Last Blog for 2013

Dec 31 2013

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Well, this is my last blog for 2013.  What a year it has been.  Probably one of my most disappointing/frustrating years in terms of everything.  I'll be glad to start fresh on New Year's Day, 2014.

I had to make some changes in my teaching.  No more teaching for 1 student classes, and I now require 3-4 students to start a class or workshop.  I had to drop one major class at one school for the student body was impacting my professional life and making it impossible for me to work.  After the spring of 2014, I will leave that school for good.   I went throught the fall of 2013 making almost nothing except special orders and a few things for Philadelphia  I have definitely dialed back on the passion I used to show, for I used to get very excited when I demo, but I've gotten older and wiser.  I've toned down some of my passion, althought the last workshop I taught, I was downright silly.  I think I was punchy from shoveling snow so early in the morning, having to drive at 45 MPH on the highway to Metalwerx right after the snowstorm of Dec 13-14 for a hour and half and lack of sleep.  Susan K., who is my groupie that faithfully takes my classes at Snow Farm, also doubles as my TA as needed.    Apparently I was at my funniest while I was doing my Beads to Jewelry workshop.   Glad I can entertain so well in class.   I aspire to be a standup comic while teaching.  A little humor goes a looonnnggggg.... way.

Because of Spike's Great Escape, I've been on a month long cleaning and reorganizing of my studio and I can tell it's working wonders for Sunday the 29th, I got so much done, I couldn't believe it.  I hit my groove, and did 3 rings, 16 pendants, made some ingots, and rolled out some bezel strips.   I also realized I had more tools and supplies than I was ever going to use, so I was able to sell off my enamels and enamelling tools, and now moving on to selling my hydraulic press and some stakes.  Since I have given up flatware for retail, there is no need to keep some of the tools, and I could use the space.   Getting rid of stuff is doing wonders to my spirit, and I feel much more productive.   You can see how much of the enamelling tools and supplies I had, and most of the enamels are the old, lead-based enamels serious enamellists lust for.   Most of the enamels I had were from the 50's and 60's, so I had the good stuff.  It's gone to a good home. 

Back in 1988-89, I ordered a 5" piece of 1/2" thick sterling barstock and paid $72 for it.  I had that piece for so long, I forgot about it.  In 2005, while I was teaching a spoonmaking class at MassArt, my class and I decided we would try the power hammer in the Sculpture Dept.  I used my 1/2" silver barstock in the power hammer.  I got a migraine from the noise, but it was worth it.    Well, after debating for years, I finally melted down that piece of silver.  It was 6.7 troy ozs, so I had more than doubled my value of the silver.   I melt it down into small ingot bars that I will roll out into wire.  An old load was finally lifted off my shoulders.  It was interesting how giddy I got in melting down that hulk of silver after keeping it for 25 years.

Another oldie but goldie is a copper ladle I made back in 1988-89.  I sawn it out out of 1/4" copper sheet ( which I still have some on hand), and countless hours later, forged, formed and planished it into a ladle..  I kept losing the ladle, and it would resurface time to time, and then disappear.  Finally I found it once and for all.    I swear there's a wormhole in my studio that sucks things in, and then I find them years later.  I love sci-fi, so yes, I believe in time travel, the paranormal, space travel, all that weird stuff.  I also love science and high-tech, so when you combine all that together, I'm in heaven.   As for the copper ladle, I will hopefully etch it and finish it for the 2014 Annual Craftsmen Fair at Mt. Sunapee.  Yes, I need goals and it helps to have things on a timeable.   I have to plan my life 9-12 months in advance.

Well, my goals for 2014 is to make it a better year, less frustration, and more creativity.   Since I gave up flatware for retail, I'm refocusing on rings, which I love to make, but have neglected in favor of earrings.  I also hope to spread my wings, and find new venues to teach at.   I've signed up to take a workshop from John Cogswell, who is a true master metalsmith, so that should be a great professional development workshop for me in a few weeks from now.  I want to plumb the depths of my ideas and really expand on my Pod line, for I really enjoy working with the pod shape.      Here's a funny cartoon for your enjoyment for it really shows how much  time we jewelers have to spend looking for wayward stones that goes flying at the precise moment you are trying to set it.  Flashnights are a necessary!

Happy New Year's and hope 2014 will be a better year!



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