Sunday, December 21, 2008

endless finish


Do you ever have those pieces that never seem to get finished?

I have had a few pieces that have taken years to complete, for one reason or the other.

Today, I finally finished this brooch after having it hang out on my bench since summer '06!




My theory on why it took so long? 60% I really loved making it and I didn't want it to end...

30% lazyness, not wanting to put on the optivisor and do the tiny tweaks....

the last 10%? It just wasn't time for it to be done.

I will be posting this to my shop withing the next few weeks..ready to send it out into the world after a long and fruitful hibernation....

Friday, December 19, 2008

End of the year..holidays.. intentions..and beyond

So it's just about time when most of the western hemisphere comes to a grinding halt. The winter holidays are upon us again, (funny how they do that every year). And, like most of you,


I am busy trying to keep it all in the air!


I have had a good year, 2008. I did a little of this and that.We survived our first year of public school (barely... there's a story about the after school program that lost my kid), Opened an Etsy shop, traveled to Italy, had some joyous times and sorrow (with the passing of my 93 year old grandfather ).

I am eager to see what the future will bring. I'm planning on keeping my son home from school on January 20th to watch the inauguration of our new (and promising) President. . I imagine many families will do the same!

About a month ago, I read someones blog and it had this great idea... to take an image a day. It didn't matter what image, (family, art, whatever) just take an image and post it.. I intend to start this exercise January 1st. It seems simple, but I can't help wondering if I will let it slide, like taking a vitamin pill.. I know it will be good for me, but somehow...LIFE happens and I get sidetracked. Let's see if this exercise can help me stay on track. (At the least it will give me an excuse to go out and see the world more! )
here is an image from my world last year..
Mount Lemmon Highway, from Windy Point Vista Tucson Az 2008
I hope you all have great holidays, and I look forward to hearing from you in the upcoming year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Sweater Nanas



I wanted to share with you today about a heartwarming tradition that was carried out in my son's class this morning. It is a perfect illustration of grace and generosity, carried out by dedicated crafters and benefiting everyone in the tree room community.



Thirteen years ago one of the students in the (K-1) tree room shared that she had a nana (grandma) who loved to knit. This Nana spent all year knitting, even during the sweltering Tucson summers. She knit, knit, knit....


What was she working on? This incredible woman was knitting for all the kids in her grandchild's classroom! In December, before holiday break, the "sweater nana" came to the class and presented each boy and girl in the classroom with a handmade sweater, gloves or hat, to keep and cherish for their very own. The children were delighted!


For the two years that the girl was in the tree room, the sweater nana knit each child a special piece, and each year they had a "Sweater Nana" day just before the holidays. Then, as all kids do, the little girl graduated to her next classroom.


So, December rolled around once more.. and, just before the holidays, the sweater nana showed up at school, to the tree room like before with knitted offerings for each girl and boy in the class!


The sweater nana had chosen the room, and a tradition lived on!


The sweater Nana continued her knitting grace and generosity for many years. Then, eight years ago she passed away. The tree room had lost this generous soul and everyone was very sad. Until, one of the Nieces of the sweater nana said, wait! I am carrying on the tradition. And with that, her generosity lives on.


Today there are seven "Sweater Nanas" ( four were able to come to the school this morning) and they spend all year long knitting, thinking about the generosity and grace of the original nana. They think of the children as they knit, clack clack-ing their way through each sweater with love and dedication.


After the "Sweater Nana" story was told this morning, a unique sweater and hat set was laid out for the kids to choose. And one by one, each child rose and selected their love letter.



Happy Holidays.








Thursday, November 27, 2008

Metalsmiths in Action Holiday Promotion


Hi everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!

As many of you know I am involved in an online community of craftspeople. Most of us have shops on ETSY, which is a great collection of handmade and vintage sellers and enthusiasts. I have a shop there since early September 08 called "Cosmo's Moon" where I sell my one of a kind jewelry as well as a new line of affordable chic handmade silver.

One of the ways that Etsy works for sellers is that they offer a sense of community through the possibility of forming and joining teams. I am a proud member of the Etsy Metalsmithins in Action team, (which is one of the larger metals teams,) which is today kicking off it's
Holiday Promotion. here is a link: http://metalsmithsinaction.webs.com/contest.htm


(pictured above is the piece I am offering in the holiday promotion for MSIA)

I encourage all of you to bookmark this promotion and participate in the contest! If you look at the wonderful pieces offered to prizewinners you will surely understand why. Please send this along to anyone else in your life who you think might be interested in Handcrafted gifts. (you could even give your friends a hint about which shop you want to recieve a gift from....)

By the way, for my own shop (Cosmo's Moon) I have a Holiday shipping sale. Free shipping to U.S.A. addresses, and only $5 shipping anywhere else, internationally.(ending January 1 2008) Many other Etsy shops are offering similar promotions!

thanks for your continued interest and support!

Have a Safe, Relaxing and Happy Holiday season

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Etsy Cafe Club

Just a short note... I am getting ready for a sale and a show so I haven't posted in a while.

Yesterday I got to spend the morning at coffee with some other local etsy artists.. This is the second time we have met, (Though we have been emailing each other and running into each other at the park.) and I find it to be rejuvinating!

The four shops that met are http://feralgirl.etsy.com/, http://walrustusk.etsy.com/. http://cosmosmoon.etsy.com/ (that's me) http://rimadesigns.etsy.com/, http://vella.etsy.com/
and we has a short visit from http://rainstorm.etsy.com/

We are all women artists from Tucson, with varying mediums and experiances with etsy, art, galleries, craft sales... and life. During our meeting, I feel so satisfied to be able to actually talk to other etsy artists, you know, someone who doesn't look at you sideways when you mention your "Treasury" or "Hearts".
(It's our own little Etsy support group)

As a solitary artist, I always crave community. I have sought it out through teaching, taking workshops, membership (even board positions) in art associations, and attending openings (UGH!). It's funny how the computer (which is such a solitary tool) has finally brought me the community of creative people that I have so long craved...

And Yes, I will still go to openings. If only to wear an interesting outfit! See you there!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Dirty little Secret

Ok, well perhaps it's not dirty , and more of an omission than secret, but here it goes.

After over 20 years of working as a metalsmith, I have never participated in any Craft Sale.
Yup, that's it, I know, it's SHOCKING. (;-)....

So what have I been doing all this time? mostly selling through galleries and shops for my own work, and 'smithing for other (more business minded) artists. And teaching Metals at all different venues.


And How is that working? well.....um....I guess if it was perfect then I wouldn't be here, declaring with knees shaking, that I am throwing my hat into the Craft show/sale ring.




(some of the work that I will be showing)

On November 22nd I am joining other Local artists here in Tucson at a Craft Sale. It is my hope that this will be a good introduction, and will encourage me to participate in more sales to come (I have my eye on a couple in the spring).
I am defining a new path.

It's a little exciting I must admit, to try something new. I could have done this 20 years ago, but something has always stopped me.


Here it is..I have convinced myself that I cannot sell water to a dehydrated man. AND NOW I DECLARE PHOOEY on that kind of "stinkin thinkin".!*! If I'm a little shaky, I'll get over it. If I'm tongue tied, I'll smile, I will remember to breathe.

as Tim Gunn says, "make it work!"

Because we need to be courageous in times like these. So, (as a Leo) I will envoke the cowardly lion ..and find my sales roar.. at least Purr a little bit.

the end.. or the beginning


Monday, November 3, 2008

Tangents.....the path less followed

As creative people we all have the tendency and desire to explore new ways of creating.


I am definitely guilty of going off on a tangent for weeks on end in my studio...then later, thinking..."what was I doing?"And ending up with what I call my (excuse me) "little bastards."





Here's the thing...despite the unflattering name, I really love these pieces. They almost never have continuity with what I usually do in the studio, or within their group. Just a bunch of really diverse pieces, looking like they were made by different artists.





I could probably have a show and assign different artist names to each piece and nobody would know the difference!



Why do I love them so? Because they represent to me the essence of artistic freedom and creativity. Let's face it, in order to have our "work" recognised artists and designers have to cultivate a "signature style". It is essentially our version of visual "branding".



Many people like the comfort of the familiar, especially when buying something.And having an oddball piece or two in a collection can be unsettling. It raises questions, like whoa, what IS that? where did that come from? why is it here?? and so forth... But I try to twist it around, to think...ok, that's a new path...I wonder where that will lead?



And lead to something they do, these unique journeys into a path less taken. Though I may not use anything from a piece or a technique that I tinker with, the result from having that freedom is reflected in all my future work. And then, down that twisting path, another fork in the road will present itself, leading to more openings and questions.






So today I salute all my tangents and their resulting oddball pieces. Hey, who knows, perhaps I will find another fork in the creative road....which path will I take? and where will this lead? With acceptance to work a little "dirty" I may just find my next exciting groove!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Introduction? thank a mentor

Here's the thing- I jumped in to blogging without a plan other than to start. to dive.

Like I jumped into metalsmithing....innocent to the path it would lead me


Now I realise that I should at least introduce myself! I'm going to give a little history of my involvement in metals..

(in installments, so it's not as daunting a task)



so, here goes nothing----"the early years"



It all started By Chance and My Mother's Lament over my immense un-hire-ability

Metalsmithing discovered me back in 1986 when I couldn't get a job during summers home from college. The owner of my mother's favorite jewelry store took pity on a scruffy artsy punk rock girl and offered to take me in as an apprentice..




I worked my bondoonie off. 6 days a week that first summer, driving 30 miles each way from my home in New Hampshire to the coastal town Ogonquit Maine, and Perkins Cove. Summerwind Silversmiths' owner, Mel Reisz would spend a couple of hours each week training me to perfect my techniques. Believe me, I went through a Huge amount of silver that first month! (thank God for refining) All summer I mostly made silver chain and earrings..nothing too exciting but great practice. Invaluable.



I hauled my sorry butt every morning to my rickety Gum-and-Wire-Hangers Ford Fiesta and trekked to the cove, shaking myself awake all the while. (the car helped shake too) My shoulders ached from forging and my teeth suffered from the presence of the penny candy shop next door..One night my hand slipped while I was cutting 10 gague wire, and I ended up with 10 stitches holding my finger together...(middle finger) It was rough at times...



BUT- By the end of that first summer, I could solder like a madwoman and forge chain like a pirate!



I look back on that summer and see the impossibility of it all. One of those moments where I think, well, "what if?" and I think I owe gratitude to my early mentor for giving me a chance.



Now that I have " a few links under my belt" I enjoy teaching metals to beginners..and have seen the excitement when my students start to become proficient...My hope is that 20 years from now one of them is passing their passion about craft on to an apprentice as well....



Thanks Mel.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy to be layed off...because...

Howdy-Ciao! from my studio..here in sunny Tucson
Like many of you, I am a metalsmith who juggles multiple jobs in my field.


Last year was CRAZY for me:
I held 2 paid jobs, a board position in a local craft organization and I had 4 galleries to keep happy and stock.



On top of all this, I keep my son's needs at the forefront, so homework help, library, chess club, soccer, swimming, playdates....pokemon...have to fit in as well. Being married is also something to work at, right? :-) So let's not forget spending quality time with Hubbster!



Oh yes, and those pesky (wonderful) friends- ('Cause you gotta have friends, right?), I'm afraid those important relationships get neglected under the carpet of everything else. (sorry...still love you, mean it)



Then there is THIS YEAR...(that is the 2008-09 school year).....

No teaching position (because Hubby travels too much this year and babysitting fees cancel out teaching earnings..)

Gallery sales in the gutter...temporarily layed off from my goldsmith position....

and the craft board? well, let's just say I find it irrelevant now.

Thankfully my friends, husband and son stuck around... :-) whew!



HERE'S the Thing.....I am as busy as before- and Happy as a Clam.



I am so happy to have this time available- because now I can..


  • work in the studio on new designs

  • hone my business skills

  • make new contacts

  • search for new opportunities

  • Garden

  • re-model the bathroom

  • go for a walk in the park

  • get appointments out of the way

  • play with my son when he gets home from school

  • volunteer at school

  • be spontaneous!

The number one thing I try to remember through all of this change is that turmoil is temporary, and a great way to stir up the soup to look for more carrots!


Today I am



  • learning about how to make treasuries on Etsy.

  • taking images of my new less expensive pieces of jewelry

  • Posting on my etsy shop http://cosmosmoon.etsy.com

  • having lunch with a friend

  • shopping for a halloween costume with my son

  • discussing the differences of Italian/USA politics with my husband, Guido

  • being thankful for having time to do all I want

What are you doing today?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a bit of fresh air...



As much as I love my work in the studio and office, it's not enough to keep the soul fresh and sassy....




So this weekend I took time to enjoy the natural world around me. Guido and I brought Cosmo and his buddy Max up to the mountains outside of Tucson to have a picnic and walk.


Here are a couple of images.....( Guido, Cosmo and Max drawing) and (view from the mountaintop, mt. Bigelow)


Today I have a few hours in my studio...I'm still waiting for my new pieces to arrive from the casters so now I'm just burning up energy, keeping the fires warm until my new supplies touch down!
Oh yes... one other thing, one of my pieces was on the front page of etsy yesterday. I was stoked!
http://cosmosmoon.etsy.com

Monday, October 20, 2008

OKOKOK so I'm Blogging now






Here it goes..



So I've been trying to decide if I have any time to do my actual studio work anymore...And then I realise that one of my biggest challenges has always been too much work , not enough sales...




So, what to do? Work on my business?? EEEK!


(photo shows my a-hah moment of terror)



OH NO- after 20 plus years out of art school (SMFA Boston '89) I now have to admit that as a working artist I cannot afford to just work in my studio. (I'm a little bit slow, I know)

However, One of the best things about this is that now I have my techniques down pat and have a very developed aesthetic. So actually producing the work is not the issue.




Alas, as many artists have struggled in business, I too will put my names on the list. It comes I think from a low comfort level ...I mean, Give me a complicated soldering job? BLISS... but ask me a simple question about business and I shrink....so I'm working on it, finally.




Thanks to Etsy and the many generous people who post in Forums, I am taking many steps to getting my work "out there" . For me, Forums and the Storque are one of the best ways to learn about my business and practices. I don't think I would have ever learned this much from an actual classroom.


My Etsy site at http://cosmosmoon.etsy.com/ is rapidly developing with each week, and it is almost exactly what I want it to be....and I've been promised that this week my new castings will be shipped, so I will be posting my new designs soon. Can't wait!






ganoksin

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