It's been a long time.

Nov 08 2019


I realized it's been almost 2 years since my last blog.   Since my father got so sick last fall, I sort of went to ground and retreated within myself.    It's been an uneasy year.   My father has rallied but he's not going to get any better.  My mom had 2 back surgeries earlier this year, so I've been pretty much a caretaker, taking care of my parents, which left little energy or time to do anything else beside work, teaching and taking care of everything.   I'm still healthy, so far, so good.  

I also lost both hedgehogs, Pumpkin Peanuts ( fiesty and not the most endearing hedgehog) and Moonstone ( she was such a pretty one) last year, so for the past year and half, I've been hedgehog-less.   I miss my quilly babies but glad not to have to deal with them, for they can be pretty high-maintainence, and basically poop machines covered in quills.   Lovable but messy and very opinionated creatures.    Still have my dog, Bosco, who is going on 13 now and will have his birthday next week. 

I have not been teaching much for the past few years.   Apparently there's a real shift in education, and much more people are learning online, and not coming into classrooms to learn in person, so I've had a lot more free weekends to myself, which has been nice, after teaching flat out, nonstop, for about 18 years.  I did get burned out on teaching beginner jewelrymaking, so have made the change to just teaching intermediate-level weekly classes, but still do weekend workshops of all levels.  Curiously, working with gold has been a popular topic for one day workshops.   Still teach at Metalwerx in Waltham, MA and at Lexington Arts and Crafts Society, again, in Lexington, MA, so I do both classes for both schools in the same day ( one is afternoon, one is at night), so I only have to drive once.   Still teach at the various League of NH Craftsmen galleries who have educational programs like Hanover, Littleton, Meredith, but not in Concord anymore.    On a sad notice, Sharon Art Center in Sharon and Peterborough, NH permanently closed as of July 31st.    Having been a faculty member for 20 years and selling my work in the gallery,  it was very hard to accept that Sharon is gone.   The whole artistic community beside me is grieving. 

As for working as a goldsmith, I'm still working in Concord, just more part-time, since I do a lot of contract work for several other jewelers since apparently I'm good at fabricating and setting stones.   I can make bezels for stones till the cows come home, figuratively speaking and have done so.  

I only do a few craft shows these days - like education, there's also a shift as well, people are buying less, spending less, and in general, customization is the big thing.   I just adapt to changing trends and do what I do.   I don't enjoy doing craft shows, so it's nice not to have to do more than 2-3 per year.   With my parents, I've been staying close to home to take care of what needs to be done.   Not much traveling although I like a road trip time to time.   

I've sort of driftless in my work for the past year, but have gone back to more architectural forms since it was what I did 20+ years ago.   I did have fun making a hedgehog pendant with actual hedgehog quills and a ring with hedgehog quills in it, calling it Game of Chance -  you take your chances when you wear a very spiky ring.   I'm still working with the spiky themes but as I get into the holiday season, there's less time for me to do one of a kind pieces and I have to make what sells the best.   Sometimes I wonder just how many heart pendants, ear studs, Raindrop earrings I can keep making, but the key is production.  Set up an assembly line, crank out as much as I can in a few days or a week, and then I don't have to make them again for a few months. 

I still flip vintage jewelry into pendants, rings and earrings, but it's cufflinks that I've had fun converting into earrings.  Still do some of the lovely Edwardian brooches into pendants and the occasional bracelet.   Last year, my Silver Hedgehog bracelet came back in need of repair.  I hadn't seen that bracelet in 15 years, so it was nice to see it, and restore it to it's original condition.    As for flatware, I make the occasional set of salad servers, baby spoon or an utensil once in a blue moon.   My focus is in jewelry.   Someday I'll get back to my spoons, bowls and candleholders.    As we all say, life gets in the way.


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