Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On being present (and letting go of a few things...)

Life moves so quickly. Suddenly, that week you thought you had to do x, y, and z is gone.
I can't really remember when time didn't move so fast, though. Time has always been a strange thing for me--one week often feels like two or three. Perhaps it is based on how much I experience/do/absorb in that time period.

I have been thinking a lot lately about simplifying. On my days off work, I have a hard time motivating because it feels like there is so much to do. The garden, the house, the studio are all calling my name. I have taken to writing lists for myself again. Schedules. It may seem silly but it simplifies things for me.

That, and getting rid of clutter. Not just personal belongings, but things like social media. I wonder, who is out there? Who is paying attention? Why am I spending my time on this? Reflecting back to my senior year, I remember one of our presenters telling us "Find your outlet, and just focus on that." For him, it was instagram. And it worked for him! With social media, there's this weird pressure to have our names/presence in every space. Facebook, twitter, blogs, flickr, instagram, etc. etc. In the back of my mind, I have been mulling over this (I do that, a lot). Where do I want to be seen? What do I want to spend my time on? What do I want to be known for? Do I really want to spend my time searching for and posting interesting articles that have nothing to do with me? Not necessarily.

So...I'm taking a step back from a few things. I'm refocusing. Twitter is the first to go--it's good for me catching up on news and such, but it's not really where I want to "be." I love facebook for its social aspect, and to be honest I have actually found a lot of opportunities through it (AND I've met some amazing people). I don't know how much time I'll really be spending on it going forward though. Flickr is interesting but has already fallen to the backburner.

What I want to put out to the world is images, and words. I want to show you what I'm making--and be known for it. I want to "talk" to you (whoever "you" is) and write. I'm not a writer per se, but I have always explored through words. Now that time is so precious, I want to make it quality time. It's all about prioritizing, my dears. What do you prioritize?

As for what I have actually been doing with my time....
At the top, you'll see an image of some new explorations. I was trying to create a hollow form for a special project--at first I played in paper clay (I am definitely not a ceramicist), then moved on to sheet metal, and finally to this lighter version in wire.

I am making a few things to have at Silverado Portland soon--earrings galore! Exploring ideas old and new, and playing with my signature shape. Above are Spirit Earrings at their beginnings.

Explorations with my signature shape.

 And, exciting news--my dear friend Eddie Miranda has been joining me in the studio lately for some collaborations! Eddie is a woodworker and luthier, but has some experience in metalsmithing. It's been so nice having someone else to share the space with.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Endings and Beginnings

Whew! I tell you, it has been a time. The past two months have seen some big changes in my life. I have been working 6-7 day weeks for two months straight, and by last week, my ability to filter or process much was just gone. I was exhausted. Luckily, I was also dog-sitting so I was able to get some much-needed alone/quiet time in the evenings.

I have finally retired from nannying. That was probably the most major change. I have been with the same family for 9 years. Almost an entire decade! When people ask if I want kids, I kind of laugh and say, "Nope, I've already raised kids." I love those kids like nothing else, and when I made the decision to leave, I nearly had a panic attack. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity I was given. Now that things have settled, I can schedule some time with them!

I also left my post at OCAC as Studio Manager. I thought my new job was going to be part time, and that I could handle both jobs...not so. I ended up working full time almost right away, and barely made it through May in one piece.

Which brings me to the new beginning--you are now looking at the Assistant Manager at Silverado Portland, a jewelry store in Bridgeport Village. I am loving my new job. It's fun, it's fast paced (most of the time), we have really lovely customers, and I get to sell jewelry without worrying about making it. Plus, we represent some great artists. Perk: I get to wear different jewelry every day. I am in charge of their website, social media, marketing, and am also working on repairs and custom pieces (I'll be starting a very exciting one this next week!). Soon, I will have more balance as well, and can really truly get back into my studio.

In the meantime, I have been sneaking in some studio time to finish my piece for The Contemporary Jewelry Exchange (I can't wait to show you!!!) and have discovered some fun things along the way. I'll post pictures soon.

Yesterday and today were my first weekend in two months. I definitely felt the effects of exhaustion this morning--spacey, tired, unable to focus. But I had a date at the spa, and spent a bunch of time in the garden, and felt much, much better. Back to work tomorrow!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Ups and Downs

Life has been full of ups and downs lately. There are so many transitions lately that all I can do is stick my elbows out and get carried along with the flow.

I got a new job at a jewelry store--it's very fun, eclectic, and my co-workers are wonderful.

I finally, finally, retired from nannying. When I got the new job, and realized this was going to happen, I had awful awful nightmares.

I am still having nightmares. But I figure it's all part of the process.

My body needs extra care lately. Some very real repercussions are taking place whenever I eat something I'm not supposed to (wheat, alcohol, coffee, sugar, etc.). It's scary and I'm doing the best I can to tweak my diet and be good. I am even sipping bone broth as I write this.

Today was my first day off work in 3 weeks (hello, transition period!) and I took myself to the art museum to see the Italian Fashion exhibition. It was wonderful and made me want to look further into my great aunt's life--she was a contessa in Vicenza during WWII and after. I am so curious about her life. I am blessed to have some of her belongings, including two scarves from Dior with little notes written on them by him.

I read my friend's suicide note. It didn't answer any questions and really threw me off for a few days. I have to work very hard, every day, to keep a healthy frame of mind about her suicide.

Our collaboration pieces are going to travel far and wide! I am so grateful.

Due to the current state of teaching at universities in America, I have postponed my going to grad school indefinitely. I still want to...someday. But with the state of things, I just can't justify the debt when the job prospects are so dismal.

Like I said, this is a seriously transitional time. It is kind of strange, but I'm just going with the flow as best I am able.

Oh, and Amber is limping. And falling. She can barely jump--I'm hoping it's just arthritis but we'll see.

I can't wait to get back into the studio tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I have some new and wonderful wares in the Etsy Shop! Head over to check them out and be on the lookout for more, coming soon....

Friday, March 20, 2015


Life has been a whirlwind of events. It's like one of those beautiful, blustery days in the Gorge--wind coming at you in all directions, blowing this way and that, followed by moments of calm. On those windiest of days, those moments of calm are a true blessing.

So has been life. After working for months on the Co:Operation Garnish pieces, followed directly by preparing for a craft fair, I have been blessed by two weeks of quietude. Two weeks that I have enjoyed silence, yoga, running, and the beautiful sunlight that has been gracing the Northwest.

Yesterday (Thursdays always seem to be my day to do these things), I ventured out with a girlfriend to the Smith Bybee Wetlands in North Portland. We wandered the paths and wetlands, commenting on the cutest teeniest birds, and gawking at the gorgeous Blue Herons that flew past.

New pieces are in the works, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you! 

It has been a beautiful time. Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Next Weekend....

....You can find me and my jewelry at the Buckman Art Show and Sell! I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finally, peace....

 Holding, Capturing, Containing, Keeping.
Sterling Silver, Patina

Holding, Capturing, Containing, Keeping.
Sterling Silver, Patina

Holding, Capturing, Containing, Keeping is both a necklace and a brooch.  It references mourning jewelry from the Victorian era, as well as vials that were made to hold tears in historical times. It is intended to capture and hold tears of those mourning. The shape of the locket is taken directly from Sonya’s “signature” shape in her jewelry.

As a pendant, the locket hangs at about belly height, and can be held comfortably in the hands. As a brooch, it can be pinned close to the heart. This piece was directly inspired by discussions between the artists, as well as a quote by Sonya, “already I can see that the neck would be an ideal expression point.  Close to the heart, hidden…I also think the hands will be important. Holding, capturing, containing, keeping. Trading. Exchanging.”

The Rise and Fall
Brass, Halite, Tencel

The Rise and Fall
Brass, Halite, Tencel
The Rise and Fall honors Sonya’s fascination with ancient Roman jewelry, as well as my love of abstraction. The brass references what would have been gold in Roman times, and the blue of the Tencel thread invokes ideas of royalty. The three stones are Halite—a salt mineral—which represent the value of salt in ancient Roman times.

 This is a necklace for royalty, with stones as precious as diamonds sitting front and center. Empires, particularly the Roman Empire, rose and fell according to how salt was traded, who had what, and their trade routes. The necklace has a significant weight to it, and is clasped at one side with a sizeable hook. The halite are naturally fairly clear stones, so the golden color of the brass shines through them.
All photos by David Woody Photography