Behind the Black Curtain

August 24, 2010

I finally got off my ass and registered for a tax ID last week to fulfill a requirement for next month’s show. While this itself is as exciting as a trip down the frozen food aisle, that magic ID number got me behind the black curtain at the gem & jewelry show.

For those out of the bead whore loop, the black curtain is what divides the public area of the show from the wholesale-only dealers. It’s the same stuff on both sides, but a few bucks less behind the curtain.

Even though I felt like I belonged to a special club with my star-stamped hand, there wasn’t much difference between the areas. Sure, a few strands were cheaper, but I’m pretty sure it was a vendor thing. It’s easy to find the same beads at different tables in the public area with a wide range of prices. Foot traffic was WAY lighter behind the curtain, and it was nice not to swear under my breath every time a wheel chair ran over my foot or someone lugging an oxygen tank snagged their tube on one of my bracelets.

The only thing that really felt like a score was an antique Tibetan silver and jade cuff from Afghanistan.  Just looking at this thing made me itch (as pretty much all non-silver/steel/gold/platinum makes me do), but I bought it anyway because I loved it and ten bucks seemed like a deal. After wearing it to a party over the weekend, I was relieved to have passed up the matching necklace. My wrist is still covered in welts and raw spots, and I can’t imagine what would have happened to my precious chesticles if a nickel-laden necklace had been draped across them for one sweaty, alcohol-fueled night.  Even after coating the inside of the cuff  with clear nail polish, my mouth still tastes like I’ve been sucking on a battery. “Metal sensitivity” doesn’t even begin to cover it.


Jewelry vs. Graphics

February 25, 2010

In a former life, I’d fill sketchbooks within a matter of days. Most of them are still around, though looking through them is unpleasant to say the least.

Surrealist overtones were present in most of the work, as Dali was (and still is) one of my “Big 3” of inspirational artists (the others are Jim Henson and Shel Silverstein). The ability to package an extreme personality in an irresistibly cool way was always something I aspired to.  Unfortunately no such thing was within my ability, and most of my pieces had the unintended effect of inducing furrowed brows and long term relationships with school administrators.

During my brief yet memorable adventures at the prestigious Cheshire Academy in Connecticut, the art  teacher (can’t recall his name) was a temperamental character who understood the relevance of 50 people drawing the same frickin’ basket of fruit.  He told me something that pieced together every intentionally artistic experience up to that point in my life: everything is a self portrait.


I drew for a few more years with this in mind, and became decreasingly comfortable with the figurative mirror emerging on every page. Looking at the work objectively, the reasons for being escorted on to the short bus as a teenager became more apparent to me.  After awhile, everything besides technical sketches and schematics faded into memory.

With little effort, an observer  see right through the artist whether it is  the artist’s intent or not. A person can’t hide from anyone (including themselves) in drawings and paintings. Having jedi-like powers when it comes to repression,  I shifted focus to less telling mediums and evolved into a jeweler.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, and have discovered that books on creativity are bullshit. Since the one that inspired my last post, several more pieces of Freecycle fodder have graced my bathroom bookshelf. Why are there in the bathroom? well, I could say that its because its my thinking spot, but its really because these rapid-fire textual insults to common sense irritate my digestive system… and sometimes its just easier to start off at the final destination.

In addition to having pages with as much text as a fortune cookie, this book is blatantly geared toward painters, a detail that was conveniently left out on the author’s website.

What am going on about? “Get a plant”.  An entire page of this book (3 sentences) is dedicated to the benefits of having a plant in your studio. What? WHAT? Really? I just paid $18 to be told I need a plant?! Wait… it gets better. “Wear pearls”. “Make faces at yourself in the bathroom mirror” I’m a dermatillomaniac… its a given. “Read a trashy novel” how about a trash book on creativity? “Wear you jammies in the middle of the day” Thats kinda… status quo. “Embarrass yourself” Oh please, lets not go there. In fact, lets not go anywhere else at all.

Did Peggy Hill write this book?

I can’t wait to talk to my life coach on Monday and tell her the good news; I’ve decided to throw up on a stack of copy paper, tape it together, and announce my first publication on the creative mind.

Really though, this rash of disappointing books has moved me to write down ideas for my own on the same topic. Why do I keep buying these? I guess I’m hoping for something groundbreaking I hadn’t thought of; something that will change my world.  I  need a book on creativity that doesn’t audibly suck, and I probably have to write it myself.

Wallpaper fail.

January 10, 2010

In my hunt for banner backgrounds (which I use wallpapers for), I came across the one below. Looks neat, yes? Blow it up and look closer. I only saw this after finishing a very cool banner… there are dicks in this wallpaper. Thats right, look again. I tried to tell myself that nobody else would see it and the banner was fine… but no. These dicks are all up in it.

Its ok to laugh at me now.

About the hiatus…

November 21, 2009

It was involuntary. Well, everything is voluntary, but this one was in the name of neighborly relations. It seems that the neighbors on the 3rd floor hear like bats, and took issue with my nocturnal schedule. The situation had me in a knot and kinda paranoid about walking around my own apartment for about a week, but I’ve resolved to simply go all crazy white girl on whom ever  kvetches about my schlepping to the kitchen between 10pm and 6am.

As of yesterday, I am armed with Concerta for that pesky issue of  losing things in plain view. I’d  finish a link and spend hours looking for the rest of the chain which was usually within a few inches of me. Same with tools, beads, pieces of wire, people, Monkey, and in another regard, tasks. It was frickin’ awful and getting worse. The first dose resulted in the most productive night in a long time. Despite my aversion to meds that interfere with natural function, it seemed necessary this time.

I used to contend that people are a certain way for a reason, even if they don’t know what it is; that chemical imbalances, raging bipolarity, and a melange of diagnoses that haven’t been entered into my file yet are all part of what fuels creativity, innovation, and the ability/willingness to think “outside the box”. But dammit… I need to be able to find my pliers, and if it takes medication to do that, then so be it.

New tag?

October 31, 2009

I might need to implement a new category or tag called “fail”, possibly in all caps.

After snapping several dowels, bruising my dainty digits, colorful diatribes with wire (I love a captive audience), and eventually fondling bags of frozen veggies to placate my hands… I learned how NOT to make heavy gauge barbed wire.

It started off as 4g, and I almost cried. After a few of my trademark trial and error attempts, 8g ended up working. Only after the base twist was finished, I asked OrigamiZen Jen (a handy rural diva who not only happens to know how to make the stuff, but is tatted with it as well) where to put the barbs. I did it incorrectly; the barbs were supposed to be strung on to a single wire before twisting the two. Crap. I put the barbs on anyway, and they spin all over the damn place. Fail.

So all this copper wrangling has left me with a ton of scraps. Being my father’s daughter, I pinned this morning’s 7-11 Domo cup to the  side of the desk for scrap collection. Eventually they’ll be melted down for something neat, but for now just having them out of the carpet is great. Well, that and Domo’s unflinching OMNOMNOM face makes feeding him wire clippings feel compulsory.

Mah Domo cup!

Its up!

October 27, 2009

Technically, yes. The new website is up. I’ve been using the same pics for a long time, so the gallery will go up after this week’s picture day so that there are fresh shots. 🙂

I think the site is such a chore because I’m particular. Not  a perfectionist, just… particular. Things need to be a millimeter or two to either side, this is too much info/no its too little, this takes too long to load, this needs to be resides, that looks like crap, etc. It takes forever.

The new version is cleaner, more compact and minimal, and half the links on the menu are to external sites. Yay for low maintenance design.



Presumptuous  as it may sound, I like to think that everyone else loves free stuff as much as I do.

Since a small, free piece of jewelry can be a hit or miss as far as the recipient liking it,  another “thank you” gift might be better. For example, some people don’t or can’t wear earrings/rings/etc., so the effort of making one would be a waste.

Maybe some swag like a logo’d magnet or 1″ button, though nothing about either of those really makes anyone say “omg, awesome”.

The best I have come up with is a small polishing cloth, since most of my pieces are made with metal and some (like copper) oxidize quickly. I thought it would be nice to include a means for the piece to always look it’s best.

Thoughts and feedback are welcome!

I mean it this time…

October 25, 2009

Alright, alright! Iv’e enjoyed my funemployment long enough. Yes, losing the jewelry supply store sucked, but we’re moving on now.

My homegirl Jen of OrigamiZen and I have resolved to jump in to the wonderful world of not-working-for-The-Man.  Schedules, bugging the crap out of each other every day from a time zone away, the whole shabang.

This means 8-10 hours per day of crafting, pictures, website tampering, Etsy listing, promoting, etc. … starting today.

I mean it this time. Really.

One of Jen’s super cute origami sakura hair pins

Buy stuff form OrigamiZen on Etsy!

Powwow with my chick

April 23, 2009

Last weekend I schlepped up to Delaware to hang out with my friend, booth-mate, and travel companion  Maria. For almost as long as I have been doing cons, I have been doing them with this chick (whom I affectionately refer to as “Blondie”).  Its hard to find someone you make a good team with, especially by chance. We met years ago over a White Russian and a wall… the rest is history.

So,  not being able to space out via emails, we were able to assess the horror con situation for the late summer/fall. Horrorfind is returning to Hunt Valley (YES!!!) and offering a pretty sweet deal to vendors who stay at the hotel. We have the room booked (who in ther right mind would miss the return to HV?), but coming up with the table fee is gonna drive me batty. I love Horrorfind, but it comes dangerously close to Screamfest in Orlando, which Maria and I have sworn to never miss for any reason (24-hour jacuzzi…. yes please).  Its a lot of overhead to come up with in a very short time. 

The larger issue here is the gamble. These shows are murder on people like me, who undercharge and don’t do enough shows to make up for a bad one. If the dealers’ room is slow, I’m screwed. Our first year in Orlando was amazing. The second, with the housing crisis, local hiring freeze, and other economic mayhem that had people pinching their pennies, was awful. Not to say I didn’t have fun, because I did, but it bears mentioning that the trip home did not include a stop at South of the Border for anything besides cheap gas. 

Hopefully I will end up at both of these shows as a vendor and not just a con dork. Getting the site redone and a better portfolio up will probably help… not to mention putting more than one thing in the Etsy store. :p