This Is Not Fun….At the Moment…

Part of my philosophy of doing my craft is if it isn’t fun, don’t do it. If it doesn’t interest you don’t do it. There are things I have struggled with before but they interested me so it was fun even though I had difficulty with it.

I am in a spot where I don’t find it fun in any way nor do I really have an interest in the particular technique. I have intentionally stayed away from it because other people I know do it.

It is wire wrapping.

For some it comes easily. For me,  it does not. I have tried it before, several times with little to no success. For me it is like milking a lizard. It ain’t happening. I have spent the last week practicing. Wrapping, cussing, throwing away overused wire, salvaging the pieces I can to make bails for other pieces.

It is an exercise in patience. It has been requested that I do this for a piece I am making but I am struggling. All the other changes have been made, every one they requested. They being the people who jurored it for a gallery. It is just this one thing that is holding me back. I have put everything in front of this because I knew what it would be.

I don’t want to say it is difficult for me. I want to learn how to do it for the sake of getting into the gallery. Will I use it often? That is to be determined.

Just right at this moment, I am frustrated; with myself. Am I using the right wire? Is there something I should be doing differently? Obviously. Why can’t I do this? I DON’T KNOW. I am not whining, I am trying to help me by talking to you all and maybe if there is something that is making you crazy you won’t feel so alone.

Hellooooo….. is there anyone out there who deals with things like this??

I want to learn it, just right now I am struggling.

The lady who requested this adjustment is one of those people who said “You can teach yourself just check out this web site”. I have. That one and many more. I am not unteachable, I am just standing in my own way.

I know I will get it. Just like everything else I do. I am aware that some things come to us easier than others but it is just another hill to climb. I tried for six hours last night  only to get so frustrated I threw it across the room. That’s okay. I have to learn to crawl before I walk, walk before I jog and jog before I run.

Right now I am crawling and I have to be okay with that. I know all the wrong things to do, at some point the right thing to do will click and bam, it will work but for now, patience, practice and persistence.

 

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Simple…

I am not hard to understand. I like simple. My mind is busy, but not complicated.

This morning, after finishing a 12 hour shift, I went for a walk. I enjoyed the smell of the fresh morning air. I looked at the dew as it lay on the blades of grass. I got into my music as I walked. I twisted my lower torso to get more effect of the walking. I did a dance with a robin that would hop along in front of me just a few paces ahead, it would fly just a bit and land back in front of me, we did this for a good while.

After he got bored with the game. He flew off.

I went home and I slept. I slept until I woke up. No alarm needed. No phone call from my mom. I woke up feeling refreshed. I didn’t sleep as  much as yesterday. Yesterday I slept all night and the whole day. I needed rest. I was tired.  Today, I was rested.

I wanted fresh air and sunshine. It was my late day to come in. I went and took some of the best photos I have taken in a while. I actually shot in manual and took more control over the camera than I have in a good long time. I spent over an hour trying to get a good photo of a dragonfly darting about. I didn’t get it but I tried. I got some good practice in. I got to understand what I can do without the camera doing it for me.

As the sun set, nobody knew where I was. When I had spoken to my  mom, I was going to get dinner. When I had spoken to my best friend I was going home to get dressed for work. My person, he had no clue where I was.

Where I was, was standing in the middle of a cemetery where my grandparents are buried. It was the best place to get the photos of the sunset I was seeing. I paid respect to them while I was there but the sunset was what had drawn me to this place.

Once again, I shot with the “M”. This mode scares a lot of people. You have to do the thinking. It is in my mind, a dividing line. I would shoot, adjust, shoot again, adjust again. It was a learning exercise for me. When did it get grainy? What are the limits I could push it to and still get an acceptable shot.

I enjoyed my day and I did that thing I love to do. With no thought of what was going to happen with  the images. I am not taking them for monetary gain. I am taking them for me. Most people will never even know they exist. They don’ t need to.

When I got to work, I got into a conversation with one of my co-workers about life. He is newly married and he doesn’t realize that it is a world of compromise. He told me some things and I asked him some questions. The most common phrase I heard was I never looked at it that way. I was just asking questions. It was up to him to make his own assessment of the situation.

It was a simple day. It was a day of reflection and not loneliness.

I don’t need the world. Looking at my little corner of it in a way that no one else sees it, that has to be enough for me, for now.

Life is simple we make it complicated. A place to relax, someone to love, something to be passionate about, a roof over our head and food in our belly. Those are the “simple” things in life that are the grand things.

Return on Investment

I am in a slump right now. Not saying much about it, trying not to let anything show.

I have written many time about my jewelry making business and my photography business. They are both kind of hit and miss. Right now it is a miss.  The photography is more of a hobby with an occasional paying gig from time to time.

The jewelry is different. I would like to see it grow and prosper on its own.

I get excited when someone expresses interest in a piece. When my person looks at and sees a comparison to a beautiful piece of art or speaks about what makes the piece special, I kind of blush and I am speechless. Nothing I do can compare to what he does.

Just today, I got three inquires about new posts. I got excited. Every time my phone made a sound I checked it. Bad, bad idea. I was so hoping for sales that I was jumpy about it. That is not the way I should be.

I should just relax, let things work out as they will and enjoying the process of making. The new things I am learning. The things I learn from my mistakes. Those moments when I look at a piece and realize that it is actually pretty and I made it. I should revel in that, not in what might sale and what won’t.

Being human, I would like to get a return on my investment. I would like people to put there money down and say that something  that I made is pretty enough to buy it.

I want people to want to share my items. Only my best friend usually shares my posts with her friends on social media to try and help me out.

It is a struggle for me to do the business end of things. I love the creative part. The business, I feel like I am charging too much or not enough. I don’t know how to do stuff like this.

I don’t want to seem pushy but I would like to see it succeed.

I got taught a lesson last night by a six year old. She wanted to build a “ghost buster pack”. She had a large frisbee from the back of my car. She got paper and scotch tape. She cut small strips of paper to make the straps. Well, I knew it wasn’t going to work but she was sure it was. Well, we tried it. It was not going to hold. I explained to her why it didn’t work.

We tried again. This time using paper, because in her mind, the paper was going to work only this time we used duct tape. Once again, it didn’t work.

The third time, we used a plastic bag cut into strips and used duct tape. By the time we were finished, she could actually slip her arms through it and wear her “ghost busters pack”.

She wasn’t making anything to sell. She was just using her imagination. She knew what she wanted and had a general idea how to do it. She just needed a little help.

Maybe that is my legacy. Maybe it is not what I sell that will be the return on investment. Maybe it is the fact that these girls see me take chances, that they see me never quit. That the know that I work through problems one step at a time. Maybe that is much more important than anything I could ever sell.

So, it may be time to put on the black dress I wear for photographing formal occasions, put on my soft soled shoes and go unnoticed for a while. I will continue to make. I just won’t put it out there for the world to see. I will make for the joy of making. I will bask in the silence of doing without expecting a sell. I will just try to relax and let my imagination take over.

In Case You Didn’t Know…

I am inside my head way too much right at this moment. It is a cancer eating away at me.

I can’t sleep well,  I can’t eat, I am a frigging cry bag and I can’t stop. I have gnawed on my lip until it is raw. Everything I do is the wrong thing. Nothing is working out right. Today I was attempting to cut a piece of glass and wound up cutting myself and threw everything across the house. It wasn’t the glasses fault. It was my fault. Right now I feel everything is my fault.

Why? Because I fear, I hurt someone that I love more than I love my own self. I didn’t do it on purpose. I meant what I said as a compliment. It was mixed amongst babble. I wasn’t trying to down play his artistry, I am envious of what he can do, that I can’t do so well.

Working nights, you lose precious time. Everyone else lives in a daytime world. I live in a night time world. You work three straight 12 hours shifts and that leaves no time to take care of what you need to take care of. I am seeing it in the relationships of some of my co-workers. We all are losing time with those we love.

I want to see him face to face and explain that I believe in him so much and I want him to believe in himself as well. From the bottom of my heart, I feel he can do anything he sets his mind to do. I have seen him do amazing things. He is so smart and talented and I have to wonder what in the hell he could ever see in me. I’m not beautiful in the traditional sense, I don’t feel like I am smart or talented…what is it?

I want to take him by his face and tell him that he is the best person I know, that I wish I could be more like him. He is so level headed and looks at life from a much different perspective than I do. He ignites a fire deep within me, in more than one way. I want to tell him he is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

I want us to work on projects together, each of us using our own special talents and gifts. I want him to be a part of every moment of my life. Every moment, good and bad. I want to be that for him as well.

But for now, I sit in a darkened room, waiting for a phone to ring, telling people I am just tired, fighting back tears. It is just easier.

I want to be with him, I want to take him by his face, I want to look him in the eye and say loudly and babble free. I love you!! I have loved you for so long, I would hurt myself before I would intentionally hurt you. I desire for all your dreams to come true. I admire who you are and what you do. You give my otherwise pitiful existence meaning. You reminded me how to live and love.

Just in case you didn’t know.

A True Artist Knows No Limits….

My friend, my person, is an artist in the truest sense of the word. If you have read this blog very much, you know I have referred to him as such many times.

Often is the time I have studied his hands, he has the hands of an artist.

He has the soul of an artist. I told him today that he was a natural born artist and I had to sneak up on it. He then reminded me that I have been singing all my life and telling stories to children, that is creative. True. Busted!! I was talking more about visual art.

He is a painter, a sculptor, a designer, a photographer and so much more. He does them all well. Much better than I. As a matter of fact, he has been my mentor on a great many things. He is my muse. (Don’t tell him I said that).

I have seen photographs he has taken of athletes that look like they are dancing. I have seen photos of dancers that show the strength of an Olympic athlete while maintaining the grace of a swan. He has this uncanny ability to see beauty in all things and capture it.

I learn from him every time we are together. I feel like he loses brain cells talking to me sometimes. He can say something and it is followed up with twenty questions.

It is not that I am trying to “build up his ego” as he said today, it is just he has so much knowledge on so many subjects that I want to know more.

On the MBTI scale, he is a thinker; I am a feeler.

He has to understand the puzzle and solve it. I must at some point question why the puzzle is there in the first place. I need to know the why. I have to study on it, think about it, which ultimately leads to me overthinking, which leads to me doubting myself and putting roadblocks in my own way.

He reaches out and does his own thing with ease, I tend to compare myself with others, who have been doing it longer and planting seeds of doubt about my own work. He is a visionary and I, well, I piddle. I play with squares and rectangles of glass with smaller squares and rectangles on top. Nothing ground breaking there. If I am feeling especially frisky, I might try a circle.

He can spend countless hours learning something. If I don’t get it in 10 minutes, in my mind, I am the dumbest person on the planet and should be dragging my knuckles on the ground.

It is just a difference in us. I am envious of how talented and knowledgeable he is.

He did point out somethings to me today that enlightened me, about me. He has a way of doing that.

He pointed out that just because he uses lights, motors, actuators to enhance other art forms does not make him “the tech guy”, that he is an artist. He is simply using those things to enhance the beauty that is already there. It is a tool, like a paint brush, sculpting tools or a grinder. You are using another tool to add to the loveliness that already exist.

Not meaning to refer to him as “the tech guy”, yet doing so, my inner Beetle Bailey steps to the front and says I’ll take it from here. At this point I am unable to articulate clearly what I am trying to say, (I babbled).

This made me even more frustrated with myself, which made the babbling worse. At one point the voices in my head were screaming for my inner Beetle to shut the %*^*  up. He didn’t.

Having lived in rural Southern Appalachia for my entire life,  he pointed out that I have some cultural bias. There are guy things and there are girl things. I above all people should know that roles in life are not gender specific. I have never been the fragile little thing. I grew up on a farm where you worked as hard as a man.

There are very few guys here who take dance, paint or even sing until they at some point pick up a banjo.

He has lived in large cities and seen places that I would love to see. He has had contact with different people and cultures that I have not. He has photographed models and help design buildings schools and hospitals. I ……well….went to work, in a factory,  in the same hometown I have always lived in.

In our maker group we saw a divide. The females gravitated toward the jewelry and the painting. They guys toward technology. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. We both tried to bridge the gap, with no success. He couldn’t make us understand that it is just a new tool to work with. I can only speak for myself, but I made it harder than it was. I still do. I need to close that divide in my brain that they are two different things. They are the same thing. I need to see it as a new type of paintbrush or a new kind of glass I am learning to work with. I am going to work on that.

Having said that, he has made much more beautiful jewelry than I will ever make. He has been featured on some pretty high profile websites. I told him today that I would like for my jewelry to have a more finished look. When asked what I meant, I didn’t know the words to use. I just want it to look more complete, more presentable, more finished. He told me that the he thought the glass was, I think he used the word gorgeous, but I can’t be too sure of that. I take his opinion on my projects very seriously. I trust him. He is going to say what he thinks. He will give suggestions that if I follow them, I have a much better project. My way is not the only way, I always want to try to improve.

I was trying to explain to him today that I wanted to share his blog with you all and that is how this conversation got started and it was a pretty intense conversation. It shined a light on some of my own shortcomings and bias. Once again, I got schooled, in a good way.

He did give me permission to share. I hope you go and visit often. He has some pretty awesome thoughts that he wants to share with the world.

Here is the link.:::::      http://tangoofthegeeks.blogspot.com/, if you know someone in the maker community, turn them on to his site as well. They’ll be glad you did.

Until next time….Love, Peace and Cupcakes.

I Like Using My Hands…

I love to work with my hands for many things but for the purpose of this post, we will limit it to jewelry making.

When I am working with my jewelry, I lose track of time.

I love to take parts and pieces of things and put them together.

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When I am working with my glass, I talk to it. Court it. Make it feel special. I tell it the things I want to hear. It going to be hot in there but just hold it together and you will become something amazing. When it comes out of the kiln in one piece, I tell it is beautiful. If it comes out broken, I still try to finish it and make it something interesting.

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As I have worked more with the glass, I feel like my skills are improving. Stay on task. Learn all the rules. Safety first. Have fun, first and foremost have fun. Learn something new. Add to your skill set.

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I bought a grinder, I am one of those females who get excited by power tools. Dremels, grinders, I even looked at a saw the other day. It has made a world of difference in my final product. While I am grinding the glass, I forget to worry. I run on caffeine and anxiety.  So when I are shaping the glass, I listen to the hum of the grinder and I watch as this glass in my hand becomes something that is desirable. Something I long to be.

I don’t worry about what is going to happen later at work. I don’t wonder what I have done wrong. I just sit there music playing in the background, listening to the hum of the grinder and work with my hands. I relax. I let the grinder do its job and I create something beautiful. The thing with glass is….it is fragile. Just like us humans. Glass breaks easily!!!

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For my birthday, my person fed my passion. He bought me glass and kiln paper for jewelry making. Then he gave me some lights that I can embed in the jewelry. Once again stepping it up a notch or ten.

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Taking it to the next level. I told it that it would be something amazing when it came through the fire. Just like me.

So On The Sixth Time It Worked…

I have been working on a custom piece of jewelry. It is simple enough but it wasn’t working like I thought it should.

I tried different methods. I tried different heating times. I was sure yesterday I had it. Nope. I have kept all the ones that didn’t work just so I would know how many times I had attempted it. I  counted 5 culls.

Today I finally got the first part of it right. Whew!!!

I was trying not to panic but I was up against a deadline.

It is a birthday gift so it has to be right. It is well on it’s way at this point. I guess the sixth time is the charm; literally I am making a fused glass pendent.

That is what people don’t understand when something is hand crafted. It takes time, it takes supplies, it takes problem solving skills, and it takes a great deal of patience with yourself and your materials. Sometimes, you think you have it all right and everything goes all wrong.

The joy you see in the eyes of someone when they get what they want when they commissioned you to make the piece. Well, that is priceless.