Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Autumn Musings

Photo courtesy of Ken Thomas

I've never seen so many goldfinches in my yard as I have this year. Right outside my back door is a large stand of purple coneflowers that have gone to seed and they obviously love, love, love eating them. I counted between 15 and 20, some hanging upside down feasting on the little black seeds. When I go out the back door there's a flurry of yellowish feathers (they're starting to wear their winter plumage) and they fly off to enjoy the next course in their meal of the thistle and wild sunflowers across the driveway. Their sweet "beep beep" voices make me smile every time.

Today was a day to knock things off my steadily growing to-do list. I got some car maintenance done that was over due, and got my flu shot. (I'm always a little amazed that they can shoot some goo into my arm and I won't get sick this year.) Then I went to our new Michaels store and did the WalMart frenzy with all the other crazy people. All done, home and unloaded before the cold rain set in.   

I spent part of the day yesterday taking photos of some more finished jewelry. Here's a few samples:

My furnace has been coming on and it's a day for long pants, long sleeves and socks. The leaves are starting to change and will be at their peak in another couple of weeks. Frost can't be too far away.  I'm feeling a little achy from the flu shot so I think I'll make some soup and hit my pillow early tonight.

I hope you're enjoying the cooler Fall weather where you are. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Plodding Along

Sometimes life goes smoothly, thank God! That's where I am right now, and I'm grateful for the ordinary-ness and the mundane. No deadlines and plenty of inventory so upcoming shows aren't daunting. In fact, I have a show this coming Saturday and I'm really not freaked out by it at all. I'm ready. The only thing I'm a little freaked out about is loading up my car for the show because there are still several black snakes living in my shed, where all my show equipment is stored. I don't like to go in there and especially don't like to move things around that snakes might be hiding in or behind. And there are no galleries breathing down my neck wanting work. No stress. Ahhhh.....

Monday night was the second week of the Metal Clay class. I've only got four students, which is both good and bad. Good because it makes class very easy on me and everyone gets a lot of personal attention. Bad because my pay check is smaller, but a small check is better than none at all. The last session was cancelled because only one person enrolled. Jim, who teaches the fabrication jewelry class, said his class is small this time also. We used to over flow into each other's classes. If mine was full, the registrar would suggest that they take Jim's class, and vice-versa. Anyone out there have an opinion about why enrollement is down, other than the pat answer of "the economy"? Are there any other Metal Clay teachers out there experiencing the same thing?

Since the University still doesn't have a kiln I can use for my class, I have to bring student projects home and fire them in my kiln each week. ("The economy" again - University spending is restricted.) Between classes I've been making a few pieces to add to the kiln load, but I have nothing hanging over me. My only deadline is to get the kiln fired each week before class on Monday night. And I'll have to do it again the following week, so if I don't get a piece ready to fire this week it's no big deal. It's nice to be able to take my time and think about every step, to try out something new and to just let the creativity flow. Below are a few things that I've managed to complete. You might recognize them from this post.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Give Away Winner

This is what the sky looked like early this morning. The light was so beautiful and these photos don't do justice for the sight of it in person.

It's time to announce the give away winner.... It's ANDY! I've never had a man win one of my jewelry give aways before, but there's always a first time for everything. So, Andy, please contact me (email address on the right side bar) to let me know what bead color, thread color and length you'd like. Or, assuming that this will actually be for your lovely wife, have her contact me. Congratulations! Here's to men's liberation! And thanks to everyone who commented. I love knowing that somebody actually reads this thing.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Great News and Another Give Away!

Do you remember a post from over a month ago, when I was contacted by a new gallery asking to buy my work wholesale? After much soul searching I finally figured out what to sell them and how to do it and, when contacted, they said they "had enough jewelry"? "Maybe later." I was a little miffed. (Well, more than a little...) Well...
In my email this afternoon was a purchase order. A very big purchase order!
And now that it's a done deal, I can reveal that the gallery is the Rivercross Market in Valle Crucis, N.C. And it's part of the Mast General Store empire. Their original store (built in 1882) is next door to the gallery and they also have stores in Boone, Asheville, Waynesville and Hendersonville in NC, and also Knoxville, TN and Greenville, SC. They also have a thriving online business. Click here to read their history. Its really rather interesting. I like the part about the Post Office changing locations between the Mast Store (Democrats) and the Farthing Store (Republicans), depending on who won the election.
Original Mast General Store, Valle Crucis, NC

But Wait! There's More!

I thought that the class I teach, Jewelry Making with Metal Clay, would be cancelled for the second time in a row due to low enrollment. It's scheduled to start next Monday. I had already told the administrator that it wasn't worth my time to teach the class for only two students. She forgot to close the registration...And...


So, now it's back on and she's leaving registration open over the weekend, so maybe I'll have even more students.

So, I guess the stars are moving back into alignment and things are starting to move forward again. You just can't imagine how grateful and excited I am! To show my gratitude, I'm repeating the give away of another knotted necklace similar to this one:

All you have to do to win is leave a comment on this post. You'll have three decisions to make if you win: 1) bead color: purple, red, light green, steel, amber, blue, black or aqua  2) thread color: black or white and 3)length" 16, 18 or 20 inches. The one in the photo above is the blue on white.  Be sure your name appears on your comment. The winner will be chosen next Tuesday, September 14, so comment away! Thank you for all your positive support and good luck! I'm off to fill a large order...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Morning

I awoke today to fantastic light streaming through my bedroom window onto this orchid that's been in bloom for over a month.

And through this Rex Begonia, highlighting the veins and turning their dark red leaves a lovely pink.

I've decided to give myself a holiday today. People who work a normal 9 to 5 job get holidays quite often, but to me it's usually just another work day. I stayed in my PJs all morning, drank coffee, cooked myself a nice breakfast and watched Sunday Morning on CBS. It's my favorite news-magazine type show that features plenty of stories about art and music and always a humorous segment or two. The segment at the end that shows a video from nature is always too short. Today they featured the watercolorist Mary Whyte from South Carolina, who preserves vanishing ways of life on canvas. Also a story about South By South West (SXSW), the music festival in Austin, Texas where many musicians can get a leg up into the big time.

The rest of the day is yet unplanned. I like it that way! Happy Labor Day to everyone.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Hint of Fall

See what several hours in the studio over the last several days can produce? Another kiln load ready to fire! Things have calmed down and it feels good to finally get some work done. A few more days like these and I'll be caught up. And no more accidents! (She said as she knocks on wood.)

This is just the first step, of course. After the firing, brushing, tumbling, patina-ing (is that a word?) and polishing then there's the actual making of the jewelry. Some of these in the photo above are toggle clasps that will be put onto beaded necklaces, some are earring parts, and all need to be completed, inventoried, photographed and THEN maybe I can list some in my Etsy Shop, re-stock some galleries and have enough for upcoming shows. It's all about the process, Baby!

This comes when the garden is winding down, which is good. Frankly, I'm tired of watering and pulling weeds. It will soon be time to cut everything down and cover the garden with a blanket of new mulch so it can sleep for the winter. There have been some chilly mornings already. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. a couple of days ago because I'd left the windows open and my furnace (set on 50 degrees) kicked on. I'm definitely not looking forward to a winter like the last one, but I'm ready for the change of seasons. The Goldfinches love the seeds from these purple cone flowers. I'll let them have a few before cutting them down.

It's a gorgeous day today. Cool and breezy - perfect for hanging sheets on the solar clothes dryer. I'm going to sleep good tonight, after another day in the studio.