November news

Nov 27 2013



Thanksgiving came very late this year, and it also was first day of Hanukkah, so it kinda feels a bit strange.   Once again, my small family had dinner at my aunt's house, which my aunt always cooks a feast, and then we all go home with leftovers. Last year, my aunt forgot the cranberry sauce.  This year, she forgot the biscuits - there's always something that gets forgotten.

I wrapped up the 2013 season at Snow Farm, and I go back in mid-January.   I'm scheduled for 8 classes for 2014 and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed by that, so I'll have to try to cut back on the number of classes if I can for 2015.  Anyways, my last two classes were back to back, so my students were creative.  Here's some of their work, so you can see what my Lo Tech class came up with.  I taught Spoonmaking for the first time and it was nice to be able to teach my favorite subject at Snow Farm. Susan K., a student groupie and sometimes my TA, was thrilled to make her first spoon.

As for the toolbox saga, I had to return the one from Walmart for it didn't close properly.  I told my father I needed a new toolbox and giving him the gift assignment for Christmas.  As I was describing and drawing out my requirements, my father practically jumped up, said follow me, and we ended up in his garage.  Lo and behold, he had the exact type of toolbox I needed, so it's an early Hanukkuh/Christmas present.  The required 3 drawers, the large well for my hammers, so it is what I needed.  It's a big bruiser of a toolbox but should be better organized than my trusty old red toolbox, a faithful friend for 27 years.  I think I will make the old toolbox into a stonesetting toolbox, just for setting stones.  All those burs, hand tools, calipers, so forth.  Stonesetting can take up a surprisingly amount of tools just to set one stone.

Did the Philadephia Museum of Art Craft Show a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a very disappointing show.  Once again, the economy is still on the skids, so it makes me wonder if I should just forget being an artist and get a boring old job that will bore me to an early death.   It is clear the market for flatware is nonexist, so I will not make any more flatware for retail, just for exhibitions and special orders.  I'm going to stick to jewelry, custom orders and teaching for that is what allows me to be able to pay the bills and keep me going.    I loved making flatware, but there is no sense in making it if nobody will buy it.   I also will not apply to Philly again for quite a few years.  I do better when I'm a "new" artist, and when I do a show year after year, it does not work out for me.  The only exception is the Annual Craftsmen's Fair at Mt. Sunapee for that's always a good show.   I'll sell off my remaining flatware stock, take apart any of the old sterling spoons, and just focus on jewelry.   I want to get back to my rings, for I miss doing them.

I was teaching a stonesetting class a almost 2 weeks ago, and I usually tell my students to buy prong settings, rather than try to make them.   Making a basket setting can be a challenge, and I do an ok job making prongs.  Here's a very large emerald setting I made to show how it is done.  Even where the notches are and how the prongs are bent is important.   If you are working with large stones or freeform faceted stones, then it is best to make your own prongs, but for small stones, save yourself the trouble and buy prong settings!  I don't love prongs, but they do have their purpose.  I'm a tube bezel person myself.

Back in August, I was TA to Cynthia Eid's anticlastic workshop, and I had bought only 1 large anticlastic stake from her.   I was able to finally acquire the rest of the smaller anticlastic stakes, so I am finally all set. I hope to play after Christmas on new metal forms and shapes, work on ideas and try to develop new work. I've been in a rut all of this year, and I really need to challenge myself, for I can't keep making the same old designs over and over.  Even the ever-popular Raindrop earrings were getting old for me so I kept tweaking the basic design to keep it fresh.   I'm still on the one piece of wire, one solder joint assignment I gave myself, and the very simple but elegant wire wires above is a reflection on that.  Strip away the excess, so that you see the purity of the form.  That is the Bauhaus philosophy, "less is more" and it's been mine right from the beginning, even before I heard of the Bauhaus.

I did get a possible teaching opportunity at GoogleWorks in Reading, PA for July 2014, so that should be a nice change of scenery.  I'm been wanting to teach in other parts of US, not just in NH, MA and sometimes VT, so I need to expand my horizons.  Was guest artist on Monday at the Montpelier High School in VT, showing how to do resin inlay.   Amazing how much expoy high school students can go thru in less than 3 hours, and an emergency run to the hardware store for more expoy was necessary.

Only two more weeks of classes left to teach and then I get a few weeks to myself.  YAY!!!!  I am more than ready for a few weeks downtime.  All I do these days is teach, drive, sleep, teach, drive, sleep, so forth.   In fact, I've made the least amount of stock this year and it's a problem for I simply had such limited time to work in my studio, it's making it difficult to get my custom orders done.   I won't work if I'm exhausted, for I need to be alert and able to handle my tools.   Otherwise, I screw up and have to start over.

Well, that wraps it up for now.  5 weeks from now, it will be 2014.  I sure hope 2014 will be a good year.










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