Sunday, September 7, 2014

To reflect.

Running a shop is a lot of work. Fun work, rewarding work, trying work, but time-consuming work nonetheless. Which is why I've been away from writing for such a long stint.

Communicating with over 70 artists; seeking out new artists; accepting, pricing, documenting, displaying, and promoting their work; paying these talents, the landlord, the utility company, the phone company, and various local charities; fighting fundamentalist community members and the town council to repeal antiquated and offensive town business codes (a whole 'nuther story, but here's one article on the matter, and my letter to the editor); connecting with customers via emails and the Gathered website and Facebook page; organizing events; keeping the shop interior and window display fresh.

These are the things I do now. I'm in no way trying to make myself look good here. In fact I mostly probably look disheveled and a little crazy. But these are things I can proudly say I'm good at. However, my own personal time-- time to connect with my family and reflect and create and listen to Nature-- is a very precious commodity indeed. I now hold my time in the mornings when I walk our mountain to reconnect and recharge in my carefully cupped hands, close to my heart.

I've managed to eek out a few moments here and there at the shop when it gets quiet, usually in the dwindling hour before I close (such as now), to make a couple new pieces. They've been mostly direct customer requests, but I'm slowly getting back into replenishing my beadwork display at Gathered and making exactly what I feel like making.

Here are the most recent customer creations:

Equus Cuff, with its inspiration (a customer's rare breed horse)

Stormy Cuff in black & white (which I've made in bronze in the past)

And here is my most recent piece, finished just yesterday, for Gathered: 

 Luna Necklace in green

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Continuing on a theme

I've always been inspired by my natural surroundings, for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories of integrating myself with nature was convincing my sister that we were wild girls, with no home to call our own except the great outdoors. We would spend afternoons collecting rocks, leaves, flowers, and snail shells in a bucket to make Stew. We would decorate our Secret Place with strips of fabric, branches, and our favorite Anole lizard family. We would ride our trikes up and down the sidewalk with our sippy cups, confident that since we knew our neighbors by name, we could count on them to refill our water, should we ever get so desperate. Let me be clear-- none of this was ever because we felt neglect at home, let alone to the point of feeling the need to fend for ourselves in the wild. Quite the opposite; my parents have always showered my sister and me with love and freedom. But the idea of living outside and relying on Nature's elements gave me such a thrill, even then.

So, to continue on a theme of extracting inspiration from the natural world, here is my latest work:

You can see more of Basaltic Cuff on my Etsy site.

I'd say this cuff was directly influenced by one of my favorite memories of visiting the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in D.C. when I was a kid. My dad and I spent what seemed like hours (never long enough) in the Gem & Mineral section, me pointing out my favorites. To this day I still mourn the loss of my Rock Collection which went mysteriously missing during my family's move when I was fifteen. My husband and I have since worked up a pretty good collection to replace it, though.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Stellaris, Part Deux

Apparently getting turned down from an art show isn't stopping me from beading. Here's my latest work, finished today, inspired by the recent Stellaris Collar...

 If you're interested, you can see more about Stellaris Cuff in my shop.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Year, New Projects

First off, a very belated Happy (calendar) New Year! The holidays were a whirlwind for us, as usual, but we've settled back into our rituals here on the mountain: frozen walks, roasting sweet potatoes, keeping the wood stove ablaze. We've had so many snowfalls this winter, I've lost count! But I'm proud to say we've officially cut our fossil-fuel addiction (in the form of Electricity) in half, compared to last winter. We've heavily relied on our wood stove for heat, and we've been as conscious as possible to turning out lights when they're not in use. Also, our clothes dryer conveniently broke last fall. So although we've obtained an estate-sale-find, new-to-us dryer since then, we have yet to hook it up. Instead, we've been line-drying all our laundry for the past 4 months or so. It definitely takes more energy of the human persuasion, but waaaaay less of the ever-depleting oil-based kind.

While I'm awaiting news of acceptance (or rejection) to the Fine Arts Show I applied to at the end of last year, I'm trying to keep making new work. It's really hard to focus on beading recently, though, I must admit. I'm throwing myself into promoting and refreshing gathered, as well as its Facebook presence, and re-vamping our Immortal Mountain chocolate website & blog, which all sadly take a lot out of me.

Here is my latest creation, completed today:

See more views of Stellaris Collar necklace on my website.

Also, to celebrate this past winter solstice, Drew got me my first bow! I've been wanting desperately to learn archery for quite a few years now, and I finally can! To compliment my self-taught lessons, I've been reading Zen in the Art of Archery, which is really good so far, and watching a ton of redneck youtube videos.

And lastly, here's a photo the mother of the princesses sent me, wearing their crowns...