Today I realized it's time to stop getting in my own way and just write the first blog post about how I am making jewelry. Again. And about how one day, surely before too much longer, I'll be opening an online shop so I can sell some of the pretty things I've been making since March.
You'd think that telling you such a simple thing would be a no-brainer, wouldn't you? Well, I'm sure you're right. You're probably better at managing all sorts of things than I am. Which is fine. There's beauty in all our paths.
What's different about today and the days, give-or-take-8-years-ago, when I last made and sold jewelry on a regular basis, is... well, nearly everything! And I'm not even exaggerating!
The first time around, I backed into it through an unlikely avenue when - as a then-potter I fell in love with clay and kept wondering what kinds of things I could do with the clay, then started making these fun little one-of-a-kind pendants and pretty soon I had this wee little enterprise that had my wares in shops and galleries and craft fairs and the like.
This time I also backed into it by accident. Whereas I'd kept making the very occasional piece of jewelry for myself or a gift, over the years, I was all hot-and-heavy into Zentangle art and exploring all the "tangle patterns" I could get my hands on when one day I thought, "If I wanted to wear this tiny little piece of art on a necklace, how could I make that happen?" Seriously: it was that innocent.
Fast forward 5 months and I've commandeered most of a whole room in the house for my studio and when I'm not designing or consulting on Squarespace-based websites (or creating graphic designs that will be printed on merchandise like mugs and cards and pillows and leggings!!!!!!! which is, of course, a whole 'nother story for another day, but hopefully a day not too very far from now,) I am making jewelry. In part thanks to the beauty that is the Internet and its willingness to teach us pretty much anything we want to know, and specifically thanks to YouTube which was either not really that much of a thing last time I was a jewelry designer or at least it wasn't the educational behemoth I have at my fingertips today! I even have some jewelry design books!
Whereas last time I used clay and beads and a bit of sterling or copper wire to add a hint of swirly flair now and then, this time I'm using... well, everything that's not nailed down, to make my jewelry.
Not even kidding when I say everything. Tiny story for you about the time, a few weeks ago, my friend Phyllis sent me a photo of the black just-shed snakeskin hanging from a tree branch outside her back door. Once I was over the fascination/ick factor (in equal parts!) of the idea of snakes hanging from trees, potentially over my head as I innocently walked through her yard, the next question out of my mouth was, "Um. What are you going to do with it?" Which led, of course, to My Love driving me to her house the next day with a can of spray shellac-esque product to coat it with so it wouldn't fall apart in transit or the subsequent handling that was about to ensue. All so that one day I will be working this atypical acquisition of mine into the pretty designs currently residing in my head.
Mostly, though, this time around, I started out creating little pendants featuring tiny pieces of artwork - Zentangle-inspired or otherwise - and then it quickly grew so that I've got this little setup with hammers and torches and quench bowls and pickle pots and one of my favorite places to visit is this scrap metal recycling business where I always come away with the most thrilling finds of cast-off copper I then hammer and cut and torch into submission.
Besides that, I'm encasing things in resin (like paper painted with watercolor paints, vintage sheet music, twigs and bark, shells, and so on and so forth,) and exploring what happens when you mix acrylic paints and various secret binders into concrete and shape the resulting blobs into forms that will, in time, be encased in resin and attached to funky wire bails I can't wait to show you, and turned into pendants and earrings.
I've also explored etching copper with Tangle patterns. This is something I expected to do a lot more with by now but in truth has been put on the back burner while more enthralling processes capture my attention. But don't doubt it: there will be much more on that front in coming months... maybe even weeks!
There's so so sooooo much more to tell you, but frankly I just needed to break the ice and tell you something about what I've been up to behind the scenes. Maybe now I can get on with writing more interesting posts about this or that technique or lesson or exploration or disappointment - even those are showing up and surprising me far more than I expected, and I'm enjoying the process nonetheless.
For now, point you over to my Muserie page where I put up some images a while back with the intention of getting this whole endeavor pulled together and moving along far more quickly than I have so far. There are photos over there of some of the finished and in-process pieces and in time I'll flesh that out better, too.
Thanks for reading and check back again; I am so very excited to show you more of what I have in the works!