The clouds lie heavy on the mountains this morning, bringing rain and sodden clumps of slush, instead of snow. Something somber is in the air - loss and sadness, though not specifically mine. I think of the standard advice for such times: get busy, stop thinking. Feel better. Yet I wonder if this new life we have made, with wider spaces for thoughts and making, does not also let in the whispers that were so easily silenced by ceaseless doing and urgent speaking. Perhaps the whispers are also worth hearing? I pull out the sketch pad to doodle, without any real sense of expectation.
Pebbles in a silver stream. As the fabric takes shape, I discover how easy it would be to expel them to the surface, but the textile needs to flow around them, to retain its intrinsic properties, yet accomodate the form of these "intruders".
The middle stage: the concept remains true to the inner eye, but the work appears clumsy and doubtful in its partial state. It needs to rest awhile.
I normally try to refrain from this sort of post, but for reasons of practicality - here goes. (If you are offended by any sort of business promotion in blogs, you might want to avert your eyes for a moment). I've been struggling this year to get an efficient juggling rhythm going for the artist / web business / market vendor / mom.... thing. Consequently, I took advantage this week of the (disconcertingly brief) interlude between show venues to deal with a dropped ball that has been rolling around at my feet for some time, growing all the while. Over the last three days I have photographed, formatted and uploaded (or more accurately, my trusty webmaster/husband has uploaded) 13 shawl pins, 27 necklaces, 52 pairs of earrings, and several bracelets to the website. The long suffering webmaster left early this morning for 5 days in Park City, Utah, where he is learning how to be an Olympic bobsled official; consequently, there are still 17 pieces waiting for upload (hopefully on Dec. 10th).
Oh, and the notecards can now be ordered directly from the same site.
Those of you who subscribe to the monthly newsletter (there's another ball that I resolve to keep in the air in 2008) will be getting this info later today or tomorrow, so I apologize for any duplication. I normally reserve the 10% coupon code for the newsletter, but I thought since it is December and all:
Enter the code when prompted at checkout to trigger the 10% discount. The code may be used more than once, shared with friends, etc. but it does expire at the end of December, 2007.
Now, before my aching clicky finger suffers permanent injury, I'm going to go treat myself to a bit of knitting. More on that tomorrow... there should even be an FO by then (although the absentee webmaster is also in charge of modelled photoshoots, so the full presentation may be delayed a bit.)
Just a quick post today, as I have to pull on my Gortex in a minute to brave the storm and make the 1 1/2 hour round trip with stroller to retrieve my son from preschool. (I am prevented from wimping out on this Exercise Resolution by the fact that my husband has the car this afternoon.) We are quite sheltered here in Whistler - when the trees move slightly, there are generally roads littered with foliage and fallen power lines down the road by the ocean. When it is truly windy here, it usually means (as in this case) that a nasty tropical storm is blowing itself out on the lower mainland and legions of folk are without power and possibly their roofs. So I suppose I can't complain!
Anyway... here's what I accomplished this morning:
I had a wee fit of inspiration yesterday and broke through a long-standing (and really, quite silly) creative barrier:
The beginnings of a ring collection.
I don't know what came over me here:
Let's call it a cheeky social statement stemming from my aversion to gigantic "status" diamonds. I'm actually quite fond of it.
I don't know why I've had a mental block about rings for so long - I suppose because I think of my hands as purely utilitarian and don't generally wear anything but a plain gold wedding band (which I removed briefly for the photo). I can't even keep nail polish looking decent for longer than five minutes. Really though, rings are an extraordinarily versatile accessory, not dependant on hair style or neckline, and also not likely to be ripped through one's earlobes by an overenthusiastic child. I suppose the only real difficulty might be accomodating them in.... glove weather. Sigh.
The mouse is still on the blink, so colour work has been postponed until such time as the replacement arrives. In the meantime, here's a little FO from my morning activities:
I've been pushing myself a bit to regularly acquire new metalsmithing and fabrication skills. It is sometimes all too easy to stay in the comfort zone of familiar and well-practiced techniques, especially when the work is well received, but new skills open up new creative possibilities and preclude stagnation. (Not that I feel particularly stagnant, but one can't be too careful! Plus it's fun.) This pendant was inspired by one of my favorite photos from earlier this year:
Speaking of photos, I should mention that I will be developing a series of professionally printed notecards based on some of my nature photos. A few readers have suggested it, and since I floated the idea in my application to the Christmas fair and was accepted, I guess I've got to get off the fence and get on with it! I will put them up on the website as soon as they're ready.
The sun - the actual giant flaming orb of our very own solar system, was in evidence All Day Long, and was not obscured by so much as a wisp of cloud, let alone the customary torrential downpour. In honour of this momentous occasion, I present a few sunny creations from last week. (Perhaps there was a connection? Seriously, if all it takes is a bit of extra gold and citrine on the table to lure the Big Yellow Circle to the market, I am all over it.)
Today is dyeing day. I've decided to return to dyeing on Mondays, in no small part because it takes so long for skeins to dry in this climate, and I am often dyeing for projects that need to be knitted up for the following week's market. I have the scintillating task this week of dyeing a skein of recycled sari silk..... black. It's a bit of custom-dyed reciprocity for our market neighbour who, though he is a lovely man and an amazing cabinet maker (check out the artisan cutting boards), is a wee bit conservative in his clothing tastes, and more than a little concerned about his image on the ski hill. After a fruitless review of all the "manly" colour options available to him, he remains firmly committed to a Plain Black toque. (Perhaps I could deconstruct a photo of the night sky on a cloudy night for inspiration.)
I really have to work on the business of personal knitting time. I decided this week that the golden hour(s) between the kids' bedtime and ours would be devoted to that end - a nice way to wind down the day, enough time to make steady progress. Turns out though, that there are also lunches to be made, forms to be filled, oh-crap-I-forgot's to be rectified, and of course, the feeling of I-could-curl-up-and-go-to-sleep-on-the-floor-right-now that permeates the after dinner period as we force our beleaguered circadian rhythms back into the school cycle. Which is all to say that I got about 10 rounds done on Cobblestone sleeve 2 (150 or so to go, I think.) So no photos.
How about a quick progress shot on the Lost Lake scarf, instead? I have been savouring this one, working a few rows here and there, because it is sheer pleasure to watch the colours evolve. (And also because I harbour a secret desire to keep it for myself.)
Jewellery occupies my mornings, however, and here is yesterday's project:
All this fibre dyeing inspired me to devote more attention to playing with the colours of my metals. The flower was created in copper, then oxidized (with the fumes from a hard boiled egg in a ziploc bag, in this case) to create varying hues of a warm, burnished patina. I'm not entirely sure it's "allowed" to mix copper and gold, but this is about colour, not rules, so I did.
After a bit of searching in the gem stash, I remembered a gorgeous strand of shaded hessonite garnet that I bought ages ago because it was pretty, but never came up with a worthy project to make it sing. Perfect!
For those of you who are craving yet another opportunity to sing along:
No? Here's a few things I've been working on this week, then:
1. My second go at a custom dyed sari silk scarf (iteration no. 1 was too yellow.) It turns out that as much as I love being all intuitive and free-wheeling about the process of dyeing, there comes a moment (which I hadn't entirely anticipated) where someone says, "can you make me one of these, about this wide, in those shades of green?" And then taking notes would have been a Good Thing To Do.
(Now it goes back on the drying rack, in the vain vague hope that it will surrender its last bits of moisture into the fully saturated atmosphere in time for me to knit it up by Sunday morning.)
2. A bit of jewellery. I don't tend to "think" in gold nearly as much as silver - probably because it doesn't suit my own skin tone nearly as well. However, so many visitors to the Market have lamented its meagre presence in my collection that I finally applied myself to the task.
Turns out that my favorite blue-green hue (Peruvian blue opal, in this case) takes on a whole new depth and richness displayed on a gold backdrop. (This could send me off on a brand new tangent - aquamarine, lapis.... Blue and gold - imagine that! Funny the obvious things we can be blind to.)
Black and white also failed to disappoint. That's the great thing about moving out of my comfort zone - what starts as a chore turns into an exciting creative exercise.