Long overdue blog.......

Nov 17 2014

I know it's been a long time since I blogged.  Just didn't have much to say for a while.  Right after the Annual Craftsmen's Fair in August, I went slam-bang into teaching, day in, day out.   I did have a major teaching burn-out after a particularly difficult weeklong workshop at end of August and it forced me to rethink my long-term plans.  I'm just plain worn out teaching basic jewelry classes, and at this stage of my career, I really shouldn't be spending all my time just teaching Jewelry 101.  I have a lot of skills and specialized techniques to teach, and having to teach the basics all the time was burning me out.    It got so bad, I couldn't even work in my own studio, and my skills were deteriorating, which was alarming.  It was pushing me off schedule.  It wasn't till October before I had some time to work and just be in my studio for more than one day.  I really need to focus more on what I can offer, than to just keep teaching the basics over and over, till I go batty.

I was constantly tired and still am.  My sleeping habits have changed, and I simply don't get quality sleep anymore.  Guess I'm getting to a certan age, when I wake up all the time and them fall back to sleep.  Not fun.   Weird habit, my feet must be out in the open, no blanket, no coverings.  My feet run hot.  I joke my internal thermostat runs hot, and I've noticed, every single Wed since early Sept is hot, or wam.  Never fails. I mean, I had to wear shorts in the middle of October, for it was just plain hot.  I had put away all my summer clothes by early October.   Was in the low 70's last Wed.   What is it with Wedsedays?  It runs warm to hot, every single week.

30 years ago in September 1984, I walked into the Jewelry classroom at Concord High and took my first jewelry class. The rest is history.  In September, 2014, I started my Jewelry 101 class at Sharon Art Center, and one of my students was the newly promoted jewelry teacher for Concord High.  I, the student 30 years ago, is now the teacher, teaching Jeffery the jewelry basics for Concord High.  Talk about life coming full circle.  I am now influencing the Jewelry program at Concord Hight.  I even taught there in 1997, when my first jewelry teacher became ill and I had to take over, as a sub teacher, really, but teaching the students what to do.  Life is funny.  Had a classmate from 1st grade contact me recently.  Of course, I remember her!

Finally, after so many years, and many delays, the League of NH Craftsmen ( in Concord, NH) finally gets it's first Metals studio up and running in Sept  I had provided much help and advice in the setup, the tools selection, getting the acetylene tanks hooked up with torches and running.  We are now running jewelry classes.  I am doing the Guided Open Studio which is a nice break from teaching Jewelry 101.  That way, I can help students, but not have to keep pounding the basics over and over into students.   I like doing Guided or Directed Open Studio.  It's a lot more relaxed than teaching a basic class.   My Wireweaving class at Metalwerx, has been one of the best and most relaxed classes ever, for I only have 3 students, but they just love knitting and weaving wire, so when we end in Dec, I'm going to miss them dearly.   My goal is to stop teaching so much all over NH, and focus on teaching in Concord, since we have such a lovely, new studio, with 6 soldering stations.   I find I really don't want to teach anywhere else except for Hanover.    If students really want to learn from me, they can come to Concord and I can teach them. 

I recently discovered my grandfather's old leg vise was a lot older than I thought. Its a Goldie, from NYC, 1842-49, so that was thrilling to discover.   I love old tools, and to find that my everyday vise is so much older than I thought.  My theory is that my Scottish ancestors, coming over to America from Scotland in 1840, must have lived in NYC for a while and then relocated to NH, so it's possible they could have bought the leg vise in NYC and bought it with them.  Just a theory, but my mother father's family was notorious for saving and reusing.  It's the only main vise in my shop, and it's the one I use.  Very practical, much more so than a regular table-mounted vise.  As you know, I love old tools.  Most of my hammers are pre-1960.   I even have vintage paper mallets, which I am finally using.  New ones cost $79 and up.   What can I say, I love old tools.

I've been rather hedgehog-crazy, spending way too much time on hedgehog forums, sharing my hedgehogs with my students and my loyal fans on Facebook.  Here's an amusing cartoon that was in my local newspaper, and a hedgehog in a Starbucks cap, with the caption, Pumpkin Spiked Latte, which I think is a hoot.  My Spike is 5 years old, which is old in hedgehog years, but I feel fortunate that he lived this long.  Cody is finally turning around, relaxing more while I'm holding him, but he still huffs and complains.   He still love to go on walkabouts but is more predictable now.  No matter he goes, he always ended up under my bed, the same spot each time, so all I have to do is scoop him up.

I had been repurposing some of my old flatware from the 90's, and reusing the silver I used, and there was a set called "Interwoven", a fork, knife and spoon set.  Well, the knive, for some reason, the weaving was damaged, so I took it apart, and for the fork and spoon, used the handles to make cuff bracelets.  I actually like the cuff bracelets better than I liked the flatware set, so it worked out well.

I got to learn again on using a laser welder at Tates Gallery in New Boston, MA, which I was guest artist during NH Open Doors, Nov 8-9.  I am now doing benchwork ( repairing jewelry, and making custom work) for Tates Gallery, so that is a nice change for me.  They have a lovely workshop within their lovely gallery, so its nice to work in a place that has lovely views to look out.   I hope to be doing more benchwork, so i can cut back on the teaching.    Don't get me wrong, I love teaching, but doing it so much, and with more demanding/needy students, I got burned out, and I need some time away, but not sure how I can take a break from teaching.    I need to figure out a way to sell more of my work, so I can cut back on my teaching hours, otherwise, I will be so burned out, I will not be effective as a teacher.     I can't afford to get away for now.  Maybe in the future, but not now.

Last note, it was Bosco, my wonderful and funny dog's birthday this weekend.  His birthday was either the 14th or the 16th, for I can't remember, but my mom and I rounded it out to the 15th.  Lots of snuggle time, a bath, some treats.  Naturally, he got a bath tonight, so he is nice and fluffy.  

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