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! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Handmade House

Today we'll leave the house we've been staying at for two weeks and head just a little further up the coast. Although we look forward to enjoying a new location (on a peninsula we've never been to), we're also sorry to go. It a delightful place to stay.

This house was hand built (everything but the plumbing and electric) by the original owner, a Mr. Tibbetts, in 1950. It's solid and sturdy with windows and a wide porch spanning the front of the house the looks out over Linekin Bay. (That's Lin - e - kin with a short e in the middle.) Its open and airy with cathedral ceilings in all but the one back bedroom that has a storage loft/attic of sorts.  And high on our list…it comes with a beach.

I'm finally settled, a lot more relaxed and even managed sailing yesterday without too much anxiety or pain. My knees were achey after hiking around Pemaquid Lighthouse and I couldn't keep up with the boys but the doctor says I can do whatever I feel like doing.

Then came the great news from my endocrinologist. She got the results from my most recent blood test and I'm doing well enough that she cut back on both of my medications. That really buoyed me! Light at the end of the tunnel!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Maine Magic

Graves disease makes relaxing difficult. My mind races. I am prone to anxiety. My joints ache and kayaking, something I normally find very relaxing, is physically difficult. I'm not sure that my personality or my preferred activities is suited to wait I am suppose to be doing.

Looking north west over Linekin Bay.
Most certainly the baked goods here in Maine do not make sticking to my anti-inflammatory diet very easy either. (These people can BAKE up here. And that comes from someone who grew up in the heart of PA Dutch baked good heaven, ok?)

But I have managed to do some of the things on the proper road to recovery list as well. I've sketched, engaged in beach combing, tide pooling and cairn building, and just generally marveled at "God's handiwork".  Come on Maine - work your magic.

Ocean Point

Boothbay Harbor 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Change in course

While a re-charge was certainly in order after completing the anthropologie order earlier this year, I hadn't planned on one lasting months. Today in fact my family and I were suppose to arrive at the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean via royal mail ship, a trip we had been planning for well over a year. It was heart breaking to have to cancel the trip.

The view looking west across the South Atlantic when we were on Saint Helena in 2013.
But after an emergency trip to the hospital in March, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. And although I'm undergoing treatment, and the endocrinologist says she feels I'm in a good position to go into remission, the recovery time frame could very likely stretch into next March. And since I am still symptomatic (irregular heart rhythm, anxiety, muscle atrophy, sore joints) it was decided that the rigors of getting to Saint Helena (24 hr. flight to Cape Town followed by 5 days at sea), not to mention being on an isolated island without specialist doctors for 4 weeks, probably was not the best course of action. Clearly we are just not suppose to go this year but oh, how sad that makes me.

Hiking to distant cottage in 2013.
We had planned and planned. We were scheduled to volunteer at SHAPE; I was going to be helping develop new jewelry designs  and we were going to visit with friends we haven't seen since 2013. And now instead here I am, adjusting to the fact that, in all likelihood, I will be managing a disease for the rest of my life.

I'm currently working on beads made from recycled paper made at SHAPE. 

The decision was made that if stress reduction was an important part of me getting to remission, we'd do one of the things we knew had worked for all of us in the past - head to the Maine coast and stay for as long as we could. So we're packing up - painting supplies, kayaks, sailboat and all - and leaving this Saturday,  to "take the waters" as it were.

I'll be posting on Instagram if you're interested (@gwilliamson).

On a business note…the shop will stay open June 20-July 20 but orders will not ship until July 20, when we return. If you place an order by this Thursday it will ship Friday. It you've already placed an order it will ship Friday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

And its outta here!

The Anthropologie order shipped yesterday! Can I tell you what a relief this is, can I just tell you?

 It was a lot of work and the last month ended up being a case of "if it can go wrong, it will go wrong".  But I will tell you this, I learned a heck of a lot about wholesale, about business and most certainly about myself.

And this was a calm day...
Fragment Drop necklaces in verdigris - anthropologie is calling this "blue motif"
Out to Sea earrings
Hemisphere earrings in process
I purchased some IKEA bins ahead of time and they were really helpful for storing and moving things around.
My mom and my husband did the barcoding and packaging last Saturday.  

This is 227 pieces. And to think the buyer originally was talking about 4000 total with pieces "to all doors"! Instead they're carrying my work as a web exclusive only and you can also see some of the pieces on models throughout the website.