Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Story of Stone Upon Stone

Recently an earring design popped up on Etsy that, although constructed in a different material, and having a different look, had me a little distressed. Firstly, because they are quite close in overall design to one of my earrings and I worried that I had been copied. Then I actually got to worrying that that person would think that I copied them! This design has more significance for me than anything that I have worked on as of late, and I'd like to be clear about my original design and intent. (Here are my original pair of Stone Upon Stone earrings, first seen in my Nov. 26, 2008 blog post.)

2008 was one of the most momentous years of my life. My husband, an art teacher/ photographer, received a grant to do a documentary on the island of Saint Helena, in the South Atlantic Ocean. One of, if not the "the most remote inhabited island" on earth. Its location 1200 miles off the coast of Africa has not earned it this title but the fact that it does not have an airport and is only accessible by a five day journey by ship from Cape town, South Africa.

The project had been a dream, THE dream, of my husband's for over 4 years and then there we were...a family of five on the adventure of a lifetime.
More details to follow in another blog post at some point for now suffice to this was BIG deal.

We had an amazing summer! Cultural immersion, hiking ancient volcanic cliffs, tea with a master lace maker, volunteering at an archeological dig...every day was an education. Then just three hours before leaving the island, my two sons and I found ourselves in the path of a 350 ton rockfall. Miraculously no one was hurt. A life changing event at the end of a life changing summer.

(This photograph was taken from the approximate origin of the rockfall a week or so before the event occurred. Jamestown fills the deep valley below.)

As the post traumatic stress subsided over the next few weeks I became quite aware of the irony of it all. One of my biggest fears when getting to island WAS indeed to be in a rockfall. Obviously my fears were not unfounded. Several buildings, including the home of our friends, seen here, were heavily damaged but we all survived unscathed.

Survived, indeed, friendships were CEMENTED that day! And now my church here is the U.S. is BUILDING a relationship with the damaged church in Saint Helena by joining the Rockfall Relief effort.

Rocks thundering DOWN a hillside can be devasting but those same rocks can be used to build

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Valentine Posts

Valentine posts all lined up! I made just one pair of red earrings wondering what the response would be. (I was practicing some color blending really and decided to cut a pair of little square posts.) They sold within a couple days so I took the opportunity to do some more blending/layering and made a few more pairs. Oh, the little poppies came as an experiment at the very end...I like them!

I'm pleased - small shots of color, not quite a cliche as a red heart; great for Valentine's day and the rest of the year. They'll be posted to the Etsy shop over the next couple of days.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ornament translated.

More work in progress...

This design happened by chance. I had considered using a Christmas ornament design as a necklace. Reconsidered, thinking that I wouldn't like the end result. Then last week a customer (thank you Amanda) purchased the ornament saying she was going to wear it as a necklace! the necklace...and here is where I'm at with the design. The linen textured pieces are going to fall from a length of chain that will be connected to the bottom of the glass bead.

This necklace sits at my work table, approximately in this position while I ponder my next step. I work this way a lot. I tend to walk away from things for a day or more, working on something else while I think something through. I'm not sure that this is the most efficient method of working. Should I get into the habit of working a design through from beginning to end in my sketchbook FIRST? Perhaps then I could get going, straight away, and work all the way through on a piece. I fear that this work habit has developed due to the many "hats" I wear (homeschooling mom, housewife, artist...). I don't have large chunks of time that I just stay at one particular job and worry that my powers of concentration have atrophied.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Back to work...

After a brief (ever so BRIEF) pause for the Christmas holiday, I've gotten back to the studio. It was good to step away for several days. It also gave my husband a day to do a massive clean up in the studio space we share! He also made me custom "kiln" furniture from ceramic that greatly improves the reliability of my oven temperature without me standing right in front of it for 30 mins. Also, I was lax in ordering more supplies and a bit surprised by the number of sales in December and so I completely ran out of some things.

Well gosh, I sounds pretty pitiful. Can't clean my studio myself. Forgot to order supplies. I better show you what I am working on.

New bracelets! This is a antiqued, sterling plated 7" bracelet with polymer set in each bezel.

Another bracelet in progress, below. I bought a bunch of these glass beads from my local Potomac Bead Company and I think I'll be going back for more. They look like something that was removed from an archeological dig. I'm still undecided on the polymer accent bead.

These small earrings are a great way to work through new concepts in miniature. I practice inlay, layering, shading and creating texture while making tiny square and round posts. Thanks to soft morning sun, I was able to take a lot of photos this morning and these will all be posted within the next week or so.