Taking Pause....

It's that time of year when one finds themselves thinking about the final tasks and new goals. I love New Year's only because it reminds me to take pause. Every year I choose a new word to represent what I want to embody as I move forward. I chose the word grateful to represent 2008 because I find myself often rushing through to put out fires and climb new ladders rarely remembering to find joy in the small accomplishments. My goal in using the word grateful was to encourage myself to give just as much devotion to the things in my life that are set right as those left askew. What is the point of this strange and lucid journey if we cannot remember to be grateful for the journey itself?

I have been thinking about the word I would like for the upcoming year and I keep coming back to the word balance. Now is the time to find balance within my life and to balance the wants and desires a long side the needs of my family and time required for solitude. There is a yearning in my mind now that was not always there to enjoy each moment as it unfolds and to be in the moment before it passes. It seems a simple task but as I find myself moving through my day my mind seems to wander to all the things that need to be completed next and the day ends with me now quite knowing where the time went only to start again the following morning.

Balance is what my soul desires now.

So Much To Do!

Well, I was given a great opportunity to show my work at the American Craft Retailer's Expo in Las Vegas. in May. I had planned on waiting at least a year before my first wholesale show but this was too good to pass. So I'm frantically looking at everything I need to do and thankful that I have several months to figure it all out. Of course that old demon, fear, keeps creeping up on me and I wonder if I will get even one order.... but all I can do is my best and hope that people will respond to it. Over the next few months I will be working hard to complete the Reflections Collection and filling in some of the gaps for my existing work. If you have any great tips, feel free to share!

Room for change...

I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about change. There is so much going on in the United States right now that I think we all need to take some time and think about ourselves with some reflection. I have spent the last ten years of my life with some solid views and beliefs but lately I have begun questioning some of them. It's difficult when you are faced with questioning some of your steadfast beliefs but I think it's important to keep the doorways in your mind open to new possibilities. I was listening to some music the other day and realized how I have been wrong about some of the things I one held as truths in my life. It was humbling to allow myself to question my own beliefs and I realized that it's important to think about our own inner compass from time to time and allow it to change direction.

I think a lot about the person I want to be. I find that often times people become who they are without a definite goal but allow life's circumstances to determine their course. I have always wanted to be the person who chose my own path. I've always wanted to stay on a definite course. I think it's easier to become who you want to be and to ultimately realize where you want to be if you know who and where that is. Today I realized that this needs to be fluid. Who and where can change over the years of your life. With the recent events in the United States it has made me realize that it is important to me to smile a little brighter, be a little more forgiving, and realize a stronger sense of compassion. After all, though we are individuals.... we can create enormous amounts of warmth one person at a time. So though I live in a large city where life is often rushed, I plan to take things a bit slower and see the humanity in those around me.

The Way to My heart...

Some of you may already know that I adopted three black labs this year; Kai, Maya, and Theo. They have brought me so much joy and have taught me how to laugh at life. I am forever grateful to have them as part of my family and an integral part of my life. I found Erika's shop, Blomma, a few months ago and fell in love with her Labrador greeting cards. She has a way of capturing the essence of a Labrador's playfulness and bringing it to life.

Today a special package arrived in the mail. Inside was a lovely thank you note from Erika and a beautiful Christmas ornament her father hand carved. I am so touched at the thoughtfulness of her gift. This piece will adorn my Christmas tree for many years to come. Thank you Erika and thank your father from one lab lover to another. Tomorrow I will walk the dogs extra long in your honor.

Erika owns an Etsy shop called Blomma. You can view an assortment of contemporary paper goods by clicking on her name.

Her father who hand carved the Christmas ornament can be found at Ctawoodart

One Piece At a Time.....

I recently decided that yes, I would like to begin working with retailers on a larger scale to expand the locations where my work will be available. This was such a difficult decision for me to make and I went back and forth trying to decide what I really wanted to do. Then I thought; is it possible to have my cake and eat it too? Yes, I think it might.

See, the difficult part of this decision stems from my love to explore new design possibilities. I enjoy the process of discovering a new look or theme to work off of. I have been concerned that moving into a wholesale venue would limit my ability to work on new designs and would inhibit my creative spirit. I've spent a lot of time dwelling over the solution. Recently it came to me through a discussion with a fellow metalsmith. Why can't I offer a collection for wholesale and continue to fabricate one of a kind and limited edition work? Well, I can think of no reason. So, I have decided to embark on this new journey with an open mind and heart.

I have chosen the Reflections Collection as the first to complete. I am working on expanding the line to include many pieces and I'm excited about all of the great new ideas I have. I plan to introduce the collection to a venue in 2010. This gives me plenty of time to complete the collection and work out all design components and fabrication issues.

Wish Me Luck!

Our Deepest Fear...

The biggest secret that no one ever tells is that we are all afraid. We fear so many things but ultimately it is failure that keeps us paralyzed and unable to do the things that must be done to accomplish our goals and fulfill our dreams. This is something I discovered awhile ago and knowing this has changed my life. So many times I hear people say that they would love to do x... when I ask them why they don't they usually respond with a myriad of excuses. I know the real reason, fear. But, the truth about fear is that it will eat you alive with no regret. Fear is something inside you that plays with your mind and creates chaos but is merely an illusion. It remains real only by the oxygen you breathe into it. Ultimately it is you who decide how far you will go and it is reaching out beyond the shadows and the inner critic that will allow you to accomplish your goals. Have you ever noticed that when you talk to others about your dreams many will tell you to be realistic... well, that is their fear. You must give yourself permission to succeed and take responsibility for the dream. It is so often what you tell yourself that ultimately comes to fruition so be bold.... and just do it!

This is my favorite poem written by Marianne Williamson. It hangs near my bench so I too remember my deepest fear...

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

A Little Bit Kinder...

The last couple of years have been some of the most incredible and some of the toughest. I feel thankful that I have been able to work full time as a metalsmith and at the same time constantly confused and full of self doubt. I keep waiting to be one of those people who doesn't care what others think, but still I do. I find myself constantly judging my work by what others will think. Is it artistic enough..... is it unusual, is it new, is it unique and different.... and as thankful as I am that I have had so many wonderful people support me and my work I still question myself as an artist... ( for lack of a better word). Yet today while I was working in the studio the better side of me rose up. Really, I'm so over worrying about the scholastic side of my work. I love my work and I love what I do. Isn't that enough? In the end it is ultimately those who collect my work who will judge it's merits and there voice should be the loudest and most dear to me. So though I know this is not the last time I will doubt myself or my work, I vow to try harder to be kinder to myself.

One Vote

I'm only one but I am one. I can't do everything but I can do something and what I can do I ought to do and that by the grace of God I will do.

- Brett Blair, Sermon Illustrations, 1999

Never Really Lost....

Have you been introduced to Facebook? About six months ago I began hearing about Facebook everywhere. It seemed there was a vibe in the air... you must be on Facebook! Well, I thought, I better check it out. I signed up for an account and for the life of me had no idea what to do with it. I just didn't get it. Now I consider myself to be fairly savvy when it comes to using the web but I just didn't understand what Facebook was meant to do or why it had so much hype. Well yesterday I decided to check it out again to see what it was I missed and low and behold.... Facebook is an amazing concept. Upon logging in I found that some of my friends and acquaintances had found me and marked me as a friend. When I accepted Facebook was able to connect their contacts with me and suddenly I was finding and talking to people I hadn't seen or heard from in years. People I thought were lost ... in this giant world... but now I know.. with the web, no one is really ever lost. Try it. You will become addicted and reunite with old friends. It's a good thing.

A Little Bit of Joy

This beautiful piece arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. I purchased this lovely sculpture from Heather Knight of Element Clay Studio. Her work is amazingly detailed and scrumptiously different. You can see more of her work at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5226330 or visit her in her studio in Asheville, North Carolina.

Star Light, Star Bright....

With winter approaching, I find myself searching harder for things that sparkle and shine. This is a new addition to my collection, a beautiful star filled with tiny granules that reflect points of light.

I decided recently that I would begin to use the tag, just be. This has been a struggle for me in my life as I have often felt that I needed to be someone other than who I am. How often do we feel the need to put ourselves on before leaving the house? It is now in my thirties that I find myself wanting..... to just be. To be me freely and fully and to enjoy the many tiny details that are who I am. The reflections series is part of these, well, reflections..... as I look inward. I find that as I go throughout my days, busy, working, taking care of and being taken care of that I forget sometimes even to breathe. Every now and then though a moment comes that is so true to life and shines so brightly that the world just stands still and we stop and take notice. These are the moments we strive to fill our lives with and however fleeting give us the most fulfillment. The reflections series carries these small points of light as a reminder of those precious moments in our life when all is perfect and all is just as it should be. The moments are the light in our lives and our job in life of course; is to find them.

Two is easier than one.....

I can't tell you how many times I have heard my friends say that two children are easier than one. The common conception is that they can keep eachother entertained thus freeing up valuable time for the parents. Well, my husband and I adopted Kai, a beautiful English lab, about a year ago. He was wonderful! Sweet, playful, beautiful, easy to train..... and loved to be as close as possible to his mama (me) at all times! Well, as much as I adore Kai, it got pretty difficult to get work done. He would sit at my bench and whimper and whine until I stopped and amused him with a squeaky toy, a ball of yarn, a good stick.....

When Kai turned about six months old my husband and I got to thinking..... if two children are easier than one then two dogs must be easier still......

Well, the thing they don't tell you is that when you are blessed enough to have that perfect child the first time, don't tempt fate!!!! Stop there!!! Do not pass go, do not collect $200.00, just thank your lucky stars!!!

My husband and I adopted Maya from the Atlanta Dog Squad about six months ago and as sweet and lovable as she is; She is a handfull of Trouble!!!! Every problem that we never had with Kai, we have had with our darling Maya. She jumps on strangers, chews up furniture, farts out loud and in public, chases the cats, steals items off counters and tables.... need I go on?

Don't worry, we adore her and she knows it..... but we were thinking.... perhaps if we adopted another dog it could train Maya for us.... what do you think?

It's All About Texture

A friend of mine loaned me her rolling mill a few months ago and believe it or not I've barely used it! I decided that this year I really wanted to experiment with creating texture using the rolling mill. I have always added a lot of texture to my work but have rarely used the rolling mill to do so. In my quest to find ways to fabricate beautiful jewelry but also to increase production so I can expand my business I find that this has been a real mistake. This is one of the first pieces I fabricated using the rolling mill to add texture. I crumpled up an old paper Starbucks bag and rolled the metal through with it. You can actually see some of the creases in the metal from the paper. It's interesting to me how an old crumpled up paper bag can add so much visual stimulation to what would otherwise be a boring ring. It really completes this particular piece. My studio mate, MG, is going to bring me a whole slew of different papers and I can't wait to play with them. I think I will create a sample board with the papers and a small metal chip so I will know how to acchieve what I want in the future.


At the top of my list of things to do for 2008 is to create and maintain a blog. This has been difficult for me though I have no idea why. As someone who has never had trouble writing, I have found that I really have a lot of trouble writing about myself and my work. It's difficult to know how writing in a blog contributes to the heavy flow of traffic on the world wide web. However, as this is something I feel is important for any indie artist, I will struggle on.

I often use words in my jewelry and try to find ways to inspire women in a positive and constructive manner. As I have found it so important to find the strength to live the life I want to lead I feel it's equally important to help others strive to find the same perfection (not that I am perfect)! My goal in life is to find a balance between pleasure and work. My mother has told me many times in the past not to forget to enjoy the journey. I finally heard her and realized that if I didn't start living my dream NOW, I never would. It's so easy to let each day slip by and think to yourself that you will begin that new project or take that new class tomorrow...... However, there is always a new to do list and responsibilities tend to grow rather than shrink. If not now then when?

I hope to share a little bit about my thoughts and my work and perhaps find a way to share my experience with other indie artists and lover's of the arts. How often do we get to know one another really?

Words of the Day: She who seeks to find happiness must begin her quest within.