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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

A Sufficiently Motivating Why

This weekend, I am getting a surprise visit from my daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons. I guess it's not really a surprise if I know about it but then again, I've only known for a few days. I am VERY excited. It has been forever and ever since I saw them last. They are here for the long weekend. I'll be spending a lot of time snuggling with the boys and providing child care while my daughter and her husband take a mental health break. It's just what we all need. 

With such short notice, I'm prioritizing what needs to be done before they come. Yesterday, I organized the crawl space and started thoroughly cleaning it. Since it's 6 1/2 feet deep, the boys will be able to play down there and build forts with all my moving boxes but only if it's clean. I couldn't believe the dust. I emerged so covered that my hair looked grey and I'd lost my voice, which I didn't know until I tried to answer the phone. I am not sure the previous owner ever cleaned down there because there was still some construction debris and the unit was built in 2006. 

AND THEN... there's a problem with my desktop and it won't open which meant I couldn't size pictures to post. Not that I had a lot but some. I started a pair of OOP Marcy Tilton pants, spent some more time on the copper pendant, and have little green shoots peeking up through the ground along my walkway and tiny tomatoes on my plant. Progress. 

On Monday morning, I had a lovely conversation with Ellen, the owner of the flower shop downtown, and discovered we had a lot in common. She was very open to the idea of me renting space within her business for my metalworking studio however, she's waiting a week to answer while she thinks through the logistics and talks to her staff and also to avoid saying yes and then wishing she'd said no. Very wise. As I expected, she was supportive and encouraging and urged me to go forward no matter what. 

That's definitely the plan. I was asked to submit an expression of intent for an upcoming exhibit in Spring 2022 at the local art gallery. When I queried the inclusion of jewelry, the director said that yes, my bold sculptural style would work great. I have never heard my work described that way. Not only was it nice to have a recognizable style, it also felt completely right and complimentary to the architectural style of clothing I prefer. YES YES. What I like about the possibility of being included in the exhibit is that it would give me a goal to work forward to which would be helpful to getting established.

Monday afternoon was another session with my creativity coach. I am SO GLAD to be working with her. So much has happened since our initial consultation. I've gone from wondering to feeling energized, focused, and forward moving and that's something I really needed. Through working with her, I've put down old plans and picked up new ones. I've identified how important it is for me to leave the house and to become more visible and connected in my community. And, I am trying for the impossible dream of an outside studio before settling for other options. 

Which leads me to my latest decision. This is my last post. Now that I've decided not to pursue writing, teaching, and retreats around creative fashion, sewing is becoming entirely personal again and I'm looking forward to that - to just enjoying the process.

If you are interested in metalsmithing and my bold sculptural style of jewelry, I intend to post my work to an Instagram account - https://www.instagram.com/oneatatimebymyrna/ - once I get a phone and figure out how to use it. While I won't be here, I will be there. Soon. I hope. 

I once strongly resisted having a computer and eventually discovered a sufficiently motivating why. A cell phone has been exactly the same and even though I now have a why, I still won't be carrying it around, turned on, everywhere I go. HOWEVER, having a cell phone is important to building a creative jewelry making practice and that is important to me especially as I begin The Year of Turning Sixty and move into this next decade of my life. A sufficiently motivating why. 

THANK YOU so much for reading my blog and for supporting my creative journey. It is very much appreciated. 

Take care - Myrna

Grateful - progress

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Making Chain - Just Chain

Yesterday, I shoveled and raked out the last of the dirt along the walkway, planted the micro-clover, and dampened the soil. Now, I'm watching "grass" grow. Too fun. So far, the walkway is looking the way I envisioned which is good. The section from the street to the back of the house is complete and that's all I plan to do this spring. I may do a bit of the back in the fall but most likely not until next spring. I'm ready to play in the studio. THIS - more play time - is why I bought a townhouse!

The heart themed piece isn't finished but it is further along. This is the stage I'm at. Yesterday, I was downtown snoop shopping at our high end women's boutique and there were some copper and resin pieces on display. Simple. Barely any material. Not a whole lot of skill involved. Sometimes even cheap looking but VERY expensively priced. It always intrigues me - and often frustrates me - what people will pay for a brand name and not for a literal one-of-a-kind. 

When I think about the kind of jewelry I like to buy or sell, it's not anything brand name; it's eccentric, authentic, hard to get, handmade by the artist in her studio, one at a time, one of a kind, uniquely special. 

I've been spending a lot of time looking at inspiration pictures and developing a path forward for doing more metalsmithing. These pictures - directly above and below - have been in my Jewelry Inspiration file for some time. I wish I could tell you the artists' names but I can't. 


What the images have in common is chain. I tend to do better when I focus in on one aspect of a topic and develop skills one at a time before layering them. So, I've been making chain. Just chain. 

These were created by wrapping a long length of copper around a metal pipe and then cutting through the wrap to separate each link. The links were then cleaned, soldered closed, and pickled to remove the fire scale and are now ready for sanding and taking forward. They are less than best and that's okay. There is still plenty I can do with them while learning how to do better, especially with soldering. It's a skill I'll be using a lot and want to learn well. 

Another of the pieces I saw at the boutique was put together using links made from cording with a circle of fabric folded over the join. There was no stitching visible so it appeared they were glued closed. Since one of the things I really want to do with my jewelry is include textile elements, my mind immediately wrapped some hand painted fabric bits around my less than best chain links and saw potential. YES YES!

What are you making? 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - inspiration

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

The Impossible Dream

Yesterday, I woke up completely energized. I cleaned the house - thoroughly - baseboards and all, vacuumed and dusted, moved the furniture around, washed all the wood, and did the laundry. I'm not sure why since I'd been putting it off for a while except that I got my first dose of the vaccine on Monday. A friend told me that she'd had the same reaction, as if a weight had been lifted and she could now take on the world.  I didn't think I was so stressed by the pandemic but obviously it was weighing on me more than I knew. I am glad to have done my part to contribute to finding the end of this tunnel.

Cleaning always involves looking at the stairs. The only disappointing decision I made with the renovations is the carpet. I chose it for the pattern and because it's commercial grade thinking that would make it wear better. It was installed in January and this is how it looked in March... and I live alone... and don't wear shoes in the house. The carpet company says it's dirt and to get it professionally cleaned. Hmm... right... even if... every two months! All I can say is don't put that in an office building. 

After getting several quotes on replacing it with the same flooring in the rest of the house, or wooden treads, or different carpet, I decided on cleaning it and covering it with a carpet runner. When I researched a runner, the price was still going to be way up there so I decided to buy upholstery fabric and make my own that could be removed and washed if necessary. Luckily...

... Fabricland had a sale last week. Paisley is my favourite design and this one is 60" wide, has the same cream background as the carpet, contains colours I have throughout the house, and was on sale for $6.00 per meter. Seven meters for $42.00 makes a two sided runner. The quote for the same flooring was $4,500.00. I do like those savings. 

Before cleaning, I extended the fabric across the floor, folded it in half, and pinned along the selvage. Next, I'll press the fold and then decided how to stitch it together because I don't want the layers to slide. I am planning to paint the hand rail turquoise so I may use a light turquoise binding to finish the edges. We are so lucky to sew and to be able to look at DIY alternatives. 

One of this spring's big trends is a button-up cardigan like the one above right from Banana Republic. In my ongoing effort to knit down my stash, I used a recycled silk/wool blend to start knitting a similar sweater this weekend. That made me think of....

... the sweater knits in my stash. I'd like to sew them down as well. Above, the orange cardigan is Burda 6120, view A. With a few changes, namely a button band, it will look on-trend, which is sort of irrelevant since I wear this kind of cardigan all the time but nicely coincidental. 

Last month when I cleared out a lot of my surface design supplies, it left available shelf space in that closet. I'd like to sew down my sweater knit and my coating fabrics and put the remainder in there freeing up more room in this closet for less bulky fabrics. 

The pendant made a slight bit of progress. I spent a lot of time debating how to add the stone to the center and - for now - I'm eliminating it and plan to cut a piece of metal for the inside, see how that looks, and decide on how it will be embellished and fit into the theme. The stone may return; it may get replaced. I'm not sure. 

In the last post, I said that after Covid I wanted to get out of the house more and thought I'd do that with a part time position. I do want to get out more and I've re-evaluated how. I have had an impossible dream for a really long time and I know if I don't at least try to make it work, I will regret that down the line. 

The term impossible dream comes from Barbara Sher's work and she talked about identifying the dream and the top three obstacles preventing you from obtaining the dream and then asking for help to move around those obstacles. My impossible dream is a working studio, outside the house, in a truly co-operative environment as in we all get along and we support and encourage the success of each other. The obstacles are money, space, and a group of artists that truly get along. 

There is a local business woman who owns a flower shop that I truly respect. She is open minded, supportive and encouraging, honest and pragmatic. Along with flowers, she sells locally made art in her shop. After the Mother's Day rush, she has agreed to meet with me and brainstorm possibilities and I'm really looking forward to that. 

When I wrote May 1st in my journal, my first thought was that we were a third of the way through the year and I hadn't done anything yet. But that's not true. Just in April, I started working with a coach. I made a permanent decision about surface design and a permanent decision about writing, teaching, and retreats. I started working with jewelry again. I decided to get a part time position and then re-evaluated that decision and reversed it. And I decided to pursue the impossible dream and contacted someone to help me get started. THIS IS HUGE.  This is not nothing. 

I was watching a YouTube video the other day made by a young man named David Walsh. In it, he says good lives take a lot of maintenance. Yes. So true.  

What are you working on?

Talk soon - Myrna

- vaccines