23 January 2011

things lost, things discovered

You see, the thing is, I just don't lose things.  Lots of people do, I don't.  The last time I lost something I really cherished was 1993.  We were just starting a 3 week cross country road trip and I lost a favorite earring in the parking lot of a Taco Bell in Andrews, NC.  We were well down the road before I realized it was missing - so long earring.  So when I realized yesterday afternoon that a beloved pin had chosen to leave my tattered red canvas coat, I was not quite distraught, but seriously disappointed.  We retraced all our steps from the day, no luck.  I actually don't remember it being there when I put the coat on, so it could have very well taken flight the last time I wore the coat, whenever or wherever that was, I have no idea.  The pin was one of the first things I ever fabricated from sheet silver, made during a silversmithing workshop at the Campbell Folk School, I'm thinking in either 1998 or '99.  I loved it because it was my favorite thing from that class - reticulation - picture a delighted Kathy the pyromaniac torching the surface of the sheet silver, watching it curl and de-form into a lovely surface texture, then sawed and assembled and accented and pin-back soldered into a rather lovely little object that always got nice complements.

Today, all I have is a less faded spot in the fabric and the dark tarnished holes left in my coat. 

It's such a strange thing, losing a cherished object.  On the one hand, I learned long ago, it's just stuff.  The 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 drove that awareness home with significant force.  On the other hand, I really did love that pin and I really never lose stuff, but I'm always one to look at things from different perspectives - Like why now or why that?  As I lay in bed last night hoping for sleep to overtake my active brain, those questions and more swirled around in my head  ... there were ideas for designing new pins and new pmc experiments to try and wondering if anyone had found my pin or if it got smushed by a snow plow somewhere or I wonder what would happen if I did this or that and boy I need to stop this and try to go to sleep and counting my blessings and going through all the things I'm grateful for and I wonder if I'll ever see my pin on someone else's coat and would I say anything if I did???  I'll just say that I did finally fall asleep, but it was a less than restful night.

I'm fascinated by what shifts within me when once-cherished belongings loose their spark ... and I'm equally intrigued by how cathartic it can be when choosing to part with those now lack lustre belongings ... shipping off my 20 year Ornament magazine collection to a reader of my blog and carting off an even bigger stack of American Craft magazines to the library's magazine exchange bin, oof, that was a really big step for me; finally trading in that book, a birthday present from an old flame from 35 years ago; or a beloved mug breaks, well I can glue it back together and use it on my worktable to hold pencils or tools.  So the observer in me is very curious about how such a very small thing, loosing my pin, can have such an impact.  I'm still mulling it over, but it's very curious indeed.

It was such a strange week.  Kind of all over the place with ups and downs and sideways twists and turns.

Little Zoe had a $500 visit to the vet - oof!  She's got calcified crystals in her bladder (or something like that) and is now on prescription cat food, but is doing much better.  Large sigh of relief here.  I've had some nightmare vet visits and one in particular I have yet to forgive myself for.  Like my brother says, I've got to let that one go.  I'm trying, really I am, but that doesn't make leaving little Zoe at the vet for a couple of hours any easier.  As for the money, I honestly don't care how much it costs to make sure my little sweetie is okay, but that was a surprisingly big chunk. 

My new cookware arrived and is wonderful and perfect, but turns out the same brand utensils that I ordered along with the cookware are not the recommended utensils.  It would have been nice if I could have found that somewhere before ordering.  No big deal, I'll just return them, but still.

I got some delicious additions to my library - sweet, fresh and juicy inspiration bound up in three lovely volumes ...

Ethnic Jewellery from Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands I used to check out from the library in Port Townsend and forgot how good it is.  It's a good one!
Fashion Jewelry, Catwalk and Couture by Maia Adams is new to me, found while cruising around on Amazon.  It's British, new last year and has several designers I'm familiar with, but lots more new ones with lots of excellent photos and pretty decent bios along with website links ... very juicy!
And the last one is a Taschen publication, Fashion, The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, A History from the 18th to 20th Century that I found in the bargain section of Barnes and Noble.  Boy howdy, it is LUSH!

So it really has been a roller coaster of a week, emotional and stressful and joyous and scary and disappointing and uplifting.  I'll continue to mull over my lost pin and the why that, why now of it's departure.  I'll look forward to perusing my new volumes of inspiration before getting back to work on orders and website updates.  I'll look forward to getting a decent night's sleep and starting fresh tomorrow.

Letting go is a good thing, really.

blessings - kvk

17 January 2011

"the Good News"

I got completely gnarled out last night watching the Golden Globe awards.  I used to devour these awards shows; I loved the gowns and jewels and glamour.  Last night was mean and surreal.  No fun at all.  I'm totally out of step with what seems to be the mainstream, normal mode of operation.  And you know, I'm exceedingly relieved that I just don't get it.

Then I got to thinking ... Who's game for taking on a new project?  Anybody out there interested in working on "The Good News" news program.  No snarky, meanspirited nattering, no blown up bodies or crazed mass murderers, just good news.  I know there must be a lot of really good things going on in the world, so how come we rarely hear about them in the mainstream media?  We rarely watch network TV, but the last few times we've tuned in, we've run straight away.  Mean and angry and so sad to realize this is what so many people want to watch.  And they wonder why there's such a bullying problem in schools ...

So for something completely different, here's a new record company that is having it's big launch party this afternoon.  Harmony Records.  (this is their Facebook link) and a new video for MLK day ...

"The Good News" ... just an idea.

blessings - kvk

16 January 2011

oh yes, me very happy

Oh yes, yes, yes!  Me very happy indeed!  

My latest experiment ... the KVK version of channel setting raw gems.  In this case rough Tunduru sapphires (a mix of andalusite, hessonite, sapphire and garnet) set in a nice size really raw nugget, 34mm x 18mm. 

Especially love this view ...

I haven't decided which way I want to go with the pendant.  I've got several ideas brewing and the possibilites are seeming pretty much endless.  We shall see...

Once I got going on this idea, I headed back to Ebay and did a bit more shopping.  I really do try to stay in the US when I'm buying stuff, but I just couldn't resist these deals ... a 50 carat lot of rough Songea sapphires from Tanzania ($5.50) and 3 ginormous rough gemstone lots, one that's 350 carats of mixed sapphires ($11), nice and clean and slightly tumbled, one 500 carat lot of dark blue sapphires ($12) and one 500 carat lot of rubies ($15).  International shipping is a pretty good deal, usually $8 - $10.  Basically, they're all small stones, 2 - 4mm and look like gemstone gravel - perfect for setting in pmc.  I don't have any where near that many Tunduru sapphires, which is a shame since the colors are so gorgeous, but I'll be on the lookout for sure. 

I'm also very happy because the replacement earrings and components turned out just perfect and will get shipped off on Tuesday.  Always a relief to have repairs done and out the door.

And the third happy thing ... our families were really generous with Amazon gift certificates this year and I just ordered a new set of cookware.  My current set of RevereWare was a wedding present, that would be July 1980.  Needless to say, these pots and pans have served me extremely well, but I can't wait for my new ones!

Oh yes, me very very happy!
Hope you're happy too ...
happy blessings - kvk

13 January 2011

the root of it

Winding down for now.
The afternoon's been a satisfying mix of physical labor - there's now a path up our driveway, journal writing and book thumbing, tea drinking, a decadent lunch of a white sweet potato with a bit of butter and some spiced walnuts left over from Christmas, followed by a luxurious shower and slathering on of some new deliciously fragrant body lotion.

Coming back to my writing/meditation nook, I once again picked up Oneness.  I pulled it out last night; reading sections before bed usually helps me sleep.  Here's the highlighted section I landed on last night and which I've come back to this afternoon. 

This is, I am most certain, the most challenging thing for me to move through and where I have invariably sabotaged myself.  I am a master at trying to mastermind.  I really would like to stop. 
Wish me luck.

blessings - kvk

disarray + wish I knew then ...

I really do wish I knew then what I know now ...
One of the less wonderful sides of making jewelry for a living is acknowledging that not all my designs are foolproof and that repairs are a fact of life.

At the time it seemed like such an excellent idea and in some cases, it still is - firing sterling chain into PMC3 - well, mainly because I could and it looked very cool.  What I know now is that all chains are not created equal and some are better suited to the task. 

 Case in point - foxtail.  Perusing the Rio Grande catalog, it looked like just the ticket.  What I found out, too late, was that it breaks.  And isn't that just a large bummer?  Pieces had been sold and gone out into the world, my fingers were crossed hoping the new owners would be gentle with their new earrings.

Thankfully, it seems they've held up rather well as I just recently received the first pieces for repair - I know it's at least 3 years later, maybe 4.
The trick with pmc and repairs is accurate replication - between my very inexact way of working and the shrinkage factor, it's always a challenge.  With these, I had to make some changes, mainly switching to a sterling snake chain and adding pmc bails at the top of one of the dangles.  They're almost finished, actually the replacement pieces are in the tumbler waiting for me to reassemble them and ship them off.  Here's pre-tumbler:

Which leads me to the next thing.  I spent most of yesterday, while pieces were tumbling, trying to get back to work.  With my pmc tools still strewn about, I started hauling out my bins of components.  I sat there trying different combinations over and over and over and ... well, let me just say nothing was flowing.  Inspiration was painfully absent.  I finally gave up and resorted to surfing the internet ... mindless zoning out.  This morning, I came back to my table and the disarray and, with the added advice from my horoscope:
 Your natural psychic abilities may be short-circuited today, dear Sagittarius. ... Your imaginative faculties could be rather garbled as well. The best possible advice: take the day for yourself ... You can go back to your routine tomorrow.

I've decided to leave it be, at least for today.  So far I've extracted one vehicle encrusted in 8" of snow and sent Dave back to work.  Cleaning up the breakfast dishes then lead to a thorough cleaning of my beloved English tea kettle.  Years ago, when my kettle was sparkling and new (at the time an enormous splurge), I had a British friend comment on it being a "proper kettle" ... that it is.  It's still a bit crusty, but it's back to being shiny.

After this, I will shut down the computer and spend the rest of the day just following my nose, see where my gaze lands.  I'm thinking some more shoveling, clearing off the other vehicle, I'd like to do a bit of writing in my journal, maybe peruse some books from my library and drink lots of tea with water heated in my sparklie proper kettle.

One more thing before I leave.  I've never been one to read poetry.  I love listening to poetry readings, but sitting down and reading always seemed such a strange activity.  I've never understood how you could read one poem after another.  It seems like one poem should be read and then time allowed to savor and reflect before moving on.  I don't know, maybe that's what most people do, just not me.  What I really do love is watching films about writers and poets, listening to the cadence, the vocabulary, watching the hand gestures and body language.  One such film was a Christmas present for the house - the film is The Practice of the Wild, which comes with the book The Etiquette of Freedom.  It's mostly a conversation between Gary Snyder (Dave's favorite poet) and Jim Harrison.  It's absolutely wonderful.  We watched it twice the first night along with all the DVD extras, which are equally terrific and again last night.  Here's the trailer ...

Also, I'm now a big fan of Jim Harrison.  He's an absolute delight in the film and I think the description I read of him being "a force of nature" is dead on. 

So until next time and with deep gratitude, I send warm blessings - kvk

p.s.  I did take a bunch of pictures of all the snow, but figured everyone's got lots of pictures of the snow and there wasn't much I could add that was different or interesting.  But there is this one ... looks like jewelry inspiration to me ...

08 January 2011

my arsenal - vegetable and mineral

This cold has been excessively annoying.  I'm not flat out, but rather deflated.  I've had just enough energy to assemble my arsenal of liquids to expedite the virus' departure.

I'm calling it Kathy's Koncoction Korner.  There's the apple cider vinegar mix which has always provided almost immediate relief from crud - unfortunately, this time it hasn't worked ... no idea why.  Then there's the ginger juice - plain old water just isn't interesting, so I figured the watered down ginger tea would be tasty and good for me.  By far the most energy has been expended making 1/2 gallon batches of veggie juice, heavy on the greens and seriously yummy.  But it is a major production and tends to poop me right out.  I'm on the mend, but now Dave has succumbed to my evil germs and is on the couch.  I'm feeling very guilty.

Doing anything at all feels like even more of a challenge since the weather man was once again wrong. Feels like deja vu all over again.  It started last night with gusto ...

Our forecasted dusting turned into 3 inches.  There's supposed to be a break today through tomorrow when I'll dash to the store to get a few things before the predicted big blast hits on Monday.  I must admit, it does make for a lovely setting ...

And I'll never tire of watching cardinals in the snow - ever so lovely ...

So today I've started poking around on my worktable.  It feels like forever since I sat there to work.  I've got some new ideas swirling around in my head and am feeling the need to add some faceted gems to my existing hoard.  This cold stopped me from heading out to the Gem Show earlier in the week, but I've found just what I was looking for on Ebay.  I've bought some tiny square faceted sapphires and white topaz and some more sapphires in tiny faceted rounds along with the same size in rubies.  I'm thinking the Raw Fusion series could use some sparkle.  I'll keep you posted.  The existing hoard ...

Okay, so this doesn't have anything to do with anything, but when I opened the cupboard the other day the light hit just right and it was such a lovely stack of pots - I just had to take a photo.  In this stack the work of Nick Joerling, Julie Covington and Rob Mangum.  So so very yummy.

With that, I'll be on my way to reintroduce myself to my worktable to see what catches my eye.  Stay warm and lets hope the weatherman gets it wrong again - I'm really okay with no more snow!

blessings - kvk

02 January 2011

empty mind

Interesting time right now.
Feeling somewhat blank, open, not focused but not out of focus, maybe empty, most likely recuperating from 5 months of being wonderfully inspired and intensely driven.  I've gone from being totally absorbed, traveling a well drawn path, hands full to brimming ...

to empty hands, mind at rest, path unclear ...

I'm keenly aware of the opportunity that lies in an empty hand.  I'm not forcing myself to get busy or accomplish anything.  It probably helps that I've got a cold in full bloom and have absolutely no energy.  

I've mingled in bits of Christmas treasures among the existing ones ...

I've watched the snow pile up on Christmas weekend ...

And watched the snow melt in time for the New Year.  You can hear the remnants dripping into the downspout while we watch a very special New Year's Day visitor ...

I've been reading novels with absolutely no redeeming value, lush contemporary gothic fluff from a newly discovered author, Kate Morton and gone to see The King's Speech twice.

I plan to not have plans for as long as I feel compelled to make no plans.  I'll try not to fret and will no doubt make some effort to do a few necessary things.  Since my birthday I've taken on the challenge of following the path of least resistance and it's served me quite well so far.  In my current state of a relatively empty mind, I want to pay close attention to what piques my curiosity, no judgment, no filtering. 

Empty mind and an unclear path - what a wonderful present in this new year!

with deep gratitude and warmest blessings - kvk

p.s.  accompaniment to a quiet winter's day.  Joni's still the best, but this is darn close.