As I go through the box I can see her hand writing, I can see her organization, I can see the quality of everything that she purchased to put into her work.
The last thing I pulled out of the box was a soldering block that she used to carve out special soldering projects. I can still hear her voice in my ear as she taught me how to form hinges using this very type of block.
Years ago, when I cleaned out my mother's home, the only thing that made it OK for her was seeing me pack the back of my pickup truck with all of her crafting 'things'. Everything went from her home to my studio. Now, the things of Judith are with me as well. I've already told my friend Susan that when I go, it's her job to distribute my studio. Until then, to Judith and her family, I am honored to have these precious things with me.
3am found me redesigning jewelry in my head to the point that I got up and went to the the sofa to read my mindless novel. I have written earlier about revamping my entire approach and it's starting to come together bit by bit, but continues to be overwhelming. A new page is entered on the website, another is deleted; a new earring is made and I realize it is a completely different look and feel to my work.
What does a LINE of jewelry look like? After so many years of building piece by piece it is interesting to develop something that looks and feels cohesive. A unit that incorporates and theme throughout. I finally feel like some of the missing parts are coming together in my mind's eye - which is probably why I'm waking up in the middle of the night.
Until it all comes together it's a lot of coffee and a little less sleep. But I' excited to feel the 'click' that happens when it all becomes clear. Until the click - it is all a mystery to you and to me!
The lawn is open at Bryant Park and that deserves a moment of appreciation before I head into the studio.
I opened my email this morning and received a message from and artist in the UK who shared some of the trials she was experiencing at her bench across the pond. It was so nice to be able to step back and help her with some of the things that I had recently managed to figure out.
One of her concerns was trying to take on something for a client that she didn't feel very comfortable with, but she didn't feel like she could pass up the opportunity to take on the challenge.
We are artists and if you are a person 'of an age' you probably don't have the luxury of being in a classroom environment for four years to learn your craft from a professor of one sort or another. We are following our path of discovery and it attracts interest and if we're lucky, admiration and before you know it we are working with clients to help them have something beautiful.
My recommendation - just be honest! We can't be expected to be everything to everyone and all we can do is our own personal best. There is probably not a person out there that looks at a piece of my work harder than I do myself. We are our own worst critics. But it is our love of perfection that makes our pieces worth having. We care and it shows in our work. We notice the smallest of things so that you can put something on and experience all of the concentration and care that has gone into your piece along the way.
Our journey is an honest and open one and that is all we can offer and all we need to offer.
ps - there was ONE person that looked at my work harder than anyone else and she taught me how to see. She passed from this plane this year but Judith Foster was an artisan extraordinaire. It was all good and well until Judith put those damn visors down. We miss you every day.......
- into an unfamiliar, round hole and honest to god, switching the way you think can cause great fatigue, frustration and that dreaded F word FEAR! I'm old enough to know that all of those things are needed if you want to get out of your comfort zone.
What is that place of comfort for me? "Oh that's pretty :) Maybe someone will like it."
That's been really good for me for the last few years because every time I created something I learned so much of the nuts and bolts of the craftsmanship of my jewelry.
Place of discomfort? "I'm building a business." A business is something that will help sustain my life as I want to live it. With that goal comes planning jewelry that can be produced in a timely fashion, designs that will appeal to a larger market, and an artist who can have a day off every now and then. Wouldn't that be lovely?
and then his head falls off.
Back to Mr. Owl - having completed one successfully the task at hand is to replicate it and get a realistic idea of cost and time. Had him all ready to go and was doing some finetuning and pop! Head and body are now two.
Little progress in that regard but took the afternoon to spend it with my best friend from high school snd her charming husband. We met in third grade and she embraced me in my new school and we remained best friend all the way through graduation. It was a beautiful day on the boardwalk in LIC and it was exactly where I needed to be.
Just one of the fabulous (NOT) nights.
Sleep decided it wasn't going to cooperate so at 3:47AM I started waking up and looking at the clock. Went to the living room couch with my book, that didn't help. Went back to bed, that helped a little. But with an early morning, sometimes you're able to squeeze out a little art before you start your two show day at the theatre.
On my bench yesterday I had just gotten the Tourmaline for my new little friend - Mr. Owl. I had drilled and prepped the holes yesterday so that's what I put up to finish. When my bestie Susan saw it at work today she started oooooing and ahhhhhing and explained to her visiting parents, - Sandy doesn't do cute. And she's right! My pieces are usually more dramatic but at the same time more subtle than this little guy. He's been so much fun having on my bench that I might have to make him some friends. He'll be on his way to his new owner soon but here he is along with some production shots.
I've got a few things I'm working on today. I'm putting some beautiful Tourmaline 2.5mm gemstones into the eyes of a little owl that I have fallen in love with. I'm also doing some carving to finalize the size for some pendants that I'm making. But what I'm doing RIGHT NOW is trying to get my head around revamping my website. Shifting things around and starting a new direction. It was so long ago that I built this site that I've forgotten how it's all done. So I thought the best way to get my feet wet was to at least put in a new blog post.
Why the new direction? Sustainability! For several years now I have been working off ideas that clients have provided as well as pieces that I have dreamed up as a result of learning new techniques. This year it is about building a new footprint for my business. I am fine-tuning my work and pulling in the reins a little as tonwhat my look is. I am sure I will still have miscellaneous pieces that are wim and fancy but hopefully I will be working toward something that I can sustain and that can sustain me.
In truth, I am working on finding my way out of the basements of Broadway Theatres! Wish me luck!
I started my journey into jewelry making in 2005 while I was working in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, an area inundated with amazing artisans. I started with glass, which led to silver, which led to inlay, which led to joy.