Standing in my Truth

The process of art-making continues to teach me, every single day. I don’t know why that still surprises me. I could be tooling around, doing the same thing I’ve always done and BAM! something hits me.

Glass chunks. Experimenting for upcoming jewelry collection.

As you know, I’ve gone through a business rebranding this year. Along with that I’ve tried to really hone in on what it is that I’m trying to accomplish. I came up with the name Quirky&Odd because I’ve always been a little quirky, my work has never really been mainstream, and I wanted to stand more in my truth.

Laying out glass pieces in preparation for forming in the kiln.

What I’d realized this week was that I hadn’t been standing in my truth. I was still designing based on a model that doesn’t fit me; one where I consider the market in a way that doesn’t ring clear with me. Don’t get me wrong…I want to make some amazing stuff that y’all will love, that’s for sure!

I think this “issue” is one that separates one type of artist from another. I’m realizing that I’m in the camp of artists that need to create based on what is in them, as opposed to designing with what customers will buy, in mind.

It’s a conundrum. Of course you want to sell your work, and of course you want to make what people love. On the other hand, trying to figure out what people like is not an easy task–at least not for me. I find that people love my work more when I’m creating what I want to create. That’s the quirky stuff. The one-of-a-kind stuff. The “Wow, this is different, I haven’t seen anything like this before” stuff. It’s also what feeds my soul.

Ready to be put though a 5 hour melting, annealing, and cooling process in my Paragon SC3 kiln. Do me proud, babies.

So, that’s where I am right now, and that’s where I’m heading. I’m getting back to listening to my materials and environment for where to proceed next. What to make next. What to explore further. Sometimes it takes me on a wild good chase that comes up empty, but I always learn something in the process. Sometimes it ends up being pure magic.

I’ve decided that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’ll be counting on my Inner Sanctum VIP-ers for their valued input!

NOTE: The pictures in this post are the start of me getting back to following what comes to me. This week, in a meditation I got an idea for a collection. I’ll reveal more as the experiments proceed and it starts to come together physically. I’m really excited about it, and I hope you will be, too.

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The Distracted Jewelry Maker

I have this thing I do when I have a deadline that is looming over me. I go down rabbit holes that lead me in directions I shouldn’t be going. Take for example, the moment that I realized I didn’t have enough little fused glass gems to make part of my Witching Hour Collection. I’d used a bunch of them up during the experimentation phase.

I had enough left for three pair of earrings, or dangles for six bracelets or necklaces. I needed quite a bit more than that. So, what did I do instead of planning how many I I’d actually need? I decided that I wanted to make a lot more than I needed because, you know, it’s more efficient to make 100 of something all at the same time than to make 10. But I didn’t stop there.

This is what they look like when they come out of the kiln. The thing is, only SOME of those could be used for the collection I was working on as they weren’t all the same color. As I was setting them up to go into the kiln I rationalized that I’d have a stash, and I’d use them at some point, even if it’s five years from now. It’s always good to have stuff on hand, right?

And, they sure are pretty, aren’t they? So I had to make more. I put in more hours, creating more little orange niblets. Hours that should have been spent actually making the pieces for the launch of the collection.

It was at this point that I realized that I’d been using up my favorite little melamine dishes, and that I needed to add another pack to my shopping list. I use them to keep all the little bits and pieces on my jewelry bench organized. I think I have a little ramekin addiction. These are not the only stacks I have of little bowls like this.

So, I finally got enough cabochons made to get some earring pairs out of the bunch. And I was really excited about those bullseye looking nuggets

But, alas, the soft glass gods were not kind to me AGAIN, when it came to orange glass. The picture below shows some cracking that occurred. This is mainly because orange glass, in the type of glass that I use, doesn’t always play nice with other kinds of glass, and these rods have orange, clear, and white glass that are incompatible in this kiln fusing technique.

They would have made some really cool pieces. The one good thing about glass that cracks is that it can’t leave the studio. When it is particularly scrumptious to look at I get to keep them. So, these are now attached to my wall with a little museum putty, just hangin’ out for my viewing enjoyment.

I did get The Witching Hour Collection completed on time, and it launched August 20. It will be live until the end of October, or until the inventory sells out.

 

 

 

 

No-Work Weekend Jewelry Making

I'll be making jewelry on the weekends...

...but it won't be for sale.

I can’t believe I just typed that. Being a working artist, everything is always for sale, isn’t it? Well, I learned the hard way that that’s the fastest way to take something that you love and turn it into a j.o.b., which leads to b.o., I mean, burn out.

On top of that, if you’re like me, when you’re not making stuff to sell, you’re always thinking about new ways to sell it.

You may rationalize with yourself and say, “But really, I *do* like doing it all.” And I wouldn’t argue with you. I love being immersed and as passionate just as much as the next guy, and it’s all good…until it isn’t. It creeps up on you and once you get to that point, it’s H-E-double-hockey-sticks getting out of it.

So, this weekend, I proactively said no more. Or in the wise words of Beverly Hills Chihuahua: NO MAS!

I declared a no-work weekend.

I argued with myself over this, and whined a little, “But I looooove making jewelry…I don’t want to stop on the weekends.” So, I came up with a compromise I could live with.

I recently took a class with Cynthia Toops, the master of the polymer clay micromosaic. Y’all know I love me some micromosaics. Did you know I used to do polymer clay? Yep. Back in the day that was my first bead making and selling gig, before I got into glass. I feel like I’ve come full circle.

Anyway…spending time making something that someone else taught me will guarantee that I won’t turn it into a product line. Why? Because that’s just damn tacky. Cynthia is right when she says that the technique isn’t hard, it just takes a lot of time. Just how I like it.

I had this setting laying around from a failed glass stone setting attempt so I used it for my second polymer clay micro mosaic. The one below is the first one I made, in class, with another bezel that had a snafu with the stone I was going to set.

So, Friday came and I thought, I need to get a bezel made for my no-work jewelry making weekend! I’d spent a lot of the week working on designing an upcoming collection and I didn’t have it in me to toil with more. So, if it’s not dots I’m falling back on, it’s eyes, of course.

I liked the setting I’d already worked on so I set out to create one that was similar.

I realized that the method I use for creating the decoration around the edge is also mosaic-like. At this point I’m thinking I can probably relate anything in life to something to do with mosaics. Art mirrors life. Or the other way around?

I like it. I think it’s going to be a good one.

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