Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Shop site success

My NEW SHOP is open!

I decided to take the completion of my Longest Year line as the time to make the move to shop space independent of Etsy.  Its connected to my website as is the Etsy shop but this way I won't be putting add my eggs in one basket as it were. I'm not sure right now exactly how the division of shops will work but all new work from now forward is going into the new shop.

Reversible necklace

And now, after all the website wrestling, I really feel like its time to just concentrate on the work. Thats where the pleasure is for me, designing and making, and with some different autoimmune symptoms surfacing in the last 2 months anything that reduces stress is literally what the doctor ordered.

I specifically chose to limit the first installment of the Longest Year line to 12 pieces, one for everything month of the year since my diagnosis. I hope it doesn't seem overly sentimental because it was actually more a matter of practicality - I could have designed and designed forever just using this limited selection of shapes.

I've loved the process of limiting myself and then seeing what I can do within that limitation. The shapes in this line are all variations on one, the "mountain" shape in this necklace (save for here and there such as the bracelet toggle which I couldn't seem to resolve any other way although I'll tell you I really tried to make that a little mountain as well).  And for now I chose to limit the palette too except for color on a couple pieces.

This is a brooch/necklace combination. 

What I found, much to my delight I have to tell you, is that rather than running out of ideas, I couldn't find the end of ideas! I could probably work for another year and just keep pushing and pushing this one shape. I'm not sure I will (would I fall out of love with the shape? would I still be able to sell work?)  but I could.

The original necklace where this whole line started.
But at any rate, for the sake of getting a this body of work together I needed to draw the line somewhere and 12 pieces for a line called The Longest Year certainly made sense (Although...there are more pieces already started and sitting on my work table today ;-)

Four stranded necklace - you change the strand that's worn in the back from the black to the longest translucent. 
I'd love to get your feedback on my new work and the shop! I'd also love to hear if any of your who are artists have ever limited yourself this way and how it affected your work.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Longest Line

This line has been a long time in the making. I'm kind of amazed that it's come to fruition not in spite of but because of my autoimmune disease diagnosis last March.

I introduced a couple pieces not long before I was taken to the ER and didn't find my way back to them up again until later in the spring. In the midst of my ensuing brain fog the repeated shapes became a kind of meditation for me, soothing and steady. And I've just let myself flesh out the line further. It was a "if life gives you lemons make lemonade" sort of epiphany.

The necklace has four different strands - one black, one very pale grey and two translucent and you chose how to wear it, with the black section at the back (as shown) or with the longest translucent section at the back. Who doesn't like flexibility?  Either way its a mid-length necklace with no clasps.  The pieces are flat and so very lightweight and connected with heavily oxidized sterling silver.

In addition to the couple pairs of earrings that dripped into my shop in the past couple of months, The Longest Year line will include short, mid-length and long necklaces, several styles of earrings, a pin and a bracelet and will be ready for purchase on March 7th.  Watch this space for more details!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Snowed-in Birthday Sale!

Not too uncommon for me, the weather man says I should probably plan to spend my birthday (January 24) snowed in. I think I liked this idea when I was a kid but somewhere along the way it lost it's charm. Someday I hope to celebrate another year of life in the southern hemisphere with a picnic and swimming but this year will most likely include coconut tumeric milk and a roaring fire. 

I'll kick off a week long Birthday Sale in my Etsy shop on Sunday, Jan. 24 with new work, one of a kind pieces and old favorites. Use the coupon code BDAY2 when you are checking out for 20% off all total purchases. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Join the resistance

Christmas dinner for 18 this coming Friday with be the first family holiday we've hosted since I was diagnosed. Surely this is a test of my ability to navigate symptoms. I chose a simple menu and have said "yes" to every offer of help. Decorations are sparse. Gift wrap is simple.

But stand against all the culturally created stress about holidays, to recognize that shopping does not equal love, to cut out the unnecessary and pair down,  is not only good for those of us with autoimmune diseases but, in this day and age, its down right revolutionary.  And I encourage you to join "the resistance" ;-)

Wishing you and your family and friends peace and joy this holiday season because this weary world needs a load of them both! 


Monday, November 30, 2015

Shop Small

No, its not JUST Cyber Monday. The sale in my Etsy shop continues through Wednesday of this week. All orders over $75 ship Priority. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

For the first time in a long time...

One of the more upsetting Graves disease symptoms has been my inability to imagine.

More specifically I guess what really happens is that the hyperthyroidism disrupts my ability to focus, thoughts coming rapid fire and jumbled rather than orderly and sequential. At times I have even found it difficult to speak because I just can't put a sentence together. (Case in point, this is the first blog post since July.) New ideas felt like things I could only see in my peripheral vision.

I'll be honest, anything new you've seen from me since March has come about very slowly. 

But then, during that half awake, half asleep time last Saturday morning I realized...I was imagining, thinking through a new earring shape, putting ideas together in my head. It was amazingly comforting. Imagining feels good to me, I guess its just part of who I am, and without it I felt disjointed and as an artist, handicapped in a way.

Recovery is a slow uphill march. I have good days and really not good days.  I might not reach remission and even if I do I very well may relapse. But I'm happy for every "normal" moment and I've made peace with the fact that after all the treatment I might have to have thyroid ablation anyway.

Thank you to everyone who has commented on posts and sent me emails - I'm sorry if I wasn't able to answer you directly! I really appreciate the kindness and encouragement!

And I'm happy to be posting new work this week. Four pairs of Convertible, mix and match earrings will be in the Etsy shop tomorrow by noon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"I met her on the internet."

That's what I had to say when someone asked me how I know Barb Fernald because that was the truth. I didn't in fact know her; my family and I were traveling 3 mi. across the water to meet her for the first time.

Backstory: Barb read on my blog that I was coming to Maine and suggested that we visit her home, Little Cranberry Island. I mapped the trip and  realized we could manage it as a day trip from Martin Point as my husband encouraged me past the anxiety and there you have it.  Island adventure! Thanks to Barb's planning we were able to catch the 10am mailboat out of Northeast Harbor and spend a beautiful day seeing the sights and lunching with lobsterman (her husband :-)

harbor at Ilesford, Little Cranberry

There is an amazing number of things to do on this 1mi. x 1mi. island. A long, grey, shingle building on the dock houses a great restaurant, art gallery, and gift shop (Winter's Work - a very nice shop with handmade goods from the state of Maine). There is also a decent sized pottery with excellent work from at least three potters.  (And they wrap what you buy quite nicely for the journey back across the water.) 

My husband found the gorgeous green ones.

Looking back to Mt. Desert Island

Barb, as it turns out, is a wonderful person and we clicked. I mean, how can you not just love someone who's suggested afternoon activity is going to pick up rocks?! 

Her work is featured on island at Winter's Work of course and includes polymer, metal clay and beach stones. We were so fortunate to have time to visit her studio. Its wonderful how visiting another person's workspace can make you feel excited about getting back into your own!  

You can also find her jewelry in Archipelago (Rockland, ME) and online. Check her out! She has wonderful craftsmanship and I feel like her work, even the more abstract pieces, "speak" about the natural beauty of her island home.

Now to the part of the day's visit  was completely unexpected. 

Did you know award winning illustrator/artist, Ashley Bryan, is a Little Cranberry resident? I must admit that I didn't, but he is and how very blessed we were to spend some time visiting his studio. Puppets, paintings, lots of work in progress and papier mache stained glass windows! You don't meet too many people who are such a perfect combination of funny and smart and encouraging - but Ashely is all of these and more. Meet him and you feel like you've had your soul massaged. Its as if  you walked right into a children's book.  My oldest son Ben turned to me and said "I'm staying. I'm staying here with Ashley. Forever." 

photo : Barb Fernald

from Simon and Shuster

Island's have long been safe harbors for artists. The natural beauty, the quiet and the retreat from the fast pace of mainland life leaves space in the brain for imagination to happen.  Little Cranberry even has a lobsterman poet and lobsterman painter. So much art is such a tiny space. 

A very big thank you to Barb Fernald for inviting perfect strangers to visit, gutsy former sternman that she is! We've been told twice in the past week how fortunate we are to have friends on Little Cranberry and I know that to be absolutely true. 

Good bye tiny island - see you again sooner rather than later I hope!