I’m resting… again. You may remember that my feet and legs have been giving me trouble since Metal Retreat – swelling, hurting, and just generally being uncooperative with the whole notion of being mobile. Last week I had the first of two procedures to correct some circulatory issues and yesterday I had the second. They’re straightforward but because of my fibromyalgia, they are also much more painful than I was expecting. For this week, I’ve cleared the decks so I can give myself the time I need at home to rest and deal with the pain without engaging any anxiety about other deadlines. My pastor did a sermon yesterday about the importance of making space, which was timely. So I am unapologetically making space even though there is plenty going on.
If you want to catch up with Roadhouse goings on, you can check out our update from yesterday. We are going to have some HUGE announcements soon, and I am beyond excited about it – and shortly after Thanksgiving, we’ll actually be set up to start working in the studios. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to working in that space! (I’m going to be in the far left corner – with three of those darling little windows! Squee!)
I also have a post up over at Art Jewelry Elements today about some of the storage solutions I used for Metal Retreat. I am an unabashed fan of the AWP line of tool bags and totes – hopefully, you aren’t hearing about their products for the first time! If this is your first introduction, though, you won’t be sorry – high quality, low prices, just in time for Christmas!
In amongst everything else, I have managed to squeeze in a few working sessions, including a full day of studio work with my friend Kimmy in honor of her birthday. Here’s the piece I made at her studio – a gorgeous Blue Biggs Montana jasper cab I’ve had in my stash for years, cut by the always awesome Robert Segrest.
It still needs to be patina’d, but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it once or twice. (Kimmy needs to post pictures of her piece – a stunning Red Creek Jasper cab in shades of creamy green with burnt orange and deep brown highlights. Gorgeous.)
So what about you? What have you been up to?
So, as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been so crazy busy that I missed the announcement from my Art Jewelry Elements peeps that the reveal date for this month’s Component of the Month had been pushed up a day. I had an initial moment of panic and scrambled trying to figure out how I could get caught up – but then I threw up my hands and just accepted the fact that I was going to be a day late with my contribution. It is what it is.
This month, Kristi Bowman-Gruel gave us these stunning copper ammonite focals to work with.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Kristi in person and seeing a little of her work process during this year’s Metal Retreat so I know how much thought and care and work goes into making them.
Several of the folks who participated in this month’s Component challenge got very creative about how they used these focals – in particular, I was really impressed with Jen Cameron’s brooch. But I knew I wanted a bracelet and I knew it needed to be chunky to balance the size of Kristi’s focal. Here’s what I came up with.
My studio is packed up at the moment, getting ready to move to the new location (and YES I AM EXCITED ABOUT THAT!!), so this wasn’t an easy project. I kept wishing for something I couldn’t find. But thankfully my beads and chain haven’t been packed up yet, so I was able to pull out the perfect blue stoneware bead and a pretty opalescent Czech glass bead for the dangle.
I added some jump rings in two sizes to the bottom of the stoneware bead just for movement and interest. I dug out some of the sari silk that my Bead Soup Blog Party partner, Michelle, sent me (she’s a participant this month too!) – the color matches the patina on this focal almost exactly and I like the way its texture plays off the focal’s texture. I added lengths of copper rolo chain in two sizes.
I also went with an asymmetrical design, which is really unusual for me. I think part of it was that I can’t find my heavy gauge copper wire, so I had to come up with some way to connect all the elements to the focal. I twisted 20 gauge wire and created twisted jump rings – the three on the open side will hold the clasp eventually.
I tried several different clasps on this bracelet and didn’t like any of them. When my heavy wire shows up, I think I’ll do an embellished S clasp which will have enough visual heft to match the rest of the bracelet. Other than the clasp, I am delighted with how this turned out!
Don’t miss the rest of the participants – there’s some very cool stuff to see, so head over to the AJE site for the full list.
In all the busyness of getting ready for the Roadhouse Arts announcement, I completely missed the communication from my Art Jewelry Elements partners that the Component of the Month reveal had been moved up to today. So, my entry won’t be up until tomorrow and I hope you’ll come back and check it out then.
In the meantime, don’t miss the other entries for the month – they’re really terrific!
So, I’ve been hinting all summer and into the fall that I had big news coming up… and technically, the announcement here was supposed to be yesterday, but the last week has been… well, “insane” is probably the perfect word.
So is “busy.” Because it’s been busy.
More than six months ago, I signed up for a class with the incomparable Richard Salley, towards whom I have had an artistic infatuation for several years. That class was this past weekend and to heck with “busy” or “insane” or whatever, because there was NO WAY I was missing the class.
And it was worth every minute. As enamored as I have been of Richard and his work, I was completely blindsided by the deep personal and artistic connection I made with his assistant and teaching partner, Jessica Jordan (aka Rosy Revolver). She’s special, and will be part of my life forever – both personally and as an artist.
I promise to write more about the workshop soon, but it isn’t the big news so it will have to wait.
The big news is….
… OK, first some context.
Almost two years ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Gail Stouffer of Wired Designs Studios. (Thanks Kate McKinnon!) She became a mentor to me, and has been responsible for significant growth in both my personal and artistic lives, especially after I began to work for her as an instructor at Wired. Being at Wired has been a hugely satisfying thing for me, and her guidance, support and encouragement has been a big deal.
Well, earlier this summer, she and her business partner made the difficult decision to close Wired after 10 years. It wasn’t that things were going poorly – they weren’t – but they owned another business that was taking up a lot of their time and focus, and frankly the effort required to keep up the retail side of things at Wired took time and energy that Gail really wanted to invest in teaching and creating. Shortly after making the decision, she was introduced to an old building that seemed nearly perfect for the kind of studio gallery she wanted to launch – and she approached me about joining her and her friend Lisa Meyer in the endeavor.
I said yes.
We open officially in mid-January, with our grand opening scheduled for February 7. It’s going to become the primary studio workspace for the three of us, which is exciting from a collaborative and creative energy perspective, and we’ll be offering regional artists the opportunity to have their work in our gallery on a co-op consignment basis. The big thing, though, will be the teaching – we’re broadening the workshops to embrace more than just metal and glass, and we couldn’t be more excited. No retail, no product promotion, just teaching and making.
The last few months have been about finalizing our business and marketing plans, trying to craft a thoughtful workshop schedule for the first half of 2014, and taking care of the all the administrative minutiae that accompanies a venture like this: website, business licenses, space renovations, setting up the books… busy. Insane. Exciting. Hard. All of the above. (And a big thanks to our husbands, who have been doing extraordinary work to get the space ready for us! They all rock!!)
So, the big news: I’m partnering with two good friends and amazing artists to open a working art studio and gallery. Nick and I are all in – we don’t have many resources at this stage in our lives and the last number of years have been hard. But we believe this is what we’re meant to do and so we’re doing it. We’re nearly ready to put the house on the market – shooting for just after the first of the year – and we’re beginning to reorganize our lives to be smaller and more focused on the things that make the best use of…. us. Our own best and highest good use.
I owe a huge apology and thank you to my partners over at the Art Jewelry Elements blog for having been so MIA all summer – they’ve been generous and kind and supportive beyond anything I deserve. In fact, I had a post due this morning, but the new Roadhouse site went down last night just before we were getting ready to send out our announcement by e-mail and I was up until after midnight fixing the stuff I screwed up. Their grace and friendship are humbling and I’m incredibly grateful to be part of the team. A huge thanks also to Daniel Espinoza of Grow Development and Life With a Mission, my friend and church brother, who is endlessly patient with my technical questions about web development and generous with his time and resources when I inevitably press the wrong button and send things out into the ether that I really needed to stay put. His good humor has saved my sanity during the last week.
That’s it. Big changes. Exciting changes. An art studio.
There is just so much going on I hardly know where to start. A lot of my studio is still packed up from Metal Retreat – finding time to put it all back together has been challenging. I’ve been working and teaching at Wired Designs as usual (had a really fun group for a beginning enameling class last night!) and gearing up to help with church budgeting for next year. Then there’s the top secret project, which has taken up enormous amounts of time. I will finally be able to share it with you on Monday, October 21st – I’m EXTREMELY excited about it, and eager to share the details. It’s been hard to keep it a secret all this time!
And I’ve been deep in the throes of planning classes for next year, which has been both a lot of fun and a little scary, since I’m going to stretch myself and go beyond the beginning classes that have been my bread and butter to more intermediate work. Among other things, I really want to put together an intermediate enameling class involving foils and wet-packing, so I’m set up to test some projects that are both kiln- and torch-fired that are WAY out of my usual box. As part of the process, I’ve been searching out inspiration on ye olde interwebs and thought I’d share some eye-candy today that is keeping me pumped up and inspired.
I love the texture of these – I can’t be sure, but I think it’s three or four transparent colors layered over textured foil. So pretty!
Seriously beautiful. I love the large holes and the incredible detail. Barbara Minor is one of those exceptional artists whose work I could just sit and look at for hours.
I am fascinated by this piece – among other things, she used aluminum foil to get that depth and texture! Not sure if it’s special aluminum foil or just the stuff from the kitchen, but I think the results are gorgeous. More research is definitely in the works!
I have a major, major artist crush on Ruth Ball. If I ever get the chance to take one of her workshops, you can bet I’ll take advantage of it. Her work is so interesting to me, and I love that she’s constantly experimenting with new things. Here’s a shot of my all-time favorite series of her work:
Aren’t they stunning? I love everything about them – the bails, the small details, the colors.
I love Anne Havel’s work, and I am fascinated by the use of graphite pencil and etching in enamels, which she does a lot of. She also uses organic materials to back her pieces, which is so unusual, and I love her delicate prong settings.
Of course, nothing I put together is going to come anywhere close to these luscious pieces but it is so inspiring to look at them that I keep going back for more!
So that’s what I’ve been up to – lots of planning and experimenting, and getting ready for the coming year. I’m also still dealing with a swollen foot that is stubbornly refusing to give up a good reason why it’s still a problem – a battery of tests and an MRI show that I should be just fine. Frustrating, but I’m determined not to be overwhelmed by it.
What about you? As the weather gets cooler (thank the good Lord!!) what sorts of things are you working on?