31 October 2011

contemplation, writing + ruby & ochre continued

Lots to think about these last couple of weeks.  Things in the works, new friends, new directions.  Some things changing, some remaining steadfast. 

My setting to work on Danielle's Authentic Dreaming Worksheet ... contemplating: "why do I want what I want" and "dreaming extreme"......

Welcoming guests for a five day stay ... an exercise in faith.

And being in a pensive mood, sharing my growing collection of ruby and ochre images ..........

Heading back to a quiet day in the studio...........
l i g a - kvk

p.s.  special thanks to all who've responded to the call for volunteers!

20 October 2011


I got this email from a customer and thought I'd pass it on ...

"A friend and I are doing our diligence in having a platform for women where women in disadvantaged places around the world like haiti, brazil, rwanda would provide some materials (like painted acai berries or prepared recycled material) that would be then incorporated into pieces handmade by local women artisans.  The umbrella organization is called Mothering Across Continents (www.motheringacrosscontinents.org).  We are in search of local artisans that would be willing to make a piece(s) for our test trial to see how the concept is embraced.  Would you or do you know anyone that may be interested in participating?

If anyone's interested, leave a comment and I'll send you Courtney's email address.

l i g a - kvk

19 October 2011


It was such a weird day.  Well let's just say the Atlanta Apparel Mart is not a good fit ... literally nothing really handmade, no artisan work of any kind ... at least we didn't see anything.  We left the house at 6:30 to head down there for what turned out to be a 3 1/2 hour drive - not so bad.  We tried 3 times through the morning and early afternoon to check into the motel, but no rooms were ready.  We ended up staying at the mart for about an hour and a half ... and that was a stretch.  There were some nice showrooms, but nothing for us and then there was way too much really scary stuff.  After bailing on the show, we thought we'd go to a museum that looked like walking distance - it wasn't there!  What up with that?  Back to the motel.  If we left the parking lot, we'd lose our parking space and have to wait until after the show closed at 6 to have any chance of parking.

So about 1:00 we decided to head to a section of town we remembered as having cool restaurants and shops.  It's been about 10 years since we were in Atlanta ... things have changed.  Lunch was okay, the once progressive, interesting shops are gone and the new ones were mostly geared towards the college crowd.  But I knew for sure, one favorite shop was still there - Mooncake.  If you want to see the kind of clothing they sell, it's kind of an east coast version of Kati Koos.  I wanted to see if it might be a good spot for my jewelry.  This is where the day turned around and what the Universe must have been trying to tell us all day ... go to Mooncake!  The owner was there, we chatted for a good while, she loves my work, we exchanged emails, plus I got some much needed feedback.

After that, we were done.  I called the motel and cancelled our reservation.  I called the housesitter, apologized profusely and said to pack up, we were coming home early.  We got home just before 8, exhausted, but confident we had accomplished our goal of finding a place for my jewelry.

That's the challenge, isn't it?  Creating work, designing and making and putting your heart and soul into pieces.  You get to a stopping point, gaze upon your creations and then have no idea if there's a market for this body of work.  I have to admit, it's happened to me more than once or twice, nobody gets it ... at least nobody I know or have access to.  I've spent the last month completely absorbed in my new collection.  I look at it now and there's many elements that are the same or similar to things I've been doing ... but for some reason, it just feels very different ... more raw, more true.  I've been exploring the envelope's edge, well, my edge.  I've slipped my toe out there - just a wee bit.  Getting such a positive response from a respected shop owner was a huge boost to my confidence.

So what's next?  Good question.

I've got the Etsy shop loaded up, but things have changed there as well ... I need to figure out how to raise the profile of my shop and get the work seen.  I'm sort of ... no, I am ... following my nose and my heart.  Just taking one step at a time, and staying open to opportunities ... saying yes a lot more than usual.  One thing, though - I'm hesitant to get any deeper into the world of steel metal clay until I see if this work sells.  I might change my mind.  I've got so many ideas for bigger, bolder, genuine envelope busting work.  Hmmm, as I write this, I can see that - yes, I do need to go further, get fully acquainted with that edge, push my boundaries.  I've got a good start, a delicious taste ... don't stop now.  Onward ...........

Here's a peek at a couple more pieces...

That's it for now ... brain freeze has set in.

l i g a - kvk

14 October 2011

forging ahead

Goodness, I've managed to get a few pieces of the new collection up on Etsy.  I got sidetracked and slowed down with things like updating my shipping profiles and charges and getting the images just right and then ended up with some really great jewelry shots, but the ones of the jewelry on me are less than wonderful ... self portraits are not my strong suit and they'll have to do for now.  But in case you haven't clicked over to see the new listings, here's a wee bit of a preview. 

I've got more jewelry to list, but have just run out of time ... thing is, we're heading down to Atlanta tomorrow to walk the Atlanta Apparel Show.  Of course I'm going to wear the full ensemble to walk the show.  Can't wait to put my new sweater with this piece ...

... and layered with another top favorite, one of the 'Elevenses' series ...

 Here's a sneak peek at a couple of pieces still to be listed ...

It will be Monday before anything else gets listed ... remember, patience is a virtue!
Okay, I'm kind of cross-eyed and pooped and am going to stop for now.  But when I return, I'll have some new radar sightings to share along with more steel lovelies.

Have a beautiful and safe fall weekend.
l i g a - kvk

12 October 2011

et voila - the collection

I think I'm done ... at least for the time being.  I've got a few components that I haven't used and I have yet to make earrings or bracelets, but I'm kind of fried and need to stop.  
But, gotta say, I really do love the look of this work ...

After deciding on the closure (BTW - thanks again for your comments and opinions!), I did some final tweaking and fine tuning on a few pieces.  One noticeable change, I switched out the Ghana glass for Basha beads that I had stashed away for something special ... I think these super chunky applications fall into the 'something special' category.

Here's the three Basha beads I used.  I also got onto a theme for the number '22'.  I've been seeing 11:11 a lot and I decided to put that into the work.  The two necklaces on the right are "Elevenses", 11 metal beads, 11 fossils; then there's the piece on the left with 3 mondo turtle shell fossils and 19 bronze discs.

A close up of "Elevenses" ...

Of course, I absolutely adore the way the bronze and steel cubes turned out.  Really exceptional ...

So, what's next you say?  I'm going to see what I can get up onto Etsy in the next two days for a bit of a test drive ... see what kind of reaction I get.  Then, this weekend, we're going down to the Atlanta Apparel Mart to walk the show.  I'm looking into doing the show in February and want to get a feel for where my work would fit.  After that, I'm not sure.  I'd been talking to Colleen at Niche about a trunk show of the new work, but if that's going to happen, I definitely need to flush it out with the earrings and bracelets.  I mean, after all, it was finding that sweater at Niche that started this whole new direction.

Okay, time to do some picture taking and pricing and all that ...
So, if anyone is lusting after any of these, check my Etsy shop later today or tomorrow.
with much gratitude and heartfelt blessings ...
l i g a - kvk

09 October 2011

HELP! need feedback

Everything was going along fine and then yesterday we went up to the Penland area for an annual potters' market and to visit a couple of galleries.  So of course I had to put on my artist duds and test drive some of my new pieces.  I had in mind to wear a couple of the raw cube necklaces.  I wanted them to be long and sit one just above the other.  That's when I realized the lengths needed to be adjustable, or at least I'm thinking that the lengths should be adjustable.  I love the look of really long pieces ... you know like 36" and more.  But that was way too long to wear with my inspiration sweater.

Here's the three I had to choose from ...

I thought I had the whole closure thing figured out.  But I'm not feeling so sure right now ... amazing how difficult it is to design and engineer interesting, clean and elegant solutions.  Kind of surprised, but this little conundrum has me kind of deflated.   

This is how I thought I would finish most of the new work ... a fixed closure, the necklace cords are long enough to just slip over the head - I was making these pretty long - 32" to 36". 

I've been in a bit of a snit all day trying to take a step back, not stay annoyed and solve my design problem.  This is the adjustable closure I came up with a while ago.  It still slips over the head, but there's an overhand knot next to the fossil that slides on the cord. 

I thought this looked pretty cool, fit in with the overall theme and functioned well.  Dave, who has a  pretty good eye for design, wasn't convinced.  He didn't think my customers would want to mess with adjusting the cord ... I'm not so sure. 

He was thinking I should do my regular button/loop clasp ...

For years, my closures have always been a KVK button and loop or the forged hook and link (which is silver and doesn't fit in with this work).  I really want something different for this collection. 

HELP!  This is where living in a near vacuum has its problems.  Any opinions here?  I'm definitely not usually one to design by committee, but I would very much love some feedback, opinions, insight ... hmmm, insight's probably my responsibility, but feedback would be lovely.

with deep gratitude ...
l i g a - kvk

06 October 2011

the evolution continues

It's been a week of experimenting, trials and triumphs.  A few pieces have come together almost instantly, others over days.  Each element is tested, assembled, taken apart, reassembled, hung on my in progress wall, where I leave it rest overnight and come back the next day to see if it still works.

Hanging against my inspiration and where I am as of this morning .........

And, of course, if you've been with me for a while, you'll know how I struggle with cordage and the vehicle for assembling my pieces.  This collection is no different, although it's been a much less painful road.  Remember, I had decided on my color palette, the starting point being my beautiful sweater's ochre and linen.  Black and dark brown are always an easy option and readily available in any fiber I might desire.  Ochre or antique gold, not so much.  Tuesday, I decided I needed ochre cord or thread or something.  So I trotted down to my local chi-chi yarn store and fancy fabric shop in search of my vision.  Zip, zero, nada, squat ... nothing at all.
I already had 'plan B' in mind ... purchase some white Habutai silk yardage, cut into ribbons and dye the fabric.  Head over to the cheapo fabric store to buy dye and they've got a very minimal selection of basic old Rit dye.  BTW, I could have gone downtown to the real fiber store and bought fancy dye, but I wasn't up for that much of an adventure.  Alchemist Kathy goes to work ...

It took a while, but after a couple of tries, I got from "golden yellow" mixed with varying amounts of "dark brown" to this ....

The cord on the right was my inspiration.  Recycled sari silk that was the perfect look and perfect color, but beware - that stuff has literally no strength and I easily ripped this cordage in two.  While I was at it, I chucked some taupe Habu silk in the pot to see what would happen.  I knew I was in for a big mess, but I secured the little bundle of yarn as best as I could and went for it. 
Not quite the mother of all tangles, but close ...

Side note ... I'm one of those people that actually likes to untangle things.  I can remember way back in my teens when I was working at a department store and the jewelry department got a shipment of chains that arrived in a big mess.  Everyone took turns trying to untangle the enormous pile.  Not so sure anyone else was enamored with the challenge, but I loved it.

Okay, back to my cord choices.
After much deliberation, I decided that, even after several washes with extra rinse cycles, I was still concerned about the stability of my dyeing efforts ... maybe I should have gone to the real fiber store after all.  All right, so it's not like I didn't already have a pretty decent assortment of options on hand.

Right now I'm okay with using several different fibers for the cord and so far they're all pendants.  I still want to do some 'not pendants', but I'm running out of components.  This is most of what's left and I've still got bracelets and earrings to consider ...

I've also been working on a lot of different ideas for closures.  One thing with the pendants, the cord will be long enough to just slip over the head, so there won't be a clasp.  Some of my test closures ...

I've decided to go with the waxed linen wrap, second from right.  One little detail I like is the way I can include my KVK tag when I make the cord - very clean and minimal solution.
So I need to finish up here and get back to work.  But, of course, I want to share two of my favorite pieces.  Every day that changes.  This one reminds me of an ancient stone henge ... the way the two center pieces of fossilized bone fit together so beautifully.

How is it that pieces that look so simple and minimal take so long to compose?  For me, it's all about editing.  I put pieces on, add on, subtract, change the size of the accent component.  There is asymmetry, but it is balanced.  Still, it always surprises me how long it takes to get to this point.
And then this piece ... oof!  I played around with those long curved steel elements all week and then yesterday this piece came together.  It took a good part of my afternoon, but I'm so very pleased with the result ... especially the way the fossils mirror the shape of the steel pieces and the way I wrapped the cord to secure the fossil in place.  This is steel, fossilized bones and Roman glass on hand plied nylon cord.

Rightio!  There's work to be done, more jewels to create and plots to be plotted ... all happening with my  evolving ambient/Stephan Micus Pandora station in the background.  One thing I love about Pandora is discovering new artists ... my new fave, Bonobo.

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  apologies for the erratic spacing ... something going on with Blogger won't keep my edits ... annoying.

01 October 2011

the further evolution of a new collection

Well, it's been a week of experimenting and learning with sore fingers, some near misses, some great successes and a disappointing failure.

I've figured out a fair amount in the steel metal clay world.  Interesting that the only pieces that didn't sinter properly were from my first traditional method firing ...

I was pretty excited about my raw ruby and sapphire focal pieces.  I thought they had fired just fine until I was really pressing down on them with my steel brush and then ... pop!  The ruby piece had already broken in half during the firing, but then it broke again while pressing down on it.  It's really interesting ... the outside is fired and polished, but you can easily see the core is not sintered at all.  Turns out the sapphire piece was the same.  Needless to say, after seeing this, I did some serious reefing on everything to make sure the pieces were fully sintered.

After that first firing, I found out about Hadar's updated faster firing schedule ... worked like a charm for all the other firings ... and there were at least 4 or 5.  I was also taking some liberties in how I loaded the fire box - no problems at all.  Big caveat here - I'm pretty sure this works because my kiln is larger and the fire box sits well within the kiln elements, back from the cooler front of the kiln.

My week's work - 150 grams of steel metal clay plus some regular BronzClay .......

Some of my favorite pieces are those cubes.  Unfortunately, there were problems with some of them.  I got the sides a bit thin and during the firing, they cracked and separated a bit.  I could have fixed them with more steel clay, but by then I'd used it all.  But necessity is a great source of creativity and  I remembered I had some first generation BronzClay in the refrigerator.  Okay, so I'm pretty sure I bought this clay before we left Port Townsend ... 3 years ago.  I brought it across the country, tightly wound in plastic wrap, in the cooler with Zoe's food, and it's been in the refrigerator ever since.  One little bit was kind of dried out, but the bigger chunk was in pretty good shape.  I took some small bits and filled in the cracks and reinforced the back sides and, lo and behold, if these aren't just some of my favorite pieces ...

I was really doubting the whole steel clay decision, but after seeing it with the bronze ... I don't know, there may be more steel clay in my future.  BTW, I fired this batch using the kitchen oven burnout phase - perfecto!  And that's the old bronze that is supposed to be nursed along through the firing.  You can see the other pieces I made at the same time in the terra cotta dish on the right.

Here's a couple of my favorite focal pieces of the steel ...

This is the biggest piece I made.  It's about 48 x 23mm.  The texture is from a fossilized turtle shell and a lot of smushing ... that's the technical term.

The pendant on the left is textured with that same turtle shell fossil and is about 34 x 20mm.

I've taken apart most of the fossil pieces I'd made a couple of weeks ago.  One thing I've found through my years of designing ... when I start working in a new direction, I'll make a bunch of pieces and then leave them be for a bit.  When I come back to them, more times than not, I end up taking them apart, starting over, re-working the concepts.

For me, that's the key to developing a cohesive collection ... edit, edit, edit ... re-think, re-work, re-configure.  Turn it sideways, what if I flipped it over, how would these components work this way rather than that way.  I'm really looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow ... a brand new day, a brand new  perspective, a brand new batch of exceptionally delicious components.  Oooh, boy howdy, fun fun fun!

And here's some musical icing on the cake ... today I was listening to a little bit of Fever Ray ... alternative, kind of punk, kind of like the direction of the new work ...

Back with more as the collection evolves ...

l i g a - kvk