30 November 2010

vigilant me

It seems my life's theme over the last couple of weeks is vigilance: watchfulness; the process of paying close and continuous attention.  I've been working hard to take notice of all those little things that I tend to ignore and brush off with the thought of 'later'.  It's that ongoing feng shui-ing my life thing.   Moving through this process I just never know what's going to catch my attention.

This one amused me to no end ... I decided to finally, and I do mean finally, wash the canvas from my PMC tool kit.  This is the tool kit I bought either late '97 or early '98, one of the original PMC tool kits, and it has never, and I do mean never, been washed.  I'd kind of been enjoying it all nasty and crusty, layers and layers of lord knows what built up through the years.  But the other day I looked down and said "enough".  Behold the before ...

I won't say the result is pristine, but it's worlds better ... worlds!  Then I decided my work surface needed attention as well, so it got a good scrubbing.  Then I tossed the nasty little bit of oil-soaked foam (okay, so it was less than a year old) in my vintage PMC container (anyone remember those?).  It's quite refreshing to have a shiny and clean work surface and toolkit.  I probably won't wait another 12 years to clean up my tools.

I had to take a break from taking catalog and website pictures - it was making me crazy and I was getting really bored.  Beware of Kathy when she gets bored, she's been known to take on new and daunting projects.  But you see, I've been thinking about this one for years, and I do mean years.  I've decided to teach myself how to cast glass beads.  You see, it all started when I first saw this necklace ...

I had seen it in Ornament magazine ads and then it was in the Collectible Beads book that Robert Liu did in '95.  It was those chunky translucent blue and sea green beads that really got me - pate de verre - I had no idea what that was.  Funny thing about this necklace ... the maker is Laura Popenoe and she lives in Port Townsend and we got to be quite good friends while I was there.  Wouldn't you think I would have asked her about those beads?  Nope.  I have been thinking about emailing her and getting some pointers, but being the pig-headed sort that I am, I'm going to work on my own for a bit and see where I get.

I've bought a book ...
And what really got me going was my idea for molds - creative paperclay.  In the early days of PMC, core material for beads was a big problem.  For years I used paperclay, which was less than ideal but there weren't really any options.  So I knew that it would fire to 1650, not shrink and not burn up - it's the volcanic ash and talc.  After firing, I would just drop my beads in water and the paperclay would crumble and dissolve.  I thought it could be great for glass molds ...  the core for the center hole  made ahead of time, dried and stuck into little pinch pot molds - no bead release or worries about getting the bead out of the mold.  Plus they're very cute ...

Next, I discovered there's a rather large art glass supplier here in town.  I bought a few vials of ground up frit to experiment with ...

My first experiments have been less than stellar ...

But another one of those late night epiphanies has me trying something else - crushing up Roman glass and seeing what it does.  I'm not sure if this might be kind of sacrilegious, but I love the colors and I've got a bunch that's been sitting in a bin for ages, so what the heck.  My first attempts are cooling in the kiln as we speak ... that's the hardest part for me - waiting.  You have to wait until the kiln is bloody room temperature before you can open it!

I've also discovered that Rio Grande is selling glass supplies, who knew?  Ah, which leads me to another bit of house cleaning ... I just sent back all my silver scrap.  I cleared out a ton of old components and bits and pieces that had been sitting around forever.  I had a bunch of really early glass fired in PMC failed experiments.  I took a beefy pair of cutters and managed to extract most of the silver from the glass.  All that old stuff along with a lot of not so old stuff and with silver at $27 p/oz ... well it was a fine idea with excellent timing.  I got to do some much needed space clearing, get a nice chunk of trade-in credit, buy some regular materials but also order a nice assortment of frit for further experimentation. 

As I move forward to lord knows where, I'm back to that idea of vigilance ... staying awake and aware and heart centered.  To help with staying mindful, I've started getting the Daily Quotes from Abraham-Hicks.  I used to be a big follower, but I got kind of turned off from them for a while, they've gotten so commercial.  But I just decided that if the message resonates it doesn't matter where it's from.  An excerpt from today's quote did indeed resonate, "you cannot attract the presence of something wanted when predominantly aware of its absence." 
That's a tricky one ...

So much going on ... I'll keep you posted.
blessings - kvk

p.s.  it's almost my birthday month!!!!  wowie zowie, the downhill slide to fifty-five!

p.p.s.  270degrees is not room temperature ... drat

16 November 2010


Today feels like one of those days where I've inched a bit closer to my core ... does that make sense?  This whole process of reworking my jewelry line and catalog is about shedding layers of artifice, peeling away masks and digging deep.  It's closing in on 4 months now and at this stage, well today anyway, I'm feeling a bit bonzo.  Clear but somewhat distracted.  Taking pictures all day most every day, my relief comes when it's time to recharge the camera battery ... hmmmm, probably a bit of recharging me in there as well.

I've been rediscovering little hidden treasures around the house.  I'd completely forgotten about this little olive oil bottle - one of my favorite pots of all time - and there it was tucked way back into a cupboard.   I love the glazing and especially the handle - bailing wire with a sanded section of a branch.  There's a small chip out of the spout, which is probably why it was in the back of the cupboard.  But I love that it's gotten kind of saturated over the years.  I've washed it out and, after it's good and dry, will refill it later today.

I found my little bottle while digging out the canister of brown basmati rice to fix my breakfast.  I was craving warm rice with toasted almonds and cinnamon and milk, well soy milk.  I always forget how much I love this combination.  Even better with a huge mug of scalding black tea.

So's I can feel productive and still take a break from pictures, I've been working on redoing all of my printed materials.  I had this idea to print my catalog on one of my favorite papers - onionskin.  I love onionskin paper, always have.  It's paper of another era, the long-gone days of airmail and cotton rag content.  Unfortunately, it didn't work for the catalog - at all.  The images were not the least bit clear - kind of a crucial element. 

But what it is working for is my product info / care and feeding cards.  I do love the look of these ...

During my breaks, I've been on a hunt for old fashioned super heavy duty selvedge denim jeans.  I had discovered these - a Japanese company that's whole gig is to make really high quality reproductions of iconic American clothing, like the Buzz Rickson's bomber jacket in Pattern Recognition.  Here's their version of the jeans I'm craving ...

Their version is, with shipping, $350 ... not gonna happen.  What I discovered instead, and much more reasonable although way more than I've ever paid for a pair of jeans, Levi's has brought back their selvedge denim 501's.  They're still a hundred bucks, but I think that's doable.  Funny, I'll pay $350 for a pair of shoes but not jeans - go figure.  What I love is the directions for breaking them in - best not to wash for at least 6 months and don't sit on any white couches.  They'll form to you and become a reflection of the wear patterns in your life.

I'm thinking the battery's ready to go and the sun's come out which should make for better lighting to, hopefully, take the last round of product images.  I'm down to the earrings now.  Then review everything, maybe re-shoot a few, then tag everything and start packing it all up to ship back out west.

As for layers being shed and clarity settling in - for some reason I'm reminded of these lines from Zero History, "Everything they were wearing ... qualified as what she'd call 'iconic,' but had originally become that way through its ability to gracefully patinate.  She was big on patination.  That was how quality wore in... as opposed to out.  Distressing, on the other hand, was the faking of patination, and was actually a way of concealing a lack of quality."  I'm feeling rather well patinated.  I like it.

blessings - kvk

15 November 2010

Auction Success!!!!

Congratulations Lynn!  Thank you for your wonderfully generous bid of $170! 

Being on the fringe of the beading community, it's been amazing to watch everyone rally to Andrew's aid ... such a wonderful thing to help such a exceptional human being. 

So Lynn - you can email me via the contact box in the right hand column and we'll sort out the payment options.  I'll start making the copper box and getting your beautiful fine silver Fairy Box ready to ship.

Thank you so much to Kelli and Katie for your generous bids.

with enormous gratitude and blessings - kvk

13 November 2010

auction for Andrew ... one day left!!!!!!

Okay, so there's one more day to bid on this sweet little Fairy Box for Andrew's mountain of medical bills.  So far, Lynn's my top bidder at $170.  I'm lovin' $170, but $200 would be most excellent!  Any takers?

The box is about 1 inch square and 2 inches tall, with a tiny piece of beach glass at the crest.  It's handbuilt by me from fine silver PMC.  The texture is from a volcanic rock and my fingerprints.   A really sweet little treasure for a super sweet human being.  

BTW - It will arrive wrapped in silk tucked into one of my special collaged copper boxes.

Thank you so much to my bidders.
blessings - kvk

11 November 2010

fun with product shots

I'm feeling like taking pictures of my very much expanded line of jewelry is turning into a life's work.  Progress is being made and even better - yesterday I finally hit on a look.   The key components were found while rooting around looking for props to photograph my little silver box for Andrew's auction.   I rediscovered a couple of beach treasures from Port Townsend - a very cool pot shard and a piece glass slag (glass that's been in a fire) and then added a big chunk of flourite that I had on my table shrine.  I've put a piece of sanded clear plexiglass on my worktable for the background.

BTW, the auction is going through Sunday and there appears to be a bidding war between Katie and Kelli.  Lovin' this - you go girls! 

So, quick like a bunny, I'm taking a small break to share a couple of my favorite images thus far.  Nice thing about the web, I can leave the images dark and rich - the images for the print catalog are bright and crisp.  I'm using a pretty slow shutter speed 'cause I much prefer them dark and lush.

Here's the flourite, followed by the pot shard and then my favorite, the chunk of glass ...

p.s.  this last one's got a speck of schmutz that I need to erase, but I love the look!
Okay, back to work for this little peep.

Once again, a huge thank you to Kelli and Katie.  Anybody else want to jump in?  it's a really sweet little box and such a good cause!

with heartfelt thanks and many blessings - kvk

10 November 2010

halfway through scorpio + an auction for Andrew

I looked at the calender this morning and became aware of the date.  This time of year is always an uneasy one for me.  I kind of tiptoe around from mid-October to mid-November, ever alert, anxiously waiting to get through Scorpio.  I met my beloved in October 31 years ago, I've lost many loved ones during this time of year, we've made big cross country moves on more than one occasion and there have been wonderful breakthroughs in my life, work and business.  Most years it passes without incident, but if anything is going to happen, it tends to be big.

So this morning, in an effort to weigh in on the positive side of Scorpio, this awareness has me seeing to some  things I've been ignoring ... breathe into this moment, engage rather than submerge, do rather than try.

An important thing on my list is this:
I've been wanting to participate in the effort to help with Andrew Thornton's ever increasing medical bills.  So here's what I'm doing ... I'm auctioning off this little box - handbuilt by me in fine silver PMC .

It's tiny, fairie sized - 1" x 1" x 2" tall with a tiny piece of beach glass at the crest.  The lid is hollow, texture is from my fingerprints and a well-worn volcanic rock.  I love making little boxes, but rarely take the time.  So, for me, this is something of a treasure.  I think of it as a place to tuck memories or small wonders, hopes and special wishes.   

I'd like the starting price to be $50.  Please leave a comment if you'd like to make a bid.  The end date is Sunday, the 14th.  I'll contact the winner on Monday to get PayPal and shipping info.

with enormous gratitude and blessings - kvk

08 November 2010

happy bits

What's made me happy thus far on this glorious fall morning ...

~  The print catalog is finished and ready to print.  The last hurdle was putting together my palette card, this one goes to the reps with the samples and a cropped photo version is on the price list page.  Oh yes, I'm quite pleased with the finished product.  You know, God is in the details ...

~  Perusing the current issue of Selvedge while munching on breakfast and sipping tea and discovering new treasures to lust after.   RoughLinen.com ... oh my, I want it all.  

~  And I'm really lusting after this overcoat from Margaret Howell ... at just under $1300, it's not going to be in my closet anytime soon.

~  And then later today, I'm going to be super happy ... my brother just got a zotzy new Canon camera and is passing on his Nikon digital SLR to his lil' sis ... and it's due to arrive this afternoon.

Now, I'm on to taking product shots for the website.  Trying to decide on a background and the overall 'look' I want to convey.  So, for the rest of the day, I'll be printing catalogs and taking pictures and sipping tea and enjoying the warm embrace of all these happy bits.  

blessings - kvk

05 November 2010

homemade feng shui

Our house sits on a nice size lot, well for being in town it's a nice size ... just under a 1/4 acre.  Only thing, it is fairly steep and drops away from the house into a jumble of trees and vines and briers.  To me, it feels like the surrounding energy could very well be sliding down the hill and away and, in feng shui world, it's not an ideal situation.  The only 'cure' I'd found suggested shining a light on the back corner of the house - that would mean a four or five story lamp pole and was not going to happen.

The slope ...

This is the city and there's two enormous cell phone towers not far away and then there's the train crossing just down the hill that literally rattles me to my core, although I have finally gotten to where they don't wake me up at night.  To help with erratic city energy, I had already done a bit of perimeter securing with some 'e.m.f. bombs' (aka orgonite) that Lynne sent me last year.  Now enter Kathy Van Kleeck and her alternative feng shui cures.  So my feng shui idea for the sloping property issue was to put wind chimes in the trees along my boundary.  They're a standard cure for other things, why not sloping property?  I had hung some ceramic ones that I'd made back in my clay days, but they weren't fired high enough and sounded more like a clunk than a ching.  I was feeling the need for metal chimes with a nice ring.

A few months ago, I had seen some nice little chimes at the Arboretum gift shop.  On Wednesday, I took myself for an afternoon of tooling around and remembered about those little chimes.  These had gemstone themes and I bought three, one of each theme.  Getting home and unpacking them, the 'gemstones' looked to be dyed something, not awful, just not my taste.  They also had these really heavy stone pieces at the bottom and how they were supposed to blow around I have no idea.  Along with the cheesy gemstones, the supporting nylon was very thin.  Are you wondering why I bought them in the first place?  Well, they do have a lovely sound and I really only wanted the components anyway, so I set about doing some alterations.
I don't know what it is, but I love restringing wind chimes.
In progress ...

Ready to disperse some energy ...

I already like the idea of the new chimes and maybe that's a big part of it.  I'll let you know if I feel a change ...

sending out good energy and blessings - kvk

02 November 2010

not so bad

Well, the sun is pouring into my studio, the order is packed and ready to post, I've got an encaustic experiment brewing and an hour or so while I wait on some components in the tumbler and wax to melt.  Sooooo, I thought I'd do a bit of sorting ...

Not quite as bad as I thought.  Actually, it's kind of meditative ... except for the part where my joints are a bit achy today.  Must be that cold front moving in.

And in other news ...
Here's the cover for my new catalog.  The background is a graphite rubbing of my worktable.  The stair image is the LaCoste stairway that inspired the new components and direction.  Still very much a work in progress, but I'm liking it so far.

Back to sorting .......
blessings and all good things - kvk

01 November 2010

darn - wish I hadn't done that

Off to a rousing start this morning ...
First thing, I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person.  So the fact that I had to be at the mechanic first thing for an oil change was a bit of a challenge.  Fast lube they're not, so I hoofed it down to the bakery for coffee, a breakfast sandwich and the NYTimes.  Secondly, I don't drink a lot of coffee - copious amounts of black tea, yes ... coffee, no.  So two cups of coffee and an hour later, I headed back to the mechanic to wait a bit longer.  Finally, almost two hours later, and with a fine old coffee buzz (just don't get that from the tea), I was heading home to finish up a jewelry order. 

Thirdly, I'm one of those artists whose right and left brains are quite balanced, a gift actually.  That analytical side reigned supreme for many years, but these days I can call up either side at the appropriate time.  My little left brain keeps my studio organized, all my little bins of tiny tiny gems sorted into lovely colorways and combinations.  So, I'm thinking it was probably a combination of things.  That lingering coffee buzz, maybe the music was a bit too raucous.  Maybe it should have been Steve Tibbetts instead of Fever Ray.  Basically, I hadn't really settled down enough to focus.  I was pulling out a nice selection of gems to assemble a bracelet and, golly if I didn't press down just a bit too hard on that one plastic bin and send the better part of my citrine and andalucite spraying into my amethyst and rose tourmaline.
Darn ... wish I hadn't done that.
Deep breaths ...........