Monday, April 20, 2009

The missing link

You know, I know that I'm an exceedingly lucky person. I love what I do, and I love where I do it. Even after living in Alaska for 14 1/2 years, I am still facinated by its utter difference from Georgia, where I grew up, and I know there are few other places in the world where I might encounter lynx or bears or moose on my own property. The Aurora Borealis still stops me in my tracks — freezing or not — and the Midnight Sun still gives me a huge energy boost.

Of all the "jobs" I've had — from newspaper reporting to state government work to selling office furniture to providing respite care for elders — making jewelry is what I choose to do for the rest of my life. I can't imagine ever growing tired of it or disliking it or wanting to give it up.

Still, I sometimes feel there's something missing.

And this year, I've finally realized what that missing link is. It's you!

I spend almost all my time alone, which does suit me. I like quiet — or I like cranking up the Talking Heads or B52s on the stereo. (Egads, I just dated myself. Most of you will have no clue who those bands are.)

You've heard the phrase "spark of creativity." Well, it's hard to create a spark in a vacuum.

At the new year, I decided I wanted to break out of my shell a little bit and work on developing new relationships. And like magic, as soon as I made the decision, opportunities began coming my way. (The blog has helped a lot.)

I'm thrilled to have made new connections with people who've bought my jewelry, with people who've admired my jewelry, with other artists and artisans. I've got a great email correspondence going with a couple of you, I've spoken with several of you on the telephone, and I've met more than a handful of you for coffee and conversation. One of you generously offered to help me make a banner for the blog (which is progressing beautifully), and someone else is considering photographing my jewelry on live models.

And to a person, you have inspired me. You've given me new ideas and suggestions, you've asked me for a special piece for a special occasion, you've shared your reactions to my work and even pushed me to try something different. Every time I meet one of you — whether in person or by email or on the phone — I come away with renewed energy, eager to get to the bench and make something new.

Thank you!

This Saturday (the 25th) I hope I'll meet lots more of you at the Spring Break-Up Bazaar on Eielson Air Force Base. If you're in Fairbanks, it might seem like a long way to drive, but hey: It's gorgeous out there, and all of us artists are finally stirring from the winter doldrums, brimming with enthusiasm and creative spark. Please stop by my booth and say hello!

If you're nowhere near Eielson, how about Homer or Denali or Anchorage? I recently sent a small shipment to Fireweed Gallery; I'm working on the first order of the season for the Magic Carpet at Denali (opening in mid-May); and I'll be sending a package off to Portfolio in Anchorage next week (after a bit of a hiatus, so this is particularly exciting).

If you're nowhere near Alaska, I've got some ideas percolating in my head that should come to fruition after the bazaar, and I'll be taking photos and writing about them here. You can always get in touch if you see something you like. Please do! Because I've just realized how much I need you all.

Here's a hint of one of the new things: A couple of weeks ago I picked up a book on metal embossing techniques, and I was so enchanted with it that I started looking on-line for some embossing tools. I almost decided not to fiddle with it because the new tools seemed expensive, but how's this for serendipity: I found a set of antique Japanese (I think) embossing tools in a lovely case on eBay and got them for a song. Here they are:

After this week, I hope I'll have time to play with them. My ideas about how to incorporate embossing into my jewelry are a bit hazy at the moment, but the seeds are there, and I can't wait to see what blossoms.

Happy Spring!

(P.S. Wow... It's been a month since I posted, and I have a lot more to share. So next time, look for an update on my purchases for the Stone Soup Challenge, plus a couple of new designs.)


  1. Congratulations on finding such a wonderful treasure! Indeed a serendipitous, magnificent manifestation! I can't wait to see what beautiful creations your new toy will inspire!

  2. Oh it is sooo nice to see a new post from you. I still have to answer your email. Sorry been so busy on this end. I am very honored to be one of the people to have had the chance to have coffee(which we need to plan again). Your jewelry and your enthusiasm for the love of your work inspires me to keep on going with mine and adding more skills under my belt.

    Congratulations on your jewelry heading to different places around Alaska. I will have to check it out when we travel around this summer.

    I hope the sunshine is giving you energy to create. HUGS!

    Thank you for also being an inspiration to us.

  3. Thanks, Bobbie! It felt like magic when I found the set. It's gonna be fun!

    Abby, I so enjoyed our coffee/chai chat. I'll be in touch; we'll do it again really soon.