Seeping in

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Cathryn Schilling, Jane Bruce, Lisa Cerny, Ellen Abbot, me, Natali Rodrigues, Nancy Nicholson, Evy Cohen, Marzena Krzemińska, Martie Negri, Purnima Patel, Susan Cox, and Alison Kinnaird at the Bay Owl Restaurant.

As I adjust to being home, I have been talking to friends and family about my trip. Choosing what I say – how much do I want to say (as in how much talking do I feel like doing), analyzing the effect it has had and will have on me and my work.

I think the single most important thing has been the way I was received by 12 other people, most of whom had no idea who I was. I had met 2 people before, and knew of 3 others via Facebook, but really I didn’t know any of them very well at all.

First, I was invited. Invited on the merit of an afternoon in NYC where I brought my work to be critiqued by Jane Bruce at Bullseye’s Resource Center in Mamaroneck, NY. That in itself should have told me something, but I didn’t really let it sink in. Second, we had a discussion session about the work we were creating, and I expressed my ideas about what I had done in the past and what I was considering doing in the session and future. Everyone listened and commented, contributed, and I felt like I had merit for the first time. Third through one hundred and twentieth, were all the side discussions that were had between individuals, like Cathryn and I talking about symbols, runes, and ancient languages. And finally, the late night winding down at the Pine Lodge between Natali, Purnima, and I talking about art and creating, ideas, and life.

Everyone accepted everyone at face value and as equals. This attitude was vital to making the Symposium work and so special. As I was trying to tell my husband, Donald, this morning, it wasn’t that his opinion that I am a good artist worthy of attention by the world was not valid, but it was more akin to submitting a paper to peer review. 12 strangers (essentially) had given me positive feedback on the work I was submitting for comment. It began to give me a foundation. I felt there was no “but…” to “you’re good.” Heck, I didn’t realize until this morning that that’s the message I had been hearing for a LONG time now. There was only just “you’re good!”

There was only “you’re good!”

After all the work was presented and we had been working a couple of days, I had a bad morning/afternoon. I kept to myself and stayed outside and out of sight. I wanted to work it out and not let anyone know I was in a funk. I finally got to talk to Donald and get grounded again, enough to get back to it and get working.

A couple of days later, I had another, bigger internal meltdown on the way to Lani McGregor’s house in Latheron. Again, I didn’t want anyone to see me, so I stepped outside. Or tried to. I ended up twisting my ankle (no, the other one. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t walk on it, at least). I kind of lost it when Jane came out to check on me. She gave me a good talking to, encouraging me and also holding me accountable. I agreed I needed to get it out, and then get on with it.

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But my being upset wasn’t really about my work, at that point. I was actually feeling a bit jealous of being out of the conversation. I know, a lot had to do with my not inserting myself, but I was feeling the culmination of a year and half of being adrift, with only 2 or three local friends, being separated from my previous network of friends and my family, still trying to recover from a deep wound, and completely doubting my personal and artistic worth. I was afraid to put my trust into these new people only to have it yanked out from under me. And the ankle just made it all the worse.

I got back on the bus to go to dinner, but I couldn’t pull it together enough to go inside. I lingered on the bus, hoping that I could spend some time alone to get over it, but Natali spied me and I just lost it. Ellen came back out to check on me and made it a group hug. I hadn’t felt that kind of love in a good while from friends. As I stood there sobbing, I could hear Natali’s heartbeat. Something about that sound made me feel better.

They declared me part of their tribe and invited me to come to their get-together next year in Houston at Ellen’s. I can’t wait to go.

On the last official night, dinner was an hour away and we waited for George to come and show us how to make a fishing net. Natali and I slipped outside after his initial demo and got a breath of fresh air. We talked more about our work and the ideas behind it. Just as I started to say I also really love Mayan glyphs, she broke out an app on her phone that was about Mayan glyphs. That was kind of awesome. That whole conversation, though, was enough to restore my trust that these friends I had just made over the past 10 days weren’t going away. It solidified the foundation that had been laid down.

I have a place to stand, a base to move forward from.

I am excited about the work I am going to produce. I want to integrate my art into my jewelry and jewelry into my art. I may not be making any commercial work, except maybe the dangle drop earrings I love so much, but I’m not worried about that. I have a confidence in myself I haven’t had in way too long. I’ve let so many things along strip me of my self-esteem. I have work to do and a story to find and tell. The data mining has begun.

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(Thanks, Ellen, for inspiring me to do a more detailed blog session. <3)

Stone and Sand and Sea and Sky

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I’m sitting in the kitchen at North Lands, thinking about my time here. This morning we went to the Whaligoe Steps, once used to haul fish up the stairs by the fishwives in baskets on their backs. 300+ steps up the cliff face. Natali and I were talking about what first drew me here (Louise Tait’s presentation “Only Sky Above Us”) on the way down the first sections of steps and she shared “Stone + Sand + Sea + Sky” by Penny Lang, a beautiful folk song that feels tied to this country.

20160629_095202Panoramic view above the Steps – click to see a bigger image.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got here, but I knew it would either carry me forward or see me abandon glass as a focus in my work. I gave Caithness my heart and trusted to her gentle care.

As we presented our work the first few nights, I was intimidated by what I saw and heard. I felt the least experienced. Everyone else had years of experience and a developed body of work. I felt out of place.

Over this past week, though, I have been encouraged by my “flatmates” Natali and Purnima, by Nancy, Ellen, Cathryn, and Jane, really everyone has been so open. I have been gifted again and again by an incredible set of artists who are here on this symposium. They helped me feel like my thoughts and ideas have merit. Not that I require anyone’s approval, acceptance, or validation, but they drew me out of a place that I had been hiding in.

As I sat on the wall of the Steps, I realized that I am beginning to heal. I am so grateful Jane invited me to attend. This was the right time, the right place, and the right people to lift me up and mend my broken parts.

 

P.S.

I also discovered that I just don’t create a lot of work when I am in a class or workshop. My focus is more on absorbing information and percolating on it. I have declared that I am a “slow cooker.” It just takes a while for me to process and then produce. I create pieces to test ideas, but I don’t feel the need to be a flurry of activity. I am happy with what I have made and where it will take me.

New Work & Art Walk

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Courtesy of Peggy Foy (Arcana Metalwork), I showed at my first Pioneer Square Art Walk on June 2. It was fun, and I sold 5 pieces. It was good to hear comments about my work from strangers, and it gave me more confidence to keep on creating.

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I had a couple of new items to offer, that haven’t made it to my Etsy site yet. All three of these will be up on the site by Monday. Each of these represents a part of what I love to make: delightfully, dangly glass earrings (they make a lovely tinkling sound), all things marine life reflecting my love of water, and the clean, contemporary design of the silver and amber glass that just makes my heart sing. Make sure you click on each image to get a close-up view of all the wonderful details they contain.

There’s Freedom in this Cage.

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My first real venture with my new Winsor &Newton pigment markers on their marker paper. The paper is kind of like yupo, a plastic paper, in that the marks kind of sit on the surface and aren’t really absorbed. I can use my fingers and brushes to move the ink around before it dries. Because they aren’t really absorbed, whenever I make a new mark, it can pick up what I had already laid down. Challenging.

I was feeling frustrated with my progress and this helped me work it out.

Finished Charms

Here are some of my finished pendant charms. Some have already been sold, but you can find the others at my Etsy shop. They are a lot of fun to make, and take me about an hour to make each one, from start to finish.

A couple, like the Michigan state charm, were made-to-order. Contact me if you have one you’d like me to make for you!

 

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