The past week I've had to put the studio on hold. My poor husband came down with a horrible stomach bug that wiped him out for a good portion of the week. While trying to be a good care giver I decided I'd also better focus my attention to the neglected household. I've been cleaning the house for the past week (It was pretty bad. Beyond embarrassing.) By now, I've gotten the house pretty much cleaned up. There is just a little bit of organizing to do in the office and spare bedroom. Once those are done, I'll be tackling the overwhelming basement (and garage if it doesn't get too cold).
I've made the decision to be more aware of the condition of the house. Mike and I are trying to figure out how to change our lifestyle so we are able to keep up with daily chores better. It makes such a huge difference in my mood and motivation when everything is in it's place.
I'm hoping that once the house is all organized I'll be more motivated to work in the studio. I need to find a balance between my husband, work, house and studio time. I've got to figure out a way to maintain my energy.
The past three weeks have been very tough for me. Before Mike got sick, I didn't have an ounce of energy to do anything. I had such a hard time getting out of bed, and staying out of it. Work was difficult, studio time didn't exist, and poor Mike would come home from work and all I'd want to do is go to bed. I think it was just the onset of the fall like weather that drained me. Now that I feel like myself again I need to make the most of it and figure out how to get back on track.
WARNING: Before you feel any sort of pity or shame for my pup in his Halloween costume, it is important for you to know that my little Milo LOVES dressing up. He gets excited when I take out one of his many outfits. So, without pity, please enjoy these obscenely cute images of my shark dog.
My biggest order of metal yet has finally come in! I ordered a boat load of argentium silver sheet, wire and tubing for a bunch of projects I'm working on. But what I'm really excited about is the copper and brass that i ordered for acid etching. I have so much that I want to do! I also ordered some 24gauge copper to play around with. I want to do some fold forming, and then enamel it using the torch firing techniques. I can't wait to get going! There's not enough time or energy for my big plans!
WOW! I can't believe how fast October is going by! I was thinking about my upcoming show with the perception that I had at least two more weeks to work on stuff. My sister-in-law, who is also participating just informed me that it is THIS week! I guess there will be some things that won't get done, but I'm prepared enough for the show without them.
The show I'm doing is a holiday sale at Fisher-Price. We set up a table and chit-chat with designers and engineers all day as they pass by. It's a one day event, and not open to the public, but it is great advertising, as many of the employees frequent the other local shows in town throughout the year.
I did this Christmas sale last year as my first show. Since then I've done two outdoor shows, and two indoor shows. I feel like I've come a long way! I hope to do many more next year. This year was filled with weddings and other events that prevented me from applying to more.
Monday's studio day was spent at the Dr.'s office, and at the blood clinic having my blood drawn. I had some routine blood work done that almost killed me! OK, yes I'm exaggerating. I didn't almost die, but I DID almost pass out. I've never passed out in my life, but I got so worked up about having my blood taken that I started shaking and feeling dizzy... couldn't feel my limbs except that they were cold, and my abdomen was on fire. I started dripping with sweat. When my vision started closing in and blurring, the nurse made the decision to take the needle out to let the life back into me.
After a 20 minute breather, the color had mostly returned to my face and she was able to stick me again to finish the job. This time she moved me to a chair that reclined so I was able to lay down. I was calm throughout the session, and didn't want to make a big deal of anything, but I still felt so silly that my fear of needles is a little unreasonable.
I was able to give her the 9 vials she needed to complete the tests requested. But after that, I went straight to bed. What would I ever do if I had to give blood all of the time? I guess I'd get used to it, but boy I don't think that would be easy. I started thinking about all of those individuals who need to give blood on a regular basis, or those who need dialysis. God, how can I be so afraid? I felt pretty ashamed.
I left the clinic that day not thinking much of my test results. I went on with my week at work.
Yesterday happened to be another studio day. I started out my day with a phone call from the Dr.'s office. My tests came back, and my vitamin B12 levels were abnormally low. I thought "no big deal, I'll take a supplement". But the nurse went on to explain that I can't take a pill to get my levels up because I lack the ability to absorb B12 during digestion. I listened on to hear her say that I will need to have my doses regularly injected for life. daily at first, weekly and then Monthly. I would have to learn to give myself shots, or have my husband learn how to inject me.
I was in a little bit of shock. I've always been pretty healthy, and to say that there is a part of my body not functioning was very scary. I'm not opposed to medication, in fact, I do take regular prescriptions daily. But the thought of having to inject medication into my arm was very unnerving.
That afternoon, Mike and I went to visit with the nurse so she could show us how to start the medication right away. I'm so lucky to have Mike. He was a huge comfort, and the fact that he was calm along with the nurse made me think that "hey, this isn't a big deal". My body isn't able to do something... but we can work with it.
I am tired frequently, I'm being treated for depression, and my memory has been so bad lately. I blamed my tiredness and my lack of memory on the medications that I have been taking for my depression. I started to feel so much better that these traits that I have (including bouts of depression), are not traits at all. They are symptoms. All symptoms that are being caused, or made worse by my lack of B12.
Instead of feeling scared and in shock, I started feeling good! Good that I am able to do something about how I feel. My treatments, however scary they initially seemed, I realize are no big deal. I got through the first injection just fine! Mike did a great job. I didn't even feel it! Now all I have to do is be thankful. I realize how lucky I am to be able to maintain good health.
I'm playing in the studio with my "signature pieces", for lack of a better term. I'm taking the components for my knot earrings and stringing them to figure out a way to create a collar style necklace.
So far, this layout seems to be catching my eye. Two little knot bodies per wire at varying lengths. I have a long way to go, but I'm excited about taking the knot series to a different level!
The jewelry store that I manage is getting a new website shortly, and all of our inventory needs to be photographed so it can be put online. Sooooo, my boss had me order a photo tent so we can have professional pictures taken.
Here's the fun part. Once the photos are taken for the website, there's not much room in the store to keep this mammoth tent set up. He told me I could take the whole getup home and use it for my own jewelry! How cool is that?!
Below is the old booth that I was using (well, actually, this is the one my professor uses, mine is a little bit more primitive). While it took some pretty decent pictures, I'm really looking forward to seeing what the new booth can do. So far the images taken for work look pretty impressive! I could see the oil smudge from my finger prints in perfect focus on a ring I photographed! The lighting that came with the tent is great and the tent does a wonderful job of diffusing hot spots!
This is the first of many collaborations between my sister-in-law and I. Inspired by Monet's paintings at Giverny, we created this piece from sterling silver, rhyolite rainforest jasper, pearls and sun stone.
I fabricated the silver pieces and set the pearls into them, and Erika laid out the components and assembled the necklace.
I'm so pleased with the way this first piece turned out. We've already got the plan for our second design. The next design is inspired by Georges Seurat.
Today was day one of the 2009 JEMKohl memorial fishing tournament. This annual tournament was started by my husband to remember his late mother. Every year, we gather some friends to go fishing (this year is going to be a two day tourney). The rules always vary. We usually come up with a new point system to determine the winner of the tournament... biggest fish, most fish, most species of fish.
This year, due to the tournament being two days long, we kept it simple and decided that the winner would just have to catch the biggest salmon- since it is salmon season after all.
So far, Mike is in the lead with a 20 lb salmon. He caught two salmon today. Our friend Sue and I each caught one steelhead. Both were beautifully colored fish!
We all enjoyed a relaxing day on the Niagara river with captain Frank Campbell. If you are ever in Western New York visiting Niagara Falls, be sure to book a fishing trip with Captain Frank. He's great company, and an expert guide. Check out the website that my husband Mike and our friends Garrett and Sue created for him! www.niagaracharter.com
I love what I do and I'm very passionate about it. I love every part of the creative process for the most part. And I really enjoy seeing what other people in my field are doing with their own creative processes.
The ONLY downside to having a home studio would be the lack of interaction I have with other metalsmiths and jewelry artists. I often miss the creative banter that I used to have between my classmates/professors and I when I was in college.
One way I remedy this is to keep a blog list of the many artists in my field. I read fellow artist's blogs from around the world, keeping track of the projects they're working on. It is such a wonderful tool for interacting. Right now I follow 150 other artists of many different skill levels. How do I follow 150 artists? I read my blog list every morning and every night. Approximately 10-15 short blogs per sitting. Most people don't post on a daily basis so it is pretty easy to keep up with every one's blogs.
I consider these people to be my co-workers, and in some cases friends. People working towards a similar goal. Some might view them as competitors, but I don't see it that way. The only way I can improve as an artist is to have some sort of insight on what other people are doing with their craft. It is very important that I stay connected with the design world.
Of course you already know that this is what a blog list is for, but I'd like point out the blogs that I read. If you read and enjoy my blog, please take a look at my blog list and skim through the other artists that I enjoy reading about. If you have suggestions for more blogs that i don't currently follow please let me know! I'm always looking!
Thanks for reading my blog- but moreover thanks for posting. I'm very appreciative for your company in the studio.
On top of the many other things I'm working on in the studio right now, I am getting ready to do a batch of etched pieces. I've got all my designs drawn and ready to be printed on transfer paper. I'm planning on documenting the process for an etching tutorial.
Last year I blogged about a beautiful labradorite that I picked out to give to my Grandmother for her birthday. Well, her birthday came and went and I didn't get a chance to make a setting for the stone. This year, Grandma was on the top of my list and after a long wait she got her Labradorite.
I picked a blue heron to put on the back of her pendant because Grandma and Grandpa used to give us the heron report from her vacations to Florida. "We counted 6 blue herons on the way down and 10 on the way back!"
Yup, I'm looking for giveaway advice. I think I've mustered up the courage to do my very first jewelry giveaway. I don't know what piece/ pieces, or how to even get started with something like this. If anyone has any advice, I'd greatly appreciate it.
I was thinking of something that could combine twitter, facebook, blogs and my Etsy site...is that just too ridiculous? Or would it be manageable since they're linked? I want to reach as many people as possible...
So this is what I'd need to know: Where do you post info? How long is a reasonable amount of time to let people enter my contest? What should I have them do to enter? Maybe post a link to their blog/ FB or Twitter Accounts in an attempt to help advertise my work? How do I keep track of who did what? And most importantly, how do I decide who wins? Pick a name out of a hat?
If you have experience, or ideas, please let me know, and then keep posted so you can enter my FIRST GIVEAWAY! YEEE!
I normally don't do custom work because of my limited time in the studio, but I just had to make a trade with my sister-in-law for some of her beautiful labordorite earrings that she makes. I wanted a special gift for my Grandma, and she wanted a special gift for a good friend of hers, so I agreed, and here I go!
I'm making a pendant with an elephant on the back with this beautiful stone. It's some sort of jasper...but I forget what kind. (It's one of the millions of jaspers out there). Anyway, It's getting started today, I'll post the end product when I'm done.
I've been so busy this summer that i haven't been able to post the new work i had done for the shows I was in. I entered three shows before the wedding and here are the pieces that i finished for them.
Above is my pinwheel series. Oxidized and textured copper and sterling silver.
These earrings are part of my knot series. They're the dangle version of my knot studs. I had some beautiful pendants that i sold before I was able to photograph. More to come!
My split pea soup studs are just tiny burnished circles of sterling silver with little curved and oxidized semi-circles soldered to them. Very delicate, and hardly 1/4 of an inch in diameter.