I just became a member of Etsy Metal, and one of the challenges that they promote is to blog about a given subject each month. This month's subject is "Create an inspirational 20 things to do to kick start creativity." So, here are my 20!
1. Keep communication lines open. Talk to creative people and bounce ideas off of them. 2. Always be on the lookout for good design. Whether it is jewelry, architecture, furniture, etc. If you like something enough, take a picture and archive it. 3.Participate in activities that challenge you to think creatively. Join a club like Etsy Metal, SNAG, Crafthaus, or something as simple as reading and writing blogs on the subject. 4. Take an "inspirational walk" get some fresh air. Get your legs and arms moving. This will help get your brain moving as well. 5. Meditate. Close your eyes and picture yourself working in your space. I do this every chance I get. It's like counting sheep for me when I can't sleep. 6. Subscribe to inspirational magazines. Metalsmith, Craft, Jewelry Artist. 7. Seek out new books. Sign up for an account with Amazon and type in books that you own. They will recommend similar publications for you to check out. BE A BOOK STALKER! Search the wish lists of artists you admire and see what they are asking for. This is a great way to find inspirational publications! (No one has to know). 8.Be a blog stalker! Find out what blogs your favorite artists are bookmarking. 9.Be an Etsy stalker! Find out what shops your favorite artists are "hearting".... you get the idea? 10.Participate in challenges. Etsy metal offers daily, weekly, monthly project challenges. Art Jeweler is always asking for sketch submissions. Participate in as much as you can. 11.Make models. 12. Give yourself plenty of "play time" with your materials. Sometimes the best designs happen when you have no clue what you're doing. Let the materials guide your decisions. 13. Make your workspace comfortable. Take time to clean it if you can't stand clutter. Find music that offers the best working mood for you. 14. Sometimes just sitting at your bench will help kick start motivation. When you don't feel like working, force yourself to just sit in your space. 15. Remove distractions. I've learned to keep my laptop out of my studio if I need to get serious work done. Turn your phone off if you have to as well. 16.Take workshops whenever possible! I know they are expensive, but save up, and deduct the expenses! 17. Make friends with colleges and universities that offer metalsmithing and jewelry design courses. Friend them on FaceBook. Go to their art openings. See if they have guest lectures/ workshops open to the public. 19. Force yourself to learn a new technique. This opens up more design possibilities for you and will increase your knowledge and skills. 20.SKETCH! This is a big one that I need to practice more. Draw every idea that comes to mind. Even the bad ones, and never throw out a notebook! As you grow as a metalsmith, sometimes ideas from old sketches will "click" later on. A good design that was previously beyond your skill level could now be a piece of cake to produce.
If you like my ideas, check out the other participants of the blog carnival to see what they have to say!
Stenciling technique with opaque enamels and painting technique with acrylic enamels. This sample is still in progress.
Champlave with transparent enamels. The transparents burned a bit because my design had too many small areas. This resulted in a golden brown color in all of the "tight" spots. It actually looks very pretty on this piece.
This hasn't been cleaned up properly yet, but my Mom spent the day in the studio with me last night and she made a color sample for our opaque enamels. We'll be doing one next week for all of our transparent enamels.
I wish I had new jewelry to post every day, but I don't. So instead, I'll post my intentions with these little post-it notes I just discovered. Kind of makes list making fun. Also shows how much of a dork I can be :).
Lark Books is asking jewelry designers to submit a proposal for 30 minute rings! This is a great opportunity to get your work published. Check out their website for more information. The deadline is March 19th.
I opened my email this morning to find that I have been accepted into the group Etsy Metal! I am really excited to become a part of this talented team of serious metalsmiths. I hope to get a lot out of the group, and contribute as much as I can as well. Yeay me!
My hard drive crashed over the weekend and I haven't been able to post anything. I'm waiting for my applications to get re-installed to my new hard drive and in the meantime don't have any pictures to post of what I'm working on. Hopefully I'll be able to get my information off of my old hard drive.
Since I can't post about jewelry, enjoy this picture of my beautiful sister. She just got a new hair cut, and I think she looks absolutely stunning! Check out her blog to read more about her and to see her wonderful photography.
As a result of purchasing my enameling kiln, I decided I'd like to brush up on some techniques that I've learned. I started doing some research on classes and workshops available in my area. I thought I'd find a handful of options offered throughout the year. Instead, I found one. One workshop in western New York for the entire year. And it's THIS weekend.
At first I thought it would be impossible to attend with no money saved up. And then I contacted the coordinator of the event. She was able to work with me on the price, along with allowing me to make several installments to pay for the weekend.
The workshop is three days long, and will be offered by the Oatka School of Glass in Batavia, New York. It will be taught by enamelist Katharine S. Wood. Her work is published in the book "The Art of Fine Enameling". She has been working with enamels for over 20 years. She does all types of enameling, however, she specializes in the technique called champleve'. This combines acid etching and enameling. Both are my current focus.
I cant wait! I am certain that this workshop will help me to improve my skills, expand my knowledge of enameling, and give me great inspiration and motivation to move forward with my work!
I'm planning out my 2010 show schedule. I work at my "real job" four days a week and will be taking one class (3 hrs twice a week). My class runs from the end of January to the beginning of May. I am starting to wonder, how many shows should I do?
I will have approximately two-three days/ week to work on jewelry (plus evenings, but I shouldn't depend on them). If I stretch my show season from May to November- what would be a reasonable amount of shows to do? I'm thinking two shows a month will keep me very busy, yet still allow me to enjoy my summer a bit.
How many shows do you do a year? What kind of schedule do you have as far as studio time goes? And how much inventory do you plan to have for each show?
It's 1:00 AM and I'm still awake. My kiln came today! As excited as I am, I'm terrified to set it up. I'm not good with directions, and a kiln is something I should really know how to use before I use it. Right? So I decided to get up in the middle of the night to read through the packet that accompanied the beast. I feel better.
Now I realize that I'm missing some essential tools that I need to actually do the enameling. A firing fork, a trivet stand, spatula, sifters that work (my homemade ones are really inefficient.) So instead of easing my mind back to sleep, I now have to do a search for the missing puzzle pieces. I've gone this far, I can't procrastinate now because I'm missing some odds and ends.
A fellow blogger, Margaux Lang makes a list at the beginning of each year recapping all of things she had accomplished during the previous year. I thought this was a great idea and so I'm going to make a list of all mine. 2009 was a unique year and many things happened that were life changing. I hope this list inspires you to think about all of the things you have accomplished in the past year. And let it inspire you to make goals for the next year!
I got accepted into the Lark Books publication "30 Minute Earrings"
built an indoor show booth
built an outdoor show booth
showed in 100 American Craftsmen (one of the most prestigious shows in our area...as my very first show!)
showed in the Roycroft Summer Festival
showed at the Corn Hill Summer Festival
made the jewelry for my bridesmaids
showed at the Fisher Price Craft Show
showed at the Shorewood country club
showed at my first home jewelry party
managed the jewelry store solo.
produced work for Moonstruck Design
added work to my Etsy shop
held my first giveaway
finally finished a beautiful pendant for my dear Grandmother that had been in the works for over a year.
made some larger pieces of jewelry in my spare time
collaborated with my sister-in-law on a large necklace
regularly kept an online journal of my jewelry progress
I am going back to school! I finally have the gumption to finish my degree. I'm so excited and ready to tie up my loose ends!
This semester I enrolled in a 3D design course in Rhino CAD. This program will allow me to design and create 3 dimentional images on my computer. I am a little intimidated by the whole concept, but also very confident that it will help me with my rendering skills. Even if I don't use the program after the course I believe it will allow me to visualize my jewelry sketches in 3D better.
It's also that time of year when applications for summer craft festivals are due. I'm knee deep in forms and paperwork. I'm getting my schedule organized for the year and I'm very excited about what this year will hold.
I have both an indoor and outdoor booth now, and so this year all I've got to worry about is inventory! With my enameling kiln in the mail and a heap of metal waiting to be transformed, I'm ready to get started!
Has it really been over a month and a half since I last blogged?! I guess so!
Well, if anyone has been wondering what I've been up to, this is it.
My sister-in-law and I did two holiday shows together. The first one was pretty uneventful for both of us, but the second one was wonderful! We did a private jewelry party for a friend and it ended up being very successful for us. On top of that, it was a lot of fun!
After the shows, I tried to focus on my full time job and life at home. It was my first married Christmas with my husband! We enjoyed a lazy holiday break together and got around to cleaning out some more of our cluttered basement. We've got a long way to go, but made great progress.
I cleaned out my studio, got a small amount of work done....and then I did it. I finally ordered an enameling kiln! I'm so excited to start experimenting with it! I took an enameling class in college, and fell in love with it. I hope I get plenty of use out of this investment! The image below is the model I ordered.