Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chatty Metalsmith's Blog Jamboree

How do you deal with change? Does it stress you out? Do you look for opportunities? This month the Chatty Metalsmiths have chosen "change" as the topic of our new Blog Jamboree. We have gone though some big changes to our group in the last month due to the closing of some of the forums on Etsy and the creation of our new team. Some people handled the change well, others freaked out...which got me to thinking about how I deal with change...

I have lived through lots of change. As a child, we moved almost every year....new state, house, school, friends. I think this experience made me more adaptable and comfortable with big changes. I even crave change now. Every few years I have to rearrange the furniture or I start to feel stagnant. Big changes are good, they bring new environments, new possibilities, fresh starts. I love a change of scenery!

So, I love a good big change but the small ones really throw me for a loop. Kid says he wants cereal instead of waffles for breakfast, Husband needs to be to work an hour early, a doctor appointment or a kid home sick from school....all those kinds of changes throw off my routine and I don't like that at all. I can't get my head in the game, things get missed or left behind...I feel like I'm floating through my day. Little changes, life's snags, leave me feeling like a boat without a rudder.

Big changes are easy to control. They need planning and orginization and I know when they will arrive. Small changes are out of my control and really throw me for a loop. I'm at the mercy of the whims of another instead of the force of my will and momentum. Having kids is a baptism by fire into the world of millions of tiny little changes. People say "having a child changes everything" and they are right. But it's not one big predictable, controllable change...it's an infinite number of small adjustments and you have to either learn to roll with it or you're going to get run over,...because the kids are driving the car!!

If you'd like to read what some of the other Chatty Metalsmiths have to say about change, check out their blogs:


Monday, February 14, 2011

HAHAHAHA!!! RAW2011 6/52

I couldn't resist. All those cute rings are nice and all but this week I had this idea in my head and I love the way it turned out.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

RAD 4-5/52 good progress

Weeks 4 and 5 were a relaxing dip back into what I'm good at. These rings didn't have to be sketched, they didn't require a whole lot of thought or forging new ground but they felt excellent to make. Last week, I talked about making rings that looked like Hartleystudio rings...and I think I accomplished that. They feel comfortable, like new socks.
I chose not to oxidize this first one. Someone on Flickr made a great comment about this bird being "innocent" looking and I think that was dead on. This ring is light and airy, like spring...so the bright white of the silver works well.

For this next ring, I wanted a more serene, nighttime scene. This one was always going to be oxidized so this bird isn't as cutsie as on the previous ring. I'm really pleased with them, and they are both staying in my collection. I need to decide if I want to add them to the rotation...do I want to make these again? I'm not sure. I'll be thinking about it in the coming weeks...

So, what's with the birds? I keep asking myself why I keep making all this cutesy bird jewelry. I am not cutesy, not in the least. I carry on because I really do love birds. My kids and I watch birds, have bird books and catalog all the birds we get at our many feeders. In 2006, when my daughter was born, we even chose "Bird" as her middle name. I think I have one more bird ring in me, maybe I'll make it next week...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

RAD 3/52 two steps forward, one step back

Well, here I am at week three of RAW and still, I struggle. Back in December I thought I'd be wowing myself all over the place and now I feel as if these are all exercises in humility. I know this is a lovely, well made ring but there is a problem. You want to know the problem? Here's the problem...I want to make rings with color, rings that are georgeous. I want to dive into my stash of colored stones!! BUT, I don't want to just slap it in a bezel with some gallery wire and call it a day. I want it to say, "this is a hartleystudio ring!" but right now this ring says "I'm for sale on Etsy." Disclaimer: there is nothing wrong with a bezel set ring on a band and there is nothing wrong with all the thousands of rings for sale on Etsy...well, not most of them. Seriously, there's some terrible stuff for sale on Etsy too. HAHA! But, I digress. There are tons of rings out there that are awesome, well made and beautiful to look at and I'm glad for it. I just don't want to make them. I want to make MY rings, rings that are just a little different and that's where I'm having a problem. I think my problem with this week's ring is that I threw all my eggs into one basket. I tried mixed metal, a notched bezel, flowers, a stepped back plate and, just for good measure, I tumbled it. And, it's boring. Super boring. There's nothing interesting in it because no one feature can stand out. I usually do simplicity really well and that's what I need to remember. So, I'm going to call this week's ring two steps forward, one step back. I learned a little, did a little soul searching and made a ring. I'd say that's a pretty good week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

RAW 2/52 failure

OK, so maybe not a failure but it sure didn't turn out how I expected. This ring started out as a sterling silver band with a yellow gold cup perched on the top. Into the cup, I attempted to flush set a lovely ruby. Actually, I attempted to set one diamond and two rubies, one after another. When one failed I cut the seat slightly bigger to accommodate a slightly bigger stone. I couldn't get any of them tight in the setting and, after cutting the seat bigger and bigger, I cut through the cup and it was all bets off. And it pissed me off. I consider myself someone who can set stones pretty well. I understand the physics of stone setting and was taught by some real top notch goldsmiths. The trouble is, I don't practice enough and, in not using my skill, I have lost my ability.

It felt awesome to beat the shit out of that ring. I beat it so hard, it was too hot to touch for a few seconds. It's brittle and hard and raw. I hate it when people tell me how to do something when they clearly can't do the thing itself. This is what I have become. I have practical knowledge but have lost all my ability to apply it.

In the coming weeks, I will be working on setting stones, not smashing rings.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

RAW52/01 My first Ring a Week ring

My little secret

I have been thinking about this ring for a long time. When I worked at a jewelry store we sold a line of wedding bands that was platinum on the outside and gold on the inside. It made me think, "I don't hide the beautiful stuff about my marriage, I hide the ugly stuff." This ring is about hiding the mess and putting a shiny face forward. The ring has a high polish on the outside and a hammered interior.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Etsymetal bolg carnival - Resolutions

Happy 2011 everyone! I hope your year is off to a happy and healthy new start!

Here it is, a brand new year and team Etsymetal is thinking about the future, so we are blogging about our personal and/or business goals for 2011. It's a heavy subject. Here I am, the year spanning out in front of me, full of possibilities. By February I'm usually so ground down to a pulp that I'm slogging along in my routine, unable to affect any real change. I'd like this year to be different. I'd like to make a short list of goals, right here and now, and really work to make some positive change in my business and my life.

I'd like Hartleystudio to get it's act together and become a real business. I have been saying that I need to make it official for about a year now but have been too terrified to take the plunge. This year, it's go time. Tax ID number, here I come,...I'll figure out the paperwork later. I'd like to open a second shop on Etsy to explore color in jewelry. I love colored stones and I think they need their own venue. I think a second shop will be an excellent place for me to stretch out and try some new setting techniques and new designs. Lastly, I have committed to a personal challenge with about 125 other metalsmiths. I have signed up for Ring a Week (RAW), an offshoot of last year's incredible Ring a Day challenge. With RAW I hope to concentrate on pieces for myself and not to sell. I miss making art and I see this as an opportunity to express some ideas that have been hanging around for a long time. I will be posting here each week on my progress. You can also check out our progress here.

Personally, it's time for me to start really spending time with my family. I am so busy doing stuff I think is important and missing all the stuff that really matters. I want to get messy with my kids and teach them a thing or two about art and life, not just about why we brush our teeth and have to wear a hat when it's cold outside. I want to be less self conscious and more comfortable with my self and my body. I have been watching other mothers pass their body and food issues onto their daughters and it's sad to watch. I want my son and daughter to grow up thinking they are perfect, just the way they are. Lastly, and I think this ties into becoming more comfortable with myself, I'd like to make an effort to make more friends. Ben and I are chronic homebodies and have become way too comfortable here. We need a social life that doesn't revolve around our kids and each other. The next time someone invites us out, we're there. No matter what.

I'm glad I wrote all this down. I feel accountable now and will check back from time to time to gauge my progress. How about you?? What would you like to change in 2011? Personally? Professionally? I'd love to know. If you're nosy, like me, you'll love reading what my teammates have planned for the new year, here are their blogs.

Inbar Bareket http://www.inbarbareket.net/
Elizabeth Scott http://esdesignsjewelry.com/blog/
Nodeform http://nodeform.blogspot.com/
Catherine Chandler http://www.catherinechandler.blogspot.com/
Thomasin Durgin http://metalriot.blogspot.com