Sunday, 18 August 2013

And relax.....

Over the last couple of days I've done lots and lots of making.  How so?  Well, one of my constant dilemmas is that I don't have a set workspace, but for the most part I have tools and some materials in the kitchen and everything else lives in the cupboard under the stairs in the living room so I can sit on the sofa and watch TV or listen to music as I'm playing around.  I keep wondering how easy or not it would be to make myself a workroom in one of the bedrooms whilst the children are still young enough to share.  But I keep feeling as though that's really over-indulgent of me (I prefer to be around for the kids and I do a lot of making at night when they are in bed) plus I like pottering in the kitchen and sitting on the sofa when I'm making.  Anyway, I cleared some more space in the kitchen and as a result got lots done whilst the kids were playing.

First up I had a revelation.  I can't wear earrings as everything makes my lobes itch like crazy (ok, so I've not yet tried titanium or gold but I'll get around to trying them sometime).  Anyhow, I thought I'd have a go at making some ear cuffs out of some bits of copper I had etched.

This is they before they've been liver of sulphured. They're kind of cute and I plan to add a couple of dangles to one or two of them before I take some proper pics and get them up in the shop.  And obviously I'm wearing a couple of them all the time.  Have you ever tried getting a picture of your own ear?  Seriously hard to do.

Next up - earlier in the week I read on Beatnheart's blog about a polymer clay tutorial sold by Ginger Davis-Allman in her Blue Bottle Tree Etsy shop.  I was suitably impressed and so bought it and this weekend was the first time I'd had a chance to play around.  I didn't make many bits and bobs but here's the outcome.

I don't know why this pic is sideways - blogger won't let me turn it around.  I have a couple of pieces of ammonite, one fossil and one piece of rock where an ammonite was extracted so I used them to texture three pieces of clay.  I love ammonites.  These aren't done yet in terms of being painted/finished but they're getting there.  I'm quite pleased with them.

These three pieces were textured with a couple of old belt medallions.  Yes, the colours on all of them are pretty similar so I'm going to have to do way more experimenting with different colours but my brain gets stuck into a green-ish purple place more often than not.  More on that later.

Some pods.  I quite like the pods, I just need to use them all now.

I made another bangle stack. These are probably for me.  I'm going on holiday with the kids next week and realised that I don't often wear jewellery so i figured I should make something that will go with mostly everything I have.  Again, the groove is a neutral pinkish/purple/green/black/metal thing going on.  Dinge.  I like dinge, it goes with a lot of things.

Some necklaces - etched copper, a Buddha pendant (left as-is, for now) and a key assemblage piece.

Some earrings using etched copper and beads, etched copper ammonite (again) that's a bracelet. 

Another sideways one.  This was my experiment in making those bright shiny Buddha cases look aged and grungy.  I've a couple more of these somewhere so I shall grunge them up too.  But my experiment was fun - I used gesso, alcohol inks, embossing powder and my heat gun.  My heat gun nearly killed the whole thing because these cases are made of plastic.  There's no metal or glass in these at all (although the Buddha's themselves are stone).  But the heat-gun made the clear cover go all warpy but in the end didn't do too much damage.

Then because I was playing with embossing powder I decided to try and add some silver dots to the pods - I love when bead artists do this with real silver on glass beads.  I think my technique needs some refinement (as in, not doing it when I'm cooking tea for the kids) but I'm liking this a lot.  In fact I've realised that all I need is to keep hold of a felt-tip pen that's lost its juice and I can use that to dab the ink or the PVA glue on.

In the meantime the postman came and delivered these babies!  Wowsers.  These are a lot bigger than I thought they'd be, even from the description that was given.  Excellent.  And yes, they are that purple, greenish. goldish colour again.  I've decided to stop trying to get away from it and just go over-board with the purple green gold thing.  Once I get it out of my system I might be able to do other colours.  

Funnily enough my current costume commission has been from someone who wants a fusion belly dance costume in, you guessed it, purple and green.  She might find herself with some crystals on it.

So all I've got to do now is settle in and get some jewellery made.

And to finish?  In amongst all of this my 4-year-old geek son wanted me to find the teeny tiny sonic screw-driver for his teeny tiny Dr Who and friend.  I'm sure you can imagine how easy it is to lose them?  Anyhow, what can I do?  I dug a lolly stick (the rolled paper kind) out of the drawer (I keep them at the moment because you can make light-sabers for teeny tiny Star Wars figures....) and using the kids felt pens made a new sonic for the 11th Dr.  My son did a 10th Dr version for the 11th Dr's friend.

Men at work.  Best not get in the way.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Mojo? Where are you?

Ok, probably my problem is that I am not as creative as I would like to think I am.  But this isn't some "poor me" fest, it's a proper, "What am I doing with my life?" questioning period.

As a belly dance teacher and performer I am questioning everything at the moment.  I have a niche that I should probably run into head-long but as usual I am questioning my ability in this very niche area (I'm mainly rubbish at self-promotion) but I'm beginning to understand that it IS something I should do and be more proactive about.

Other creative areas in my life are making costumes for fusion belly dancers and making eclectic and experimental (for me) jewellery.  I'm at a hiatus with both but try and push myself with the jewellery making and keep getting custom work coming in so I have to keep going or my brain will explode (and so will my house as there's no room to keep everything).

In a bizarre head-rush of fusion this week there were two posts from belly dance costume design crushes of mine about, 1) copying styles and how crap that is and, 2) offering tutorials which free you up, give you licence to use what you've learned to make things you can sell as your own and how that might influence your own path.

When discussions of this type start I am always brought back to a blog post by someone who influences a great many jewellery makers, Marina Rios, aka Fanciful Devices.

More recently this worldwide discussion relates to me buying a tutorial about making polymer clay pieces and focals.   A great many jewellery designers and makers seem to have come across this tutorial and have sucked in every iota of information that was expressed, and i'm sure that they were as greatful as I was to have it all so clearly explained.

Today there was a post on FB in a group I'm in (Tribal Fusion Bellydance UK) about cultural appropriation and the discussion that followed was about how we all felt about throwing things into the mix.  Should we use markers from other cultures that we love because they look beautiful to our eyes or should we only build in a personal story about how we cannot add these because it is inappropriate, even to people who will now gift us or sell us those markers? (Saris and bindis being the bigger players in these stories).  This is a difficult subject to approach because amongst other trades the Silk Route and the Spice Trade both brought benefits to the cultures they came from, and to the cultures they arrived at.  In the same theme should assemblage jewellery makers use religious medals, crosses and sacred beads in their work?  If a jewellery designer understands the cultural mix that is implicated by using elements from a different culture and yet comes from a country and was brought up in a culture that uses images and symbols that are both important and common but that they have decided not to assign a meaning, does this make their work art or the bastardisation of entitlement?

Within this mix I always come back to the most influential blog post by the inspired jewellery maker Marina Rios/Fanciful Devices who thoroughly encourages people to copy her as she understands that it is by copying and then by experimenting after copying that one finds ones own space.  She understands, and knows from sales, that her skill is never really hit by anyone who tries to copy her outright.

Should we copy someone we admire?  Should we, can we copy from a person or a culture that we admire and aspire to emulate?  Does it inspire us or constrain us?

Friday, 9 August 2013

Been away too long...

...and I have nothing to show you.

I'm not sure that I'll ever have anything to show ever again but I'm going to try.  It's hard not to get caught up in the day-to-day stuff of life, particularly with small children who still need me to be around, but each day I get a little more time.  Sadly I seem to be getting lazier.  The summer we've been having so far has been pretty awesome, so I can't blame drizzle and grey skies for my feelings of sadness and my lack of mojo.

No pressure.  Let's see what happens