I just completed a custom order for a friend that included a necklace and a pair of coordinating earrings. It is one of my 'Industrial Revolution' series pieces that I started a year or two ago. I don't go in for all-out steampunk style, but I do like an overall industrial feel to some of my work.
This is the necklace, 'Encircled':
And these are the earrings that go with the necklace:
Have I mentioned just how much I love working with copper? I love it.
I'll be back later this week with an update. I just got home from spending the week in my hometown (Rochester, NY) in order to attend the funeral for my Uncle John. I'm tired and emotionally spent and still wearing my pajamas at noon on Saturday, so I need a bit of time to spend with my kids and husband, since I had left them at home.
With all the worldwide events in Japan, Egypt, Afghanistan and numerous other places, having my XM radio receiver stolen out of my car night before last definitely falls into the category of "First-World Problem". It was still upsetting and left me angry and disappointed.
But then I made this, knowing that is it true. I am so very Lucky.
I thought about Ireland's "Forty Shades of Green" while I put it together, and used up a number of green and yellow and gold beads in my stash. I love a project like that.
Today I will be making pizza for dinner, and Nigella Lawson's Guiness Cake for dessert (just 'cause). I'll pray for the people of the world who are going through rough times and disaster, and for friends who have lost loved ones at home and abroad, and I'll remember just how lucky I am, and thank God for my blessings.
I am so glad it has started to get warmer and be sunshinier here in Virginia. As much as I adore winter, I am very glad for the days that mean I can be outside with my kids without a mountain of coats, scarves, gloves, boots, etc.
This weekend was nearly perfect. The sun was warm, the breeze was blowing, and we even got out to fly kites on Saturday. I love flying kites, and it was great fun to teach my little ones how to get their little kites in the air without running!
It was also a terrific weekend for estate sales around here. Noah and I had spent out Friday together hitting a couple sales (instead of making our usual Friday-morning grocery run), and I found a set of matched vintage suitcases for cheap. Not wanting to commit to them on Friday ("What will I DO with them?" Where will I put them?"), I passed them up, but then couldn't stop thinking about what I WOULD do with them, and went back on Saturday afternoon. Thankfully, they were still there, having been stuffed into a closet in the house. SCORE!
That's my dog, Ruby. She helps.
I love the little train case! It needs a mirror (no problem!), and all the cases smell a teeny bit...funky...but it wasn't anything a day or so in the sunshine couldn't handle.
Right now the cases are in my dining room. One is stacked on the antique sewing machine with my mannequins, Frank and Jane, and the other two are stacked on the floor next to my hutch. I know they would make FANTASTIC display cases for my work, but I am at a loss as to how to retrofit them to display jewelry, and how to keep them open on the table. I'm thinking a small sandbag weight over the back, and some jewelry stands inside to show off my work.
Now all I need is some work. And a show.
In other news, I did some copper etching yesterday, and I'm not totally thrilled with the results. Rather, the results were not what I was hoping for when i was all done. I don't think I let them soak long enough or left them in the pickle too long, or something. I dunno. More experimenting is required.
Now that the first quarter of 2011 is nearly over, I think I have stumbled onto what my Word of The Year is going to be.
This past year, from my birthday in 2010 to my upcoming birthday, has been one of personal exploration, decisions, failed (and successful) attempts, and refining of artistic visions. I tried a lot of things (submitted to magazines, taught classes, did shows), was successful with some of them, and not so much with others. But through it all, I realized that I was allowing myself to get mired in negative thinking, spending way too much time comparing myself with others, and constantly thinking that whatever I did in a particular moment was somehow just. not. enough.
Which is ridiculous.
I mean, really.
So I hit a giant 'reset' button somewhere after the holidays, and took everything back about eight hundred notches. I thought about my plans and what I really want. I'm pretty happy with what I've been doing lately, which, compared to last year, isn't all that much. I've got a couple of custom commissions going on at the moment, and I was just asked to create bridesmaid jewelry for a friend's wedding this fall. And I'm making some personal projects that aren't all in the artisan jewelry realm. I'm also exploring my interest in art history, and dipping my toes back into the waters of my medieval living history hobby.
I have no plans to submit to magazines in the near future. I didn't do Lori's recent (and OMG awesome!!) Bead Soup Blog Party, but I am planning on joining the next one. I have signed up for no spring and summer shows. I'm taking it easy. Very easy. And it's nice! I'm finding that when artistic vision and inspiration really strikes me, I'm so incredibly productive, it's almost scary.
I can see now that there are only two more years before my littlest ones are in school full time, and after that there will be MUCH more time to get involved in all these things: shows, magazines, online stuff. Right now, I am doing what comes up and what I feel led to do in the moment, and that means accepting that what happens or what I do is simply enough.
It came to me over the weekend that 2011 is all about Acceptance -- of me as a person, an artist, a mom, all my various roles. Whatever I am doing is the best I can do at the time, and it's what I am supposed to be doing, and ALL I am supposed to be doing.
I guess this means I really can't Do It All.
Do I feel the insistent pull of "Sign up for shows!Submit to a magazine!Get yourself Out There!Be Involved!!"? Of course I do. I am a goal-oriented, responsible, achieving, first-born child! It's my Job! *snicker*
But I am consciously reminding myself (pretty much daily) that the most peaceful and happiest path I can be on right now is one in which I possess and define boundaries that allow me to not feel rushed, stressed, overwhelmed, ragged at the edges, and creatively spent. I don't have to be everything to all, and I don't have to do everything to be a successful person. Sounds like comprehending that would be a no-brainer, right? I mean, duh! But it's remarkably hard for me to grasp that and integrate it.
It's all good, though. And it's going well.
Oh, and here's a shot of my latest custom order....
So, my question to you is...how are you doing with your chosen path this year?