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.
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.
(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.)