13 January 2010

School Days

Here I am, back in school again. My first classes started on Monday. It is such a different perspective, coming back to school after being in the working world for over twenty years. It is refreshingly easy, compared to going to a job day after day. Here, my job is to learn, which I have been doing on my own for years now. My first semester is filled with basic art classes I need to complete before formally declaring my major in fine arts, an English class to complete one of my general education requirements, and a Pilates class, to keep me in shape.

My first class is Creative Process (Art 103), and our first assignment is a hypothetical art installation. We are to choose any location on campus, and design a piece in the medium of our choice for this imaginary commission. We do not have to worry about practical considerations, such as cost, engineering, or schedule, but we do need to present our projects, and need to provide drawings (sketches, elevations, front and side views, plot plans of the immediate area, etc.), photographs and/or models.

I am thinking about designing some kind of sculpture, so I started by jotting down a list of things I need to decide, such as location, theme, shape, and movement to give me a place to start. I rode my bike around part of the campus to look for possible sites for my work, and to look at the existing sculptures on campus to get ideas. Later today, I will take my camera and take pictures of some of the areas I am interested in to give me more ideas. I am also researching history of the university and of the area to give me ideas as to what my imaginary sculpture will look like.

Another idea I am playing around with is a mosaic. Like my sister, who is an amazing mosaic artist, I was deeply inspired by the incredible mosaics from the capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska, where we grew up. We used to go on school field trips there as children, and whenever I am in Lincoln, I make a point to visit the capitol building to revel in the amazing art and architecture it holds.

I have yet to come up with a theme for my work, but some possibilities are education (obviously), native history, or Idaho history. Once I spend some more time looking around campus, and decide on a location, the rest of the ideas will come together.

This is a fun first project, and I feel I have an advantage in how to approach it, as what we are being asked to do is the same process I go through when I design a piece of jewelry. I try to not be too rigid in the first stages of a design, but to let my thoughts flow. I will often look at pictures to get ideas for shape or color, but soon, my creative muse kicks in, and the design flows through my hands to create the image in my head. Sometimes I will have a complete idea, and will sketch it beforehand, and sometimes I only get a general glimpse, and the design shows itself to me as I go along.

I will share more on this project as it develops. Thanks for joining me on this journey.
Until next time!

01 January 2010

Welcome 2010!

Happy New Year to you all!

The year 2009 surely had some challenges, but I am always thankful for every day I get in life, and as I look back over the past year, I wouldn't change a thing! I didn't get as much jewelry making done as I would have liked in the past month, but it was nice to take things at a slower pace after our whirlwind move. My younger daughter and her boyfriend joined us for the holidays, which was delightful! We went bowling, and baked cookies, and watched episodes of the new Doctor Who, and generally enjoyed a relaxing time. I look forward to their moving back to Idaho after she is done with school, so they will be closer to us, and can visit more often.

The holidays also brought some more sales in my Etsy shop, which helped our holiday shopping, and bought me some new gemstones to play with. And, of course, I DID make jewelry! I did a trade with a lovely Etsy seller from Australia for some of her beautiful felted slippers. It turns out that we share the same birthday - a fun bit of serendipity! Louise from Pixie Lou Felt makes such beautiful things! I found her shop as I was looking for a pair of slippers to replace my old ones, which are falling apart at the seams. I saw a beautiful pair of blue and purple pixie boots in her shop, and wrote to ask her if she wanted to trade for jewelry. There were several bracelets she liked in my shop, which were more expensive than the boots, so she made me a pair of low slippers, too, and I made her a custom seahorse bracelet. Both of us were thrilled with our trade! :D

I also made a custom nose ring, or nath as they are called in India, for another Etsy seller, and had to try out a few more nath designs after that. One of the naths I made incorporated a paisley in the design. My fellow Etsy Wire Artisans Guild member, Sheridan Joslin of Joslin Jewels makes beautiful paisley designs, and I always wanted to try my hand at them.

The paisley nath turned out splendidly, and gave me some ideas for a pair of paisley earrings. I managed to find a string of gorgeous Baltic amber briolettes, and wanted to make a pair of really big, bold earrings with them, similar to a pair of costume earrings I saw a woman wearing recently. The paisley design was just the ticket to tie it all together! Since the frames of the paisleys were large, I kept the design as light and airy as possible, so they would be comfortable to wear. The background was netted with 30 gauge, fine silver wire, and I used gold seed beads and a few golden Swarovski crystals to carry the honey color throughout the design. The result was a fabulous pair of earrings measuring 3-3/4 inches in length, but weighing no more than a smaller pair of earrings, and certainly light enough to wear all day and into the night without the least bit of pulling or stretching of the wearer's ear holes.

Last night, I thought I'd make one last piece of jewelry for 2009, but wasn't feeling inspired, so all I made was a simple wrapped rose ring out of copper wire, then my husband and I watched a movie and rang in the new year quietly at home.

I hope 2010 is filled with happiness, good health, prosperity and lots of love for you all! Thanks for stopping by.