Still here.

November 7, 2010

There’s a rumor going around that I’ve thrown in the towel on jewelry. While it’s true that I haven’t made anything in awhile and have grown to loathe shows, I certainly haven’t given up.  It’s a weird time in my life, and I’m trying to find a place for jewelry that doesn’t drain my time, resources, and patience.


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.

Marrying my mistress

January 28, 2010

I recently read a book on creativity that was pretty useless aside from one tidbit; a quote from James Goldsmith that says “When a man marries his mistress, he creates a vacancy”.

A lot of people I’ve talked to disagree with this, and I’m not sure why. In the book, the quote referenced pursuing your passion as a full time job, thereby creating a vacancy for another passion… or something less exciting than a passion that just happens to fill that extracurricular void.

Taking on art full time has always been fruitful for me, but never fulfilling. Its awesome to work my ass off in preparation for a convention and then make great money selling my work, but it isn’t something I could do full time. It gives me nothing to look forward to. The days and weeks after cons are usually spent in a state of creative bankruptcy… like I’ve shot my proverbial wad and thats the end of it. Pressure to come up with and execute original ideas is frickin’ awful, and I’m honestly surprised I do it for fun.

So back to the “mistress”. We all have one. Some people knit, others smoke, cook, garden, you get the point. Whatever yours is, shut your eyes, go to lala land, and imagine an average day in your life after working at your passion 40-70 hours per week until you retire. Seem like fun? Get your ass back to lala land and visualize again… this time realistically. Its like a pizza lover getting a job at a pizza joint and then never wanting to see one again after some time.

People seem to go nuts over the wire tree pendants I’ve been making this year, so I made some tiny ones into a 5-in-1 piece.  A sturdy bracelet that can be separated into four pendants to match the season or your mood make an awesome gift that will be appreciated year-round.

I offer tree-making lessons (in person only for now) for $25, which includes materials for one tree and  an hour of hands-on instruction. Yes, you get to keep it. 🙂

Click image to go to the listing

Yes, there really is an “Awesome ‘Possum” collection, and no, it was not inspired by Louis C.K. (who I love, but had nothing to do with this).

There is more to Atlas III‘s story than what the Esty listing indicates. I have a tendency to  exhibit  textual diarrhea when it comes to writing copy, and often have to weed out entertaining or otherwise interesting stuff for the sake of holding a reader’s attention. Have I lost you yet? Good.

How it started

Coincidentally (or maybe not?) today is actually the 3rd anniversary of Awesome ‘Possum’s beginnings (11/05/06).  A friend and I schlepped south on rt. 15  from Leesburg, VA for for about 2 hours in a Honda Civic ( nicknamed “itsnotahooptie”).  It was virgin to our antics, meaning  it had a neutral odor, noteworthy lack of staining, and no sweaty handprints of frightened menfolk on the inside of the rear windows.   The trunk was occupied with a plastic storage bin specifically for collecting street meatballs, which are abundant year-round on this particular road. I had my roadkill kit (trash bags, mask, head lamp, change of clothes, and and gloves), and was ready to bag as many critters as possible.

It didn’t take long to realize that most of these furry speedbumps had been hit so many times that there wasn’t an intact bone in their bodies, and that sucked for all parties involved – live and dead.  The ones that were beyond use were placed just beyond the closest tree line to avoid further dances with tire treads; the ones that still had some rigidity to their structure were double-bagged and placed in the plastic tub. This was not the first time I had scooped critters, but certainly the first time a day trip had been made of it.  Normally, collection  happens sporadically as I find specimens in my everyday travels.

A sampling of ooze to come...

A side note about the art of collecting roadkill: its a crapshoot. Very rarely is the collector graced with a perfect specimen that looks like it fell asleep in the road. The norm is unfortunately rather gruesome and undesirable on all accounts (floppy meatbags, popped out eyes, gross crap even by my standards). Even the best looking ones have very few usable bones, and the collector only finds out after several months of decomposition.

About an hour  into the journey, my friend made a familiar face.  Gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles, she pulled over and popped open the trunk.  It seems that the aroma of carrion flesh isn’t as noticeable to me as it is to others. Similar to the smell of garbage (I’m an avid dumpster diver),  I just don’t register the odor as anything but an opportunity within sniffing distance. Its an awkward skill actually… this ability to sniff out a corpse from about a mile away; very awkward date conversation though.  Anyway, the double-bagged critters in various states of decay had… uh… oozed. Iwon’t say bled, because I can’t say with any confidence that 100% of the black goo at the bottom of the tub was all blood. It was probably a mixture of blood, organ juices, and internal matter that broke down quickly. Whatever it was, it instantly made my friend understand my “smaste” affliction (I’m perpetually congested, and therefore taste what most people only smell) .   The smaste of five juicy bodies was a particularly foul, and I wouldn’t wish it on any first-time smaster; its the equivalent of tossing a first-time swimmer into the Mariana Trench without water wings or a snorkel.  Between a cheekful of super-minty gum and the bandanna tied around my face (pro tip!), I was spared while  she was not.  For the record: in 2004, this friend ate enough chicken wings to feed a small country, just so that I could have the bones for art projects. Today, she selflessly besmirched the sanctity of her new car with the vile stench of death. If that isn’t friendship, I don’t know what is.  Moving on…

Necessary measures.

Two hours into the journey we ended up at Clark Brothers, a  landmark just south of Warrenton, VA. While I schmoozed the large men in camo overalls and bought a bone saw, she paced around the car alternating between furious texting and grabbing her knees to steady the dry heaves. Promising to score her a pair of coveted raccoon hands with my new bone saw as thanks for being a trooper,  she was temporarily sated though still edgy.

The lack of opossum on this stretch of road was noticeable since  they are abundant in the suburbs where I live.  As the country road reached the familiar ‘burbs,  I spotted a mangy one on the shoulder. Leaning out the window, I pointed and yelled “POSSUUUUM!”. Scowling at the prospect of another contributor to the smell, she said  “oh awesome“. Feeling somewhat euphoric and giddy from the quality of our payload, I started singing “aaawesome ‘poooosuuuum” to the tune of Chili’s “Awesome Blossom” jingle (circa 1990) and doing the cabbage patch in my seat.  She glared at me with the “what the fuck is wrong with you” look that I get with some frequency, and cracked a smile. It was then that the need to disarm people in order for them to accept my work became apparent.

Srs Bsnss…

Nothing  about any of this is intended to be gross or morbid. Sure, there are some really foul things that just come with the territory, and there is certainly an audience for that aspect of it. The lighthearted approach I have regarding the collection of these poor creatures is more of a coping mechanism than anything else; it breaks my heart every time. People who are in a rush to get their snot-nosed little oxygen thieves to soccer practice, texting, screwing with makeup, and who knows what else are completely oblivious to the fact that they are taking a life regardless of the number of legs it has.  Would they go nuts if they hit a pedestrian? Of course. A deer? Maybe, but only because it probably messed up their (totally replaceable) car. An awesome  ‘possum? In most cases… no.

Next to squirrels, ‘possums seem to be the animal that the general public cares least about running over. They aren’t particularly cute,  and  largely regarded as pests. The first animal I ever moved out of the road was a ‘possum; I was 14 and the flattened tree rat made a lasting impression  to say the least.  For me, ‘possums (the dead ones anyway) embody motorists’ overwhelming  apathy toward the gravity of ending a life without flinching. Awesome ‘Possum is more than a stupid song that  came to me in a moment of  sweet sweet mania; it is a series of  ‘possum-centric pieces made with the intent of promoting benevolence toward all forms of life, regardless of how cute, sentient, or worthwhile we deem them to be.

Sense of humor required.


June 4, 2009

After much nagging, I finally signed up on Twitter. While every move won’t be reported, it *will* provide a glimpse into the stresstacular world of show prep, etc.   Behold the widget!