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!

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!


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