Friday, April 17, 2009

Yummy stuff . . . .

There is no better word for this material - yummy. I've been looking for prehnite cabs that I could afford or slabs of this sweet stuff and I finally got my lapidary instructor to give some up. Thank you, Captain Agate.

Eight beauties - six slabs and two heels - that I can't wait to work on and I will be posting the little works in progress. If you're interested, join me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

OMG - my 40th high school reunion

Tell me it isn't possible. How could 40 years have passed so quickly?
This is a yearbook photo of me and my art teacher, Barry Kennedy, at Oak Park High School, Kansas City, Missouri.
Class of 1969

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Change in plans . . .

What started with BIG plans to build a studio in our detached garage with an absolutely gorgeous BIG view morphed into a compact little studio space in our house. Not exactly what I had planned but I’m coming around to realize that I needed to severely pare down my equipment and supplies and work more efficiently. Who needs all that space anyhow? I mean it.

I really thought we’d finish off a 12x18 space in our detached garage and shop where I would have all of my metalworking equipment (not to mention a great view of the farmland between here and the Capitol Building). We moved into our home in the Fall and I had absolutely no intention of working on jewelry or even needing a studio until then. Right. The phone starts ringing. Local galleries are selling my work better than before (go figure - yay) and I need to continue refilling the cases with my simple jewelry. {sigh} I surrender.

My DH Ed suggests that I take space in our basement where our workout area will be, consolidate my equipment and set up a studio inside. I have to admit, it’s gonna be warmer. He starts carving out a place for me to work. I’m a stubborn girl and not all that happy about changing plans you understand, but I start to come around and see that this is actually going to work!

We hang pegboard on the walls of my little 6x12 area (one third the original planned size) and it’s wonderful I find, to be able to see my wire and stock immediately. No digging through boxes to find that 21 gauge wire and bezel wire and stones and stock. I have outlets every 2 feet – OMG – no more extension cords. We’ll be hanging bi-fold doors so that the area looks like a huge walk-in closet and can be closed off when I’m not using it, thus hiding the bench mess. And someday when I’m too old and decrepit to pound metal any longer, this can become a big old walk-in closet with great lighting.

My bench is one that Ed built out of 1” square tubing with a thick particleboard top. He built me a matching soldering table with a steel top, both with shelves underneath to store plastic storage boxes, oxyacetylene tanks with miscellaneous supplies. I love it.

I get a kick out of posting pics of my ‘bench mess’ and clearly I have a way to go before I'm at the finished product, but I’m really proud that I’ve managed to carve out a bit of workspace from such a reduced original plan. Smaller is better and from an efficiency standpoint, this could not be better for me. in a time when everyone is focusing on getting rid of the clutter in our lives. Don't get me started.

I love it when a plan falls apart (and a better idea rises from the ashes).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shop local . . . . .

Here is the scenario: someone mentions to me in some serious tones that it "sure would be nice to shop for stones at the Big Gem Show next year". If you buy beads, gemstones and cabs, you know which Big Gem Show someone's talking about and I think to myself, "Yeah, that would be nice. Get some really gorgeous stuff. Spend some serious bucks." When all is said and done, I'd be out the cost of transportation, accommodations, car rental, food, my valuable time - all before I even set foot in Big Gem Show. Lordy.

The very next day: I go to the local Gem and Mineral Club's annual show. I find everything I want, more than I need, some super deals, even more gorgeous stones, chat with a few locals, run into some friends that I had not seen in months, bought from my incredibly talented friends and neighbors - all in my own backyard. It dawns on me - I can get the best deals from people right here in my own playground! I sleep in my own bed that night, eat my own food, drive my car to and from the show, and my uber-cool, relatively inexpensive finds are waiting for me on my bench. Bonus.

At the local shows, I can get absolutely the best bargains and the sweetest deals on everything I am looking for. No hotel. No car rental. No flying halfway across the US to pay cubic dollars for something I could find right here. True, there is some intrigue and adventure in traveling great distances and finding those great finds but at what cost? And can I build in and recoup those costs in the price of my work? hmmmm

You know, when I weigh the option of staying home and shopping local, who benefits? The short answer - my customer.