So the last six months has been about learning what it means to live a creative life. I was pretty sure - when I was longing for it - that is was going to be all about watering my plants in loose flowy dresses and drinking a second cup of coffee on my deck in soft sunlight and having a perfectly clean house and producing piece after piece of stunningly beautiful jewelry to fill my Etsy shop in no time at all.
Um... yeah. Not so much.
And I won't show you what my studio looks like this morning, as I rearrange it for the third time in six months. (But do check in Friday for an in-depth studio tour and a glimpse into the studios of other AJE contributors! We're going to have a lot going on here for Black Friday!)
Surprisingly, in spite of my many years in small business management, the biggest challenge for me in my new life has been time management, in particular becoming disciplined about the amount of time I give to the one-of-a-kind pieces that are an expression of my delight to be in the midst of a learning process and the production mind-set that allows me to turn out many more pieces in a shorter period of time.
|Multiple earrings, same design, managed to get them done in 1-1/2 days.|
|An indulgence: I made every link of this chain and the glass cabochon too.|
I've really indulged my love for the one-of-a-kind stuff, and haven't been very good at being disciplined about developing designs that I can create in multiples. The earrings above are an example of one successful attempt at an approach to multiples. For some reason, I volunteered to donate earrings to gift bags for a Gail Crosman Moore artist retreat at Allegory Gallery this past summer - and then panicked a little when I realized that my usual "one at a time" approach wouldn't work. I managed to get all 15 pairs done - including the designing, the cutting and fold-forming of the leaf elements, and a few disastrous missteps - in a day and a half. The necklace above, on the other hand, was days in the making - I made every single element myself, every link in the chain, even the glass cabochon. It'll take me a long time to fill the shop if I spend all my time on pieces like that!
|Double hoops with shell drops.|
|Double hoops with Czech glass tulip drops.|
|3/4 Moon Series - hammered silver with carnelian drops.|
|3/4 Moon Series - hammered silver with Czech glass drops.|
These designs are ones I keep returning to time and again - standard components that I can create in multiples and then make more unique with the addition of different beads and colors. But I don't have the balance right yet. There are still too many days when I sit with a worktable overflowing with materials and my mind goes completely blank - I can't think of one single thing to do with the things in front of me.
I'm still learning.
My teammates here at Art Jewelry Elements do a stunning job of striking that balance. Several of the more recent articles here have featured component work by Sue Kennedy, Kristi Bowman, Lesley Watt, and newest AJE member Rebekah Payne. If you missed them, go back and check them out - this team is an inspiration, especially for someone so new to the process of living a creative life.
But I'm still learning.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go put on a gauzy flowy dress and water my plants.
Until next time!
Until next time!