Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our Greatest Assets

Today was a fabulous day! I knew waking up today that I would be having company over, so I got out of bed extra early and cleaned up the disaster area which was my studio/office and the hair ball that was the rest of my house. I just love a clean house, but when I am in the midst of a busy streak, like I am right now, cleaning becomes a very low priority. My entire desk was nothing but a mess of stones, wire and plastic bags and I would just sit hunched over working on my lap, cursing because I kept dropping everything or sitting on my tools. But I just couldn't bear to spend the 15 it would have taken to just put things away. Some call this laziness, I call it an uncanny knack to focus solely on work and lunch. Naturally I would never let the outside world see that I am such a dirt ball so I clean for company. Cleaning for company is the best! I love entertaining as much as the bi-product which is the drive  and ability to clean your whole house in under an hour!

My reward was the company of two fellow artists. Talking to them was a treat that I do not often get. This little community I have found myself in is something I value so much! I have been working as a jewelry designer and a small business owner now for about 5 years, full time for the last two years solid, and in doing that I have so longed for the camaraderie that I have now found.

This past fall I had the opportunity to go back to the University of Evansville to speak to the senior art students.  I told them all, be confident in what you do and how you work because when you graduate, your artistic sounding board is essentially gone. It is something I wish someone told me when I was approaching ex-art studenthood (like adulthood...but not quite). It came as such a shock to me when it finally dawned on me that days were spent alone in one room with no one to talk to other than my dog...who is great to talk to but is not as skilled on giving feedback.

The full time, self employed artist is perhaps not as rare of a breed as it once was thanks to the surge of people coveting all that is handcrafted, but we do work in special circumstances that others do not. I was told by one of my artist friends this morning that when she was in art school artists were so competitive with one another. This, I am sure, is still very true in many ways and places but you can find people out there who are there to support you and you should find joy in supporting those artists right back. I am going to say this...I am going to put this out there for anyone who has perhaps not realized it yet, but for us artists.......OUR GREATEST ASSETS ARE EACH OTHER!

Thank you Melinda ( ) and Sarah ( for the inspiration, conversation and coffee talk this morning.

Friday, April 8, 2011

One Woman Show

I have spoken before about being a one woman show. Until recently I was simply musing on the challenges of being a working artist, now I write seeking support. For those out there running their own businesses perhaps you know the feeling.

Finding balance it not always easy. I am a jewelry designer. I am an accountant. I am a marketing director. I am in Public Relations and sales. I am a financial planner. I am a buyer. I am both boss and employee. I am a master of social networking and technology......ok with that I am a novice at best. I am simply a one woman show and I may be in need of a nap.

How does one find the time to do all of this in one day? I am at the computer for hours taking care of the business side of things while my bench sits waiting for me to come and create. I can't possible do one without the other but it just seems there are not enough hours in the day to do everything.

I feel unbalanced today. Even as I write this my hands are itching to use my tools, and to play with metal and fire. My brain is tired and my task list is still far from complete. If you are a one person show like myself, do you ever have days like this??

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wedded Bliss and NYC

I had mentioned in my last post about the wedding my husband and I attended in St. Augustine Florida. It was an Etsy lover's dream! Everything was handmade, if not by the artists about to get married, then by crafters of the Etsy community, including yours truly!

When the bride asked me to create something for her ladies to wear I knew I had to do something very special. This was not your typical wedding as the groom's men were wearing there sleeves rolled up, suspenders and floral bow ties, and the ladies were wearing navy blue dresses with cowboy/biker boots.

I decided to create a cuff for her bride's maids to wear. I created a 1" thick cuff frame from 16 gauge sterling silver and then did my signature wire work technique to create the actual cuff. I learned alot in making these and each one became better than the most new designs generally go. I am so pleased with these. They are now a feature in my etsy shop. Take a look! (

Just when I thought I was done traveling, a surprise opportunity to go to New York came up and I pounced on it. There were many reasons as to why I would drag my well traveled body onto a bus. Reason #1...I don't grow weary from travel, I live for it.  Reason#2...I love, love, love New York. This is not a crush, it is true love. Reason#3...Too many friends to count live there and I haven't seen many of them in years, if not a solid decade. And Reason#4...the most important of all of them was to see He Who Laughs, Live.

About 10 years ago, I was sitting in American history class, bored out of my mind. Lucky for me I was sitting in front of one of the most entertaining people of my acquaintance. A boy named Isaac. We passed the time passing notes back and forth and it was something I looked forward to each B day.

We attended a magnet school for the arts. While I was there dancing, Isaac was there for writing. I used to go to the coffee houses that the literary department would put on and was always mesmerized by my friend's talent. To say we haven't seen each other in almost 10 years seems totally crazy, but it is true. Thanks to facebook I feel like we haven't lost touch. We have messaged each other from time to time. I'm still up to date on what he is up to, and what he is up to is totally spectacular.

In 2008 Isaac, started his blog . His posts are beautifully written, brutally honest, often times poignant and laugh out loud funny. He Who Laughs is so different from what you would consider the normal blog. His posts are written as mini plays, sketches really. They cover the day to day life in New York, love, the pursuit of Jake Gyllenhaal, and of course one of the loves of my life...Starbucks. He writes inanimate objects and emotions as characters in his plays that he himself interacts with, which is a much more interesting way of writing about self discovery than anything I could ever write or have ever read.

He Who Laughs, Live had a very small cast of 6 and Isaac, who served appropriately as the narrator. The actors performed the scenes from Isaac's life and mind and the audience along for the ride. What a ride it was. He and the amazing cast took us all from tear jerking laughter to sober reality, all the while delivering jaw dropping honesty. The whole thing was beautiful.

About my friend Isaac there are many things I admire, but what I admire most, above all else, is his bravery. Not everyone can lay it all out there for all to read, see and experience as he does. His writing brings humor to things in life which often times are not so humorous. I would imagine that brings hope to some, and I know it brings joy many and I for one am thankful for his talent and for him.

Seeing him again after all these years was so awesome. I felt like writing him a little note and passing it to him quietly for old time sake but I couldn't juggle my glass of wine, pen and paper.