Sunday, January 23, 2011

Great Stamp Set Giveaway

Lori over at Pretty Things has a fantastic giveaway going.  She's giving away this great set of metal stamps:

Head on over and check it out.  Also take a look at the great jewelry she made using these stamps.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Discipline and Warm-Ups

I've been mulling over various focus Words for the Year and have chosen discipline as my word for 2011.  I have several goals but the main ones are getting the studio area ready to work in, and applying new techniques that I'm learning to a body of work. 

 I do have a tendency to over plan and over engineer when I really need to just do it.

The Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Somerset Studio magazine has a regular column entitled The Business of Art by Quinn McDonald.  This month's subject is "The Undervalued Art Tool: Discipline."  McDonald has several good suggestions, especially when it comes to managing the time spent on email and other media. 

One of his suggestions is to start the day with a ritual.  This is a good idea.  My usual ritual is to feed the cats as soon as I get up, because I have one cat who pesters me to death if he doesn't get his food promptly.  I've decided on a studio time ritual.

I loved this tiny little bird cage the minute I saw it and bought it for my studio with no clue what I would do with it. 


I wrote down some small projects which should all take under 30 minutes to do, even when I'm at my most disorganized.  Each day I'm going to draw one and do it.  The projects include making ear wires, coils, jump rings, "S" hooks, and other things.  Some--balled headpins--I prefer to do outdoors.  I'll put that one back in the cage and draw another if the weather is too bad.  Do you see how the strips are curled?  I thought it would be fun if they resembled fortune cookie fortunes.


And here I go: "silk or fiber neckcord."


And yes, Neko, I will feed you first.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Word for a Year

contemplation in the snow

Yesterday I discussed my yearly resolutions, or goals as I prefer to call them.  Last year I read blog posts by Christine Kane here  and here about using a word as a focus for a resolution.  Both these posts have a great explanation of the process and a list of words to jump start your thinking process.  In true ADD fashion I've procrastinated for a year and am finally ready to do this. Christine's current posts  are guest posts from people who did this and what happened in the past year.

So what do I want to concentrate on or do this year?  I want to get the studio up and running so I can have a place to work.  I want to make a lot of jewelry and some other art. On a personal level, I want to get rid of the clutter in the house.

What word will encompass these goals?   Right now I'm thinking of  these:

  • discipline
Just do it, get going, focus. This is the word that I'm favoring.

  • release
This word will help me let go of things that are getting in the way, like clutter and procrastination.

  • finish
I probably won't choose this one, but I need a word that will include this idea.  I want to finish what I start.  Some ventures are processes, like learning new technique for jewelry.  It's very important to me to do something with what I've learned though, so I need to think about this.

There's a free PDF file on Christine's site that is a short worksheet to help you choose your word.  It's called the "Word for the Year Discovery Tool." Check it out.

What word will you choose? Or if you aren't into "words", what goals and resolutions will you have for 2011?


Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Resolved to do This Every Day? I was Insane...

A few years ago I started thinking in terms of goals instead of making resolutions.  It's that time of year again and I'm thinking about my goals for 2011.  And guess what?  I could pretty much recycle my goals from this time last year.  But wait...last year's goals were recycled from my 2009 goals. Yikes!

The good news is I did make progress in most the goals. The bad news is I don't seem able to actually finish anything I start and some of the goals which should be completed  haven't been finished.  I think I need a different approach.  More on that later.  Here's how I did on the goals:

  • Try new jewelry techniques, especially more wire work and Art Clay
Alas, once again I didn't do Art Clay. But I did lots of new techniques.  I learned a lot at Adorn Me last year, plus I took two of Stephanie Lee's Homesteader's Metalsmithing online classes where I learned more.  Some of the new things I learned in 2010 were soldering with a torch and soldering iron, using a jewelers saw, cold connections, and new methods of patina on metal. 

I also took two online collage classes by  Mary Green of Green Paper, and an online digital collage class by Susan Tuttle, Visual Poetry. These aren't jewelry techniques, but they are part of the creative process. 

I did pretty well on this one, but I haven't done much with the new knowledge.  I want a body of work.  Or at least a bigger body of work than what I've done in 2010. I need to develop my own style with the new techniques.  I'm going to do more with this goal in 2011. I've signed up for more workshops at Adorn Me! 2011
  • Post at least once a week on Etsy.
Again, not even close.  But I did get some batches in both stores posted in the last few weeks so there's a chance I can make this a habit. 
  • Submit some of my written works for publication. I already have several short stories.  2009 also included "Write some more, particularly fiction."
I haven't submitted a dang thing except for jewelry related things which was a separate goal. I did partially work on this.  In December I got copies of the 2011 Writer's Market and the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market.  I went through them and marked some possibilities for submission. It's depressing that there are so few paying markets.  Of course, people write because they love to write, but I'd like to get some money for my labors.  I need to check the online databases for both books, make a decision, and make some submissions. 

I did not write any more fiction.  I did do some preliminary research for some biographies and nonfiction books I want to write for the 10-14 year age group. 

I reviewed some jewelry making books that I've enjoyed.  In the last year some of these have been noticed and I've been asked by publishers to review some of their books.  I'm happy about that. I enjoy reviewing books.
  • Make at least one component for jewelry everyday.
I'm laughing now.  I think I was insane to expect that I would do something every day. I did make some findings, but but no more than I did the year before.
  • Submit jewelry works for publication.
Hey, I did do this.  I sent in a photo of something for inclusion in an upcoming book. It was rejected.  That's okay.  I think I'll send in some more photos this year.
  • Get my studio up and running.
This was a new and major goal for 2010. My friends Billye and Martha   both started working on their studios about the same time and they have nice looking studios that they can actually work in now. (Another look at Martha's studio.)  Not me.   At least I have worked on it.  I cleaned off one of the tables and organized my tools on it.  I can't show you a picture of it because almost immediately I piled so much stuff on the table that it's embarrassing. 

I threw away a lot of junk in the room.  I removed some old shelves and put together some new ones just a few days ago. Here's a picture.

studio shelving

Note that the floor is not shown because I have some stuff on the floor that I can't figure out what to do with. 

That's it for today.  My actual goals, and my new and hopefully more effective approach to my goals and resolutions will be in the next post.