but still strike a modern edge.  I get a wonderful satisfaction knowing that every single part of this pendant came from my own imagination!  From the sketch to the final polish, it's completely original.  

This weekend I have an invitation - only show to prepare for, another exhibition next weekend,  and I haven't even posted the heart to my website yet.  I love being this active, but it can sure be an interesting juggling act.  Back to work for now, more to post for later!    


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chilly day, warm hearts

The day was frigid from the beginning, my breath hanging as tiny floating icicles in the air.  If I were to toss a cupful of hot water out into the cold, it would have frozen before hitting the ground!  The only saving grace was intensely bright sunshine - almost enough to make me forget the sub-freezing temperatures.  

I planned a lot of work for today, mostly clerical, although my metal is calling me.  Have you ever spent the day getting all kinds of things done and then looked back only to wonder what it actually was you did?  It's all the details of life, I suppose. :)  

I haven't worked my torch in a day and already miss it.  I've just finished polishing a magnificent heart pendant in honor of Valentine's day.  As soon as the photos turn out I'll post one to share.  It looks so romantic and feminine...  It's made of filigree, which I forged by hand and is probably my favorite technique of all.  I love all the delicate twists and scrolls!  Today it reminds me of the way the smoke curls wisp out the chimney.  My next project will most likely be a filigree letter opener that I just finished sketching out.

Time to curl up like a kitten and get some much needed rest.  Happy sleeping, and stay cozy!  

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Art show applications - yuck.

Anyone who's ever had to deal with this part of the art world knows how tough it can be.  While it's exciting to begin a new year, I do a lot of nail biting when I apply to juried shows.  I try to plan my schedule well but several really good shows are at the same time.  You never know if you'll get into the ones you really want, or if they all require fees up front with no refunds.  If I get accepted to all of them at once and then have to cancel all but my first choice then I could be out $1,000 or more.  And they're not free to apply to, either.  Some are as cheap as $10 per category, while others go as high as $50 or more.  Since I create both jewelry and functional metal pieces, my category cost gets doubled.  Blah!

With over 20 hours spent combing through applications and schedules, I've just about finished my list of 1st and 2nd choice shows.  Now comes the time to get photos and slides of all my new work and look for cohesive groupings.  Then it's off to paperwork land again!  

I have so many design ideas in my head that I try to at least get down on paper.  With all the "background" work that has to be done to make it as an artist I sometimes feel like very little time gets spent on doing what I really love.  *sigh*   I know that one day I'll be spending less time on the background; pay dues now, reap benefits later.  You definitely have to be committed to your passion to make something like this work.  I have that dedication!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

It's a new year and time for some new stuff in my life. Artists have a reputation of having such a hard time expressing written thoughts, as though that somehow takes value away from their art speaking for itself. I want to challenge this reputation, provide an interesting view into my work, and begin opening new doors in my life.