Monday, August 29, 2011

Alone and solitary, but not ...

As an artist, a lot of my time is spent creating in solitude. I distract easily, so I'm better off hunkered over my workbench, lost in musings of what-if-I-do-this.

I am kept company by little talismans that comfort me. I have some pebbles and shells from Birch Bay. I have a sterling silver cross that my younger son made eons ago when he was 12 or 13 and we took a beginning silversmith class together. He also made a sterling bug, which I cherished. I gifted it back to him a month or so ago, so he would have a memento of the fun we had together, and to look forward to the joy and satisfaction he'll have of working and creating with his children.

I also have a stone gifted to me by a dear artist friend. We met in a birthing class in Southern California when we were both preggies with our firstborn. Oh my goodness! That was over 36 years ago!

But back to the stone Karen gave me. I chose the stone. She had drawn a mermaid on it, which drew my eye. I've had it for about 7-8 years and I love picking it up and cradling it in the palm of my hand. It imparts a wonderful, loving energy. So, it, too, keeps me company at my workbench.

I was adding a chain to a neckpiece that's almost done, when Karen's stone caught my attention. I picked it up and turned it slowly. In addition to the mermaid, there are drawings of a mother with a babe in arms, an older woman's serene face, an angelic young face, and a face surprised or shocked.

My initial reaction was that they were all aspects of the roles I've played throughout my life. It made sense. But, another idea pushed its way to the front of my thoughts. I have created much with the support and comfort of friends all through my life.

Artists may create in solitude, but we're fed and buoyed up by our friends and family. Creativity, for me at least, would be impossible without interaction with other people. Interaction not only with friends and family, but with people who have purchased my jewelry and have become friends.

As I start life a-fresh here in Spokane, I need to reach out to others. Certainly this doesn't mean I'll turn my back on tried and true friendships of long duration. It means ever widening the circle of love and respect.

Just as a stone tossed into the lake creates ever widening circles in the water, so Karen's touch stone in my hand reminds me to welcome others into my circle.

If you want to learn more about Karen Williams Smith's Touch Stones, go to  Touch Stones are her newest creations, I urge you to also look at her gallery of whimsical and fine art sculptures and bronzes. She'll be exhibiting at the 2011 Winterfest in Laguna Beach, CA.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

To the post office!

One might think that shipping would be the least fun of the tasks I have to do in this jewelry biz o'mine. Think again!

I absolutely love typing and printing out the mailing label, printing a little photo card for a personal, handwritten note to accompany the purchased bauble, making sure the jewelry is polished and looking its best for the man or woman it will soon be adorning, folding everything neatly in tissue or bubble wrap, filling out the insurance form for the post office. I even like to use my glue stick to affix the label to the mailing box, and securing taping the box closed.

All the time I'm preparing the shipment, I'm thinking of the person who purchased one of my creations. I know they'll be thrilled when they get the package. The jewelry will look so much better "in person" than it did in the photograph online. I can envision them immediately going to their closest mirror and trying on the earrings, neckpiece, brooch or bracelet. I can see them doing a little sashay of happiness.

I envision them at their next book club gathering and someone admiring their adornment. "Oh, these? Aren't they FAB? I bought them online at Etsy. They were made by Birch Bay Kay. I simply could NOT resist buying them for myself!"

As I stand in line at the post office tomorrow morning, I'll be soooo happy! Another satisfied client, another validation that my work has value, another peek at my Paypal balance when I get back home!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beginnings are invigorating, aren't they?

Bits of sterling and a Birch Bay shell
on my workbench
 Beginning a new dialog, sharing personal secrets and musings of an artisan from her studio is a little daunting. I work in a solitary environment, and seldom have anyone to chat with about what I'm creating or what inspires a particular piece of jewelry.

It's time to reach out. So many people who have purchased my jewelry online at or at shows I've done in the past have expressed a desire to know more about what goes into making the jewelry with which they have chosen to adorn themselves. They want to know more, can you believe it? What can I tell them? They have good taste in jewelry!

As I've said, this prospect is a little daunting, but let's have a go at it!

This word "prospect" brings to mind prospecting, mining, digging. With a little digging and mining, we just might uncover a nugget or two of interest. If you have specific questions, please feel free to email me and I'll be happy to reply either through this blog or to you personally.

Within the last two months, I've made a radical lifestyle change. It will be interesting--to you, too, I hope--to see what effect it will have upon my jewelry. I've moved from Birch Bay on the west coast of Washington state to just about as far east east as I can go without stumbling into Idaho. I'm now living and creating in Spokane. However, at this early stage, much of my aesthetic is still affected by the ebb and flow of the tides on the beaches of the Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia. But there is a different feel to Spokane, a different energy. How will Birch Bay Kay transition into a warm, dry environment far from my beloved beaches?

Seaweed on the beach at low tide
 Environment is very important to my sense of well-being. Although different here, I've already started finding places that feed my need for connection with the earth. The grasses sway in the winds much like the seaweed. With my eyes closed and the sun shining on my face, I could be just about anywhere ... everywhere!

Yes, I think this transition will bring about a welcome change!