Monday, November 5, 2012

Why Do I Make Jewelry?

It's that time of month again... The Etsy Metal Blog Carnival!

This month's question is "Why Do I Make Jewelry?"

I have a BFA in sculpture and did metal sculpture and some jewelry in college, a long long time ago.    
But, I've made art all my life. I've made lots and lots of different art... printmaking, calligraphy, sign painting, clay, silk painting, metal sculpture, photography, drawing, ... 
I don't really think I have a choice, I have to make something.

So about 10 years ago I ventured back into working with metal and enamels and making jewelry. And I felt like I had come home. I absorbed everything I read and learned in workshops and it stuck. It was as if I already knew all of this stuff, I had just forgotten. 

It was different than making something to hang on a wall. Jewelry is more alive: it moves; it's 3-dimensional; it's noisy; you are allowed to touch it, as a matter of fact you have to touch it. I have a hard time going to a museum or a gallery to look at paintings and sculpture and not being allowed to touch them... I do it anyway!

 The other thing that appeals to my ADD nature, is that just about any art that you can do, you can do on jewelry, like painting, drawing, calligraphy, small sculpture, photography... so I feel like I'm not missing out on anything.

Why do other Etsy Metal members make jewelry?

 Cynthia Del Giudice 
 Laura Jane Bouton
 Beth Cyr 
Peculiar Forest 
Tosca Terán 
Mary Anne Karren
My Precious Studio
 Deborah Lee Taylor
Anne Walker
Andrea Ring 
Gracebourne Design  
 Danielle Miller 
 Inbar Bareket 
 Abella Blue 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival

Topic: "Back to School?"

Fall has arrived, are you taking any classes or workshops? Metal/jewelry related or other: Is there a new technique you've learned recently?
Do you have children that are in school, what grade, what kind of school and how does it affect your routine/schedule?

Well, my kids are all back to school, college that is. I have 3 boys and they are all in college, I'm pretty sure they will graduate at some point!! The oldest is at San Francisco State studying communications & film, the middle one is at Long Beach State studying art, and the youngest is at Cabrillo College studying math & physics. They don't really affect my routine much except when they need money!

I went to a lecture of Betty Helen Longhi and bought a delrin anticlastic stake and another hammer.

And I've been spending a lot of time trying to learn CSS & HTML, so much that my brain feels like it is going to burst!

See What Other Etsy Metal members have been doing:

Monday, September 3, 2012

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival ~ September 2, 2012 "Pets"

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival
Topic: "Pets"

Please share your pets with us! Pictures, stories, new pets, old pets, dogs, cats, ants, anything that has ever lived in your house that wasn't human, be they friend or foe!

Right now I have 2 Australian cattle dog mutts, Lucy and Sparky. They are the funniest dogs I have ever seen. They'll play tug-o-war and Lucy will lay on her side, dead weight, and Sparky will drag her around the house. 

Before Lucy & Sparky we had a chow/yellow lab mix named Chris. He was a great dog. The lab/chow mix had him a bit confused though. Chows don't like the water and labs love it, so when we would take him to the beach he'd want to go in the water, but he'd only go in up to his doggie knees. It was a sad day when he died at age 13.

I have 3 sons, so we've done the pet circuit... we've had parakeets – Shim 1, 2, and 3. My son didn't know how to tell if they were male or female, so he took the 'sh' from she, and the 'im' from him = 'Shim." And we've had hamsters, bunnies, goldfish, and a giant 7' iguana named Noddy. That was interesting. He kept attacking one of my sons. And their poop is like giant bird poop.

On the uninvited side, we've had ants, rats, gophers, raccoons, possums, moths, spiders, skeeter eaters, mosquitoes, blue jays, sparrows, and an occasional squirrel.

If you would like to learn about the pets of other Etsy Metal Team members, check out their blogs here:
  1. Laney (silentgoddess) -
  2. Beth Cyr -
  3. 2Roses -
  4. Erin Austin -
  5. Rebecca Bogan -
  6. Victoria Takahashi/Experimetal -

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"What In The World Are You You Doing?"

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival
Topic: "What In The World Are You You Doing?" 

What is a blog carnival?..... It is EtsyMetal members who write an article on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. 

It feels like I've been walking through molasses. It feels like I haven't gotten anything done. BUT...

I had to figure out how to update my website. I had built it with iWeb and then got a new computer, and iWeb wasn't on it. It is obsolete. 

Well, about a year ago, I bought DreamWeaver4 and then immediately avoided using it. I knew there would be a big learning curve. There was. My son had built several websites using DreamWeaver and he said he'd help me. Of course, he doesn't live here, so his help was through a few phone calls. BUT I started using it, and I was getting it. 

Then one day, my son calls me up and says, 'Hey, check out my website!" I said did you use DreamWeaver? He said no. He used Weebly, a free website builder. (Also the site that Mary Lu Wason had told me about a month ago.) I asked him why he didn't use DreamWeaver and he said it was too time consuming, Weebly was really easy. So I had to let go of the fact that I had paid a lot of money for DreamWeaver and go check out Weebly. He was right, it was super easy! So go check out my website... right now. Don't forget to take the poll of the month. I was totally obsessed with  creating this website for about 4 days.

I submitted some pieces to the Charles Lewton Brain fold-forming competition. That took me a whole day. Why does everything take sooooo long to do?!

I'm planning a trip to AZ this week (actually when you read this I will be there or on my way home. I am driving from central CA with my oldest son and we will pick up my middle son in LA then drive to Phoenix to see my brother and his family. I'm guessing it will be really hot.

For the last 2 weeks, I have been going to the gym every day!!

I have been refining my Dangerous Vagina jewelry series.

By July 15, our Flickr TADA group will have our 3rd show up – 
Personal Legends : Physical Interpretations of Story and Myth

So I have been working on a couple of pieces for that.
Join us if you like!

I have been reading lots of books:

  • Imagine by Jonah Lehrer, about how creativity works. It's pretty interesting, I've blogged about it.
  • Deadly Harvest, by Geoff Bond an anthropological look at nutrition. Really really interesting!!
  • Cloisonné Enameling & Jewelry Making by Felicia Liban & Louise Mitchell written in 1980. It's a really good book with a lot of good info, not just about cloisonné.
  • Mediaeval Craftsmanship and the Modern Amateur by Newton Wethered, has some interesting stuff in it.
  • Scars Make Your Body More Interesting by Sherrill Jaffee I read this in the 70's, it's a collection of short stories. I'm not sure that it moves as much today, but I really like the title and am creating a line of jewelry based on the title.
  • Interview Magazine
  • Juxtapose Magazine
  • Metalsmith
I've also spent A LOT of time looking for things that keep disappearing.

I have been doing battle with the gophers in my garden. So far they are winning. 

Please check out what these other Etsy Metal members have been doing!
1. Laney -
victoria takahashi -

3. Miranda -
4. Beth Cyr -
5. Rebecca Bogan -

6. Anne Walker -
7. Erin Austin -
8.  Danielle Miller -

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More Imagining

So now I'm prepared not to like the rest of the book. I found something I didn't agree with. BUT you know, I kept reading and I'm liking it again!

I like all the stories he tells about the different companies and what they do to stay creative.

He talks about how brainstorming isn't really effective, because of the most important principle – the absence of criticism. You know, so everyone can contribute without feeling judges. The problem with that is that you have a group of people all shouting out every idea they can think of with no one ever saying things like, that might not work, or challenging or debating it in some way. 

He talks about how the only way to 'maximize group to encourage a candid discussion of mistakes (159.)" I don't think you need to be mean, but you should be able to have a discussion about what's good and what's bad. "...when everybody is 'right' –when all new ideas are equally useful, as in a brainstorming session – we stay within ourselves. There is no incentive to think about someone else's thoughts or embrace unfamiliar possibilities. And so the problem remains impossible. The absence of criticism has kept us all in the same place (161.)"

I know from my very own experience, when someone has told me that they didn't like something I made or thought I could have done it differently... I don't always like what they said in the moment. But I spend the rest of the day, in the back of my mind, thinking about it and trying to figure out how to do it better. So instead of them trying to be nice and saying that they like something when they don't, doesn't really help me. I want to do better and a lot of the time you have to be able to step out of yourself to see how that can be done. Sometimes being uncomfortable helps you to grow.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Imagine Chapter 3 – The Unconcealing

He starts to lose me a little bit in Chapter 3. I like the part where he reminds you that creativity is a verb. It's good to have that insight, but to turn that idea into something real takes a lot of sweat, boredom, failure, and a lot of work. I experience this almost every time I got to work in my shop. I start working, then I think of about 20 other 'really important' things I need to do... get the mail, pull some weeds, load the dishwasher, wash some clothes,... the list is endless and they do need to be done, but in this instance I am just using them as a distraction. I have the idea, but I don't really want to cut out all of these boring shapes int he hopes that I can construct them into something beautiful. BUT if I ignore the thoughts in my head and work through them, I get caught up in what I'm doing and start enjoying the process.

The part of Chapter 3 that I didn't like, didn't agree with... was the part where he investigates the link between negative moods and creativity. It comes down to the suffering artist syndrome. How really great artists are depressed and bi-polar. He shows studies that reflect that thinking. Well, I think that you can take any profession and find a good percentage of people that are bi-polar or depressed, not just artists. I've just heard this all my life about all these famous artists being so intensely disturbed. But I'm thinking that maybe all great artists are disturbed because the art critics and media that made them famous are the ones who are disturbed! 

So leave me a comment, do you think you have to be depressed or bi-polar or disturbed in order to make great art?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More To Imagine

So I'm on Chapter 2 Alpha Waves (Condition Blue) pages 25-43. This is only the first half of chapter 2, remember I'm taking this slowly!

     He mentions a few monumental creations and how they thought of them. The major one being the story about the guy who created masking tape. Oh, the things we take for granted! And then he talks about The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, better known as 3M. (Which is where the masking tape inventor worked, selling sandpaper.) This company currently sells more than 55,000 different products. They have developed a few essential things about creativity.

  1. Flexible attention policy – They don't insist on constant concentration for 8 hours a day, they encourage people to make time for activities that may seem unproductive, like taking a walk, lying down on a couch by a sunny window, daydream, play pinball...
  2. The 15% rule – 15% of the workday can be spent pursuing speculative new ideas. Only requirement is they have to share these ideas with their co-workers. Google also use this technique.
Basically, relaxation  or a relaxed state of mind helps us direct the spotlight of attention inward towards the right brain. When we are really focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, which keeps us from those insightful moments. It's like we have all these answers in us, we just need to listen.

I find I get a lot of insightful ideas when I just wake up in the morning and can just lay in bed for awhile. A lot of the time, I get so many ideas that they make get up out of bed without even thinking so I can go and get started on them – as long as I'm not too distracted along the way!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review – Imagine – Part 1

So my friend, Rebecca, recommended this book called Imagine by Jonah Lehrer, basically about the science of creativity. I'm only on page 19, but I love it! So I thought I'd read it slowly and blog about what I find interesting along the way.

     In chapter 1, Bob Dylan's Brain, he talks about how people have ideas and then all of a sudden they can't think about what to do next... creativity has left the house. 

     Lehrer talks about how creative journeys 'begin with a problem' which usually moves on to a feeling of frustration and just not being able to find the answer, you hit that brick wall. And you quit. I'm pretty familiar with this process! However, what we usually don't hear about is how this 'process'  this 'act of being stumped–is an essential part of the creative process.' It's like you have to completely give up, quit looking for the answer. And then all of a sudden the answer shows up.

     I've experienced this almost on a daily basis. I'll be talking with a friend... oh, did you see that movie the other night, you know the one with, uh, what's his name?
And I can't remember 'what's his name' at all, and the harder I try to remember his name, the more my brain blocks the process. Now this has happened often enough, that I know what to do. I stop trying to remember his name and move on. Then maybe 10 minutes or an hour or 3 hours later, completely out of nowhere, his name appears in my brain. Completely out of nowhere, did I say that already? It's as if I had been going through a file cabinet in my brain and it finally came across the right file.

     Well, Chapter 1, Bob Dylan's Brain, explains this phenomenon. And he goes as far as to show how it works, by using people, puzzles, fMRI's and EEG's.

     It comes from a burst of gamma rays and the discovery of "'neural correlate of insight' a small fold of tissue, located on the surface of the right hemisphere just above the ear, which becomes unusually active in the seconds before the epiphany."

     And that brings us up to page 19! Please leave a comment if you've experienced anything like this.

From the book, Imagine–How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Handmadeology has teamed up once again with to bring you Handmadeology’s second live auction! Here is your chance to get your handmade goods in front of hundreds of ready to buy buyers! Harness the power of the Handmadeology network and let us drive the buyers to you!
Handmadeology Mother’s Day Live Auction: May 5, 8pm EST

Monday, April 2, 2012

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival- Nobody's Perfect!

"Nobody's Perfect!"
Care to share a piece of your work that did not turn out quite as beautiful as you had planned?
Perhaps you have an interesting experience that went awry...
Do tell!

That’s hard to say too, because even when a piece doesn’t come out like I may have intended, or fell apart, or just looked weird, I still learned something from making it. But if I have to choose, I’d pick Ring A Day #37 (and hope that #37 doesn’t feel insulted!) I like it least because of the craftsmanship. (Let's not even talk about the crappy photo.) It was lumpy and not filed and sanded very well. However, it was also a turning point, because I started to realize that even if I’m making a quick ring or a simple ring, it should be done well. That’s when I started looking more closely at what I was doing and trying to work harder on the technical aspects. Not that everything I do comes out perfectly, but that I have that more as a goal now. Thank you #37. 

This piece is copper, forged, woven, enameled - 3" long by 2" wide
Well, I like this piece, but it really wasn't at all what I intended. I started out with a strip of copper with 2 rectangles on the ends and my plan was to forge the skinny part till it curved which I did and that was successful. But the ends were going to be parallel to each other and I was going to stamp a design on them and it was going to be a pendant. But... the piece was really too big. Also, when I forged it the rectangles curved into each other instead of being parallel. However they curved into each other enough to cut them into strips and weave them. But... next time I would make the strips longer and cut off the excess, because of the overlapping I ran out of length on the one side so I had to cut off one of the end strips. You can see that the right side only has 3 strips while the left has 4.

Check out how other Etsy Metal members answered this question:
1. Silentgoddess
2. Gracebourne
3. The Silver Pearl
4. 2Roses
5. Inbar Bareket
6. Anne Walker
7. Beth Cyr
8. wildflowerdesigns
9. Michele Grady Designs
10. TK Metal Arts

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival

What are the Pros and Cons of selling your jewelry online?

The pros are that I can stay at home.  I can work all day, I don't have to carry tons of stuff to some show and hope people will show up there and hope that they will be buying.  There is so much social media to promote online selling.

The cons are that there is a lot of competition online. It's a lot of work to promote yourself. You have to make the jewelry; take photos of it; get it on your computer and do any necessary photoshopping; then list it, which also means describing it, adding stories, prices, etc. You have to organize it so you remember what you listed and where. It's also hard to motivate yourself when you are home all day. And equally difficult to prioritize what you are doing. Some times I just want to watch movies! Of course, most of this also applies to selling my jewelry any where else too. 

Check out how other Etsy Metal members answered this question: