Where Does It Come From? Where Does It Go?

I haven’t posted any jewelry-related news in quite a while. There hasn’t been any jewelry-related news to post, it seems, in a very long time.

Early last fall I had production surge that grew out of an idea for a new collection of jewelry (mostly necklaces) and a sense of urgency about the impending holiday shopping season. During the first week of November I designed and produced more pieces of jewelry than I had made all year. Two weeks before Thanksgiving I should have been giving the new pieces to My Sweetheart for pictures that I could post in my Etsy shop, but I let one unexpected conversation sink the entire mission instead.

The conversation started with “oh, honey! You made all of this? This is really good! This should be in stores, honey!” which led to a light bulb moment of “my dear friend has a very successful (whateverkinda) business and she’s just expanded that to include a fabulous boutique, but she doesn’t have anything like this… She needs some of this, honey.” Without much contribution from my side, the matter of a consignment deal seemed to be all but settled in the final comments “when I talk to her tonight, honey, I will tell her that she needs to do this. It will be good for both of you. Don’t worry, she’ll listen to me. You’ll be in the store by Monday. Consider it done.”

Of course I didn’t consider it done… But I did consider it a possibility and I expected to meet this “dear friend” within a day or two to explore compatibility between her boutique and my jewelry. In the meantime, I realized that my jewelry was not “consignment-ready” and needed quite a bit of work to make it so. To that end, I halted production of new pieces and turned my attention to expanding my consignment agreement knowledge base, pricing my pieces for consignment and creating informative and branded packaging with detailed descriptions for each piece. I was so busy for the first few days that I was grateful that the shop owner hadn’t been able to schedule a meeting. Once I got a handle on situation, though, with real production momentum diverted, the pressure from the countdown to Black Friday threatened to squash me as I waited each day for the introduction.

I realized on Monday, two days before Thanksgiving (My Sweetheart and I celebrate the holiday on Wednesday, in honor of our Diggity Dog) that the introduction wasn’t coming. I realized on Tuesday that I couldn’t make up for the days lost and have my Etsy shop ready for the two most important days in the retail industry. I felt completely defeated by my own foolishness and I crowned that defeat by forfeiting the entire holiday season. Inspiration to make new pieces packed up and vacated, taking the motivation to post the pieces already made in tow. Even interest in traffic through my Etsy shop had absconded.

That’s where jewelry-related news slumped, fell and died. I haven’t had an inkling of inspiration toward making jewelry since November. I have tried to force the creative urge, but the only results produced by that force, so far, have manifested as doodles, drawings and sketches… (Zentangle, anyone?) None of them have had any relation to jewelry. So that’s been a bummer.

And then…

Today…

This happened, out of nowhere.



{Sidenote: I know, I know… The photos aren’t great, but one of my major downfalls is the idea that I have lodged in my head that tells me I can only post photos if they look (mostly) professional. Perfection is far too elusive for my spur-of-the-moment skillset, which means most of what I make never gets published. That mindset sucks and I am actively trying to defeat it.}

I don’t have any idea from where the inspiration for either of these bracelets (or the drive to build them) came to me, but it came on like gangbusters and I made them both in a single sitting this morning. I have a feeling that I will even manage to post them to Etsy soon.

Does your creativity go through dry spells? What does it take to quench your creative thirst and inspire you to continue (or resume) creating? I hope you will share in the comments.

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A Better Year

I often have long debates with myself about this blog. I am at odds with myself over what this blog really is about. Is it about my life and the seemingly constant shift in my own, personal purpose for being? Is it an artist’s blog about how I view my work and where I find inspiration? Inspiration and art is so much a part of my personal life that the two can’t be easily separated. So my feeling is that to share the art, I have to share the artist. That feeling leads to the inner debate over how much of the artist should I share? Where do I draw the line?This internal conflict have caused me to abandon many of the posts I have begun to write over the years and leave the entire blog apparently abandoned. Every time I abandon a post, the next post is harder to start, because I doubt the likelihood that I will actually publish. That sucks.

I guess the biggest hang-up I have regarding what not to post is the fact that in the time since I started this blog it seems as though my household has faced a barrage of tragic events with such small windows of reprieve that to write much about my life may come across as a bit, well… pathetic. And who wants to publish a personal pitty party? Not me.

But I have posted some of our past tragedies and have even put some of our shortcomings on public display. Each of these posts described obstacles faced in 2012.

The overwhelming magnitude of 2013 was so much greater than the prior year that I haven’t found a voice with which to express the catastrophic events we have endured. My pride has kept me from admitting that our own poor judgment and the fact that the most paralyzing of the losses were once again created by the few people we chose to allow into our very isolated lives. When my sweetheart and I were forced to be away from home for several months, the handful of people we believed could be trusted completely managed to deprive us of every last material thing we owned. We returned home to find there was no home, no contents of our home, no vehicles and the inventory of our shop had been stolen as well. By the end of the summer we were left with the clothes on our backs, our chihuahuas and eachother, plus a criminal police report that law enforcement refused to acknowledge because the thieves were people we knew. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, much less publish.

The reason I mention any of it now is to provide a backdrop for the photo I am posting today. My sweetheart came home last month from a short walk through the neighborhood, looking for the good stuff people in the lovely city of Dallas throw out, with a small bounty of goodies. Among the loot, I discovered a 4-compartment for drawer organization and instantly knew that it deserved to be made into something more. I used duct tape to attach a piece of fiberboard to the top of the unit as well as create a hinge which allows the fiberboard to flip up, creating an opening through which access to the compartments can be accessed. The final result is a combination craft box and lapdesk/portable workstation. The final touch was added during the last week of 2013: a Zentangle-inspired reminder that this year doesn’t have to be as tragic as the two before it. I hope that prediction is correct; I can’t take much more adversity this year.

I hope you will leave a comment and let me know what you think of it. Don’t forget to pin it to one of your Pinterest boards, please. I appreciate every single pin you post from this site!

So….. (drum roll)… Here it is: Better Year, by yours-truly:

Better year artwork

“This Year Will Be Better” Zentangle-inspired DIY craft box

Self-criticism Out, Zentangle In

I’ve recently been experiencing a creativity block when I try to sit down and make new jewelry. When it happens, I have a tendency to try to force results, even though I know that’s not productive.  When I finally break down and admit that I need a little inspiration, I browse Pinterest for images of jewelry I haven’t seen before or peruse images that I have already pinned to one of my own boards. There’s always beautiful inspiration on Pinterest and you can probably tell by my 5,460 individual pins that I have spent a little time seeking it out. My 136 pinboards should indicate that I don’t limit my quests for inspiration for jewelry making to images of jewelry.

Lately, I have been pinning to a group of boards that I have categorized “Art” which are primarily populated with images of doodles and other ink drawings. I’m a life-long doodler and often find myself saying “oooooh” and “aaaaah” over the beautiful results others have scratched out onto paper… Of my own doodling, I tend to be overly critical, despite the fact that they are only doodles. I don’t often manage to relax while doodling because of my self-criticism, which defeats the whole point of doodling in the first place. Thanks to Pinterest I have been able to overcome that tendency and actually reverse it somewhat. Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered Zentangle.

Defined by the official Zentangle website as “an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns,” this loosely structured art form has been my key to not only managing to relax a little, but also finding a bit of confidence in myself… At the very least, more confidence in my ability to doodle. It may seem like a very small issue to some, but not long ago (like, last week) I wouldn’t even consider the possibility of doodling with ink; I “messed up” far too many strokes to even think about giving up the option of erasing my mistakes. A few days ago, I had completed about half of a full-page Zentangle when I realized that I had yet to erase so much as a single stroke. When that realization struck me, I picked up a pen to finish the page and was quite pleased with the outcome. If you look at that piece, you can tell when/where I had my ah-ha moment although I had already gone over the pencil portion in ink.

My sweetheart has seen the images I pin to my art boards and complemented my Zentangle pieces by telling me that they would be be big hits on Pinterest and has encouraged me to post them rather than keep them all to myself. While I recognize that his opinion may be a bit biased, I figure what-the-heck, I might as well find out, so here they are: my Zentangle Debut Duo.

image

Look closely and you can see that part of this Zentangle is drawn in inked-over pencil.

image

My first completely ink Zentangle.

Of course, I would love to have your comments at the end of this post. I appreciate your pinning my images and following my boards as well!