Finally, first blog of 2014

Feb 16 2014

First blog of 2014.   I know I've been so tardy, but it wasn't a huge priority this year.   I've been in a major cleaning and destashing mode since before New Year's.   I have been a metalsmith for 30 years, which is a milestone, making it over 2/3 of my life devoted to my craft.    However, in the past 30 years, I've accummulated so much tools, supplies, odds and ends.    I'm a good finder - things find me or I find things so it seems to be a gift.   However, I was drowning in stuff, and my studio was just plain clogged.  Even my energy level was low and I had no desire to work.    I didn't really make much for 2013 in terms of stock.

It was time for a major studio cleanup - been destashing, cleaning up, organizing, getting rid of stuff.   There's a Facebook group called Artist Garage, and it's a venue for us artists to sell off art supplies, tools, booth stuff, so forth.  I've been doing a brisk business selling off unused and unwanted tools, old supplies I will never use, books, so on.   The more I get rid of stuff, the better.   I'm finding I'm not panicking so much, for I have less stuff to deal with, and I can close my drawers with room to spare.  it will take me the rest of this year to whittle down all the stuff I still have, but slow and steady is better than trying to off-load all at once.   At least I don't have to set all the extra stones I had, try to use stuff I really don't want to use.  My ideas and priorities have been changing.

I've been wanting a hedgehog since end of last year, and talking about when a hedgehog will come.  Well, Jan 6, a local hedgehog breeder posted on Facebook that a hedgehog needs to be rehomed to an experienced handler.  I posted that I could take him.   The next day, Cody arrived.  An angry, hissy ball of fury, a young boy of a year and half, he had gone thru 3 owners and I am his 4th.  Hopefully he will settle down and be comfortable with me, for he is with me for life.   He has the biggest mouth of any hedgehog I've known, and it reminds me of Joker, the Joker character in Batman.   I've considered renaming him Hondini, for he's quite the escape artist.    He keeps trying to sneak out and he is the fastest hedgehog I've encountered.  He doesn't walk, he lunges at 100 mph.   I've had to watch out for him.  Poor Bosco cannot stand Cody.   Cody is a handsome boy, all ivory quills with pink ears and nose.

Spike has a new love -  Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream.  He just loves to lick and chew on the tubes and then foam up, contort himself to smear the foam onto his quills.   My mom's Mary Kay consultant is getting such a kick out of it, and Spike got his own tube of night cream.   It's been a running joke now.

I finally got to teach my first workshop at Silvermine Art Center, in New Canaan, CT.  I taught Clasps and Hinges.   It's a nice campus, out in the woods, and the Jewelry studio is downright cozy.  Spike came with me, of course.    I'll be going back to teach Wireknitting on March 28.

Taught my first class for the year at Snow Farm - nothing like a snowstorm and half of us were unprepared.  I had to go to Walmart and buy a pair of cheap boots.   They stay in my car, just in case.  Along with the blankets, emergency kit, extra gloves and what-nots.  I am so ready for winter to be over!

My students and jewelry friends all told me I have to take one of John Cogswell's workshops before he retires in the not too soon future.   I took his 5 Days, 5 Clasps workshop, and was the only one to keep up with him.   It was held at the North Country Studio Workshops, which is held every two years, at Bennington College in VT, and top instructors teach.  Most of the workshops are for experienced students, and half of the people attending were League people, so I had my own League family, plus a lot of friends.  I was exhausted, but I pickd up a lot of useful tips, both as a teacher and as a metalsmith.   John was very entertaining.   The pictures of the clasps above shows what I did.  I had to go buy a mitre cutting jig now that I need one, and finally upgraded to a Knew Concept saw.

Along with my new sawframe, I also had to upgrade to a mitre cutting jig and more hand tools.   It never ends, the hunt for new tools to accommodate your ideas and fabrication.   Now, if I can find the energy to work in my studio.   Winter has been long and dready, and I'm just not in the mood to work.  I pretty much teach, sleep, clean, talk to my hedgehogs and dog - a rather boring life, to say.


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