(horo) SCOPE

i'm not one who really follows my horoscope. i might look at it a few times in an entire year -- but this one from a couple weeks ago was so appropriate and timely that i cut it out and stuck it to my fridge.
i have, for a while now, been trying to come to terms with my work in the larger scope of the market.... of jewelry, modern jewelry and particularly laser-cut jewelry. ponoko included me in a list of 40 designers making laser-cut jewelry (scroll to S to find me) and i haven't even used their services. (thank you, ponoko!) i've known about them for some time now, however and it really has made me consider what makes my work unique, when the fabrication-process is so accessible to anyone. more so, this horoscope has me considering what makes my *talent* unique. i think it is more than the fact that i use a laser-cutter. sure, i can say that i execute every step of my process - i man the machine. on one hand this fact reveals a certain level of knowledge, skill and involvement in my work. i'm not just ordering it from a chef in some far-off place. but it also affects the price-tag, because my time costs more. and this is certainly something i am contemplating.
"a lot of people do what you do, but it's not the same" as ponoko's list shows, there are at least 40 people doing what i do. it doesn't take into account the numerous etsy-ans with shops selling their goods at prices that would never survive a wholesale/retail world. "but it is not enough to be different. Understand why you are different and hone that aspect of your talent." this is what i have been doing - even before stumbling upon my aries-message-of-the-day. i recognize that experiences mold people and people mold their visions. after 2 years of lucky-opportunities and trying the things that it seemed i should - i am challenging myself to do the things that seemed the most obvious, that made the most sense ... that could actually equate to a living (not a hobby) that i haven't yet done.
so, i have set a master-plan in action for this summer. with the help of my oldest brother and my youngest brother, a lovely new friend/photographer, a selection of lovely women, a long list and some good old sweat and visual-brain power -- i am hoping to set myself afloat by the end of this year. i am focused - even to the point of saying no to fun projects with friends. i am focused, challenged and ready to hone my talent. i look forward to sharing some of these things as they unfold - alas it is a bit too early at this point. but i will ask you this... if there is a museum, design or gift shop in your part of the country/world that might seem like a good fit with my work, i would love to hear about them and greatly appreciate the recommendation!



this random snap-shot of my son (wearing one of his .silvercocoon. t-shirts) taken with my phone-camera is so cute that it has my head spinning with ideas for marketing ... not too dissimilar from a project that i am currently working on. (more on that later)

a collection of ... things

yesterday i dropped off, among other things, a batch of summer-y colored earrings at the WALKER. (just in time for the hot summer weather!) new DRAPE earrings and THIN bracelets were in the mix.

this morning i met kelly (and her husband) for a quick hand-off of produce bags. wow - way more than i had expected which means i'm stocked-up on ribbon for a good long while. they were such a cute couple and so lovely for collecting them for me. THANK YOU!

this morning i randomly checked-in on souliyahn's little potting shed that made its way onto the house vote last april. (be sure to also check-out the design vote, the room vote, the kitchen vote & the gadget vote) i was happy to find that the thumbs-ups still out-weigh the thumbs-down.

my son has been home most of this week, meaning a lot of juggling for me, but he seems to be going through a change of some sort. isn't that what it means when they become 'fussy' -- even at three and a half? not sure if it is that his finnish-'brother' has returned home, or if he is growing, or if he is simply wanting to be home in his OWN space. but i kind of cave-in when he cries and states he wants to stay home with me instead of going to his grandparents' house. (is that mother's guilt?) he is becoming more independent and is really into making things right now. his drawing abilities have blossomed, revealing his creativity in entirely new ways. this is the mask we made yesterday. he drew it and i helped with the wear- ability-factor.


growing a green ... thumb

i've never been much of a gardener - much less a/n (urban) farmer, but i married a man with a magic green thumb - one who has managed to keep our (flowering) rosemary plant alive through 2 winters! this year, after some serious contemplation, we expanded our previous garden of pots sitting along our retaining wall to take-up the entire strip of land in front of the airstream. half of me was sad to see some of the minimalist qualities of our yard give way to the half of me that was excited by the idea of designing an affordable garden and growing our own food - organic and "handmade" all the way!
so, we started by building a frame and then digging/rolling-up the grass in the planting beds and using it to fill the walk-ways. we then covered the walkways with landscaping-clothe (to keep the grass from growing back) and then filled them in with gravel. we ordered a truck full of 4-5 yards of black dirt with manure and other 'organic' things.

by the 29th of april we had the main bed done and ready for planting. we also worked to make a third gravel walkway between the new bed and a narrow ground bed from the previous year. on the 3rd of may we planted numerous seeds (radish, carrots, beets, golden beets, kale, spinach & brussel-sprouts) and a few starter plants (broccoli, peppers, celery, tomato and dill plants) as well as transplanted lettuce, arugula, basil, green onion & tomato starters that souliyahn had started from seeds back in march/april.
you can see (click on image to view larger) how much the garden has transformed in the first month. from empty beds of earth to food that is ready to be eaten already! we had our first meal from the garden on june 2nd: tuna salad on a bed of baby greens & cilantro with radishes. so fresh, tasty and ...... gratifying!

2009 will the year that i can say my thumb turned a lovely shade of green. i cherish my early morning time to exercise and garden before the boys awake. it is easier to grow food than i used to think...it has taken baby steps each year for this big garden to not be so daunting. i must also say a word or two about radishes.....they are so easy to grow! they sprouted first, could almost entirely be harvested already .... but i must ask ... anybody have creative ideas/recipes for radishes????


deeper ideas & on going investigations

i tend to be creative in one of two ways. i have spurts of inspiration that result in a breadth of ideas and designs -or- i find inspiration by exploring deeper into one design or line of thinking. these THIN bracelets are derived from the TOPO bracelets - three individual bracelets forming one collective piece that creates space & volume that changes based on the way they fall around one's wrist. but thinner for comfort when working at a computer or writing a letter ;)

also inspired by the TOPO bracelet/s are some new wood versions that incorporate layering and more extensive hand finishing. this 3 layer bracelet is solid basswood.

these 5 layer bracelets accentuate the layer/ply effect and are made of solid basswood, walnut and purple heart. i've removed the dark-burned laser-cut edge by sanding them smooth which gives them an entirely different look and feel (to the touch)

the round 5-layer version is the most exciting derivation, where the topographical effect is found inside the bracelet like a secret gem not noticed by everyone. i'm currently exploring these methods and ideas even further...

i've also been considering and exploring the idea of VOLUME within a flat structure/frame. these sketches are from mid-january as i began brainstorming for the voltage show. while many of my original ideas from that time were scrapped in order to better compliment arwyn birch's collection, the sketch below made it into the show in the form of prototypes.

even with this simple concept, there are a myriad of decisions and options to consider. for this prototype piece, i used a thicker satin-y fabric as the volumetric portion. i hand stitched the fabric into a tube and then hand stitched it on each end to the acrylic frames. i added 2 additional layers of acrylic on each end to balance the proportions and to conceal some of the stitching so that it wasn't the first visual impression, without entirely covering it up.

the earrings that i paired with the bracelet were different than i originally conceived, but turned out to be quite powerful on the runway - looking almost like lanterns. ----
there are many details that i am working through on this set and i am trying to find the balance between precise-cut components and the organically driven, exhaustive hand-work that ties the rigid with the fluid. i find this both challenging - and rewarding...

bottom right photo by promotion house